Shawn Michaels is one of the greatest WWE Superstars of all time, but he nearly ruined his legacy by moving to WCW in the 1990s.
At the time when Shawn Michaels was on top of the WWE, World Championship Wrestling were making huge moves.
They were signing top stars to huge contracts, guaranteeing them money that Vince McMahon couldn’t dream of offering.
Big stars like Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan and Sting were joined by WWE defectors, like Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Bret Hart.
They all signed multi-million dollar deals with WCW, something Shawn Michaels look upon with great jealousy.
Just before WCW began rolling out the red carpet for top WWE stars, Michaels signed a multi-year deal with Vince McMahon for a fraction of what the likes of Hall and Nash were making.
After seeing what his friends were making under Ted Turner and Eric Bischoff, Shawn Michaels asked Vince McMahon to release him from his WWE contract and letting him sign for the competition.
As you can imagine, that conversation only went one way – no!
There was no way Vince was going to let his top star (at the time, Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart were the top two wrestlers in the company) jump over to another company.
Michaels wanted to move to WCW after Scott Hall and Kevin Nash debuted in 1996, seeing how much money and creative freedom they were given by the WCW bosses.
While he was prompted by The Kliq to make the jump to WCW, Shawn Michaels was never actually offered a contract by Eric Bischoff, so there’s not telling he was even wanted in the company.
While speaking with The New York Post in 2022, Shawn Michaels revealed he asked for his WWE release to sign for WCW, but was promptly rejected by Vince McMahon.
“I can’t say that I was ever offered a job by Eric Bischoff,” Michaels said. “Obviously, Scott and Kevin would say, ‘Hey buddy, you get out of your contract, you could come here.’ There was never any real serious offers or plans for me to go there. I remember asking Vince once to let me go. He said, ‘No,’ and that was the end of it.”
However, on his 83 Weeks podcast, Eric Bischoff revealed why he didn’t want to sign Shawn Michaels to WCW, contrary to what many thought to be true.
The former WCW President revealed he didn’t want the Heartbreak Kid because he was known to be “difficult to work with”, and likened him to Chris Jericho’s role in the company.
“None,” Bischoff said regarding interest in bringing Shawn Michaels to WCW. “Shawn had a reputation as being difficult to work with and a little bit like Chris Jericho: a prima donna. When you reach a certain level of success, there’s a tendency to become prima donna-esc and I think that was Shawn Michaels reputation. I don’t remember anybody even suggesting for a minute to bring Shawn in.”
Sadly, Shawn Michaels suffered a back injury in 1998, during a casket match The Undertaker.
He was forced to retire from wrestling, instead opening a wrestling school. Here, he helped train some of the stars of the future, including Daniel Bryan and Brian Kendrick.
Shawn Michaels In WCW
If Shawn Michaels had been brought into WCW in 1996, it is likely he would have taken Hulk Hogan’s place as the “third man” in the New World Order.
Hogan was always hesitant about turning heel to join the NWO, with Sting being touted as a replacement if the Hulkster refused to join the group.
Shawn Michaels had no issue being a heel, as he had played heel to the likes of Bret Hart and Steve Austin throughout his WWE run.
Lex Luger was also rumored as the third man, but a debuting Heartbreak Kid would have been the perfect addition to the NWO.
As he was fresh off a main event run in the WWE, Michaels would have had the same shock factor as Hall and Nash, with fans not knowing if the invasion of stars was real, or part of the show.
However, Vince McMahon would not let him go and he remained in the WWE until his four-year retirement in 1998, returning to fight Triple H in 2002.
Shawn Michaels even joined the NWO in 2002, when the group came to the WWE in the Invasion. However, this was not in a wrestling role, and injuries soon caused the group to disband.
Would you have liked to see Shawn Michaels join WCW as part of the NWO? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.