By the mid-1990s, fan attention towards WWE was waning rapidly and the situation was only getting worse despite Vince McMahon’s attempts to get back on track. 1995 has been defined by many fans as one of the worst years ever in the history of the Stamford-based federation.
By that time, absolute legends of the caliber of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage had left WWE, while Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart took their place and dominated the scene for a long time. The two superstars were bitter rivals not only inside the ring but also backstage.
HBK and Hart faced off in a one-hour 'Iron Man match' at the close of WrestleMania 12 in 1996, with Bret forced to relinquish his title and pass the torch to the enemy. Hart would controversially leave WWE in late 1997 when he made the decision to move to WCW.
As for Michaels, he kept the belt until WrestleMania 14 main event (where he surrendered to Stone Cold Steve Austin). A serious injury stalled his career for about four years after that match, before making his return to Vince McMahon's service.
Jake Roberts slams Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart
In a recent interview with 'Perched On The Top Rope', WWE Hall of Famer Jake Roberts threw a stab at both Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart. “When you get to a certain point, your role is no longer just to perform in the ring and win matches.
I mean, Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart - in the worst period of WWE history - were only concerned with racking up titles. Everyone knows this. Without disrespecting the two of them, who fucked up during their respective careers, they should have acted differently for the good of the company.
Jake 'The Snake' did not need a belt around his waist to affirm his status," ruled Roberts. Shawn Michaels is currently a coach at the WWE Performance Center. He is also Triple H's right-hand man in NXT where the two best friends work together to book superstars on the roster.
To work in the Performance Center, HBK moved from his home in Texas to Florida: "We still have our ranch. I guess we sort of now ended up being in two places, but we’ve been in Florida here for the past 4-5 months, and everybody has enjoyed it.
We went to the Fair the other day and Disney World on a regular basis; there’s just so much to do here. As you know before, we were in the middle of nowhere, which was great when the kids were younger, but now that they’re older, there’s just so much more opportunity here, a bunch of stuff as a family, and we are very fortunate to still have kids that enjoy being around us," Michaels explained.