At the end of his career, Shawn Michaels has been praised repeatedly and most of his peers have a lot of respect for him, but that hasn't always been the case. The Heartbreak Kid was featured in several episodes of deep controversy during his experience with Vince McMahon's federation, and one of the most striking is the WrestleMania 12 PPV.
The Texan wrestler was the protagonist of an exceptional Iron Man Match of about 60 minutes, a meeting that saw him win and take the title against the then champion Bret Hart. The challenge initially ended after 60 minutes without a real verdict, but later two minutes after the restart, HBK made two Sweet Chin Music in quick succession which were decisive and decreed the title change.
This match is also remembered because Shawn did not fully respect him and gave a couple of (unexpected) hits to his opponent. One of the most infamous rivalries in wrestling history was that of Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart.
Jim Ross recalled one backstage brawl between the two former WWE Superstars back in 1997. Ross revealed his reaction to the brawl on his Grilling JR podcast.
Jim Ross recalls a backstage brawl between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels
In an interview, commentator Jim Ross recalled what happened on that particular and historic evening.
Here are his words about it: "Shawn Michaels behaved disrespectfully throughout the contest, insulted referee Earl Hebner on several occasions and behaved really badly with Bret Hart, who was quite distressed by this.
He made it to the top of the world, but at the same time, he proved he was still immature. He had the attitude of someone who felt the best ever and who was very authoritarian. Shawn Michaels gave an unscheduled punch to Bret Hart who behaved very responsibly and did not react, I think he showed great character and managed to keep calm inside the ring.
I think HBK was very lucky not to receive Bret's reaction, otherwise, I'm sure that between the two (in a real physical fight) it would have been The Hitman who prevailed." In the course of his career, however, Shawn Michaels has changed a lot and, upon his retirement in 2010, he received much praise and the respect of almost the total majority of his colleagues.
After many years, then, he also had the opportunity to settle a good part of the very deep differences with Bret Hart (the most important of which is obviously linked to the Screwjob in Montreal), and even Hitman admitted that the relations between the two are now basically stretched out.