Shawn Michaels had one of the strangest careers in WWE history when it came to his backstage reputation. The locker room hated Michaels in the '90s due to his prima donna attitude and a tendency to bury others while using his close relationship with Vince McMahon to his advantage. Michaels left the company for about five years before making his return as a full-time competitor with a new attitude.
The changes made in his personal life would see Michaels find more respect among his peers in the second chapter of his career. Michaels developed quite a few friendships outside of the obvious ones with people like Triple H and Vince. We will look at some of the more interesting ones that stand out as unexpected. Find out just which talents are buddies of Shawn Michaels with ten of his most surprising friendships.
10 The Undertaker
Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker didn’t always get along in the '90s. The horrible attitude of Michaels and the reputation for Undertaker as the locker room leader caused them to clash on quite a few occasions in WWE.
Undertaker reportedly threatened Michaels on the day of WrestleMania 14 when rumors came out that he was going to refuse to lose to Steve Austin. The two became closer friends when Michaels returned a changed man in the 2000s. Undertaker was even the choice of Michaels to retire him at WrestleMania 26.
9 William Regal
The Performance Center has allowed many of the top WWE minds to work together coaching the future of the industry. Young WWE developmental talents train at the center to learn from the minds there, before getting called up to the main roster.
Shawn Michaels and William Regal are two of the more important figures at the PC and NXT in general. Regal is the lead scout and one of the top trainers. Michaels is the finishing coach that offers tips to the top names in an advanced class. Both men are buddies that enjoy the atmosphere of the PC.
8 Road Dogg
Shawn Michaels and Road Dogg rarely interacted in D-Generation X since they were part of different versions of the faction. The first one saw Michaels lead the group while Road Dogg joined the second version under Triple H’s leadership.
Both men would eventually become friends throughout the years when Road Dogg returned in a producer role. Michaels and Road Dogg were two of the six members of DX inducted into the 2019 WWE Hall of Fame class. They currently work together in NXT after Road Dogg moved there following the end of his time producing Smackdown.
7 Ric Flair
The legendary Ric Flair was the wrestling hero of Shawn Michaels when entering the business. They became close when Flair joined WWE in the 2000s after WCW went out of business. Michaels and Flair were extremely tight as they loved working together.
Flair picked Michaels as the one to retire him at WrestleMania 24 in his final WWE match. A recent video from Flair saw him insult Michaels claiming he disrespected their friendship. The two legends have made peace after Flair apologized to bring their friendship back.
The career of Edge saw him ascend much like Shawn Michaels progressing from tag team success to mid-card momentum to an iconic main event run. Edge and Michaels worked together in programs quite a few times and always had great chemistry.
Michaels was one of the first guests on the Edge and Christian Podcast as a favor since Edge is among his closer friends in wrestling. There were similarities in their wrestling styles that showed Edge was influenced by Michaels to an extent. Given Michaels clashing with past Canadian stars, this was a surprising friendship to form.
5 Steve Austin
Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels never had a close relationship in the 90s as Austin was the first man to pass Michaels in the pecking order during the latter’s run on top of WWE. They had a couple of impressive matches together, including the WrestleMania 14 title win for Austin.
This friendship formed in the 2000s when Michaels returned to the company around the end of Austin’s run. Both wrestlers were past their prior days of having it out for each other and became close buddies backstage. Michaels appeared on Austin’s podcast a few times to discuss their careers and friendship.
4 Michael Cole
WWE broadcaster Michael Cole has been in the company for over two decades now as one of the longer tenured on-air talents. Cole developed friendships with quite a few wrestlers including Shawn Michaels as their bond formed in the 2000s.
The duo of Cole and Michaels have gone hunting together and enjoy each other’s company. It is a funny twist seeing things play out this way since Cole was the one getting wedgies from Michaels in the ring during the DX promos of the Attitude Era.
X-Pac is the forgotten member of the Kliq since he didn’t have as much success at the top level as the other four. The infamous Kliq Curtain Call was another reason why since it only featured Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall breaking character.
Michaels and X-Pac were always close as the two became pals when X-Pac joined WWE as the 123 Kid. One of the best matches of X-Pac’s career came in a singles bout against Michaels. The two are still friends today as they were inducted into the Hall of Fame together as part of DX.
2 Johnny Gargano
The new role of a coach for Shawn Michaels has seen him become friends with a few wrestlers at the Performance Center. Johnny Gargano grew up idolizing Michaels and is now a buddy of the legend. The childhood of Gargano saw him go as far as to dress up as Michaels for Halloween.
Michaels appreciates the fandom and has gone out of his way to praise Gargano’s work as well. The two have even appeared together in comedic social media videos on Gargano’s page. Gargano is not shy about admitting he’s living his dream by performing in WWE and becoming friends with his hero.
1 Bret Hart
The backstage rivalry between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels dominated WWE in 1997. Michaels refused to lose the WWE Championship back to Hart to the point where he faked a retirement. WWE tried to utilize the real-life tension to make money on the screen when Michaels did return months later.
The Montreal Screwjob made things even worse as Hart held a grudge for many years. Both men finally made peace when Bret returned in 2010. In a fun twist, they both had their final WrestleMania matches on the same night at WrestleMania 26. Michaels and Hart still text each other after forming a friendship after years of hatred.