Two of the biggest names in WWE, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Shawn Michaels, who harbored ill will towards each other, crossed paths during WrestleMania Sunday.
WWE.com published a photo of Johnson and Michaels sharing a laugh shortly following HBK’s appearance on stage at WrestleMania XXVII to commemorate his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame.
According to F4WOnline.com, their past hostility was actually settled in 2008 when Johnson inducted his father, Rocky Johnson, and grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia, into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Their issues dated back to when Rock was a teenager.
He despised Michaels because he felt Shawn was disrespectful to his maternal grandmother at a wrestling show she was coordinating in favor of Polynesian Pacific Pro Wrestling.
His disrespect towards her aggravated Johnson and nearly led to a clash.
Issues persisted years later when The Rock was a rookie starting out in WWE.
Bret Hart wrote inside his 2007 autobiography, Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling that both Michaels and Triple H disliked Johnson “intensely.”
They mutually resented him for the reason that he was talented, and because in addition Hart, a political foe, had taken a shine to him.
Many believe they were out to sabotage Johnson so that Hunter would ascend to the top before him since they were both viewed as the future of the company at the time.
Michaels and Hunter conspired to obstruct Johnson’s push in March 1997. Johnson was the Intercontinental Champion at the time.
Michaels suggested to Vince McMahon that Johnson lose the title to Hart on an episode of Raw.
In the meantime, Hunter insisted to Hart that he beat Johnson. Their suggestion would serve two purposes—disrupt Johnson’s push and take Hart out of the world title scene.
Hart, however, refused to beat Johnson, as Hart felt it wouldn’t build heat for his newly launched heel turn, not to mention that it would undermine Johnson. Instead, Hart insisted on a DQ finish, which infuriated Michaels and Hunter.
By 1999, Johnson had ascended to the top of WWE, going beyond fellow wrestlers, including Hunter. Meanwhile, a back injury had forced Michaels to retire and he was relegated to sporadic appearances.
Nonetheless, Michaels attempted to politically undermine Johnson by lobbying to McMahon that he be replaced by Hunter in the main event at WrestleMania XV. His suggestion fell on deaf ears.
Rocky stated years later in a 2005 interview with WWE.com that he never had interest in working with Michaels when asked if he would have liked to.