Shawn Michaels and I have known each other for a long, long time. Everyone knows the public story of Hunter and Shawn, they know the things we've done together-and to each other-professionally. Everyone knows that out of the ring, we are long-time friends. I knew Shawn when he was bad to the bone, and I was with him on the day he found the Light. I thought our friendship had come to a comfortable place where there were no more surprises. I didn't listen too hard when I first heard the rumors: Shawn's like that, Good Shawn or Bad Shawn, people have always talked about him, and good or bad, he never has had a clue about his money. He overindulges every bit as bad in good causes as he ever did in luxury so it wasn't odd that Shawn might have hit a rough patch.
I didn't realise how rough it really was; when John Layfield started talking about this offer, I thought Shawn would handle Layfield the way most everyone else does by beating him to a pulp. When Layfield actually offered Shawn a job, I laughed out loud, because I knew there was no way Shawn Michaels would ever need-or want-anything from John Layfield. Then came Armageddon. I started calling the minute Shawn walked off the stage and I kept calling. When he didn't answer, I did what I've done for years, what I do because I know him so well that I know he won't mind. I went to his hotel and asked for his room key. In the past, as long as I've known him, when Shawn couldn't-or wouldn't-talk to me on the phone, he would always talk man to man, even if I had to let myself in to make it happen. It was okay to let myself in. This was Good Shawn, and he'd be in there just sleeping alone.
Except he wasn't.
Intermingled on the floor in a tangle of Shawn's clothes was a pinstriped suit and a cowboy hat. In that moment I imagined a thousand things. I saw Shawn begging as Layfield assaulted him. I saw Shawn giving himself over willingly for the money to pay his bills. I saw the Old Shawn using every last resource he had to pick the pocket of a willing, lustful mark. I imagined everything possible but what was really happening. Even standing in the doorway, I could hear the whispers.
"Go slow, go slow." The soft intake of breath. "Shawn, Shawn, I love you"
"John, trust me, John, I love you"
A Sharp, taunt cry.
"It's okay, John, Trust me"
"I never felt this way. I never loved anybody like this"
I could hear the tears in Layfields' voice.
"I know. I won't hurt you John. You are the best thing that's ever happened to me"
I thought I knew Shawn Michaels. I thought I knew John Layfield. I guess you never really know anybody.