“It makes me look bad” – Shawn Michaels told former WWE Superstar to change his move set
Former WWE Superstar Ahmed Johnson has recalled how Shawn Michaels told him to stop performing high-flying moves in the 1990s.
Despite weighing over 300 pounds, Johnson often defied his size by executing athletic moves in his WWE matches. During Johnson’s three-year WWE run between 1995 and 1998, Michaels was widely viewed as one of the company’s most impressive in-ring performers.
Speaking on Pro Wrestling Defined, Johnson said Michaels wanted him to change his move set. The two-time WWE Hall of Famer allegedly felt Johnson’s high-flying moves made smaller wrestlers, including himself, look bad.
“Behind the scenes he really p****d me off. He called me in the office one day and he said, ‘Ahmed, I need you to stop doing all these high-flying moves that you’re doing, jumping off the third rope, diving over the ropes, ‘cause, you know, that’s things that I’m doing and I’m a little guy. You’re a big guy doing it and it makes me look bad.’ You know, it’s real stupid. He told me he wanted me to start doing bear hugs and old-fashioned big man moves.”
Ahmed Johnson teamed up with Shawn Michaels at WWE Survivor Series 1995, In Your House 9: International Incident, and on WWE RAW in July 1996. The two men were supposed to go one-on-one after WWE SummerSlam 1996 but the match did not happen due to Johnson suffering a kidney injury.
How did Ahmed Johnson respond to Shawn Michaels?
Ahmed Johnson is not the first WWE Superstar who has been asked to stop using certain moves. Former Wyatt Family member Erick Rowan recently said he had to change his finisher because it looked too similar to Jinder Mahal’s Khallas.
In Johnson’s case, he simply disagreed with Shawn Michaels and continued performing his high-flying moves.
“I said, ‘Man, it’s a new generation. I’m not gonna do that. I’m 300-something pounds, I can fly off the ropes probably better than you can. It’s a new generation. They don’t wanna see that bear hug, hand tie-up, and me break you down.’ No, no, no, not for me. That wasn’t my style.”
Johnson also said in the interview that he was “very rude” to Vince McMahon during their first phone conversation. The former Intercontinental Champion incorrectly assumed someone prank-called him pretending to be the WWE Chairman.