Shawn Michaels Admits Adam Cole, Johnny Gargano & Kyle O'Reilly Leaving WWE NXT Is "Bittersweet"

Michaels misses them

WWE NXT has undergone major changes in 2021 and three of the brand's top stars in Adam Cole, Kyle O'Reilly and Johnny Gargano all departed Vince McMahon's company after their contracts expired, rejecting offers to stay in the process. 

In his role as Vice President of Talent Development, Shawn Michaels worked closely with all three wrestlers in NXT and The Heartbreak Kid admitted their departures were "bittersweet." 

"We still keep in contact, but yeah it is bittersweet, those young men were a big part of my life, they were a lot of the reason that I sort of got back into this line of work. I was happily retired. When it came to Johnny, Tommaso, Adam, those guys, even way back, the Revival boys, Shawn Spears who was Tye Dellinger at the time, all those young men sitting in a room with them; their passion, their excitement, their desire to be better was just hard not to love. They are the reason that I came back, and fell back in love with Sports Entertainment, with this line of work," Michaels told Denise Salcedo of Instinct Culture.

"As you've heard and everyone has numerous times, in NXT at the Performance Center, is where it's still pure, it's still all the reasons we get into it before it becomes business, and money and negotiations and things of that nature. To fast forward your question, I miss them. One of the things I always try to instil on all of them is 'Your happiness, your contentment, your peace, is the most important thing to me.' Because I learned that, yes mine all happened in the WWE but when everything was set and done that's why I think that leaving and walking away was so much easier for me than it was for everybody else. I got all the answers to the questions that I had coming into this line of work and as long as they are at peace with that, that's cool," he continued. 

"At the very least, I tell them 'if you're not gonna be at peace with it at least have a big bank account.' At least it makes you feel better a little bit {laughs}. I do, I miss them, but I am very happy for them. Some things gotta be real life, Hunter and I, we love this stuff, same thing our real lives take precedence over everything else and it's the same whether its Johnny, Adam, Kyle and whoever else, he's now Malakai but Aleister, all of those guys I want them to be happy. Do I miss them? Yes. Would I prefer they be with us? Absolutely. 

"But again you're getting the opportunity to establish new relationships with Bron and Tony, The Creed Brothers, Carmelo and Trick; have just been a joy to work with. Gigi and Jacy, I absolutely adore. It's an ever-evolving thing and that's what this job is but it doesn't mean that you can't still have good relationships in the meantime."

Since departing WWE, Adam Cole and Kyle O'Reilly have reunited in All Elite Wrestling. Johnny Gargano, meanwhile, is taking a break from wrestling ahead of the birth of his first child with wife Candice LeRae.

H/T to POST Wrestling

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