Can they please stop showing Taker watching from the entrance ramp, this is a horrible way of broadcasting a match, didn’t you guys know that 8 years later there would be teenage girls on the internet trying to get off on this?
My mom wanted to know why I’m huddled in the corner of a dark room with my computer screen a few inches away from my face, reading poetry to myself. I told her I’m an artist and she doesn’t understand me.
You know, I don’t really know what it is I’m gonna say to you tonight. I… You know, when I was 19 years old, I started doing this stuff and… At 23 I started coming in to each and every one of your homes, every week. And the idea of now being 44 and - I don’t know - not coming into your homes on that TV set every week is gonna be a little tough to get used to. You know something? I appreciate you saying ‘Thank you’, but I have to tell you something: I have to thank you. Because… You all may not understand this, but for the longest time this ring and all of you was the only thing I had in my life. It was the only place that I ever felt good about me. And night in and night out, you guys were the only ones in the world that ever made me like me. And… You know, I would like to—You know, there are so many people I’d like to thank, but I’m so afraid of doing that for fear I’m gonna forget somebody. But, I’m just gonna—There’s one guy, you know…
Hunter. I gotta thank Hunter for being my friend when absolutely nobody else in the world wanted to touch me. There are a lot of people that didn’t like me. Many, many years ago. I was not an easy person to be around. And Hunter, buddy, you never once left my side. And… You know, in this line of work—I mean, it’s a tough line of work in that everybody talks about how it’s tough to have real friendships - and it is. But I tell ya… Hunter, I thank you so much for the real friendship that I have been able to share with you for the last 16 years.
And another one, and this is really gonna sound strange to you guys, but… There’s a whole lot of people in those big, old trucks out back. There are these guys here holding the camera. Michael Cole. Jerry Lawler. And of course, the greatest announcer of all time, Jim Ross. But I wanna thank all of you guys. You guys always made me look so much better than I ever really was and I so appreciate that. And there is a crazy red-headed kid in Stamford, Connecticut, that I also have to thank. His name is Adam and he is the guy that puts together so much of the videos that you’ve seen of me over the years. And I’m telling you, he’s the most talented boy I’ve ever met. And, Adam, thank you for making me look like a superstar.
And then, of course… You know, can I tell you something? I know, how a lot of people feel about career-ending matches. And I know that there are a lot of people that are gonna be skeptical of my decision. And I understand that. But I do wanna tell ya. I don’t - I think about it - but I don’t wanna go back on my word to you. I don’t wanna go back on my word to The Undertaker. And… For 20+ years I have done my best to be a pretty open book in front of all of you. I don’t hide a lot from you when I come out here, because it’s just easier for me to be who I am. And I don’t…. I wanna honor my word to you. I wanna honor my word to you, I wanna honor my word to The Undertaker. So I appreciate the ‘One more match’, but I’m gonna do everything in my power to make sure that doesn’t happen.
And there is one other guy I gotta thank. And I gotta thank Bret Hart. I cannot tell you how much, back in the 90s, I drove that poor guy crazy. And everything he’s ever said about me, he had every right to say it. And I wanna thank him for forgiving me. For understanding, accepting and believing that I knew that I made the mistakes, I was changed and I would forever honor his friendship if he’d ever take the chance and give it back to me. And I thank him for giving me that opportunity.
And then there is Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Now, I honestly don’t know if I get in trouble for mentioning his name or not, but I’m going to, anyway. It’s my farewell speech and I’ll say what I wanna say. But there is absolutely no way I could work for anybody else. After you have worked under that crazy son of a gun for 20+ years, there’s no way I’ll be able to do a regular gig ever again. I gotta thank him for his patience with me, because the only guy I drove more crazy than Bret Hart was Vince McMahon. You know, and I know that he gave me the opportunity here to do what I loved to do. But I have to tell ya: I’ve got to thank him for not allowing me to make even bigger mistakes that I made. I was on a crash course going nowhere. And I know, sometimes it was ugly. But I tell ya, if that guy had not kept me on course, I would not be here today. So, Vince, thanks for putting up with me, man.
And last but not least, there is each and every one of you. I have got to travel all over the world. I have got to meet millions of people. I have got to listen to each and every one of you for the majority of my life. I have spent more of my adult life with each and every one of you than I have my own family. And I tell ya: I don’t say that with regrets. I thank you all so much for giving me the honor and the privilege to come out here and let me show off in front of you every night of my life.
And, of course, my lord and savior, Jesus Christ. I thank you, my king, for saving me. And to Rebecca, Cheyenne and Cameron: Babies. Daddy’s coming home. This is how we started and this is how we’re gonna end. Ladies and Gentlemen. ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ Shawn Michaels has left the building.