CHRIS JERICHO says Shawn Michaels is the greatest performer to ever grace a wrestling ring — bar none.
Michaels is to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame over WrestleMania weekend in Atlanta and Jericho, one of HBK's greatest ever opponents, could not be happier.
Speaking exclusively to SunSport, Jericho said: "The best way to put it is that Shawn IS the Hall of Fame.
BEST EVER ... HBK
"There's nobody that has ever been in the business that deserves to be in the Hall of Fame more than Shawn Michaels. That includes Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin or anybody else.
"Shawn is the epitome of what the Hall of Fame is because to me he is the best performer of all time. He is not even close to anybody else.
"You can debate it with me until the cows come home — you can say all you want. You can give me all the facts and figures, it's not going to change my mind.
"I'm so excited that he is in the Hall of Fame, but it's essential that he be in there. If he wasn't it would be a waste of time."
Jericho is currently embarking on a major tour to promote the release of his second autobiography, Undisputed, a follow-up to his best-selling effort A Lion's Tale.
Packed with the same energy and verve as his first effort, Jericho takes you through his first stint in WWE from 1999-2005 in captivating detail, as well as detailing the progression of his band Fozzy from unknowns to them touring the world.
The voice of the author is prevalent throughout, and much like in his roles in wrestling, he can make you laugh and cry in equal measures. Jericho is without doubt one of wrestling's finest storytellers, in and out of the ring.
GREAT READ ... Undisputed
Jericho added: "I wrote the book like an episode of Family Guy or something.
"There are so many pop culture references sprinkled throughout that show. If you get it, it's genius. If you don't, then it appears and it's gone so fast you don't even realise it anyway.
"In the book I keep it flowing and entertaining by all the different analogies, jokes, music, pop culture, movies, wrestling, art or whatever I could think of — and I think that's why it works so well.
"I didn't write the book for wrestling fans. I know that wrestling fans are going to like it whatever because they are wrestling fans. I wrote the book for people that like a good story. It could be about a tennis player, a pharmacist or a deep sea diver.
"It deals with a lot of the inside works of wrestling, but it's not so bogged down with 'and then I gave him a hip toss, and then I gave him a body slam'. It's something you can read, enjoy and have fun with."
Fun is indeed never far away, but Jericho has written deep and thought provoking chapters about the death of his mother and the Chris Benoit murders/suicide. Jericho explains that writing about Benoit has helped him deal with the tragedy.
He said: "It was actually quite cathartic to be honest with you, once I got it out of my system and put it on the printed page.
"I'm glad that it's there because it's like putting lightning in a bottle. I screw the cap on, put it away and I don't ever have to really think about it.
"When I want to think about it, I can take it out and look at this lightning flashing back and forth inside this bottle. It's encapsulated there for the rest of time. Everyone can see it and everyone can read about it which is great.
"I get asked about it sometimes but not as much as I used to. I think people are freaked out or intimidated or just don't want to say anything about it. I don't really want to talk about it and now I don't have to, because it's all there on the page."
The book is not a WWE-sanctioned affair, so Jericho has freedom to discuss matters such as the Benoit tragedy, which is typically taboo in Vince McMahon's company.
Jericho is frequently critical of McMahon himself, but stresses that even if the book was published under the WWE banner the boss would not have censored criticisms of himself at all.
He explained: "I talked to Vince about it and Triple H too. I had a lot of confrontations with him when I first started, but it worked out.
"I think it was one of the reasons why WWE in the early 2000s was so exciting because there were a lot of guys rubbing each other up the wrong way personally, which led to them being better professionally.
"I said I was telling stories the way I remember them and it wasn't always rosy. Both of them were like, 'Well, that's life. Good for you. Go for it'. I wanted to make sure they each knew.
"There were a lot of confrontations with Vince and a lot of harsh words spoken. But it was all done with love.
"Not to get sappy but it helped both of us understand the other better to where we have a great relationship and a lot of respect between us right now.
"Vince is one of my favourite people in the world."
Jericho walked away from WWE in late 2010 after his contract expired and, when quizzed on his future, he gives fans at least of glimmer of hope that he may return.
He said: "Would I like to come back? Of course I would.
"Do I know when I'm coming back at this stage? Absolutely not. I have absolutely no idea at this point."