Bison, Bromance Ignited MRA
Shared values had Mark, Michaels teaming up after first hunt
The fourth season of "Shawn Michaels' MRA" begins this month.
One hunt and the bromance was on. It didn’t take Keith Mark and Shawn Michaels long to realize it was the start of a beautiful relationship, namely “Shawn Michaels' MRA.”
A months after their first meeting, (See Show Stopper Revives MRA), Mark invited the WWE wrestling superstar on a bison hunt. Neither knew what their futures held, but they hit it off immediately.
“We spent so much time there on the Indian reservation on the hunt,” Mark said. “We got to talking about all those things that really made a man a man. I knew our core values are so similar -- he loves his family, and he's a true family man, just a good Christian man.”
While the Heartbreak Kid was retiring, Mark was thinking about bringing back MRA and his thoughts progressed to having Michaels join him.
“The next thing you know, I'm like, ‘Man, I want to do this with him.’ Even if I don't do outdoor television, I just want to hunt with this dude,” Mark said. “Even if we don't do it for outdoor television, I want to spend time with this guy.”
Michaels said the feeling was mutual. While he had dreamed about an opportunity in outdoors television after his wrestling career, he said he knew nothing about getting started.
“I had mentioned it to him -- we talked for a long time – that it was something I'd thought about doing,” Michaels said. “When he said he was thinking about bringing it back, he just threw it out there that if ‘you were to co-host it with me, that would bring a nice value.”
So the deal was made after their first hunt.
Keith Mark and Shawn Michaels, hosts of "Shawn Michaels' MRA"
“I had no idea that he was really thinking about doing outdoor television at that time,” Mark said. “That morning having coffee after we had completed the first hunt, we pretty much decided we were going to do it right then.”
“Put it this way,” Michaels said. “When he made me the offer, he said, ‘You can certainly think about it, but it's one of those things where it's what you want to do, and I want to do this show. You're going to enhance me, I'm going to enhance you.’ ”
Michaels was at first opposed to Mark’s suggestion to use his name for the show title. He said it was their first “love squabble.” Despite his wrestling aura, Michaels is a humble man, but Mark finally convinced him.
Their honeymoon season was a great success. MRA was nominated for five Golden Moose Awards, including “Best Overall,” and won for “Best Conservation” show after tackling the wolf hunting controversy.
Their fourth season of MRA begins airing this month, and Mark still has to pinch himself. He admits he’s a boring guy -- been married to the same woman for 30 years, has no vices – and worried the well-traveled Michaels would see that.
“What I really thought was, ‘The luster's going to wear off when the guy really figures this out -- Why is he with me? I'm so damn boring,’ ” Mark said. “It’s like, why is this girl going to prom with me? When she realizes that it's really Keith Mark at the prom, she's going to leave me.”
Michaels said that couldn’t be further from the truth. Mark’s stability is one of the most admirable things about him.
“I try to tell him what you display is strength of character,” Michaels said. “It's real. Not a lot of people can say that. That's why I like you.
“It was after we had the talk. He said, ‘I'm just trying to keep up. You've done all this and I haven't.’ I said, ‘No, man. You don't understand. That's what's so amazing about you.’ I think that's when we both got a real realization for one another.
“Again, I just don't know many grown men or guys over 45 that can be that honest, that straight with each other that quickly. We didn't play a lot of the games. We got to the nuts and bolts about what's important to us, and what our lives are about, and why we want to do the show.”
Mark still can’t get over that Michaels traded the giant arena with 80,000 fans for a hunting camp with him and a cameraman changing clothes in tight quarters. Their fourth season begins this month, and without letting the cat out of the bag, they said it takes a real honest look at their friendship.
“The hunting is still going to be as fabulous, but I think you're going to see that it's going to be a different show,” Michaels said. “It's going to be far more episodic. It's going to be a lot more flow. I think there's going to be a lot more storytelling about what's really going on in our worlds, especially this last year.
“It's going to be, I guess, a reality dramedy.”
“Here's what's going to happen,” Mark said. “You're going to sit on your couch and you're going to laugh because we're silly. You're going go, ‘Oh my gosh,’ because we hunt some of the coolest stuff. You're going to be on your couch, and you're going to hope your wife isn't looking because you're going to wipe a tear from your eye because we're going to be very real, very honest.
“The story of our season, which is basically the story we're going to tell you guys, was a very difficult year; All the ups and downs that go in life, that all the people in this room and all the viewers have.”
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