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No heartbreak for Michaels as he reels in first marlin

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Wrestling superstar Shawn Michaels faced one of the toughest fights of his life in Bermuda — against a white marlin.

The former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) world champion took to the ocean at the weekend to film an episode of his MRA Hunting show, and compete in the Bermuda Billfish Blast tournament.

Mr Michaels was accompanied by WWE commentators Michael Cole and John Layfield, plus his MRA co-host Keith Mark.

The wrestling star — who is in the WWE Hall of Fame and has nearly 2.5 million Twitter followers — praised his “great experience” and said Saturday's catch was the first marlin he had ever reeled in.

It was the only marlin the team caught but they did manage to score a few other fish.

Mr Cole, known to millions of fans as “the voice of WWE”, told The Royal Gazette yesterday the group had a “very fun trip” aboard the 54-foot catamaran Paradise One, owned by Bermudian fishermen Allan and Delvin Bean.

“The Beans are a pair of characters, really good guys. They made it a fun and exciting trip,” said the commentator, a keen fisherman. “It was nice, we had good weather on Friday and saw some wonderful rainbows, everybody had a good time.

“We didn't catch any marlin on Friday but they did on Saturday — I wasn't there on Saturday, maybe I'm bad luck.

“It was Shawn and Keith's first time fishing in Bermuda for the show. I took them out two years ago shark fishing in the Gulf of Mexico for MRA, but Bermuda was a nice change of pace and it was good to get them out there.”

Mr Cole, the play-by-play announcer for WWE's Raw and Smackdown programmes, is a regular visitor to the Island.

He said he stayed on land on Saturday while his friends chased marlin, enjoying a “nice and relaxing” day sightseeing with his wife.

“My wife and I stayed in St George's, that's our favourite part of the Island,” he said. “We had a local tour guide who showed us all the sights and nice beaches. For the fourth of July we went to the Mid Ocean Club and got to see the fireworks, it was a great night.

“Everybody in Bermuda is so nice. And when you can sleep in, in the morning, and not work or travel, it makes it all worthwhile.

“I'd love to bring everybody over here and do a WWE show here, we have a lot of fans here.”

Mr Cole is a strong supporter of Bermuda's Beyond Rugby programme, set up by Mr Layfield three years ago to help the Island's at-risk youth through sport.

As well as rugby, the initiative also runs homework classes.

“We love it,” Mr Cole said. “We talk about it on our show.”

Their show is the JBL and Cole Show, a weekly programme during which the commentators offer insightful and often hilarious discussions about the latest WWE action.

And Mr Cole is hopeful a talented young Bermudian might one day shine in the ring.

“We hope we might get a Bermudian wrestling star — we had someone trying.”

It could be sooner than he thinks — Bermudian Kamel Dickinson this year signed up with WWE development league, NXT.

Mr Cole said he hoped to return to the Island “for the holidays” but “definitely for the fourth of July” next year.

“It's always nice to come back,” he added.

Mr Layfield said yesterday that the MRA team “loved” their trip to Bermuda and that Mr Michaels and Mr Mark were keen to return next year.

“My wife and I love Bermuda, this is our home and when you are as proud of your home as we are, you love showing it off,” he said.

“Shawn is one of the greatest and most popular wrestlers of all time and, with Keith Mark, now has one of the top outdoor shows in the world. I am so happy and honoured that they came to Bermuda to do a show on our Island paradise.

“Shawn and Michael have been friends of mine for almost 20 years, it was really cool to have them both in Bermuda along with Keith doing what we all love — having a good time in a beautiful place. Shawn mentioned he wanted to return with his family.

“I have fished in the Marlin Cup and Bermuda Blast for many years with the Bean brothers on Paradise One — we haven't won it yet but we plan on coming back till we do.

“I will say that Michael not being there the last day did improve our luck this year!”

Mr Layfield added that Premier Michael Dunkley was interviewed for the MRA episode “talking about all that Bermuda has to offer”.

The fourth season of the award-winning MRA Hunting is on the Outdoor Channel, available in Bermuda, now. Bermuda will feature in an upcoming episode and Mr Layfield said a clip from Robinson's Marina would feature in an upcoming edition of the JBL and Cole Show.

MRA Hunting is broadcast on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Catch of the day: Shawn Michaels and John Layfield with part of their day's catch aboard Paradise One
John Layfield, far left; Michael Cole, centre, Keith Mark, third right; Shawn Michaels, second right; with TV and Paradise One crew

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Published July 07, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated July 07, 2014 at 9:54 am)

No heartbreak for Michaels as he reels in first marlin

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