Why did real pro wrestling fail?

Wrestling History X: The True Story of the Clique

Documentary by Martin Feichtinger

One of the most powerful and notorious backstage groups was the "Kliq" or "Clique" during the 1990s. Consisting of the "Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash alias "Diesel", Scott Hall alias "Razor Ramon", Sean "1-2-3 Kid" Waltman and a young Hunter Hearst Helmsley, this grouping was responsible for some of the greatest so-called backstage politics in the World Wrestling Federation. Read this excellent rendering of the events by CAGEMATCH historian Martin Feichtinger and learn all about the grouping, starting with the question of whether it was called "Kliq" or "Clique". Any duplication of the text or excerpts from it for other pages is expressly prohibited without the permission of the author and the webmaster of CAGEMATCH.
In the mid-90s, behind the scenes of the old World Wrestling Federation, the name "The Clique" came up as the name for one of the most influential backstage groups of all time that should ever exist in this business. But before we take a closer look at the history of this group, let's first define who or what the - so famous and infamous - "clique" is. The name itself was coined by the internet journalist Wade Keller from Pro Wrestling Torch and was at its height for a group of five wrestlers who at that time - sometime in late 1993 / early 1994 - had developed a close friendship. These men initially only included Shawn Michaels, Diesel (Kevin Nash) and Razor Ramon (Scott Hall), while over the next two years the 1-2-3 Kid (Sean Waltman, Syxx, X-Pac), Triple H, Aldo Montoya (PJ Polaco, Justin Credible), Rad Radford (Louie Spicolli) and Sunny (Tammy Lynn Sytch) were initially just "close friends" of the core trio.

According to legend, this group had a strong influence on the decisions of WWF owner Vince McMahon and thus undermined the careers of many of their colleagues. Its members were said to have deliberately made matches against outsiders look less spectacular than their fights among themselves and were only willing to bring each other over to the fans.

It is now well known that the "Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels had become quite a pain in the ass at the beginning of his career as a single wrestler in the WWF locker room. It's safe to say that he had some "recruitment problems" during his first two reigns as Intercontinental Champion. The fact is that many wrestlers and several officials weren't too happy about Shawn's push in the singles division at the time.

At the same time there were two underestimated and dissatisfied midcarders at World Championship Wrestling, who were criminally wrongly used by the sometimes bumbling WCW booking under the names Diamond Studd (Scott Hall) and Oz or Vinnie Vegas (Kevin Nash). Many insiders of the day couldn't wait for Vince McMahon's WWF to get hold of these potential stars. Studd and Vegas already developed a close friendship during the WCW times - which should be emphasized as the first harbinger of the formation of the clique - and were used here for the first time together in some (jobber) tag team matches in November 1991.

Be that as it may, the WCW was struggling to recognize the talent and potential of its wrestlers at the time, which is why Diamond Studd was let go and McMahon was given the opportunity to quickly sign this man and turn him into "Razor Ramon" do. So while Razor was finally climbing the corporate ladder in the north, Vinnie Vegas - just like Studd before - was put on an unsuccessful team with Diamond Dallas Page. But here, too, the WCW ultimately failed to recognize the potential of the Vegas actor and ultimately let him switch to the Federation. Kevin Nash later said in an interview that Shawn Michaels had seen the Vinnie Vegas gimmick on TV at the time and thought it was so good that he told Rick Steiner - then a WWF star and friend of Kevin - about it and asked him to Talk to Nash about a possible move.

Kevin immediately broke away from his previous employer, was contracted by the WWF as planned and turned into a dangerous-looking character named "Diesel". In order to make Michaels look stronger and at the same time give Nash the necessary time to improve his ring work, the Federation followed HBK's request and provided him with the newcomer as a bodyguard. Shawn made a far better impression as a heel champion with this scary guy in his corner. The close collaboration that began between Michaels and Diesel welded the two together. So a friendship developed here over time. As Nash - as I said - was friends with Razor from their WCW days together, Hall / Razor and Shawn eventually became buddies too. Allegedly these three guys were inseparable backstage.

Shawn was the reigning Intercontinental Champion at the end of 1993, but at the same time he had some contractual disputes with the WWF. Because of these problems, HBK did not appear at a taping, which is why the WWF decided to revoke the title from Shawn Michaels and to immediately fight it again when the taping concerned. Who won the title? Of course Razor Ramon, whose star power and popularity with the fans had already reached unimaginable proportions at this point in time. After a few months of contract negotiations, the WWF and the "Heartbreak Kid" finally agreed on a new deal, which some people behind the scenes thought was only a temporary agreement.

Michaels reappeared on the WWF shows, claiming he was still reigning Intercontinental Champion because Razor hadn't defeated him, and started a memorable storyline. We are, of course, talking about the feud, which culminated in a historic clash between Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania X in 1994 - the most famous ladder match of all time. The performance offered by the two silenced many critics within the WWF and secured Razor and HBK a place among the top stars of the company ... a place that Shawn has even to this day. At the same time, it earned both men the unreserved trust of Vince McMahon, which ultimately contributed a lot to the clique's strong position in so-called "backstage politics".

If things had gone a little differently back then, the clique would probably have broken up at this point. Because of the aforementioned contract problems between Shawn and WWF, rumors spread that Michaels would switch to WCW after his defeat at WrestleMania X. But it was not to come to that, possibly because his two friends Hall and Nash had told him about the horror stories they had experienced there in previous years. His new contract apparently allowed him, among other things, more free time, which was one of several points of contention. Shawn Michaels therefore stayed in the WWF and initially hosted the interview segment "Heartbreak Hotel", which years later was to find many imitators, such as Chris Jericho's "Highlight Reel" or "Carlito's Cabana".

However, thanks to WrestleMania X, the World Wrestling Federation was absolutely convinced that Michaels, Razor and Diesel were the company's "future". With this knowledge, the clique naturally gained increasing influence backstage. Their appearance as a group was seen by their colleagues as very snooty and stars like Bret Hart were increasingly bothered by their antics.

But there were still only THREE people ... so what could they do? But what if more join them? In mid-1993, the independent sensation The Lightning Kid - real name Sean Waltman - appeared in the WWF and initially managed to get by as a jobber under constantly changing names, until the Federation decided to give the young man a surprise victory over Razor after several weeks To give Ramon. This success gave the kid a new permanent name - "The 1-2-3 Kid" - and a long program with Razor, in the course of which a friendship developed between these two stars. Diesel and Shawn Michaels also seemed to get on well with the Kid, and over time the trio became a quartet.

At that time, these four stars were present in the WWF shows like no other and found themselves constantly in the best angles and storylines. This should quickly affect the quartet's egos. While they - as mentioned at the beginning - showed each other excellent and action-packed matches, in fights against other wrestlers they only reeled off a standard program without really bringing their opponents over. Of course, this stirred up displeasure among her colleagues and let the backstage morale sink into unimagined depths.

We now jump into the fall of 1994 and turn to Vince McMahon's extremely unfortunate decision to make Diesel World within a few seconds with a squash against Bob Backlund - who had only won the title the day before in a 35-minute match by Bret Hart Make Heavyweight Champion. As a reminder, Backlund and Hart were in the middle of a long and intense feud that was well received by the fans. But the influence of the clique led Vince to crown Diesel champion at Backlund's expense. This was not only the first time he had given the clique the world title, but also more power than it already had. Who was the # 1 contender to Diesel's title at WrestleMania XI in April 1995? Oh, of course ... it was Shawn Michaels!

Around this time the WWF began to reorganize its roster and develop some new gimmicks. In the course of this, the previous WCW undercarder Jean-Paul Levesque, the former WWF jobber Louie Spicolli and a couple who had already caused a sensation at Jim Cornette's SMW promotion - Tammy Lynn Sytch and Chris Candido - were signed. Levesque had long played an aristocrat of French descent at World Championship Wrestling and when he left he was on the verge of founding the tag team "The Blue Bloods" with his British colleague Lord Steven Regal. The WCW failed to comply with Levesque's repeated request for a push as a single wrestler, making the same mistake it had made earlier at Vinnie Vegas and Diamond Studd. Levesque was transferred to WWF, where the French became an American snob named "Hunter Hearst Helmsley" (aka Triple H). Louie Spicolli had drawn attention to himself since his first stay at the WWF in the Mexican AAA, where he - under the name "Madonna's Boyfriend" - together with Eddie Guerrero, Konnan, "Love Machine" Art Barr and a few others the legendary heel stable Los Gringos Locos had formed. He returned to the World Wrestling Federation in early 1995 as a grunge music fan "Rad Radford", while Tammy Lynn Sytch and Chris Candido got a gimmick as fitness fanatic "The Body Donnas" and henceforth under the names "Skip" and "Sunny "occurred.

Shortly before that, the Federation had already come up with a new gimmick for another of its longstanding jobbers: Peter Polaco, previously active under the name "PJ Walker". He was given a mask, the Portuguese roots of his parents were brought to the fore and from then on he was called "Aldo Montoya". Although they were at best in the lower midcard at the time, Levesque, Radford and Montoya became friends with the clique - independently of one another - over the course of the year, with Razor Ramon as a mentor in the case of the latter two. Still, these three men took no advantage of being friends with the clique. Montoya and Radford quickly disappeared into the undercard, while Triple H managed to impress the WWF officials with his charisma and wrestling skills on his own. So here the clique didn't have a hand in it. But Triple H should suffer a serious setback due to a clique incident in the spring of 1996 ... but more on that later ...

A very special topic should now be the connection between the clique and Sunny. As far as this is concerned, Sunny and Skip - a couple not only professionally but also privately - should soon be faced with an ordeal, which the latter apparently suppressed until the end of his life. Sunny wasn't exactly the innocence of the country and at the end of 1995 she got involved in an affair with Shawn Michaels, about which only the members of the clique and Vince McMahon (!) Knew for the time being. But not only that: Years later, Sunny explained in a shoot interview that Vince had even given her and Shawn his own locker room so that they could cheat on Skip!

Sunny was friends with all the members of the clique - even if not as "close" as in the case of Shawn - and was always to be found with the group, which earned her the nickname "Clique Chick" backstage.

The affair between the two lasted for about nine months when Michaels tried to convince Sunny to break up with Candido / Skip and officially move in with him (Shawn) while on vacation together. Sunny went this step too far and informed HBK that she would rather try again with Skip. This rejection came as a complete surprise and of course gnawed a lot on the ego of the "Heartbreak Kid" and so two weeks later he finally ended his relationship with Sytch / Sunny. From that moment on, Skip and Sunny were at the bottom of the popularity list of Shawn, Razor & Co. and literally became fair game for various jokes by the gang ... but more on that later ...
While in their early days the clique was simply a group of friends who traveled together and "hung out" together, this changed in the course of 1994. From then on, they were - as already mentioned - said more and more often that they would Use their backstage power not only to gain extensive control over their own storylines, but also to influence the storylines of other WWF stars. Between 1994 and 1996 the group had almost exclusive control of the WWF Heavyweight and Intercontinental Title. Of course, the dislike of the other wrestlers towards the group - partly justified, partly unfounded - grew in proportion to the power of the gang.

In the summer of 1995, former ECW World Heavyweight Champion Shane Douglas moved to WWF and made his debut here under the name "Dean Douglas" with an arrogant teacher gimmick - a gimmick that Vince came up with again eleven years later and presented it to WWE newcomer Matt Striker should tailor the body. Shawn Michaels did a face-turn immediately after WrestleMania XI and took back the Intercontinental Title a few months later. The Federation had now planned for the In Your House PPV in October to push Douglas with a clear win over Shawn and the associated title change. However, Michaels was not a great friend of the newcomer and therefore did not think much of this idea.

As a result, Shawn forced WWF to blow up a private brawl - which he had caused himself in Syracuse, New York - for the storyline. He used the incident as an excuse to surrender his title to Douglas without a fight and thus avoided a pin defeat. But it was to get worse. Because the influence of HBK & Co. had the consequence that Douglas had to lose the IC title he had just received on the same evening to another member of the clique: Razor Ramon. The disappointment with this matter and a few other backstage incidents ultimately ensured that Douglas asked the WWF to be released from his contract at the end of 1995. The Federation agreed to this request immediately, so as not to run the risk of annoying the clique.

The gang saw themselves as "Vince's Top Dogs" and in fact the WWF boss built the company around the group back then. Confirmed in their behavior in this way, the boys continued with their actions and tried - in the allegedly "best interest for the company" - to exert further influence on what was going on in the WWF. Another good example is the story of a match between Diesel and Jean-Pierre Lafitte at a house show in Montreal. The gimmick pirate refused to work for Diesel here - even though he was reigning WWF champion - because you were here in his home country. As a result, the gang called Vince McMahon at 2 a.m. (!) And insisted on firing Pierre immediately. A few days later Lafitte disappeared from the Federation.

Since the beginning of the clique monopoly on the most important WWF titles, the audience ratings had constantly gone downhill, which initially none of the participants wanted to admit. But in the run-up to the Survivor Series in 1995, Vince had finally realized - after almost a year - what a failure Diesel was in the role of Babyface World Champion, and passed the title on to Bret Hart.But who was chosen to dethrone Bret a few months later? Of course none other than the "show stopper" Shawn Michaels! Well in all fairness, HBK is, realistically speaking, without a doubt one of the best performers of all time! So he definitely deserved the title. But Bret Hart was understandably less than enthusiastic about this decision.

It was at some point during this period that Hunter Hearst Helmsley joined the core of the group, turning the quartet into a quintet. At the same time the name "The Kliq" came up at the turn of the year 95/96, when HBK was about to become World Champion for the first time. At that time he began to refer to the fans as his "Kliq" and to come into the hall with a camcorder - his "Kliq Kam". It has long been assumed that he did this in order to give the so-called insiders ("smart marks") a swipe, who knew of the existence of the "real" - but differently spelled - clique. Years later, he wrote in his book "Heartbreak And Triumph" that it was actually an idea of ​​the then headwriter of the WWF, Vince Russo. From then on, the two terms "Kliq" and "Clique" existed side by side, but at the beginning of the "Attitude" era (late 1997 / early 1998) they should merge and only stand for the backstage grouping. (Note: To avoid confusion, however, we will keep the original spelling "Clique" in this documentation until the end.)

However, in the spring of 1996, the mighty dollar should induce two members of the clique to switch to the competition and thus - technically speaking - to break the clique. At that time, World Championship Wrestling was busy stocking up on new stars around the world and paying a lot for it. At the same time, Scott "Razor Ramon" Hall decided to start extremely lucrative contract negotiations with the Turner Company. Razor's drug problems at the time seemed to get more and more out of hand, while his "little pranks" - such as relieving himself of Skip and Sunny's food on a European tour - had made the WWF more than angry at their multiple Intercontinental Champion. A little later, the "Diesel" actor Kevin Nash decided to commit to the WCW and thus secure himself financially for the rest of his life.

Meanwhile, Shawn Michaels defeated WWF World Heavyweight Champion Bret Hart in a Sixty Minute Iron Man match at WrestleMania XII and almost caused his permanent departure from the Federation. Less than two months later - on May 19, 1996 - THE clique incident par excellence took place, which was to change the WWF of GRUNDAUF ...

On that day, Razor Ramon and Diesel played their last matches for the WWF at an important house show in New York's Madison Square Garden before they moved to Atlanta. Razor was supposed to meet Heel Triple H as Babyface, while rule-breaking Diesel was supposed to take on face champion Shawn Michaels in a steel cage. Both men would work cleanly for their remaining friends and quietly leave the Federation, the officials thought. But it turned out differently than the management had imagined ...

The two "clique matches" were the last on the program for this event. In the penultimate match of the evening, Razor initially lost to his buddy Helmsley as planned and stayed in the ring for several minutes after the final pedigree to sell the action well. When Ramon got up again and was greeted by the audience with "You Sold Out!" Chants, the emigrant clearly indicated with a wave of his hand that his decision to switch to WCW had financial reasons. Then he grabbed a microphone and alluded to his original WWF debut when he said something sentimental to the fans, "Say goodbye to the bad guy."

The hard-fought Steel Cage Match in the main event also went as planned and ended after 20 minutes with a celebrating Shawn Michaels. While Diesel was now selling Sweet Chin Music, Razor Ramon came back into the hall, got into the cage and hugged HBK, which in itself was nothing special, since the two were on the same page in the storylines. But then Shawn helped his actual opponent, Diesel, back on his feet and, to the surprise of the shocked fans, hugged the also joining Triple H! To the unbelievable cheering of the audience, Hunter, Shawn, Razor and Diesel fell around their necks and then spread out over the corners of the cage to be celebrated by the fans. (Note: The 1-2-3 kid could not take part in the event because he was out of the hall that evening due to an injury.) When Ramon, Diesel and Hunter left Michaels alone in the ring after several minutes, Michael grabbed each other a microphone and declared literally, "The Clique loves each and every one of you!".

This incident should go down in history as a "Curtain Call" or "Madison Square Garden (MSG) Incident" and at that time it meant an unimaginable break by Kayfabe - the practice of never revealing anything to the public that contradicts the storylines. In those days, WWF management still adhered to the traditional distribution of roles and the illusion of antipathy between audience favorites ("faces") and rule-breakers ("heels"). That means, according to the storyline, Razor, Shawn, Diesel and Triple H weren't allowed to have anything to do with each other.

Michaels later wrote in his book that Vince McMahon was privy to the planned farewell to the clique members in advance and originally had nothing against it. However, the WWF boss did not expect that the four men would take it that far or that a fan present in the audience could have a camcorder with them and record the whole incident on tape. (Note: The tape was later acquired by WWF and aired on the October 6, 1997 RAW episode as part of an alleged shoot by Michaels and Triple H against Vince McMahon). According to a statement by Kevin Kelly on the October 20, 1997 edition of RAW, the incident at Madison Square Garden immediately caused an uproar in the entire WWF locker room. Allegedly several wrestlers (including the British Bulldog) had to be prevented from attacking the clique members.

The day after the incident, there was a meeting between Vince McMahon and the four actors to clarify the situation. The matter had caused a lot of dust behind the scenes of the Federation - not only among the wrestlers, but also in the office. McMahon had to act, but who could he punish for breaking tradition? Razor and Diesel? Of course not, because the two switched to WCW as planned, where they - under their real names - initially pretended an invasion by the WWF for the fans and thus ultimately started the New World Order. Shawn Michaels? No chance! HBK played too important a role as the reigning World Heavyweight Champion to punish him. Especially now more than ever, when Bret Hart had recently started a long break. With that three of the four men were safe from punishment by the Federation. So there was only one person left for WWF to make an example of: Hunter Hearst Helmsley.

At this point it has to be mentioned that at the time of the "MSG Incident" Triple H was supposed to win the King Of The Ring 1996, which was supposed to take place a few weeks later. Furthermore, a long reign as Intercontinental Champion had already been planned for him in order to push Helmsley into a strong main eventer and monster heel in the long term! But no, this incident called for consequences ... and Triple H was the only one to be punished. Hunter later said that Vince had brought the facts to him in his office at the time and then gave him the choice of accepting the punishment and getting the prospect of a new push later, or being released from his contract immediately to be able to return to the WCW together with Hall and Nash.

Hunter preferred to continue to seek his fortune in the Federation and accepted his punishment without objection. So the WWF removed Triple H from all summer PPV cards and put the push that had already been initiated on hold. He worked regularly for five months for men like Goldust, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Sycho Sid and "Wildman" Marc Mero. It was not until October 1996 that Helmsley was able to leave the "doghouse" of the WWF behind by allying with Mr. Perfect and with whose help he was able to win the Intercontinental Title from Mero.

As it turned out later, the punishment of Hunter would have a tremendous impact on the future of the World Wrestling Federation and the course of the Monday Night War. Since Triple H was not allowed to win the KOTR tournament as planned, the WWF was forced to change the relevant booking and selected Stone Cold Steve Austin as the replacement winner. This unforeseen turnaround paved the way for the famous "Austin 3:16" promo, which would ultimately be one of the most important turning points in the fight against the WCW. How would the Monday evening war have gone if Stone Cold hadn't won the King Of The Ring? Who knows? This question will always give rise to speculation ...
As I said, at the time of the "MSG Incident", the 1-2-3 Kid was just - again - taking a break from the activity, which resulted from his very high susceptibility to injury at the time. On top of that, he also had a problem with "certain substances". It was rumored that the kid was released from his contract for refusing to go to rehab for abusing these funds. The WWF was therefore of the opinion - as in the case of Razor Ramon - that the kid was no longer worth the effort and salary due to his lack of will to improve. Another reason for his departure was probably the fact that the kid backstage was increasingly showing a bad attitude, which later became known from his time in the WCW. So the WWF let Mr. Waltman go and Eric Bischoff immediately signed him - as a token of his "good will" towards Scott Hall and Kevin Nash.

Waltman made his debut in the WCW under the name "Syxx" and formed an inseparable trio with Hall and Nash from day one. They always appeared together and saw themselves as the heart of the New World Order. It was Scott Hall's idea to consider this unofficial group IN the group as a tribute to the legendary trio of Fabulous Freebirds. This clique version of the Freebirds referred to itself from then on as "Wölfpac" and derived its name from the hand gesture of the nWo - known as the "wolf's head". This gesture - like the so-called "crotch chops" - was originally used in the WWF by members of the clique to demonstrate their solidarity.

After the clique members had split up between the two largest wrestling promotions in the world, the group slowly disappeared from the headlines. For over a year, hardly anything was heard about the boys as a community. While the Wölfpac held a similarly influential position behind the scenes of the WCW right from the start, as the clique had previously held in the Federation, Triple H first had to work his way up through performances in the locker room hierarchy of the WWF. For his buddy Shawn Michaels, however, nothing changed at all after the group split. He was still acting like a prima donna backstage and didn't seem to want to change anything. This soon became apparent when Shawn announced in early 1997 to WWF that he would never again work for his long-time rival Bret Hart and in the course of this faked a knee injury in order not to have to contest the main event of WrestleMania 13 against Bret planned by Vince McMahon . (Note: Shawn should work here and hand over his world title to the Hitman, just like Bret had done for Michaels a year earlier.)

HBK therefore gave back his belt voluntarily on February 13, 1997 at "Thursday RAW Thursday" and justified this in nicely packaged words ("I've lost my smile."). This officially meant that Michaels could not continue due to his many injuries. A break of several months is urgently needed. Shawn disappeared from the scene for a few weeks, but after his comeback he was to play at the top of the WWF again when he repeatedly appeared in the top storylines of Bret, Steve Austin, Sid and the Undertaker.

These appearances mostly had a negative effect on Hart, and Shawn would also tease the Hitman almost every week in his RAW interviews. Some of his statements and Bret Hart's answers drifted off into real shoots, which ultimately led to tangible consequences on the day after the King Of The Ring in 1997.

On that eventful June 9th, 1997, an unexpected incident occurred just before RAW. Michaels was mad at the Hitman for breaking their unofficial "truce". (Note: Bret and Shawn had meanwhile agreed not to shoot each other in front of the camera in the future.) Bret had broken the agreement when he said on a previous RAW issue that Michaels was jealous of his salary. Michaels reciprocated in his own way by speaking on a promo that the hitman had been enjoying "a lot of Sunny Days" in the past few days, alluding to an alleged affair between Bret and Sunny.

Hart confronted Shawn in the locker room on June 9th and demanded that his private life be left out of the game. Michaels continued to provoke, however, until Bret's collar burst and was violent. A wild brawl ensued in which Shawn lost a tuft of hair, among other things. It took several wrestlers and officials to separate the two brawlers. After the incident, both wrestlers left the hall immediately, which meant that the entire broadcast had to be rebooked.

The show itself was largely dominated by Hunter Hearst Helmsley, who the day before - one year late - won the King Of The Ring tournament. Hunter appeared on RAW with his bodyguard Chyna - who had been with him since February 1997 - and gave Vince McMahon a memorable live interview. When Vince asked Triple H about the coronation ceremony at which Hunter brutally attacked his final opponent, Mankind, Helmsley responded with one of the first "worked shoots" of the looming "Attitude" era. Hunter openly stated that he should have won the tournament the year before, but that would have been taken from him by Vince and his "politics". Against Mankind, he had now let out all his frustration and from now on he could no longer be stopped. The "MSG Incident" was not yet openly named, but the promo should prove to be indicative for future events.

A week later, Shawn Michaels - still under the impression of the backstage fight with Bret Hart - met with Vince McMahon and asked to terminate his contract in order to follow his friends Nash, Hall and Waltman into the then more popular WCW. Vince declined the request firmly and insisted on Michaels' contract with the WWF. However, a few weeks passed before the heated minds cooled down again and the parties had agreed on a reasonable level of work.

Shawn Michaels and Triple H had been begging the WWF office since the end of 1996 to pack them up in the storylines. But Shawn was babyface at the time, while Triple H was still on the road as an arrogant, rule-breaking heel ... and the WWF initially saw no good reason to change this. But in the summer of 1997 the time had finally come ... Vince McMahon had started to realign the WWF in order to appeal to a more adult audience than before. So Shawn Michaels was given a polarizing character and immediately turned him into a heel!

This cleared the way and the WWF finally complied with Hunter and Shawn's request. So the two of them were put together in a team, Chyna and Shawn's new bodyguard "Ravishing" Rick Rude were put by their side and they soon shared a name ... "The Kliq". Hunter and Shawn had reactivated the "Kliq / Clique" in September 1997 during a "Worked Shoot" interview with Vince McMahon and used it as the unofficial name for their stable in the following weeks. The meaning of the two spellings was mixed for the first time, so that "Kliq" no longer stood for Shawn's fans, but both versions were used for the former backstage grouping. Indeed, it can be said that this new stable was a kind of "mini-clique", given the fact that HBK and Triple H once again had a huge impact on their storylines. The name "The Kliq" was shelved a few weeks later when Shawn officially named the stable "D-Generation X" on October 13, 1997 during a confrontation with the Hart Foundation.

"Mini-Clique" on the other hand was also the right synonym for the nWo Wölfpac ... Besides Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Syxx and Kevin Nash were undoubtedly the strongest power in the WCW universe of those days! The wolf pac annoyed many wrestlers in the backstage area of ​​the WCW, especially in the tag team division. The best example of this are the Nasty Boys.Scott Hall missed Jerry Saggs in the course of a match an unsolicited chair blow, which is why the Nastys immediately refused to work with the Outsiders as planned. Instead, they gave Hall a good beating with stiff actions. It has long been assumed that the Nasty Boys were hastily removed from the active roster thanks to the power of the "WCW clique". However, Hall stated years later that the incident was simply a misunderstanding between him and Saggs. Be that as it may, the Nasty Boys should never get one foot on the ground again after this event in the WCW. Meanwhile, Syxx's ego problems got so out of hand that Eric Bischoff - who never liked Waltman personally anyway - finally got too colorful and he took action. The push of Sean Waltmans was stopped on the spot and as a direct consequence he had to lose his cruiserweight title to Chris Jericho. A little later, Syxx was seriously injured in the neck during an argument with Larry Zbyszko, which we will discuss in more detail later.

As part of the feud between the D-Generation X and the newly founded Hart Foundation, references and allusions to the roots of DX in the legendary clique were made in the run-up to the Survivor Series in the WWF shows. To fool the so-called "Smart Fans" - or "Smarks" for short - the WWF spread rumors that Shawn Michaels and Triple H would do anything to get fired from the WWF and follow their pals into the WCW can. This storyline really started on October 6th, 1997 - the day after WWF Badd Blood - when the DX brought in the fan video of the MSG incident on RAW, making this incident the subject of a live WWF show for the first time. ..

What in this situation gave many Internet fans the impression of an open "shoot" by Shawn and Hunter was in reality a clever deception on the part of the WWF. Everything Michaels and Helmsley said and did was planned and authorized by Vince McMahon to advance their storyline. Furthermore, problems with playing the tape and a "sudden" cut to the advertisement were simulated. It all had to look real to fool the "Smarks" and get them to keep watching the WWF shows.

But this event was far from all that the WWF had to offer that evening. On the same show, Jim Cornette made one of his then notorious (real) shoot promos. This time he attacked the nWo, where especially Hall, Nash, Waltman, but also Eric Bischoff got their fat. There was also a verbal argument in the hall between HBK and Bret Hart, in which "Diesel", "Razor" and the "Clique" were mentioned several times.

Two weeks later, Kevin Kelly's WWF inform officially confirmed the existence of the real "clique" and the "MSG Incident" for the first time, ultimately hyping the tragic-historical title match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels in the 1997 Survivor Series main event. With that we want to turn briefly to the infamous "Montreal Screwjob". As is well known, this is an extremely controversial topic to this day, which is why we limit ourselves to the "clique-relevant" part of the matter: Hart was meanwhile as good as on the way to the competition in Atlanta, but vehemently refused his meanwhile won world title losing to HBK in his Canadian homeland. After lengthy discussions with Vince McMahon, Bret believed he had found a compromise with his long-term employer ... and should ultimately have been seriously mistaken ...

Combined with his fear that the hitman might take his belt with him to WCW Monday NITRO, from McMahon's point of view, a fraud on Bret Hart was inevitably carried out with only a few people in the know. Shawn Michaels denied his complicity in this plot for years. It was not until May 25, 2002, that he openly admitted on the WWE Confidential show that he was actually privy to McMahon's plan, Bret Hart in the Survivor Series, on November 9, 1997, in order to cheat his title.

After the PPV, D-Generation X started making fun of Bret and his family week after week. Just one day after the Survivor Series, Shawn boasted on RAW that he had forced the Hitman to give up with the Sharpshooter and thus hunted "the other dinosaurs in the south". And the guys "down there" who weren't dinosaurs (the Wölfpac) were his (Shawn's) friends and would soon kick Bret in the butt too. These weekly humiliations were not to end until Owen Hart - after a failed attempt to follow the other members of the disbanded Hart Foundation into the WCW - reappeared on WWF broadcasts and took on the DX alone.

Nonetheless, D-Generation X was an incredible success for WWF. The Survivor Series controversy only added fuel to their fire and the stable became a ratings hit. When the group then collided with the federation's hottest superstar - inform by Stone Cold Steve Austin - and they had a great feud on hand, the WWF put a long-standing injury break through the bill. Shawn Michaels had been advised by his doctors in advance of WrestleMania XIV, to have his long-ailing neck and several intervertebral discs properly repaired as soon as possible. A difficult back operation had become inevitable, which supposedly at the same time meant the final end of Shawn's active career.

It would have been interesting how an uninjured and active ex-champion Shawn Michaels would have affected the reign of Steve Austin and the further career of his friend Triple H. Only HBK's failure cleared the way for Hunter to head for the main event and would Vince McMahon have never actively led a feud against Stone Cold if Shawn had still been available as top heel? Who knows?

Meanwhile, the nWo Wölfpac had to fight a serious setback in the WCW: World Championship Wrestling FIRE the injured Sean "Syxx" Waltman! Why? The backstage influence of Kevin Nash and Scott Hall had become too much for Eric Bischoff over time, and so the WCW boss decided to put a damper on the Outsiders. However, since Hall and Nash were contractually invulnerable, Bischoff chose the detour via Waltman to achieve his goal. The WCW had a 90-day inactivity clause in ALL contracts - except that of Hulk Hogan - and this was now being used. So while Syxx was curing his neck injury, he was completely unexpectedly discharged via FedEx. (Note: Eric had originally planned to sign Syxx again a little later, but he had been hired by the WWF again immediately after he was kicked out at the end of March 1998.)

Nash and Hall were so angry about this show of force by Bischoff that they even wanted to leave the WCW for the World Wrestling Federation. But the contracts of the two were watertight and thus binding for the entire term until December 2001. On top of that, Scott Hall was removed from the TV shows for the time being, which of course also depressed the Outsiders. This behavior of the WCW was then the famous stumbling block for the two of them not to care about the future of this doctorate in the future. The bad mood of Hall and Nash in the backstage area should soon also have a negative effect on the already badly damaged WCW product.

Meanwhile, the WWF immediately seized the opportunity and signed Sean Waltman again on March 30, 1998 - the day after WrestleMania XIV. Initially without a new name, but dressed in a DX outfit, the former 1-2-3 kid appeared to the great cheers of the fans at RAW and delivered one of the most famous "shoot" promos in wrestling history. In his very pictorial statement, Sean left Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan uncomfortable and concluded that Kevin Nash and Scott Hall would have come with him immediately if they weren't bound by their contracts to WCW.

Sean Waltman became "X-Pac" and after he had merged with Hunter, Chyna and the New Age Outlaws to form the new D-Generation X, they set out to tackle Sean's former employer. In April 1998, DX shocked the wrestling world when they - armed with uniforms, toy cannons and a military vehicle - drove to the NITRO event during a RAW broadcast, which took place at the Norfolk Scope just a few miles away. There they stood in front of closed doors, however, so when they approached the roller shutter was simply lowered, on which X-Pac and the Road Dogg knocked to get rid of a greeting in the direction of Eric Bischoff. In front of the hall they declared "war" on World Championship Wrestling and also got the WCW fans to say "WCW sucks!" to call. Armed with a megaphone, they positioned themselves at the entrance to the hall, where X-Pac initially announced, "We just wanted to say 'what's up' to our boys, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall!" Triple H then loudly urged WCW to release his people (Hall & Nash).

This "invasion" followed throughout the summer by other segments with which one wanted to provoke the WCW. For example, you visited the CNN Center in Atlanta or flew in a plane over an arena where WCW NITRO was currently taking place and wrote anti-WCW slogans in the sky. But the members of the D-Generation X also repeatedly made allusions to their friends within the WCW in their segments or before their matches.

With its historic comeback and promo, X-Pac had become living proof that the clique had never really ceased to exist. Although its members witnessed and helped shape the Monday Night War in leading positions in two competing promotions, the ties of their friendship were never broken. At the same time, the clique had maneuvered itself through its fragmentation ... or rather ... their EXPANSION into a very advantageous situation, as you can see from the example of Sean Waltmans: Whenever one of them was fired by his employer, he would at any time Get a job with the competition without any problems and on the spot.
Triple H's character began to evolve rapidly since he took power in DX and over the years has grown to be what he is today. X-Pac ... well, he was just as arrogant and controversial as ever. Triple H became one of the most important men of the WWF both backstage and in front of the camera and has remained so to this day - not least because of his later marriage to Stephanie McMahon ... which should by no means mean that he is had not earned his position through achievements.

Meanwhile there were decisive changes for the members of the clique in WCW-Land. Kevin Nash was named WCW's headbooker in late 1998 and literally let the company go down the drain by exclusively pushing himself and his buddies and taking care of the rest. Without a doubt, his work at the time made him one of the main suspects when it comes to finding those who are responsible for the deep fall of World Championship Wrestling. Of course, WCW was in a questionable state even before Kevin's promotion, but the league could undoubtedly have been saved in 1999 with the right management.

Nash is criticized by many fans for his time as a WCW booker, because he displayed the same self-loving and selfish behavior that is associated with the clique ... albeit on a much higher level. Kevin had booked himself as the winner of the title match against the then completely undefeated WCW World Heavyweight Champion Goldberg and subsequently made the title worthless through the "Fingerpoke Of Doom" campaign, are just some of the most famous allegations against him.

It's now an open secret that Chris Jericho was one of the people who suffered the most from Nash's booking. Kevin knew Jericho had what it takes to be a star. Chris was over the top with the fans like no other. But Nash had the power to make Jericho look bad so that it wouldn't endanger his own position in the main event. And he decided to use that power too. He buried Jericho in the WCW mid and undercard and ultimately let the Canadian's contract expire without seriously trying to keep him in the company. Nash was also incidentally involved in the sabotage of Bret Hart's WCW career, indirectly implicating the clique a second time in a hitman scam.

But back to Chris Jericho. It hit like a bomb when he made his eagerly awaited WWF debut in the summer of 1999 and was allowed to mess with The Rock - next to Steve Austin, the undisputed most important top star of the company. But what happened? The "curse" of the clique struck again! Rumor has it that Kevin Nash instigated his pal Triple H to make it as difficult as possible for Chris Jericho in the Federation. Otherwise it would have made Nash look bad if Jericho had become the ultimate WWF superstar at such a rate. These rumors also state that Triple H influenced Vince McMahon for the reasons mentioned and convinced him to put some stumbling blocks in Jericho's way first. Whether this is a legend or not ... The fact is that just a few weeks after he made THE MOST IMPORTANT DEBUT IN THE HISTORY OF THE MONDAY NIGHT WAR, Jericho was DOWNGRADED for no good reason and from then on he was with him for the first time Had to deal with people like Ken Shamrock or the Road Dogg!

It is interesting that in April 2000 a Main Event feud between Y2J and Triple H finally came about, with Hunter even losing his beloved WWF World Heavyweight Title to the challenger ... That sounds pretty good in theory, doesn't it true? But ... well, on closer inspection, this "feud" only lasted a good two weeks. Oh yes, and the title change was of course declared invalid in the same broadcast under flimsy declarations! Jericho could only dream of the main event, which after his interlude with Triple H was followed by a midcard feud against X-Pac. Could any of this have anything to do with the clique's connections and influence ??? Well, the suspicion is more than obvious.

Let's take a look at the fate of the clique followers, Aldo Montoya and Rad Radford. As I said, it was not an advantage for these two men to be friends with the gang. Radford had only one real storyline in his WWF career - an Angle with the Body Donnas - when he was found unconscious by a neighbor in early 1996. The reasons for this turned out to be an overdose of various medications and a subsequent epileptic seizure. The WWF - still under the influence of the steroid trials of 1994 - then dismissed Radford on the condition that he would not switch (directly) to the competing WCW.

So after his rehab, Radford tried his hand at Extreme Championship Wrestling from July 1996 - again under the name Louie Spicolli. After a few months he did gymnastics in heels, took his side as such and after his departure continued to feud alone against Tommy Dreamer. In the role of the rule breaker, Spicolli immediately brought his connection to the clique to the fore through various allusions and gestures and called himself "The Real Innovator". This should be a reference to Dreamer, who is known to this day by the nickname "The Innovator Of Violence". The feud against the ECW veteran was very intense and aimed at ultimately pushing Spicolli to the main eventer level. But things turned out differently...

In the late summer of 1997, the ECW unexpectedly split from Spicolli, immediately after owner Paul Heyman found out that Louie had secretly entered into contract negotiations with the WCW and WWF. At the same time, Heyman Spicollis found continual drug abuse to be a disgrace for his doctorate.

So Spicolli signed with the WCW in November 1997 and started there - as before in the ECW - as Babyface. In January 1998 Spicolli became a rule breaker again and from then on played the lackey of his old clique mentor Scott Hall in the shows. The storyline should ultimately lead to Spicolli's inclusion in the "Wölfpac" - and thus in the New World Order. Tragically, however, it never became official, as Louie Spicolli died on February 15, 1998 of an overdose of Painkiller mixed with alcohol.

That brings us to Aldo Montoya ... The once so dazzling "Portugese Man-O-War" was allowed to play a smaller program with Jeff Jarrett for his Intercontinental Title in the course of his WWF run and was also caught up in the feud between Jerry Lawler and Jake Roberts incorporated, but ultimately this had no real impact on his further career. Montoya sank deeper and deeper into the undercard, because you simply had no more ideas for him. And so in the spring of 1997 the WWF agreed with him to terminate his contract by mutual agreement. So Aldo considered himself a free agent and called his friend Scott Hall to talk to him about a possible move to WCW.Unfortunately, at the time of this phone call, his contract with the Federation had not yet expired and so the WWF changed its mind without further ado. It was said that too much money had already been invested in "Aldo Montoya" to just give it up and let its actor, Peter Polaco, move to the WCW / nWo. So instead he was sent to USWA in Memphis to do a gimmick change.

In the few months of his stay at the USWA, Polaco not only changed his name again and again, but also his appearance, until he finally developed his own "harder" look - including the bald head that was already shaved towards the end of his WWF career. According to Polaco, this appearance was originally planned by the WWF as an allusion to the then extremely popular WCW star Konnan. In the end, however, the Federation had some understanding, gave up this undertaking and agreed to release Polaco from his contract. The only condition for this was - as with Louie Spicolli before - his commitment not to switch to WCW. Polaco accepted this and showed up a little later at Extreme Championship Wrestling, where he got a gimmick called "Justin Credible" from Paul Heyman and brought many things into this character that his clique friends in DX and where were due.

Justin should slowly but surely work his way up here and finally become ECW World Heavyweight Champion in April 2000 by defeating Tommy Dreamer. Incidentally, through him, the clique also had a representative of their "ideology" in the ECW and thus also a further doctorate, where you would find a job at any time after being fired ...

An interesting aside story about Justin Credible and his friend Scott Hall: During one of his numerous rehab breaks at WCW, Hall tried to visit Credible backstage at an ECW event in Florida. However, a man got in their way who still had very vivid and bad memories of Hall and the rest of the gang! It was Shane Douglas who forbade Scott Hall to enter the ECW locker room and for Justin to visit there. Allegedly, there should have been a heated confrontation between Hall and Douglas during this incident, which Credible later denied in an interview. Scott thought Shane's lecture was some kind of joke and voluntarily withdrew.
While Shawn Michaels was only seen sporadically as an on-air character in WWF shows after his presumed retirement in March 1998, Triple H rose unstoppably to one of the most important men in the league's main event. On the part of the WCW, Kevin Nash formed the counterpart and became a cornerstone of the league. Scott Hall, however, increasingly took extended breaks from wrestling to devote himself to private problems and was finally released from his current contract early in October 2000 - when the WCW was already shuttling between sales rumors and closure.

Hall was deep down by this point, and his family troubles were becoming more and more apparent to outsiders. But Scott didn't seem to want to give up easily and tried his luck at Extreme Championship Wrestling. Shane Douglas moved to WCW in 1999 and was therefore no longer a problem for Hall at ECW. (Note: Ultimately, Hall should not be permanently committed, but at least three good matches were the result.) His official debut - arranged by his buddy and now ex-ECW World Champion Justin Credible - Scott graduated on November 10, 2000 at a house show in New York, where he and Jerry Lynn were victorious in a tag team match against Rhino and Credible. The next day there was a hardcore TV taping, a dark match against Sal E. Graziano and another against Justin Credible. But just a few days later Hall hit the headlines again and ended up even in prison, where he spent the turn of the year 2000/2001.

Hall's friends had meanwhile announced that he had learned his lesson and that he wanted to improve from now on. After his disaster in the USA, New Japan Pro Wrestling gave Scott Hall the chance to rehabilitate himself, which he also managed as part of Masahiro Chono's Team 2000 stable.

On March 23, 2001, the World Wrestling Federation bought the WCW and thus acquired, among other things, the rights to the names and trademarks of the lost league. All gimmicks and names for shows, wrestlers or stables - including the "New World Order" - were transferred to the WWF. Furthermore, the contracts of various WCW stars were taken over and so there seemed to be an opportunity to reunite Kevin Nash with the free agent Scott Hall and to bring the Outsiders back into the WWF as part of the new WCW roster. However, these plans failed for the time being because of Nash's decision to sit out his lavish AOL / Time Warner contract.

In the meantime, not only the WCW, but also Extreme Championship Wrestling had perished, which meant that the local main eventer Justin Credible celebrated his WWF comeback in January 2001 - including his successful ECW gimmick. Here he immediately joined his friend X-Pac and formed the new heel stable "X-Factor" with him and the giant Albert. The team seemed to be a kind of midcard version of the DX and was originally supposed to be reinforced by some new wrestlers and a returning Shawn Michaels as manager. These promising plans should never become reality, however, because on the one hand HBK had once again not made a particularly good impression on the WWF officials backstage at this time and on the other hand X-Factor was overshadowed by a different storyline, which for various reasons earlier than planned had to take place: the invasion of the Federation by the remnants of the WCW. As a result, X-Factor began to disintegrate when Justin Credible joined Paul Heymans also joining the ECW contingent, which ultimately merged with the WCW to form the "Alliance".

In January 2002, it was surprisingly announced that the WWF had not only agreed on a contract with Kevin Nash, but that the return of Hulk Hogan and Scott Hall was imminent. Immediately rumors surfaced that Vince McMahon was planning to build a new stable around the Outsiders. Vince made plans to revive the clique as a new wrestling gimmick, with Shawn Michaels supposedly coming back and being involved. It must be emphasized once again that at this point in time, for the first time in six years, all members and close friends of the real clique were under WWF contract again.

Another rumor, however, said that the original plan was to reunite the clique only AS PART of the new nWo. In addition to Hall and Nash, X-Pac joined the team shortly after WrestleMania X-8 and became a member of the New World Order again, while Hogan was thrown from the stable. So a certain "preliminary stage" had already been reached by reuniting the original Wölfpac. The Big Show and Booker T joined them. A little later, Shawn Michaels actually celebrated his comeback, took over the leadership of the group together with Kevin Nash and started with him to recruit a new member whose membership in the clique at RAW was again openly addressed: Triple H.

Hunter should actually have been doing gymnastics at Vengeance 2002 at the nWo on July 21st and thus (theoretically) completed the clique - as part of the nWo - again. But it never really came to that, as Scott Hall was fired for drug and alcohol problems shortly before Shawn's return and Nash was out with an injury immediately before Vengeance. This forced Vince McMahon to drop all nWo and clique plans and instead put Triple H in a feud against HBK. So everything had been thrown upside down, as Nash and Hall, two trademarks of the nWo, were out of business for the long term, which is why the stable was finally crushed.

By this time, X-Pac had relapsed into old behavior and was dismissed from the WWE due to differences with the booking team and some private problems. He then made his debut in September 2002 under the name "Syxx-Pac" at Total Nonstop Action Wrestling and briefly feuded there with Scott Hall, "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig and his former DX partner BG James (aka Road Dogg) against Jeff Jarrett, Ron Killings and Brian Lawler. His run ended in November 2002 when he voluntarily left the company and switched to the Indy scene.

Meanwhile, in the former World Wrestling Federation - renamed "WWE" - Kevin Nash returned from his injury break and was integrated into the dogged feud between his friends Shawn Michaels and Triple H. Nash supported Michaels against Hunter's "Evolution" stable and finally played a Hell In A Cell match against Hunter himself at Bad Blood 2003. After Kevin had completed his last WWE match at SummerSlam 2003, his contract with the league was allowed to expire, which left Shawn and Hunter again as the only members of the clique in the WWE.

Meanwhile, Nash and Scott Hall reunited in the independent scene in 2004, but also appeared in Japan and then switched full-time to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling in November of the same year. Here the Outsiders founded together with Jeff Jarrett a short-lived nWo copy, which was called "Kings Of Wrestling" and - informed by Kevin Nash - also referred to the tradition of the clique.

But as I said, this stable was short-lived, as Scott Hall - once again - had personal problems and left the league, while Nash spent the next few years as a singles wrestler and manager of the X-Division stable "Paparazzi Productions" around Alex Shelley spent. At the same time, Sean Waltman and Justin Credible - who was also fired from the WWE in January 2003 - tramped through the Indy scene under various alter-egos, appeared again and again at TNA Wrestling and finally signed a contract to the new one in spring 2006 MTV project "Wrestling Society X". Shawn Michaels and Triple H were firmly anchored in the WWE as ever - not least through Hunter's real life marriage to Stephanie McMahon - and prepared for the DX reunion after WrestleMania 22. Thus, the world for the clique looked again similar to the times of the Monday Night War: Its members were scattered around the world and had spread out over several promotions.
When the founding fathers of D-Generation X, Triple H and Shawn Michaels, actually reunited their revolutionary cult stable in June 2006, it seemed to be a sensation. But two months later a promo poster for the Survivor Series appeared on the Internet, which caused an even bigger stir. On it was a logo of the New World Order (!), Which had been sprayed over by the typical DX lettering and under which the saying "Are you ready?" found. WWE promptly stated that this professional-looking poster was just a fan's creation. But is that really the truth or was something planned in the direction of a new "war" within the clique?

This rumor was fueled when Sean Waltman made a surprise appearance at a WWE house show in Florida in September 2006. The former actor from X-Pac, Syxx, etc. came into the ring and celebrated DX-style together with Triple H and Shawn Michaels their just won victory in a Gauntlet match. This event turned out to be a one-time guest appearance by Waltman, which was never intended for any storyline purposes, but merely represented a public meeting between old friends.

The feud between the D-Generation X and the New World Order, longed for by many fans, did not take place in the end. Such an idea is supposed to have actually come up behind the scenes of the WWE, but there never seems to have been concrete plans for a corresponding DX vs. nWo scenario. The fact is that Scott Hall confirmed in an interview with Wade Keller in October 2006 that there were talks between the Outsiders and the WWE at the time. Rumor has it that there was a reason why the two parties ultimately failed to reach an agreement: Allegedly, the WWE officials feared that Nash and Hall would feud against the DX at their maturity, Triple H and HBK old and no longer make it look so "hip". Of course, that's not how the DX should come across.

Scott Hall made his first public appearance in November 2006 after about a year, where he reunited the Wölfpac at a fan festival together with Sean Waltman and Kevin Nash. Hall was in very bad shape here, however, and had put on a lot of weight, which is probably one of the reasons why the WWE's interest in him had waned again.

The D-Generation X should, however, slowly disappear back into the moth box of the WWE creative department after New Year's Revolution 2007 - where Triple H suffered a serious knee injury in the tag team match against Edge and Randy Orton. One man alone couldn't be a DX ... even if that man was a Shawn Michaels. The feuds that had started were continued - in Hunter's case, of course, after his return to SummerSlam 2007 - but the DX was no longer and should only come together once for a "One Night Only" comeback when Shawn and Hunter on Fought Umaga and Randy Orton at RAW on November 12th.

Sean Waltman and Justin Credible should have no luck with MTV's "Wrestling Society X" promotion, as the project was discontinued after only a few shows. While Waltman initially remained inactive, Justin returned to WWE in June 2006 to become part of the new ECW brand. But as expected, he should not be able to follow up on his successes at Extreme Championship Wrestling, but - as with his first two runs in the McMahon Company - never made it beyond the undercard. Four months later, Credible was fired again and returned to the Indy scene.

On July 13th 2007 Scott Hall celebrated - with his "Razor Ramon" -Gimmick - surprisingly at the Puerto Rican League World Wrestling Council his active comeback against none other than the active WWE star Carlito. Hall / Razor had apparently got himself back into good physical shape and looked very fit in his match. One evening later he met Carlito and the ex-TNAW star Apolo in a Three Way Dance and was able to take the WWC Universal Heavyweight Title from the latter with his victory. More appearances should of course follow. At the same time, Scott Hall was trying to get WWE to make a comeback for "Razor Ramon" into the company.

Now, of course, an obvious question arises: WILL THERE EVER A REUNION OF THE CLIQUE? Well, KEVIN NASH celebrated his in-ring comeback for TNAW at Genesis 2007, a move that Vince Russo is said to have been particularly committed to. It is highly unlikely that he will now - having recently signed a new contract with the Jarrett Promotion - think of moving to WWE in the near future. As I said, SCOTT HALL was said to have shown genuine interest in returning to World Wrestling Entertainment until recently. However, nothing seems to have come of it, as Hall showed up surprisingly at TNAW Impact in November 2007 and is here now at Turning Point 2007 at the side of Kevin Nash and Samoa Joe for a match against the "Angle Alliance". It is currently unclear whether Hall will be seen permanently at TNA Wrestling after this PPV. In any case, his chances of a permanent contract with the TNAW or WWE in his current state are considerably better than in previous years. TRIPLE H and SHAWN MICHAELS are of course still under a WWE contract to this day, which will probably never change in Hunter's case due to the marriage to Stephanie. So a reunification of the clique - realistically speaking - is only possible within the WWE. SEAN WALTMAN has been active with the Mexican AAA since June 2007 and seems to want to stay there until further notice. A return to the WWE or TNA Wrestling does not seem to be ruled out for him if he is interested in the respective promotion. Since his dismissal from World Wrestling Entertainment, hardly anything has been heard about JUSTIN CREDIBLE - who is no longer allowed to compete under this name outside of the WWE for legal reasons. After his three failures in the league, it is unlikely that the WWE would bring him back again. Of course he is just a "buddy" of Hall & Co. and not a member of the core group, so he would not be necessary for a full reunification of the clique.

As I said, Triple H's family bond with the McMahons makes a complete reunification of the clique possible only under the banner of the WWE. Whether Hall, Nash and Waltman will ever return to the company to reunite with Shawn and Hunter remains to be seen.Under the right circumstances, there will always be a small chance of being able to see an In Ring reunion of the clique again at the end (if Vince McMahon sees a profit for the WWE in it), because it has been proven that there is still no bad blood between them the parties involved. The fact is that this grouping has been one of the most discussed topics on the Internet for years. The effects of the clique can still be felt today. So who knows? It is possible, however, that there will only be various "light versions" of the group occasionally, which - inform of duos or trios - will then put their very own and distinctive stamp on their home league. The time will tell.
Q: What does a "clique" mean in general?
A: A "clique" is defined in Meyers Lexikon Online as follows:
Clique [klik, 'klik ?; French "tribe"] the, sociology: informal small group with close internal cohesion and mostly strong isolation from the outside; formed v. a. on the basis of close personal relationships and common interests and goals, often within formal organizations (e.g. companies, authorities); In everyday language as a term, usually used disparagingly.

Q: How did the (wrestling) clique get its name?
A: According to Triple H, it was Lex Luger who became jealous of the friendship between Michaels, Razor, Diesel, and the kid and was the first to derogate them as a "clique". Regardless of this, Scott Hall said in a later shoot interview that Bam Bam Bigelow was the originator of this name for the group. Which version is the right one ... who knows? The fact is that the journalist Wade Keller from Pro Wrestling Torch made the term known to fans through the Internet.

Q: Who was a member of the clique?
A: The clique consisted of the following wrestlers:

"Michael Hickenbottom (Shawn Michaels)
"Scott Hall (Razor Ramon)
"Kevin Nash (Diesel)
"Sean Waltman (1-2-3 Kid / Syxx / X-Pac)
"Paul Levesque (Triple H / Hunter Hearst Helmsley)

These five men are best friends in real life and have considered themselves the most important wrestlers of the old World Wrestling Federation since the mid-1990s and behaved accordingly backstage. Peter Polaco (Justin Credible / Aldo Montoya), Louis Mucciolo (Louis Spicolli / Rad Radford) and Tammy Lynn Sytch (Sunny) were other stars who were very close friends with the clique, but never belonged to the "inner core" of the group. (Note: Sunny had an affair with Shawn Michaels for several months and was referred to backstage as "The Clique Chick." Her bond with the group ended abruptly when Shawn broke up in front of her because Sunny did not want to make her relationship with him official .)

Over the years, names of people who were allegedly also members of the clique appeared in the rumor mill. These wrestlers included Sycho Sid, the British Bulldog, the Undertaker, Chyna, and the New Age Outlaws (Billy Gunn and Road Dogg). But these were definitely just rumors. It may well be true that all of these people were friends with some of the clique members - in Chyna's case, not only that, of course - but that was about it.

Interesting detail: Years later, Bret "Hitman" Hart wrote in his autobiography that he was asked by Michaels, Hall and Nash on a WWF tour of Germany in the early 1990s if he wanted to start a backstage group with them. (Note: Shawn and Bret still had a relatively normal relationship at this point.) Bret in the original wording: "The thing I remember most about that tour was Shawn, Razor, and Nash talking to me in Hamburg about the idea of ​​forming a clique of top guys who strictly took care of their own. " If Hart hadn't turned down this offer, he would automatically have become one of the founding members of the clique!

Q: What is the "Kliq"?
A: "The Kliq" originally goes back to an idea by Vince Russo and has or had three meanings since then:

1. Official name for Shawn Michaels' fans at the height of his popularity 1995-1997 (this is the first appearance of the name);

2. unofficial name for the stable around Shawn, Hunter, Rude and Chyna before it was officially named "D-Generation X" (second appearance);

3. The spellings "Kliq" and "Clique" exist side by side and have both been used since the beginning of 1998 to denote the backstage grouping around Hall, Nash, Shawn, Hunter and Waltman (third appearance). At that time, the "Attitude" era had already taken off and the WWF gained a lot of new fans. This changed the spelling of the grouping, as many of these young fans did not know what was behind the name, which was suddenly presented by the five wrestlers at WWF and WCW shows.

Which spelling you use nowadays and what it means basically depends on how long you've been a wrestling fan.

By the way, Scott Hall has been wearing a ring outfit with the words "KLIQ" on it at his matches since the end of the WCW. While this gave way to a modified nWo outfit after a few weeks on his WWF comeback, it reappeared after Scott's dismissal. He wears the trousers in question to this day at his appearances in Japan, various Indy promotions and at TNA Wrestling.

Q: Did Shawn actually kiss Triple H on a show?
A: Yes, as part of a RAW release that was recorded on September 23, 1997 and aired six days later. Shawn kissed Hunter in the middle of the mouth shortly before the end of the taping. The incident itself was not broadcast on the show. One can safely assume that the WWF "authorized" this action. It should look like it's their first "shoot". The thing should generate additional interest in the wallpapered show as a lot of internet fans would tune in to see the kiss. The plan worked and the show actually achieved a better rating than the RAW episode, which was broadcast LIVE from Madison Square Garden a week earlier.

The fact that the kiss was not broadcast served as "proof" that Shawn and Triple H really wanted to force their release and that the WWF is now trying to "cover up" the whole thing. Shawn went one better on the next edition of RAW when he grabbed Hunter's bum as part of the live broadcast.

Q: Shawn Michaels joined WWF in the late 1980s, Hall followed in 1992, and Nash and the 1-2-3 Kid joined in 1993. How did it come about that Triple H - who only appeared in the Federation in 1995 - was accepted into the clique?
A: Nash and Hall had followed Hunter's WCW career and - together with HBK - took him under their wing from the very beginning in the WWF. Triple H always traveled with the gang and hit it off with everyone straight away. So it was only a matter of time before he was fully accepted into the group.

Q: What was Shawn's "Sunny Days" comment about?
A: Sunny (aka Tammy Lynn Sytch) mentioned on several occasions back then that she would like to manage Bret Hart. This had raised the suspicion in Bret's wife at the time that Bret and Tammy had something wrong with each other. This suspicion naturally led to some problems in the Hart family, but was ultimately cleared by the Hitman ... until Shawn Michaels in 1997 - in his increasingly violent crusade against Hart - Bret in a RAW interview with his "Sunny Days" Comment surprised. Of course, this remark again poured fuel on the fire, let the Harts' marital problems break out again and, logically, fueled the hatred between Bret and Shawn. Incidentally, years later, Sunny himself denied in a shoot interview that he had ever had anything with Bret.

Q: Is it true that Shawn Michaels was seen wearing an "Outsiders" shirt during the Monday Night War?
A: Yes, but not only that. There are even two photos that were taken sometime between the end of 1996 and mid-1997 and show Shawn once with an "Outsiders" - and once with an "nWo" shirt. This fact suggests two possibilities:

1. He wore the two t-shirts only as a token of solidarity with his buddies in Atlanta and was photographed with them more or less by chance.

2. He intentionally had himself photographed with his T-shirts on to support the rumors spread by WWF about Shawn's attempts to switch to WCW.

What could have been a coincidence when the picture was taken with the "Outsiders" shirt looks damned intentional on closer inspection of the second picture, since in this case it is clearly a promotional photo.

Q: What is the connection between the nWo, the DX and the Wölfpac?
A: The clique is seen as the primary catalyst for two of the most important stables in wrestling history: D-Generation X in the WWF / WWE and the New World Order in the WCW. Shawn Michaels and Triple H founded DX, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash founded nWo. Michaels and Sean Waltman are the only two clique wrestlers to have been part of either faction over the years.

At first, the New World Order could well be seen as an expansion of the clique into the WCW. After the "Outsiders" had built the nWo together with Hulk Hogan, they were able, with the help of Eric Bischoff, to convey some of the "values" of the clique to the fans of the WCW and, at the same time, to de facto take over the promotion.

In September 1996 Sean Waltman followed Scott and Kevin south and became part of the New World Order under the name "Syxx". (Note: He was released from his current contract by the WWF in order to be able to switch to World Championship Wrestling.) At the same time, the three WCW members of the clique separated themselves from the main force by forming an unofficial group within the nWo, which formed referred to as "Wölfpac". (Note: The name was falsified over time and a little later only "Wolfpac" was spelled.)

The establishment of the D-Generation X was the direct response of the WWF to the arrival and success of the nWo in the WCW. Just as the WCW had done in the case of the "suspension" of the New World Order, the WWF now also borrowed from the image of the legendary clique. The then typical gestures of the nWo, such as the so-called "wolf head" or the "crotch chops" were originally used in the WWF by the members of the clique.

In particular, the "wolf's head" hand gesture can often be seen on older WWF shows. To find out, just look at WWF PPVs Royal Rumble 1995, In Your House 2 or In Your House 7: "Good Friends, Better Enemies". Especially at the two last mentioned shows you could admire the later nWo gestures with Hall, Nash, Michaels and the 1-2-3 Kid.

These gestures were intended to demonstrate the friendship of the clique members to one another and were brought into the nWo by the Outsiders. When HBK and Triple H founded the DX, these symbols were again openly used by them at the shows of the WWF. Nash, Hall and Waltman sent Hunter and Shawn more and more messages - so-called "shout-outs" - during live editions of WCW NITRO - such as in an episode when Kevin turned to the camera and said, "Right back at you, HBK . "

Michaels and Triple H, on the other hand, regularly referred to their clique pasts openly in their promos. In order to dupe the so-called "Smart Fans" or "Smarks", the WWF simultaneously spread rumors that the two DX founders would do everything possible to get fired and follow their buddies to the more popular WCW.

Ironically, this storyline was to be reversed in 1998 and turned into reality under the opposite sign when Sean Waltman was fired from the WCW and in response the Outsiders tried to get out of their WCW contracts to follow Waltman's example and also join the D-Generation X. to connect.

A final connection between the nWo and the DX was only to be made again in 2002, when Shawn Michaels - shortly before its final end - joined the WWF version of the nWo.

All in all, there is no doubt about the roots of these three popular stables. They were all more or less "on air" versions of the legendary band around Nash, Michaels & Co.

Q: Did the clique ever have a leader?
A: Not officially. If you look at the evidence more closely, however, it seems clear that there was actually a "leader" of the group during the years together in the WWF: Shawn Michaels. He was the first to appear in what was then the World Wrestling Federation and is still the longest member of the WWF / WWE contract to this day. Up until the beginning of his long-term injury break (1998-2002), he almost always got the biggest push and also seemed to have a higher standing within the group, which could also be seen at the end of the "MSG incident".

Nowadays, the question of "leadership" can no longer be answered so clearly. Given their careers and influence in business, Triple H and Kevin Nash are undoubtedly on a par with the "Heartbreak Kid" today, or have even surpassed it in some cases. It is therefore reasonable to assume that there are no longer any internal differences among the members of the clique.

Q: Which wrestlers were held down by the clique back then?
A: You can never answer this question with absolute certainty, but I think the following men are probably the most obvious candidates for this: Dean Douglas (aka Shane Douglas) (1995), Bret Hart (1995), Bam Bam Bigelow (1995) , Psycho Sid (aka Sid Vicious / Sycho Sid) (1995), Skip (aka Chris Candido) (1995/1996);

Rumor has it that Owen Hart, Vader, Jeff Jarrett and the Undertaker should also be among their "victims", although this is only based on guesswork.

Sure, they had a lot of influence, but you can tell from Triple H how much is being added to it. The assumption regarding Undertaker is, in my personal opinion, complete nonsense, since he and Nash were known as the Strip Bar Kings, i.e. they are still pretty close friends to this day. I also find Jarrett out of place here. In his feud against Razor he was shown to be absolutely equal and was only "held down" in the WWF - if at all - on his second big run, but not by the gang but by Steve Austin and Jim Ross. I would actually only blame Shawn Michaels on Vader (1996) and Owen Hart (1997/1998).

Q: How is the relationship between the five friends today?
A: Emotionally and brutally conducted feuds, roster changes and resignations have caused the five members of the clique to separate or fight against each other more than once over the years. But behind the scenes and in private life, they are all friends to this day. The clique has changed and developed over the years ... some friendships within the group became closer, some became looser. Especially between Triple H and X-Pac there were problems a few years ago that were related to Joanie Laurer (aka Chyna). But these problems were finally resolved when Sean Waltman visited his old friend behind the scenes during a WWE show and spoke to him there. (Note: Previously, Hunter and Vince McMahon had helped him financially to get his drug problems under control.)
(German translation)

Kelly: Hi, my name is Kevin Kelly. Given James E. Cornette's comments last week, the show's producers asked me to share my comment on the battle between the 'old school' and the 'new school' here in world wrestling Submit Federation.

Today - more than ever - two warring powers collide and it is all about the WWF Champion title. Shawn Michaels and Bret 'Hitman' face each other at the Survivor Series on November 9th in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. But there is much more to it than just the WWF title. Vince McMahon and Bret Hart were slapped in the face by Shawn Michaels and Triple H, who opened a wasp nest of trouble that had remained untouched for over a year.

I'm of course talking about the friendship and manipulation factory that was formerly known as the 'Clique'. In the form of 'D-Generation X', this group has now been brought back to life - and now it may be completely out of control.

Let's look back at 1996. Diesel, Razor Ramon, Shawn Michaels and Triple H weren't just great friends outside of the ring - no, they were a powerful force behind the Federation scenes too! Each of them thought they were the most important man - and together they were like a thorn in ... you know what I mean.

In her opinion, most of the fans only came to see her. So they should be able to determine their matches themselves. This group was constantly discussing who and when to compete. The officials as well as the other wrestlers were very angry at this frustrating behavior.

The drip that broke the barrel then occurred on May 19, 1996 in Madison Square Garden. This was the final WWF show for Diesel and Razor. After the steel cage main event, the two remaining members said goodbye to the two travelers. The fans in the hall were of course enthusiastic. But a real firestorm ignited in the locker room. Some wrestlers - among them, it is rumored, the British Bulldog - had to be restrained with united forces.The previous events in the ring were just too much. Federation officials failed to stop the riot behind the scenes. Triple H was punished the hardest - but Shawn escaped without penalty. But that didn't stop the problems. Apparently the office couldn't punish him - after all, he was the champion and drew fans into the halls. So he sat on the longer lever.

One man who was far from unhappy about Diesel and Razor's disappearance was Bret 'Hitman' Hart. In his home in Calgary, he watched this new generation act entirely at their own discretion, insulting the establishment again and again. After his defeat at WrestleMania XII, the former champion took a break and even considered resigning - partly because he hated Shawn so much. He didn't like the little games behind the scenes either.

Fans wondered if this rivalry between two of the Federation's biggest stars really existed. Yes, it actually existed. The 'old school' hates the 'new school'! And in this sport, that's what makes the difference between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. Add to that how much Bret loathed the incidents that happened while he was away, and you can imagine that the situation could get out of hand. WWF officials are trying to downplay the importance of this story, of course - but they cannot ignore the story itself when these two emotionally charged men meet at the Survivor Series in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. We'll all see what happens - while the World Wrestling Federation holds back - when this battle between two egomaniacal superstars takes place.

My name is Kevin Kelly and this is my take on the situation between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart. "
Keller: You said that road agents and front office assistants to Vince McMahon are all yes-men, afraid to be independent thinkers. Did you sense that bothered any of them but they begrudgingly went along with it? Or did they all seem to think that was their lot in life?