Top Fifteen Stables in Wrestling: Number Ten
Our next stable, actually wasn’t an actual stable in the ring but still one of the most influential groups in the history of professional wrestling– both in the World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment and World Championship Wrestling. A group of close, real-life friends Scott Hall (Razor Ramon), Kevin Nash (Diesel), Michael Hickenbottom (Shawn Michaels), Paul Levesque (Triple H/Hunter Hearst Helmsley), and Sean Waltman (1-2-3 Kid/Syxx/X-Pac).
Forming backstage in the early 1990s, the Kliq would hold a huge influential hold on booking decisions by 1995. Lex Luger is the person that gave this faction their name, according to Michaels. Vince Russo suggested that Michaels begin calling his fans his “Kliq,” but Michaels never liked the idea and never really took hold with the fans. Their booking power was so big that at an event in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where hometown wrestler Carl Ouellett, known as Jean-Pierre Laffitte, was scheduled to beat Kevin Nash in a match but was changed by Michaels just before the match to Nash winning. This led to a backstage argument between Lafitte and Michaels. The match would end as a double-countout because Lafitte refused to be pinned by Nash. Laffitte would be released shortly after the incident.
As 1996 was approaching, Hall– still Razor Ramon with WWF– was given an lucrative offer with a lot of guaranteed money from WCW, which he wasn’t making in WWF. Shortly after this, Hall helped facilitate a similar offer for Nash– who was Diesel in WWF. Vince McMahon was unable to match the contracts and encouraged the two stars to take the best they could get. Both Nash and Hall would accept their offers with WCW, and finished out their remaining obligations with WWF. This would lead to one of the most controversial moments in wrestling, and it would destroy the image that wrestling had upheld with their kayfabe storylines.
On May 19,1996, Hall and Nash were making their final appearances with WWF at a house show at Madison Square Garden. The face Razor Ramon wrestled against the heel Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and the card closed with a Steel Cage match between the heel Diesel and the face Shawn Michaels. After the match ended, Hall climbed into the ring and hugged Michaels– which seemed okay as both men were faces. Then Helmsley entered the ring and hugged Hall, and Nash would join in with all four men embracing each other. After the hug, all four men lifted each others arms and acknowledged the fans in the arena. At the time of the incident, promoters never allowed the good guys to be seen in public socializing with bad guys in public to keep the storylines going outside the arenas because rivalries could last years then. Vince McMahon originally supported the Kliq doing their farewell but didn’t know how far the group of friends would actually take it. McMahon also didn’t think that two fans in the arena would record the whole thing with their camcorder.
The incident known as both the, “MSG Incident” and the “Curtain Call,” upset the upper brass at WWF– as the company wanted to keep the kayfabe storyline between faces and heels going. After the incident took place, McMahon needed to punish people for the incident. Hall and Nash were already in WCW, so they couldn’t be punished. Waltman– then the 1-2-3 Kid– wasn’t present for the event, so he wasn’t going to be punished. Michaels was the current WWF Champion and extremely over with the fans, so McMahon wasn’t about to punish one of his best superstars in the promotion. Helmsley, however, wasn’t quite yet established with the fans. Before the “Curtain Call,” Helmsley was scheduled to win that year’s King of the Ring tournament and receive a serious push for main event status. After the incident took place, the King of the Ring victory and push went to Stone Cold Steve Austin which helped lead the WWF into the Attitude Era and eventual victory over WCW in the Monday Night War.
When Hall and Nash joined WCW, they began an “invasion” storyline with each wrestler acting as their WWF characters acted but didn’t acknowledge their WWF names. After a while, they were finally referred to by the WCW announce team as Scott Hall and Kevin Nash (their real names). They became the team known as the Outsiders, and claimed that they had a surprise third member to help take over WCW. At Bash at the Beach, Hulk Hogan was revealed as the third man and they began the stable known as the New World Order. With the creation of the NWO as one of the major reasons, WCW began an 85 week reign in the ratings battle known as the Monday Night War. Sean Waltman (as Syxx) joined his Kliq friends in NWO before being fired by WCW.
After the creation of NWO, Michaels and Helmsley began lobbying McMahon to allow them to create their own stable to help push the WWF. McMahon declined initially, as he was trying to keep the two from being together on television. As the WWF began to consistenty the ratings war, McMahon relented and allowed Michaels and Helmsley to form D-Generation X with Chyna and, originally, “Ravishing” Rick Rude as an enforcer/manager type– before Rude’s departure for WCW.
After Wrestlemania XIV in 1998, Michaels departed from wrestling due to a debilitating back injury. Helmsley became the leader of DX and added Kliq member Waltman (as X-Pac) to the stable as well as the New Age Outlaws. DX became a major catalyst in pushing WWF to topping WCW in the Monday Night War. Helmsley would begin being known as Triple H during this time and began also receiving the serious push he was originally going to receive in 1996– before the “MSG Incident.” On one particular Monday night, WWF’s Raw is War was taking place in Hampton, Virginia and WCW’s Monday Nitro was in nearby Norfolk, Virginia. DX filmed a piece where rode in a make-shift tank-like vehicle and attempted to “invade” WCW. As they entered the entrance ramp to the Norfolk Scope, WCW officials close the entrance door on video. DX also led fans who were going to the WCW show– having been given free tickets to boost attendance– to proclaim that “WCW sucks!” and received praise from the same fans.
In 2002, after the demise of WCW, the NWO was reformed in WWF with the original three members. After Hogan left the NWO, Waltman and Big Show (a former NWO member while in WCW) rejoined the NWO. Shawn Michaels would return to wrestling and also became a member of the NWO– Michaels and Waltman the only two Kliq members to be a part of both DX and NWO. Triple H would only a part of DX, and Hall and Nash only a part of NWO.
The hand symbol, known as the wolf sign, was originally started as a term of endearment and celebration use by member of the Kliq. After Hall and Nash used with each other in WCW after the creation of the NWO, other members of the NWO began using the hand symbol as the NWO hand symbol.
Overall, the creation of the Kliq brought on a lot both negative and positive changes in the wrestling business. The group also led to the creation of two of the most influential stables in professional wrestling and major catalysts to each promotion’s successes in the Monday Night War.