During the mid-1990s, a group of Superstars dominated the WWE. Made up of Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Shawn Michaels, Triple H and X-Pac, the super group known as The Kliq tore their way through the WWE roster with their hilarious antics and undeniable chemistry. The Kliq would go on to be incredibly successful, not only among fans but also among the WWE brass. They held a tremendous amount of power within the company and would have quite the influence upon their own careers, but also the careers of their fellow WWE roster.
The team would win numerous championships and would be involved in countless memorable storylines and feuds. Backstage, they were pranksters. Sometimes, they could be down-right mean…bullies, even. When The Kliq had you in their sights they were absolutely relentless.
We are the Sportster. And this is 15 Wrestlers Who Were Bullied By The Kliq.
When Takanka came on the scene, dude was a powerhouse. He was getting a big-time push by the WWE, and for two straight years from 1991 to 1993, Tatanka went on an insane undefeated streak. It was pretty crazy. It’s no coincidence that when The Kliq rose to power, Tatanka lost all his momentum. Apprently, Shawn Michaels, one of the leaders of The Kliq, who had a huge influence on booking matches, said that Takanka had a ‘bad attitude’. The two had a real-life backstage feud, and Shawn did his best to ensure that Takanka’s popularity plummeted. Tatanka himself has said in interviews that is was Shawn Michaels who was directly responsible for the decline of his career. Of course, Tatanka’s career with the WWE was over, and he left the company in 1996.
14 Adam Bomb
Bryan Clark, also known as Adam Bomb at the time, had a decent two year run in the WWE from 1993 from 1995. There we see those magic years again when The Kliq was tearing through the WWE, sculpting the company as they saw fit. Clark became a target for The Kliq and their well-known pranks, with Clark himself pointing the finger directly at Razor Ramon and X-Pac as being the villains of this story. Not much is actually known about what happened back stage, as Clark has been quite candid in interviews about the subject, but Clark did say that he hated The Kliq at the time, especially Ramon, X-Pac and Shawn Michaels. Clark’s persona, Adam Bomb, was a terrible gimmick at best, but it seems it was The Kliq who determined Clark’s fate.
13 Rocky Maivia (The Rock)
Here’s an interesting story where The Kliq’s bullying and influence didn’t quite work out the way they planned. Of course, The Rock went on to become the most electrifying man in sports entertainment and one hell of an acting resume, but when The Rock was known as Rocky Maivia in the WWE, The Kliq, especially Shawn Michaels and Triple H, weren’t too happy about the push Rocky was receiving. The Kliq thought the push form the WWE was unfounded and they were upset and disagreed with management over Rocky’s rise to stardom. However, the WWE brass were on Rocky’s side, and no amount of interference from Shawn Michaels could stall The Rock’s rise. Even as The Rock was WWE Champion, Michaels tried to have the epic WrestleMania clash between Rock and Stone Cold changed to Austin vs. Triple H, but no go. That one certainly worked in our favour.
12 CM Punk
More recently, with Triple H and Shawn Michaels still holding incredible power over the WWE in the early 2000s, it was CM Punk’s turn to have a run-in with The Kliq’s bullying prowess. Apparently Shawn Michaels and Triple H tried to ruin CM Punk’s WWE career from the start, beginning when he was fresh to the organization. Michaels and Hunter both believed that CM Punk was going nowhere in the WWE and he didn’t have what it took to be a Superstar. They were wrong, of course. They chirped Punk to Vince McMahon, saying that Punk’s recent rise was nothing more than a flash in the pan…a fluke. As much as they tried, CM Punk hung around to become one of the biggest WWE Superstars in recent memory.
Upon joining the WWE in 1996, Vader was going to be a big star. He achieved big-time success in the WCW, and there was nothing stopping Vader from doing the same thing in the WWE. Nothing, besides The Kliq. The main culprit in this story was Shawn Michaels, who did not take kindly to Vader both in-ring and backstage. In fact, Michaels was a down-right bully to Vader, even bringing the big man to tears during a verbal confrontation behind the scenes. Even a man as big as Vader has feelings, after all. During SummerSlam in 1996 during a match between the two Superstars, Vader was supposed to win the championship from Michaels, but last minute, in a match that saw Michaels verbally assault Vader, Michaels refused to lose. Vader never recovered and eventually left the WWE in 98.
10 Chris Jericho
Poor Chris Jericho. He was on the receiving end of The Kliq’s influence in both the WCW and the WWE. Jericho was a popular figure in the WCW, but felt his talents were being wasted in the Cruiserweight division. Scott Hall and Kevin Nash both held great power over the company at that time and refused to let Jericho climb the ranks. After leaving the WCW in 1999 and joining the WWE that very same year (remember Y2J?), he began to feel the same influence from Triple H. Jericho was instantly popular with his new company and went on to become the first Undisputed Champion. It was a rough start for Jericho however, with Triple H standing in his way and eventually winning the title from Jericho at WrestleMania X8.
9 The British Bulldog
It certainly seems that sometimes in the WWE, The Heartbreak Kid could do just about anything he wanted. This is the second entry in this list where Michaels refused to lose a match, humiliating his opponent. The European Champion, The British Bulldog, was preparing for the One Night Only pay-per-view in 1997 in his home country of England. He was to retain the title with a win over Shawn Michaels, and even dedicated the match to his sister Tracy who was sick with cancer and in attendance for the bout. Too bad for the Bulldog, but Michaels refused to lose the match and ended up winning the belt, much to the disappointment of the England crowd, obviously on the side of the British Bulldog. Hey, when you’re Shawn Michaels you can do whatever the hell you want.
8 Owen Hart
Alright Shawn Michaels…settle down. The Kliq had crazy influence, but it seems Michaels is one of the worst offenders. After Owen Hart was denied out of his contract during the incredibly famous Montreal Screwjob controversy, everybody thought this was Owen Hart’s time to shine on the big stage. During a heated rivalry that extended back-stage, Hart was thrust into a feud with Shawn Michaels. Apparently Michaels was worried about this in-ring feud and thought feuding with a popular babyface such as Hart would hurt his career. So, they competed in a quick throw-away match for the WWE title which ended in DQ, and Hart was thrown into a feud with Triple H directly after. Owen Hart was on the losing end of that feud as well, and faded away into obscurity until his tragic death in ’99.
7 Jim Neidhart
Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart had a real-life, mutual hatred for each other that apparently reached into Hart’s circle of friends. Jim Neidhart had enough of The Kliq’s antics and was embarrassed on live television for it. The Brother in Law of Bret Hart, during an episode of RAW, Jim was invited to join The Kliq by Shawn Michaels and Triple H, only to have the two turn on their new found member and humiliate him in front of the WWE crowd. Jim apparently wanted out of the WWE and this was the last straw. He left for the WCW shortly after, but there, met with Michaels and Hunter’s buddies Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. To nobody’s surprise, Neidhart didn’t find success in the WCW either. I wonder why?
6 Jean Pierre Lafitte
Wearing an eye-patch and claiming to be a pirate, Jean-Pierre’s gimmick was ridiculous, sure. But this was the mid-90s! WWE was all about their strange, over-the-top personas. So, he was given a decent push and feuded with Bret Hart that actually led to some legendary bouts. Despite performing well, The Kliq had it out for Lafitte. He was booked for a match with Diesel, only to find the card had been changed last minute by Shawn Michaels (surprise!). Lafitte was to lose to Big Daddy Cool, but Lafitte wasn’t going to take this sitting down. He refused to lose, ending the match in a double count-out. The Kliq then buried Lafitte after this and he would leave the company. Michaels himself even admitted to intentionality burying the wrestler. Not cool, Michaels. Not cool.
5 Bam Bam Bigelow
Bam Bam Bigelow, before his unfortunate death in 2007, was one of many wrestlers to vocalize their displeasure for The Kliq’s unfair influence over the WWE. He shot an interview where he said The Kliq has ‘strength in numbers’ and essentially told Vince McMahon what to do. Bam Bam said that if The Kliq didn’t look kindly upon you, they would push you out of the industry, toying with people’s emotions and livelihoods. It was an honest interview where he voiced his displeasure, vocalizing how tough it can be when a group of bullies run the biggest wrestling company in the business. Before his move to the ECW, where he was actually appreciated and obviously was more content, Bam Bam teamed with Diesel and feuded with The Million Dollar Corporation. It was apparent that Bam Bam was unhappy, but found some happiness in his move to the ECW.
4 Chris Candido
This is where things start getting really cringe-worthy. Forget the bullying and pushing wrestlers out of the company. This story is about a real-life affair. For Chris Candido, The Kliq bullying got way too real. Candido was in a long-running relationship with Sunny, fellow WWE personality. Enter Shawn Michaels. Apparently HBK had a thing for Sunny, and the two began an affair backstage that the entire roster was aware of. Sunny herself has confirmed and denied the reports, which lead to Candido confronting Michaels multiple times. Somehow, for some reason, nothing was ever done about the affair, and Candido himself battled depression over the whole situation. To top it all off, X-Pac took a dump in Sunny’s lunchbag. Wait…is this high school all over again? Gross.
Usually, King of the Ring winners go on the have a long, healthy career in the WWE. It happened with Steve Austin. Triple H. Kurt Angle and many, many more. We all know that Vince McMahon loves big dudes. The bigger the better. So with just two years’ experience, Mabel was the winner of King of the Ring 1995, setting him up for feuds with such Superstars as The Undertaker and Diesel. It’s the latter that wasn’t a fan of Mabel. Kliq member Diesel (Kevin Nash) had some issues with one another. Nash wasn’t a fan of Mabel’s style and repertoire, Nash went to boss-man Vince McMahon and complained. Soon after, Mabel’s big push was halted, and even with a few persona changes, never really recovered.
2 Shane Douglas
After cutting a legendary promo where he abandoned the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and introduced ECW, Shane Douglas was seen as the next big thing in wrestling. That is, until he came to the WWE. Instead of retaining his name and persona, he was called ‘Dean Douglas’, a completely forgettable college dean character and an absolute shame. However, things got worse, way worse for The Dean, as soon he would clash with The Kliq. The Kliq saw Douglas’s potential and invited him to join their little group. Douglas saw through the bullpoop and the politics and shot down the offer. Bad call, as The Kliq quickly turned on Shane and halted his rise to stardom. They complained to McMahon, calling Douglas awful and overrated. It wouldn’t be long before Douglas was back in the ECW trying to resurrect his career.
1 Bret Hart
If you’re a wrestling fan, chances are you’ve heard of the legendary real-life feud between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart. It’s juicy stuff. It was super-heated back in the 1990s, as Shawn Michael’s jealousy rose from Bret Hart rising to fame quicker than he. Michaels would do everything in his power to try to sabotage Hart’s rise, from trying to get him removed from matches, blocking his way to the championship, and of course, suggesting the Montreal Screwjob to Vince McMahon, in which Michaels would win the WWE title from Bret Hart via submission (although Hart did not tap). Hart has not talked poorly of the rest of The Kliq, besides Michaels and Triple H, who seemingly tried everything in their power to screw over Hart and his wrestling career.