The world of professional wrestling has had various characters that have come and gone. But there is one group of individuals that, thus far, have stood the test of time.
Kevin Nash. Scott Hall. Shawn Michaels. Triple H. X-Pac. The Kliq.
What started as a band of friends that logged thousands of miles together ended up being one of the most influential things to ever happen to the industry. When all five were positioned in WWE, they had Vince McMahon’s ear as they believed they knew how to take the business to the next level.
Even though the band split up, their thoughts remained the same. Nash and Hall took their talents to WCW and became top players for the duration of their stint in the company. With Michaels and Triple H staying with the WWE, their power became even more apparent as the 90s went on.
They weren’t liked by many wrestlers but their impact remains significant. They opened up different avenues for wrestlers to go down. They gave some coworkers opportunities, no matter how they felt about them personally. They even have a new generation of talents that have shown their love for The Kliq.
Everyone knows about The Curtain Call and Michaels and Bret Hart’s animosity — but that’s only the beginning. Here are 15 things you probably didn’t know about The Kliq.
15 Turkish Mafia in Disguise?
When you think of The Kliq, one of the first things that comes to mind is their infamous wolf hand sign. Whether it was Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and X-Pac on WCW television, Shawn Michaels and Triple H on RAW, or when they were all together in the WWE, each member was always seen throwing it up. How they got that hand signal, however, is a story in and of itself.
When speaking on “The Kliq Rules” documentary, Nash noted that it was X-Pac who thought they should use that as their symbol. Where did he get the idea from, you ask? According to Nash, “he was in a bar somewhere over in Europe, and he saw these guys throwing this sign up, and he said ‘What is that?’ and they said 'That’s the Turkish wolf. It’s the Turkish mafia sign.’ So we just said, that’s pretty cool, and we just kinda… that’s where it came from.”
14 Triple H Was Beloved From Afar
When The Kliq first formed, it was made up of Nash, Hall, X-Pac, and Michaels. Triple H, of course, had yet to join the WWE as he was working for WCW in the early 90s. What’s funny is, both Nash and Hall have admitted that they admired Triple H from afar.
Both men have stated that when they were on the road, they would always watch WCW, and their favorite wrestler was a man known as Terra Ryzing. Terra Ryzing, of course, was Triple H, and when both Nash and Hall told Vince McMahon that he should sign him. Once Triple H made it known that he didn’t drink or smoke, The Kliq only loved him more, as they now had a designated driver for their shenanigans on the road.
13 They Paved the Way for Guaranteed Contracts
In various interviews, both Kevin Nash and Scott Hall have admitted that they didn’t want to leave the WWE. What they wanted, however, was guaranteed money — and back in the mid-90s, Vince McMahon was famous for saying, “I don’t give guarantees, I give opportunities.” When speaking with Eric Bischoff, first Hall and later Nash expressed their desire for a guarantee of a certain amount of money on their contracts.
After the duo received it from Ted Turner, it didn’t take long for McMahon to start doing the same for his talents. The Kliq had a bad rep in the eyes of many co-workers — but if one thing is for sure, they helped them get more money than they never would’ve had the chance to earn otherwise.
12 They Weren’t Fond of ECW Stars
The Kliq didn’t have to like you personally; but if you negatively affected their work inside of the squared circle, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and X-Pac would make it known that they had an issue with you. Unfortunately for guys like Shane Douglas and Chris Candido, they both ran into problems with The Kliq.
When it came to Douglas, an apparent exchange of words with Michaels during an overseas tour labeled him in a negative way. That was only furthered when Shawn Michaels refused to drop the Intercontinental Championship to him, but to add salt to the wound, Vince McMahon put the title on Scott Hall just minutes after Douglas won by forfeit.
When it came to Candido, it wasn’t his in-ring work that they had umbrage with, it was the fact that he would never defend himself when a multitude of wrestlers — including Michaels — fooled around with his girlfriend, Sunny.
11 They Didn’t Like Bam Bam Bigelow — But Respected Him
The Kliq may not have liked a number of guys who eventually turned into stars in ECW, but not all of them. Bam Bam Bigelow, of course, was a star all across the world. And with his old school attitude in mind, the behemoth of a man didn’t think it was right that talent had the ear of the boss. You would never confuse The Kliq as friends with Bigelow — but they did, however, respect the in-ring talent that Bam Bam was.
When The Kliq had a meeting with Vince McMahon (you’ll have to wait one more slide for the details on that one), Bigelow was one of the few wrestlers that Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and X-Pac all agreed was a legitimate main event talent and someone that deserved to be on the roster. That didn’t stop Bigelow from still feeling sour about The Kliq’s involvement in backstage politics.
10 The Infamous Meeting with Vince McMahon In Indianapolis
Speaking to Chris Jericho on his Talk of Jericho podcast, Triple H noted a time when Vince McMahon asked The Kliq to meet with him in Indianapolis. "I remember (Vince) saying, 'Clearly the company needs a change of direction and momentum and I want opinions. If it were your team—all of you individually make your own, I don't want anybody looking at anyone else's paper…what would your team be and what do you think is wrong with the product? Not saying that we're going to do it; I just want to know what everybody thinks.’”
Triple H later added, "In my mind… the first spark of the Attitude Era that I ever saw was in that room. Because the conversation…was based on reality. 'Why do we have Doink the Clown? Basketball players just wear basketball uniforms…Why can't we just be wrestlers? Why do we have to be firemen or cops or doctors? What can't it be just be more real? Let's stop insulting intelligence and get rid of the camp.' And Vince was really into the conversation."
9 Vince Loved Them Off Screen But Wanted None Of It On Television
Triple H wasn’t the only Kliq member to reveal some old stories to Chris Jericho on his Talk is Jericho podcast. When X-Pac appeared on the show, Jericho asked him why Vince McMahon never decided to make the fivesome an on-screen unit. Said X-Pac, “We wanted to do a group together [in WWE]. We all wanted to do it together, like The Kliq thing, but Vince hated groups. Vince didn’t want to do groups at all.”
If Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and X-Pac stayed in the WWE, McMahon’s tune might’ve changed. Just a little over a year after the trio bolted for WCW, the owner featured stables on RAW each and every week. While teams like D-Generation X, The Nation of Domination, and D.O.A. were cool, imagine seeing Nash, Hall, X-Pac, Shawn Michaels, and Triple H working together? That wouldn’t have been cool — that would’ve been too sweet.
8 The Curtain Call Killed Triple H’s Push
In what has become an infamous moment in WWE history, Vince McMahon allowed The Kliq to have their final sendoff before Kevin Nash and Scott Hall left for WCW. The decision, however, was a questionable one, as longtime workers didn’t appreciate the fact that good guys and bad guys were embracing each other on WWE’s home turf.
Because of this, McMahon needed to dish out punishment — and because Hall, Nash, and X-Pac were in WCW and Shawn Michaels was the WWE Champion, Triple H got the brunt of it all. What some people don’t realize is Triple H was actually in line to become the 1996 King of the Ring, which was to include a push to the main event. Steve Austin was chosen in his place, and at that King of the Ring, the Stone Cold character was born. I guess you can say it worked out…
7 Associates of The Kliq
While many believed The Kliq was very standoffish, that couldn’t have been further from the truth. In fact, there are plenty of well-known wrestlers who were considered associates of The Kliq back in the 90s. Scott Hall took youngster Louie Spicolli under his wing when he was in the WWE. Not only did he throw up the Kliq sign when wrestling in ECW, but Hall also helped land him a job in WCW.
Rick Rude is also seen as an outside member of The Kliq. His friendship on both sides was clear as he was a part of the original D-Generation X stable with Shawn Michaels and Triple H, and when he jumped to WCW, he joined Kevin Nash and Scott Hall in the NWO. The list doesn’t stop there. Not only was Diamond Dallas Page a close friend of Nash, Hall, and Triple H, but Sid Vicious was also rumored to be an associate of The Kliq as well.
6 The Forgotten Member
While the aforementioned names like Louie Spicolli, Rick Rude, Diamond Dallas Page, and Sid Vicious were all rumored to be associates of The Kliq, Justin Credible has long been mentioned by X-Pac and Scott Hall as a member of the group. When Credible was wrestling as Aldo Montoya, he became friends with the duo and was their travel buddy until both X-Pac and Hall went to WCW.
This claim was only furthered when Credible made his return to the WWE in 2001 and was immediately put in a team with X-Pac (and Albert, which created X-Factor). To complete the evidence, Credible was one of the people interviewed in 'The Kliq Rules' documentary, one that didn’t have many outside voices speak about the story.
5 They Were On Top of the Big Three American Companies in 2000
Since we’ve already confirmed that Justin Credible was the sixth member of The Kliq, the group of wrestlers accomplished something cool in the new millennium. Sure, both WCW and ECW were in their dying days, but in the Spring of 2000, Kevin Nash and Justin Credible were the WCW World Heavyweight Champion and ECW World Heavyweight Champion, respectively.
To round out the group, Triple H was beginning to ascend as a true and legitimate main event player and was the reigning WWE Champion at the same time. Many say The Kliq always positioned themselves to the top. And while they certainly could’ve done so in their individual companies, it’s an interesting and cool fact to see members of the group on top of three of the top American promotions at the same time.
4 If They Had Their Way, The Rock Would’ve Never Been
While the WWE’s New Generation was a slogan on television in the mid-90s, their future stars truly began to rise through the ranks after Kevin Nash and Scott Hall departed in 1996 as Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mankind, and The Rock all had star potential. Shawn Michaels, however, believed that Triple H was a bigger star than all three and asked Vince McMahon to have him take The Rock’s spot on the card. That was furthered when Michaels told creative that The Rock wasn’t the right fit for the Intercontinental Championship and instead wanted the belt on Bret Hart, a move that wouldn’t only lower The Rock’s status but would also take Hart out of the main event picture.
Fortunately, McMahon decided to stick with The Great One and in turn created one of the biggest stars in wrestling history. While many believed a Rock/Michaels match was money — and McMahon even presented the idea — The Rock refused to take part in the match. While the two mended fences back in 2008, there’s certainly no love lost between The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment and the Heartbreak Kid.
3 They Wanted To Be The Focal Point of WWEs WCW Reboot
As all wrestling fans know, Vince McMahon could’ve printed money when he acquired both WCW and ECW in 2001. Instead, however, his short-sighted vision didn’t lead to any long term gains. One of the original plans, however, was to continue to run Nitro in place of RAW while the WWE would run their show during SmackDown’s timeslot. One of McMahon’s biggest reservations was the star power that was going to be on the WCW show, so he started crafting ideas as to which WWE wrestlers he could put on the brand.
According to the Wrestling Observer Radio show that was posted after the last episode of Nitro, host Dave Meltzer claimed that Shawn Michaels approached the idea that he should build the show around himself, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Triple H, and X-Pac. That obviously never came about — but I wonder who would’ve been the champions on that brand?
2 The Next Generation
If there’s one thing about The Kliq, it’s that all you need to do is love professional wrestling to be considered a friend of the group. And although they made more friends than enemies during their days as active wrestlers, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Shawn Michaels, Triple H and X-Pac are more beloved by colleagues than ever before. The Bullet Club was — and in many ways, still is — one of the hottest acts in pro wrestling, and a part of their shtick is acting like The Kliq. Whether it’s their gang mentality like the nWo, their mannerisms like D-Generation X, their inclusion of Hall’s son into the group, or their frequent use of the wolf hand sign, they’ve paid homage to The Kliq in many ways.
But it doesn’t stop there. Triple H has been known to form a clique of his own down in NXT — and the group of Sami Zayn, Neville, Kevin Owens, Finn Balor, and Hideo Itami have all been seen “too sweeting” each other. Were they a part of the original squad? No. But Nash, Hall, and Triple H have all given their blessings.
1 Bret Hart Recruited to Join The Kliq?
This one isn’t only one of the most wild facts about The Kliq, but it’s something that many may not know about. Everyone knows that Bret Hart absolutely loathed The Kliq and their backstage politicking, and always believed the group was terrible for the wrestling business. What many people don’t know, however, is the fact that Hart was almost a Kliq member himself. In his autobiography “Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling,” Hart said he was offered a spot in the group. “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.”
Hart, of course, turned down the offer because he wanted to help all the wrestlers, not just a select few. Imagine The Hitman walking down to the ring throwing up the wolf? What an odd thing to think of…
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