Best Friends...


... Better Enemies

The Kliq was a backstage group of wrestlers within the World Wrestling Federation, which (unlike the Four Horsemen, Degeneration X, New World Order, Evolution, and others) never appeared on TV as a unit. The faction consisted of Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Razor Ramon, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and the 1-2-3 Kid (a.k.a. Syxx-Pac). They were a magnet for controversy and a source of legend. According to Kay, "the Kliq was the best faction in wrestling history because they never appeared on-screen, so it was always something that the fans only ever heard about, but never saw."

The name of the group was given by Lex Luger, who despised their formation. According to the members of the group, they were true friends that wanted to see the WWF succeed, and they vocalized ideas that they thought would improve the WWF. According to others outside the group, they merely formed in the self-interest of protecting their respective spots and keeping each other elevated. In April 1996, the group met with Vince McMahon to discuss a new direction, which planted the seeds of what later became known widely as the WWF Attitude era.

On May 19, 1996, Shawn Michaels defeated Diesel in a steel cage match at Madison Square Garden, and (because it was Diesel's and Razor Ramon's last night with the company) they were joined by Razor and HHH inside the ring. At the time, WWF management maintained the illusion that babyfaces (like HBK and Razor, in this case) and heels (like Diesel and HHH) were not friendly to each other outside the ring, so the incident sparked a huge controversy, primarily because there was footage of the incident which was circulated amongst tape trading circles and later on the Internet. As a result, HHH's career was placed on the back-burner and he strictly worked house shows for a few months, followed by a string of under-card losses on WWF-TV. Once his punishment was over, he won the WWF Intercontinental championship as a sign of good faith (and a reward for his taking the punishment without it affecting his match performance or his attitude).

The Kliq served as a precursor to both the nWo and DX. In fact, before they coined the term "Degeneration X," Shawn and Hunter were called "The Kliq" on TV, although several months later, the WWF began to censor verbal references to "The Kliq" on WWF-TV.

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