WWE – The Kliq Rules (Cert 15)
3 Discs DVD/ 2 Discs BD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 67 minutes approx.
One of the most notorious groups in pro-wrestling The Kliq never actually appeared on camera as an active wrestling faction. Everybody knew who the members were and what they got up to yet they never publicly came together – except for one infamous occasion – so how could they have made such an impact on wrestling world?
This retrospective explains all, bringing the five member of this tight knit group together to tell their story. For a while, on camera that is, The Kliq was the name Shawn Michaels gave his fan base during his first run as WWF Champion in 1996 but behind the scenes, The Kliq was a totally different entity, one that caused upset, outrage and mayhem at every turn.
As everyone should know by now the five members of The Kliq were Michaels, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, Kevin “Diesel” Nash, Scott “Razor Ramon” Hall and Sean “123 Kid” Waltman. We learn that the history of the group dates back to 1985 when HBK first met Scott Hall and later worked with him in the AWA, before Hall arrived in the WWF in 1992 as Razor Ramon. Hall knew Nash in WCW then Michaels saw him on an edition of WCW Saturday Night as Vinnie Vegas in early 1993 and asked Vince McMahon to poach Nash from WCW to be Shawn’s on screen bodyguard Diesel in WWF.
The trio were later joined by Waltman after Nash saw him put glue in the Smoking Gunns’ Stetsons; Nash liked Waltman’s moxie but also offered him protection from the Gunns and invited him to join the gang. Nash then claims that they used to watch WCW as it was so bad but they conveniently all liked one particular newcomer named Terra Ryzin aka Paul Levesque, because of course they did!
Levesque arrived in WWF in 1995 and was welcomed to the group because he didn’t “party” like the others so he could be the responsible one (although it has been rumoured that he was initially the bag boy for the group). Vince McMahon interestingly tells us his future son-in-law was always the spokesman for the group whenever they had meeting with him as he could articulate their concerns with a cooler head, thus felt he was the true leader.
While Lex Luger is credited with naming the group The Kliq, he says it was Davey Boy Smith who first coined it. Either way, the name was adopted as their notoriety gained momentum, becoming a law unto themselves. Also mentioned is another locker room group named BSK – Bone Street Krew – consisting of Undertaker (who has the name tattooed on his stomach), Godfather, Fatu (Rikishi), Yokozuna, Savio Vega and Henry Godwinn. The Kliq never messed with them. I wonder why…
Because The Kliq were the young lions of the era whose workrate was keeping the company afloat during a downturn in business, they gained a lot of leeway backstage in terms of their creative input. As they tell it themselves, their “passion” led them to butt heads on many occasions with Vince on rejuvenating and modernising the product which usually met with resistance.
This is of course bitterly ironic as Nash always said he was only it for the money and his second, more famous stint in WCW showed that he was incapable of pushing anyone but himself. Later the same selfish principle would be evident on WWE TV when Triple H was presented as the be all and end of all of wrestling at the same time he started dating Stephanie McMahon. Coincidence?
As this is a candid(ish) piece dissenting voices are shared with the likes of Bret Hart, Dean Malenko and Shane Douglas weighing in with their opinions, the latter saying he had to leave before his lost his temper with The Kliq. In the late 90’s when Scott Hall left WCW and worked a couple of shots with ECW, Shane Douglas reportedly threw a huge wobbler and demanded Hall left – that’s how deep his hatred runs.
To their credit, the guys themselves openly admit they were seen as trouble, boasting about how they used to exaggerate their payoffs to wind up the other guys in the locker room, which did them no favours. Added to how they seemed to have an influence on who should or shouldn’t be pushed, it is no wonder their infamy is legendary and has incurred such long lasting enmity.
Of course we have to expect some WWE revisionism, appearing during the telling of Hall and Nash leaving for WCW. Said to be purely about money, they omit how Hall had actually been suspended for two months for testing positive for cocaine in 1996, which is why Roddy Piper faced Goldust at Wrestlemaina 12 instead of Razor. The now legendary MSG Curtain Call incident is discussed in detail, again revealing Vince had approved it but not to the lengths it went to.
While this is an interesting and revealing story, told with some candour but little regret, it is difficult to have an objective opinion about the men involved. Some will see them as a cool bunch of mavericks fighting the system, while others will see them as arrogant upstarts. None of the quintet come off particularly bad (although Waltman with his silly bandana is a risible sight) nor do they necessarily come off to well in places either, leaving us to respect their frankness only.
A selection of matches showing the various members teaming together or facing off against each other makes up the bulk of this collection (the main feature is just over an hour long) which will provide some nostalgia for those of you of a certain vintage.
Whether you see The Kliq as rebels with a cause or obnoxious egomaniacs this release offers us a unique insight into their world and the impact, good or bad, they had on the WWE and pro-wrestling.
English SDH Subtitles
WCW Nitro – July 14th 1997 – Scott Hall & Syxx vs. Harlem Heat
WWF Smackdown March 21st 2002 – Kevin Nash vs. The Rock
WWE TLC – December 18th 2011 – Sledgehammer Ladder Match – Triple H vs. Kevin Nash
WWE Wrestlemania 31 – March 29th 2015 – Triple H vs. Sting
Rating – ***
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