Are You Ready?
The D-Generation X Tag Team Spotlight
In 1997, Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart were the faces of WWE, then the WWF. The most lasting element of programming from that time was their rivalry. Somewhere down the card a bit, usually smack dab in the middle of it, was Hunter Hearst Helmsley, later known as the much more marketable Triple H. They were best friends backstage, part of the group known as, “The Kliq,” which consisted of Sean Waltman (X-Pac), Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Shawn Michaels, and Triple H. All five men had an immeasurable impact on the Attitude Era, but we’re here to talk about DX.
For a long time, Triple H and Shawn pitched the idea of letting the two of them work together to Vince McMahon. They thought they had a great chemistry, and if allowed to let their real life personalities shine a bit, the fans would spark to it. I’m sure Vince agreed, but giving the two of them what they wanted would’ve meant working with them together, constantly. He didn’t want, “The Kliq,” working together at all, on camera. In short, McMahon knew it was a huge headache waiting to happen. He was right, but I’m sure VKM would agree the headache was worth it.
It started on August 11th, 1997. Chyna and Triple H came down to help HBK during his match with Mankind. Towards the end, the final piece for the original incarnation of DX, Rick Rude came down to the ring and nailed Mankind with a steel chair. After this, week in and week out, Triple H and Shawn would say or do the dirtiest, most sophomoric, but hilarious things they could think of on live television. A particular favorite of mine came during an in-ring promo segment with Sergeant Slaughter. Sarge has a certain way of speaking, which, shall we say, causes him to spray fluids.
So Triple H and Shawn brought helmets with plastic windshields on them, in order to continue the segment without catching a bunch of spit in the face. The helmets weren’t enough, however. It’s like driving down the street on a rainy day. What do you need? That’s right, windshield wipers.
Not long into the original incarnation of DX, Rick Rude jumped ship to the WCW. Then later, Michaels got injured and was forced to retire. Vince McMahon had two choices: let the whole thing die after WrestleMania 14, or let Triple H take the ball and run with it. He chose the latter, and it was a great option. This is what Triple H was waiting for from the moment he signed his contract with the company. The night after WrestleMania, Triple H opened Raw by taking to the stage and introducing the newest member of DX: X-Pac.
Later in that same night: Triple H recruited Road Dogg Jesse James and Bad Ass Billy Gunn. They were Triple H’s army. They were the new D-Generation X. They were just as great, if not better, than the original, plus they had more time to run free. The second DX was allowed to do anything they wanted. My personal favorite segment of this second incarnation was when they invaded WCW on a tank. That was insane. The lead up to it is also hilarious. At least the way Triple tells it.
According to him, they were coming up on a Monday Night Raw that would be held only two towns over from Monday Night Nitro. So Triple H said something to the effect of, “we should just go ride a tank over there,” and I guess Vince McMahon answered with something close to, “you know what? That’s exactly what we’re going to do.”
It was a genius move on Vince’s part. There was no way for WCW to look good. DX was outside the arena, holding court with a megaphone. Nobody cared that WCW was there. They wanted to hang out with DX. Then DX tried to ride their tank into the arena, causing WCW to look like cowards when they closed the door. Even if they let the degenerates enter the arena, it would’ve made them look terrible. DX would have been triumphant.
I was there on the night when the new DX broke up. It was weird. They didn’t do it on a Pay-per-view, or even in the ring. They did it on a backstage segment during a Raw at Madison Square Garden. As a kid, I was disappointed that they broke up. As an adult, I’m disappointed there wasn’t more put into it.
They went there separate ways from there. Triple H had an incredible singles run, constantly winning Championship gold. Then, in 2006, the original DX, Shawn Michaels and Triple H made their triumphant return to WWE programming. Their return segment was great. Triple H was put into a gauntlet match with all five members of the Spirit Squad, a bunch of athletically gifted jabronis whose gimmick was that they were male cheerleaders. Only Dolph Ziggler was ever able to shake that awful image. At one point, they were using the numbers game to great effect, and then HBK came out to rescue his buddy.
Anyway, now back and better than ever, DX began to work all their matches as a tag team. When they originally formed, both members were in successful single’s careers, so there was no room to work tag matches. With both of them out of the title picture, it made sense now. Some of the highlights from this time include a feud with Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon, another with Rated-RKO, the disappointingly short-lived team of Edge and Randy Orton, and a tag team ladder match with Jeri-Show, the team of Chris Jericho and Big Show.
Jericho and Show were WWE Tag Team Champions for that match. A win meant the first time that HBK and Triple H carried those titles together. They had each won numerous tag titles, but all with different partners. The longtime degenerates finally had some gold they could show off as a team.
And if you’re not down with that, I’m sure they’ve got two words for ya….