If rumours are to be believed ‘The Kliq’ are to join the already announced Mick Foley, and Bob Backlund as inductees in the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame. The group, who actually never wrestled together and are more accurately a backstage group, were comprised of Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Sean Waltman.
The Klique lists some of the most well known and successful names from wrestling history. Surely their inclusion in the HOF is a no brainer?
The group began life as a close knit group of superstars who looked out for each other behind the scenes and used their influence to engineer contracts and storylines in their favour. In most other professions this may be called a union, but a union is something that has never been able to be formed in the pro wrestling industry. As such they were seen as a clique (as they came to be known) and their actions both on and off screen have been controversial, but have undeniably been a major influence on the pro wrestling business over the last twenty years.
It’s an interesting rumour that The Kliq should be inducted and one of the things that make their potential induction most interesting and controversial is that the group has never really existed on WWE TV. There are two occasions where The Kliq have kinda appeared on screen as a group. Firstly when Shawn Michaels was inducted into the Hall of Fame by Triple H in 2011, and was later joined on stage by Kevin Nash and X Pac. This was significant as it’s unusual for the inductee to be joined on stage by wrestlers who weren’t inducting them. The second occasion came on NXT a couple of weeks back when there was a reunion of D-Generation X; Michaels, Hunter, Billy Gunn and Waltman were all there (Road Dogg was missing understandably as it was only a short period after his brother died), along with Kevin Nash, who was never a member of DX. It’s clear by doing this WWE was catering to the longer term fan, and also to those who are probably aware this was closer to a version of the Kliq rather than a straight forward DX/nWo mash up.
Over the years there have been many on screen nods and winks between the faction members, but the above count for the only televised instances as a unit. So are a group who have only two real on screen appearances worthy of being inducted into the Hall of Fame? The instant argument is that Drew Carey was inducted and he is a non wrestler whose only contribution to wrestling was when eliminated himself from a Royal Rumble once. With cases like him, Pete Rose and to a lesser extent Mike Tyson, the argument can be made that anyone who has ever stepped foot into a wrestling ring is eligible for HOF induction. So why shouldn’t The Kliq be honoured? The simple answer is that sometimes the whole isn’t greater than its parts. And inducting the group as a whole may prove to be as much of a disservice as it is a service.
Last year saw the induction of The Four Horsemen; Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Barry Windham, Tully Blanchard, and J.J Dillion. This is a relevant comparison to the Kliq being inducted in a number of ways. Like Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels has previously been inducted into the HOF. Michaels would become the second man to be inducted twice which is of course a great honour. A major difference between the two groups comes in inducting its remaining members. Few people would doubt Arn Anderson should have been inducted and Barry Windham is a former NWA World Champion, but it has to be said that with each additional member who is mentioned they have had a lesser impact on most fan’s memories then the last. The Kliq aren’t too different. Not all of them world champions, and with respect, it’s obvious to everyone that Triple H has had a bigger effect on wrestling then Billy Gunn. It shouldn’t be implied that Gunn or Waltman don’t deserve the coveted gold rings, but does it cheapen the entry of other members?
Ric Flair was inducted twice, and it won’t be seen as an outrage if The Heart Break Kid is too. But to get a second induction as part of a group is different than getting a second induction as an individual. No one from the Horsemen are going to get an individual second induction now they’ve been honoured as a group. It wouldn’t make sense, and other then maybe Anderson, none of the others are so important to the general wrestling fan to get that honour. With The Kliq it’s slightly different. Put them all in as a group and it wouldn’t make sense to re-honour Sean Waltman again in five years time. But what about Triple H or Kevin Nash? Surely they are big enough names to warrant an individual honour.
Triple H is a multi time world champion, has main evented umpteen WrestleManias and although his relationship with Stephanie McMahon has at times cast a shadow over his success, he has been hugely successful regardless. Kevin Nash is also a multi time world champion, main eventer, and has arguably through his time with the nWo had an even bigger lasting effect on professional wrestling. Either man could be the headlining inductee into a Hall of Fame class of any year. Wouldn’t it be a crying shame if either man was inducted as part of group where they don’t get their individual time in the spotlight?
On the flip side the WWE may see a group induction as the only way to induct people like Waltman and Scott Hall (should he be included). Their reputations don’t fit with WWE’s modern image or wellness policy and it may be seen as a big risk to make fanfare about them as individuals should any further private life controversies were to occur. Whilst Chyna may be the focal point of One Night in Chyna, let’s not forget it took two to tango and the other was Waltman. With recent reports that Diamond Dallas Page is helping Scott Hall get back on his feet and improve his life, the timing may be right to induct him in a positive ‘Rocky Balboa’ comeback style story.
So what would be the solution? In 2011 when the ceremony was happening out of Atlanta, it was rumoured to be a WCW themed year with Bill Goldberg as the headlining inductee. Whether this rumour was true or not it didn’t happen. But the idea of a themed year was an interesting one, and the idea of a Kliq/DX/nWo themed year is certainly a very marketable one. So far they’ve already announced Mick Foley and Bob Backlund, both of whom are former world champions and have made significant impacts on the WWE, so a Kliq theme may be beyond the realms of possibility. Imagine a whole night where The New Age Outlaws, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman, Kevin Nash, and Triple H were inducted individually. Maybe others who were important to DX and the nWo could get the nod. Rick Rude seems an obvious candidate as he was in both DX and the nWo (on the same night when he appeared on both Raw and Nitro the same night).
To induct the Kliq is obvious and undoubtedly will happen. To induct them all with one induction speech between them seems a big disregard of them as individual talents and contributors to the world of wrestling. Whether the WWE intends to go ahead with inducting the Kliq remains to be seen.
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This article was first posted on January 23, 2013