Craig Wilson and Brian Damage
It’s Saturday so time for the latest instalment of ’This Week in Wrestling’. Today, in part 32, Craig talks about D-Generation X while Brian shares all the best viral content he’s stumbled upon this week.
Ah, sophomoric humour and risqué jokes, it was what the Attitude Era was, in part, all about, wasn’t it?
Whether it was Kai-En-Tai trying to chop off Val Venis’ “peepee”, Al Snow calling for Head, The Godfather attempting to bribe his opponents with an evening with one of his Hos or The Rock discussing the people’s “strudel”, it was an era pitched to a different audience.
Throw in the T&A heavy action, and it was little wonder that the hormonal 16-24 crowd tuned in so heavily every Monday (Friday in the UK) to catch, the then, Raw is War.
It was the direction that Vince McMahon wanted to take his company, in no small part to take head on the much edgier, and nWo dominated, WCW while also fixing a product that looked tired and dated. Announcing the new direction, in the promo below, McMahon talked about blurring the lines and no longer seeking to patronise the fanbase with a good vs evil focussed storylines.
The above promo was aired on the December 15, 1997, edition of Raw is War. But ironically, by then, the WWE tide had begun to change. Not only had, in the Montreal Screwjob, one of the most controversial moments in WWE history taken place but the stable of D-Generation X had already been created.
Formed of the legendary Shawn Michaels as well as the Killer Kowalsi trained duo of Triple H and his then love interest Chyna, the group would not only be regarded by some as the most controversial in WWE history but also one of the key parts of the success of the Attitude Era.
In fact, it was 20 years yesterday that the duo first, in an on-screen capacity, aligned. During a Raw match between HBK and Mankind, HHH and Chyna interfered and attacked Mankind before, the following week, the pair would team to face Mankind and The Undertaker.
As is widely known, the relationship between the pair went back further as part of The Kliq, most famously exemplified by the ‘Curtain Call’ where HBK, HHH, Kevin Nash and Scott all hugged in the ring after a house show, tearing apart, in the eyes of many, kayfabe. An incident that resulted in HHH no longer being the pick to win the 1996 King of the Ring – instead, Stone Cold Steve Austin would triumph.
But, looking back, it’s very difficult to downplay the significance of D-Generation X in shaping the future of the WWE, a future which would eventually become the ‘Attitude Era’ – an era injury prevented Shawn Michaels from really playing a fulsome role in.
After all, it was widely perceived that Shawn Michaels had, in Vince McMahon, a huge supporter. His antics, traditionally in the eyes of McMahon, would have been seen as beyond the pale. However, if anyone was going to get leeway from Vince, it was going to be HBK. In fact, it’s nigh impossible to think of anyone on the roster at the time, or perhaps even since that would get as much room to develop such an edgy character and group.
Of course, however, the biggest legacy of D-Generation X was the way that the aligning with Shawn Michaels helped elevate HHH. Prior to late 1997, although the powers that be rated him, exemplified by the pitch to win the 1996 King of the Ring, fans found it hard to get behind him. There is no doubt that his gimmick hindered him and it wasn’t really until Chyna became part of his act that fans got behind him, but even then, his career screamed mid-carder.
There was little, or really no, charisma on display as fans appeared interested in his muscle-bound valet rather than his shtick. But it was to change and by 1998 Triple H would, when as leader of DX, become one of the more important figures of the era and, later still, well, the rest is history.
So, as we mark 20 years since the seeds of D-Generation began to sow on WWE TV, it’s a great time to look back and see just what a huge impact the grouping had on the future of the company. Was their role as pivotal as that of, say, Stone Cold Steve Austin? Perhaps not. But there’s no denying they were a pre-curser to what went after them and it is no surprise, therefore, that the WWE are celebrating their role this week.
I’d never seen this before
Courtesy of SquaredCircle Reddit, here is Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar looking on backstage as the Undertaker reacts to the ending of his WrestleMania streak.
Chris Jericho and his family…
Booker Tea? Ingenious!
Stan Hansen really was feared in Japan…
This screen shot was from a Monday Night Raw episode in 2001. Hmmm, I wonder if that sign was held by a young Jason Jordan?
In case you didn’t know, former manager ‘The Mouth of the South’ Jimmy Hart opened up his own bar in Florida called Jimmy Hart’s Hall of Fame Bar and Tiki Deck.
Darren Young looks really jacked since he has been off television for months now. A WWE title reign must be imminent.
If you saw NXT last week, you would have seen Jenna Van Bemmel aka Jenna Van Muscles compete. She does look an awful lot like Charlotte Flair. Considering Ric Flair’s past history, is it plausible that this could end up being Jenna Flair? Woooo!
Now that is how you sell an Undertaker choke slam!
A cool old commercial with Jerry Lawler running for Mayor of Memphis, Tennessee. (He lost by the way)
Last Week on the Blog
In last week’s Sunday Sermon we looked back 20 years to SummerSlam 1997; on Monday we had part 31 of ‘Meanwhile, in WCW‘; on Tuesday we looked back at Dustin Runnels run with the WWF back in 1991; Wednesday’s we had part 19 of ‘Styles Clash: Clash of the Champions Revisited‘ looking at Clash of the Champion 17, Thursday’s Top Five looked at the biggest mistakes WCW made and we rounded off the week with part 126 of ‘Wrestling with Sin‘.
Next Week on the Blog
Tomorrow’s Sunday Sermon we predict next year’s WrestleMania, we look back at Shane Douglas’ initial run with the WWE and more.
All previous ‘This Week in Wrestling’ pieces can be read here.