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Sunday, January 3, 2016

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Retrospective: The Impact of D-Generation X

By @TrueGodImmortal

When we talked about the Attitude Era, we never brought up the actual matches, the ability of the wrestlers in the ring, but more so talked about their ability to entertain and keep the audience watching. There could be no further evidence of this than the meteoric rise of DX aka D-Generation X, the rule breaking faction that would end up as one of the most successful stables in wrestling history. The origin of DX is hilarious in essence in many ways, as Shawn Michaels initially set out to have himself and his best friend Triple H as a heel faction along with Triple H's bodyguard Chyna. It would be dubbed "The Kliq" during one October 1997 promo, before eventually getting the name D-Generation X and Rick Rude joined the fold for a brief time.

After Rude left WWF, DX would continue as a trio, with Chyna getting more active into their promos and matches. Their initial run was short lived however, as Shawn suffered a career ending back injury that would sideline him in March 1998 right after Wrestlemania 14. However, before the end of that first run, DX would piss off the network and some of the censors with their antics and poke fun at it. This was the basis of the beginning of the Attitude Era. While Austin would be drinking beer, cursing and throwing up middle fingers, DX was more potty humor and testing the limits of what was allowed on TV. After Shawn would leave WWF, the dynamic of the DX faction would change drastically.

X-Pac, formerly the 1-2-3 Kid in the WWF would return the night after Wrestlemania 14 to help Triple H continue the DX run and era. The New Age Outlaws would join with them later on as well to make for a new era of DX, and a new feel to the group itself. While the humor was much of the same, DX went from the group who pissed everyone off, to the group that the rest of the world laughed with. With Triple H as the face of the group, DX would begin to wage war on the militant black group Nation of Domination. Now, there is a bit of an undertone in this feud of racism, and I recognize it more now as an adult, but in those earlier years, there was truly nothing that DX could do wrong.

DX pushed limits, as I said earlier, and their feud with The Nation would make for some hilarious (and uncomfortable) promos and segments, as well as some great matches. One of the better matches of the DX face run came out of the Rock and Triple H feud over the Intercontinental Championship. They had a few amazing matches for the belt and Triple H would eventually win the feud and beat the Rock at Summerslam 1998 for the belt. Unfortunately, an injury to Triple H soon after would slow down the momentum of the group a bit, and while they still were popular and entertaining, their segments lacked a certain feel to them during these months. X-Pac stayed active and the New Age Outlaws were easily over and just as popular, if not more popular than Triple H in some ways.

When Triple H returned, things just felt different again, and not in a good way. Admittedly, without the great nemesis of the Nation to go against, DX had very little direction and this is something that rarely goes mentioned when speaking of the group. The DX run of October 1997-September 1998? Nothing short of amazing. The DX run between October 1998-February 1999? Pretty boring and nothing substantial came out of it. One thing that became painfully obvious about DX was that it was intended only to put Triple H in a main event spot with no real concern with where the other guys went. The New Age Outlaws were close to surpassing Triple H in popularity and ovation, and right as this grew, Chyna defected from DX to join the Corporation and Kane. This would give the DX a small boost again, as they would feud with the Corporation, but the most noteworthy part of the DX vs Corporation feud would be the X-Pac vs Shane feud. There was interest in Triple H vs Kane, but in review, that feud was quite bland and featured too many turns. Chyna would turn on Kane, going back with Triple H and it seemed like DX was back once again, until Triple H turned on X-Pac later that night and joined the Corporation. In my mind, this would be the official end of the DX in the Attitude Era.

Sure, many know that DX reunited as heels in late 1999 to kick off what would become the McMahon-Helmsley era (more on that later this week), but they merely served as helpers to Triple H as he began his reign of dominance as a top heel for the next year or two in WWF. X-Pac would end up involved with insignificant feuds, the Outlaws would win tag team gold and feud with Rock N' Sock Connection briefly, but Triple H was so far ahead of everyone else. Eventually, DX would break away again, this time more so organically, as Chyna moved away from HHH, X-Pac split away and started his own faction called X-Factor, and the Outlaws would eventually split up again as well. Road Dogg would end up starting a peculiar team with K-Kwik (aka R-Truth), and Billy Gunn would flop as "The One" Billy Gunn (oh look, that rhymes).

Regardless, DX had an impact in the Attitude Era that you wouldn't believe. Whether the original trio of Shawn, Triple H and Chyna, or the version with Triple H, X-Pac, Chyna, and the New Age Outlaws, no matter what DX did in their prime, their presence was felt. As we begin Attitude Era week, there was only place to start. And if you're not down with that, I got two words for ya,

SUCK IT!!!!!



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