Inside the real story of how Triple H and Shawn Michaels created D-Generation X to define WWE’ Attitude Era

Wrestling has had a number of eras, but few spark nostalgia like the Attitude Era.

It was a time in the WWE where factions were born, hell was raised and the limits of what a company could show on TV was pushed to the limit.

dx2 - Inside the real story of how Triple H and Shawn Michaels created D-Generation X to define WWE’ Attitude Era
DX was formed in 1997 when Shawn Michaels, left, named the stable with Triple H and Chyna, while Rick Rude was Michaels’ bodyguard
WWE

D-Generation X is a group many consider the godfathers of the Attitude Era, which began in 1997 and the group who ushered it in.

Shawn Michaels and Triple H founded the group with the latter’s then partner and on-screen bodyguard, Chyna. Rick Rude was also brought in as Michael’s bodyguard.

Michaels told the LA Times that the fun he and Triple H had on the road eventually led to DX’s creation.

“We would ride in the car together and say “My goodness if we could just bring who we are in the car out on TV,” he said.

“We finally convinced the powers that be to give us a chance. We just went out there and hammed it up, because we naturally bring that out of each other. The humour was sophomoric, but that’s who we were back then.

NINTCHDBPICT000574682181 - Inside the real story of how Triple H and Shawn Michaels created D-Generation X to define WWE’ Attitude Era
DX are one of the most popular creations of the Attitude Era and were inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019
Getty Images – Getty

“We were bad guys, but after a while it got to a point where people started enjoying it. The great thing about live events is you get an instant reaction, and that was very encouraging for us. People in the back wanted to reel us in, and we wanted to keep going.”

So who came up with the name? According to Triple H, Shane McMahon had a light bulb moment when he heard Bret Hart label them degenerates in a promo.

“Bret said, ‘You’re nothing but a bunch of loser degenerates,’ and then Shawn said, ‘No, we’re degenerates, we’re generation X, we are D-Generation X.’ And that was the first time we said it.”

Mike Tyson bio - Inside the real story of how Triple H and Shawn Michaels created D-Generation X to define WWE’ Attitude Era
Mike Tyson was an honorary member of DX before screwing them over and aligning with Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania

Although this period is remembered fondly and saw plenty of rude antics from DX, it didn’t last that long. Following the Montreal Screwjob in late 1997, Michaels then headed for a feud with Steve Austin that led into WrestleMania 14 in 1998.

Before that, though, DX were hanging on by a thread on more than one occasion. If it wasn’t for Michaels’ star power, it could have ended a whole lot sooner.

“At that time, we were constantly being threatened,” Triple H said. “We were pointing at our crotch and saying ‘suck it’ and mooning and doing all this crazy shit and coming back and having Vince [McMahon] just screaming at us like, ‘What are you guys doing? I’m gonna fire you.’”

During their initial run, DX constantly butted heads with their boss as he perceived them to be going too far. When they got a letter from the TV network complaining about their antics, they turned into a skit, much to the delight of the network.

With that success came meddling from the powers that be, but Triple H recalls Michaels emphatically telling McMahon interference from above wouldn’t happen.

“And then it started to become encouraged and then they wanted to try to script us,” Triple H continued. “And I remember Shawn crumbling a piece of paper, throwing it and bouncing it off Vince’s forehead, and saying, ‘You didn’t write it before, you ain’t writing it now,’ and walking out of the room.

“I was like, ‘I’m just going to go with him.’ It was tense but it was good.”

For the WrestleMania match, heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson served as the referee and he even joined DX in the lead up to the bout, only for Tyson to screw DX on the night and align with the new champion, Stone Cold Steve Austin.
In the space of six months, DX had done their fair share of brash, envelope pushing promos, but a back injury forced Michaels to retire and ride off into the sunset – or so he thought.

xac - Inside the real story of how Triple H and Shawn Michaels created D-Generation X to define WWE’ Attitude Era
X-Pac joined DX from WCW in 1998, but he was very familiar with Triple H from their real-life friendship in The Klique

Following WrestleMania 14, Triple H appeared on RAW and said Michaels had ‘dropped the ball’ and he would create a DX army of his own.

Sean Waltman – aka X-Pac – returned to the company from WCW and DX in 1998 and the New Age Outlaws – Road Dogg and Billy Gunn – who were one of the best tag teams in the world at the time, were also recruited.

Over the next year, DX went from bad guys to the most popular group in the company.

One thing the group has always been known for is their legendary ‘suck it’ taunt.

Triple H and Shawn Michaels brought it to prominence, but it stepped up a gear with the new arrivals in the group.

Triple H says it was a joke that got over. “I couldn’t go out there and point at my crotch and say something to somebody.

“But I could look at somebody and say, ‘Man, I’m hurt really bad. It doesn’t hurt so much here’ and motion towards my face, or ‘here,’ and motion towards my knees. ‘But it hurts right here’ and point towards my crotch. And that slowly began to morph. It was like our insider way of saying suck it without saying it.”

Of course, the peak moment of the group in many eyes was their invasion of WCW during the Monday Night Wars on a tank.

The group’s end in the Attitude Era really occurred because Triple H was ready to spread his wings as a bona find singles star in 1999.

While he would later work with them again inside the confines of the McMahon-Helmsley faction, it wasn’t the same and Triple H’s ascension caused some real-life contention in the group.

Bully Gunn e1585761656857 - Inside the real story of how Triple H and Shawn Michaels created D-Generation X to define WWE’ Attitude Era
Triple H won his second world title to kick off 2000, but it was clear DX was just a supporting act for him

However, they left an indelible mark on the industry and wider-world for rebellious behaviour and crude antics that are still revered to this day. They set an entire tone in the industry that won’t soon, if ever, be duplicated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *