Twenty years ago today, one of the most infamous incidents in wrestling happened. At the conclusion of a live event at Madison Square Garden, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Diesel and Razor Ramon embraced in the ring. It was a major breach of kayfabe in a business that had fought so hard to protect it, and a perfect symbol of The Kliq's legacy.
The story of five top wrestlers (the aforementioned four plus Sean "X-Pac" Waltman) controlling the business in the late 1990s has been told many times before, but this DVD is far more honest about what The Kliq meant to wrestling than perhaps any production before it.
The Kliq Rules begins in present day, as all five reunite in makeshift locker room, presumably on the weekend of Kevin Nash's 2015 WWE Hall of Fame induction. As the documentary points out, it's truly amazing that all five members are still alive and healthy today, given their penchant for hard-living back in the day. This is even more evident than when the documentary was produced by the recent passing of associate Kliq member Chyna.
We're then shown how The Kliq formed: Scott Hall and Shawn Michaels knew each other from the territory days; Hall and Nash met while in WCW; Michaels saw Nash wrestling as Vinnie Vegas in WCW and brought him into the WWF; and Waltman and Triple H eventually found their way into the fold. According to Triple H, the group truly had a passion for the business and would talk about it non-stop without "bitching and complaining" about backstage politics.
Of course, a huge part of said politics were because of The Kliq, which this documentary doesn't really shy away from. Because Michaels and company had considerable clout outside the ring, they were able to parlay that into getting an audience with Vince McMahon. The Kliq openly admits they used this to their advantage on a regular basis, convincing the boss to make changes in order to adapt with the times. As Michaels says, sometimes they made the right calls and sometimes they didn't.
The documentary doesn't really shy away from the partying proclivities of various Kliq members, most notably Hall, Waltman and Michaels back in the day. Triple H is credited here for keeping the group out of too much trouble while they indulged in who knows what on the road.
This leads to the 20 year old Curtain Call incident and the good luck that two fans happened to be filming it (or the event never would have been recorded). We get both The Kliq's side and the locker room's side of that incident..... and while none of this is a huge surprise, it makes for an interesting perspective.
Following the Curtain Call, Nash and Hall (and later Waltman) depart for WCW, with a recurring theme that both groups would be able to control their various promotions. When you think about how much control they had over the WWF and WCW products, this is not an inaccurate statement: they really did wield a ton of backstage power in both New York and Atlanta.
Of course, the Monday Night Wars are fought once again here (possibly for the billionth time in WWE DVD history) and then everyone comes back to WWE around 2002. Vince McMahon openly admits that the nWo reunion was painful to watch and that Hall in particular wasn't ready for another run at the spotlight.
Beyond interviewing The Kliq themselves, a huge cross-section of voices help to tell the story, including The Undertaker, Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, Eric Bischoff, Diamond Dallas Page, Bret Hart, Sting, Lex Luger, Vince Russo, Shane Douglas, Billy Gunn, Ted DiBiase, Chris Jericho, The Godfather, Justin Credible, Sunny, Rick Steiner (ummm... okay?) and even Hulk Hogan. They even managed to track down the two kids (at the time) who filmed The Curtain Call on their camcorder in 1996! An incredible and diverse panel that really helped to tell this story.
The match selection itself isn't bad, but these are probably matches you've all seen before, including Razor Ramon vs. The 123 Kid; the Michaels-Ramon ladder match from WrestleMania X; and a ton of matches featuring The Kliq in all kinds of different combinations from both WWF and WCW. Really, most people would buy this DVD for the documentary portion. Everything else is already on various DVDs or better yet, available on the WWE Network.
Overall.... this is a cool documentary that definitely has some meat on the bones. It's more realistic than many WWE productions often are, and yet a lot of the story has already well told by The Kliq members and others over the years. I'd be hesitant to buy this one, but it's definitely worth tracking down on the WWE Network if one is so inclined.