D-Generation X—WWE’s answer to WCW’s NWO during the company’s “Attitude Era”–are the first inductees announced for the 2019 Hall of Fame. WWE will induct the six core members of the group: HHH (Paul Levesque), Shawn Michaels (Michael Hickenbottom), “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn (Monty Sopp), “Road Dogg” Jesse James (Brian James), X-Pac (Sean Waltman), and Ninth Wonder of the World, Chyna (Joanie Laurer).
Additional DX members Ravishing Rick Rude (Richard Rood), Tori (Terri Poch), and Stephanie McMahon will not be a part of the HoF group–though Rude was inducted as a singles wrestler in 2017.
The impetus of the group began with the Kliq, a group of friends in the mid-to-upper card of then-WWF with HHH, Michaels, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Waltman aka The 1-2-3- Kid. With Hall and Nash signing on with WCW, they departed the WWF in 1996. Hall and Nash would later join forces with Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea) to form the NWO – while the WWF created stables like the Nation of Domination, Hart Foundation and DX to make the best use of their depleted roster.
Bret “The Hitman” Hart shared the top spotlight with Michaels in a bitter rivalry as the “Attitude Era” started to solidify. Hart recruited his former tag partner and brother-in-law Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, his brother Owen Hart, his other brother-in-law, ”The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith, and ”The Loose Cannon” Brian Pillman to form pro-Canadian/anti-American stable, The Hart Foundation.
Michaels, HHH, Chyna, and Rude formed the original incarnation of DX–though Rude left WWF in favor of WCW the following week. Since the formation of the group took place when WWF taped Monday Night Raw right after their live broadcasts on the next day to air the following Monday, Rude became the only wrestler to appear on both Raw and WCW Monday Nitro simultaneously.
While ”Stone Cold” Steve Austin provided the no-nonsense blue-collar everyman brawler, DX provided frat boy humor and the risqué behavior that defined much of the “Attitude Era.” When Michaels went into semi-retirement to heal his back following his WrestleMania match with Austin, HHH became the leader of the group–recruiting Waltman (now called X-Pac, a play on his ring name in WCW as Syxx-Pac) and the New Age Outlaws, one of the more dominant tag teams for WWF at the time.
The five-some continued their juvenile antics, even “invading” the offices of WCW in full military gear. Despite no presence of any WCW talent, the stunt proved to be successful and the gloves were off in “The Monday Night War.”
The group eventually splintered off as HHH made the group heels as Levesque’s wife Stephanie McMahon joined the group. Chyna went on to a successful single’s career wrestling women and men–winning the Intercontinental Championship from Jeff Jarrett before her 2001 departure from WWF. The group ran its course as the company transitioned from WWF to WWE – with the occasional reunion and HHH and Michaels running as a twosome throughout the 2000s.
Since Michaels’ retirement in 2010–not counting the team’s one-off at Crown Jewel in 2018–the group (sans Chyna) reunited on several occasions. In more recent years, the reunions expanded to include others, like the Kliq/DX reunion at Raw 25 (Nash couldn’t make it due to medical issues).
HHH serves more in an executive role in WWE, with the occasional novelty match. Michaels makes occasional appearances but takes more acting projects. Gunn worked on and off for WWE and at one point, held a backstage role – now taking on producer duties for All Elite Wrestling (AEW). Waltman wrestles the independent scene on occasion and adopted “Pac” as his ringname since WWE owns his WWE and WCW personas. James currently works as lead writer for the Raw brand.
Chyna died in April 2016 at the age of 46, having struggled with addiction while trying to start a new career in acting–even attempting to restart her professional wrestling career. WWE fans have long wanted Chyna inducted into the Hall of Fame as a singles wrestler for her achievements, so for many this news has been a long time coming.
If Chyna were to end up a two-time inductee, she would have some fine additional company, too! Keep in mind, Ric Flair (Richard Fliehr) is a two-time inductee, as a singles wrestler and as a member of The Four Horsemen in NWA/WCW. With DX, Michaels will also be two-time inductee; and the NWO will most likely be inducted as their original incarnation of Hall, Nash, and Hogan–previously, they were inducted under their WWE personas: Razor Ramon,Diesel, and Hulk Hogan, respectively.
On the other hand, Chyna entering the WWE HoF as part of DX makes her a posthumous inductee–would the WWE want her to be a posthumous inductee twice? It would be a travesty to ignore what Chyna did as a singles wrestler.