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What If The Curtain Call Hadn’t Happened?

Mike Chin
Top 5 / Top 10
4.38K   //    31 Jul 2018, 21:00 IST

The Kliq
The Kliq made history in a lot of ways. The Curtain Call may have been their most infamous moment.

In the contemporary wrestling world, it’s no secret that what fans watch on TV and in arenas is worked. The outcomes are predetermined; the wrestlers are working not in combat, but in tandem; and promos are delivered in character, if not outright scripted by writers behind the scenes. Indeed, nowadays, WWE even releases its own documentaries and shoot interviews that peel back kayfabe to reveal the inner workings of the business.

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Things were different in 1996. Vince McMahon had started using the term sports entertainment, and it was increasingly common to find fans who were “smartened up” rather than ”marks” who accepted pro wrestling happenings as entirely real. Just the same, those who made their living in the wrestling world were generally still quite protective of kayfabe, rarely outright revealing the fix was into anyone outside of the business.

So it was that the Curtain Call made waves. This incident saw real-life friends Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Diesel, and Razor Ramon forewent kayfabe face and heel lines to celebrate in the ring together one last time, on the eve of the latter stars departing for WCW.

It was one of the most significant and infamous instances of wrestlers breaking kayfabe in public and an important moment in WWE history. This article speculates what might have been had it never gone down at all.

#5 Triple H Wins King of the Ring 1996

Triple H
Triple H carried the weight of responsibility for the Curtain Call.

As WWE has openly acknowledged in documentaries including the Thy Kingdom Come Triple H feature, The Game was originally slated to win the 1996 King of the Ring tournament to start a major push toward the top of the company. WWE management felt the need to punish someone for the breach of kayfabe, though. As reigning world champ, Shawn Michaels was thought of us as untouchable, while Diesel and Razor Ramon had just finished with the company. Thus, Helmsley was the one left behind to bear the consequences of the group’s actions.

The Cerebral Assassin would end up winning the tournament one year later, in many ways picking up where he left off. Nonetheless, he missed out on this big break and spent a several month period mostly jobbing out before he got put back on track. In the end, this may have been the best for Triple H getting the chance to prove his mettle in weathering the storm without complaint, but it was difficult to see that upside at the moment.

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