The Story of Shawn Michaels in 1995

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Formation of the Kliq (1995–1996)

Main article: The Kliq

Michaels returned to the ring as a fan favorite in May 1995 and he went on to defeat Jeff Jarrett to win his third Intercontinental Championship in July at In Your House 2: The Lumberjacks.[5][43] This led to a title defense against Razor Ramon at SummerSlam in a ladder match, which Michaels won.[5] Around this time, Michaels became the leader of a backstage group known as The Kliq.[5] Critics perceive the group to have sufficient clout with WWF owner Vince McMahon, becoming dominant wrestling figures in the WWF for several years in the mid-1990s, causing friction with other wrestlers. Michaels disputes the perception, saying that McMahon pushed only deserving wrestlers.[44] Michaels’s fan base was later nicknamed “The Kliq” as an inside reference to the real “Kliq”.[45] In October 1995, Michaels was the victim of a legit assault outside a bar in Syracuse, New York.[2] Due to not being able to compete, Michaels was forced to forfeit the Intercontinental Championship to his original opponent Dean Douglas at In Your House: Great White North,[46] who in turn Douglas lost the championship to Razor Ramon, another member of the Kliq.[47] This event has been cited as an example of the Kliq holding others down. During a match with Owen Hart on a November episode of Raw, Hart performed an enzuigiri that struck the back of Michaels’s head.[48] They continued the match, but Michaels collapsed in the ring, supposedly because he had suffered a concussion.[2][48] The concussion was scripted, which was kept from most fans at the time.[2] A retirement angle was written so that Michaels could take some time off after he came back from an injury too soon.[2]

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