D-Generation X is one of the most celebrated factions in World Wrestling Entertainment, thanks in large part to the fact that it was instrumental in the company's victory over World Championship Wrestling during the Monday Night Wars and, more importantly, helped revolutionize the industry.
Thus, it should be to the surprise of no one that the group's reunions typically receive a great deal of airtime and publicity.
In 2009, the group reunited in the face of a threat by Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase to dominate WWE. Shawn Michaels and Triple H, the best of friends, formed an unbreakable bond in an attempt to halt the momentum of young Rhodes and DiBiase.
To do so, they would have to step inside the devil's playground known as Hell in a Cell.
But first, their story.
The rivalry between Triple H and Randy Orton early in 2009 became an intensely personal war by the time WrestleMania XXV rolled around. Orton physically assaulted The Game's family, including wife Stephanie, leaving the then-WWE champion seething.
He defeated The Viper on the biggest stage in the sport but dropped his title to the third-generation star a month later at Backlash.
Following the defeat, Triple H would remain in the title hunt but would eventually segue into a rivalry with DiBiase and Rhodes.
The second- and third-generation stars, respectively, were positioned as the future of the industry, and the best way to put them in position to succeed was to give them maximum exposure in a rivalry with someone with the reputation and star power of The Game.
Triple H realized that he was outnumbered and that the blossoming young stars were far more of a challenge than he probably gave them credit for. He needed a reinforcement. He needed Shawn Michaels. Convincing the Heartbreak Kid to come back to the squared circle proved much more difficult than he imagined.
Michaels, as it turned out, was working as a chef in a restaurant, putting up with whiny customers and bratty kids on a daily basis. With Triple H nagging him about a return and a young girl complaining about a poorly made salad, Michaels gave in and agreed to return to the ring.
At SummerSlam, D-Generation X defeated Legacy in a huge tag team match that saw Michaels and Triple H look as good as ever and DiBiase and Rhodes rise to the occasion.
One month later, at Breaking Point, Rhodes and DiBiase expertly isolated their veteran opponents from one another and scored an impressive Submission match victory over DX.
At Hell in a Cell in October, they would wrestle a rubber match inside the most dangerous structure in the sport.
A lot of fans felt cheated by the match in the immediate fallout from the 2009 Hell in a Cell show, but in retrospect, the D-Generation X vs. Legacy main event was one of the most original and clever matches WWE has produced in some time. More importantly, it was one of the best to be produced at the now-annual October pay-per-view.
The beauty in the match came in the drama and sympathy created by all involved. Rhodes and DiBiase, proving far smarter and resourceful than they were given credit for, locked Triple H outside the cell and brutally and methodically picked apart Michaels inside the structure.
Michaels, who is so good at getting the fans to elicit an emotional response, was such a sympathetic figure during his assault that fans were desperate to see Triple H break back into the cell and unleash his rage and fury on his opponents.
The booking was a play on the Breaking Point match, which saw Legacy again break up DX and work on them individually en route to a victory. This time, however, it did not work. Triple H did break back into the cell and D-Generation X did defeat DiBiase and Rhodes to blow the feud off in spectacular fashion.
An underrated, old school-style classic that deserves another watch, for sure.
Coming out of Hell in a Cell, D-Generation X was extremely hot. It rode the momentum from the win over Legacy to a Triple Threat WWE Championship match at Survivor Series. Their opponent? John Cena. That match would be another underrated gem, won by Cena, that continued to demonstrate the ability of Triple H and Michaels to tell stories unlike any other stars on the roster.
DiBiase and Rhodes lost a great deal of heat they had heading into Hell in a Cell, and WWE Creative promptly began planting the seeds for a split. At WrestleMania XXVI, the break became a compound fracture as Rhodes, DiBiase and mentor Randy Orton met in a huge Triple Threat match. Orton emerged victorious while Rhodes and DiBiase faded into obscurity, the work of WWE Creative and DX months proving futile.