On May 19, 1996, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Shawn Michaels, and Triple H held conference in the ring after a cage match at Madison Square Garden; it was the infamous “curtain call,” and just days prior to Nash and Hall parting ways with the WWF before venturing into WCW. Vince McMahon saw the “curtain call” as not only “bad for business,” but also bad for Triple H. His future son-in-law would have to reap the aftermath of the house show incident: Michaels was the champ, and Nash and Hall were under contract with the Atlanta-based organization.
Triple H’s punishment was being relegated to lower-card matches and insignificant feuds. Before that, however, he was to job in a squash match at WrestleMania XII against the returning Ultimate Warrior, a larger-than-life WWF superstar who helped place the sports-entertainment giant on the map in the late ’80s. Warrior was a flashy superstar, rippling with muscle and doused in vibrant colors and facepaint. His frenetic entrance saw him sprint into the ring and shake the ropes with the force of a hurricane. His interview style was unique, to say the least — speaking in abstract forms, he called upon the gods who created him, and often cited cosmic and metaphysical terms in breaking down his next opponent.