Levesque was known backstage as one of the members of The Kliq, a stable of wrestlers including; Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Sean Waltman and Scott Hall, who were known for influencing Vince McMahon and the WWF creative team. It has been claimed that he was scheduled to win the 1996 King of the Ring tournament, but the victory was instead awarded to Stone Cold Steve Austin after the Madison Square Garden Incident, in which the Kliq broke character after a match to say goodbye to the departing Nash and Hall. Despite the punishment, Helmsley did have success following the MSG Incident. Mr. Perfect became his manager and he won the Intercontinental Championship for the first time on October 21, 1996, defeating Marc Mero. When Mr. Perfect left the WWF, his departure was explained to be a result of Helmsley turning his back on his manager as soon as he won the Intercontinental Championship. Helmsley held the title for nearly four months before dropping it to Rocky Maivia on the February 13, 1997 special episode of Monday Night Raw, called Thursday Raw Thursday. For a very brief time, Helmsley was accompanied by Mr. Hughes, who was his storyline bodyguard reminiscent of Ted DiBiase and Virgil. After losing the Intercontinental title, he feuded with Goldust, defeating him at WrestleMania 13. During their feud, Chyna debuted as his new bodyguard.