Not many wrestlers can say they’re a two-time WWE Hall of Famer but, after being inducted for a second time this year as part of the nWo, Sean Waltman – better known as X-Pac – has joined an elite club to do just that. With a wealth of experience to share, Waltman is already an established podcaster – but he has plenty more stories to tell and will be doing just that on his Pro Wrestling 4 Life podcast!
Speaking with Inside The Ropes‘ Kenny McIntosh, Sean Waltman discusses his new Afterbuzz show Pro Wrestling 4 Life, the WCW Invasion, being in a WarGames match, being inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame twice, his DX debut promo & more.
The first thing I want to talk to you is AEW Blood And Guts. NXT do WarGames. You’ve been in a WarGames before. What do you make of the modern style of the WarGames match? And what do you remember about being in one and what was that experience like?
Oh, my God, I loved it. I talked about it recently, especially since the news of Mongo’s health, it just made me think about a lot of that. It was so cool because, you know, I grew up on the WarGames, that era… It started in ’87. I started wrestling in like ’88-’89 but I was a kid when I started wrestling. I’m still a kid when WarGames came out and it was such a cool concept and there are a few things about it, like having to wait until everyone gets in before we could finish it. I mean, there are some things that I wasn’t quite sure of.
But overall, I just loved the match and it was cool to see the two rings and a roof on the cage. I was just grateful to be able to get in there and try to do something different in there, you know?
Yeah. I mean, you got to be in a WarGames with Ric Flair. Like, you can’t really get much better than that! NXT do WarGames. Is NXT somewhere you’re going to end up – either as a trainer or a performer?
Well, before the pandemic started, I was going down about once every month – for a week or two each month, and I was I was helping coach down there and I loved it! I really loved it! You know, just obviously things happen and that hasn’t been happening. I’m open to doing it again. I’m really busy but it’s something I really love doing. As far as getting back in the ring, I’m going to have a few more matches. I don’t know if it’s going to be there. I don’t know where it’s going to be. Maybe I’ll promote them myself! But yeah. No, NXT I just… I’m one of their biggest fans, aside from everything else.
I know you don’t want to single people out but, when you were down there, were there a couple of people who, when you were down there coaching, you thought, “This is someone to look out for”?
Oh, the ones the ones that have shined, you know, like Damian Priest is doing great. You know, obviously, Riddle – and the one I knew it’s going to be a huge star was Bianca. And more – like Angel Garza was in there. Just a lot of guys. I don’t want to leave anybody out. Austin Theory. There’s just a lot of… Xia Li! I could keep them out, man, as they come to my head. Well, you obviously Triple H is down there heading up NXT, Shawn Michaels is there. But like I was watching one of your moments a couple of weeks ago before I knew we were going to be talking and it was the promo when you came out as X-Pac the night after WrestleMania XIV. What was that like for you? Like, WWF had kind of blown up with the Tyson and Austin thing and you’re going to be out there the next night cutting this promo and you get to kind of see what you want to say.
Whatever I wanted!
What are your memories of that?
You know, I was a little nervous, I was a little nervous because I’ve been fairly candid about my fear of talking in public. Like, I got over it. It was a big moment. It was one of the most important moments of my career. For me, the most important moment of my career was the 123 Kid, beating Razor Ramon thing – but this is top three. Vince told me before I went out and he went, “They’re expecting something big from you. Go and give it to them.” And it wasn’t, “Hey, you should say this. You say that.” It was, “Whatever you want to say, just go out there and get it off your chest.” It was a little rough around the edges, but it was 100 percent, man. 110, actually, percent authentic and a lot behind it, and it worked.
For sure, I mean, I think because it was so authentic as well, it was turned up to 200 percent and just felt it was an iconic moment.
And it was the momentum, even though I had been away for many months. I hadn’t been on TV. Scott Hall… They had everyone wearing my t-shirt every week during their in-ring promos, you know, Hulk, Macho Man, everybody shouting out to me every week and Scott had everyone wear my shirts and shouting out to me every week, “Oh, we miss you 6-Pac” and whether it was Hulk, Macho Man, Dusty Rhodes even one one week, man, so that kept me pretty over on TV and and so, like, I had some really good nWo momentum coming into that thing and we used it for the second version of DX. So yeah it was great.
One of the things I wanted to ask you about was that you were in WWF when they bought WCW, they do the invasion thing. And like from a fans’ perspective, I think they were disappointed because they didn’t have the big names till next year when Hogan, Hall and Nash come in. What do you remember about the summer of 2001?
Like, if I’m going to be 100% honest, it was kind of like a let down. It was hard to get really excited about it. You know, we were happy for Vince. Well, I’m not saying everyone was happy for Vince because obviously they were the biggest competition and the only other big major buyer for professional wrestlers on on the on the market. So we were happy for Vince, but… I don’t know. I guess I would like to say they did the best they could with it, but I mean, I don’t even know.
The next year you got to be with the nWo, they kind of re-did the nWo again, you got to be involved with that…
Yeah, and I had been up I’ve been on the shelf. I got hurt in a cage match with Jericho and so I was out, my neck was was pretty bad again. Also I didn’t have a whole lot of momentum before that nWo thing in 2002, so that really helped me a lot, coming back, hitting Hulk with the chair and leaving him in a pool of blood – that was great for me. I didn’t last much longer after I came back. I was gone by July, but I left working main events so there’s that.
Dark Side of Ring is back and one of the topics they’re going to cover is Plane Ride From Hell. Is Plane Ride From Hell one of those things that the mythology of it has become bigger than it was, or is it as bad as people talk about it being?
A lot of it was just… I don’t know, man, like, it was just us acting up and having a good time, and some of it going too far, but I’ve heard things that happened that, in no-one’s book is that is some of that stuff OK. I used to tell stories and I used to brag about, “Oh, I chopped off Michael Hayes’ ponytail” thinking I was funny or whatever, but I’m just a different person now. A lot of the things that I used to brag about, I’m not necessarily incredibly proud of anymore. If ever I was. Might have been a a good story but…
I wanted to ask you a little bit about the nWo in 1996. When it was just starting out, and it’s you and Hogan, Hall and Nash., did you guys feel that it was going to be as big as what it was at that time? Like, did you get it at the time that it was this iconic thing?
Yeah. So I didn’t end up coming in as soon as I was supposed to, so some stuff that happened before I actually got there, but, yeah, I knew immediately. As soon as Scott made his appearance, I knew it was something huge. Once I got there and once I debuted on WCW Nitro and was in the nWo mix, man, that was unlike anything I’d ever seen.
It was like when we would go overseas, we were treated like rockstars, right? When we come over there, you know, where you’re at, [UK] and it was like that back in the States. It hadn’t been like that the whole time. I mean, maybe Hulk, Macho Man, guys like that, they were used to it from the big boom that that they were heading up – but that was my first real taste of it and then it got even bigger when I went back to the DX thing.
You were in this rare spot where you were in both and you were in both when they were big! There’s not a lot of people who were in both, in those kind of original incarnations when it was hot.
I know, right? I’ve been very fortunate, man. I’ve been in the right place at the right time more than once.
I think your talent’s what got you there…
Oh sure. Yeah, but I mean, those things are important, man. You can have all the talent in the world and all the other variables, and if you’re not in the right place at the right time…
I also wanted to ask you about your show Pro Wrestling 4 Life. So, I mean, in terms of doing the show, what are your plans for it in case people haven’t checked out yet? What do you want to do with it – do you want to talk current wrestling? Do you want to talk the past? Is that any topics or guests you really want to sort of delve into?
So how the show is right now, on the front end of the show, we talk a few current events, maybe a few things that are like topical and then I have a retrospective segment where I bring on someone such as yourself. For this week, it’s Conrad Thompson talking about Slamboree ’97 where it’s Scott, Kevin and I vs Piper, Flair and Greene. So that was really fun, so I love doing that. They come on and just to pick a specific moment or match or something from my career, and there’s a few of them to choose from – so I have a great time talking about it. And next week, John Arezzi will be on!
One of my favorite parts is we have a game show segment, we do it towards the end of the show, and I always want to do that just to interact with the people. Like, it’s great that people listen and they watch the show, but I like to interact with them. And so I have two guests on the show every week and it’s great – and the game is just a chance to interact with people.
Yeah, for sure. Well, how do you balance the idea that you’re old school because you’ve been in the past, but you follow what’s going on today?
I like to compare myself to Terry Funk – in the question that you’re asking me – because Terry Funk was old school, old school legend, but he was very uplifting of the younger talent of the newer generation. He was very forward-thinking. And I think I’m that way. There are things about the various products out right now that you can pick apart and go, “Back in my day” but it isn’t back in our day. Everything’s different now. People have been exposed and have been exposed to certain things that they were exposed to yet back when I was growing up. A lot of us believed everything we saw still – or wanted to.
Like Terry Funk, I like to look at it that way. Telling everyone, “You’re killing the business.” The business is doing OK.
The last thing I want to ask you about is you got to go in the Hall of Fame a second time with the nWo. The nWo is so iconic, people still wear the shirts. Like, is it weird or just cool to still be getting recognised now for that thing that you guys did 25 years ago?
I mean, yeah, it’s not weird, it’s very cool! It’s a wonderful thing. I mean, it’s nostalgia and it’s a huge part of people’s childhood memories, or not even childhood. It’s a really cool thing to be a part of. Look, man, since we’re talking about that, there are a lot of guys that deserved to be up there with me. Guys like Scott Norton and, you know, say what you want but the Buff Bagwells and a lot of guys that really were important, and they didn’t get recognised up there on stage. Especially, like, the one that comes to mind for me is Scott Norton.