Sean Waltman on Bullet Club; legal issues and how Val Venis was almost a part of DX
Sean Waltman continues to keep a close eye on New Japan's Bullet Club.
“I'm a big Bullet Club fan,” said Waltman. “I'm flattered that they were inspired by us. They took our recipe, like the Young Bucks and the ’Too Sweet' sign, but they're also distinctively Bullet Club.”
Waltman is now the host of Afterbuzz TV's X-Pac 1,2,360. He has wrestled for the past 28 years and starred in three of the most significant groups, both on and off-screen, in wrestling history, in the NWO, the Wolfpac, and the Kliq.
As he watches Bullet Club, Waltman's eye naturally shifts toward the intangibles, most notably the group's chemistry.
“You hear the word ’fake' thrown around wrestling, but it doesn't get more real when you hear the sound of 20,000 people coming unglued,” explained Waltman. “So when you click together in the ring, that is the beginning of true chemistry.”
Bullet Club just added “The Villain” Marty Scurll to its fold, and Waltman noted that Scurll will be a solid addition. Yet he advised the group to beware of over-expansion.
“Even though they are adding on in numbers, they have remained fairly discriminatory in who they add,” said Waltman. “Marty Scurll is fantastic and I am a big fan of his work. They're not just throwing a Bullet Club shirt on a guy to get him over, and that's smart. They need to listen to their gut and not back down.”
Waltman was a firsthand witness to the over-expansion of the NWO, and he learned from that experience. He recalled a situation in WWE when head writer Vince Russo wanted to add Val Venis into DX, yet the group steadfastly refused.
“Russo wanted to put Val Venis in DX, but we said no,” said Waltman. “We stuck to our guns because he wasn't right for DX. So, for Bullet Club, if New Japan or Ring of Honor wants Bullet Club to do something they don't want to do, Bullet Club needs to remember this is their creation and their baby. Stick to your guns. If you feel like someone is not right, then don't let it be done.”
Bullet Club is led by a sub-group called The Elite, which includes Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks, and operates in a manner reminiscent of the way the Wolfpac–which included Waltman, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall–did business within the NWO.
“We all had our role, we were all very happy in that role, and no one wanted the other's role,” said Waltman. “They're the same way. Why tinker with the recipe when it is just right?”
Last week marked the 24-year anniversary of the memorable Monday Night Raw moment when Waltman scored an upset pinfall over Razor Ramon and was instantly coined the 1-2-3 Kid.
“That seems like yesterday,” recalled Waltman, “but when I think about all the sh– that's happened in my life between now and then, it's just unf******believable.
“I'm very grateful for Scott Hall's willingness to take me under his wing and help me. That's when our chemistry started. Scott already had me in mind when Vince McMahon ran the idea by him. Scott had seen me on ESPN with the Global Wrestling Federation. Scott was like Curt Hennig in the sense that he'd take the younger guys under his wing and try to teach them.”
Hall just experienced a health scare during a trip abroad to England when he was hospitalized with chest pain, and Waltman was one of the first to check in with his friend. Waltman also noted that Hall is often shorted for his contributions and brilliance within the wrestling business.
“People like to talk about Scott's selfishness, but he did a lot of selfless work in wrestling that isn't talked about,” said Waltman. “Scott was very guarded about his knowledge. He didn't share it with everyone.”
Waltman worked throughout his career as the 1-2-3 Kid, Syxx in WCW, and then X-Pac in his return to WWE.
“I was at my best at different things at different times in my career,” said Waltman. “That 1-2-3 Kid run with matches on Raw against Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, and Owen Hart made me think, ’Wow, that was me?' But I was still very green and I was fortunate to be in the ring with those guys.
“Once I got my groove in WCW in ’97, I'm pretty proud of the things I did there. By the time I got to WWE for DX, I may not have been as quick, but I was so far more well-rounded and a much more of a ring general. I could really take a guy and elevate him.”
Opponents always shined when working with Waltman, which is his exact same area of strength as the host of his X-Pac 1,2,360 show.
“We're on episode 38 and I'm having a great time,” said Waltman. “I really feel like I've grown a lot on the air as a conversationalist. I'm really grateful to Kevin Undergaro and Maria Menounos for their help and support in making this show so special.”
Waltman was arrested on drug charges at Los Angeles International Airport on April 29 for allegedly attempting to bring meth and marijuana through customs. He denies that he was carrying meth, and remains confident that the charges will be dropped once the lab work results are announced.
“Even when I was arrested, I got out in time to make my show,” said Waltman. “I don't blame people for doubting my story. It's due to my past, but I'm nowhere near that person now. I don't even recognize him now. I even just did a polygraph on my show, and I passed with flying colors.”
Waltman poured out his heart and soul on television for the past three decades in a wrestling ring. While the summer of Waltman's career has faded into its autumn, his fans still have sand left in their shoes.
“It's amazing feeling that I'm grateful to experience,” said Waltman. “People come up to me and pay their respects by telling me how I was a big part of their childhood. I do not take that for granted, not for one second.
“My greatest chemistry is with the fans. There is a deep, deep connection. Apparently, I've made wrestling fans feel pretty good over the years because they still make me feel incredible. I'm grateful for every moment of it.”