Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast – “X-Pac” Sean Waltman
Release Date: November 24th, 2017
Guest: “X-Pac” Sean Waltman
Recap by: Jason Darling
- The Montreal Screwjob was 20 years ago this week.
- Sean’s comments about the Survivor Series Montreal Screwjob “It turned Bret into a Martyr.”
- With Brian James taking over Smackdown Live! There are times that Vince doesn’t even show up to help with the show.
- The word at WWF since ’94 was Taker only has a few more years left in him, in 2017 still saying the same.
- Sean never once curses during the Podcast!
Are you ready for some Montreal Screwjob talk? This is one of the many topics covered with Sean Waltman, part 2 of the interview conducted by Wade. Known by many different names, he is now primarily known as a podcast host. They talk about Survivor Series being 20 years ago this week and famously known as the Montreal Screwjob. Is it what the history books reflect, or is it maybe something else entirely different? They talk about Triple H and how they linked up together in the “Kliq” back in the ’90s. Also what Triple H’s vision for the WWE and NXT is going into the future. What makes A.J. Styles so great from an in ring competitor standpoint? They talk about the “Worked Shoot” promo and how it came to be and breaks down where the worked part begins and the shoot portion ends.
Survivor Series ‘97:
The show begins with Wade bringing up the 20th anniversary of the “Double Cross” at Survivor Series, known as the Montreal Screwjob. Wade asks if Sean looks back at it differently now versus when it first happened. Sean says he really hasn’t changed his outlook of the moment, he believes he was the first one to believe that Bret Hart was in on it and really played up the moment. Sean asks “How could you not know?” Wade believes it is the dynamic between two people with large egos, Vince and Bret, and it came down to a big game of chicken. Then ultimately Vince won because he had the power and that is what it is all about in the business. Wade also thinks Vince just wanted to not give in at all, so he “flexed that muscle.”
Wade says Bret probably had no problem doing the job to Shawn Michaels but he didn’t want to do it in Montreal. Sean agrees and says it created a huge amount of attention and worked out well for bringing eyes to the product and Vince.
Wade admits the storyline of the Screwjob was really fun to write about and cover as it was happening. If you can imagine a scenario that could be the best for everyone, the Screwjob was the best. Bret sort of overplayed the moment but it was a special circumstance and will likely never happen again. Sean says if it had been him being told the match and hearing, “we’re going to have Shawn put you in the sharpshooter” it would instantly make him think “Yeah right, you bet” and know where they were going.
There is a part of Sean that says Bret and Vince were the ones in on the Screwjob and Shawn got worked. Wade asks if Sean means both Vince and Bret knew what needed to be done and played their roles. Sean says yeah probably, Bret plays his role perfectly, there were times he worked with Owen and would refuse to drive him to the airport just because of wanting to work the story.
To Wade, if a guy like Sean has a small piece of them who believes it could be a conspiracy there must be something there. Wade goes on to relate it to the situation when Miz and Daniel Bryan got into it last year, Sean says he did the same with Flair years ago. Cena and Reigns is another example Wade brings up, Sean says he thinks there might be some truth to it but it was all a work, after how he sees them backstage it’s not all real. When something rings true to Wade it’s hard to tell where the grey area is and where the truth ends and story begins.
Wade asks how Shawn thinks about Screwjob now with his total change in his life and religion. Sean says he probably feels bad about certain things but it doesn’t keep him up at night, Shawn and Bret worked things out and it’s water under the bridge. He continues by saying “people that are still mad about stuff like that are just miserable people, living in the past.”
Sean thinks Vince is not ashamed with how he handled the Screwjob, and thinks he is actually pretty pleased with himself in all honesty.
Vince, The Kliq, and the future:
Sean feels he has a pretty good relationship with Vince and knows what he is like but he wouldn’t want to put any kind of value on it. He doesn’t know him better than anyone else, he just knows Vince and what he probably thinks like. Wade asks how has Vince changed in the last 20-30 years. Sean says the only thing he has really noticed is he is a lot more relaxed then he use to be, with his grandchildren. Sean cant say with 100% certainty because he also hasn’t hung around him a lot recently. He will say that him handing the reins of Smackdown Live over to Brian James, aka Road Dogg, is certainly a step in the direction of “hands off” Vince. Wade asks how involved Vince is with the broad storylines. Sean says of course Vince has all the final say in the storylines but it is still surprising with how much power he has given Brian. Sean elaborates by saying mainly Brian comes up with stuff on his own and brings it to Vince. It’s one thing to Sean that Vince hands work off to Paul “Hunter” Levesque. Just another thing entirely for it to be done with Brian James.
Wade asks Sean what the early bond with Triple H was when he first joined up with the Kliq. Sean says they saw the potential in Triple H early on and they wanted to have him with them. He may not have been into the drinking and drugs, but he was still going out with them and having fun with the boys until early in the morning hours. The thing about Paul, according to Sean, he came from a good background and had a good life and brought that with him, most wrestlers come from a strange background and bring that baggage with them.
Wade asks if Sean thinks we have a good idea of what Paul will do if he becomes the heir of the WWE and takes over for Vince when he eventually leaves, or do we not know because ultimately it is still Vince’s vision? Sean says if you look at NXT it gives you an idea of what life would be like under Paul’s WWE. Wade begins talking about his favorite parts of NXT, such as squash matches, jobbers, good promo time, to which Sean agrees are all good aspects.
Wade talks about Asuka and her performance in NXT and how her performance has been in NXT, and now Raw, and how she’s not like any other female on the roster. Wade wants to see a wrestler coming up from NXT, create a good story about taking the fight to someone like Orton, and even though it would be a squash match it could still be a compelling story. Sean doesn’t like the idea entirely and relates it to a heavyweight boxing champion going in and doing a non-title fight against some upstart. Wade says he understands the argument but he wants someone like Randy to be able to have a match without having to worry about who he is facing. If he is against someone like Bobby Roode, you have to have a back and forth match and either a screwy finish or harm Roodes build up to a legitimate contender. Wade says you can still have good characters with jobbers, look at James Ellsworth. WWE now is out of the jobber matches era and hosting more marquee matchups on every night of TV like WCW did, it might work to bring that back a little.
TV shows for wrestling was originally a advertisement for the wrestlers so when a show came to a town near fans they’d want to go see those wrestlers. NXT translates well because you are seeing less of those stars but wanting to see the stars more and when you take your time it has a better build. Wade hopes this is what Triple H is going to utilize with the WWE product, Sean agrees and hopes that is where eventually the product goes.
The topic turns to Braun Strowman, Wade considers him a major throwback to an earlier time and Sean agrees that he is massively over right now. Sean says Braun is almost a different species, he’s not like an Andre the Giant giant of a human, he’s just a behemoth. The guys are huge now and Sean says they are doing things he never thought of doing at the peak of his athleticism. Sean goes on to say Braun has a good head on his shoulders for the business and can wrap his head around a lot of what he is given. A big miss to Sean was the finish to Braun’s match with Brock. Wade agrees and moves onto Braun being babyface only because the fans have loved everything he has done, despite him being written as a heel. Part of the issue is on Raw there isn’t the right babyface to go against Braun, he was battling Roman and fans wouldn’t boo him because they weren’t cheering Reigns.
Wade changes topics and brings up The Undertaker, and speculates future matches for him. A reader had emailed him and asked why was Wade bringing up matches. The way Undertaker’s match at WrestleMania 33 ended should be his final chapter. Sean and Wade both completely disagree and don’t think that should be his last match. Sean hated it the moment it happened. Since Taker had some ailments at the time, Sean believes this isn’t the end for him. Sean thinks The Undertaker thought this might be the end but after the end of the match he probably doesn’t want it to be over now. Paul Bearer had done interviews in the last few years of his life, nether him nor Vince would ever know if Taker would be wrestling at WrestleMania the December before. It was never finalized until the months leading up to WrestleMania.
Wade asks what Sean thinks should be the final match, Sean initially sounds reluctant but says Braun, then switches to Kane. Sean says it needs to be someone younger and able to help carry the match. Wade says anything involving Kane would just be the two of them sitting up from each others spots, which the crowd would eat up. Sean says why would the matches need to be 1-on-1, it could always be a tag match where Taker and Kane team up one last time.
The topic changes to The Shield in which Wade says it is a nostalgia trip for them to reunite to WWE. But that ultimately it is to get Roman more over and try to get him cheered. Wade says he has improved dramatically in the ring and with his character, but his biggest drawback is still his ability to cut a promo and be on the mic on the Raw before a big pay-per-view. Sean thinks a good heel run is in order for Roman and would help him out dramatically. If it had been done a few years ago it would be over by now and Roman would probably be in a much better place then he currently is.
A.J. Styles is tied for being the best in the business, where he has a presence and can back it up in the ring. Wade asks what Sean sees in A.J. that gives him the wow factor, through a wrestler’s eyes. Sean says it goes back to everything that is done between the moves, all the extra emphasis in the promos. He has improved dramatically from his time in TNA, he believes in everything he says and is able to back it up. Wade tries to get a bit more out of Sean by asking what else A.J. does. He gives a few examples about his match composure and where they go with moves but Sean says that isn’t what makes A.J. great. A.J. has the ability to bring wrestlers to the next level and any wrestlers today that are able to work with A.J., he is one of their top 5 matches.
They go on a bit of a tangent about John Cena’s comments about burying talent. He said on the Edge and Christian Podcast, and Wade doesn’t understand where that comes from. He looks at the wrestlers who have said it about John and they were never destined for greatness and didn’t do much outside of the WWE after their “burial.” Sean says there must be something about those stories that makes Cena constantly bring it up. Sean says the people who are upset with Cena are probably thinking they played a bigger part in their feuds then they actually did. Cena is hitting the twilight years of his career and Wade asks if we have an idea of this being the career of Cena or if there is more to Cena we have yet to see. Sean says what we have seen is probably the length of his career and what he is going to do. His career won’t be in the league of Flair as far as the in-ring work goes, and he never burned as hot Stone Cold or the Rock. He was able to play the character that WWE needed at just the right time. During the Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit era of bad PR, he was able to be the good guy that fans were able to look up to. Even though he went through a divorce, not many people think about it when you think about Cena, he was just a class act through everything in his life and career.
Sean’s favorite interviews that he has conducted on his podcast are with Kenny Omega, his 1 year anniversary show with Steve Austin. Darren Young is an interview Sean is extremely proud of. Jesse Ventura was another good one for Sean, he knew a lot of what Jesse was going to say but he still got some good information out of him. He’s also had Kevin Nash which, of course, was a good podcast as well.
This was a good follow up to last weeks interview. Wade once again had a very loose interview but it flowed a lot better this week. Primarily because the topics were a bit more fun to discuss and Sean seemed to not get to lost in his own thoughts over his answers. On the topics of current day work of WWE it was cool to hear Sean’s perspective and knowing his history with Triple H makes me hopeful for the future of the industry and WWE as a company.
1:02 – Podcast Starts
13:41 – Interview Starts
31:19 – End Part 1
32:15 – Interview Part 2
52:30 – End Part 2
53:36 – Interview Part 3
84:48 – Interview Ends
91:50 – Podcast Ends
About the Author
Jason Darling is from Frederick, MD, where he has lived his entire life. His first vivid memory of wrestling was on his 15th birthday, the triumphant return of Triple H to then WWF television. Since that day he has been a fan and hasn’t missed a Raw or Smackdown. Follow him on any social media platform with the username @Wheenus