“He Beat Razor Ramon! He beat Razor Ramon!”
Those were the famous words of WWE great Bobby Heenan as one of the biggest upsets in wrestling took place on Monday Night RAW in May of 1993. That night, a confident Razor Ramon headed to the ring to face a small, babyfaced wrestler who called himself “The Kid”.
However, he was in for a major surprise.
In a matter of seconds, Razor missed a charge to the corner turnbuckle, and was met with a moonsault with his smaller opponent.
At that time, it was one of the biggest upsets in WWE history.
If you were exclusive to WWE wrestling at the time, you would have thought that this young guy was new to the business. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Sean Waltman was a fresh faced kid from Minnesota who had dreams of becoming a superstar in pro wrestling. Trained by the great Boris Malenko, he was one of the first guys from the United States to incorporate Japanese high flying maneuvers in his arsenal.
In 1989, with the AWA on its last legs, an Indie promotion in Minnesota ran shows trying to fill the void that the AWA could not. Ran by wrestling trainer and former AWA referee Eddie Sharkey, the Professional Wrestling Association started running events all over the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, featuring some high paced action.
During that time, Sean Waltman started using the moniker “The Lightning Kid”, and feuded with another Minnesota grappler, Jerry Lynn. The two had amazing matches wherever they went, and pretty soon, their talents would be recognized nationally.
Around 1991, after the death of World Class Championship Wrestling, ESPN decided to take a chance on another wrestling outfit from the Dallas area. The Global Wrestling Federation (GWF) started showcasing some of the brightest wrestlers from all over the country, and bringing in a talent like “The Lightning Kid” could only help their promotion.
Waltman dominated the Light Heavyweight Title scene in the GWF, having really good matches with Lynn and a young up and comer named Chaz.
However, tragedy struck in 1992, when Waltman suffered a blood clot on his brain when a wrestler attempted a dive and landed on Waltman’s head. Doctors said he would never wrestle again.
Waltman, on the other hand, had other plans.
In 1993, the WWF signed Waltman, and was used primarily as an enhancement talent.
For a few weeks, “The Kid” would show up on WWF television and be used to put over some of the Federation’s main heels. Even though he was on the losing end of most of those matches, you could tell he was something special.
It made for perfect television when Razor Ramon lost to Waltman on that RAW in May of ’93. The fans loved it, and one WWE legend had an idea.
“I was the one that gave him the moniker ‘The 1-2-3 Kid”, said Bobby Heenan in his book. “We were thinking of what to call him, and it only made sense to call him the 1-2-3 Kid”.
Soon after, the 1-2-3 Kid was placed in a match with “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase on an episode of Wrestling Challenge. When it seemed like Dibiase had the match won, the Kid rolled up Dibiase for the pin.
The crowd cheered in surprise.
Sean Waltman was climbing the ladder to success in the WWF. One minute, he was losing matches right and left. The next minute, he was one of the faces of the New Generation in the WWF.
1994 stands out in my mind as a great year for the youngster from Minnesota. He had a superb showing at the King of the Ring that year, before bowing out to eventual winner Owen Hart. He also had a pretty darn good match with Bret Hart that same year. He also held the WWF Tag Team Championship with both Marty Jannetty and then Bob Holly.
In 1995, the WWF decided to turn Waltman heel, turning on his friend Razor Ramon. He then joined the “Million Dollar Corporation”, feuding with Ramon most of the year. I personally thought that they should have never turned him heel, as I thought he was more convincing as a babyface. His wrestling style and selling was more catered towards being a fan favorite.
The next year, as WCW started acquiring WWF talent like Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, Waltman decided to make a move down there as well, joining the nWo, adopting the name of “Syxx”, and winning the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. In WCW, he had more wrestlers that complimented his fast-paced style, like Eddy Guerrero and Rey Misterio Jr.
In 1998, during a dispute with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, WCW head Eric Bischoff decided he would prove a point and fire their buddy Waltman.
It turned out to be a mistake.
A week or so later, Triple H introduced a revised version of “Degeneration X”, minus Shawn Michaels. One of the first new members of the group was an old friend.
“When you go to war, you look to your blood. You look to your buddies……You look…….to THE CLIQUE!”
Out comes Sean Waltman.
It was a pretty big moment for WWF, who pretty much had been getting their butts kicked by WCW in the ratings for two years. The WWF product also was changing, for the better, and the quality of shows had improved immensely for almost a year. Sean Waltman jumping back to WWF sent a message that the younger stars of WCW wanted to jump as well.
Eventually, he struck up a friendship with Kane, and the two became the unlikeliest tag team ever, winning the Tag Team Championship on two occasions. The two were a nice mix, with Kane’s brute strength and power moves, and X-Pac’s Japanese-style arsenal.
After the year 2000, Waltman stayed in the hunt for the Intercontinental, European and Light Heavyweight titles. In 2002, when Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan returned to WWE to form the nWo, Waltman was named a member of the group.
In 2002, Waltman and the WWE parted ways, and he eventually ended up in TNA Wrestling, where he has had a nice couple of runs in that group. He also had performed in Mexico, Chikara and other indie promotions around North America.
The case has been made for Sean Waltman to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. To me, this should be a no-brainer.
He was definitely revolutionary for his time. He made the Japanese style popular in America, and became one of the first light heavyweights to become a mainstream star. He also was instrumental in WWF’s resurgence in the late 1990’s. His wrestling ability was top notch and was very charismatic as well.
There’s no doubt that Sean Waltman should be inducted soon. He’s too just important to leave out.