Eric Bischoff Says DX Wouldn’t Have “Lasted 4 Months” Without Sean Waltman

Sean Waltman DX

WWE Hall of Famer Eric Bischoff has explained why he thinks Sean Waltman returning to WWE in 1998 was as vital a piece of the company winning the Monday Night Wars as anything else.

In the spring of 1998, the tide was turning – never to return – the way of WWE in the Monday Night Wars that saw the company do battle with WCW each week for ratings supremacy.

At WrestleMania 14 in 1998, Stone Cold Steve Austin finally became WWE Champion as the Attitude Era began to take off to heights not seen in wrestling for a long, long time. Mike Tyson was the man who counted the fall for Austin to win the title but according to Eric Bischoff, the following night’s Raw saw something equally as important take place.

Triple H blamed Shawn Michaels for “dropping the ball” at WrestleMania by losing his title to Austin and HBK was gone from DX. In his place, Triple H told the world that he looked to his family and looked to the Kliq for someone to join him and Sean Waltman came to the ring, returning to WWE after a spell in WCW as part of the NWO. Waltman cut a scathing promo on his former company and Eric Bischoff as he became X-Pac. By the end of the night, the New Age Outlaws had also joined the group.

Speaking on his 83 Weeks podcast, Eric Bischoff explained why he thinks Sean Waltman leaving WCW and returning to WWE to bolster DX was as important for the company as bringing in Mike Tyson for a featured role at WrestleMania 14:

“Waltman was a huge shot in the arm for them. I’m sure there are plenty of people who will disagree with me, and they may be right. I may be wrong. I’ll never change my opinion when I tell you that I think Sean Waltman was as important to the turnaround for WWE than just about anything else, including Mike Tyson.

“Tyson was a bigger shot in the arm. It got mainstream attention and everybody talking about WWE. Tyson was at the top of his game, maybe not as a boxer, he was still better than anybody else, but in terms of a media phenomenon, Tyson was more controversial and hotter than anybody on the planet.

“Waltman, because he was part of the NWO and the NWO was such a dominant part of wrestling at that period, that when Waltman left the NWO, I think that was as an important piece of the puzzle for WWE than anything else, as any other one thing.

“I’ll go even further, and I know this is going to p*ss some people off, I don’t think D-X would have lasted four months at that point. Waltman is the reason D-X worked. Not taking anything away from anybody else, great group of talent that would go on to become huge stars in the business, and obviously Triple H is kind of at the top of his game, but at that time, I think Waltman made that D-X invasion work more than anybody else. More than Triple H, more than anybody else, Waltman made that work. That was a real shot across the bow. If I reacted to anything, I reacted to that.”

Eric Bischoff continued by saying that he felt Waltman’s defection was as close as you could get to the main players in the NWO defecting and also suggests that DX wouldn’t have lasted nearly as long had it not been for Waltman:

“It was the like the NWO defecting. It was as close as you could get to Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Sean Waltman saying, ‘We’re done, we’re going back to the competition.’ That’s what that was. It was an important part of the NWO leaving WCW to go to WWE. That’s why I feel so strongly about Sean and his value and significance in that move, creatively.

“Not to take anything from Triple H, Shawn Michaels, anybody. Sean Waltman was as much a part of NWO as anybody else, with the exception of maybe Hulk, Scott, and Kevin. Waltman personified the NWO in so many ways. For Sean to leave, because I fired him, for him to leave and cut the promo that he did, was as close as you could get to the NWO defecting, and that’s why it worked.

Bischoff also noted that the much-discussed “DX Invasion” of WCW would have lacked the necessary impact without Sean Waltman returning to his former employer’s show during it:

“Otherwise, it was a goofy skit. A bunch of idiots jumping out of a jeep, dressing up as army guys, knocking on the door, creating this invasion. Cool, fun, I liked it, it was great entertainment, but it wouldn’t have had any impact without Sean Waltman. Nobody can convince me otherwise.”

h/t Fightful