The Attitude Era was the arguably the biggest boom period for pro wrestling in history, and still one of the most beloved and talked (and written) about. Overlapping almost entirely with the Monday Night Wars, WWE eventually pulled ahead of WCW and their game-changing nWo stable and storyline on the strength of characters like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, and their preeminent stable, D-Generation X.
But only one man is the connective tissue between both nWo and D-Generation X. Sean Waltman, perhaps best known as X-Pac, was the sixth member of the original nWo, and became one of the cornerstones of D-Generation X when he returned to WWE. The lineup of Triple H, X-Pac, Chyna, and the New Age Outlaws of Road Dogg and Billy Gunn is viewed by most to be the definitive core of DX, even if it wasn’t necessarily the original lineup.
August 11 marked the 20th anniversary of the official formation of D-Generation X. Shawn Michaels, Triple H and Chyna came together on a cohesive unit on the August 11, 1997 episode of Raw is War, and middle school children haven’t stopped crotch chopping or telling one another to suck it since.
Waltman sat down with us on the 20th anniversary of D-Generation X to talk about memories, legacies, and a whole lot more.
UPROXX: So, it’s the 20th anniversary of D-Generation X. Do you have any thoughts about the importance of this anniversary?
Sean Waltman: No. It caught me off-guard yesterday when I woke up. All these tweets. Really cool. I’m at a point in my life right now where I’m not caught up in, “Oh. Those were the good old days.” Because they were. They were great, but that doesn’t mean there’s not still some good days ahead of us. I do. I look back with a lot of fondness, man. There’s some things that I kind of like, “Ah, [that’s embarrassing].” You know?
You’re embarrassed by some of the stuff that the group did?
Actually the only thing that I can honestly say I really regret now is the blackface thing. I did not understand. Here’s the thing: I consider myself pretty well, for somebody that didn’t go to high school, pretty well educated. I know a lot of things, but I never saw an actual minstrel show, blackface thing. Recently, I saw something about it and I was horrified, horrified at how mean-spirited all that stuff was. I look at it way different now.
I don’t remember if it was you or someone else, talking about how D-Generation X and the Nation of Domination guys were going over it backstage and they were giving you tips on how to impersonate them before that segment.
Or is that not entirely accurate?
No. Not entirely accurate, but they were just fine with it. If you watch Table for 3 with Godfather, Mark Henry, and Ron Simmons, Mark even says, “Oh, you know, X-Pac even came back, didn’t want to do it because he was afraid of backlash and all that.” I did. I was not happy about doing that. Everyone will tell you that.
When you guys were going over it with them, did they know you were gonna be in blackface at that point?
You were backstage in blackface talking to them about it?
Kind of. Yeah. There’s no confusion there on what was going on.
I know that you sent out a tweet when everyone was talking about the anniversary. You sent out a tweet talking about how Joanie Laurer, Chyna, was the secret weapon of D-Generation X.
Joannie was the magic ingredient, in my opinion.
Elaborate on that.
It was just a regular group [otherwise]. Not a regular group, because it was extraordinary talent, but there’s been a lot of groups with extraordinary talent. She was just so unique. It’s just that’s how I feel about it. I just wanted to acknowledge that. Then Brian James [acknowledged it] too [after I tweeted].
She was a little something different that no faction had at that point.
Not just a little. It was unique. Then when Austin started selling for her, then everyone else is like, “Well, you know.”
If he was doing it …
Yeah. How do you say, “I can’t sell for you” when Steven Austin is? If you ever took one of those elbow strikes from her, it’s not hard to sell.
The Kliq was you guys, the guys of The Curtain Call. What was the process like, to move from just the core Kliq members of DX to bringing in the New Age Outlaws? Was there any pushback? Who brought up bringing in Road Dogg and Billy? What was that process like when it went from being just Hunter and Shawn and Joannie to being all of you?
Before Shawn left, before WrestleMania where he dropped the title, they had been doing some stuff thinking about bringing them in on it. When Paul contacted me about being DX, he told, “We’re thinking about having Brian and Billy,” and that’s exactly how it happened. They were getting over on their own.
The personalities just lined up?
Yeah. We all had really good rapport with each other. We all traveled a lot and hung out a lot together before that when I was there the first time when Billie was in the Smoking Gunns and Road Dog was with Jeff Jarrett. It was pretty easy for that to work.
I know you’ve talked about it on The Tomorrow Show and on your show, X-Pac 1-2-360. There was someone WWE wanted to bring into DX at one point when you guys were on fire.
Oh, Val Venis. Well, it’s because Hunter turned. For some reason they thought that we needed somebody to replace [him], to fill that spot. No. Val’s great, but it wasn’t right. It wouldn’t have been — It wouldn’t have felt right either. It would have looked like, “Oh. They’re just trying to fill Triple H’s spot.”
You got to be in the first incarnation of the nWo, and you got to be in what people feel is the most iconic version of D-Generation X. Of the two groups, which do you think is eventually gonna be more important to wresting history?
Oh. Gee. I don’t know.
Don’t you think it’s pretty comparable, the two groups?
Yeah. I might have to say nWo actually, just because it was first. They all came from The Kliq. They all came from The Kliq, regardless. Whether it’s nWo or DX, it was all cometh from The Kliq.
So, it’s a pretty good legacy to have though, right?
You probably don’t like to think about it a lot at this point.
No. I like to think about it, I just like to think about it as, they’re fond memories, but I’m not getting in my time machine — [I’m not] living in the past, is all I’m saying.
When people come up to you these days, how often do they talk to you about DX versus nWo?
Yeah, [they talk about] DX [more].
Yeah. Of course, because everybody was in the third grade or eighth grade or whatever the hell grade it was and they were getting suspended [for doing the crotch chop]. You know how many times I’ve heard that?
You made a whole generation of children tell people to suck their dick.
That’s your biggest legacy.
I hope not. [laughing] [But] I’ll take that, if I have to.