Sean ‘X-Pac’ Waltman Eyes a Return to the Ring: ‘I Didn’t Leave This Business on My Terms’

The Week in Wrestling: Sean Waltman’s next steps, an interview with Hijo del Vikingo and more.
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Sean Waltman on his pro wrestling future: “If there is some room for me to have a few matches, that’s all I want”

Sean Waltman is unveiling a new podcast—and planning a comeback.

Pro Wrestling 4 Life debuts on April 1, and listeners can already subscribe on iTunes and all other major platforms. New episodes will drop every Thursday. Alongside co-host Nick Hausman will be Waltman, who is healthy, sober and bringing an insight and perspective like no one else in the industry.

“If there is anything in this world that I don’t struggle to express myself about, it’s wrestling,” Waltman says. “Y’all have seen me on TV since I was 19, when I was on ESPN [with the Global Wrestling Federation]. I’ve been setting up rings since I was 10. I’m a wrestling guy, and I’m really excited about this new show with Nick.”

Logo for Sean Waltman's "Pro Wrestling 4 Life" podcast

Waltman is a genuine trailblazer, ushering in a new style to WWE in the early ’90s. He added martial arts kicks into his skillset, took to the air and worked at a far different pace from what had traditionally been on display in Vince McMahon’s territory. His 1993 Raw upset of Razor Ramon introduced the wrestling world to the 1-2-3 Kid, and his 1994 babyface vs. babyface match against Bret Hart on Raw still stands as a cutting-edge moment in the show’s history.

A constant innovator, Waltman’s most memorable moments came in D-Generation X and the NWO, but his work also stood out in the Million Dollar Corporation and an entertaining tag team with Kane. Trained by Eddie Sharkey and the late Boris Malenko, Waltman wrestled across the globe, and though he has over three decades in the industry, he is only 48. A return to the ring is imminent as soon as he recovers from his recent ACL/meniscus surgery.

“That injury happened in 2007, but I didn’t take care of myself for so long,” Waltman says. “That’s changed, and the recovery is coming along nicely. It’s an injury that really affected my matches, though I had the King of Trios match in 2011 [and a singles match with El Generico, who is now Sami Zayn] after I tore it. But if I’m actually going to take a stab at having some more meaningful matches, I need to get my knee straight.”

The most likely timeline sees Waltman healthy by next January. That would make him eligible for the Royal Rumble match, but other options outside WWE also exist.

“I’d be psyched to have more matches in a WWE ring,” says Waltman, who is set to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame for a second time next month for his work in the NWO. “If they’re not interested, there are a lot of other places putting on great matches, too.”

Waltman would be a phenomenal fit on next January’s Wrestle Kingdom 16 card for New Japan, especially if he were to work a match with a star from the junior heavyweight division, like Hiromu Takahashi or Taiji Ishimori. He could also emerge as a player for All Elite Wrestling, who would certainly pay proper homage to his standing in the industry.

“I didn’t leave this business on my terms,” Waltman says. “I wasted a lot of years of my life wandering around in the darkness, but I’m grateful that I still have some time left. And the style has changed, which is good. The bumps are more meaningful than in my era, which is a difference, but they bump less. That extends your shelf life.

“I watch the product now and I think, if I had both knees under me, I could keep up with a lot of these guys. If people want me, I’ll do it, but I am also mindful of being an older guy taking up too much oxygen. That’s not what I want. If there is some room for me to have a few matches, that’s all I want.”

Waltman is excited to team up with Hausman on Pro Wrestling 4 Life show, which will be available on all major podcast platforms. Their Patreon page will also launch on April 1 and, Hausman explained, they are turning the podcast into a brand.

“It’s a celebration of pro wrestling, and Sean is throwing the party,” Hausman says. “We’re exploring anything and everything in pro wrestling, including live shows. How cool would it be if Sean promoted a few of his own shows?”

Waltman noted he has some promotional experience that dates back to the late ’80s.

“I was helping promote shows when I was 18 and working for Eddie Sharkey,” Waltman says. “I even did grassroots promotional work with Malenko before that. I’ve done almost every job in wrestling, so that would be amazing.”

Healthy and happy, Waltman is grateful to be back in a position where he is positively contributing to a landscape he knows so intimately. And before the launch of the new show, Waltman expressed gratitude for the people who have continued to show him support.

“I’ll always remember the ones that stuck by me, especially in some dark times,” Waltman says. “And I’m grateful that people are back now that I’m getting my sh-- together. This brand is going to lead to a lot of great times, doing shows where I connect with people.”

Hijo del Vikingo showcasing his talent in main event of RIOT’s show this Sunday

The future of wrestling has a name: Hijo del Vikingo.

A rising star for AAA, the 23-year-old Hijo del Vikingo is unlike any other talent in the ring. He is well-versed in the art of lucha libre, as well as eager to show off his versatility and depth of work. His next match will be easy to find, as he headlines this Sunday's RIOT show against Arez. This show is streaming free of charge, though this is destined to be a match worth paying for.

“I see great opportunity in this match,” Vikingo says through a translator. “RIOT came to me to see if I was interested, and I’m very happy they did. I’ve gotten to know Arez very well, and we are going to take full advantage of the opportunity in this match.”

Vikingo made his presence known during AAA’s Triplemanía last December, when he emerged as the next opponent for Kenny Omega and the mega championship.

“I want to be the face of AAA,” Vikingo says. “That is my objective, so I will have to defeat Kenny Omega to do that. I am very impressed by him, and I’m honored he’s challenged me to the front of the line. A match like that will take a lot of heart and effort.”

Vikingo presents a style in the ring that can best be described as electric. While there are a number of great wrestlers all across the globe, there is absolutely no one who can do a reverse 619 into an inside rope 450 hurricanrana—or a springboard into 450 splash—like him.

“I’m going to show lucha like you’ve never seen before,” Vikingo says. “That is the opportunity AAA is giving me.”

If he ever decides to pursue wrestling full-time in the United States, there will be no shortage of offers. While the main roster in WWE has historically struggled with the presentation of luchadores, Vikingo would add an electricity to AEW or could even headline in NXT.

“I believe I have a future in America,” Vikingo says. “That will happen in the future. Right now, there are many goals for me to accomplish at home, and still so much for me to prove.”

Amid the tragedy of the pandemic, the past year brought joy to Vikingo, as he became a father.

“I was hoping to be a dad, and now I am very thankful to be one,” said Vikingo. “My son is five months old, and although the pandemic is very sad, I am grateful to spend more time with my family.”

This Sunday, Vikingo plans on showing why he is the future of the industry—and he encourages all to watch the show.

“The world is also going to see what makes Arez so special,” Vikingo says. “It is impossible not to recognize his talent, and it will be a pleasure to wrestle him.”

The (online) week in wrestling

  • The brilliance of Finn Bálor was again on display last week in NXT in his match against Adam Cole. 
  • On the subject of brilliance, the Inner Circle–MJF payoff last week was outstanding. 
  • Despite eating losses on a weekly basis, Sheamus is adding so much to WWE programming—and this win was immense for Bobby Lashley as he establishes himself as the new WWE champion.
  • Yes, I am happy that NXT introduced a women’s tag-team championship, but it shouldn’t stop there. The division also needs the equivalent of an intercontinental or United States championship. 
  • The New Day won the Raw tag titles this week, further cementing themselves as the greatest tag team in the history of WWE.
  • The question isn’t why Andrade would ask for his release, it is how WWE cannot find a place for such a talent. Why not add him to the NXT roster? 
  • Should Big E be the one in the main event against Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 37
  • Mox, Kingston and Omega did a tremendous job last week on Dynamite covering up a miserable situation from the finish of Revolution.

Congratulations to Renee Paquette, who is a new U.S. citizen. 

  • Sincere condolences to Becky Lynch, who lost her father. 
  • Rich Swann might lose the match, but this pay-per-view clash with Kenny Omega at Impact’s Rebellion is a chance for a career-defining moment. 
  • If you’re not following CM Punk, you’re missing out. 
  • The WWE vaccine commercial was extremely well done. 

Ian Riccaboni raising awareness for the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center

Ian Riccaboni is Ring of Honor’s lead announcer, and he cannot wait for wrestling fans to see the March 26 Anniversary Show pay-per-view, headlined by Rush defending the ROH championship against Jay Lethal.

“We’ve finally reached the intersection of the present and the future of Ring of Honor,” Riccaboni saays. “Even though Jonathan Gresham had his first Ring of Honor match in 2011, this is the first time he is wrestling at an Anniversary pay per view. Tracy Williams has never wrestled at an Anniversary pay per view, Rush has never main-evented an Anniversary pay-per-view. We’ll see Rey Horus, Bandido, Flamita, guys that can turn it on now and they’re also long-term players for Ring of Honor. It’s a very exciting time to watch.”

Up and down the card, this has the potential to be a phenomenal night for ROH, especially considering that Dragon Lee—who is making a compelling case for wrestler of the year every time he steps in the ring—will be working two different matches.

“Tracy Williams–Dragon Lee, that’s a match you need to see,” says Riccaboni, who will call Williams and Lee as they square off against one another in both singles and tag action. “For me, Dragon Lee is the most complete package in the world. He’s a special talent, a real star.”

In addition to calling the Anniversary Show, Riccaboni is also a presence on Cameo. Through the end of the month, he is donating all the money he raises from Cameo to the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown, Pa.

Those familiar with Riccaboni and his broadcasting style know he focuses on inclusion and celebrating others, which is exactly the way he is raising awareness about the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.

“Bradbury-Sullivan is a foundation and fixture of the entire community,” Riccaboni says. “Bradbury-Sullivan is so good working with allies in the community, helping people what it means to be LGBT and celebrate being LGBT.”

Riccaboni hopes that the Cameo videos are enjoyable for people—there was one where he broke down and analyzed his favorite hairstyles of the 1993 Philadelphia Phillies—as well as support an organization that makes the world a better place.

“Growing up, I had an English teacher that was by far my favorite teacher,” Riccaboni says. “He was the producer and director of the school plays, which I was part of, and he was someone that had a partner. At the plays, you’d see other teachers bring their spouses. My teacher had to be reserved about it, and public sentiment made it a lot more difficult for individuals to be who they could be.

“I noticed that again when the friend I took to prom transitioned. Until then, I didn’t realize the type of discrimination and vitriol that people in the transgender community faced. So for me, this is an opportunity to do my best to raise awareness.”

Tweet of the Week

Some wonderful words from Bayley on Molly Holly. And, since we’re discussing Bayley, when will WWE start a program for her that builds to WrestleMania? She is far too important to the company not to have a singles match at WWE’s signature event.

Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.