WCW was ruling the Monday Night Wars in a big way and Eric Bischoff was on the top of the world. Then out of nowhere things started to change for WWE and the pro wrestling climate shifted back to the show starring Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, The Undertaker, and DX.
But X-Pac wouldn’t have been a factor in WWE’s Monday Night War equation if WCW hasn’t released him via FedEx and as we look back on those events it could be interpreted that WCW really shot themselves in the foot so to speak for releasing Sean Waltman in 1998.
“We had reached an agreement, handshake, letter of intent if you will. Basic terms to outline Sean’s new deal,” Eric Bischoff said on the 83 Weeks podcast. “Of course that deal took a couple weeks perhaps a little longer. The wheels of the legal process turned slowly even back then. Again, Turner legal was separate necessarily from WCW so I didn’t have my hands around anyone’s throats. I couldn’t drag them down the hall kicking and screaming and telling them to get deals done quicker but it took time.”
They had a deal though and everything was agreed on. Bischoff said Sean Waltman knew how much he was going to make and everything was just waiting for the final legal stages to sign a new contract. Then he explained how things went south on the deal in a big way very quickly.
“Then when Diana Myers who was the representative for Turner legal who worked inside of our office finally got around to getting the deal to Sean and [his agent] Barry they balked the deal and that just pissed me off. There was no way I could let that happen and if I were to have let that fly, if I would have re-negotiated after we had come to terms then it would have just been chaos even more than it already was.”
“So I said f-ck it, you’re outta here,” Bischoff admitted. “I intentionally wanted to make an example of Sean because at a certain point you have to draw the line and I drew it and I cut Sean loose. That was a mistake — well, it wasn’t a mistake. I was justified in doing it because that was just in my opinion it was just about holding someone up or real close to it, and I just couldn’t do it. But in doing so I really didn’t think it through. I was so hot, I was so pissed off and I was mainly pissed off at Barry more than Sean I’ll be honest with you.”
It just goes to show that you never know how the choices you make today could go on to bite you in the end. People didn’t really expect Sean Waltman to jump back to WWE and become a member of the hottest faction in pro wrestling but that’s what happened. Eric Bischoff might have been wise to talk to Waltman and see what he wanted, but hindsight is always going to be 20/20 no matter how convenient it would be if it were otherwise.