Eric Bischoff Says Sean Waltman Was A Big Reason WWF Came Back To Beat WCW In The Ratings

Many people talk about Scott Hall and Kevin Nash famously jumping from WWE to WCW in 1996 and disturbing the balance of power in wrestling then. But according to former WCW President Eric Bischoff, WCW's loss of Sean Waltman — then known as Syxx before he went back to WWE in 1998 under the name X-Pac — was just as monumental.

"Waltman was a huge shot in the arm for [WWE]," Bischoff said on the latest "83 Weeks." Bischoff even doubled down by saying that, whether people disagree with him or not, "I'll never change my opinion when I tell you that Sean Waltman was as important to the turnaround for WWE than just about anything else, including Mike Tyson."

Bischoff believes that Tyson was important to WWE gaining momentum in 1998, as he brought a lot of mainstream eyes to the product. However, for wrestling fans, the subtext was richer with Waltman. "Because Waltman was a part of NWO," Bischoff explained, "and because NWO was such a dominant part of wrestling at that period of time that, when Waltman left the NWO, I think that was as important a piece of the puzzle for WWE as anything else."

Bischoff even went on to say that D-Generation X would not have lasted but for a few months if not for the former WCW United States Champion. "I think Waltman is the reason DX worked," Bischoff continued. "Not taking anything away from everybody else," Bischoff said, noting that DX member Paul "Triple H" Leveseque is currently doing quite well for himself, "but at the time I think Waltman made that DX invasion work more than anybody else. That was a real shot across the bow. If I reacted to anything, I reacted to that."

Bischoff believes that Waltman brought the respect of other NWO members such as Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, saying Waltman was "as much a part of NWO as anybody else ... he personified the NWO," and noting Waltman's NWO bonafides made DX's invasion of WCW more than "a goofy skit."