On the second episode of Pro Wrestling 4 Life, two-time WWE Hall of Famer Sean “X-Pac” Waltman sat down with pro wrestling veteran Chavo Guerrero Jr. The two shared stories from their time during the Monday Night Wars including the latter days when WCW got bought out by WWE. Chris Jericho has said that his transition from WCW to WWE was a tough one because of the heat he got from WWE talent. Waltman asked Chavo is that was a similar case for him.
“I didn’t see it too much because I had Eddie already there,” Chavo noted. “I know I was still green and young, but one thing that Eddie did tell me, I think Jericho told me too, ‘Anything you’ve done over there, remember,’ I’d only been there four years in the business. He said, ‘That’s gone. You’re starting fresh here. New audience. Yes, it’s wrestling, but these guys have maybe not watched WCW, so they won’t know what you’re doing. So you get to start fresh, but you’re starting fresh. There’s a good and a bad.’ I didn’t get it too much. I was pretty good. I saw there were lot of jealousies. DDP got it for sure. Mike Awesome and those guys, those big dudes but I didn’t see it.
Waltman added, “I think maybe some of the ladies that came over with you had it tough too man.”
“Look at [Buff] Bagwell, they beat the crap out of him,” Chavo noted. “Sometimes rightfully so with Mark. I love him to death, but you got to pay your dues a little bit. It is what it is.
“We had this mentality that we knew what we were doing,” Waltman described. “We were saying, ‘What you did there doesn’t mean anything,’ and it’s kind of true. That’s kind of the mentality we had. Whether it was right or wrong, we thought we knew what we were doing.”
Waltman then asked Chavo what it was like to go from having Eric Bischoff as a boss to Vince McMahon. Chavo noted the stark differences and told a story where a situation was “a pissing contest.”
“It was different because I saw the buck stopped with one guy. The buck stopped with Vince McMahon,” Chavo said. “What he said goes, and that’s the way it was. There was really no boss in WCW. Even Eric had to answer to people, and then when Eric was gone, there was really no boss. When Bill Bush came in and other people came in, we didn’t have a boss. I remember one time at Nitro, they held the show up.
“Maybe it was a Thunder or something but they held the show up because you had David Crockett, head of production, he was arguing with booking, and they were arguing about something. They didn’t even start the show until 30 minutes late because they couldn’t agree on what to do. It was a pissing contest basically, and I was like, ‘god, these guys are acting like kids.’ There’s people out there waiting to go to start the show.
“So then when we got to WWF, you saw how a show was supposed to run. Remember in WCW, all the departments kind of did their own thing. Certain people had it good like Booker T. He comes in. He was respected. We all knew he was a good worker, and he got even better and better. Guys like Eddie and Chris [Benoit], they still had to show what they’re made of. They had to fit in.”
The final Nitro has been described by many people. They describe the mixed emotions of that night mainly due to an unknown future. Waltman asked Chavo if he felt forcibly traded from WCW to WWE. Chavo also talked about his growth in the business, and he and Waltman described what it means to get the respect of your peers.
“In a sense. There was only 19 contracts picked up I remember, and I was one of them,” Chavo recalled. “Thank God, but I was still young, and I wasn’t really worried. I was like, well, I’ll just go to Japan. Naïve, I’ll go wrestle in Mexico, whatever. Really, I could have been out of a job like a whole lot of people that never really wrestled again. Indie circuits weren’t really what they were now.
“We lucked out. We really lucked out going there and then being able to perfect my craft and get better and better and better. It’s funny because this business, it takes you — when I do a seminar or something, I always tell people that this is such an art form. It takes five years to kind of know what you’re doing and another five to really know what you’re doing.
Waltman pointed out, “And that’s if you’re working regularly.”
“That’s what I told them,” Chavo recalled. “I was working 300 days a year. 280 – 300 days a year, the highest levels there, it took me five years before I felt like I knew what I was doing and then another five. So you’re looking at 3,000 matches before I had people like Flair who would stop me and go, ‘Hey man, great match,’ or Stone Cold, ‘Hey, really good match.’ That’s 10 years in. 10 years before I really started getting the respect from my peers who really matter. Fans, sometimes they cheer you or boo you, but your peers, that makes all the difference in the world.
“That was always the thing that meant the most to me, and I don’t mean this as a slight to the fans because I’m incredibly grateful,” Waltman expressed. “I love them. I feel a connection with them, but it’s just a different type of thing when your peers respect you.
“When you got the respect of your peers, when you walk in the locker room and you got guys who have been in the business for a long time and want to work with you because they see your work and respect your work, that means a lot,” Chavo noted.