February 10, 2007 by Dan Trujillo
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When I was a kid, the moment when a wrestler went to the top rope gave me goose bumps. You knew something special was about to happen. The Superfly splash, the Flying Elbow Drop, Body Press, Clothesline, the Rocker Dropper, the Doomsday Device, the Stinger Frog Splash - great moves that ended most wrestling matches, back in the day.
In the early 1990s, I came across the Global Wrestling Federation and their televised shows in the afternoons on ESPN. A young Sean Waltman caught my eye as the Lightning Kid, with his drop kicks, body presses, and moonsaults off the top rope. "The moonsault," a back flip off the top rope where the wrestler came crashing down on their opponent for a pin fall. The first time I saw the kid do that, I knew he was going to be special.
Around the same time, Scott Hall made his debut in the World Wrestling Federation as "The Bad Guy" Razor Ramon. His arrogance and Razor's Edge, cross-powerbomb finisher made him one of the top heels in the company in a heartbeat. Razor rolled through former World Champion Randy Savage, and even managed to keep his heat while feuding with The Undertaker.
I remember purchasing my first copy of Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine. The cover story focused on Razor's quick rise in the WWF. I still remember the tagline: "Savage couldn't do it. Undertaker can't do it. (Bret) Hart won't do it. No one can cut down Razor Ramon!" Pretty bold statement, since Hart was about to become World Champion and Razor hadn't even earned himself a title shot.
Lost in the mix was the WWF debut of the Lightning Kid. But he was not the same, high-flying daredevil that I remembered. Waltman started out as nothing more than a jobber, getting squashed by established WWF stars on Saturday mornings. With every loss came a new name change - from the Kamikaze Kid to the Cannonball Kid - the kid did everything he could to make a name for himself. All Waltman really needed was a chance to get to the top rope. He had yet to make it to that plateau in any of his matches.
May 17, 1993 - Well, here it is. The moment. Monday Night RAW. The Kid, as he was called on that night, versus Razor Ramon. A tune-up match for Hall as he geared up to face Bret Hart in the first-round of the King of the Ring. It seemed like the match would be over quickly, as Razor took it to the Kid from the opening bell. But the Bad Guy couldn't help toying around with the beaten up youngster. Little did Razor know, the Kid was about to make him pay. He knocked Razor down, and scurried up to the top rope as quick as a cat. "This is it!" I thought. "The Kid's gonna fly!" Waltman hit Hall with a beautiful Moonsault. The Bad Guy was down for the count. One. Two. THREE! Razor didn't know what hit him. A night of glory for jobbers everywhere as the Kid became an instant WWF Superstar in three seconds. The Bad Guy, on the other hand, became a vulnerable heel.
Talk about killing someone's heat! Razor had lost his edge. There was no way he could be considered as a serious threat to the World Title. Bret Hart started poking fun at Razor for losing to the Kid, and went on to beat the Bad Guy at the King of the Ring. Hall's career in WWF would never be the same. Although Razor went on to be a successful Intercontinental Champion, he would never again return to the World Title picture.
In the meantime, Waltman embraced his newfound fame as the 1-2-3 Kid. Waltman went onto establish himself as a tag team specialist, winning the World Tag Titles with Bob Holly and Marty Jannetty, while also continuing to get under the skin of some of the larger WWF Superstars. He also earned respect from his matches with Bret Hart and Razor Ramon, but loses to these top stars led to frustration. The kid needed a new edge. He turned to greed and joined Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Corporation. The Kid failed in multiple attempts to embarrass Razor, his former friend, in the ring. Not long afterwards, Waltman disappeared from WWF programming.
In an odd twist, "The Bad Guy" Razor Ramon regained some respect and credibility as a babyface. He formed an entertaining partnership with Waltman, and went on to tangle with some of the WWF's most formidable heels. Razor's ongoing rivalry with Shawn Michaels for the IC Title led to a groundbreaking match in the careers of both men - when Razor beat Michaels in a legendary ladder match at WrestleMania X. Razor went onto more notable feuds with Diesel (Kevin Nash), Jeff Jarrett, Shane "Dean" Douglas, and Golddust, before leaving the WWF for WCW.
As The Outsiders in WCW, Hall and Nash made wrestling history when they joined with Hulk Hogan to form the New World Order. The merger of three former WWF stars planning a WCW take-over had fans tuning into Monday Nitro instead of Monday Night RAW. But banking solely on the nWo proved to be WCW's downfall. Waltman was the sixth member to join the nWo, just as foundation started to crack. He went back to the WWF, and enjoyed greater success as a member of Degeneration X. In storylines, DX declared war on WCW. In reality, the WWF won the Monday Night ratings war with notable and comedic feuds between DX and the Nation of Domination, and Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon. But Waltman and Hall remained top stars of both companies for the better part of the Monday Night feud.
Together, Scott Hall and Sean Waltman shared a memorable night in wrestling history that changed both their careers. They went on to headline two of the most memorial factions, at a time when wrestling was more popular than ever. It's a shame that both of their careers have also come crashing down, due to personal demons.
Wrestling is not what it used to be. Today, outcomes of matches have become too predictable and certain characters are pushed too hard on the fans. I long for the days of the upset. A night when an unknown kid and his Moonsault got the best of one of the biggest heels in the business, and nobody saw it coming. A moment that still links Scott Hall and Sean Waltman, to this day.
by Dan Trujillo (View/Submit your feedback here)..
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