It was on this date, May 17, 1993 – twenty five years ago today – that one of the most shocking upsets in WWE history occurred, when a low card superstar named The Kid pulled off the victory over one of the company’s biggest stars, Razor Ramon. It was an unprecedented move and has since gone to become of the launching legends of the Kliq.
Sean Waltman was one of the WWE’s earliest examples of signing a budding indie star. He started in 1990 as The Lightning Kid in his home state of Minnesota with Eddie Sharkey‘s Pro Wrestling America (PWA), which was the competition to Verne Gagne‘s far more popular AWA, alongside future ECW legend Jerry Lynn. The following year, he was splitting his time with PWA and Eddie Gilbert‘s Global Wrestling Federation (GWF) in Dallas, Texas. In 1993, he was invited to take part in NJPW‘s Top of the Super Juniors (the final tournament before it was renamed to Best of the Super Juniors). While he never made it out the first round, he took part in a block that also included such legends as Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger, Fit Finlay, Shinjiro Otani, El Samurai, Chris Benoit (as Pegasus Kid), Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, Norio Onaga, and 2 Cold Scorpio.
He was signed by the WWF in 1993 and had three different names in his first three matches on Monday Night Raw. In his Raw debut on April 26 as The Kamikaze Kid, he was defeated by Doink the Clown, followed a week later by a loss to Mr. Hughes as The Cannonball Kid. Not only was he lowest on the totem pole, he was losing to the other lowest guys on the totem pole. And management seemingly thought so little of him that they hadn’t even decided on a name yet.
On his third appearance, he was known simply as “The Kid” and now he faced a threat far greater than even Doink and Hughes in a handicap match – Razor Ramon. Ramon had just finished working programs with the likes of WWF World Champion Bret “Hitman” Hart, Mr. Perfect, The Undertaker and “Macho Man” Randy Savage. He may not have been winning them, but he was a certified main event heel with the WWF at the time. The fans, both at home and in attendance, were expecting another squash of this scrawny kid from Minnesota. But they were wrong.
Following the victory, The Kid finally got his name – The 1-2-3 Kid. He went on to become the underdog hero that Daniel Bryan has since claimed the throne of, becoming a fan favourite and 2x WWF World Tag Team Champion (once with Bob Holly and once with Marty Jannetty) before leaving the WWF in 1996 to join his Kliq brothers in WCW, where he was repackaged as Syxx (a play on the number 6, which is 1+2+3, as well as Waltman being the 6th member of the nWo) and capturing the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. He would eventually return to the WWF in 1998 as X-Pac and join another Kliq mate, Triple H, in D-Generation X, where he became a 2x WWF European Champion, 2x WWF Light Heavyweight Champion, WWF Cruiserweight Champion and added one more WWE Tag Team title (alongside Kane).
Over the years, some myth has entered the legend. Some have claimed that Waltman accidentally stunned Hall and the win was unexpected, while other Kliq conspiracists think that Scott Hall and Sean Waltman pulled a shoot in the ring and defied Vince’s booking in the ring. But if you want the real story, you may as well hear it from the man who took the pin himself, from an interview with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.