"X-Pac Sucks!" "X-Pac Sucks!" "X-Pac Sucks!"
...that's a chant you're likely to hear from the crowd at just about any World Wrestling Federation live event.
You're not likely to find X-Pac on a list of "Most Popular Superstars." Yet, despite his infuriating actions and his ability to stir controversy inside and outside the ring, today he remains uncharacteristically silent.
How can one Federation Superstar provoke so much fan emotion without even getting on the mic? For the man who calls himself the "Ultimate D-Generate," the answer's simple: "I do my job well," says X-Pac. "People love to hate me. And some people just hate me. I strive for that. When we got DX back together, my mission was to be the biggest @#$ I could possibly be, because that's my job and I enjoy it. It's a good release valve for me."
But how good of a job can X-Pac actually be doing when it seems his day in the spotlight is over?
Some argue that what looked to be a promising career has been put on the backburner under the McMahon-Helmsley Faction. This problem has some wondering if all is well behind the scenes with D-Generation X.
"I have the respect of my peers," X-Pac responds. "The public has its opinion of [my career] but they don't really know. I'd much rather go by the opinion of my peers than the opinion of people who don't have the first clue of what to do in the ring."
Just a few months ago, one could hardly find X-Pac without a microphone in his hand. He enjoyed verbally insulting fans. And he took great delight in angering them when he turned his back on Kane - a man who'd given his friendship and opened up his soul only to have his world torn apart by his supposed best friend.
Despite the fact that now the only insults X-Pac seems to dish out are hand gestures, he insists nothing has changed.
"I haven't had much to say. I do my talking when I perform in the ring," he insists. "I have to be inspired to go out there and run my mouth. I'm not a bigmouth. I'll talk $#@& as much as the next guy, but I pick my spots. That's not to say that I'm not going to be more vocal in the near future. It's just that I've been kind of lurking in the background for the last couple of months."
What X-Pac is quick to point out, however, is that the rise of Triple H has in no way relegated him to the role of DX's sacrificial lamb.
"Triple H is the man now," X-Pac says by way of explanation. "He's on top of the mountain, and he really deserves to be."
However, since Triple H's marriage to Stephanie McMahon, X-Pac has done more lurking in the shadows than even he's accustomed to doing. And the April 2000 issue of World Wrestling Federation Magazine, in which X-Pac openly criticizes Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley for stirring up trouble in the group, probably didn't help. In fact, it has led some insiders to think Stephanie may have had X-Pac muzzled.
But X-Pac quickly shrugs off the suggestion that staying aligned with Triple H has hurt his own career. He instead feels that he has a certain role to play, and that it shouldn't be seen as that of a lackey.
"[Triple H] is not doing that at all," he says. "I've been satisfied with the way things have been. I haven't made any noise about it. So, there's nothing for me to b@&%^ about. Things are great. Business is great. Money is great. The pressure's not nearly as bad as when you're the top dog and everybody's gunning for you."
But is the easy money that X-Pac now receives for watching Triple H's back going to cost him later? The Minnesota native is easily one of the most gifted and talented athletes in the Federation, and regardless of what fans think of him, he's able to get the job done.
If X-Pac sees his role in DX as purely business related, it wouldn't be outrageous to question his true allegiance to the group. His own words seem to suggest that without him, there is no D-Generation X - he's the glue that holds DX together.
"I'm not going to say I am anymore than [Road] Dogg or Triple H," he says. "But, I don't think it would stay together without me. I really don't."
"When Shawn Michaels quit, DX was dead. One guy can't be DX," he continues. "I was the perfect guy [to join] because of the history between Triple H and me. And, I just think the Raw is War following WrestleMania XIV was the magic day. That was the day I came back."
Is X-Pac the team player he'd like to convince the world he is? Or, could it be that he's waiting in the wings for the right moment to assert himself as the real leader of DX? It's very possible that the cunning X-Pac just might've mastered "the Game" from his close association with Triple H. This makes him even more likely to eventually try to wrest away the leadership of DX. One thing he says is for certain, though - when he's ready to move to the next level, everyone's going to know.
"When I get ready to do it," he says, "When I tell myself, 'Okay. I'm gonna do this,' then it's going to be done. It's always been that way. I just haven't had any personal missions in a while."
As for whether that personal mission might include the leadership of D-Generation X, X-Pac says this: "I haven't beaten Triple H... yet."