HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
OWW Wrestler of the WeekL Kevin Nash
Our resident philosopher looks at the career of Big Sexcy, who took the Legends championship from A.J. Styles at Victory Road.
The past week was filled with title changes. The Knockout, TNA World Tag Team, X-Division and Legends titles all ended up with new owners. The most surprising win would have to be the Legends belt. Very few gave the middle-aged Kevin Nash a chance to taking the Legends strap from A.J. Styles. Nash actually cleanly pinned Styles, following a Chokeslam. He didn’t need the help of his Main Event Mafia buddies to take the newest TNA title.
Basketball to Battler
Kevin Scott Nash was born in Michigan in July of 1959. After high school, Nash moved to the University of Tennessee where he played basketball. Nash’s basketball career was a chaotic one as he often clashed with his coach, Don DeVoe. Nash was studying philosophy and eventually was removed from the basketball team. Nash wanted to transfer to Bowling Green, but decided to move to Europe.
Once he relocated, Nash played for several teams before a severe tear of his ACL ended his basketball career. After taking some time to recover from the leg injury, Nash decided to enlist with NATO. He served with the Military Police for two years before returning to the states.
The many WCW faces (and hair colors) of Kevin Nash
After his military career, Nash decided to try his hand at wrestling. During his initial three year run with WCW, Nash went through 3 different character changes. Nash’s first character was an orange-mohawked battler named Steel. The character was roughly based on a character from the film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. He was teamed with Iron and then Blade as the Master Blasters. The team only lasted a few months before Creative decided to repackage Nash.
Since Ted Turner owned the right to the characters from The Wizard of Oz, it was decided to create a mystical being called Oz. Oz was dressed all in green, including his hair. He was accompanied to the ring by The Wizard (Kevin Sullivan wearing a Harry Potter-like robe and old-man rubber mask). Oz had a slightly more successful run than Steel did. Oz’s final appearance was at Halloween Havoc 1991 where he lost by submission to Bill Kazmaier.
January, 1992 saw the third character for Nash born. This time, he was Vinnie Vegas, a con man from Nevada that used his size and power to over-whelm everyone in sight. The long black hair of Vinnie looked similar to the Diesel character he would portray in later years. The most memorable thing about this character was his finisher, Snake Eyes. The move saw Nash lift his opponent and drop them, face-first, onto the top turnbuckle. That move would later be adopted by the Undertaker and others. Vinnie Vegas started as a solo act, but was later teamed with “Diamond” Dallas Page as The Vegas Connection. The team really never went anywhere and in 1993, Nash left for the WWF.
Shawn Michaels suggested that Nash be considered for a WWF contract. Nash went through a few months of training and character development before showing up as Michael’s bodyguard, Diesel. The name was a tribute to Nash’s hometown of Detroit (the main manufacturing area for automobiles in the US).
Diesel not only served as Michaels’ bodyguard, but had his own wrestling career as well. Diesel was the first, and only, wrestler to hold the I-C, Tag Team, and World titles all within the same year. Diesel took the I-C strap from Razor Ramon, who would become his teammate in as The Outsiders, later on. Diesel and Shawn beat The Headshrinkers for the Tag titles. Diesel would destroy Bob Backlund in a mere 8 seconds to end Backlund’s second title run. Diesel’s first World title run would last just under 13 months. He would drop the strap to Bret Hart.
Diesel would continue with the WWF until 1996. He and Razor Ramon (Scott Hall) would accept lucrative contracts to jump ship to WCW. Diesel’s last match would stir up some major controversy and get two of the WWF stars in a bit of hot water. On May 19, 1996, Shawn defeated Diesel in a Steel Cage match at MSG. After the match, Triple H and Razor Ramon joined Shawn and Diesel in the ring. Triple H and Shawn celebrated their buddies and wished them well in WCW. Both Shawn and Triple H caught Hell from management for breaking character.
wCw and the nWo
When Kevin Nash (Diesel) and Scott Hall (Razor Ramon) returned to WCW, they were portrayed as invaders from that other wrestling promotion. Their team was dubbed The Outsiders. Hall and Nash began to talk about having another member joining their ranks. Their third partner turned out to be Hollywood/Hulk Hogan. On July 7, 1996, Hall and Nash were battling Lex Luger, Sting and Randy Savage. Luger was injured and carted out. Hogan came out to help the faces, or so it seemed. Hogan dropped Savage and hit the Legdrop o’ Doom on his former Mega-Powers partner. Hogan then announced himself, Nash and Hall as the core of the New World Order (of wrestling, brudda).
Over time, Nash would help to flesh out the mega-stable. The US-version of the nWo would swell to almost two dozen regular and associate members. Eventually, Hogan and Nash would find themselves facing each other. The nWo was split into Hogan’s nWo Hollywood (aka the Black and White nWo) and Nash’s nWo Wolfpac (aka the Red and Black nWo). Nash’s group consisted of Nash, Lex Luger, Sting, Randy Savage and Sting. The two factions battled for most of 1998. Nash ended up battling his long-time friend and tag team partner, Scott Hall, in a series of matches that many compared to the Arn Anderson/Ric Flair feud.
Nash won the WCW World title and faced off against Hollywood Hogan on January 4, 1999 on an edition of Nitro. Hogan walked up to Nash and tapped him on the chest with one finger. Nash dropped like a stone to the mat and Hogan pinned him to take the World title. Hogan was ridiculed for winning the bout with his Finger-poke of Doom move. This led to a unification of the two nWos under the banner of nWo Reunion. Their merchandise had a red and white striped background under the nWo logo. Nash, Hall, Hogan, Luger, Scott Steiner and Buff Bagwell made up the patchwork group. They would feud with the Latino World Order/Filthy Animals and the Four Horsemen. Nash would lose a Retirement Match to Hogan, but wouldn’t stay retired long.
After the final incarnation of the nWo disbanded, Nash took a turn as the WCW Commissioner. He also became a member of the Millionaire’s Club, a group of senior stars that feuded with younger stars. The younger stars united as The New Blood.
After that feud, Nash began his mentoring career. He aligned himself with a stable of new stars called the Natural Born Thrillers (Mike Sanders, Sean O’Haire, Chuck Palumbo, Reno, Mark Jindrak, Shawn Stasiak and Johnny “The Bull” Stamboli). These youngsters would eventually turn on their leader. Kevin Nash would call on his old Vegas Connection partner, “Diamond” Dallas Page, to form The Insiders. They battled The Natural Born Thrillers, usually coming out victorious.
Nash’s last big feud in WCW was against then-World champion, Scott Steiner. The two traded victories back and forth. In February, 2001, Scott sent Nash into retirement. Nash wanted some time to recover from mounting injuries that had plagued him for some time. While in “retirement”, Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation purchased WCW. Nash chose to ride out the rest of his contract and focus on his acting career. More about the acting career, later.
Getting the band back together
In 2002, Kevin Nash, along with Hulk Hogan and Scott Hall, signed contracts to return to the WWE. Vince McMahon introduced the re-formed nWo as his Ultimate Solution. The nWo wouldn’t have a very long or successful run. Hogan would turn face, following his feud with The Rock. Nash had to go on the shelf, due to a torn bicep. Nash was “suspended” to cover the needed leave. Scott Hall would leave the WWE before Nash could return.
When Nash returned, he re-formed a new version of the nWo, including Shawn Michaels. Nash served as a manager for the new group. When Nash finally did get back in the ring, about a month later, he tore his Quad. That put him back on the D-L list for several months.
WWE, post nWo
When Nash got back to action, in April, 2003, he found himself in the middle of a World title feud. He faced off against Triple H, Chris Jericho, Ric Flair and others to try and make his way back to the top of the ladder. Nash got involved in one of the most bizarre gimmick matches, ever. He and Chris Jericho faced off in a Hair v Hair Match. Normally, the loser of one of those matches ends up bald. Nash simply ended up with a bad crewcut. Crowds taunted Nash for wimping out on the stipulation. They wouldn’t get a chance to hassle him for long. At Summerslam 2003, Nash participated in an Elimination Chamber match. Nash injured his neck during the match. In October, Nash went through a neck surgery to fuse the vertebrae (much like Kurt Angle had already gone through). Nash never returned to the WWE.
TNA’s Kings of Wrestling
In late 2004, Jeff Jarrett brought Scott Hall and Kevin Nash into TNA. They created a force that Jarrett called the Kings of Wrestling. The original plan was to have “Diamond” Dallas Page join the group and each man would have a card suit as his symbol. (Page-Diamond, Jarrett-Heart [a tribute to dear friend, Owen Hart], Nash-Spades, Hall-Clubs [a inside joke on Hall’s issues with alcohol]). Hall ended up leaving the company before the idea could be fleshed out. Nash continued to battle, but was cautious not to re-injure himself.
Passing on his Wisdom
Kevin Nash got into a rough series of battles against various members of the X-Division. He brutalized Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin, Jay Lethal and many others. During the various matches, Nash began to grow closer to the younger guys. Behind the scenes, Nash began to mentor several of the stars.
This mentoring would eventually be incorporated into various storylines. Nash felt that Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt needed some serious Character Re-Development. Nash converted Jay into a modern-day version of Randy Savage‘s 1980s Macho Man character. It was Jay’s ability to do a dead-on imitation of Savage that led to the character that Jay still uses. Sonjay went through several of Nash’s old characters (Oz, Vinnie Vegas and Diesel) before settling on his Guru character.
Nash would also serve as Doctor Kevin Nash to advise Kurt Angle. Most of their encounters were laced with sexual over-tones. Some of their interviews caused negative feedback for TNA, so the angle was suspended. Nash was eventually paired with Samoa Joe. Nash has served as Joe’s adviser and in-ring partner, on occasion. Nash’s injuries, especially his legs and knees, are quite well known. Nash now walks to the ring with a pronounced limp. Nash’s wrestling career is, for the most part, over. TNA seems to be preparing a feud between Nash and Joe. Nash is seriously risking the loss of mobility if he takes the angle. Nash does have a second career to fall back on.
The Acting Bug
Kevin got his first taste of non-wrestling acting in the feature film Teen-age Mutant Ninja Turtles II, where he played Super-Shredder. He did a few television appearances, after that film. Kevin re-focused on his acting career, beginning in 2004. Nash used his knowledge of the German language (learned during his pro basketball career) to co-star as the evil German character in the film The Punisher.
Nash was then picked by Adam Sandler to join Steve Austin, The Great Khali and other wrestlers for the remake of The Longest Yard. Nash played the somewhat effeminate giant guard, Engleheart. Nash also had a bit part in Grandma’s Boy. Nash then played Bass Armstrong in the video-game based film D.O.A.: Dead or Alive. Nash has been approached for other film and television projects but has chosen to focus on TNA, for the moment.
The Main Event Mafia
Nash spent some time as a mentor to Samoa Joe. Nash hinted that there were bigger things in the works. That came to fruition in Las Vegas, when Nash, joined Kurt Angle, Sting and Booker T to form the Main Event Mafia. The elite group of former World champions would later enlist Scott Steiner as a fifth member. Nash took a secondary position within the group, basically cracking jokes and taunting the various members of the Frontline (a rag-tag group of TNA loyalists).
Nash stepped it up when he brought in Jenna Morasca from Survivor to bankroll the organization. Nash was a key player in bringing his old charge, Samoa Joe, into the Mafia. Nash also stood up against Sting and accepted Sting‘s banishment from the group. After that, Nash decided that he needed gold. He set his sights on the Legends title, held by A.J. Styles. Most people, myself included, expected Nash to call on his Mafia “brothers” to help him cheat his way to a win. In fact, Nash caught Styles off the ropes in a Goozle and Chokeslammed him out of his Legends belt. After an extended period without a title, Kevin Nash was the new Legends champion.
Kevin Nash has begun the next chapter in his career. How long will he hold the Legends belt is hard to tell. How much longer Nash’s lousy knees will keep going is questionable, at best. Nash will likely convert over to a managerial position, soon. Regardless of his future, Kevin Nash is currently the Legends champion. He’s also this week’s OWW Wrestler of the Week.
— Jay Shannon