WWE Summerslam 2011 Fallout: Great Moments in Kevin Nash History
The biggest shock coming out of Sunday's SummerSlam 2011 pay-per-view event from Los Angeles was the return of Kevin Nash as an active performer (as active as Kevin Nash can be) on WWE television.
A lot of fans have not reacted positively to this development—and with good reason; he's an old and crippled friend of Triple H who is notorious for his ridiculous behind-the-scene machinations.
He was never much of an in-ring wrestler and was only an entertaining talker for a brief period of time. Case in point, last night on Raw, Nash's first promo back in WWE consisted of him throwing embarrassingly bad insults at CM Punk while sounding really sleepy.
Having said that, he can be a fascinating person. The aforementioned behind-the-scenes maneuvering can be entertaining reading. In out-of-character interviews, he seems to have a better mind for the wrestling business than his actions would indicate. And sometimes, really weird stuff just happens to him.
Let's take a trip through the career of Kevin Nash...
Kevin Nash Had the Good Fortune of Being Chosen to Be Oz in WCW
Kevin Nash as Oz. I'd try to come up with a witty caption but nothing would be funnier than the image itself. (Via WWE)
Kevin Nash first arrived in WCW in late 1990 as one half of the Master Blasters, a run of the mill rip off of the Road Warriors. He had what was believed to be his first professional match on a live TV special, stuck around for a month or two and then disappeared for a while. When he resurfaced, it was in a much more memorable gimmick than one of the Master Blasters.
Then WCW head Jim Herd wanted to raid Turner Broadcasting's vault of classic movie characters for new wrestling gimmicks. After sitting on the shelf for a while, this idea came to fruition in the form of a "Wizard of Oz" inspired character named...Oz. Nobody involved appeared to care that Oz was a place and not a person in The Wizard of Oz.
The gimmick debuted at WCW's first SuperBrawl pay-per-view event in 1991 in a scene that defines "I swear I am not making this up." A huge fabric backdrop serving as a facsimile of the entrance to the Emerald City was hung at the entrance to the stage.
The house lights went out as green lights shined down on the ramp. Audio of someone (it sounded like Nash doing a weird voice) reading Oz's backstory was played along with his entrance music. And then, Oz comes out with The Wizard and some guy in a Tin Man costume.
In the above picture, that's Nash in a weird rubber wizard mask, funny hat and giant robe as Oz. Cut off on the right is Kevin Sullivan in a cloak and his own weird rubber mask as The Wizard. Sullivan also had a real, live monkey on his shoulder and said "Welcome to Oz!" over and over. The Tin Man is not pictured, and I don't believe he ever appeared again.
Again, I SWEAR I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.
When it was time to wrestle, Nash disrobed and unmasked. His hair was dyed grey (insert joke here). He quickly dispatched Tim Parker to win his match and stuck around as Oz for a while before being repackaged as Vinnie Vegas.
Kevin Nash Tricks WCW into Releasing Him from His Contract
Vinnie Vegas: Proof that alliteration is as key part of making a ring name sound at least slightly less stupid. (Via WCW Magazine)
In 1993, Kevin Nash was treading water in WCW as Vinnie Vegas. The gimmick is exactly what you'd expect, so I'm not going to explain it. The only long-term impact of Vinnie Vegas was naming his finisher "Snake Eyes," which stuck when other wrestlers like Undertaker used it.
Anyway, he got an offer to go to the WWF as Diesel—Shawn Michaels' bodyguard. Unfortunately for Nash, he was under contract with WCW for a while. He decided to come up with a clever solution to this quandary.
Nash had been friendly with a wrestler who was tight with a lot of people in the office. He "confided" in this wrestler that life on the road was ruining his marriage. If he didn't get out of wrestling, his wife would divorce him. Word got around, he got his release, and then, he faxed it to WWF talent relations head J.J. Dillon.
And that's how we got Diesel.
Diesel Becomes a Compelling Character Whose Real Fans Buy His Merchandise
The infamous WWF Magazine cover photo featuring Shiny Happy Diesel (Photo obviously by WWE)
Kevin Nash had a quick rise to the top in WWE. After a little more than six months in the company as Shawn Michaels' bodyguard who sometimes wrestled, he wrestled in the Royal Rumble match for the first time at the pay-per-view of the same name in 1994.
In a sequence that has since been repeated but has never gotten over as well, he eliminated everyone who came at him for a few minutes and calmly waited for the next entrant.
A few months later, he won the Intercontinental Championship from Razor Ramon (his best friend Scott Hall). A few months after that, he and Michaels won the WWF Tag Team Championship the night before he lost the Intercontinental belt back to Razor. A few months after that, he and Michaels split up at Survivor Series '94, vacating the tag belts.
On the same show, Bob Backlund defeated Bret Hart to win the WWF Championship and injured him in the process. A rematch was to take place a few days later at Madison Square Garden, but with Hart injured, Diesel was inserted into the match.
He squashed Backlund and won the title in less than 10 seconds. The whole scenario was a carbon copy of what led to Hulk Hogan's first WWF Championship win, just over the course of a few days instead of a month.
Diesel had never really talked much, he just stood there and looked cool. Still, his first couple promos on TV that weekend were pretty good, a logical extension of a Diesel who was still cool but was now a good guy who talked.
And then everything went to hell.
Diesel was turned into a shiny happy babyface, which didn't suit Nash or the gimmick. Vince McMahon was patient, keeping the belt on him for a year, but the experiment was clearly a failure. Diesel was the worst drawing WWF champion in company history.
At Survivor Series '95, he lost the belt to Bret Hart. After the match, he appeared to turn heel by attacking Hart.
The next night on Raw, he made sure to add more nuance to the character. He cut a great promo about how shiny happy Diesel wasn't really him, etc. etc. He became a very compelling character over the next few months, very effectively straddling the line of heel and babyface as a "tweener" before going full heel by attacking Michaels. But back to that promo. He also made sure to note that he would only high-five fans that wore black gloves like his. Black gloves that were sold at the merchandise stand.
So remember, kids, if you want Diesel to still like you, buy his merchandise so his royalty checks go up.
Kevin Nash & Scott Hall Get Raises from WCW Thanks to the WWF
Los Dos Diesels (Photos by WWE)
In May 1996, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall jumped to WCW. They started the NWO and the rest is history you can easily find details about on Wikipedia.
The WWF infamously sued WCW over the initial vagueness of the NWO angle, which implied that Nash and Hall were Diesel and Razor Ramon, sent by Vince McMahon to invade WCW. One of the various decisions rendered during the case noted that "Plaintiff alleges that WWF programming combines character-driven story lines with skillful wrestling while WCW has no reputation for creativity."
A few months later, the WWF made an unusual move to strengthen the lawsuit. To prove that Razor Ramon and Diesel were fictional characters who still had value to the company, they had Jim Ross (turning heel in the process) promise their return and then deliver fakes in the old gimmicks.
Razor Ramon was played by Rick Bogner, who had done a similar gimmick in ECW. Diesel was played by Glen Jacobs, now known as Kane, who had been evil dentist Dr. Isaac Yankem before disappearing for a while.
Anyway, in the most recent edition of the "Legends of Wrestling" roundtable on WWE Classics On Demand, Nash added a new wrinkle to the story. He and Hall had not signed their full contracts and instead had been working for WCW on some kind of interim agreement that was legally binding only on the company's end. WCW panicked at the WWF hype and gave Hall & Nash raises to stay.
When "Razor and Diesel returned," WCW head Eric Bischoff wasn't very happy.
Kevin Nash Turns Indigestion into Heart Attack so He Won't Lose a Match
Kevin Nash hospitalized (presumably with something other than heartburn).
Starrcade '97 was the biggest show in WCW history, drawing a huge audience on pay-per-view to see Sting return to the ring to get a WCW World Heavyweight Title shot at Hulk Hogan.
One of the biggest matches scheduled under the main event was Kevin Nash vs, The Giant, now known as The Big Show in WWE. It didn't happen, though.
Nash was scheduled to lose, and on the day of the show, claimed to think he was having a heart attack. In lieu of the advertised bout, Scott Hall had a non-match confrontation with The Giant. It soon became clear that Nash hadn't suffered anything close to a heart attack.
At worst, he had some form of indigestion. It's generally believed that he exaggerated his condition so as not to have to lose a high-profile singles match.
Kevin Nash Tears His Quadricep Through the Strenuous Act of Walking
I'm sure that this happens to plenty of people when they walk a few feet. (Via WWE)
After WCW closed in 2001, Kevin Nash was living off a healthy paycheck that he got from Time Warner since he wasn't officially signed to WCW in a form of creative bookkeeping.
A year later, the WWF bought out his, Scott Hall and Hulk Hogan's contracts so they could come in as the NWO. Being one of the most fragile wrestlers on Earth, Nash quickly tore his bicep and was out for a few months.
He returned in a 10-man tag match on Raw. Late in the bout, he tagged in, did a few basic moves and then walked over to his opponents' corner to attack them.
See, in the process of walking, Nash tore his quadriceps muscle. He quickly fell to the mat clutching his leg, and the match fell apart from there.
Now, I have no idea whether or not Kevin Nash has used anabolic androgenic steroids, but they often cause muscle tears. Quad tears never really happened to athletes before steroid use became prevalent. Just letting you know.
I'm sure that there was no correlation between steroid use and Kevin Nash tearing his quad by walking a few feet.
Kevin Nash Gets His Release from TNA By...Asking for It. Huh?
Kevin Nash as Diesel in the 2011 Royal Rumble match (Photo by WWE.com)
This might be the strangest one yet.
Kevin Nash was under contract to TNA in January. He was part of their upcoming big angle.
Then WWE came calling, as they wanted him in the Royal Rumble as a surprise and then under a Legends' Contract so they could use him later if needed. Nash went to TNA head Dixie Carter, asked her for his release and got it.
No underhandedness or claims of an impending divorce required. Dixie just sabotaged TNA's top program to let a top star go to WWE.
In case you were wondering why people refer to Dixie Carter as dumb, then there you have it.