From the hard-charging New Generation era to the front lines of the Monday Night War, Kevin Nash has always been in the right place at the right time.
Throughout his long and storied career, Kevin Nash has been known by many names. Vinnie Vegas, Diesel, Big Daddy Cool, Oz. Master Blaster Steel. OK, maybe he’d rather forget about Oz and Master Blaster Steel. But now, no matter what name wrestling fans called Kevin Nash, there’s one moniker that suits him best: WWE Hall of Famer.
After appearing as a series of unmemorable (or memorable for all the wrong reasons) personas in WCW, Nash made the jump to WWE in 1993 — then known as the World Wrestling Federation, or WWF — and quickly hit his stride. As Diesel, it was clear that Nash was aptly named. An engine of pure destruction, Diesel plowed through his opponents with wrecking-ball force. In his first Royal Rumble appearance, he tossed seven WWF Superstars from the ring. It took five others to eliminate him. As Shawn Michaels’ bodyguard, Diesel was an imposing, intimidating force, and the two quickly proved to be a powerful duo. With HBK’s help, he soon won the Intercontinental Championship and Tag Team Championship (with Michaels) shortly thereafter.
An acrimonious split with Michaels led Nash to strike out on his own, and it wasn’t long before wrestling fans fully realized what a true powerhouse he was. Three days after Bob Backlund captured the WWF Championship from Bret Hart at the 1994 Survivor Series, he lost it to Nash in a staggering eight seconds.
By the tail end of 1995 and into 1996, Nash had reached the summit in the World Wrestling Federation and soon sought other peaks to climb. On June 10, 1996, Kevin Nash appeared on WCW Monday Nitro alongside Scott Hall, who was known as Razor Ramon in the World Wrestling Federation. Although no one knew it at the time, the world of professional wrestling had just changed forever.
Within a month, Nash had joined forces with Hall and Hulk Hogan to form the New World Order (nWo), a black-clad group of hellraisers who quickly became the ruling class of World Championship Wrestling. The nWo rewrote the book in WCW, then burned it weekly. They were among the key players in the Monday Night Wars between WCW and the WWF, sending viewers to Nitro in droves and igniting a ratings war with Raw that lasted more than a year. The impact of the nWo on both WCW and the WWF can’t fully be quantified. They were both dangerous and they represented a new era for the professional wrestling industry, one where being bad wasn’t necessarily a negative quality. Along with D-Generation X, The Four Horsemen and Evolution, the nWo ranks as one of the most important and influential stables in the history of the business.
Following the dissolution of WCW in 2001, Nash returned to the World Wrestling Federation with Hogan and Nash, bringing the nWo to Raw and going up against titans such as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock. However, their run proved short-lived and, following a failed bid for the World Heavyweight Championship in the Elimination Chamber at the 2003 SummerSlam, Nash left Vince McMahon’s organization, seemingly for good.
But, in WWE, there’s really no such thing as “for good,” and in 2011, Nash came roaring back as the No. 32 entrant in the Royal Rumble Match. Since then, he’s made occasional run-ins in WWE, most famously battling Triple H in a Sledgehammer Ladder Match at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs in 2011, a match which ended with Nash taking a sledgehammer to the face.
Kevin Nash is one of the most well known big man wrestlers in the history of American wrestler. He had a short career in WCW in the early 1990s before moving on to WWE as a bodyguard of Shawn Michaels named Diesel. Within a couple of years he was a top guy in WWE after winning the WWE Title from Bob Backlund on November 26, 1994 in eight seconds.
His original WWE career ended in May of 1996 due to a lucrative contract that he signed with World Championship Wrestling. It was a game changer because he was part of the New World Order stable that was booked to make it look like they were WWE guys there to legitimately take over WCW. He became a key performer in WCW until the company died in March of 2002.
With WCW out of the picture, WWE brought back Nash along with Hulk Hogan & Scott Hall (his nWo brothers) in 2002. It would have been a bigger deal if they returned in 2001 as part of the WCW Invasion angle, but they all had contracts with WCW that continued until WWE decided to bring them in. His return lasted for a couple of years. He was gone for a while until his return as a surprise entrant in the 2011 Royal Rumble as Diesel, which provided him with one of the greatest ovations of his career.
Nash will probably be in the WWE Hall of Fame in either 2015 or very soon after that. Since his good buddy Scott Hall went in as Razor Ramon in 2014 the expectation is that Nash’s time is soon. He’s already on a WWE Legend’s Contract and appears at WWE events from time to time, so it seems like a sure thing. It’s just a matter of when. He recently said he won’t go in the Hall of Fame as Diesel in the same way that Hall went in as Razor, so we’ll see what WWE does with that situation when it gets here.
It’s time to take a look at some of the things that WWE wants you to forget about Kevin Nash. These are things that aren’t mentioned when talking about his career. Some are storyline related. Other things are behind the scenes stuff. It’s also only WWE stuff just as the title suggests, so anything that happened in WCW or elsewhere won’t be the focus.
Here’s a look at ten things WWE wants you to forget about the man that was known as “Big Daddy Cool” Diesel, but is better known as “Big Sexy” Kevin Nash.
Fake Diesel Was Portrayed By Kane
When WWE started doing the Fake Diesel and Fake Razor Ramon characters it was their way of telling fans that they could bring in this other guy to portray Diesel and he will be just as successful as the original Diesel was. It was also a way to tell fans that they really had no idea what they were doing in 1996 when the company was floundering.
The interesting thing about Fake Diesel was that the guy playing the character was Glenn Jacobs, who we already knew as Isaac Yankem DDS in 1995 and then in 1997 he became Kane. That’s not a fact that WWE is really proud of. They only want the fans to know Jacobs as Kane and nothing else. It’s understandable that they think that way, but it doesn’t change the fact that it happened either.
You won’t hear WWE ever mention that Kane portrayed Fake Diesel. They might discuss the character on a DVD or documentary, but never on a PPV, Raw or something that is important like that. It’s as if it didn’t happen. It’s definitely something WWE wants us to forget.
His Issues With Jean-Pierre Lafitte Led To Lafitte’s Release
Carl Ouellet was a WWE performer in the mid 1990s that was a part of the Quebecers tag team with Jacques Rougeau with Carl going by the name Pierre. He also wrestled as Jean-Pierre Lafitte when he was a singles wrestler that resembled a pirate.
Back in 1995 when Nash was the WWE Champion as Diesel he had some issues with Lafitte that ultimately led to Lafitte getting fired. They were supposed to have a match in Montreal ending in a countout so that they could do a rematch down the road, but Nash and friends in the Kliq changed the finish so Nash could go over. That didn’t make Lafitte happy. Here’s how he explained it:
“Kevin Nash was having a big run and was being cocky about it. I didn’t like the fact that Nash came up to me and said, ‘next month in Montreal in your hometown, you’re going down with the jackknife,’ and things like that. It got under my skin, and it was a scratch kinda fight and we brought it into the ring. That’s what happened, and it escalated into a real fight in the ring and it was just crazy, crazy and hard to deal with.”
Shortly after that 1995 match in Montreal, Lafitte was gone from WWE. They ended up working a match in Montreal in 2009 based off their real life heat (obviously it’s cooled down), but that still doesn’t take away from the fact that Nash’s actions got him fired.
Taking Part In “The MSG Incident” In 1996 Drew Major Heat
Kevin Nash was working his last WWE event on May 19, 1996 in a main event against the WWE Champion Shawn Michaels. They were close friends as part of a group known as The Kliq. Following Nash’s loss to Michaels, Scott Hall went into the ring with Triple H and together the four men had a group hug in the center of the ring that became known as “The MSG Incident” because that’s where it took place.
Their unplanned hug upset WWE management big time. It confused fans to see heels like Nash & Triple H in the ring hugging babyfaces like Michaels & Ramon like that. That’s not something WWE wants their talents doing. Nash & Hall didn’t care since it was their last show while Michaels was WWE Champ that didn’t get punished. It was Triple H that was punished the most.
The MSG Incident is something that WWE has definitely spoken about on documentaries and things of that nature, but they completely ignored it when it happened. It was seen as a very negative thing that hurt the kayfabe aspect of the business.
You might be thinking that it’s not a big deal since it was nearly 20 years ago. However, this was something we have covered in “things WWE wants you to forget” pieces about Shawn Michaels, Triple H and Scott Hall too, so that’s why it’s here as well.
In WWE’s mind, having heel characters out there hugging face characters to end a major show in a big market like New York City is something that they don’t want to see happen again. Nash was a big part of it. They want us to forget it.
He Worked For TNA Wrestling and Left Them Prior To 2011 WWE Return
When Kevin Nash’s WWE run ended in early 2004 he headed to TNA Wrestling. Like a lot of former WWE stars, Nash was a big fish in the small pond that is TNA that was a part of some major angles like the Main Event Mafia stable.
Nash’s run in TNA ended in late 2010 when his contract ran out and it looked like he was ready to move on with his career. In January 2011 there were reports that he had re-signed with TNA. Then WWE’s Royal Rumble took place, that familiar Diesel truck sound played and “Big Daddy Cool” was back in WWE as a surprise entrant in the Rumble match.
According to reports at the time, Nash had a TNA deal signed in the middle of January. After the deal was signed, he asked TNA President Dixie Carter for her release on the Friday before the Royal Rumble. She granted him the release, which was a puzzling move, and Nash showed up as a surprise entrant. He ended up a part of some angles later that year, but Nash’s contract with WWE was a Legend’s Contract that will likely see him as a part of WWE for many years to come.
You won’t hear WWE ever mention TNA or the story about how Nash worked there for so many years.
His 2011 Storyline With Triple H and CM Punk Was Awful
“OMG Kevin Nash WTF thought he was dead LOL.” – CM Punk
That was the funny line that CM Punk read while Kevin Nash was in the ring. That text was something he said was from his little sister as a way to mock Nash for being old and irrelevant.
Nash was the main reason that Punk lost the WWE Title at SummerSlam 2011. Following Punk’s WWE Title victory in a tough match against John Cena, Nash entered the arena and dropped Punk with a devastating Jackknife Powerbomb. That led to Alberto Del Rio entering the ring, cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase and winning the WWE Title due to Punk being knocked out due to what Nash did to him.
The assumption was that Nash would put over Punk in some kind of match. That didn’t happen. Nash only wrestled for WWE on TV two times after his return in the summer of 2011. He beat Santino in a meaningless match in December 2011 (his first televised WWE match in 8 years) and then he lost to HHH in one of the most boring ladder matches ever at December 2011 TLC PPV.
Having somebody screw CM Punk out of the WWE Title would have been a fine storyline if that person had to pay for what they did by wrestling Punk, but it never happened with Nash. They picked the wrong guy for this angle. He really shouldn’t have had any involvement in the storyline.
He Was Nearly Booked To Beat The Undertaker At WrestleMania XII
The Undertaker’s match with Kevin Nash (as Diesel) at WrestleMania 12 is one of those matches that’s a lot better than people might think.
When two big guys square off like those two did there’s a chance that the match won’t be good. It’s tough for big guys to work together since they’re so used to playing off the smaller opponents. Their match was better than average and it ended like a lot of Undertaker match with a Tombstone Piledriver for the Deadman in what his fifth straight win at WrestleMania.
What’s interesting about the match is that there was serious discussion about Nash going over Undertaker that year. Nash had just turned heel and WWE needed strong heels especially for their new WWE Champion Shawn Michaels. As they were negotiating with Nash on a new contract, there were people in the company that thought they should put Nash over. Instead, Nash ended up signing a lucrative deal with WCW that saw him leave within a couple of months.
If Nash signed that deal to stay in WWE in 1996 then The Undertaker’s streak would have only been four wins and would not have been the huge deal that it eventually became.
He Didn’t Have A Match At WrestleMania 18 Because WWE Was Worried About Scott Hall
When the nWo returned in 2002 it was built up to be a huge deal because Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash & Scott Hall were all instrumental in the growth of WCW. Vince McMahon brought them in as a group that would “poison” WWE and they were put in major angles right away. One of their most famous matches was a 3 on 2 handicap match with the NWO guys teaming up against The Rock and Steve Austin
Since WrestleMania 18 was on the horizon soon after the NWO debut, people figured all three nWo guys would have a match at the biggest show of the year. Hulk Hogan faced off with The Rock, Scott Hall was against Steve Austin and Kevin Nash was left completely off the card. It was weird because you would think WWE would want to feature a big name like Nash, but they kept him out of the ring.
The reason they didn’t put Nash in a match is because WWE knew Hall was behaving erratically and his alcohol problem was out of control, so they kept Nash off the card in case they needed him to replace Hall against Austin.
There were also rumors that Nash was going to face Undertaker so that he could be against one of WWE’s top guys like Hall was taking on Austin and Hogan was taking on Rock, but we don’t know that one for sure.
It would have made more sense to put Nash in the match instead of Hall in the first place. Even though Hall was the better in ring performer of two, if he’s the one that was irresponsible why reward him with a match? Odd choice. Hall ended up getting fired a few months after WrestleMania 18 anyway while Nash remained.
The nWo Failed In 2002 Because Of His Torn Quad
Kevin Nash was part of a ten man tag match on Raw on July 8, 2002. Following a spot where he gave Booker T a big boot kick to the head, Nash lunged towards his opponents standing on the apron. As he sprung forward, his left leg gave out and he collapsed in a heap. He grabbed his left knee immediately. Referee Earl Hebner made the “X” sign with his hands, which means somebody is legitimately hurt. Nash ended up with a torn quadriceps muscle. It’s a major injury that happened to Triple H one year earlier too.
Nash ended up missing about nine months of action before a return in April 2003. It’s been over a decade and fans still joke about the injury all the time. Try doing it to him on Twitter and you may get blocked for it. It’s understandable that he would be mad about it because he accomplished so much in his career, but wrestling fans have been known to never let stuff go.
With Nash injured, Scott Hall already fired for being irresponsible and Hogan back in the red & yellow, they couldn’t justify keeping the nWo name going. While WWE rarely talks about how the nWo failed in WWE or how it ended, it really was because of Nash’s injury. If he didn’t get hurt the group would have lasted longer.
If Kevin Nash Didn’t Tear His Quad Shawn Michaels May Have Stayed Retired Longer
The previous point about Nash’s torn quadriceps injury didn’t just affect his career, but it impacted Shawn Michaels too. During that July 2002 tag match where Nash got hurt, Michaels was outside the ring as a manager of the NWO. At the time, Michaels was still retired after back surgery although he had a new lease on life as a Born Again Christian and found his way back to WWE.
According to various reports over the years, Nash was being built up to have a huge match with his good buddy Triple H at SummerSlam. At the time, Hunter was a face. The story would have seen Hunter turn heel on Nash so that the two good friends would have a major feud, which would be their first major feud because when Nash was on top in WWE, Hunter was still a young guy on the rise.
Due to the injury to Nash, plans changed. It led to Michaels realizing that he could wrestle, so instead of Hunter turning on Nash he ended up turning on Michaels. That Hunter/Michaels match at SummerSlam 2002 is an all-time classic battle and their feud the rest of the year was one of best of either man’s career. None of it would have happened without the accidental help of Nash.
In a weird way, we should thank Kevin Nash for the return of Shawn Michaels. Maybe Michaels would have come back at some point in the future in his own way, but thanks to the Nash injury it definitely got him thinking about it sooner and accelerated the process.
He Was A Terrible Draw As WWE Champion
The most important thing that WWE wants you to forget about Kevin Nash is that when he was WWE Champion for most of 1995, the company nearly went bankrupt.
Some of the numbers of major shows in 1995 were brutal and just like the champion gets praised when things are successful, they deserve criticism too. In 1995, WrestleMania was down 80,000 buys, SummerSlam was down 95,000 and Survivor Series was down 126,000 buys from the year before. It was Survivor Series 1995 when Nash dropped the WWE Title to Bret Hart. Keep in mind that 1994 wasn’t that great of a year either, so it just shows how bad business was with Nash on top. The TV ratings for Raw weren’t good either.
Nash has often tried to defend himself by saying that things weren’t bad as they seem, but the numbers back up the idea that he was in fact one of the worst drawing WWE Champions in the history of the company.
The question that people have wondered for years is how come Nash stayed champion for 358 days as WWE Champion when he wasn’t drawing well? Part of the problem was they just didn’t have a lot of big names. Bret was there and that’s who he lost it to. Undertaker was involved in other stories. They wanted to save Shawn until WrestleMania 12 in 1996. They just didn’t have a lot of options.
With Kevin Nash now in the WWE Hall of Fame, you probably won’t hear any discussion about how poorly WWE business was with him as the top guy. That’s clearly something WWE wants us to forget.