WWE HALL OF FAME, CLASS OF 2015, PROFILES: KEVIN NASH AKA DIESEL

Posted March 27th, 2015 by jshannon

WWE Hall of Fame, Class of 2015, Profiles: Kevin “Diesel” Nash

Jay looks at wild career of the big man from Detroit. Kevin went through numerous identities before finding the best one was….himself.

Before Entering the Ring

Kevin Scott Nash was born in Detroit, MI on July 9, 1959. Nash was a natural to play basketball and played three years at the University of Tennessee. An issue with his head coach, along with other campus infractions, prevented Nash from playing what would have been his senior year. When the move to Bowling Green fell through, Nash headed to Europe. He played pro basketball for several European teams, until an ACL tear brought his career to a screeching halt. Nash then became a member of the 202nd Military Police Company (in Germany). He would eventually return to Detroit and get a job working in the Ford Motor Company plant in his hometown of Detroit. He eventually relocated a floor manager position at a local Atlanta, GA strip club. He met several pro wrestlers there and decided to give professional wrestling a try.

The Early WCW Days

Nash got his initial training from Jody “Assassin” Hamilton. Creative decided to play off the hit film, The Road Warrior and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome when putting Nash in a team. They were known as the “Master Blasters”. Nash had dyed his hair bright orange and shaved it into a Mohawk (similar to one of the characters in the Mad Max films). The Master Blasters underwent a few changes as Nash continued to play “ Steel” but his partner was changed. When that team disbanded, Nash was repackaged. He grew his hair out and dyed it silver. He took the name of “Oz”, based on the classic 1939 film, The Wizard Of Oz. The “Wizard” was actually Kevin Sullivan, under an old man mask and crouched down to appear smaller. Oz ran roughshod over everyone in the mid-card roster for most of 1991. Near the end of the year, he got another character change. This time, he would take the look that he would first use in the WWF. His new identity was that of Vinnie Vegas, a mob enforcer from Vegas, baby. He initially joined Harley Race’s stable of huge wrestlers, known as the “Half Ton of Holy Hell”. Vegas would later split from the group and partnered with “Diamond” Dallas Page. The Vegas Connection was on the rise, until Page was fired by Bill Watts. Nash worked with Tyler Mane until leaving WCW in late 1993.

An Amazing 1st Year in WWF

Nash was recruited for the WWF by Shawn Michaels. Nash underwent his biggest transformation into the hired bodyguard character of Diesel. Shortly after arriving in the WWF, the nickname of “Big Daddy Cool” was added. Diesel quickly moved into the ring and took his first title, the Intercontinental title, from Razor Ramon on April 13, 1994. Four and a half months later, on August 28th, Diesel and Shawn united to take the tag team straps from The Headshrinkers. A rift began to form between Diesel and Shawn after Diesel lost the IC title back to Razor Ramon. The problems only got worse when Shawn cost them the tag belts. Diesel then set his sights on the World title. Bob Backlund had taken the title from Bret Hart, thanks to the manipulations of Bret’s younger brother, Owen. Nash stepped up and faced Backlund. He destroyed Backlund in 8 seconds (a record) to complete the Hat Trick on November 26th. Diesel had captured all three major titles in his first year in the company.

Big Daddy Cool becomes Cool with the fans

Diesel faced his old boss, Michaels, at Wrestlemania XI. Diesel managed to retain in the epic battle. Diesel and Michaels would patch up their differences when “Sycho” Sid turned on Michaels. The “2 Dudes with Attitude” (Diesel and Michaels) would face off against Owen Hart and Yokozuna. All e titles (Diesel—World, Shawn—IC and Hart/Yokozuna—Tag Team) were on the line in a “Winners Take All” match. Hart didn’t show up, at first, and was replaced by Davey Boy Smith. He did show up near the end of the match. Shawn and Diesel did win but Owen filed a complaint, since Smith was not an official part of the match. The tag belts were returned to Hart and Yokozuna. Diesel finally dropped the World title to Bret Hart at the 1995 Survivor Series. Diesel and Shawn had another falling out when Shawn eliminated Diesel from the 1996 Royal Rumble. Diesel also feuded with Undertaker and others during this transitional time in his career.

Eric Bischoff saw the potential in Nash and Razor Ramon and began to court them with huge paychecks. Nash didn’t want to “jump ship” and approached Vince McMahon about matching the Million-Dollar-Plus offer from WCW. Vince rejected the idea, feeling he would then have to pay higher paydays to numerous wrestlers to try and keep up with the Deep Pockets of Ted Turner. During these negotiations, Diesel lost to Undertaker at Wrestlemania XII. Diesel and Razor finally agreed to leave WWF and head to WCW. Their final appearance led to the infamous “MSG Incident”, where Nash, Razor, Triple H and Shawn Michaels “broke character” to embrace. HHH and Michaels both received punishment for their actions. Nash and Scott “Razor Ramon” Hall were on their way to Atlanta.

The Outsiders and the Birth of the n.W.o.

Scott Hall showed up first and Nash followed, a couple weeks later. They didn’t have names when they showed up. Hall would just say “You know who we are”. They duo eventually became “The Outsiders” (a reference to them coming into WCW from an outside organization….aka….WWF). Nash’s first WCW appearance happened on June 10, 1996. Hall and Nash kept hinting that they had another ally that would show up soon. That would happen at Bash at the Beach 1996. Hall and Nash were fighting Lex Luger, Randy Savage and Sting. Luger got taken out during the match. Hulk Hogan rushed down to ringside. Everyone thought Hogan was there to assist the Faces. Instead, Hogan dropped the big leg on Savage. Hogan then joined Hall and Nash to create the New World Order (of Wrestling). Nash and Hall eventually on the WCW World Tag Team Titles and Nash took a more pronounced role within the growing group. Eventually, Nash and Hogan began to battle for control of the massive faction. The original n.W.o split into n.W.o. Hollywood (led by Hogan) and n.W.o. Wolfpac (Nash’s group).

Nash’s stock in the company began to grow and he was given the position of Booker. Nash finally put an end to the 173-0 Win Streak of Goldberg. Scott Hall helped his old friend, by using a stun gun, win the World title from Goldberg. On January 4, 1999, Nash faced Hogan for the World Title That led to the infamous ”Finger Poke o’ Doom” incident. Hogan touched Nash’s chest, with one finger, and Nash dropped like a rock. Hogan then pinned Nash.

WCW Life after the n.W.o.

In May, 1999, Nash defeated Diamond Dallas Page to begin his 2nd reign. He put up $250,000 in a bid to get Bret Hart to face him. The storyline was abandoned after Bret’s younger brother, Owen, died while performing a entrance from the rafters. Nash quickly switched to feuds with both Randy Savage and Sid Justice. Savage would take the World title from Nash, but Kevin Powerbombed Savage on the next night’s Nitro to help Hulk Hogan become the World Champ. In October, 1999, Nash tried to reform the n.W.o. with Scott Hall, Bret Hart and Jeff Jarrett. The new n.W.o. folded quickly, after Bret Hart was injured by Goldberg. Nash had one more (short) run with the WCW World Title before losing it back to Booker T (the man he took it from). Nash also worked as WCW Commissioner. When WCW folded, Nash sat out the second half of 2001 to collect his contracted salary. That contract expired on December 31, 2001.

WWF meets the n.W.o.

Nash, Hall and Hogan returned to the WWF on February 17, 2002. The trio was referred to as the “Original n.W.o.”. The re-launch of the rebel group failed and the trio was disbanded. Nash had to take 9 months off to recover from an injury. When he returned in April, 2003, he was pushed as a Face. Nash went into an extended program with Triple H for the World Title. Nash repeatedly came up short in trying to take the belt. He then moved into a feud with Chris Jericho. Nash lost a Hair vs Hair match against Jericho. In reality, Nash lost his hair for his role in a Punisher film. Due to no direction for Nash, the WWF/E did not renew Nash’s contract in January, 2004.

TNA=Total Nash Action

Nash spent most of 2004 recovering from a career full of injuries. He showed up in TNA in November, alongside Jeff Jarrett and Scott Hall. The trio was known as the Kings of Wrestling. They feuded with A.J. Styles, Jeff Hardy and Randy Savage. The unit fell apart when Kevin Nash made it clear that he had his sights set on Jarrett’s World Title. Nash lost in his bid to take the title because of The Outlaw (WWE’s Billy Gunn). Nash called in a few old friends to help him battle Planet Jarrett. Nash had to take an extended break from wrestling, in 2005, to deal with a Staph infection.

Nash returned just in time for the debut episode of TNA Impact (on Spike TV). He went right after Jarrett. Nash was set to battle Jarrett at Bound for Glory but ended up hospitalized with chest pains, one day prior to the show. Rhino stepped in and took the World title. Nash took a light schedule for the next few months, including a tour of South Africa.

When Nash returned to TNA, in 2006, he helped to push the X-Division. He created Paparazzi Productions and worked with several up and coming X-Stars. Nash later created the Kevin Nash Open Invitational Gauntlet Battle Royal. The Battle Royal was won by Austin Starr (now known as Austin Aries). Nash also moved into a management role. His first charges were fellow Detroit natives, Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley aka the Motor City Machine Guns. Nash also became a therapist for Kurt and Karen Angle. Nash tried to help Kurt Angle in his match against Sting. It didn’t help as Sting would take the TNA World Title. Nash and Kurt had a huge falling out. When Kurt Angle regained the World title, Nash demanded a title shot. He didn’t get it but he did get a new tag partner…Booker T.

Nash began to bring together various associates during 2008. Nash’s first recruit was Samoa Joe. Nash had been mentoring Joe for some time. They did have some disagreements but finally came to a meeting of the minds. Nash united with Sting, Booker T and Kurt Angle to form The Main Event Mafia. Nash took another short medical break due to a 2nd Staph Infection. When he returned, the Mafia continued their domination of TNA> Nash finally struck gold at Victory Road 2009, when he defeated A.J. Styles for the Legends title (later to become the short-lived TV Title). Nash lost the title to Mick Foley on the following TNA Impact. Nash regained the title at Hard Justice. Nash held it until Bound for Glory, where he dropped the strap to Eric Young in a Triple Threat Match. Nash had a few more feuds, following the demise of the Main Event Mafia. When Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff took control of TNA, Nash chose to ask for his release to head back to WWE. TNA agreed.

Running he Indies

After leaving TNA, in 2011, he appeared at The Gathering (hosted by Juggalo Championship Wrestling). Nash also did a tour with All-Japan.

Another WWE Return

Starting in 2011, Nash would work for WWE. Nash, as Diesel, worked the 2011 Royal Rumble. He would be there for Shawn Michaels’ induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. Nash would later work a feud with Triple H. After that, Nash headed to NXT to help the next generation of stars get ready for the Main Roster of WWE. Nash worked the 2014 Royal Rumble and has made a few appearances over the last two years. He was the final inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame, Class of 2015.

In Conclusion:

Kevin Nash went through several characters before finding success. He made the most of it and parlayed his experiences into a position of power within WCW. He also did several movies, along the way. Nash is one of those rare individuals that was able to have fantastic success with more than one identity. Call him Diesel or think of him as Kevin Nash. Either way, the one thing both characters have in common is…phenomenal success.

Peace

–Jay Shannon
WordSlingerJay@Gmail.com

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