In Defense Of…6.26.05: Kevin Nash (Part 3 Of 3) [REPOST]
In Defense of…
By JP Prag
KEVIN NASH (Part 3 of 3)
Hello my second favorite people, and welcome back to In Defense Of…! What? I have to like people I know in the real world first. But don’t worry, some of you are way better then them, believe me! Anyway, we’re approaching the end of the defense of Kevin Nash, which means you need to read In Defense of… Kevin Nash (Part 1 of 3), and then go ahead and read (Part 2 of 3)!
But maybe you are too busy to read Parts 1 and 2, and like me you are coming back from many days out and about. Well, if that’s the case, let me explain something—this article has a pretty simple premise:
Certain people, events, organizations, and storylines in wrestling history have gotten a bum wrap. Certain writers have presented overtly critical comments and outright lies as fact, and others have followed suit. Well no more! “In Defense of…” has one reason: to bring the truth to the wrestling fan!
And that’s what I intend to do.
Me? I’m the One and Only JP, and even Tyson Tomko said, “I’m Tyson Tomko, and you should go read JP Prag”. And I think you should take his advice.
But first we have some…
And for the second to last time, I’d like to remind you of the CONTEST!
I’m looking for a cool banner logo to put at the top of my article.
Here’s the rules/prizes:
* Design a jpg/gif logo of no more then 100K that you will send to me and give up all rights and claims and ownership to
* Be able to host the logo or have a place to host the logo for an indefinite amount of time that can handle the bandwidth of 411mania
* Nothing on there can be illegal or facetious and must include the name of the column (with the triple dots) and my name
* The winner will get two prizes:  You will get whatever you want plugged to death by me (with the exception of something incredibly illegal or downright sick) and  You can have me defend something completely ridiculous in a one shot issue. That’s right, you could ask me to defend Tommy Dreamer drinking toilet water or Chucky being the guy who was stalking Rick Steiner or Mae Young giving birth to a hand or the Red Rooster as a credible gimmick or Jerry Flynn getting a match at Starrcade, or any other such fun thing!
* All entries must be received by the end of Issue #10. So that gives you just next issue where I defend… well, you’ll have to get to the bottom of this article to find out. Hey! No skipping ahead!
Now, for those too busy to read Parts 1 and 2, we have…
Stenographer, what has happened in the past?
You’ll never believe this, but in Part 2 we said this about Part 1…
Well, we decided to jump right in fight off the biggest lie for the big man: that he is the worst drawing champion of all time. First, we took a look at RAW ratings, and found they were not really different before, during, or after he was champion. Actually, we saw the worst RAW rating on December 23, 1996 (well after Nash’s reign as champ) with a 1.5. In actuality, RAW didn’t enter into the regular 3 or better range that we are used to until 1998. Besides, RAW wasn’t about ratings when Nash was champ, and he only wrestled on the show six times, while the rest of the roster beat up jobbers on a weekly basis. WCW forced the WWF to start to put good matches on RAW instead of using it just to sell house show tickets, but that change would be a long time coming.
The other thing WCW forced the WWF to do was have monthly PPVs, which began the In Your House series during Nash’s reign. There were a total of nine PPVs during Nash’s time as champion, and three were in our “success” range. Meanwhile, the rest featured three non-endings, two tag team matches, two times Mabel in the main event, and one time a football player stealing the spotlight. Nash can hardly be found responsible for the booking, but pretending he was his PPV average for his 12 months as champ was a 0.78 buyrate. Looking at the 12 month period from May 1996 to April 1997, the average was a 0.59, proving that Nash was not the worst drawing champ of all time.
And just to throw it in there, we had to mention that Nash made a hell of a lot of money with the nWo, and really didn’t spend much time as champ in WCW, despite his five reigns.
That’s great. It really is. But what happened in Part 2?
Glad you asked. In Part 2 we explored the history of Kevin Nash, right down to his birth in Detroit in 1959. We saw that he was a fan of wrestling growing up, and not some Johnny Come-lately who only wanted a quick buck when he was down on his luck. But Nash was not quick to join wrestling, as other aspirations in basketball, the military, and bouncing kept him busy. He learned a lot about hard work, but then he also learned about taking an opportunity. When Dusty Rhodes said he should give wrestling a try, he decided to go for it and gave up everything to train in the Power Plant.
Just getting to the game was not enough, though, as Nash was faced with silly gimmicks and no push. Even when he first went to the WWF, he was really nothing. He built himself up over time, paid his dues, learned the business, and won the fans support to get himself to the top. We spent a great deal of time discussing how friends can give you an opportunity, but you have to seize an opportunity to make it worthwhile. Nash was given the ball, and he ran with it. If he didn’t, there were plenty of people ready to drag him down. His friends helped him get chances, but he was the one who had to pull it all off in the end.
Through time, Nash also saw a lot of mistakes in the way he and others were handled. So again, when presented with the opportunity to become a member of the booking committee, he took it. Still, he was not the one with power at the beginning of his reign when he won the title, and it would not be until months later when he was fully put at the top of the book. And when this happened, Nitro gained some damn good ratings and PPV buyrates returned from low records. Nash was being effective as the head booker.
Still, some people say he only looked out for those who helped him…
Super Friends, unite!
While Kevin Nash was head booker, people say he only pushed his friends on the shows. Oh really? Well, we have already talked about how he lost cleanly to Rey Mysterio on Nitro, but many people will just say that Rey Rey was an extended member of the WCW Klique. Well how about on the same Nitro that Nash lost to Rey Mysterio (the night Nash became head booker), another Booker was victorious. Booker T defeated Bret Hart in a 20 minute awesome match-up.
Now, Nash and Hart had had some four-star match-ups back in the WWF, but Nash was not a big fan of Hart. Even still, Nash understood that business was business, and got Hart back into the title hunts and major storylines. So on one hand he had Hart making Booker T, and on the other he had Hart reaching for the tops of WCW. Mind you, Nash wasn’t even in the title hunt after “losing” to Hulk Hogan, so others were getting his spot, and not necessarily people he liked.
Speaking of titles, Booker T and Scott Steiner began a feud over the Television Title that within a few months was over the US Title. And as we know, that feud would later headline WCW in its final years. Booker T and Scott Steiner were really coming into their own under the watchful eye of Kevin Nash’s booking.
Also another title returned to prominence. For a while, the cruiserweight title almost disappeared from WCW. But when Nash took the reigns, Kidman returned with the Cruiserweight belt and had excellent matches with Psychosis, Chavo Guerrero, Chris Jericho, and Mikey Whipwreck, before finally losing in an all-out match with Rey Mysterio. Later yet, Kidman maintained prominence and went on to heavyweight tag team gold with said Mysterio.
Oh, that’s right, tag team gold! Suddenly, teams were formed again with the aforementioned Mysterio/Kidman, Saturn/Raven, Windham/Henning, and a nice little team of Benoit/Malenko. The latter were treated as incredible threats over everyone. Not bad for a couple of the “vanilla midgets” that one would say Nash is not high on. Wait, I almost forgot. They then went on to join the new and last Four Horsemen, cementing them as the best of the best.
But back to the World Heavyweight Championship, fellow Horseman and insane President Ric Flair went on to defeat Hollywood Hogan and take the title. And who would he defend that title against? As an interesting twist, Rey Mysterio got a shot after defeating the likes of Bam Bam Bigelow, Scott Norton, and Buff Bagwell. Still, Hogan was the definitive friend of Nash and Bischoff, yet it was Flair who got to carry the strap and take most of the focus of the show while Nash was in charge, even though Flair had a rough history with Nash, especially after the Horseman-Spot incident.
Meanwhile, there were a few things going on that Nash doesn’t get credit for. When Raven, Hak, and Bigelow were putting on vicious brawls and showing real hardcore in WCW, Nash was supporting that. When Jerry Flynn was getting the Barry Windham push, Nash was there. When the Disco Inferno got a real finishing move and storyline with Konnan, Nash was there.
But it was not just people that were feeling the benefit of a Nash booking reign. Thunder was given a lot of focus and time, and often saw Hogan, Flair, and other in the main event scene. For a while, Thunder was being treated like a recap show, but under Nash it became must-see-TV again, and continuity spread among all of WCW TV.
Still, there is one man missing in all of this that you would think would take prominence. Where was Scott Hall? Even with all his personal problems, don’t you think that if Nash were really only looking out for his friends that Scott Hall would be there? But he wasn’t. Nash knew what was right for business, and put the business before his friends, no matter how much it hurt himself.
Again, though, we have gone too far ahead. Before and after Nash was a booker, he was a wrestler. But how good of a wrestler was he?
Six moves of doom
People often say that Kevin Nash only has six moves, that he is an extremely limited worker, if the word worker can even be applied to him.
To prove this point wrong, I decided to review a match between two people that are considered non-workers by the vast majority and took Kevin Nash vs. Goldberg I from Starrcade 1998 and also a look at Kevin Nash vs. Goldberg II from Spring Stampede 1999.
Ok, during the first match, Kevin Nash did the following moves (not including punching, which is illegal): collar-and-elbow tie up, headlock, knee wrench, forearm shot (legal, and a move!), hip check, elbow, boot choke (illegal, but I’ll allow it), reversal of a leg lock, reversal of a jackhammer, side slam, reverse leg lariat, jackknife powerbomb.
All right, let’s count. That’s 12 moves at least! And he didn’t even use snake eyes! Want to add a little more into the mix? In Kevin Nash vs. Goldberg II, Nash pulled off a leapfrog over Goldberg!!! Why aren’t you amazed? This is a six-ten men leaping at least 5 feet in the air to get over a man running towards him. I can barely jump a foot and have about a third of the mass of Kevin Nash. And don’t we always hear about how Kevin Nash isn’t athletic and can’t pull off big moves?
Well maybe it is because he doesn’t have to. Remember during Tough Enough IV when the Bashams whipped out some excellent amateur moves on the contestants and we suddenly saw more then their brawling style, that they really are excellently trained wrestlers? Well, Nash is a trained wrestler. Maybe he is not as expertly tuned as Chris Benoit, but he still knows a lot more then he puts into his matches.
And why is that? Why would Nash hold back on his abilities and not wow people with his in-ring aptitude? Well, why doesn’t the Big Show pull off the Giant-sault that we know he perfected in WCW? Why doesn’t Booker T use the Harlem Hangover to end every match?
Because they don’t have to.
And it’s not laziness. It’s smart, and knowing what works in the business.
I take you back to my example in Part 2 of the mark in the jewelry store who was all excited about this match. Well, it did not end with him. Watching that match, the crowd was on the edge of their seats. They were screaming and cheering before the bell rang. The first part of the match was both men making faces at each other and the crowd. That was it! And the crowd loved every second of it.
I love to watch a Chris Benoit match any day of the week, but I think back to Royal Rumble 2003 when he fought Kurt Angle. I was there live in the Fleet Center, and it was an incredible match. But for the first 10 minutes, the crowd could not care. This is a man who does have to lay it all out in the ring because that is the only way to get the fans to really care about him. That match is one of the best I have ever seen live in my entire life, but it pales in comparison to a match of lumbering giants.
Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania, or even the more recent Hulk Hogan vs. the Rock at Wrestlemania… these are matches that were made by the crowd. The crowd did not care about move-for-move, excellent mat wresting. They did not need to see breath taking moves with flying around blood and guts. And I do love to see these things, too, but what the crowd comes for is intensity. Their emotional involvement in the match is all that matters. And the crowd cares about Kevin Nash, whether to see him rise to the top or to see their favorite hero take him down.
Kevin Nash is a much better mat technician then he has ever gotten credit for. Then again, he had never needed to prove it in the ring. He has all the tools he needs: the crowd in the palm of his hand.
Here comes the money or Nash the humanitarian
Despite everything that Nash has given in the ring and to the business, people say he only wanted one thing: money.
Sure, money was a major factor in Kevin Nash’s career, but it was not his only goal. As we have seen in the booking sections, he cared about trying to make the product better across the board, not just himself. And yes, he did not always make the best decisions, but who has? He made mistakes, but did not let them hold him down from going ahead with plans to make things even better.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Nash had this to say about his career:
"God made me almost 7-feet tall, and now I'm 300 pounds. I don't think I was made an accountant or a bookkeeper," Nash said. "I was put on this earth for something. I guess this is what it was."
Nash has an understanding of what his role is, not only in business but in life.
More so, here is an excerpt from an article in the Ottawa Sun just before TNA’s Turning Point:
"When I first broke in, I'd already had seven knee operations (from basketball). I was limited physically by a bad knee. But those are the cards that were dealt to me.
"I'm 45 years old now, but I look in the mirror and I see the body of a 35-year-old guy. I'm fortunate. I can sit back and work when I want to work and not work when I don't want to work.
"I'm a dad and a husband. It's a 90-minute drive each way (to TNA's studio in Orlando), so I'm home in the morning and home at night. It's the best possible situation."
He's more limited in what he can do in the ring, but that's not such a big deal.
"I don't think doing flips off the top rope has ever drawn money," he said. "I've been in a lot of bar fights and it's pretty much punching and kicking. I don't remember flying off the top rope."
Nash says some of today's wrestlers don't understand the tried and true formula that is wrestling.
"When I broke in, all the guys would say that less is more. A lot of these guys think more is more.
"Years ago, my four-year-old punches me in the nose. You sell it. You go, 'Ow!'
"Sometimes, these guys don't sell. They're so consumed with getting everything possible into an eight-minute match."
Nash has a deep understanding of the business and how to work a crowd, and he went to TNA to try to teach the guys there that. Was he making more then most on the card per appearance? You bet! But how long has this man been working? How much of a draw is he? He deserves his money, which is not much compared to what he was making in WCW. You read what he said, he could get back to his family in a day, it was great for him. He could give back a little while he was there. Now he is off making movies, but do not believe that he will not make an appearance again.
And it is not like this is the first time that Nash has tried to give back to the young generation in the business. Towards the end of WCW, Nash found himself in the role of “coach” for the Natural Born Thrillers. This on stage role quickly took a backstage one, as he became a mentor in all of the Thrillers development. Above Average Mike Sanders, Shawn O’Haire, Chuck Polumbo, and Mark Jindrak have all gone on record to say how influential Nash was in their careers and thanked him for all his help and guidance.
Nash was a man trying to give back to a business that gave him so many opportunities. More important, he wanted others to see that opportunity was not the end all, be all. You have to take that ball and run with it, or break your knees trying. Unbeaten Records
Just to keep these little tidbits up, here’s a few other records that Nash holds:
* Holds the fastest time to winning the championship by defeating Bob Backland in nine seconds
* The only wrestler in history to acquire the Tag Team, Intercontinental, and WWF Championships in one calendar year
* The longest reigning WWF/E Champion since Hulk Hogan, and longest reign until JBL
* One of four men to retain his title at WrestleMania (Hogan, Triple H, and Eddie Guerrero are the others)
* Got the role as Super Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 because he was the only person big and strong enough to fit the costume
Ok, that last one was just too sweet not to put in there.
The Jackknife Powerbomb
Kevin Nash is a man who the IWC turned against because he does not appear to be a workrate king. But the man has shown a deep understanding of the business and done everything in his power to give back to it. He wasn’t the best, the top of tops, or the greatest at anything, per se. But he was damn good. Nash worked hard and tried to make every time he came out a special one, kept the crowd involved, and took the opportunities he was given to create a better environment for himself, the fans, and those who would come after him.
Kevin Nash is a man who should not have been given the harsh treatment he has seen over the years. He is a man who deserves to be given credit for everything he has done.
Kevin Nash deserves this.
The defense rests.
Well everyone, that wraps up our third case. So what do you think?
IN THE CASE OF THE IWC VERSUS KEVIN NASH, NASH HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF BEING A NO-TALENT, SELF-SERVING, FRIEND-PUSHING, POLITICKING, MONEY-GRUBBING WRESTLER WHO WAS ALSO THE WORST DRAWING CHAMPION OF ALL TIME.
YOU THE JURY FIND KEVIN NASH:
Remember, in Europe they have six parties, so your vote actually counts. What do you mean I’m American?
Next week we continue with a Kevin Nash theme as we do a one-shot on one of the most controversial moments in wrestling history: THE FINGER POKE OF DOOM! That’s right, I’m going to defend the FINGER POKE OF DOOM!!!! Wonder how I’m going to do it? There’s only one way to find out, and that’s to come back next Holiday Weekend!
Can’t wait until next week? Not an American and July 4th means July 4th to you? Well sorry, I cannot help you. I’m off to New York to stay at my friend Zishan’s place and go to a private fire works show. Oh, how his parents spoil me like my own parent never did.
But the next time you read some throwaway line out there presented as fact, challenge it. The truth matters, and you have a right to know.
Know a particular person, event, organization, storyline, etc… in wrestling history that needs a defense? E-mail the One and Only JP at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll be glad to hear your case.