Kevin Nash

Kevin Nash

Class of 2023

Inducted by Andrew Ardizzi

The haters will say he’s the lowest-drawing WWE champion of all time. But if you look at Kevin Nash’s career as a whole, you’ll realize that what he accomplished changed wrestling forever. And you’ll also realize his label as the lowest-drawing WWE champion was unfair. Nash excelled when he was allowed to be him, just like many other greats. For this reason, he would find himself as a heat magnet and what made him successful is also what made him hated.

Early Life

In the 1970’s, Michigan basketball was in full swing. Magic Johnson was leading the charge and players were being recruited from the state. One player was Kevin Nash, who would get a scholarship to play basketball at Tennessee University. And it would be Nash’s time in Tennessee that would revile how his future in locker rooms would pan out. Long story short, Nash’s team lost and the coach put the blame on him. Nash would then strike his coach in the locker room which resulted in him getting kicked out of college basketball. Nash would then travel to play in Europe when he hurt his ACL, which ended his career.

After his basketball career, Nash joined the Army for 2 years before returning home. When he returned to the United States, Nash would work in an assembly line in Detroit before he moved to Atlanta to work as a bouncer for a strip club. Being the door security helped Nash make friends in the wrestling business, who recruited him to train. And so started the rest of Kevin Nash’s life.

The beginning

Few wrestlers start later in their athletic journey and make it big. Of the few who did make it, Dallas Page, Dave Batista, and Kevin Nash all come to mind. Nash though had a very unusual journey. Making his WCW debut at the age of 31, Nash was part of the tag team Master Blasters as Master Blaster Steel. In WCW Nash would start his career with many different gimmicks, all of which seemed to be gimmicks which a wrestler’s career would die from. From Master Blaster to the infamous Oz, to Vinnie Vegas, Nash could not seem to find a gimmick that fits him. But he did find a tag team partner who had a positive effect on his career.

-Oz teams with the Diamond Studd

Nash did get a small break, as he was cast in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Secret of the Ooze. His role was short, and his face was covered in a helmet, but this did get him into the actor’s union and give him health insurance, which is something he keeps up to this very day.

Eventually Nash would get the call many in the business wanted. Even though he was in WCW, WWF was still seen as the bigger company at the time. Shawn Michaels wanted a bodyguard for his gimmick to work. Coming off being a tag team wrestler for many years, fans were still not seeing Michaels as a threat. Having some muscle by his side allowed Michaels to be taken seriously. Now named Diesel, a suggested name by Shane McMahon because of his size, Nash became a key part of the Shawn Michaels’ act. What Nash got in return was a chance to stand ringside and learn from Michaels on how to work, and get a better understanding of the business. Nash’s schooling in Atlanta wasn’t as involved as what he learned from Michaels. Now he was learning from a master. And it would be the long car rides between towns that Nash picked up the game.

The Kliq

Much of Nash’s contributions come from his backstage presence. When Nash started, Michaels and Scott Hall were buddies and hung out together. Curt Hennig was also someone who gets mentioned in this period, but Hall and Michaels were tight. Having that relationship from their time in Minneapolis, it made sense Hall and Michaels would bond. Michaels also had a falling out with former partner Marty Jannetty, and Hall was still pretty new in WWF. When Shawn Michaels requested Kevin Nash join WWF as his bodyguard, he’d turn a couple of buddies into a friend group. And shortly after Nash joined, Sean Waltman would be brought into the group as well. In a very short time, the Kliq was formed from nothing and gained a lot of political power quickly. The name Kliq came from Lex Luger, who saw the group of friends as inseparable.

Nash’s on TV debut

Sharing the car from town to town, the Kliq talked business with each other. They talked about pay, they talked about creative direction, and they talked about where they wanted to see the business go. Nash was getting so much education that by the time he made his in-ring debut, he had more knowledge than anyone else about his number matches. (He had around 326 matches according to Cagematch.net) Also, the Kliq did have other members besides its core 4 or Nash, Hall, Michaels, and Waltman, as Aldo Montoya and Rad Radford would also be loose members as well. Later in his WWE tenure, the Kliq would invite Triple H to their car, which would relieve Nash of always being the one to babysit the group.

It’s Strictly Business

In late 1994, with about 519 matches to his name, Diesel beats Bob Backlund for the WWF World Title. Many speculate that after forcing everyone to be clean, many wrestlers either start to shrink or hide their steroid use. Lex Luger now admits he cheated on the drug test in the early 90s. With Nash, it is noticeable that he isn’t as large as he was in WCW, but he was still a very large man and looked muscular still. Vince McMahon decided Nash would be his man. The problem was he didn’t know how to let Kevin Nash be Kevin Nash. Vince was still looking for his next Hulk Hogan, as he tried with Lugar and now he was trying with Nash. In both cases, neither could fill those yellow boots. Instead of letting Nash be Nash, which would have been a great bridge to the future of wrestling, Vince kept looking to the past.

-Diesel wins WWF title

After his one-year title reign, Nash became a hot commodity for WCW. Eric Bischoff was looking to make a splash signing and was recruiting Scott Hall. Hall suggested to Bischoff to recruit Kevin Nash as well. It was here that both Hall and Nash changed everything.

New World Order

Very rarely do we have a chance to change the game. What Hall and Nash did in 1996 was, they completely flipped the game on its ear. Imagine in 1988, as WWF is strong-arming NWA off the pay-per-view markets if you were to tell those in WCW that they would not only compete with Vince McMahon but pass Vince in his own game. That’s exactly what happened, as Hall and Nash’s signings shifted interest from WWF to WCW overnight. On June 10, 1996, Kevin Nash joined Scott Hall in WCW, declaring on TV that he and Hall don’t play. That day, WWF beat WCW in the rating, but it would be the last time for the next 83 weeks. From June 17, 1996, to April 6, 1998, WCW would be WWF each and every week they went head-to-head. The business shifted.

-Kevin Nash debuts in WCW

Hall and Nash needed a third man with them, and boy did they ever get that man. The articles have been exhausted on the topic, so I’ll just write on the impact. Hall, Nash, and Hulk Hogan made history. The nWo (New World Order) changed the game completely. Hogan as champion, Hall, and Nash as tag champions, and other members added in made the nWo must-watch TV. The impact of the nWo was that of a cultural phenomenon not seen, well, ever. New World Order shirts are seen everywhere, athletes are signing nWo during games, it even reaches the NBA Finals. The nWo becomes a movement.

It would be ego and bad leadership though that would ruin a good thing. Eventually, it appears Hogan’s ego switched finishes and created a place that made it hard for everyone to be on the same page. When Nash became a booker, he complained that you write all this TV, just for Hogan to come to the taping and say, “this doesn’t work for me brother.” All this is happening and WCW will need Nash to hold the title, but in what environment will Nash hold the belt?

I mentioned earlier that I thought it was unfair Nash gets labeled the lowest-drawing WWF champion of all time. Here is why. Though he wasn’t the champ, his and Hall’s shift to WCW made a huge shift in the business the likes no one has ever seen before. To give an example, everyone turning the channel from USA to TNT would be like everyone decided to not buy Coke and instead buy Pepsi. It’s unheard of. It was Hall and Nash that created that shift. On top of that, their business savvy changed the way wrestlers negotiated with wrestling promotions. They treated the business like what it is, a business.

Sadly, Nash would have marquee feuds but wouldn’t get the belt until WCW was going downhill. Nash’s first WCW reign ended with the angle that might have killed the company, the Finger Poke of Doom. From there he would win the title a few more times, but with WCW already going down it was too little too late to save the company. After WCW was bought by WWF, Nash would reform the nWo in WWF, but that would be short live. For the rest of his career, he would jump from WWE or TNA, battling injuries and putting younger talent over. Nash still has one of the greatest minds in the business.


Nash will go down as one of the smartest wrestlers ever. Maybe because of his age when entering wrestling, but his approach to the business as a business allowed him to get the most out of it. He was truly a game-changer and a trendsetter. I also think his WCW career will be looked at more fondly than his WWF career. As Kevin Nash in WCW, he truly got to be himself, and that was the biggest drawing role he ever had. To be that asshole made for great TV. It also made a lot of backstage enemies. His relationship with the Kliq fueled the dirt sheets for many years and provided many wrestlers a scapegoat for their careers which they aired out for money in shoot interviews. Even when they “negatively” harmed a wrestler’s career, that wrestler still made money later shooting on the Kliq.

Kevin Nash’s smarts and impact forever changed the game. It also proved that WWE isn’t the end-all in wrestling nationally. Nash’s contributions are many, and it is, for this reason, it is my honor to induct him into the LOP/WH Hall of Fame.

Lords of Pain.net/Wrestling Headlines.com welcomes
Kevin Nash into the Hall of Fame class of 2023.

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