Ringside Chat- 1998

Big Sexy Kevin Nash On Top

Ringside Chat

by Henry Frederick

Big Sexy Kevin Nash reigns supreme again in the world of professional wrestling.

For the third time, Nash is a world champion after power bombing Diamond Dallas Page at Slamboree to begin his second stint as champion of World Championship Wrestling. He was also a one-time champion with the World Wrestling Federation when he was known as Big Daddy Cool, Diesel.

What makes Nash so successful, and so appealing to the fans, is that he doesn't take himself so seriously."I'm sarcastic, tongue and cheek," he told Ringside Chat in a recent telephone interview from his home in Phoenix, Ariz. "I don't play a character, I play myself, even though we're all characters so to speak."

Nash, who earns $3 million annually, said wrestling has proven fruitful for its hardworking athletes as one of the most appealing sports entertainment venues today. The fans, he said, appreciate and endorse wrestling for what it is.

"It's a male soap opera," Nash said in the interview a week after winning his championship. "Our characters are well developed. It makes for something that's entertaining. Wrestling's kind of reflective of society and that's why the fans like it. They can relate."

With behemoths like Nash and the sexiness of the Nitro Girls, Sable, and other women, there's plenty of appeal and story lines to go around for wrestling fans. And they're flocking to wrestling in great numbers, from the Monday night cable wars to pay-per-view events like WCW's Slamboree and WWF's Wrestlemania.

The 6-foot-10, 310-pound Nash, the tallest wrestler in WCW, said whether being the good guy or the villain -- lately he's been both at the same time -- he remains a gentleman. Especially away from the ring.

The 39-year-old Nash, a Detroit native who is married and has a 2-year-old-son, Tristen, has a genuine love for the less fortunate. While many wrestlers take their off-days from the weekly television-travel grind for their families or themselves, Nash makes the time to help others.

He recently appeared in Daytona Beach, Fla.(his second home is a condo in nearby Ponce Inlet on the beach, while he's building a beautiful waterfront home) for a day-long appearance at East Coast Gym owned by his good friend, Mike Fadell. By signing autographs, Nash helped raise $5,000 for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. The famous hospital founded by the late comedian Danny Thomas grapples with killer diseases attacking children.

At $10 a pop, children and adults lined up to get a personal autograph from the popular wrestler who leads the WCW splinter group, the New World Order Wolfpac. Nash, a fixture on WCW's "Monday Nitro" opposite the WWF's "Monday Night Raw," was mobbed by young fans at the autograph session weeks before his championship fight.

"I remember when you power bombed the Giant," 11-year-old Josh Norton reminded Nash. Another youngster wanted Nash to account for why he helped arch-rival Goldberg in a recent match, causing the wrestler to get tongue-tied.

Jennifer Chatigny, 12, didn't know who Nash was, but thought his signature was "cool," explaining she has three brothers who wrestle all the time. Like many Americans, Nash said he was troubled by the recent shootings in Littleton, Colo.

"Parents have to get involved and take responsibility for their children," Nash said. As for his own child, Nash enjoys being a father and takes an active role in his son's life. With Tristen, it could be like father, like son.

"He's already 44 inches and he won't be three years old until June," the proud father said. As for his premature graying hair, Nash said it comes from his mother's side.

"My wife's been great, but she doesn't watch," he candidly admitted with a laugh about his wife's role in wrestling. He met her at a fitness gym while bouncing in Atlanta before entering the WCW Power Plant 10 years ago.

Nash, a former basketball center at the University of Tennessee before transferring to Bowling Green, entered the WCW as one half of the Master Blasters with Al Green. Then he was Oz and Vinnie Vegas before departing for the WWF in 1993. He was Shawn Michaels' bodyguard, Diesel, then Intercontinental champion , and tag-team champion with Michaels.

By 1995, he claimed the title of WWF champion. Two years ago, he returned to the WCW and formed the Outsiders with WWF-exile Scott Hall. This led to the NWO black and white and finally the Wolfpac.

Even as he approaches 40, Nash sees himself wrestling at least another 10 years. "Ric Flair is 50 and he's wrestling," Nash said. Hollywood Hogan, DDP and Macho Man Randy Savage are getting up there in age.

"Without major injuries, I think I could go another 10 years," Nash continued, mentioning the only real injuries he's suffered so far are a right triceps tear and a knee injury that required surgery. Nash keeps himself in shape by working out religiously -- five days a week with weights (45 to 60 minutes) and cardio (30-45 minutes).

Two days after his interview with ringside Chat, Nash went on the Jay Leno Show and issued a challenge to Bret Hitman Hart, agreeing to put up $250,000 of his own money in a televised championship fight. Nashed dismissed Hart as a "whiner."

With the likes of Goldberg, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Bret the Hitman Hart and Sting, Nash and company in both federations will continue to provide the wrestling excitement fans these days can't seem to get enough of. "Wrestling's as hot as its been and that's good," Nash said.

Hart, who claims to be "the best there is, the best there was an the best there ever will be," will give Nash a good run for his money.

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