WCW Magazine Q&A-11/00

Kevin Nash and Scott Hall were the catalysts for a boom period in WCW and the sports-entertainment industry when they defected from the World Wrestling Federation in 1996 and formed the nWo. While Hall and WCW subsequently have had their share of ups and downs, Nash has had a consistent run as one of the company's top stars despite numerous switches from heel to babyface. Nash has been a major player behind the scenes during his tenure in WCW. He was part of the booking team in 1999 and has gained a reputation for being outspoken. Nash recently has been campaigning for WCW to bring back Hall, his real-life friend, whose problems have been well documented. In an interview with WCW Magazine, Nash discussed the situation with Hall, his true feelings about Bill Goldberg, and his thoughts on being labeled by some as a disruptive force in the locker room.

Question: One of the frequently asked questions about WCW concerns the future of Scott Hall. How often do you speak to him and how is he doing mentally and physically?
Answer: He's good. I talk to him at least once a week and sometimes twice. I think he was medically cleared on September 1 and he'll be ready to come back shortly- either that or he'll be sitting home with full pay (laughs).

Q: Do you think we will see Hall again in WCW?
A: When somebody's not medically cleared, it's easy to say they're not coming back. But when somebody's medically cleared and the numbers are what they are and that person equals ratings, I think that sooner or later you have to use him. People ask: "How many chances can you give a guy?" Well, you've given him 75 already, what's 76?

Q: If Hall did not return to WCW, would we see the Outsiders together again somewhere else?
A: Absolutely. At a local strip joint probably (laughs).

Q: Let me rephrase the question. Will we ever see the Outsiders again as a tag team, in the ring?
A: Oh, that's a different story. Yeah. Our contracts are up on the same day: January 1, 2002.

Q: How would you describe the bond between yourself and Hall?
A: There's nothing I don't talk to him about. I'm going through a divorce right now and he just went through one. It's like our lives have paralleled in a lot of ways. We've been friends for 12 years, and we've been traveling partners for the last eight years. Almost every day of our lives when we're on the road we're together. I've spent more time with Scott Hall the last eight years than I have with any other human being.

Q: What are your thoughts on the creative direction of WCW? Do you think WCW is headed in the right direction?
A: I think so. We've got good young talent here and we've got a place that's developing more every day. But it's going to take time to teach these guys the specifics of the business and for them to mature. Now it's just putting people in the right positions. We've been jockeying guys around. Some guys are heel one month and babyface the next. You've got Goldberg, who is our franchise babyface, and we tried to turn him heel. We thought it might work, but there was resistance on his behalf because he didn't know what direction he was going in, and it would have been an uphill climb to turn him heel. I think we have everybody in the right spot now. I feel I'm better as a heel than I am as a babyface. You've got Scott Steiner and Jeff Jarrett with me, so the three of us make a good heel combination. You put the Natural Born Thrillers with us to give them the rub, so that's a pretty good heel foundation. I always believed when a territory is down you have to book heat. You have to build your heels first and then everybody babyface comes after that. We've got Booker T, Goldberg, Sting- who has a lot of good years left- so you've got three really good babyfaces. You just need a couple of these young guys to step it up in the next 16 months. The thing is, I think these corporate people want this thing to turn around in 90 days, and this isn't a business that turns around in 90 days. To me it's a soap opera. If you've been watching "Days of Our Lives" for a year and somebody days "Santa Barbara" is good, it doesn't matter; you've not just going to start watching "Santa Barbara". If that other show gets stale, then you might look, but right now the WWF is keeping things pretty fresh and it's hard to get that viewership back. When they did the Super Bowl ad, they created a whole new audience. Probably a 1.5 to a 2.0 rating of new people turned in to see what this was that they saw during the Super Bowl. Those people now have been brought into sports entertainment by the WWF and it's going to be hard for us to grab those people because they're brand loyal to them.

Q: You said that WCW has some good, young talent. Who do you see as the future stars of WCW?
A: There are guys, like Sean O'Haire, who have a certain quality- they have a look. I think Chuck Palumbo will do well. When I had a hand in the creative end and I went to the Power Plant to watch some of those guys work, there wasn't one or two guys, there were like nine or ten guys that were pretty good. The Wall is another guy. I don't know if I like the gimmick he's in right now, but he knows how to sell like a big man, his stuff looks good; I think he's a guy that you can make money with.

Q: Is there anything you think WCW failed to do while it was beating the WWF in the Monday ratings for 83 straight weeks?
A: The WWF did sucha good job branding their name. If two baseball players got in a shoving match, the guy on SportsCenter would say it was from a scene reminiscent of a WWF event; it was never a WCW event. For a while the nWo brand was probably the strongest brand in the business. I think what they should have done, and Scott and I lobbied adamantly for this, was that inevitably the nWo woudl take over WCW and we would re-brand this company the nWo. So now it would the nWo, WWF and ECW. When Scott and I left New York and came here, there was an explosion. It was the perfect situation: two top guys came into a territory, which had never happened before; Hulk Hogan turned heel, the nWo was born and it turned wrestling into more reality-based programming. Before, Vince McMahon did a lot of gimmick: one guy was a pig farmer, one guy was a dentist, one guy was an astronaut. The storyline of the nWo was something the 25-35-year-old demographic that reads about corporate takeovers could relate to.

Q: You just mentioned reality-based programming. It seems as if Vince Russo has taken that concept and expanded on it. Do you think pitting wrestlers against each other who have real-life heat between them makes for a better product?
A: Somebody once told me that I'll get over when I become myself because people like me in the locker room. If you come to work and you're the same guy that goes out in front of the people, that's not a stretch. If you have guys that actually have some heat between each other, as long as they stay professional and as long as they don't cross any boundaries, I think it makes for better TV because the emotion shows.

Q: Is there any legitimate heat between yourself and Bill Goldberg?
A: There's always some heat between everybody. With Bill- hell, anybody who has been around Bill Goldberg for more than three minutes knows that he's a nice guy. This business makes assholes out of all of us at one time or another. He was in a position that he wasn't happy with and wasn't comfortable with. The heat wasn't between Bill and I. The heat was between the situation Bill was in and everything else. I cut a shoot promo as they say, but it wasn't a shoot promo because one of the first things I said was, "I don't like Bill Goldberg." Well, that's not true.

Q: You made a reference on television a couple months ago to a match several years ago in Montreal in which you acted unprofessionally. For those who don't know, can you talk about what happened in that match, which was with Carl Oulette?
A: It was a point in his career when he was just young. Guys got in his head and got him all geeked up. It was his hometown and he didn't do business. But I saw him in Canada recently and we talked. There's no animosity toward him. It was a mistake he made and I definitely made a mistake in not being professional in the ring. It isn't anything I'm proud of. I brought it up only because it fit in the storyline that we had at that time with Goldberg and we were trying to sell tickets. There's absolutely no heat between Carl and I. It was just an unfortunate instance that happened, and he learned from it and I learned from it and we've gone on.

Q: You said you feel you're better as a heel than a babyface. Isn't your situation similar to Goldberg's in that people would rather cheer than jeer you?
A: I've been back and forth so many times with this company. If you've over and you're a heel, yeah, you're going to have people that cheer you. People have said that when Scott and I came in to WCW that we weren't heels, that we were babyfaces. I said, "Well, how were we babyfaces when we were giving guys comebacks? The guy making the comeback is the babyface. The guy flopping around and getting his butt beat at the end of the match is the heel. So how were we not heels?" And they said, "Well, the fans liked you." The fans are going to like who they're going to like. Storyline is important as to how you're perceived. If you go out there and work like a heel and act like a heel, I think our of respect even the people that would want to cheer you will boo you because they know that they're supposed to boo you.

Q: When you had a hand in booking in 1999, did you enjoy it or was it a headache with the politics and egos?
A: I helped for 11 months and during that time there were no mass coups or 18 guys wanting out of their contracts, so I didn't have any headaches. They might have been saying it behind my back, but nobody said anything to my face. One advantage I had in that position is that when you're the biggest guy in the locker room, you kind of get a little respect (laughs).

Q: We've heard a lot lately about wrestlers such as Hulk Hogan having creative control clauses. How much control or input do you have in your storylines?
A: Well, number 1, it's live TV. So they can tell you whatever they want in the back, but when it's live TV, you can pretty much do whatever you want once you get out there. The old saying among the boys is that it's easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission. I don't beleive in undermining the guy that's writing the show, but if I don't agree with something, I'll lobby my idea if I think I have a better idea or a better way to end a match. You do this for 10-12 years, you may have been in the same predicament 30 times, so you can say this is what worked this time, how about it we do it this way. What booking is to me nowadays is a blueprint. I'm having a house designed down in Florida right now and I have an architect. He does some things and I look at it and make changes. He's the architect and he'll tell you no, there's certain things you can't change. Vince Russo is the architect, but it's our match, and Vince is smart enough to give the guys he knows have insight that leeway to express how we feel. But if Vince wants it a certain way, we do it the way Vince wants it.

Q: You seem to be one of the minority of wrestlers who has some clout backstage. When you break into the business, obviously you have no power. How did you get to the position you're in now?
A: It's like anything else. If you're driving a car and the guy in the backseat tells you to take a left and you do it and he ends up being right, the next time you get lost and he has a suggestion and he's right again, the more you believe in him. Hulk Hogan, for example, is a guy who's always drawn money. He knows how to get over and how to take care of his character. Hulk goes on track record, and I think I go on track record. My record is nowhere near as impressive or as long as Hulk's is, but I sell merchandise and I've become a commodity that's valuable to the company. The more valuable that you become to the company, the more voice you get and the more power you get. Plus, I think it's your personality. I'm an aggressive personality. I'm very outspoken and I have been my whole life. It's gotten me in a lot of trouble, but that's just who I am. If I think something is not right, even the treatment of the boys where it may not affect me as much as some of the underneath guys, I feel that because I have a voice I have to speak for the other guys because they don't have a voice. Corporately you're looked as as a locker-room lawyer and you're trouble. There was talk of cutting some guys around here and I know my name came up, but it was like: "He's been good lately, so we won't try to get rid of him." It's not that at all; it's jus that they haven't done anything to upset me. It's not that I've been a good boy; it's just that maybe they are running things a little bit better.

Q: Do you pay attention to the negative criticism directed at you in the dirt sheets and on the internet?
A: I really don't give a damn if a bunch of smart marks don't like me. There's not one of them that could go out on live TV and call a match, so how do they know who is a good worker and who's not a good worker? To me, a good worker is a guy you can bring into a building, give him a finish and not let him see his opponent for the rest of the night and do a 12- to 15-minute TV match. That to me is somebody that can work, not somebody that can sit in the back for six hours and choreograph a dance routine with another guy. That to me is not a good worker; that's somebody who has a good memory. A good worker can go out there, listen to the people and be able to change things on the fly; when stuff gets screwed up he is able to recover so that people don't know that the spot was screwed up. I see guys who are deemed great workers that will send a guy off for a high spot right after they just got done working his leg. You're supposed to go out there and give a performance that looks like you're killing each other without getting hurt. If you take a guy on top of a ladder and drop him through a table, that's not a work. It's a real table, it's a real ladder and you're going through it. This business is supposed to be a work. If I hit you in the ring and it looks like I kill you and I didn't touch you, that's being able to work. If I hit you in the ring and potato you and it looks good on TV, you sure as hell wouldn't want to work with me ten nights in a row.

Q: Are you still a fan of the business?
A: Absolutely. You get jaded and callous to it, but there's not a better feeling on earth than going out there with one of your buddies and getting the reactions you're trying to get from the crowd. I don't think Booker and I had ever worked singles matches together until recently, and on two straight nights we basically went to the ring with just the finish. We went out there and just called it back and forth to each other. When you do that with a guy, you get confidence in other other; neither one of us potato each other, so it's a pleasure to work with the person. Now if I have ten-day loop with Booker, it would be like having ten days off. It's going to be easy for me to perform because I'm out there with someone who knows what they're doing.

Q: If your 4-year-old son, Tristan, wanted to pursue a career in professional wrestling, what would you say to him?
A: If my son came to me when he was older and wanted to be a wrestler, I would definitely get back in so I could book and I could push him (laughs). I just bought my wife a new home, and I look at the things wrestling has given me. Anybody in my family that's ever had financial problems has always been able to come to me for money. Wrestling has provided that for me and my family, so if my son determined this is something he wanted to do, that's OK. If he came to me and said he wanted to be a figure skater, he could be a figure skater. If he wants to be a wrestler, God bless him. I'd be proud that my son would want to follow in my footsteps, but I'd also be blunt and tell him what this life is about. He'll know one of the main reasons his mother and father got a divorce was because of this. He'll know the darkside, the disadvantages of this lifestyle as well as the advantages.

Q: With your hectic schedule and impending divorce, how difficult is it to spend time with your son?
A: I read an article not too long ago where they did a survey of 0-5 business guys and and how many hours a day they actually spend with their kids, and it was something like 15 minutes a day. I may be home three or four days a week, but there's one day that I spend a whole day with him where he stays with me and sleeps over. The other days I usually see him from when he gets out of school at 2:30 until he goes to bed around 9. I spend a lot of hands-on time with my son. My wife and I have stayed good friends. It's not a bitter divorce. My relationship with her hasn't changed. The only difference is I don't sleep in the house anymore.

Q: You've gained a reputation as a guy who likes to play hard outside the ring. Are you mellowing at all?
A: I just had my 41st birthday party and I was out with a bunch of 25-year-old guys until 7 in the morning the night before a pay-per-view, so I don't think so. I tried to slow down. I'm thinking I really shouldn't be doing to my body at 41 the same things I did to it at 20, but I guess when you have a certain lifestyle, it's just kind of your lifestyle.

Q: How many years do you want to continue wrestling?
A: If I hit the lotto tomorrow you wouldn't see me (laughs), but this is what I do for a living. I can't sing and I can't dance. People always talk about it maybe being time to act or do something else. I watch a lot of movies, and I can't see that there's going to be a lot of roles for a 6'10" guy. I was up for the role of Saber Tooth in "The X-Men". I also was offered a role in "Mortal Kombat". But the pay is so low-scale compared to what we get. You can make me the fry-boy at McDonald's tomorrow for $2.5 million and I'll do it. I work for money.

Q: After your in-ring career is over, do you think you will stay in the business, perhaps on the creative side?
A: I like the creative side. Creatively, I'd like to be involved and have a voice, but as far as having the pressure week in and week out of having to come up with stuff, I don't know. I've sat there so many times with six guys in a room for 45 minutes just looking at each other and going, "Man, I can't believe that nobody has an idea," knowing that you're under the wire, knowing that you have to have something on paper by Wednesday because travel has to get tickets to the guys. Booking is a hard aspect of the business. I would like to maybe help direct some stuff in the back or maybe work my way into the truck. Who knows? Maybe I won't do anything. Maybe I'll just go sit some place and rot.


Name Association

Scott Hall: My brother, by not by blood.

Booker T: The real deal.

Triple H: I've never gotten closer with any other human being faster. He's very much like me.

Shawn Michaels: Greatest pure worker the sport ever had.

Eric Bischoff: A man's man; a good boss; a guy that understood the boys.

Bret Hart: The last wrestler.

Vince McMahon: Genius.

Vince Russo: If McMahon is a genius, Russo is a mad scientist.

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