WWF.com interview-2/02
Conducted by Seth Mates

During his first run in the World Wrestling Federation, Kevin Nash competed as “Diesel” and held the Federation Championship for nearly a year. But it was during his time as part of the nWo that Nash had his greatest success, as for the first time ever, WCW was able to top the Federation in the ratings for a brief period. Upon his return to the Federation at Sunday’s No Way Out, WWF.com caught up with Nash to talk about a myriad of topics.

WWF.com: How does it feel to be back?

Kevin Nash: It feels great to be back. I had a long year off. This, to me, is where my career started. My first success was here. I have very good memories, and most of the friends I keep in contact with are guys I met through here the first time. It’s nice to be back in this machine.

WWF.com: How did you spend your year off?

Nash: I basically spent as much time as I could with my 5-year-old son.

WWF.com: How are you feeling physically?

Nash: I feel good. Very good, mostly because I haven’t been bumping around for a while.

WWF.com: Can you talk about what led up to you being here today?

Nash: Well, I don’t think it’s any secret that Hunter and I are very good friends. We talk at least once a week. And I had contact with Vince – I think the first time we met was a few days before the tragedy, back in September. We talked again in December in Orlando. And then in January, we started getting a deal done, and basically, talked it out.

WWF.com: What do you think of the way the nWo is being brought back in, namely as a “locker room cancer?”

Nash: Hey, if the shoe fits. (laughs) I think we’re just highly misunderstood individuals. Perception in this business – 9 times out of 10, it’s not what it is. You’re perceived to have power, you’re perceived as this or that, you’re perceived as being political. We’re in a game that’s a work – you better be political. It’s not like you’re batting .350 and you can rest on your laurels. It’s a situation where you have creative input and you want your product to be the best it can possibly be. And especially your segments—you want them to be the best they can be. Sometimes if you have a passion for something, you get over-passionate or zealous in your convictions, people take it as attitude when it’s just that you’re passionate. If it’s a crime to care, then yeah, a lot of times I was guilty.

WWF.com: So it is true that the last time you were in the Federation (from 1993 to 1996), that you and the “clique” controlled the locker room?

Nash: I never saw it. The only thing we controlled was who drove when we got out of the building. We didn’t control what anybody did. Vince picked the angles. We always have done and will do business the right way.

WWF.com: One of those clique members was Triple H. What do you think of how far Triple H has come since the last time you were here?

Nash: He did what was almost impossible – he stayed heel for four years. I still think he’s the best storyteller in the business right now, as in he goes out, he does his matches, he tells stories. He doesn’t work that “highspot” style of match. He works a match that has psychology, that tells a story. He still has great athleticism. I’m his buddy, but I’m also a huge fan of his work. And I look forward to getting to hook up with him somewhere down the line.

WWF.com: What did you think of the whole “Fake Razor & Diesel” storyline the Federation did in late 1996, a few months after you left for WCW?

Nash: Well, we got a raise because of it. (laughs) They promoted for a couple of Mondays that Razor and Diesel were coming back, and (WCW) thought we were leaving. Things were doing well there, and they thought we were unhappy and offered us more money. And then the fake guys came on TV, much to the chagrin of a WCW higher-up. It’s supposed to the ultimate flattery is imitation. It was nice.

WWF.com: What do you think it is about the nWo that has made it such a popular and enduring concept in fans’ eyes?

Nash: I think it’s the elements, the players. It’s a good fit. The three of us complement each other pretty well. It’s like when I go home to the south side of Detroit, and there’s certain things I see, and even though it’s a little more run down than from when I was a kid, I look at it a certain way. When you say “nWo” to a wrestling fan, you’re bringing up a certain era of two years that was a pretty strong era in professional wrestling.

WWF.com: There have been several nWo reincarnations over the years – some successful, some not. Why do you think this reincarnation will succeed where others have failed?

Nash: I look at it this way – if Foreigner’s coming to town, they’ll have one original guy, or Rat’s coming to town, and you’ve got the keyboardist from Rat. This is the original three guys. This is the first time the original has been recreated.

WWF.com: What is your most memorable moment from your first Federation run?

Nash: Probably my biggest moment of that whole run was when I won the Intercontinental Championship (from Razor Ramon at a TV taping in March 1994). Shawn (Michaels) had gotten suspended at the time, and I was just a bodyguard, but I was put in Shawn’s spot. Next thing you know, I’m the IC Champion. Back then, belts didn’t just turn over like they do now – if you had a belt, it meant a whole lot. It got me a World Championship match at King of the Ring that year. But there were a lot of good memories during that time. Memories in this business for me are always sitting in the back of the bus, playing cards with the boys. The business was different back then; it was 17 days on, three or four days off, over and over again. So we spent the majority of life with the boys. We were like a family. We spent so much time with all these guys.

WWF.com: Tell me about when you left the Federation the first time.

Nash: I didn’t want to leave. But at the same time, I had a wife, and I left June 6, and my son was born June 12. It was a situation where we were working an incredible amount of days, and I was given an opportunity to work half as many days for basically twice as much money. The thing that has always annoyed me about professional wrestling is that it’s called “the business,” but if you ever treat it as a business, you’re looked down upon. But it is what it is – it’s a business. If they didn’t pay me money to do this, I wouldn’t do this, like any other athlete in professional sports. This is my job; it’s my passion. This is what I do for a living. I wanted to stay; I begged them to match the offer. I didn’t want to leave, and Scott didn’t want to leave. We felt we were instrumental in helping to build the Federation back up. The last night we left, it was the first Madison Square Garden sell-out they had done in many years. So we felt we were instrumental – along with Shawn, and Taker (Undertaker) and everybody else – in working towards bringing it back. And then to leave, we almost had to abandon it.

WWF.com: How has your relationship been with Vince McMahon over the years?

Nash: I have always liked and respected him. Vince has got balls; I like anybody that has got balls. WWF.com: There’s been a lot of rumors about you over the years, specifically about your time in WCW – refusing to work with opponents, holding young talent down, being lazy in the ring. How do you address those rumors?Nash: I always like how the dirtsheet guys say, “He’s not a good worker” about guys, when (the dirtsheet guys) have never even had a match! I can’t tell you if someone’s a good worker or not unless I lock up with them for a match. As far as being lazy, it’s like anything else. If there’s no direction, and it’s basically, “Here’s a segment, do what you can with it, we don’t know where it’s going.” What’s my motivation? My motivation is to go out and fill eight minutes? OK, I’ll go out and fill eight minutes. I do want to draw money and do something right and be creative and have an avenue of where we’re going, but it’s like anything else. If I give my kid a crayon and a piece of paper and tell him to draw a dog, he’ll draw a dog. But if I don’t tell him what to draw, maybe he’ll draw an army tank, or something else. All we ask for in this business is a little direction, a little stimuli, and we’ll do what you tell us to do. As far as not working with opponents, name one opponent that I didn’t work with. I worked with cruiserweights, I worked with the Giant, I worked with everyone.

WWF.com: What do you think led to WCW’s downfall?

Nash: Poor management. Poor direction. Just basic organization. It wasn’t a well-run machine. When you’ve got a company which, at that time, was probably bringing in $250 million in revenue, and you have two people in merchandising, and an Internet room with two or three people ... it’s like we left a machine here, so we knew what the standard was for a wrestling company. And they’re taking four and five editing machines out of your editing studio so someone else can edit NASCAR while they’re doing a 1.3 and you’re doing a 5.7. And we merged with Warner Brothers, but we couldn’t use any Warner Brothers music on our show. There’s no synergy, no union, no cooperation between any of the companies. The No. 1 thing that people don’t realize is that when Eric Bischoff said he wanted go head to head with Vince McMahon on Mondays, I think the only reason they approved it and gave him the funding is because they knew it would fail, and then they could pull the plug on it. And it didn’t – it succeeded and it succeeded above expectations. That company always treated WCW like a redheaded stepchild. They can’t come to the Cable Ace Awards and say, “Did you see our short on Auschwitz? It was beautiful!” because the answer would be, “Oh yeah – don’t you have wrestling also? Yeah, you also got Mayberry RFV!” This is a network that on Saturday afternoons plays “Dirty Dancing” back to back 16 times! What kind of a programming head is that? Are they really hoping to get a quick 45-minute hit off some guy who’s never seen the movie? You look at some of the programming they’ve done – it’s unbelievable! They bring in a new programming head saying they don’t want wrestling, and the thing they put in WCW’s timeslot does a 1 (rating)!

WWF.com: Any other big problems in WCW?

Nash: So many people don’t realize how small that ring was in WCW and how hard it was for someone as big as me to work in that ring. I couldn’t run the ropes. When I used to get in the ring (in the Federation), I had to bend the ropes down to step over them. I could stand over the top rope in WCW. Tell me how you can hit the ropes, when it has to hit your armpit. How do I hit the ropes? How do I create motion? At least I can run the ropes here. This is a big ring.

WWF.com: What was your reaction when you found out that WWFE had purchased WCW?

Nash: Woo! Paid vacation! (laughs) I read my contract front to back, back to front. And section 9, paragraph 3, I knew it – the company was sold, and they had to pay me off! Thank you, Vince! (laughs)

WWF.com: How are you blending into the locker room so far?

Nash: I’m trying to stay away from everyone else. (laughs) No. If I have heat, it’s never been to my face. No one’s ever challenged me. If they don’t like me – I don’t have the energy in my life to dislike a human being enough to hate him. There’s not a human being on this planet that I hate. I’m not putting that real estate in my brain – there’s no space for it. These are the boys, man. It’s like when a new kid came into your class on the first day – nobody liked him on the first day. He’s the new kid. But then you go out on the playground and knock him down and tear his pants and his leg bleeds and he doesn’t tell on you. Then you say, “Oh, he’s just like us.” We’re no different.

WWF.com: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received about the business?

Nash: I should probably say, “Learn to keep your mouth shut,” but I haven’t learned that one yet. (laughs)

WWF.com: What do you think about these rumors that Shawn Michaels is coming back?

Nash: He’s one of my better friends; it would be great. I think he’s the greatest that’s ever done this. He’s a different breed. I would have loved to have seen Hunter now against Shawn in his prime. What a match that would have been – Hunter as the heel.

WWF.com: Why Hunter as the heel?

Nash: I just think Hunter’s a great heel. He’ll be a great babyface.

WWF.com: So what are your goals for this run? Nash: My goal? Have fun, contribute, and go out like you can here – go out right. Don’t go out because they have to pull the plug on the product. Retire correctly.

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