Throwback Thursday: WWE Hall of Fame Showcase: Kevin Nash

A look at the career of Kevin Nash.

(Kevin Nash as Diesel)

Whether you know him as Kevin Nash or Diesel one thing is certain, you know and remember who Kevin Nash is.

His professional wrestling debut was in WCW in 1990 where he would wrestle under the names of Steel and Oz but within three year Nash would leave WCW and come over to the WWE. In WWE he wrestled under the name Diesel. The character was given the nickname “Big Daddy Cool” and played up the cocky, rough biker angle. Diesel was originally the bodyguard/best friend of Shawn Michaels. He made his WWF debut at a house show on June 6, 1993, assisting Michaels in defeating Marty Jannetty for the Intercontinental Championship. In January 1994, Diesel appeared at the Royal Rumble, eliminating seven men in under 18 minutes of in-ring time.

Diesel won the Intercontinental Championship from Razor Ramon, following interference from Michaels on the April 13, 1994 episode of Superstars. The duo of Diesel and Michaels defeated The Headshrinkers to win the WWF Tag Team Championship on August 28, making Nash a double champion. The next night, Ramon defeated Diesel at SummerSlam to regain the Intercontinental Championship.

The alliance between Diesel and Michaels was short-lived and would then dissolve after Survivor Series when Michaels accidentally super-kicked Diesel. Diesel then gave chase to Michaels, and although he failed to catch him the reaction from the crowd turned him babyface. However, Nash was no longer a tag team champion, as Michaels’ actions resulted in the team being forced to vacate the titles.

On November 26, three days after Survivor Series, Diesel faced Bob Backlund for the WWF Championship he won at Survivor Series from Bret Hart. In the match, held at Madison Square Garden, Diesel defeated Backlund in an eight-second squash match. Diesel then promised Hart a match for his title, which they had at the 1995 Royal Rumble. The match ended in a draw due to interference from several wrestlers, including Shawn Michaels. Michaels was irate about his former bodyguard having beaten him to the WWF Championship and was sufficiently motivated to win the 1995 Royal Rumble later that evening, earning himself a title shot at WrestleMania XI.

At WrestleMania XI on April 2, Nash, accompanied to ringside by actress Pamela Anderson (who was supposed to valet for Michaels), defeated Michaels to retain the WWF Championship title. After the match he left the ring with both Anderson and Michaels’ replacement for her, Jenny McCarthy. The next night on Monday Night Raw, Michaels was betrayed by his new bodyguard, “Sycho” Sid, prompting Diesel to come to his rescue. This occurrence led to the tag team being reunited, now known as “Two Dudes with Attitude”. Diesel successfully defended the WWF title against Sycho Sid at the inaugural In Your House pay-per-view in Syracuse, New York, and at the In Your House 2: The Lumberjacks in Nashville, Tennessee. At SummerSlam 1995, Diesel retained the WWF title by defeating Mabel, who had won the 1995 King of the Ring tournament.

On September 24 at In Your House 3 in Saginaw, Michigan, Diesel and Michaels challenged the reigning WWF Tag Team Champions Owen Hart and Yokozuna. The match had a winner-take-all stipulation, as in addition to the tag belts Diesel’s WWF Championship and Michaels’ recently won Intercontinental Championship were also on the line. When Hart did not show up at the event, he was replaced by Davey Boy Smith. In the course of the match, Hart arrived at ringside, entered the ring, and was pinned by Diesel for the win and the title, making him and Michaels holders of all three major WWF championships. The reign did not last long, however, as Hart and Yokozuna had the titles returned to them the next night due to Hart not being an official part of the match when pinned.

(The “Curtain Call” Incident.)

Diesel would continue his reign and begin a tweener turn and start a rivalry with the Undertaker. Shortly before WrestleMania XII Nash’s contract status was in a state of flux. At the time, WCW was offering large amounts of money for anyone willing to leave WWF and come to WCW which would help bring over Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and Scott Hall. While Nash talked with Vince McMahon at the time the WWF could not pay Nash the same level he would make at WCW so Nash soon signed with WCW. This act would lead to the event later known as the “Curtain Call” or “MSG incident” where, after Nash’s match with Shawn Michaels, Scott Hall and Hunter Hurst Helmsley came to the ring and embraced as their group of friends known as “The Kliq” was now officially being split up with Michaels and Helmsley staying with the WWF and Hall and Nash going to WCW.

After two weeks of Scott Hall returning on WCW programming and taunting announcers, wrestlers, and the company, Nash also returned alongside his friend on June 10, 1996, after Hall interrupted Eric Bischoff. The duo were known as The Outsiders, and the storyline originally pushed them as “invaders” from the WWF (which WCW eventually had to scale back due to legal concerns from the WWF). At Bash at the Beach, Hall and Nash fought the team of Lex Luger, Sting, and Randy Savage and promised to add one more man to their entourage. After Luger was taken out of the match, Hulk Hogan came out to make the save, only to turn on Savage and reveal himself as Nash and Hall’s third man. Immediately after this, they began cutting promos calling themselves the “New World Order” (nWo).

Through late 1996 and into 1997, Nash normally teamed with Hall as the Outsiders, and they held the WCW Tag Team Championship. Nash also began to show his leadership qualities in the nWo, and became a sort of “second in command” alongside Hogan. Nash, Hall, and Sean Waltman(X-Pac) distinguished themselves from the rest of the nWo, calling themselves the “Wolfpac” in 1997.

After a while, however, the nWo began to fight within its ranks, with Hogan and Nash battling for control. The situation came to a head on April 20, 1998, during a match between Hogan and recent nWo inductee (and rival) Randy Savage for Savage’s recently won WCW World Heavyweight Championship. During the match, Nash interfered on Savage’s behalf and jackknifed Hogan to the mat, signaling the breakup of the nWo into two separate factions (Nash’s interference was not enough to prevent Hogan from regaining his championship, thanks to Bret Hart’s interference shortly thereafter). Nash became the leader of nWo Wolfpac, while Hoganw as the leader of the nWo Hollywood faction.

At Starrcade, Nash won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship from Goldberg (who had an officially-given 173–0 win-loss record before the match) after Scott Hall shocked Goldberg with a stun gun. In doing so, Nash broke Goldberg’s long running undefeated streak.

On January 4, 1999, Nash and Goldberg were set to meet in a rematch, but the match did not happen because of Goldberg being arrested for stalking Miss Elizabeth. That night also marked the return of Hulk Hogan after his “retirement” two months prior. With Goldberg unable to wrestle, Nash challenged Hogan instead. Hogan simply poked Nash in the chest, who proceeded to fall down and willingly allow Hogan to pin him for the title. The gesture marked the reunion of the feuding nWo factions into one. The return, however, was short lived, and by the midpoint of 1999, the nWo reunion was over.

In May 1999 Nash would win the WCW World Championship for the second time by defeating Diamond Dallas Page. Nash would continue to wrestle for this title as well in tag team action until his loss in a “retirement” match with Hulk Hogan which was just a bump in the storyline before he returned and began to feud with other superstars such as Booker T, Scott Steiner, Terry Funk and Mike Awesome.

Nash won the WCW Championship again from Booker T on August 28, 2000 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He eventually lost it back to Booker T later on at Fall Brawl. He even had a stint as WCW Commissioner, and he served as a coach/mentor to the Natural Born Thrillers, who would eventually turn on Nash. Nash aligned himself with Diamond Dallas Page, reuniting the Vegas Connection, but renamed The Insiders. They feuded with the Perfect Event (Shawn Stasiak and Chuck Palumbo) and won the WCW World Tag Team Championship at Mayhem on November 26, 2000. Shortly after, they were stripped of the title by Commissioner Mike Sanders in mid-December. Weeks later, they won the title back at Starrcade.

In 2001 (WCW’s final months), the Insiders continued their feud with the Natural Born Thrillers. Nash lost another “retirement” match to Scott Steiner at SuperBrawl Revenge, but it would not be long before WCW announced the sale of the company to the World Wrestling Federation. As he had a guaranteed contract with AOL Time Warner, Nash chose to wait out the remainder of his contract, which expired on December 31, 2001.

Following the expiration of his AOL–Time Warner contract, Nash, along with Scott Hall and Hulk Hogan, were rehired by the WWF. Their rehiring was announced several weeks before their debut, with Vince McMahon claiming to have hired the nWo in order to destroy the WWF – of which Ric Flair was now a co-owner, which McMahon could not tolerate. Billed as the original nWo, Nash, Hall, and Hogan returned to the WWF at No Way Out on February 17, 2002. In the course of the evening, the nWo delivered an interview in which they claimed to have reformed, gave a six pack of beer to Stone Cold Steve Austin (which he refused), and traded insults with The Rock. They interfered in the main event of the evening, helping Chris Jericho retain his Undisputed WWF Championship against Austin. At WrestleMania X8, Nash continually interfered in the match between Hall and Austin to the point where he was forced to return backstage. Later that night, he and Hall turned on Hogan after he had offered congratulations to The Rock for defeating him. In March, Nash suffered a biceps injury that put him out of action for several weeks and almost immediately upon returning, suffered a quadriceps tear in a tag match on the July 8 episode of Raw. On the July 15 episode of Raw, the nWo was officially disbanded by Vince McMahon as Eric Bischoff became Raw General Manager.

After a nine-month injury, Nash returned as a face on the April 7, 2003 episode of Raw, much to the delight of both Shawn Michaels and Triple H, who were feuding with each other. As part of the storyline, Nash was given a choice to remain friends with either Michaels or Triple H. After Nash would not make the decision, Triple H made the decision for him and turned on him with a low blow. This led to Nash and Triple H feuding with one another. Nash teamed up with Michaels and Booker T against Triple H, Ric Flair and Chris Jericho in a Six-man tag team match for Triple H’s World Heavyweight Championship at Backlash which ended with Triple H picking up the win for his team, pinning Nash after hitting him with a sledgehammer and as a result retaining his title. Following Backlash, Nash was granted again a shot at Triple H’s title, and the two squared off at Judgment Day with Michaels and Flair in their respective corners. Triple H would get himself disqualified and kept the title as a result, but this did not stop Nash from attacking Triple H following the match, putting him through the announcer’s table with a Jackknife Powerbomb. The next month, they fought again in a Hell in a Cell match at Bad Blood with Mick Foley as the special guest referee but Nash lost the match.

In August 2003, Nash feuded with Chris Jericho and was forced to cut his hair after losing a hair vs. hair match against Jericho on the August 18 episode of Raw–this was to cover for Nash having to cut his hair for his role as “The Russian” for the 2004 Punisher movie. His last match in WWE was at SummerSlam in an Elimination Chamber match for the World Heavyweight Championship against Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Goldberg, Chris Jericho, and Randy Orton. He was the first to be eliminated after Jericho pinned him following Sweet Chin Music from Michaels. Before leaving however, he executed a Jackknife Powerbomb on Jericho and Orton. Nash then stepped away from in-ring action and underwent neck surgery. The WWE decided not to renew Nash’s contract in January 2004.

Nash would then move on to work with TNA and in the independent circuit for many years before returning to the WWE for brief feuds and sporadic appearances. On the January 19, 2015 episode of Raw, Nash appeared with X-Pac and Scott Hall to reunite the nWo, and along with the APA and The New Age Outlaws, they beat down The Ascension, who had been insulting legends from past weeks.

Nash will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on March 28th, 2015.

Full Throwback Thursday 2015 Hall of Fame Preview: