When Kevin Nash made his WCW debut in 1996 it changed the wrestling work forever. The former WWE Champion walked into the arena and immediately became the biggest star in the company.
He wrestled for the company until it’s demise in 2001 and is one of the most successful wrestlers in WCW’s history. He lived up to the potential that his first appearance suggested and alongside Scott Hall created memories that have wowed fans for over 25 years (and more with his new podcast “Kliq This”)
Scott Hall appeared on WCW Nitro Alone
The Monday Night War truly began when the first big shot was fired by WCW on May 27, 1996. During a throwaway match between Steve Doll and The Mauler (me neither), the man formerly known as Razor Ramon walked through the crowd and made it to ringside.
This dumfounded fans. One of WWE’ stop stars, a former Intercontinental Champion, was live in WCW. The broadcast of the show did not pay close attention to Hall and they framed it in a way that he was not supposed to be here.
WWE was invading WCW, it seemed like, and Scott Hall had fired the first shot in the war between the two companies. He quickly grabbed a microphone (whilst the match was still going on in the ring, although nobody was paying much attention to it) and pulled off an all time great promo, starting with the immortal line “You know who I am. But you don’t know why I’m here”
“You people… you know who I am. But you don’t know why I’m here,” he said after acquiring a microphone. “Where is Billionaire Ted? Where is the Nacho Man? That punk can’t even get in the building. Me? I go wherever I want, whenever I want. And where, oh where, is Scheme Gene? ‘Cause I got a scoop for you. When that Ken doll lookalike… When that weatherman wannabe comes out here later tonight, I got a challenge for him, for Billionaire Ted, for the Nacho Man. And for anybody else in… WCW. Hey, you wanna go to war? You want a war? You’re gonna get one.”
The next week he came out again and teased a “big surprise” for WCW. However, nobody could quite believe the seven-foot surprise that would accompany Scott Hall for his WCW debut.
Kevin Nash was his “Big Surprise” for WCW
Just two weeks after Scott Hall first appeared through the crowd on WCW Nitro, he introduced another former WWE star to WCW. The man formerly known as Diesel in the WWF joined Hall as they cornered Eric Bischoff at the announce desk, on June 10, 1996 in front of a packed crowd.
His appearance was a complete surprise and one of the biggest “jumping ships” moment in wrestling history. Nash was a former WWE Champion and one of the biggest stars in wrestling. He had also inked a deal to become the highest payed wrestler in WCW, matching the pay of stars like Hulk Hogan and Lex Luger.
When Scott Hall and Kevin Nash interrupted Eric Bischoff on commentary, fans were beside themselves and could not wait to see what the former Diesel was going to say. Why was he in WCW? Was he part of the WWF? What was going on?
It did not take long for Kevin Nash, in his surprise WCW debut, to let the fans know who he was and why he was here. He tore down WCW and Bischoff, mocking them (“This is where the big boys play, huh?) before showing his poor grasp of the English language by claiming that play was an adjective.
On his WCW debut, Kevin Nash said;
“You been sitting out here for six months, running your mouth. This is where the big boys play, huh? Look at the adjective: play. We ain’t here to play. Now he said last week that he was going to bring somebody out here. I’m here. You still don’t have your three people. You know why? Because nobody wants to face us. This show is about as interesting as Marge Schott reading excerpts from Mein Kampf. Yeah, (you don’t want) no trouble because you know I’ll kick your teeth down your throat. Where’s your three guys? What you couldn’t get a paleontologist to get a couple of these fossils cleared? You ain’t got enough guys off a dialysis machine to get a team? Yeah, where’s Hogan? Where’s Hogan, out doing another episode of Blunder in Paradise? Where’s Macho Man, out doing another Slim Jim commercial? You want to say something? … Bring what you got. The measuring stick just changed around here, buddy — you’re looking at it.”
The debit was a huge success. Kevin Nash appearing unannounced helped WCW leapfrog the WWF in the ratings the following week, with fans desperate to see the fate of WCW after being “invaded” by the stars of the WWF. It also gave the show a feeling of “anything can happen” and was must see television that you simply couldn’t miss.
Kevin Nash’s return to WCW could only be topped by one of the biggest stars in wrestling history doing the unthinkable, turning the wrestling world on it’s head.
They Made History at Bash at the Beach 1996
Hall and Nash made waves in WCW, but it was not until Hulk Hogan joined the duo at Bash at the Beach 1996 that they went stratospheric. They became the biggest thing in wrestling, even to this day, when Hulk Hogan (the ultimate good guy) turned his back on WCW and the fans and formed the dastardly New World Order.
The match was originally a three on three match at Bash at the Beach. Lex Luger, Sting and Randy Savage were tasked with taking down The Outsiders (Kevin Nash and Scott Hall), but the latter duo were missing a partner. However, they assured everyone that he would be there when the time came.
And he was. Hulk Hogan ran down the aisle mid match, appearing to attack Hall and Nash and saving team WCW. However, he soon turned heel, dropping the leg on Savage in the most shocking moment in WCW history (and a match that was ranked as one of Hulk Hogan’s greatest).
Kevin Nash’s WCW debut had been a complete success, but some fans may not know that 1996 was not his first debut in WCW.
However, this wasn’t his first WCW debut
While his appearance on WCW Monday Nitro was Kevin Nash’s WCW debut, he previously appeared for the company under a different name some years prior.
Most fans will know that Kevin Nash went by Diesel in WWE, having a successful run that culminated in year long WWE Championship run that defined the main event scene in the mid-1990s. However he only joined the WWE in 1993 despite starting his career years earlier.
In between leaving the army and joining WWE, Kevin Nash enjoyed three years working for WCW under a number of different names and gimmicks. Whilst his greatest success came under his own name, it took WCW a while to let him wrestle under not-ridiculous gimmick.
Kevin Nash made his WCW debut in 1990 under the name Master Blaster Steel as part of Master Blasters tag team. He wore an orange mohawk and teamed with Master Blaster Iron, who would later be replaced by Master Blaster Blade. However, that team was short lived and was disbanded a year later despite a lengthy undefeated streak.
Once the team disbanded, Nash was repackaged under his most bizarre gimmick yet. A week after being taken off TV for rebranding, Kevin Nash was renamed Oz and given a character reminiscent of “The Wizard of Oz” from the book the same name. He died his hair silver and dressed like a 7 foot tall wizard, and was even managed by The Great Wizard.
The gimmick is definitely the most ridiculous of Nash’s looks and it seemed to be one that was doomed to fail. Nash would only perform as Oz for a year, but did manage some high profile matches under the gimmick. He even wrestled Sting for the United States Heavyweight Champion in 1991 in WCW.
However, Kevin Nash has spoken well of the gimmick, claiming it go over with fans in Japan and gave him an opportunity to work. He also credits Dusty Rhodes as the creator the gimmick.
After the Oz gimmick, he was given one last change in WCW before leaving for WWE. He became Vinnie Vegas, a wise-cracking mobster who found fame as part of DDP’s Diamond Mine stable after a number of failed ventures. The gimmick was not successful, but he became good friends with DDP during this time and remains to to this day.
While he later found fame as Diesel in the WWE, Kevin Nash was most successful as simply himself in WCW, where he became a multi-time world champion and, most important, a multi-millionaire. He has since retired, been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame twice and starred in multiple Hollywood movies, including Magic Mike.
If you want to read more about Kevin Nash, check out these articles below about the former WCW and WWE World Champion;