(Column I wrote for gerweck.net)
Kevin Nash recently made some comments in an interview with grantland.com that has drawn the ire of wrestlers and fans alike.
“When Benoit and Guerrero hugged [at the end of Wrestle Mania XX], that was the end of the business,” “Has business been the same since that Wrestle Mania? Has it come close to the Austin era? Has it come close to the nWo or the Hogan era? You put two fucking guys that were great workers that were the same height as the f***ing referees, and I’m sorry, man. Are you going to watch a porno movie with a guy with a three-inch dick? Even if you’re not gay, you will not watch a porno movie with a guy with a three-inch dick. That’s not the standard in porno films. So you put a 5-foot-7 guy as your world champion.”
“They’re not bigger than life (CM Punk and Daniel Bryan). I bet they could both walk through airports and not be noticed unless they have a gimmick shirt on and the belt.”
Kevin Nash is something of an artist at stirring the pot. This could all be a work. If so, I wasted my time writing this blog. However, a history of similar comments over the years suggest otherwise.
Casual interest in wrestling is down and has been for some time. It’s no secret why. There is no Stone Cold Steve Austin or Hulk Hogan to captivate the imagination of a worldwide audience. John Cena is currently the top guy but his audience is divided and he has little mainstream appeal.
I reference my Father as a barometer for these things. He is not a wrestling fan but he sat through many pay-per-views when I was a kid. He is an astute observer and picks up on things before most.
“That guy is not selling any wolf tickets. He is going to be the man to beat” my Father said in reference to Steve Austin when pinned Triple H at Buried Alive in 1996. It has always taken a while for the industry to find the next box office sensation. People can generally tell who’s got it and who doesn’t.
Did Eddie Guerrero’s time as champion do anything for the business? Yes. A new star was created and exciting television was the norm. Sadly, we never got to see his complete body of work in the main event role.
Did Kevin Nash’s time as champion do anything for business? Yes. It produced the worst financial period in WWE history. Please don’t mention the nWo. That was the result of a combined effort as opposed to the labor of one.
It would be easy to throw out the usual variety of “Kevin Nash sucks” insults. However, I wouldn’t be saying anything we don’t already know. The fact of the matter is superstars come in all shapes and sizes. The illusion of the biggest guy being the best is gone. Older folks, who want wrestling the way it was, will always be closed minded about guys like Punk and Bryan. Kevin Nash is a byproduct of an archaic thought process that no longer exists in 2012.