Nash promises a 'fight' for Ouellet
TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun
|Kevin Nash in a TNA publicity shot.
Sort through the wrestlespeak and carney-like promotion and you still get the feeling there'll be fireworks tonight in Montreal when Kevin Nash and Carl Ouellet stand in the same ring.
It's a grudge match headlining an International Wrestling Syndicate card (at the Medley, 1170 St-Denis, starting at 9 p.m.), but with so much more than the usual bluster and hot air when the heel and face jaw back and forth. This is real.
The two don't much like either other, dating back 14 years to a 1995 Montreal house show when Ouellet (then Jean-Pierre Lafitte) refused to job for Nash (who was known as Diesel).
Ouellet claims Nash ruined his WWE (WWF at the time) career.
"I had a long undefeated streak," he says on an IWS video. "A month before the Montreal show, Kevin walks up to me and says, 'Hey, buddy ... it's me and you in Montreal ... big boot, jackknife and 1-2-3.' That was a month before. I've never heard of a finish being called a month before the show. It really got to me. When I walked into the Forum, (agent) Tony Garea came up to me and said: 'I want a good 15-minute match ... it's going to be a big boot and a jackknife.' I said: 'I'm not doing it.'
"I never got along good with Kevin or The Kliq. (When I told them I wouldn't lose) Kevin says to me, 'You don't want to lose against me tonight, do you?' I said: 'I'm not losing against you or anybody tonight. If it's going to be a job, I'm packing my bags and going home.'"
A different finish was arranged.
Over the years, the animosity has simmered.
Nash says if Ouellet wants a fight, it's on.
"I don't know if they think they're bringing the lamb to slaughter," says Nash. "My hair may have grey in it, but I can put some dye in it and look 35.
"If (Ouellet) wants to go, I'll be happy to fight. I've been a bouncer in some pretty rough places. I'm not flying up to Montreal walking with my hands down.
"I grew up in the south side of Detroit. When I was eight, my dad died. So I've been taking care of myself since I was a kid. And I'm a bit of a hothead on top of that.
"I'm a natural heel. (Outside the ring) I'm not Mr. Sunshine. I'm naturally sarcastic. I look at life very skewed and I don't trust anyone. I grew up in an area where you expect the worst of people, not the best."
Nash says he hasn't talked to Ouellet and doesn't know what to expect.
"I gave (the IWS) a price that was 25% above what I normally charge and it's not cheap to fly somebody first class from Orlando to Montreal," says Nash. "They said yes, let's do it. I guess somebody's got an axe to grind."
So what happened over the course of two nights -- in Montreal and Quebec City -- so long ago?
"I was the WWF champion, he was told to do something, something to further the prestige of my Diesel character. He refused to do it.
"The next night (in Quebec City), he did a leg drop (off the top rope) and his entire rear end landed on the side of my head. I figured it was on, so I field-goal-kicked him between the legs."
Several stiff shots ensued and the two were later separated backstage.
"Vince used to enjoy stirring the guys up. It made for better tension and better shows," says Nash. "I think the agents knew they made a mistake. They should have insisted that he do what he was told to do, or they should have pulled the
"I'm not coming up to Montreal to lose. I'm definitely the heel this time. I'm sure I'll get a pop -- I've been around for 20 years. But Canadian fans are loyal, especially in Montreal.
"I'm flying up there alone. And I'm counting on the guy sitting beside me on the airline as likely being my only ally."
Nash says he's happy to be in TNA.
"I came very close to going (back to WWE) last October," he says. "I hadn't seen (WWE boss) Vince (McMahon) in a couple of years. I walked into the office and it was like seeing an old friend.
"I consider Vince a friend. The first time he looked at me, years ago, he saw something other than Oz or Vinnie Vegas. I've got the utmost respect for him, but it's hard to work that schedule. I'm really happy in TNA. We're running on all cylinders. Whether they like it or not, we are an alternative to WWE programming. I sat down with (TNA boss) Dixie Carter and she said there was no way she could match WWE financially, but she could offer a better standard of life.
"I live on the beach and from my garage to Universal Studios (where TNA TV shows and many pay-per-views orginate from) is 64 miles. I can drive to almost every event and be home at night, in my own bed.
"I've got a son, Tristen, in the seventh grade. He's 6-foot-5 and turns 13 in June. He's three inches taller than I was at that age and he's more skilled shooting the basketball. And he's wearing my size 16 shoes.
"It's more important for me to be Kevin Nash the father than Kevin Nash the wrestler. I couldn't be gone 150 days and put that kind of pressure on my wife right now."
Nash says he keeps in touch with other members of the Kliq.
"I haven't talked to Sean (Waltman) much and I have a bit of contact with Scott (Hall). I've stayed very close with Shawn Michaels. And Paul (Levesque, Triple H) and I play telephone tag. He's busy. He helps run (WWE) and he has two children. When we do get a chance to talk, it's like we've never skipped a beat. He gets criticized (because of his marriage to Stephane McMahon, daughter of Vince), but he's worked his ass off. Nobody determines who you fall in love with. He's probably one of the top three workers (WWE has)."
Nash, who turns 50 in July, says he's feeling good.
"It's amazing, I feel better at 50 than I did at 40," he says. "I'm so much leaner and my cardio is so much better. Most of my career, I was at 330 lbs., I'm at 297 now."
Getting his shot in the wrestling business wasn't easy.
"The first day I walked in and said I wanted to be a pro wrestler, I was told to do 1,000 Hindu squats. Then I ran the ropes for five minutes. Then they tied me up in knots. This went on for a week. I think (WCW) gave me that Oz gimmick to run me out of the business."
Nash became part of the new evolution -- the big men who could actually move around and show in-ring athleticism.
"When the athleticism of guys picked up -- when you had guys like Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and Owen Hart -- if you couldn't keep up to that pace, you were left behind. There was no more Powers of Pain no sell where you threw a
"The Undertaker character limited his character, but Mark (Callaway) is a tremendous athlete. Yokozuna was incredible. At 505 lbs., he could throw a thrust kick like Shawn Michaels, get you right on the chin. Bam Bam (Bigelow) was the same way."
So how long can he keep doing this?
"Samoa Joe and I nearly beat each other to death with kendo sticks (at Sacrifice)," he says. "But it was a fun night. I raised my hands with the Kliq sign and people cheered. How do you give that up? Admiration is the drug that makes us want to continue."
Kevin Nash bio and story archive
International Wrestling Syndicate website
IWS video with Carl Ouellet - What happened with Kevin Nash in Montreal?
Tim Baines is the Sports Editor at the Ottawa Sun. This is an extended version of his weekly column that runs in the Sun papers. Email him at Tim.email@example.com.