Kevin Nash is wrestling at the Big Time Wrestling show at the Maryland Theater in Hagerstown on Friday night. We were able to talk to him about what he's been doing since last being on WWE television, and as well as his memories of Wrestlemania over the years.
Last time most people saw you, it was at the TLC pay-per-view in Baltimore in December of 2011. What have you been doing since then?
Kevin Nash: I've been keeping busy. I've been making personal appearances as well as doing independent bookings. I've been working on a movie project locally with some writers and a production group. It has a good script, and a medium-budget of about $1-to-1.5 million. There's also a reality show that I've been in talks with.
I also have a legends deal with WWE, so I go in from time-to-time for DVD commentaries, and I sometimes go to developmental (NXT). It gives them an extra set of eyes who doesn't necessarily get to see the guys as often, and can give them a different perspective.
What's your take on the current group of wrestlers in NXT?
Kevin Nash: For a long time, when I went to any sort of developmental, it seems like every guy there had a cookie-cutter look to them. Just a really generic look. Now there are a lot of guys that really look like professional wrestlers. I feel really comfortable with the new group that's there right now. They'll be able to continue the business.
At 53, why do you still continue to take independent bookings, like the one on Friday?
Kevin Nash: For one, a whole new generation of fans are getting to see the nWo and the Monday night wars through the new DVDs that the WWE is putting out. There are young fans who have seen you on DVD, and now this gives them a chance to see you live. This is the only chance they have to see you. It's a way to continue the fanbase, and by building the fanbase, it can increase your visibility and your Q-rating.
It also gives me a reason to stay in shape. I'm 53, and it's hard to get to the gym every day. If I know on Friday I'm going to be wrestling, then I don't want to look bad, so it gives me motivation. Plus, once you're in motion, it's a lot easier to stay in motion.
The other thing is I never came up this way. I went straight to WCW in 1990. So I never had the experience of shows like this. The independent workers have gotten a lot better. Better bodies, better skill level. If I see a diamond in the rough, I can buzz Triple H, and say that this guy is worth a look. It gives me a chance to stay out there and keep an eye open.
What's it like to wrestle with the smaller audiences?
Kevin Nash: People don't understand. When you do RAW or Wrestlemania or a PPV where there's 10,000 people or more, you don't necessarily look at the people. The only time there's a realization that there's that many people is when you walk to the ring. Once you get in the ring, your focus is only on the ring, and maybe the front few rows. You're not looking at the tiers and the balconies. The focus is just the same. It's just intimate, and in some ways that's better.
With Wrestlemania right around the corner, what are some of your favorite memories from the event?
Kevin Nash: The first Wrestlemania I was involved with was the Michaels/Hall ladder match, when I was Shawn's bodyguard. I still think that was one of the greatest matches of all time. A year later, me and Shawn were headlining. And then I co-headlined with 'Taker the next year. I was involved with some great moments in the early-to-mid-90s.
Do you have any special memories of Wrestlemania that you weren't directly involved with?
Kevin Nash: Last year I went down since it was close. And then after I finished what I was doing at the event, I got a chance to go home and watch, and was able to get home in time for the beginning. It was unbelievable to watch 'Taker and Triple H with Shawn as the guest referee. Those are all guys who are friends of mine, and to watch that with the storytelling, the fact that JR was calling it, and to watch it at home, and see the way it was shot was really special.
So do you actually prefer to watch matches from home than from backstage, or from the crowd?
Kevin Nash: Absolutely. I don't want to be distracted. I like the comfort. I want to sit and enjoy it and see everything. And the commentary and the production can make the matches, and I want to hear and see that. I'll be in New York for the event, but I'm hoping to catch a flight home so I can watch the broadcast there.
While you didn't know what it would become at the time, what's it like being part of Undertaker's streak?
Kevin Nash: It's funny because I didn't believe that there was truly anything special when I wrestled 'Taker at the time. There was no inkling of a streak or anything. The guys like me that are earlier in the streak are just lucky to be part of the streak. Now it's such a big thing, and one of the really special things in the business. I really don't think the streak is ever going to end, and if it was up to me, I wouldn't ever have it end.
What's your thought of the Hall of Fame class this year, and do you think you'll ever get the call?
Kevin Nash: Whether I'll make it or not is not up to me, so I don't worry about it. Booker and Mick [Foley] are buddies, so I'm happy and proud for them. But it's really great that Bruno [Sammartino] is going in, and it really legitimizes the Hall of Fame. Him not being in was like Babe Ruth not being in the baseball hall of fame. Triple H getting him to go in, and him being inducted, is really a golden moment for wrestling.
For wrestling fans who aren't familiar with Big Time Wrestling, or independent wrestling in general, what should they expect from the show on Friday?
Kevin Nash: You're going to get to see the legends, like me and [Hacksaw] Jim [Duggan], and I'm sure Tommy Dreamer will have some sort of hardcore match. And Ric Flair is going to be there! And also, we have some really good young talent. Big Time Wrestling is a really good promotion. The guys there work hard -- this is one of the best indy promotions I've ever worked for. They won't drag the show out four hours. It will be quality wrestling. There will be name guys there, and guys who you will definitely know in the future. It's up-close and personal, and you won't get lost in the vastness of a RAW or a pay-per-view. It's a pure form of wrestling, which in essence is a pure form of Americana. The price is right, you're not paying several hundred dollars to sit near the ring. It's a great bargain, and a great show and a great product.
You can see Kevin Nash, along with Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Tommy Dreamer and Ric Flair at Big Time Wrestling on Friday at the Maryland Theater. Tickets for the shows are available at mdtheatre.org , btwtickets.com and the Naryland Theatre box office. You can meet Flair and all the stars from 6-8. Belltime is at 8:30.