By Mike Mooneyham
Jan. 6, 2001
Kevin Nash, whose contract with AOL Time Warner expired last week, is expected to become the World Wrestling Federation’s next big-name acquisition.
Nash, whose previous run in the WWF as “Big Daddy Cool” Diesel ended in 1996 when Eric Bischoff lured him to WCW with a big-money deal, last week denied widespread rumors that he had signed with the WWF. Nash, however, reportedly has verbally agreed to a WWF contract and should be joining the organization within weeks.
Nash stated on his Web site Thursday that he had neither signed a contract nor had any paperwork even been received, although he failed to deny that a deal was on the table. Nash had been negotiating with both the WWF and the upstart World Wrestling All-Stars, but apparently decided to go with a WWF package that included more pay but more dates as well. Nash, a first-rate locker-room lawyer who was second only to Hulk Hogan in the art of backstage politicking, had wavered on signing a contract that required him to work 15 dates a month, and it is not known whether the WWF had relaxed the schedule to meet Nash’s demand of 12 dates or less.
Nash’s longtime cohort, Scott Hall, is not expected to be part of the package, since WWF officials remain leery of Hall’s track record and his much-publicized out-of-the-ring problems.
[ad#MikeMooneyham-336×280]Several weeks ago rumors had circulated of a possible reunion of The Clique at the WWF’s Raw at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 7. Hunter Hearst Helmsley is making his TV return on that show, and it was speculated that Hall would be brought in if Nash were to sign. It was further believed that Shawn Michaels, who recently appeared as a guest on the WWF’s Excess show, might be penciled in as well, along with the fifth member of the stable, X-Pac (Sean Waltman). The reunion would have taken on added significance since MSG was the site of the group’s infamous “curtain call” in 1996 when several members broke character and hugged in the middle of the ring at the end of the show.
The rumored reunion apparently was nixed due to concerns about Hall, and the fact that it would have diminished the impact of Triple H’s heavily hyped return.
- The WWF’s split into two “competing” promotions, originally set for Monday night’s Raw, has been moved back and is not expected to take place until after the Royal Rumble.
- The Bossman (Ray Traylor) may be a favorite in the WWF locker room, but somebody needs to show him how to lay in stiffer-looking shots than those ridiculously lame taps he landed on Steve Austin with the ring mic during Thursday night’s Smackdown, especially if fans are to believe he inflicted bloody damage.
On the other hand, the Ric Flair punch that decked Vince McMahon was as good as they get. So good, in fact, that Vince needed four stitches to close the cut around his eye.
- The World Wrestling All-Stars (WWA) has quietly positioned itself as a potentially viable player in the pay-per-view market and a force overseas. Tour promoter Andrew McManus has scheduled a live PPV from Las Vegas on Feb. 24 and was in the United States recently meeting with potential talent and sponsors. Among the most heavily courted were Kevin Nash and Scott Steiner, whose AOL Time Warner deal expired last month.
- The WWF comes into town with a nationally televised Smackdown on Jan. 22 – two nights after the Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
Tickets are on sale at the Coliseum box office, all Ticketmaster outlets (including all Cat’s Music and Publix Grocery stores), charge by phone at (843) 554-6060, or www.ticketmaster.com.
- Last week’s three-hour Raw drew the lowest number for that show – 2.4 -in more than four years. Since the program was taped and aired on New Year’s Eve, the low mark was not totally unexpected by the WWF, although company officials were surprised that the number was that low.
- Main event for this week’s Raw, which features the return of Triple H, will be Steve Austin and The Rock against Booker T and Bossman. Triple H’s official return was at weekend house shows teaming with Kane against Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle.
- The Rock, “the most electrifying man in sports entertainment,” has a new home video release entitled “The Rock: Just Bring It,” which hits the stores on Jan. 8 at a price of $14.95 for the video and $24.95 for the DVD. In addition to some of The Rock’s greatest matches, the video goes outside of the ring and behind the scenes of the filming of Universal Pictures’ “The Scorpion King” starring The Rock, which is scheduled to hit theaters in April. The video also goes behind the scenes to the photo shoot of The Rock and New York Mets’ all-star catcher Mike Piazza for USA Weekend’s cover on America’s favorite pastime: the World Wrestling Federation or Major League Baseball.
The DVD version includes a number of extras, including The Rock’s classic interview with Lillian Garcia, and footage of The Rock and Bill Gates as they unveil X-Box.
- Superstar Billy Graham suffered another relapse on New Year’s Day when four veins burst and caused considerable blood loss. Graham underwent several transfusions, but made nothing short of a remarkable recovery during the day.
“He was very close to death, but Praise God, He once again spared my husband,” reported wife Valerie. “He should be getting out of ICU today. The waiting list for a liver is long in his case because his blood type is O positive, the most common of all types. This means that the vast majority of people who are waiting for a liver are O positive. So they suggested trying to find a living donor, which of course I am going to do.” Financial donations can be sent to Superstar Billy Graham at 15402 N. 28th St., Suite 105, Phoenix, Ariz. 85032.
- Former Canadian star Leo Burke was in intensive care in a Calgary hospital last week after being stricken with septic poisoning. Burke, 51, whose real name is Leonce Cormier and whose wrestling brothers include 70s Carolina stars Rudy and Bobby Kay (Rudy and Bobby Cormier) and The Beast (Yvon Cormier), is an ex-WWF mat coach who helped train such performers as Edge, Christian, Test and Mark Henry.
- Bobby Heenan, one of pro wrestling’s great managers and announcers, has been diagnosed with throat cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
- A 10-bell salute for those members of the wrestling community who left us in 2001. They include: Mike Davis (46), Hoss Strickland (64), John Paul Henning (73), Kurt Von Brauner (82), Rhonda Singh (40), Alex Perez (71), Terry Gordy (40), Ace Freeman (87), Tex McKenzie (72), Clyde Steeves (74), Johnny Valentine (72), Lou “Shoulders” Newman (87), Haru Sasaki (70), Ossie Timmons (81), Benny McGuire (54) and Nell Stewart (73).
- Jake “The Snake” Roberts walked out on a recent independent booking in England after surveying a crowd of less than 50 fans. Too bad there’s not a sanctioning body in the business that could prevent this type of conduct. Roberts, long removed from his WWF glory days or even the time when he was considered a sharp wrestling mind, remains one of the sadder cases in the profession.
- Reader Leo Carey sent in this interesting observation:
“The 12/31/01 Dallas Morning News had a front-page story on Afghan athletes beginning training for the 2004 Olympics. Spotlighted in the article were the wrestling, boxing and basketball teams. The story discussed how 20 years of war, and in particular, the last 7 under the Taliban, have devastated Olympic programs and how little, if any, money will be available for these programs. The most interesting point was a picture of a 14-year-old wrestling hopeful of the Kabul Wrestling Club’ working out. His weights were made of old industrial gears, jump ropes were made of old tire strips. What was amazing is behind the kid, on the wall, was a poster of WWF superstar The Undertaker … It shows two things: the worldwide appeal of the WWF, and even more, the power of the human spirit.”
- The Undertaker injured his lower back taking a choke slam from The Big Show Thursday night on Smackdown, and isn’t expected to return before the Royal Rumble.
- Dean Malenko (Dean Simon) officially started his job as a WWF road agent at last week’s Smackdown.