WWE legend Kevin Nash explains his belief that wrestlers should be larger than life, why Shawn Michaels was successful despite his stature, whether he has issues with C.M. Punk, rebuts Chris Jericho
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On his recent comments about the size of today’s top guys: "I’m talking about them as wrestlers, I’m talking about them as their wrestling persona as far as visual. I’m not talking about anything [else]. I’ve stated before, these guys are incredibly great technical wrestlers. All of them. But there’s a reason why Christian Bale in Batman has armor on and is bigger than life. There’s a reason why in all these Marvel movies if [the guys] don’t have gigantic muscles and aren’t oversized, they’re CGIs. I don’t remember Stan Lee when he started Marvel Comics making a 5-foot-7 guy."
On Shawn Michaels succeeding despite not being a ‘big guy’: "Shawn Michaels was 6-foot-1 and a half and weighed 225 pounds in his prime. That’s a big difference between 5-foot-7. That’s a difference between a 6-foot-8 power forward and a 7-foot-1 center. CM Punk doesn’t have Shawn Michaels’ physical ability. I mean, Vince Carter and [Michael] Jordan are the same size."
On the PG Era and CM Punk: I think the number one thing that hurts still is the fact that they’re PG. I’m a huge fan of Punk’s [but] I’m sorry, it’s hard for me to watch two grown men say they’re going to beat the crap out of each other. That’s my personal opinion.
"I’m also saying that it doesn’t look to me like he spends a lot of time in the weight room. I just think it would enhance his look and everything. We were all drug free and drug tested for years at the WWE, and there were a lot of guys that had great physiques. I think that comes with it."
On the widespread reaction his comments received: "You guys aren’t backstage, you guys aren’t around when the brass makes decisions. You guys aren’t around when they all say, ‘God, I wish he was bigger,’ [or] ‘God yeah, but the guy just doesn’t have enough size.’ It’s their opinion. I’m just stating my opinion. I’m not saying I’m right. But am I not allowed my opinion? I pay taxes, I’m allowed my opinion. In my opinion, that’s how I feel. That doesn’t mean anybody else has to jump aboard and say I have to agree with him because he says so.
"Number one, I’ve always been an Internet darling and always will be and if I were to say something and was just somebody that didn’t have an opinion, you wouldn’t be calling me. It’s just because Kevin Nash said it. Oh my God, Kevin Nash said it. Oh my God, Jericho rebutted.
"For Eddie [Guerrero] and Chris [Benoit], Eddie was a friend [and] Chris was a friend. When the tragedy went down with Benoit I think I was one of the few guys that went on TV and tried to make some sense of it. These people that think I’m desecrating deceased wrestlers; I’m talking about them as [wrestlers] and not the person. Sometimes I look at it and I just go you know what, don’t even have an opinion, be a sheep like everybody else."
On Chris Jericho’s tweet that the worst year of WWE business was when he was champion: "[I] Absolutely disagree. When I walked in the door in 1993, we did a $100,000 gate at Madison Square Garden. My last show at the Garden we did $309,000 before I jumped to WCW and I was in the main event with Shawn Michaels. I absolutely disagree. The business was better when I left than when I got there."
On if the company’s future is in good hands with Triple H: "Absolutely. I think he’ll change the product in the way that he feels is good to change the product. I don’t think the product will stay the same. I think that he has a different vision than other people do. I’m just saying other people; I mean, Vince isn’t the only one that is in the meetings and has a voice. There’s other people. Kevin Dunn . . . There’s a lot of people that have a voice in that company."
On John Cena: "I think he’s fantastic. I think he’s stayed true, I think he’s playing the hardest part in wrestling which is the white-meat babyface. He never looks anything but fantastic. Even though he’s not a giant, tall man, he has a bigger than life personality."
On a problem WWE has that many people don’t realize: "The biggest problem that the WWE probably has right now, and which people don’t think about, is they’ve got guys down there that have been on handheld cameras for 25 years. It’s not easy to shoot pro wrestling. Somebody sooner or later has to take Kerwin [Silfies’] spot, has to take Dunn’s spot in those trucks [and] has to make those incredible last-second calls that makes a near-miss look like the person gets their head taken off. Their production alone is impeccable. When you look at the company and the scope of its international ability and everything that it does, it’s beyond first-rate."
On if the WWE went in a different direction because of MMA: "No. I think what happened is MMA got hot, and just like anything else, you buy a $60 fight, it goes a minute and 12 seconds, [and] you’re not that apt to buy another $60 fight the next month. This is where I’ll always say pro wrestling will always have a great advantage. If it’s The Rock vs. Cena at WrestleMania, you know it’s not going a minute and a half. You know it’s going to go 20-25 minutes. You go to a movie and you know the action on the movie is not real [and] yet you’re enthralled, you have complete escapism. I think that’s what pro wrestling gives you, it gives you that escapism. It gives you that ability to watch a main event for 30 minutes and feel like you’ve got your money’s worth."
On the essence of his comments: "Number one, one of the classic stories of all-time is always going to be David and Goliath. Now I doubt it would be a biblical story if it was David vs. David. I think that you always need that bigger than life [wrestler], especially in a heel role. I always want the heel to be bigger than the babyface . . . That’s my preference. I hated playing the babyface. I never liked the role because it just doesn’t make sense; they end up working your leg for 20 minutes because they’re not gong to be able to pick you up and throw you around. It just doesn’t work."
On if he has an issue with CM Punk: "Yeah, I have such an issue with him that we fell asleep next to each other in the locker room in London and I knew he had a bad back and I made sure that he got up so he wouldn't have to be in too much pain. I hung around with him most of the time that I was on the European trip. I talked to him on a daily basis. We were handed edits to our live interviews 30 seconds before we went on live to Raw and basically had the ability to look at each other like we’re going out into a fox hole together. I have nothing but respect for Phil, I’ve said that a million times."
On his feud with CM Punk last year: "I think I was so rusty; I basically spent five years doing taped interviews. I was so out of my element and plus, it’s very controlled. It’s not like it used to be where you just kind of went out there and were able to wing it. I never felt comfortable in my element one time. I was told by Vince not to yell. ‘Don’t yell,’ ‘Don’t do this,’ ‘Your cadence is too slow.’ I was like, ‘Dude, I’ve been doing this for 25 years I talk like this.’ So it was difficult for me, I’m not going to say it wasn’t. It never felt comfortable, and you walk in the door and you don’t know anybody. I’m not saying that it was a bad experience, I wish I could have done the favor for Phil. I wish we could have had the match and I wish I could have put him over."
On why he was pulled from the feud: "What happened was I was on Plavix. And the WWE wellness doctor said that there was a chance that if I was to get an internal injury or something like that during the match that I could bleed out and die. So they had to pull me and get me off Plavix whatever the amount of time was and by that time, Triple H had to fight Punk."
On the ‘What’ chants: "The ‘What’ chants go away if you can combat them, but if you can’t say anything that’s beyond PG then you can’t . . . it’s horrible. It’s just one of those things where it takes away so much from the show, it just makes you feel like you’re watching a circus sometime. It’s horrible. It sold T-shirts but you know what? It’s the only thing Steve did wrong."
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