Monday, March 8, 1999
SLAM! Wrestling Guest Column
Nash blunders with booking
As popular as the David defeating Goliath theme is in the wrestling business, there comes a time where certain people should NOT do their 'job'. Such is the case with Kevin Nash on the February 22 edition of Monday Nitro when, in an attempt to send a message to uncooperative workers, he let Rey Misterio Jr. score a clean pinfall over him. Let me clear the air and tell you that I am not a Kevin Nash fanatic. My problem lies with the inconsistent booking of which he is greatly responsible.
A series of events, spanning from this summer to the present, show that Nash constantly thinks of himself instead of the company when booking is concerned. Recently, he and Diamond Dallas Page gave the locker room a notice that all booking decisions were final, and that workers should not complain. This ultimatum came from certain wrestlers, notably Bret Hart, not agreeing with proposed finishes-in effect, putting over mid-card athletes-and how these finishes would not concur with eventual storylines. To me, this makes sense: If Bret will be pushed to the WCW Heavyweight Title, he should not be jobbing to Booker T. Unfortunately, Nash didn't see it that way and Booker notched a large victory over the Hitman. Can it just be coincidence that Nash, a good friend of Shawn Michaels, and Hart are not seeing eye-to-eye? Or is it obvious that Nash is trying to keep Bret from main event status because Bret is not tight with the Clique?
This brings me to Misterio. His push started with the upset victory over Nash last week. I have problems with this. First of all, you have a 5'6" cruiserweight cleanly beating the man who ended Goldberg's undefeated streak. What irks me even more is that WCW are not playing off Rey's victory over Nash as a fluke since Misterio pinned Bam Bam Bigelow on the March 1 edition of Nitro. Granted, WCW's booking always receives criticism for its inconsistencies but this tops them all. If you think that the only reason Nash let Rey beat him was to send a message to the troops, think about what message this sends. This says to me that a wrestler needs to be friends with the Clique or they will not be pushed.
Bigelow is the second example of a WCW worker who has an unfriendly past with Nash et al, going back to their days in the WWF. The heat between the two groups increased at an ECW show in Florida when Hall, a friend of ECW's P.J. Walker (AKA Justin Credible), tried to come backstage. Bigelow and Shane Douglas, one of the most outspoken critics of the Clique, demanded that Hall stay out. Given the past quarrelling between Bigelow and Nash, it seems more than a coincidence that Bigelow put over Misterio on Nitro. Bam Bam is the man WCW was hyping as a formidable challenge for the mighty Goldberg. Now, he's delegated to putting over Rey.
Remember when Chris Jericho's feud with Goldberg was suddenly stopped because some of the upper echelon workers convinced Goldberg he should not be selling Jericho? Compare the workers: Goldberg & Jericho versus Bigelow and Misterio. In my opinion, the first pair seems closer in stature and, thus, a more believable match. Instead the feud, which at Fall Brawl 1998 featured Jericho pinning a mini-Goldberg, never reached its logical zenith.
Further, Rey-the lightest competitor in WCW-scores pinfalls over two of the federation's largest men. Believable? Not very.
People are comparing Rey's current streak to that of Spike Dudley, ECW's vaunted giant killer. The main difference here is that ECW has only one weight class, whereas WCW has a title for its lighter wrestlers.
If Misterio had run out of competition in the lightheavyweight category, like Taka did in the WWF, I could perhaps see this push as justified. But, because of the circumstances surrounding the issue, I simply see it as Nash (ab)using his booking powers to put over a friend.
This brings me to the "Vanilla Midget" issue. For those who are not familiar with this story, the "Vanilla Midgets"-as dubbed by Nash and his Clique friends-are Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko. Apparently Nash and company feels that the Horsemen are unworthy of a push because of their size. Last time I checked, both Chris and Dean dwarf Misterio so this cannot be the true issue. The real reason behind the lack of push is association: Benoit, Malenko and Jericho are not tight with the Clique. Further, they associate with Hart and Ric Flair. It is more apparent than ever that Nash uses his influence, much like Hogan before him, to give his friends the prime time spotlight.
With all the problems of infighting for which WCW is famous, you would think that Eric Bischoff could unite the forces and take back the ratings war with quality programming. Instead we are subjected to the same poor and inconsistent booking, only now it's accompanied by a G rating. It could be that Eric has burned too many bridges in the past to have that power over his army. And now, if Kevin Nash doesn't look out, I see him going down that same path.
Jeff Porchak is from Kitchener, ON, and can be emailed at email@example.com.