Watching and listening to Kevin Nash and CM Punk go at it verbally is amusing. Punk says every time Nash shows up on WWE Monday Night Raw, people change the channel. Nash tells Punk he looks like a short-order cook at Waffle House. Punk states that instead of “Big Sexy,” Nash’s nickname should be “Big Lazy.” And on and on…
However, some members of the insider Internet wrestling community have gone haywire because they don’t like 52-year-old Nash strolling onto Raw and grabbing a top spot from younger stars like Punk. Hey, when Triple H took over, we all knew Nash would be one of the first people he’d call.
I don’t find myself as insulted by Nash’s presence. I’m not one of those people who believes that the only role older stars play is to put newer guys over.
For example, I remember when the WWF brought back “The Russian Bear” Ivan Koloff in 1983. Koloff made his name in wrestling by being the man who ended Bruno Sammartino’s first reign as WWWF Champion in 1971. Twelve years later, Koloff — who turned 41 in 1983 — was in no way portrayed as a stepping stone. Instead, they played him up as an experienced wrestler who was always billed as “the former WWF champion,” at a time when that distinction meant something.
Now, does that mean CM Punk should lose to Nash? No, probably not. Punk is too hot and should be main eventing for a world title at this point. But maybe Nash should be, too. Nash isn’t great in the ring now — in fact, he never really was unless with a talented opponent — but he can talk. Nash vs. Punk would mean more had Punk kept the WWF belt. Nash vs. John Cena might mean something.
Look at who Koloff fought at Madison Square Garden in 1983: Bob Backlund, Jules Strongbow, Tony Garea, SD Jones, Salvatore Bellomo, Pat Patterson, and Tito Santana. Everyone got a rub off being in the ring with Koloff except Patterson, who didn’t need the rub because his career had wound down. On the flip side, Koloff didn’t bury talent, either.
The point is that Koloff, as an aging star, proved worthy of his push. Nash won’t give you a classic match, but he knows how to cut a promo for a storyline better than most. As long as Nash’s tendency to bury other guys is reined in, he might be someone who can help the right wrestlers.