“We killed him right there” – Bruce Prichard admits WWE destroyed a Former World Champion’s character
There was a time in the 1990s within WWE when Kevin Nash was a rabidly popular star in his ‘Diesel’ avatar. WWE pushed Diesel to be a babyface world champion, but contrary to expectations, Nash’s first WWE run was marred by a few ill-timed decisions.
During a recent edition of Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard, the WWE executive revealed why changing Diesel’s character was a significant mistake.
WWE decided to alter Diesel’s badass gimmick and add some realism by highlighting the man behind the character, Kevin Nash, a basketball player at the University of Tennessee. WWE officials made a conscious effort to add more layers to the destroyer known as Diesel.
Bruce Prichard noted that fans loved the larger-than-life Diesel gimmick and not the ordinary person playing the role. The idea to go in a different direction with Diesel’s character came from Jim Ross, and Prichard even hilariously mimicked JR while commenting on Diesel’s WWE run.
“Well, I don’t think it was necessarily working, and it goes back to day one of ‘okay, here’s Diesel and he’s your champion, and we want him to be this big babyface, so he is going to lead everybody in prayer and then, let’s sing you know, ‘Ho, ho, ho Green, no, what’s the song? We wish you a Merry Christmas; we wish you, yeah!’ And he seized being Diesel,” said Prichard. “It became, (mimics Jim Ross) ‘Well, Kevin Nash, Diesel is Kevin Nash. He was at the East Tennesy playing Basketball, and what a quarter he had that one time when he scored four points.’ All of sudden, everything I loved about Diesel went away because he became Kevin Nash from East Tennessee University and a Basketball player.”
“Everything that was cool about him went away because somebody felt, ‘God damn, we’ve got to credentials. You’ve got to have credentials. You’ve got to have a real story about these guys; he could have been a two-and-a-half-time All-American.’ Nobody gives a fu** about that sh**. They thought Diesel was cool; he kicked people’s a**es. When he seized to become Diesel, what the fu**, you know, when you figure that you mid-term, it’s like, ‘Ah!’ The audience overall, they were intrigued by Diesel. They weren’t intrigued by Kevin Nash at this point in time,” noted Prichard.
“You don’t want people to relate to your top megastar” – WWE Executive Director Bruce Prichard
As part of the character evolution process, WWE aired a sit-down interview featuring Diesel in which the WWE Hall of Famer opened up about his background. Prichard believed the segment was the exact moment when the company killed Diesel’s character.
“I remember begging almost not to do that God damn sit-down interview they did way back. ‘Tell me about your college career? Tell me about Kevin?’ We killed him right there. In that moment, we killed what we had spent all that time building. That’s the 100% truth,” Prichard added.
Bruce Prichard confirmed that Jim Ross wanted WWE to change its presentation with Diesel, as the veteran announcer felt that people wanted real stories.
Prichard disagreed and said that wrestling fans should never be able to relate to the wrestling megastars as the top guys are meant to have enormous personalities.
“Pushing that, in order to have a champion people would believe in, you had to give them real things to believe in. You had to tell them a real story, but yet not one time would you sit there and fu***** take Hulk Hogan. ‘And now tell me, Terry? When you were in the band, you played bass, right?’ The fu** would anyone bring that up and why. Why do you want to? Diesel was a character; Kevin Nash was a person. The audience was in love with the character. They didn’t know the person. You keep the person mysterious and a mystique. When he becomes just like your buddy who went to college in East Tennessee and played the year on the team, what’s special about him anymore? I could relate to him. You don’t want people to relate to your top megastar,” Prichard concluded.
Do you agree with Bruce Prichard’s comments on Diesel’s character in WWE? Let us know in the comments section below.