"Before I had a wrestling action figure, I had a Super Shredder action figure."
If you're a professional wrestling fan, the name Kevin Nash should be a familiar one. The WWE Hall of Famer has had a remarkable career, from holding the then-WWF Championship for nearly a year to being a founding member of WCW's New World Order. However, while he's been primarily a pro wrestler most of his adult life, Nash has also dabbled heavily in acting--primarily on the big screen with roles in movies like The Punisher, The Longest Yard, and both installments of Magic Mike.
Now, though, Nash is trying something a bit different. Living the Dream is a British comedy that aired on the UK's Sky One Network, which finds him playing a retired pro wrestler living in a trailer park under new management--an upper-crust British family in over their heads. Thankfully for those who want to view the show in the United States, the Britbox streaming service is coming to the rescue. The entire first season of the series will be available soon.
Ahead of the show's US release, Nash sat down to talk with GameSpot at the TCA press tour about everything from what appeals to him about British comedy to whether All Elite Wrestling can actually compete with WWE for dominance in the world of professional wrestling. Of course, we also couldn't help but ask about the time he played Super Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze.
GameSpot: What is it that kind of drew you to something like Living the Dream?
Kevin Nash: Well, when they pitched it to me, just the premise, like I could see humor in it... To me, if you're going to do a comedy, and they pitch the premise to you, and... without even seeing any of the script, you're saying, "Oh, that's going to be funny," where this was you could just see, you know... And then I didn't know who was attached to it or anything. And then I got there and met everybody, and it just one of things where just kind of everybody just kind of meshed.
Obviously, so much of your career is very action-oriented, between your time in the ring and stuff like The Punisher and bunch of heavier action roles. Is it more fun to you at this point to sort of get the comedy stuff coming your way?
I mean, the only thing that really bothered me about the show was that they pitched it to me, but I wasn't an ex-pro wrestler. We shot the first episode, and then they went, "Oh, by the way, episode three..." And I'm like, "You do know I just had my shoulder reconstructed." So, if you ever watch that scene back, in pro wrestling, you work everything right, so you punch right, everything you do it right-handed. So, that way there, if I say, "Punch block," you know that I'm going to throw right, and you block it. And I had to use my left. I'm a natural southpaw. I do everything left-handed, but work-wise, wrestling-wise, I had to do everything left-handed. And that was a long day. I mean, I was thinking to myself, "I've been out here a long time shooting this." I look my singlet off that night, and it had the farmer tan, and I was already dark.
But you know, it was fun. Like anything, as time goes on, by the time episode five comes, you're pretty much like family. You know, you eat every meal together. And there wasn't much downtime. But they were cool.
To me... Like, Longest Yard, they let me do comedy, and nobody wanted to play that part, and I said, "Gee, a comedic role in a comedy, that might be fun." Everybody else wanted to grunt and snort and be a badass. I'm like, "No, no, no, no, no. I've done that for 30 years. I want to show at least some kind of range." So, I said, any time that somebody hands me a script that I don't have an ax in my hand, I'm listening!
And British comedy--which this is--is very different from American comedy. How easy was it to acclimate to that?
I was such a fan of the British Office and was turned onto it early from a friend of mine and was given the DVDs, so I watched it... But also my step-father is Scottish, and they watched a lot of, you know, Benny Hill and my step-grandparents, they watch a lot of British comedy, you know? I think my era, growing up in the '70s, in high school, like Monty Python and all that, it's different, but it's British comedy, if you get it... Some people just don't get it.
I've also been over in that culture so much. I've probably wrestled in the UK 200 times. Especially when the economy was really bad, when I first broke in, like '90, '91, '92, '93. I mean, I've done an 18-day tour, come home, do three days of TV, and then go back and do a 15-day tour. Mostly in the UK, but we'd go to Austria and Germany and other places, but you know, it kind of kept us alive. And the UK, it translates very well, that industry. It's still, like now, the developmental, which is NXT for the WWE, they've got NXT UK, they've got a performance center now in the UK, they've got their own branding, basically.
You've been a part of some wrestling moments that tend the test of time, real game changers. The business, right now, is at an interesting place between WWE's women's revolution, the rise of the indy scene, and people like Cody and the Young Bucks launching All Elite Wrestling. With so many people striving to be at the forefront of the business, how important is it to be different?
Nash: You know, I think that the WWE is always going to be a flag-bearer. I think when we made the run with [Ted] Turner['s WCW] against Vince [McMahon], Vince, he was a private company. We just basically out-moneyed him. We kept buying his stars. WCW didn't make any stars. They just bought Vince's stars. And that's the whole thing now is the Bucks and guys like that, I think it's great, and people are like, "What do you think? It's just going to be another Monday Night War?" I'm like, "Dude, they've done one pay-per-view, you know? Vince is getting ready to go on Fox."
Which is insane.
Absolutely. I go back to TV, and it's six months since I've been at an event, and it looks like the Super Bowl. We used to have two production trucks. There's like 30 production trucks now. I mean, it is amazing just from a production standpoint. We had seven cameras. There's 17 or 19 cameras now, you know?
As somebody said, it's great if you've got good talent that can put on live performances, like the Bucks and Cody and Omega. I think having Jericho there that's been part of the Monday Night Wars, his career has kind of crossed those two paths, I think he'll be instrumental in kind of guiding that. But at the same time, it's just like it's one thing to have a good live event like they had in Chicago. It's another thing to have the money. I heard the father gave the son $100 million to start. We used to go through that in about seven months at Turner, you know? And just like that don't go too far. We'll just have to see.
I mean, New Japan, like Ring of Honor, when you see their shows, their television shows, they look like the old ECW from 1990. So, if it has that look, it won't be competition. The thing with Nitro was Nitro had a look that was comparable to, you know, production quality-wise was comparable to Vince's product. But if you're nowhere in the ballpark... And I sat there at WrestleMania last year. That thing was, I mean, it was longer than the Crusades. But I just sat there, and I just watched the production, the pageantry, the costuming. I mean, just every aspect of it. I was just like, this like Cirque du Soleil meets live theater meets ultimate fighting. There's such a hybrid, and there's nothing like it, and it's such Americana. Pro wrestling, there's nothing more American than pro wrestling. It's been on TV since the conception of television, and it's never been off. So, it ain't going nowhere.
I think it's great, because right now, I've heard that there's guys that are getting, you know, like Vince is locking in people for more money, for longer periods, because there's somebody that's got another checkbook. So, for me, I'm a [tax form] 1099, so anytime somebody's upping the ante for guys, I don't care how long.
The last thing I wanted to touch on was your first movie credit. Before Big Daddy Cool or a member of the New World Order, you were a comic book villain. You played the Super Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. Do you have any fun memories from back then? I'm dying to know what wearing that costume was like.
The people that made the original Batman outfit made the Super Shredder outfit. So, that cape is latex, but it's double-lined latex. That cape weighed about 105 pounds, was bolted onto you. So, when you put that thing on... Like, they used to put me in everything except the helmet, take me to set, and I would sit in the back of a pickup truck gate, and they would take me to set, because there was no way I could walk that far. That thing was so heavy.
I don't remember if it was a rib or what, but the first scene I ever shot, they brought me in, only me, on Saturday, and all I did was took this hand, went through that wood, went like this, and made the first movement. They had me do that for six hours. I don't know if they did it, and it was just like, "This guy doesn't know. We'll just see how long he'll do it." And I'm like walking over, I'm looking at the takes, and I'm like they all look eerily similar! Maybe they just wanted to get some overtime, I don't know what it was, but it was at my cost. I mean, I look back, and like doing comic-cons and stuff like that... I sign a lot of Secret of the Ooze VHS boxes.
You were an action figure!
Before I had a wrestling action figure, I had a Super Shredder action figure. And people say to me, they'll say, "I bet you've never seen one of these before," and I say, "I have a box of them. I have seen those." Did I see any royalties? No.
No. They owned it. There's no likeness.
Living the Dream premieres on Britbox later this year.