Curiosities of the Canvas #1: Hall & Nash Team Up for the First Time in a Match They Probably Want to Forget
By: Henry Huge Pecs
Welcome to Curiosities of the Canvas, the new column where I will examine wrestling matches that initially had barely any significance, but which will later go on to become quirky historical curiosities due to their participants. What do I mean by that? Well, let’s delve into our first installment to find out…
In the mid-1990’s, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash achieved a great deal of success in the World Wrestling Federation under their respective personas of Razor Ramon and Diesel. Hall won the Intercontinental Championship on four separate occasions (a record at the time) while Nash held the World Heavyweight Championship for 358 straight days (the tenth longest reign in the history of the company).
In 1996, World Championship Wrestling lured the popular duo away from the WWF with promises of larger contracts and fewer dates to work. Alongside Hulk Hogan, they would form the rebellious New World Order faction and usher in a dominant era for WCW. Upon Nash’s arrival, the company’s flagship TV show Monday Nitro would go on to defeat the WWF’s Monday Night Raw in the television ratings for an amazing 84 consecutive weeks. During this span, Hall & Nash primarily competed as a tag team in WCW, calling themselves The Outsiders and winning the Tag Team Titles on six separate occasions. My very first edition of this column will focus on a particular WCW tag match featuring Hall & Nash.
At this point, you may rightfully ask, “How can a column about quirky historical wrestling matches feature a tag team which competed together for the better part of three years?” Well, the match I will be focusing on today features Scott Hall and Kevin Nash teaming up in their ONLY televised match where they competed as…The Diamond Studd and Oz.
Scott Hall’s Diamond Studd persona was similar to that of “Ravishing” Rick Rude: a cocky ladies’ man who thought he was God’s gift to women. Not a horrendous gimmick, but certainly not very memorable.
On the other hand, Kevin Nash’s Oz persona…yikes. In addition to owning WCW, Ted Turner also owned the rights to the classic 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, and someone came up with the brilliant idea to meld the two together. The plan? Debut a wrestler called Oz to a great deal of fanfare, featuring smoke, green lighting, and appearances by the beloved characters Dorothy, The Tin Man, The Scarecrow, and The Cowardly Lion. How could this possibly fail with the imposing, seven-foot Nash playing the character? Apparently, quite easily.
As it turns out, Nash does not look nearly as intimidating when you put him in a rubber mask that makes him resemble an elderly, bearded man wearing a wizard cap. Oz lasted about six months before they wisely pulled the plug and moved Nash along to a different crappy gimmick: a mobster named Vinnie Vegas. Considering how badly he was misused, it makes you wonder why he ever wanted to return to WCW in the first place! Oh, right – all that money. Touché.
So now, we take you to the September 21st, 1991 episode of WCW’s Power Hour for our first installment of Curiosities of the Canvas: The Diamond Studd & Oz vs. The Z-Man & Big Josh.
The Z-Man is veteran wrestler Tom Zenk, who formerly tagged with Rick Martel in the WWF as part of a team called the Can-Am Connection. The gimmick of Big Josh is that of a flannel-wearing lumberjack who brings an axehandle with him to the ring. If you want to see an amusing entrance, check out Big Josh’s match at the first SuperBrawl where he walked to the ring accompanied by two live bears, one of which was urinating as it walked to the ring. (Even better, the match which followed it was…Oz’s debut match. Okay, maybe skip that pay-per-view.) The character Big Josh is played by Matt Osbourne, who will most prominently go on to portray Doink the Clown two years from now. If you were looking for a match where the participants involved collectively had a lifetime’s worth of bizarre gimmicks, this is the match for you.
Before the match even begins, we get off to a great start because the ring announcer lets us know that three of the four participants not only possess crappy gimmicks but also goofy hometowns as well. Big Josh hails from The North Woods, The Diamond Studd comes from The Diamond Mine, and Oz is from (where else?) The Emerald City. You have to love gimmicked hometowns.
(As a quick side note, I also found it interesting that Scott Hall did his trademark throw-the-toothpick-at-the-camera move as he walked to the ring. We more commonly associate that mannerism with his Razor Ramon character, but he was apparently utilizing it well before he entered the WWF.)
Another good sign is that our commentary team is Jim Ross and Paul Heyman, two guys who are known for being able to hype the hell out of a match. Everything seems to be aligning well so far, so let’s get into the match itself!
Oz and Big Josh begin the match, and Heyman kicks things off on a decidedly non-P.C. note by saying that Josh “looks like a midget compared to Oz!” We get quite a bit of stalling by Big Josh before locking up with Oz, who then hits Josh with a bunch of crappy-looking punches. The ref separates them, which allows Josh to jump on Oz’s back and put a sleeper on him. Josh locks it in for a while, but eventually Oz is able to snapmare him slooooowly to the canvas. Not a great start by Nash.
After some more poor-looking punches, Oz whips Josh off the ropes and goes for a scoop slam, but Josh escapes, goes behind, picks Oz up, and nails him with a back suplex. Studd runs into the ring without being tagged, and Josh manages to hit him with a back suplex as well. Unfortunately for Hall and Nash, Josh was a bit sloppy on those attempts, almost dropping them both on their necks each time. This leads Jim Ross to diplomatically say, “Big Josh is not known for his suplexing ability.” I suppose that’s putting it mildly. If only J.R. had added, “He is, however, known for his ability to damn near paralyze his opponents!”
The ref shoos Studd out of the ring and Josh tags in The Z-Man, who dropkicks Oz. For a seven-foot monster, Nash is certainly spending a lot of time on his back in this match. He then makes the tag to Studd so he can enter the ring legally this time.
Heyman tells us that Studd and Z-Man have never conclusively settled their feud, and they have a lot of bad blood between them. That’s good to know because I damn sure would not have cared enough to go back and watch those matches! Studd begins by kneeing him in the stomach and clubbing him in the back. They briefly exchange punches before Studd attempts to Irish whip Z-Man off the ropes. Zenk reverses and leap-frogs Studd twice, followed by a horrendous-looking botch. It looked like Z-Man was attempting a hip-toss to Studd, but instead Studd just tripped and fell face-first into the second rope. You don’t see Scott Hall awkwardly stumbling around like that very often unless, of course, you happen to be any bartender in the Western Hemisphere.
They lock up again, and Studd pushes Zenk into the corner, which enables him to tag in Oz. Zenk quickly scampers away to his own corner so he can consult Big Josh for some advice. Oz bugs out his eyes and holds an arm in the air, signaling that he wants a test-of-strength with Zenk, a man who is a foot shorter and 100 pounds lighter than he is. How brave. For some reason, Zenk actually goes for it, and Oz quickly brings him to his knees. He holds him in the test-of-strength for about a minute, as Big Josh tries to keep the crowd interested by stomping the mat and yelling “Come on!”
Zenk manages to rally by kicking Oz in the stomach, then monkey-flipping him to the ground. Or perhaps, since it was done to Oz, I guess you could say it was a flying-monkey-flip? Either way, the end result is that Nash is once again thrown to the canvas by a much smaller opponent.
Big Josh and The Diamond Studd then each enter the ring to back up their partners, the two tag teams stare at one another, and then Josh and Studd just leave without anything happening. Alright then.
Nash and Z-Man lock up once again. Z-Man puts him in an armbar and tags in Big Josh. The lumberjackoff then puts Oz in an armbar of his own and trips him to the canvas. Nash is spending more time on the floor during this match than Scott Hall does during Cinco de Mayo. And Seis de Mayo. And Siete de Mayo.
Josh continues working the armbar, but Oz eventually stands up and pokes him in the eye to escape. He throws Josh face-first into the top turnbuckle and tags in The Studd. Hall hits Josh with some of his signature punches, and Nash should take note because they look much better than the ones he was casually throwing around earlier.
Josh tries to slow his momentum by putting Studd in a chinlock, but Studd whips him off the ropes. He kicks Josh in the gut and goes for a second kick, but Josh moves out of the way, causing Studd to fall to the ground. For a frame of reference, think of Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown.
Josh follows up with an elbowdrop, and then he jumps on Studd’s stomach and continuously stomps him, alternating with his left and right feet. In keeping with the lumberjack theme, Big Josh has apparently named that move……… The Log Roll. Crappy gimmick + gimmick hometown + gimmick wrestling move = the shitty gimmick trifecta! Is there a wrestling equivalent to The Razzies? If so, give that man the Lifetime Achievement Award!
Even better, Hall gives that move all of the respect it deserves by no-selling it and immediately popping right back up from the mat. Clearly proud of himself for executing that move, Josh gives a high-five to Z-Man, which really should count as a tag, but the mustachioed referee apparently thinks nothing of it.
Studd goes to his corner to seek counsel from Oz, and apparently the advice he gave him was, “Put Big Josh in an armbar, but leave your face exposed so he can quickly hit you with an elbow and immediately break out of it.”
Josh then tags the Z-Man back in (apparently it was not a high-five this time). We get yet another lock-up followed by yet another headlock, with Studd taking Zenk to the ground. Z-Man escapes by putting Studd in a headscissors, which he immediately gets out of as well. They repeat this spot two more times because it’s obviously incredibly entertaining, and Studd complains to Pornstache Ref that Zenk is pulling his hair. I feel that this could have easily been fact-checked if the ref examined Zenk’s hand to see if it was covered in grease. I mean, come on -- Hall was no stranger to stringy hair!
After some more stalling, Studd Irish-whips Zenk off the ropes. He ducks down to give him a back-drop, but Zenk hurdles him and hits him with a Superkick. Zenk then climbed to the top rope, and Oz attempted to enter the ring, so Big Josh did the same. Of course, as is the custom for a wrestling referee, he restrains the babyface instead of the heel, which allows Oz to knock Z-Man off the top rope and down to the canvas.
Studd leaves the ring and Oz enters, and the ref once again obeys the rules of wrestling by just accepting the fact that the heels tagged each other. Oz scoops up Z-Man and hits him with a rib-breaker. He then picks him up once again and scoop slams him to the mat, followed by an elbowdrop. Oz follows that up by attempting the first pinfall a whopping eight minutes into the match, but he barely even gets a two-count.
Oz throws Z-Man into the corner and tags Studd, who executes his favorite move in this match (the Irish whip), but Z-Man gets the better of him with a cross-body block to garner a two-count. Studd regains the momentum by hitting him with a clothesline, then stomping him several times. Studd puts him in a front facelock and tags Oz right back in.
Oz works him over with more clubbing blows and terrible-looking punches before whipping him off the ropes. Oz appears to want to go for a shoulderblock, but Zenk does the same, so they end up colliding and both men fall to the ground. At this point, I think Nash may be going for the record for Most Times a Seven-Footer Has Been Knocked To The Ground in a Professional Wrestling Match.
Both men crawl to their respective corners, with Oz tagging in Studd first, and then Zenk giving the hot tag to Big Josh. The lumberjack gets the better of both men before they overwhelm him and whip him off the ropes. They go for a double clothesline, but Josh ducks. Zenk trips Studd to the canvas, and Josh then hits Oz with a double axehandle (get it?) to knock him to the ground yet again.
However, The Diamond Studd then grabs Big Josh’s ACTUAL axehandle, runs into the ring with it, and levels Josh right in front of the referee to draw the disqualification at nine minutes and 39 seconds. An angry fan throws a piece of trash at Hall (something he will become quite accustomed to later in his career), and we then get the official announcement that Big Josh & Z-Man have won the match.
That’s right – the 1991 versions of Scott Hall and Kevin Nash could not even go over cleanly on a lifetime jobber and a lumberjack. In fairness, both men appeared to be pretty green at this time, with Hall botching a simple hip-toss and Nash not even being able to throw a convincing-looking punch.
All in all, I would maybe recommend watching a little bit of this match just for the uniqueness of it, but there are better ways to spend your time. Like, for example, watching the debut of Oz.
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