Tuesday, January 8, 2019

ENTER: NAILZ

In the history of wrestling, no character has fascinated me more than Nailz.


I can't explain it very well but he always has. Maybe it's because he debuted at one of the periods when wrestling was really leaving a huge impression on me and something I soaked up like a sponge and in 1992, there was nothing that held my attention like an episode of Wrestling Challenge and Superstars.

Portrayed by Kevin Wacholz (Kevin Kelly in the AWA), Nailz was supposedly a former prisoner under the guard of The Big BossMan during his days as an officer in Cob County Georgia. He was also supposedly an innocent man imprisoned for crimes he didn't commit. I guess he should've just joined the A-Team and gone underground to prove his innocence but instead Nailz would debut in May of 1992 by racing out of the crowd and proceed to beat the living hell out of the former prison guard putting him out (in storyline) for a few weeks. Following that, we'd see Nailz beat other opponents with Bossman's trademark nightstick, and after Bossman returned, Nailz found ways to jump his nemesis before, during or after his matches. The Bossman himself, who I was a massive fan of, hadn't really been used strongly in a long time, so to see him beaten and helpless like this, was very scary and unusual. Normally, he unleashes the fury on his opponents so Nailz turning the tables, was really interesting to see.


Nailz felt like a mixture of a 1970s exploitation film and Horace Pinker from the Wes Craven supernatural slasher movie, Shocker (which may have been the biggest inspiration on his appearance). His promos were very memorable due to his modulated voice dubbing, which left him sounding like a demented, garbled Jigsaw when he spoke. I think if anyone reminisces about Nailz, his promos and voice are the first thing that come up. That and his famous line "BOSSMAN, I WASN INNOCENT MAN!".




At Summerslam 1992, Nailz plowed through the icon and master of meatsauce, Virgil in absolute no time. Shortly after that 5 star match that helped draw the house, he'd wind down his feud with Bossman after a pretty brutal Night Stick On A Pole match at Survivor Series. But of course before that match Nailz was teased to be entering a feud with The Undertaker, which began with an epic staredown on an episode of WWF Superstars. This faceoff garnered a pretty huge reaction from those in attendance leading many fans to chant "Let Them Fight" after Sgt. Slaughter came out to send Nailz to the backstage area. No doubt a guy as intimidating and without fear like Nailz would've been a great opponent for the Deadman. While Nailz wasn't a wrestler known for his finesse and charisma, he was one scary sumbitch and backed down from no one. Could this have been a huge money maker for the company? Maybe short term, who knows. But aside from a few house show matches, nothing came of this, except a cover of the WWF Magazine:

That image definitely leaves an impression and would've gotten people hyped for their big match at a PPV. Just imagine how great the build would've been between the promos, they hype videos and all the run ins both men would've done. I can even imagine a Nailz promo sitting in an electric chair talking about he's been close to death before and he's not scared of the Taker. Hey, who knows, maybe we could've avoided that Giant Gonzales mess had this happened but it was not meant to be, which we'll get to in a moment.


A few months after this face off, Nailz received a Hasbro action figure (in the legendary YELLOW CARD SERIES!), cementing his legacy forever:

Truth be told, as much as he frightened me, I always wanted a Nailz figure he just looked cool. It just looked awesome and would've made a lot of fun play. I mean, Taker, Bossman and even my Savage had to have some massive beast to plow through, right? His bright colors, his nasty demeanor and "JailHouse Jab" feature made him a very appealing figure. And best of all? New sculpt. Awwww yeah!


Of course, by the time I finally got my hands on one, his numbers and letters were faded, but I didn't care. I can finally add one of my most wanted Hasbros to my shelf. The sculpt really pops and his height definitely helps him stand out. Being one of the forgotten characters of that time, and never getting another action figure in any other line, this figure has actually become somewhat in demand and gone up in price in the past few years. So if you can score one at a reasonable price, do so. It's totally worth it. I just wish he had come with his own nightstick, but hey, it took me long enough to get him!

Other than the fact that he had been long gone, this awesome figure was a reminder of when Bossman was in danger of not being the Boss or The Undertaker becoming dead again. I'd say, it ended well for a guy who didn't stick around too long, right?

Well...


A little after Survivor Series 1992, Nailz physically attacked the boss and was booted. Yikes.

Following a very long shouting match over his Summerslam 1992 paycheck, he strangled Vince McMahon and when people came to intervene, Nailz decided to scream how Vince grabbed his wiener and other ridiculous false accusations to save face. That afternoon, as expected, he was shown the door with all his future plans cut and rumored to be blackballed from wrestling for good. Of course, he wasn't done with Vince. During the steroid trial, Nailz was brought on as a witness. When asked if Vince McMahon had ever pressured him into taking steroids, Kevin said yes and proceeded to yell something tp the degree I HATE HIS F'ING GUTS! in the courtroom. Which, in a weird way, kind of helped Vince's case in a weird way. The jury saw Kevin's anger towards Vince and decided the only person who testified against Vince, clearly had a vendetta, and was deadset on ruining him so the trial which could've landed McMahon in jail and the company in jeopardy, ended in Vince's favor and he was acquitted of all charges, avoiding jail time. So to a degree, Nailz saved the company. But, as expected we would never seen him again...


That is until he showed up on WCW for one night as...get this...THE PRISONER!


Yup. Slamboree 1993, he was brought in to fight Sting. Brandishing his most famous weapon, the nightstick, he...well...didn't last long. One night to be exact and not even for a long match. Which, works out best I suppose. I don't think WCW would've gotten a lot of mileage out of him anyway outside a short Sting feud. And even then, eh. Of course, shortly after his departure, Bossman made his WCW debut, so who knows, maybe we could've seen those rumored "Electric Chair" matches that dirt sheets had suggested were meant for a feud with Warrior in 1992 (which have been debunked).


After his brief appearance in WCW, Wacholz would hit the indie circuit until finally retiring in the year 2000. Since then, Mr. Wacholz has been living a quiet life away from the wrestling world. Convention promoters have tried for ages to get him to appear at their shows, all being flat out denied. It's clear he'd like to live a private life away from the spotlight. That said, you can find his website here, where you can get autographs and even a shirt from the man himself!


Considering I hated villains as a kid, this guy always stuck with me for his sheer brutality and scary promo. His unusual on screen and behind the scenes story sticks with you. I can't say that for every character I've seen in all my years of watching wrestling, so he must've done something right...


-Chad

1 comment:

  1. I must have stopped watching wrestling by this time, because I don't remember Nailz at all. I love his concept, though it seems like his backstory might make it more difficult to explain his motivations for feuding with other wrestlers.

    I also have to admit, those Hasbro wrestling figs always fell outside my radar, and I actually disliked them as a kid. But, seeing them now, they just look so darn fun. I hate that I never gave them a chance back then.

    ReplyDelete