WWE chairman Vince McMahon has had a lot of crazy ideas over the years, including wanting to fight UFC president Dana White at WrestleMania 27, but arguably his craziest idea came in the midst of the biggest push of Kevin Nash’s WWE career, when he wanted Nash — who was known as Diesel at the time — to fight Mike Tyson in Central Park.
During a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Nash recalled the WWE chairman’s idea for him to fight Tyson, and why he ended up turning the fight down.
“They brought me up to WWE Headquarters, which was called Titan Tower at the time, and Vince went into this elaborate idea of me fighting Mike Tyson in Central Park.”
“I asked him, ‘How much am I going to get paid?’ Vince said it was for charity, and I said, ‘F—. I ain’t fighting Mike Tyson and getting knocked the f— out for charity.'”
Nash didn’t say exactly when McMahon asked him to fight Tyson, but it was presumably when he was the WWE World Heavyweight Champion in 1995. At the time, “Iron Mike” was just returning to the ring after serving a prison sentence, and he was still widely regarded as the “baddest man on the planet.” So, Nash didn’t like his chances in the fight, but he probably would’ve done it if McMahon was willing to pay him to do it.
Tyson did end up getting involved with Vince McMahon several years later at WrestleMania 14, where he assisted “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in winning his first WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Shawn Michaels. Since then, he’s done various other things for the company, including being the host of Monday Night Raw in 2010, and being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012.
Even though WWE was interested in getting Tyson to do a match while he was in his prime, they were never able to book him in one. If they could have, they probably would’ve ended up doing Tyson vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin at some point, because that would’ve done monster business for them on pay-per-view.
It’s unclear why McMahon wanted to put his champion up against the most dangerous boxer in the world at the time. Sure, you could say that he would’ve made a ton of money by doing a Nash vs. Tyson fight, but, if he was planning on giving all the proceeds to charity, he wouldn’t have made anything, and his current WWE World Heavyweight Champion probably would’ve been knocked out. So, he literally would’ve gained nothing from doing the fight, other than temporary publicity.
Is it possible that Vince thought that Nash would’ve beaten Tyson in a boxing match? Probably not. But, the WWE chairman is a fan of large athletes, and Nash is more than a foot taller, and probably fifty pounds heavier than Tyson. So, maybe Vince thought that the size difference would be too much for “Iron Mike” to overcome. But, as you can see, Nash didn’t.
WWE does have a history with using big stars from the boxing world. At one time, they even did their own “shoot fight” tournament called the Brawl for All, where a portion of the current WWE roster actually fought in a tournament, which was won by Bart Gunn. Of course, that led to Gunn fighting professional boxer Butterbean at WrestleMania XV, where he was knocked out in 35 seconds.
They also used boxing’s biggest pay-per-view draw, Floyd “Money” Mayweather, as he wrestled, and defeated the Big Show at WrestleMania XXIV.
Now, it’s being reported that WWE is interested in using UFC megastar Conor McGregor at WrestleMania 33, although it’s unclear what his role will be.
[Featured Image by WWE]