Don’t expect to see Kevin Nash and Scott Hall appear this Monday in Dallas on RAW or next Sunday in Atlanta for the Royal Rumble.
That’s the message from Jim Ross, Senior Vice President of Talent Relations for the W.W.F., as he addressed widespread rumours that have been circulating for several weeks that a return to the promotion by Hall and Nash is imminent.
“Nothing’s been signed. We’ve talked to them but that’s where it is right now. It’s an ongoing negotiation,” Ross told SLAM! Wrestling in an exclusive interview late Friday afternoon over the phone from his office in Stamford, CT.
While Ross does not refute reports made by several wrestling web sites that the W.W.F. has conducted contract talks with Hall and Nash, he insists the two sides have not come to an agreement and that no deal has been signed.
“Have we talked to Hall and Nash? Yes. Are they interested in coming in here? Yes. Do we have a deal finalized with either talent? No. Do we have a timetable of when the negotiations are going to be done and an announcement can be made? No. We don’t have a timetable.”
Added Ross: “We have a strong interest in them coming back to the company, as do they. There has been ongoing discussions about them returning but at this point and time we do not have a time set for them to come in. Bottom line is there’s ongoing discussions, there’s no bona fide time line to bring them back and there’s no guarantee.”
While Ross admitted he was “optimistic” that a “deal can be done”, he said the W.W.F. haven’t made any plans in terms of storyline or angles to introduce Nash and Hall when and if they do sign with the company.
“Once and if we get them inked, then we’ll make plans on when and how we’re going to introduce them. I think we’ve learned over time that’s the only way you can do things these days.”
With the return of Triple H this past Monday on RAW, the recent elevation of Chris Jericho as W.W.F. World Heavyweight Champion and the Rock, Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Booker T, Rob Van Dam and The Undertaker all in fine form and good health, the W.W.F. are currently enjoying a great deal of depth in their roster at the top level.
So why bring in Nash and Hall when many would argue you don’t need them?
Ross says they could play an integral role when the W.W.F. eventually splits into two promotions.
“When the (W.W.F.) splits they’ll add some marketable depth to one group or the other, wherever they end up being. I think that’s the biggest reason (for trying to sign them). They have name identity, certainly, and just to have some names that we can utilize to build from is what we feel we need to do as far as building a little bit more depth when the brand splits and we have two independent rosters.”
As Senior Vice President of Talent Relations, Ross has gone to great lengths over the past year to ensure the W.W.F. locker room is as cohesive and productive as it can be. While in W.C.W., both Hall and Nash had earned the reputation of being individuals who were not “team players” and were only interested in themselves as opposed to the welfare of the company.
Many former W.C.W. wrestlers have characterized Hall and Nash as “poison” in the locker room and feel that by bringing them into the company, the W.W.F. could be inviting the very same problems.
“They seem to be ready to accept the responsibility that’s necessary to be a top guy and to be respected in the locker room. Obviously, if they come in and they’re disruptive, not unlike any other talent, we would work diligently to solve the problem. If we couldn’t get it solved they wouldn’t be here.”
“Obviously, we believe they can fit in or we wouldn’t be pursuing it,” added Ross.
Ross believes that Hall and Nash could potentially be leaders in the locker room if given the opportunity while at the same time not displacing any of the established leaders they already have.
“I think in WCW there was very little leadership and very little structure and they were surrounded by a lot of inexperienced talent that felt insecure as it relates to the main event guys in the WCW locker room. I think our locker room is an entirely different atmosphere. We have strong leaders in our locker room. I think Undertaker and Austin and Triple H and Kurt and Rock and among others… It’s not a competition. If you’re a leader today you should be a leader tomorrow no matter who comes in.”
“What you look to do is you hope to find more leaders or you have to find guys who will blend into the team fabric of what you’re doing,” continued Ross. “But we have some strong leaders in place and that’s not going to change. We’d like to be able to add to it, you always strive to get guys to raise their games as far as in-ring performance and out-of-ring professionalism is concerned.”
Ross also feels it’s unfair for reporters and fans to judge Hall and Nash based on their track records in W.C.W.
“I don’t think anybody should be forced to be judged by their decorum or lack thereof in another environment. I don’t know that anybody had great attitudes in WCW the last couple of years. Hall and Nash just happen to be two names on a long list from where I sit. We would like to believe with strong management and direction they could fit in to a more structured system with some already strong leaders in place.”
“Hopefully everybody we bring in will have a positive, team-first and company-first attitude. If they don’t, no matter who it is, we’ll try to solve the problem.”