Kid Kash caused quite a stir earlier this year when he openly criticized TNA and demanded his release. Never one to mince words, Kash had some choice words for his former employer when contacted by SLAM! Wrestling.

“I’d been there for three years and not one single iota of a pay raise or anything. I asked many times for one, but it never seemed to be in the budget. Every time I turned around, somebody else was being hired. You can almost figure that they were making more than what I was making,” said Kash. “It’s a little slap in the face. I wasn’t asking for hardly anything, really. I guess they appreciated me going out, putting guys over and making them look good, but they didn’t appreciate me enough to make my effort worthwhile.”

Kid Kash in TNA

Kash’s release was just one fork in a long road for the former welder. After being discovered at a Tennessee gym in 1990, Kash trained with Tim Horner and Ricky Morton, one half of the legendary Rock & Roll Express. Morton is quick to praise his former pupil as one of the most devoted and hard working young grapplers he’s ever met.

“I’ve wrestled every independent show there is in the world. I have a thousand people that might ask me to train them, but maybe I only train two out of the thousand,” said Morton. “He wanted to be in the business. He had the potential and he was a natural. He had the attitude. That’s what attracted me to him. He was great. He asked a lot of questions. He picked my brain all the time.”

David Cash, aka Kid Kash, spent his early years honing his craft on independent shows across the southern United States, wrestling Morton, Wahoo McDaniel and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine. He made a brief foray into ECW in 1996 and returned to the promotion in late 1998. Kash paid his dues by putting over many of ECW’s top stars. Despite a less than stellar win-loss record, the 5-foot-9, 200-pound Kash relished every moment of his time in ECW.

“Every night in ECW was like wrestling at WrestleMania,” he said. “Whether it was a crowd of 15,000 at the bingo hall or an arena somewhere in front of 5,000 or 10,000, we put on the best show that we possibly could. Everybody was proud to be there.”

Kash’s crowning achievement came on August 26, 2000 when he defeated Rhyno to capture the ECW Television Championship. To Kash, the win was the culmination of more than a year of proving himself to ECW brass.

“Every time I was handed the ball in ECW, they advanced me. I walked in the door a nobody, and when I walked out the door, they’d made me somebody,” said Kash. “They gave me the opportunity. They made me work for it, they really did. The first year that I was there, I wrestled everybody and put everybody over. I didn’t mind. I loved it, because I was learning as I went. The office saw how hard I was working and putting out the effort, so every time I did something good, they would give me another step up on the ladder.”

It was a stark contrast to his tenure in TNA. Kash signed with the upstart promotion in mid-2002 and spent his first few months putting over other stars. His work impressed the higher-ups at WWE, who invited Kash for a tryout match on December 9, 2002. Although he didn’t receive a coveted WWE contract, he impressed everyone backstage during his match.

“After the match, everybody seemed very happy with it. Any time I’ve ever wrestled there, I’ve never gotten a bad reaction afterwards,” Kash said. “Usually, whenever I go, they always put me with great workers and usually we have good matches.”

Trinity and Kid Kash in TNA.

Upon returning to TNA, Kash took on Trinity as a valet and went after X Division champ Sonny Siaki. The two wrestled each other for months before Kash finally toppled Siaki on February 12, 2003 to win the title. Kash explains that the decision to put the title around his waist was politically motivated.

“I was given [the belt] to get me to sign, because I hadn’t signed at that point. I was pretty happy doing what I was doing, but then they threw the belt on me and wanted me to sign,” Kash said. “At that point, I just figured it was a place to be on TV and it was a place to work, so I’ll give it a shot and see what happens.”

Kash successfully defended the title against all comers, but his relationship with Trinity began to deteriorate. They parted ways that spring and Kash spent the summer toppling legends like Larry Zbyszko, Bobby Eaton and his trainer, Ricky Morton. Kash was then paired up with Abyss for a short time before aligning himself with Jeff Jarrett. TNA paired Kash up with newcomer Lance Hoyt (then known as Dallas) and the two defeated Low Ki and Chris Daniels on April 7, 2004 to win the NWA World Tag Team Championships. Hoyt has nothing but kind words for his former partner.

“I learned a lot about the business. Kash, from his time in the business and his ability to incite the crowd into a complete frenzy, was someone I definitely learned from. It was a great experience. He was always quick to help me out and to work with me and give me ideas and pointers and help me along in my development at TNA,” said Hoyt. “He is who he is and he’s done what he’s done, and there’s no doubting his ability both in the ring and charismatically how he incites the crowd into a frenzy. Nothing but a good situation for me to be tagging with him.”

Hoyt and Kash feuded with America’s Most Wanted throughout 2004. In an April 2005 interview on the Wrestling News Live Sunday Night radio show, Kash was very critical of America’s Most Wanted. Although he respects Chris Harris and James Storm as people, Kash doesn’t feel they deserve their position on the card in TNA, adding that stars like B.G. James, Ron Killings, Konnan, Hoyt and Elix Skipper are more deserving of the spotlight.

“They’re no better than anybody else in that dressing room. They’ve been shoved down the people’s throats for three years. They constantly have to work with people who can keep them over. They’re wrestling well-known guys that actually know the business and know how to work and know how to sell and know how to make them look good,” said Kash. “Not to say that they can’t make themselves look good, but at the level that they’re at, they should know a little more that what they do right now. I’ll bet they’re going to learn; they haven’t been in the business that long. It takes time, and this is their first big break. It’s the respect of the boys that they don’t have. Not to say everybody, but there’s a lot of people who feel the same way I do.”

During the same interview, Kash had some strong words for TNA, even stating that he wanted out of his contract. Not surprisingly, the interview landed him in hot water with management, and he was released from his contract on April 19. “Some call it a bad move, some call it a good move. They already had their set guys and knew who was going to be in the front. There was no question about that. I just wasn’t happy there, so I had to do what I had to do,” Kash said.

Morton agrees that his former student made the right move by leaving the promotion, pointing out that TNA is currently without a television deal and reportedly in debt.

“I think it was one of the best decisions he made. When you come from a situation [like that], you’re fighting a losing cause,” Morton said. “It was a great decision for him to leave there. You can get caught up in that rat race; it’s like scrambled eggs, dude. It was the best decision that I thought he made, especially if he’s going to advance himself maybe to WWE. He’s got a lot of potential. He’s one of the best.”

Hoyt wishes his former partner luck and hopes Kash is happy with whatever decision he makes. “That’s something that he had to do for himself. He seems to be happy for the way things are going for him. Whatever he thinks is best for him, if he’s happy with it, I’m happy with it,” said Hoyt.

Kid Kash as ECW TV champ.

Since leaving TNA, Kash has performed on independent shows across the country. He recently took part in the ECW One Night Stand PPV, interfering in the main event. One day earlier, Kash wrestled 2 Cold Scorpio on Shane Douglas’ Hardcore Homecoming show, wowing the crowd with a spectacular somersault flip dive from the stage to the floor of the arena. The weekend brought back many fond memories of his tenure in ECW.

“The ECW we all worked for, I think the fans appreciated the pure wrestling that we put on. It wasn’t about the glitz and the glamour; it was about the hardcore product as a whole, really,” Kash said. “We were talented enough to do the hardcore just right. Nobody’s ever been able to accomplish that since.”

Next up for Kash is the Pro Wrestling LIVE! show, which takes place on Sunday, June 26 at the Oshawa (Ontario) Civic Centre. The event, which is being presented by Warrior 1 Wrestling, will feature a thrilling bout between Kash and American Dragon. Although the two men have yet to square off between the ropes, Kash has high hopes for the match.

“I’m looking forward to having a good time and a good match. It’ll be interesting; two totally different styles,” said Kash, who is almost 36 years old. “He’s a great technical wrestler and a sound shooter. I’m a shooter myself and at technical, I’m pretty good, but I’m also kind of a high flyer, so it could go either way. It sounds like it’ll be a good one. I can’t wait to get there.”

If all goes well, fans could see Kash in a WWE ring by the end of the year. He’s traveled to Ohio Valley Wrestling and even competed in a few dark matches recently. Kash hopes his work impressed WWE brass enough to sign him up. “You never know what the company is looking for. I might not be what they’re looking for. I can only hope. I definitely would like to wrestle in one WrestleMania,” he said.