He was trained by an Olympic amateur wrestler and competed in some of the biggest wrestling promotions of his day including the AWA, WWF and WCW. He is perhaps best remembered as the man who allegedly physically assaulted Vince McMahon behind the scenes. Today on the blog, we ask…’Whatever Happened to’ Kevin ‘Nailz’ Wacholz?
Kevin Wacholz began training under the tutelage of former 1976 and 1980 Olympic Greco Roman wrestler Brad Rheingans. In 1982, Wacholz debuted for Verne Gagne’s American Wrestling Association (AWA) under the moniker of ‘Mr. Magnificent’ Kevin Kelly. He slowly rose up the ranks to become one of the AWA’s top heels. He would challenge for the AWA world title on a couple of occasions. Kevin Kelly was managed by the likes of Sherri Martel and Madusa Miceli.
He briefly left the AWA to wrestle for Billy Jack Haynes Oregon Wrestling Federation and became their top champion. When he returned to Verne Gagne, Kevin Kelly would form a formidable tag team with second generation wrestler Nick Kiniski (son of Gene Kiniski). The team was known as ‘The Perfect Tag team’ and would challenge several times for the AWA world tag team titles. Wacholz would remain with the AWA until it folded in 1991.
After competing for a few smaller independent organizations, Wacholz received at least three different try out dark matches with the World Wrestling Federation. He was officially signed to the WWF in 1992 and was given the gimmick of a former prisoner named ‘Nailz.’ His storyline was that Nailz was a former inmate in the prison where the Big Bossman worked before he became a WWF star. After a series of vignettes teasing his arrival, Nailz finally debuted by viciously assaulting The Bossman in the middle of the ring…taking his night stick as a trophy.
The two would have engage in a feud that lasted over six months and culminated in a ‘Night Stick on a pole’ match at the Survivor Series 1992. After that, Nailz was booked to begin a feud with the Undertaker…but a well publicized incident took place and halted all plans. Kevin Wacholz allegedly assaulted Vince McMahon in his office over a money dispute. The story of that incident can be found here.
After being fired by the WWF, Wacholz and McMahon sued each other and both suits were eventually dismissed. Wacholz even testified against Vince in his steroid trial. Wacholz would sign with World Championship Wrestling to a very lucrative contract worth over $100,000. He would be given the moniker of ‘The Prisoner’ and lose to Sting at Slamboree 1993. He was never used again in WCW after that match.
Wacholz would bounce around the independents for a number of years. His last big opportunity came when he wrestling for the short lived national promotion called the American Wrestling Federation under the name ‘Nails.’ Wacholz would completely retire from pro wrestling by the year 2000.
So the question remains…whatever happened to Kevin ‘Nailz’ Wacholz? He has become very secluded and no longer visible in the pro wrestling world. He worked as a salesman selling trailers in Bloomington, Minnesota. Wacholz resides in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area with his family.