Vince McMahon works in mysterious ways. In the fall of 1995, Kevin Nash, who was then known as Diesel, had been the WWE World Champion for nearly a year. His run as champion had grown stale with the fans and Vince needed to break it to the big man that it was time for a change. According to a recent Sports Illustrated interview, Nash says Vince first gave him an offer that he definitely could refuse.
“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,” said Nash. “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.’ Then he told me, ‘By the way, you’re going to drop the strap to Bret at Survivor Series because we’re going to put it on Shawn at WrestleMania. It was an incredible smoke-and-mirrors move."
If Nash had accepted, he would have gotten destroyed by Mike Tyson. In 1995, Tyson had just finished serving a 4 year jail term and would have loved to spark his comeback by making a fool out of the WWE's number one tough guy. Getting knocked out by Tyson in front of a packed Central Park crowd would have tremendously weakened Diesel's character. McMahon knew all of this, of course, which is why he threw Big Sexy the Tyson curve ball before hitting him with the fast ball of letting him know his time as champion was done.
Nash dropped the belt to Hart at the 1995 Survivor Series and left for WCW less than one year later. Vince's desire to work with Mike Tyson would pay even bigger dividends in 1997, when Tyson was brought in to work the Steve Austin vs DX angle leading up to Wrestlemania XIV. On an episode of Raw Is War, Vince McMahon revealed that Tyson would be the special guest referee for WrestleMania's main event until Austin appeared and gave the finger to Tyson, offering him a fight and proclaiming the wrestling ring to be his, not Tyson's. At the ensuing press conference, McMahon announced that due to the explosive situation Tyson's role was being changed to that of ring enforcer. While it appeared Tyson would be enforcing on behalf of Michaels and DX, it was actually Iron Mike who counted to three for Stone Cold's first World Championship.