Before Hulk Hogan joined, the nWo invasion was all about the ANGLE. After, it was all about HOGAN. Hogan provided a mega-boost. But at what ultimate cost?
Other mistakes weren’t as costly, but were perhaps even more absurd.
*Eric Bischoff should have never replaced Ted DiBiase as nWo mouthpiece. As WCW announcer, Bischoff did a good job steering the angle. Bischoff joining the nWo was stupid. It lacked logic. The czar doesn’t join the Bolsheviks. Nixon didn’t join the Chicago Seven. DiBiase was ex-WWE. The “Million-Dollar Man” financing a WWE invasion made perfect sense. Bischoff lounging on his bike cutting uncool promos just wasted TV time. HORRIBLE SELF-INDULGENCE.
*The nWo never sold for anyone but DDMe and Sting. That did wonders for them. But the angle’s purpose was to tear down WCW, then BUILD IT BACK UP. That mission was aborted.
*Too many guys joined. Could anyone possibly disagree? The nWo best functioned as an elite force composed only of ex-WWE. Keep that illusion alive. The rebels can’t become the majority. Certain non-WWE guys like Buff Bagwell and The Giant seemed to fit. Some WWE guys, like Brian Adams, seemed too low-level. Scott Norton, Great Muta and Masa Chono? Maybe in Japan. Konnan? Maybe in Mexico. Dusty Rhodes? Maybe in 1985.
When the nWo split into factions, wrestlers like The Disciple, Horace Hogan and Stevie Ray got involved. Think back to Hulk Hogan’s turn. Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Hogan being pelted with garbage mid-ring. Did you ever imagine Brutus Beefcake being part of that?
I did. Hogan never changes. But with each inferior member, the nWo took another step toward being low-rent.
*The nWo split was HORRIFIC. Once again, WCW was prevented from getting any heat back. A diluted nWo became further diluted. Nobody wanted to see Hall vs. Nash. What happened to the invasion? What happened to ex-WWE? What happened to the angle’s original goal? The Wolfpac kept recruiting members. So did nWo Hollywood. But to what end? To fight who? An angle forged in reality had become the worst kind of FAKE WRESTLING.
Many point to Hogan’s finger-poke world title win over Nash as a low point for the nWo. Others cite Nash’s cattle-prod world title win over Bill Goldberg.
I think Sting’s world title win over Hogan at Starrcade ’97 was symptomatic of the stupidity and dilution that was fast enveloping the angle. Hogan pinned Sting via ref Nick Patrick’s fast count – except the count wasn’t fast. Patrick said he made a mistake. I think Patrick did as told – by Hogan. Bret Hart took over as ref, restarted the bout, and Sting won by submission. Problem is, Hogan had a perfectly good three-count to reference. Who the FRIG is the heel?
Then, in the rematch at SuperBrawl VIII, Sting pinned Hogan – after Randy Savage bopped Hogan with a can of spray-paint. Who the FRIG is the heel?
Hulkamaniacs think Hogan is the greatest. That he MADE the nWo angle. But look at this booking, so obviously Hogan-influenced, and think again.
There’s no disputing Hogan as one of the top draws ever, trailing only Stone Cold Steve Austin. But there’s also no disputing that when Hogan had creative control, he used it to warp everything to his benefit. When Hogan turned at Bash at the Beach '96, it was a defining moment for the nWo invasion. But does that excuse everything negative that happened after?
Coming soon in Part Four: ICH BIN EIN OUTSIDER. Fun and games with Hall and Nash.
ADDENDUM: Contrary to the Part Two comments section, there’s no excuse for Bobby Heenan giving away Hogan’s turn at Bash at the Beach. Heenan needed to shut up and let things play out. That moment wasn’t about Heenan maintaining his character. It was about shock value.
The idea that Heenan was “treated badly” or “misused” in WCW is LAUGHABLE. Heenan and Gene Okerlund were paid more by WCW than they ever were by WWE. They repaid WCW by tanking their jobs as often as not and generally acting like the promotion smelled bad. Both thought WCW was small-time. Fine. BUT EARN YOUR PAYCHECK. And show up sober.