The formation of the nWo is one of the most iconic moments in professional wrestling history. On the first episode of his new 83 Weeks podcast, former WCW president Eric Bischoff discussed how the idea for the legendary faction came to be.
When Bischoff signed Kevin Nash and Scott Hall from the WWE in 1996, he had them portray "The Outsiders" as if they weren't under contract with WCW and trying to invade the company. When Hulk Hogan turned his back on WCW and joined forces with Hall and Nash at the Bash At The Beach pay-per-view, it was a pivotal moment in the history of WCW as the company's popularity skyrocketed. Bischoff said his intention was to make the audience question whether what they were watching was real or scripted.
"It's hard for me to create a timeline that occurred 20 years ago, especially with the angle of the nWo. The catalyst of the nWo angle started a year prior. To try and point out the day and month and how it coincided with the contract issue is difficult for me to do. When I knew Scott Hall was coming in, probably a couple of weeks before he was due to arrive, at least in my mind, from what I remember now, that is when the idea started to form in my head. I knew that I wanted to do this reality-based angle," Bischoff said. "I wanted to do this storyline where the audience didn't know whether or not the story was real or it was scripted. Scott and Kevin worked with WCW previously. Scott and Kevin both felt that WCW didn't treat them well, and that they weren't being treated as stars, etc. We have heard it all before. They went to WWF and became bigger stars, or big stars in WWF. Storyline-wise it became apparent to me that it was a perfect catalyst of these two guys that used to work here and got pissed off, they left, became big stars and then came back to exact revenge. That was the premise of the nWo storyline."
Bischoff said the company was aware Hall wasn't going to wrestle during his debut. Instead, Bischoff wanted to make it seem like he showed up completely unexpectedly to invade the WCW.
"We knew he wasn't going to wrestle. I knew I was going to bring him in to kind of crash the party at the time," he said. "I had the beats figured out in my head for the next few weeks and I knew he wasn't going to wrestle, so I told him to bring his street clothes."
Hogan joining Hall and Nash as the third member of the faction was a huge surprise to everyone because of Hogan's career as one of the top babyfaces in all of wrestling. Bischoff said he kept it a secret until a week before the segment because he was still deciding whether the third member would be Hogan or Sting. Once he felt comfortable to tell the people who needed to know, Bischoff revealed it would be Hogan.
"I think at that time, probably a week before is when I started letting the people need to know know. I think I let Kevin Nash know. I know I was out in Los Angeles doing something because we met for a beer at Sunset Blvd, at some biker bar. I wasn't sure if it was going to be Hulk Hogan or Sting. One was a plan A and the other plan B. I tried to let him know how much he should know, and the other part was because I was worried he would leak it out, so probably a week before I let those that needed to know know that Hogan was going to be the third member."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks with Eric Bischoff with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: 83 Weeks with Eric Bischoff
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.