Hulk Hogan has commented on his initial reluctance to join the NWO and why it was important to keep his big heel turn a secret.
At WCW Bash at the Beach 1996, Hulk Hogan turned on WCW to join Kevin Nash and Scott Hall as they became a group known as the New World Order aka the NWO. Hogan was the “third man” on the Nash & Hall team and he dropped a leg drop on Randy Savage to set up the heel turn.
It was a significant moment in pro wrestling history because, for the previous 12 years, Hogan was one of the greatest and most popular wrestlers of all time.
During a recent interview with Chris Van Vliet, the Hulkster spoke in depth about his memorable NWO heel turn. When discussing his famous heel turn, Hulk Hogan admitted that at first he wasn’t interested, but when he saw how impressive Scott Hall & Kevin Nash, Hogan realized he had to be a part of the storyline.
“First off, we didn’t tell anybody. Hall and Nash didn’t know if I was coming or not. [They didn’t know who the third man was?] Well, there was a possibility because Eric had been [in contact]. I was out filming a movie out in LA. And Eric had approached me about turning heel. I said ‘no brother doesn’t work for me right now,’ you know, I was making really good money there, you know, guaranteed money and I just want to keep things going the way they were.”
“Even though the red and yellow thing was starting to lose a little bit of lustre and it was getting old. And I saw you know, Scott came out I’m like ‘this looks like a shoot,’ you know, and I’m watching this from LA. And then big Kev came out and powerbombed Eric through the table. I called Eric and said ‘I’m your third man’. He said oh thank God, because we were gonna go with Sting. I said, bro, you can’t go with Sting. He’s not WWF from head to toe. It’s in my blood. I mean, I’m the guy.”
Hulk Hogan says they didn’t want to tell anybody he was the third man
When it came to the big reveal, Hoga said that WCW President Eric Bischoff didn’t want anybody to know it was Hogan who was part of the storyline.
“So Eric didn’t want to tell anybody you know. So up until the time I went to the ring. Eric goes, ‘Hogan is not here yet.’ Which of course I was outside hanging out. ‘Hogan is not here yet. And if he doesn’t come up, we’re sending Sting.’
“So Scott and Kevin went out not knowing if I was coming, right? So it’s really weird because when I look back at the tape, I know Eric was talking about ‘Yeah, well, we spent time outside and we discussed the promo’ and stuff and I don’t remember any of that because I just went out when Gene (Okerlund) came in it was ‘let me tell you something Mean Gene’ I just rolled with my normal crap you know, I was sought out the world you guys are pumping gas to get high school.”
As he continued, Hulk Hogan recalled telling Mean Gene Okerlund to get out of the ring while also claiming the Gene’s nose was bleeding from getting hit in the face by an object.
“I just rolled with one of my heel promos, you know, and it was I never think about what I’m gonna say until I get out there. So you know, everything was really cool.”
“And all of a sudden I felt that cold white heat where it got sour from it and they started throwing stuff. I told Mene Gene I said ‘you need to go bro. You need to get out. We may have a riot in here and then his nose was bleeding.’ He got hit with something and he kept his head down. He was scared so it was ‘bro you need to run.’ Because if we start lighting this place up, we could have a riot there because it was that type of heat I hadn’t felt for a long time.”
If you use any quotes from this article please credit Chris Van Vliet and leave a h/t to TJR Wrestling.