Eric Bischoff Admits Hulk Hogan Exercised Creative Control At WCW Starrcade 1997

From the end of 1997 through March 2001, one could point to an endless amount of moments that eventually led to the demise of WCW. For many though, the one where the tigers first broke free, was Starrcade 1997, when the main event between Sting and "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan for the WCW Heavyweight Championship turned into a circus, featuring a fast count that wasn't, special guest referee Bret Hart, and an ultimately bizarre victory for Sting after over a year of buildup.

25 years after the match, two of the principal participants in that match admit what many have long believed. A clip from the latest episode of A&E's "Biography: WWE Legends" series, which focused on the nWo, has begun circulating on social media, showing Eric Bischoff, Hogan, Sting, and Kevin Nash discussing Starrcade 1997. And after years of claiming otherwise, Bischoff let slip the real reason Starrcade ended the way it did.

"Hulk looked at me and said, 'Not today,'" Bischoff said.

For those looking for Hogan's reasoning behind refusing to put Sting over, the controversial legend offered up this explanation.

"If you're going to beat me when I have this type of momentum, this is about making money," Hogan said. "Whenever you beat somebody, you beat them in a way that they're better off after they're beat than they were before. And Eric really wasn't sure where we were going with this thing."

Hulk Hogan Had A Problem With Losing To Sting

The situation was made even crazier because, according to Bischoff, this is the first time Hogan, who had full creative control in his contract with WCW, had ever used it in this sort of way.

"It was like, yeah, it's there, but it's not," Bischoff said regarding the clause. "Except for that night, and because Hulk wasn't feeling it, he called an audible, and it was a mad scramble."

As Bischoff explained, Hogan's decision not to put Sting over that night led to some pretty iffy moments prior to the match. So iffy, that Hogan claims to have ultimately relented, leading to what fans eventually saw.

"It got to the point where there was too much tension," Hogan said. "I said, 'Okay brother, I'll put him over. No big deal. We'll figure it out.'"

As for Sting, the AEW star remains perplexed as to why there was a sudden change to plans to what WCW had originally earmarked for that match. And even after things were set in stone regarding the new plan, Sting admitted that there was uncertainty regarding what would go down.

"Not really sure what we were gonna do literally until walking through the curtain," Sting said. "And even then, it was like, you know what? Anything can happen."

Lessons Learned From Starrcade 1997

Perhaps no one put a bow on the entire situation better than Nash, who also ran into controversy at Starrcade 1997 when he missed his scheduled match with The Giant, reportedly due to health problems. Ultimately for Nash, the failure of the Starrcade 1997 finish didn't come from that night, but from years before, when Hogan signed the contract that gave him the power to veto the outcome of the match.

"He had creative control," Nash said. "You can't give a wrestler creative control. It can't happen. It just can't happen. He doesn't have to do anything he doesn't want to do."

As a result, Hogan didn't. As a result, Sting's championship win was left tainted and WCW was never quite the same from that point forward.

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit "Biography: WWE Legends" with an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.