During the summer of 1998, tensions were at an all-time high in WCW with some of its biggest stars having backstage issues. Kevin Nash felt that the booking was making the NWO Wolfpack look bad, and he had even considered quitting the promotion.
“It was probably as bad as it had ever gotten at that point. There’s a lot of details I just don’t remember because some of them were childish, or silly, or bad communication, much more so than actual intent,” said Bischoff. “Nevertheless, there was a moment that must have been about 5:00 ? I think we had an hour before [Nitro] was supposed to go live, as we were Rocky Mountain time and went live at 8:00 eastern. I remember where we were standing backstage. Where the entrance is, we were standing back there. It was me Hulk, Scott, and Kevin. Of course, I’m all 5’10” 190 pounds and surrounded by these guys, so I didn’t have a lot of success mediating.
“I did the best I could as the boss, but it got really, really intense. Hulk is not a violent guy and Hulk will avoid conflict usually. He’s a hippie deep down in his heart. He’s not aggressive and doesn’t threaten to kick anybody’s ass. He’s the opposite of all of that and avoids conflict, but I had never seen him as pissed off as he was that afternoon. I don’t know what the issue was and I don’t think anybody knew what the issues was. Everybody was just pissed off at each other.”
Bischoff noted this was a time when everyone was wearing fanny packs and he looked and saw Hogan’s open fanny pack.
“I looked down and Hulk’s fanny pack is open and I see a knife in there. I’m thinking, ‘What the f***,'” Bischoff said while laughing. “I’ve heard of this thing happening and I’ve heard of these kinds of stories, but this can’t possibly be happening, and of all people not Hulk Hogan. There was enough tension, anxiety, and nuanced threats that Hogan came half-expecting there to be sh*t go down.”
Bischoff said nothing ever happened amongst those involved, but he had never seen Hogan as upset as then.
“I saw a Hulk Hogan who was uncharacteristically aggressive and appearing to me he was ready to throw down in a real way. Not in a wrestling way, not in a showmanship way, not in a bar when you’re trying to impress everybody with how tough you are ? in a real way,” Bischoff said before adding he grew up in Detroit and can tell the difference between posturing and actually being prepared to fight.
“In that moment, I was standing next to a guy who was ready to go because he believed he didn’t have a choice. When I looked down and saw his fanny pack, I saw a blade in there and went, ‘Oh f***, this is gonna be bad. This can’t possibly be getting to this level.’ Can I tell you what was going through Hulk’s mind? No. Can I tell you he had never carried a knife before until that night? No, I can’t say that either. He may have and it may have been a coincidence, but it didn’t feel like one at the moment,” stated Bischoff.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks with Eric Bischoff with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.