In the summer of 1996, the wrestling world was changed when Hulk Hogan turned heel and aligned with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash to form the nWo. The switch from Hogan being the most popular babyface in modern wrestling to the most hated man in the business kickstarted the 83 week win stream that WCW had over WWE during the Monday Night Wars.
Hogan made his last appearance for the WWE in 1993 until signing with WCW a year later. After rising to megastardom in the WWF, the American Hero never transitioned to become a heel in the company. Bruce Prichard spoke on the latest episode of Something to Wrestle With about Hogan turning heel in WCW and the regrets he had during Hogan’s run with WWE.
“Personally, I wish we would’ve done it [turn Hogan heel],” Prichard said. “I wish we’d had done it a while ago, it was more of their positioning of, like it WWE vs. WCW with those talents, finally they had to come out and say [Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan] don’t represent WWE even though the commentary tried to drive you that way all the time. You’re looking at it through business eyes and not necessarily a fan’s eyes a lot of the time, to the audience it was Hulk Hogan, it was something that they were familiar with.
“To a lot of people, I dare say, they were ready for him to turn, they wanted to boo him, they had been booing him. You had the perfect storm and no matter what anybody says, I think the pivotal moment was Hulk turning heel for WCW. I think that was what made the turn, when they did that, they made the turn and didn’t look back for 83 weeks.”
Prichard discussed the reaction internally in WWE when Hogan joined the nWo. The current Director of RAW and SmackDown also said the push WCW gave to WWE was needed.
“You’re being challenged now and that gets you on your toes,” Prichard said. “It was a completely different feeling and thankful that we didn’t turn Hulk when we wanted to, or at least I wanted to back in 1993. It was an exciting time to be a fan of the product, both.”
While he wanted to turn Hogan heel, Prichard admitted that both Hogan and Vince McMahon were resistant to make the move.
“There was so much resistance from Hulk way back when,” Prichard said. “Hulk and Vince saw Hulk Hogan and ‘The Real American’ character as beyond reproach. You couldn’t f–k with that formula and it was proven wrong.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Something to Wrestle With with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.