PWTORCH HISTORY – Scott Hall walks onto WCW Nitro 20 yrs. ago today (May 27, 1996) – behind-the-scenes on the original plan, Hall’s quotes, HBK talks staying behind in WWF, more

Scott Hall (photo credit Wade Keller © PWTorch)

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On May 27, 1996, Scott Hall walked onto WCW Nitro fresh off his run as Razor Ramon on WWF TV.

It was merely supposed to be WCW’s response to WWF’s “Billionaire Ted” skits by introducing Hall and later Kevin Nash as “WWF guys” coming to WCW.

The original plan was for Lex Luger to be third man joining Hall and Nash, then for Hulk Hogan to return to “save the day” and symbolically “conquer” the Billionaire skits where Hogan was portrayed as “The Huckster.”

It was a small potatoes initial approach to a Monday Night Wars that was just beginning. A battle over lame skits? How was that going to advance Nitro to football stadiums two years later? WCW had to come up with something bigger, and it turned into the NWO several weeks later at the famous Bash at the Beach 1996 PPV.

From PWTorch Newsletter #396:

The entire (Bash) event was built around who the third man would be. The build-up was such that there were really only five possibilities – Hulk Hogan, a member of the babyface team (Randy Savage, Sting, Lex Luger), or free agent Bret Hart. No one else was either available or a big enough deal to warrant the hype being given the angle.

Lex Luger was originally considered, but the plan was changed weeks back when both management and Hulk Hogan agreed that him turning instead would be a better, more money-making idea. Hogan’s agreement to turn may have been part of a larger contract extension finalized last week, although that is not confirmed.

What is confirmed is that WCW had spent several weeks, despite slating the Hogan angle, looking for alternates, number one on their list being Bret Hart. Had Bret agreed to come in, it’s not a lock that he would have been the third man instead of Hogan, since in the last week everyone was sure the Hogan turn was the best possible move.

Hulk Hogan’s famous heel turn promo at the Bash was still linked back to the “Billionaire Ted” skits, but it had much more bite than originally conceived when Hogan officially introduced the “New World Order” of pro wrestling with Hall and Nash.

“Billionaire Ted wanted to talk turkey with Hulk Hogan. Well Billionaire Ted promised me movies, brother. Billionaire Ted promised me millions of dollars. Billionaire Ted promised me world caliber matches. As far as Billionaire Ted goes, Eric Bischoff, and the whole WCW goes, I’m bored brother. That’s why these two guys here, the so-called outsiders, these are the men I want as my friends. They are the new blood of professional wrestling. And not only are we going to take over the whole wrestling business with Hulk Hogan and the new blood, the monsters with me, we will destroy everything in our path, Mean Gene.”

Back on May 27, 1996, Scott Hall merely hopped the guardrail during a basic match, cut a promo, and set in motion the official start of the Monday Night Wars. It wasn’t even the cover story of Torch Newsletter #390 – that went to lightning knocking out WWF’s In Your House PPV featuring a young Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Kane as Isaac Yankem, JBL as Justin Hawk Bradshaw, and the Steve Austin vs. Savio Vega feud.

Coming out of a lull period for wrestling in the mid-1990s, wrestling fans saw Hall’s WCW introduction for what it was originally supposed to be – just an extension of the hokey “Billionaire Ted” skits.

Plus, it was Scott Hall, who was only a few years removed from a soft “Diamond Studd” run in WCW. And, he was soon to be joined by Kevin Nash, who was previously Oz and Vinnie Vegas on WCW TV.

“So Kevin Nash and Scott Hall think they have a future in WCW, eh? So they think they can return to the same promotion they floundered in just a few years ago and anticipate success,” asked PWTorch reader Steve Queen in PWTorch Newsletter #390 covering Hall’s jump. “WCW is the promotion that signed Big Bossman and then couldn’t think of anything more original than The Boss as his initial ring name. The Guardian Angel gimmick was an even bigger mess. And what about the undetectable repackaging of Avalanche as The Shark. And most recently, what about Ed Leslie’s fourth (and counting) gimmick, the moronic Booty Man.”

PWTorch Newsletter #390 Cover Sidebar

Scott Hall makes Nitro debut, says he’s there to take over
By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

WCW had been waiting for the moment Scott Hall could debut on Nitro, for that moment would begin a master plan to turn the WWF’s mockery of WCW in WCW’s favor.

Hall debuted on the May 27 WCW Monday Nitro by walking out of the crowd in jeans and a denim jacket. He interrupted a match and said over the house mic that he goes wherever he wants and he is in WCW to take over. Later he challenged “Billionaire Ted” to present three of his toughest wrestlers to face “us.”

That “us” is they key to WCW having one of it’s best summers ever. The “us”‘ is three wrestlers – Hall, Kevin Nash, and Lex Luger. Nash will show up and join Hall. They will tease that a third member of “Team WWF” (they, of course, won’t actually be called that, but it will be implied strongly) arrived last September and has been spying for them, infiltrating WCW so-to-speak. When it is revealed that Luger has been a “WWF spy” all along, it will explain why Luger has jumped from one camp to another in a seemingly endless, directionless storyline – i.e. so he could infiltrate WCW on all fronts.

By having “Team WWF” rip on WCW in their interviews and having them refer to the characters the WWF spent so much time getting over in their Billionaire Ted skits to mock WCW, it is in effect WCW finding a way to profit off of the WWF’s mockery of them. In that way, WCW can stake claim to the biggest laugh yet in the Monday Night Wars.

But, from a storyline perspective, Hulk Hogan is slated to get the last laugh. Rumor has it that “Team WWF” (Hall, Nash, Luger, DiBiase) will end up getting the better of “Team WCW,” including most notably Sting and Randy Savage. It will be after a period of weeks or months of “Team WWF” getting the better of WCW that Hogan will return and “save the day.” The plan is for Hogan to then soundly end up the victor and symbolically beat the WWF – something he will take great satisfaction in after the way the WWF depicted him as “The Huckster” in the skits on Raw. If WCW plays their cards right, it should be an eventful and profitable summer and fall.

WCW Nitro Report – May 27, 1996

(Live)… Tony Schiavone & Larry Zbyszko opened the program, announcing they would be the co-hosts for the first hour of Nitro while Eric Bischoff & Bobby Heenan would co-host the second hour… (1) Ric Flair & Arn Anderson defeated The American Males at 12:59. At 11:17 Scotty Riggs hot-tagged Marcus Bagwell who cleaned house on both Flair and Arn. The fans were on their feet as Bagwell nailed Flair with a top rope dropkick. Arn saved Flair from the pin. Arn reversed a Bagwell small package on Flair, but Riggz then reversed it again. Woman gouged Bagwell’s eyes. As the ref tended to Woman, Arn DDT’d him. Flair then made the cover and the ref counted to three. Good match. The focus of Schiavone and Zbyszko throughout the match was hyping the Flair-McMichael feud… Gene Okerlund interviewed Flair and Anderson with Woman and Elizabeth….

A taped segment aired showing McMichael and Greene lifting weights. As UFC shows, lifting weights is the key to beating up wrestlers…

(2) The Mauler (Mike Enos, mgd. by Col. Parker) fought Steve Doll to a no contest. This was Mauler’s Nitro debut. After returning from a commercial break, the fans rose to their feet and pointed at Scott Hall as he walked over the ring barrier from the crowd. Hall called for the mic and entered the ring. Throughout the speech Schiavone called for security. The stunned fans booed Hall…

(3) Diamond Dallas Page beat Sgt. Craig Pittman (w/Teddy Long) with the Diamond Cutter at 3:00. Seconds earlier Pittman was distracted when Page shoved Long… A feature aired recapping Randy Savage’s antics leading to his suspension… Okerlund interviewed Shark. Shark said he was dumped by Kevin Sullivan from the Dungeon of Doom and wanted to beat The Giant to get back at Sullivan and Jimmy Hart… A video feature aired on Hulk Hogan rubbing shoulders with celebrities…

Bischoff and Heenan then stopped in at 8:50 EST, giving the show fresh energy behind the mic. Bischoff said he won’t dignify the unnamed man’s (Hall’s) comments. He added, “This is where the big boys play, I don’t care what they say”…

(4) Giant pinned Shark at 4:00 after a chokeslam. During the match Bischoff discussed Luger vs. Giant and how Jimmy Hart managed both men. After the match, Big Bubba shaved Shark’s head… (5) Lex Luger beat Maxx (former Page bodyguard) at 5:45 with the torture rack to retain the WCW TV Title… Okerlund interviewed Luger regarding facing Giant for the WCW Title…

(6) “Hard Rock” Bobby Walker beat Brad Armstrong at 4:26. Walker slipped on the top rope, but recovered and hit a flying shoulder for the upset win. Bischoff talked throughout about Walker being a product of the WCW Power Plant…

(7) Lord Steven Regal pinned Alex Wright with a double leg bridge at 10:17 after Regal shoved Wright off of him and Wright’s head snapped back and hit the mat… Okerlund interviewed Regal. It was a good interview as Regal said it’s about time he has something to say regarding what goes on around WCW. He then challenged Sting saying if he won he might get his just due and get a shot at the “bloody circus freak” WCW has as champion…

(7) Scott Steiner fought Sting to a no contest at 10:30. After clean back and forth action, Luger came to ringside, later followed by Rick. At 8:27 Sting went for the scorpion, but Scott reached the ropes. Sting then piledrived Scott for a near fall. As Scott was about to suplex Sting at ringside, Luger stopped him, hit Scott, and threw Scott into the ring. Rick then got in Luger’s face and began hitting him. Both Rick & Scott then attacked Luger. Sting made the save. A pullapart brawl resulted… Scott Hall then came out and confronted Bischoff, saying “we” (meaning he and Kevin Nash) were taking over WCW. [WK]

Quotebook

– “Bad Guy” Scott Hall debuting on Nitro: “You people, you know who I am, but you don’t know why I’m here. Where is Billionaire Ted? Where is the Nacho Man? I go wherever I want, whenever I want. Where oh where is Scheme Gene? Because I gotta scoop for you. When that Ken Doll look-a-like, when that weather man wanna be comes out here later tonight, I’ve got a challenge for him, for Billionaire Ted, for the Nacho Man, and for anybody else in WCW (making WCW sound stupid). You wanna go to war? You wanna war? You’re gonna get one.”

– “Bad Guy” Scott Hall to Eric Bischoff: “Hey, lookee here, Ken Doll. You’ve got such a big mouth. We are sick of it. This is where the Big Boys play? What a joke. You go tell Billionaire Ted to get three of his very, very best. Maybe the Nacho Man. (Ramon mocks Savage: “Ohhhh… no.”) Maybe get the Stinger. Ohhh, I’m so scared. You go get anybody you want. We are taking over. You wanna go to war, you wanna war, you got one. Only let’s do it right – in the ring where it matters – not on no microphones, not in no newspapers, or dirtsheets, let’s do it in the ring where it matters. If Billionaire Ted and his Big Boys, if they’ve got any guts because we are coming down here and like it or not we are taking over.”

Shawn Michaels Interview Highlights

The same week as Hall jumped to WCW, Shawn Michaels talked to Mike Mooneyham of the Charleston Post & Courier about staying behind in WWF (along with Hunter).

– On The Clique: “That’s a name that was given to us as a result of a number of bitter things. But The Clique is nothing but a bunch of buddies who hang around together. There is this imaginary thing that we have some kind of control in running the promotion. I guarantee you there is only one man who runs our promotion and that is Vince McMahon. If I have ideas or opinions, I give them. I don’t take credit for a lot of stuff because I figure that will just get you more heat, but there are a number of guys who have no idea that Shawn Michaels has put a word in for them or Diesel has put in a good word for them or Razor’s put in a word for them. And that’s fine. The five of us are grown men and we’re very mature men and we’re realistic. We realize what this business has always been like. All our intentions were was to give the WWF what it had in the past and I think we’ve done that. In the future I’m going to continue to try to bring the WWF and the wrestling business in general out of the dark ages.”

– On Hall and Nash going to WCW: “I think that’s a decision they made with their families. It’s a totally different situation than me. They’re older than me, they’re married and have families. They have a different agenda. I think the decisions they made were good for them. Each guy has to make decisions that are right for him and his family.”

– On possibly going to WCW, also: “I’ve been made offers (from WCW) but right now what is important to me is performing and you don’t get a chance to do that there. I think WCW is something that needs to be there. Competition is good if for no other reason than for the wrestlers in this business. If one company were to get control it would be bad for us because they would have control and could do anything they wanted. But as far as WCW is concerned, I think that is something for guys who just want to make money and are not in it for the performing anymore. Right now it’s not just about money for me. It’s about doing good work and I feel if I do the best work that I can and do well the money will take care of itself. And so far that’s been the case. I certainly have no complaints whatsoever and WCW would have to come up with a whole heck of a lot more money to get me and right now that’s just not something that’s of interest to me.”

– On The Clique’s current status: “Whether the people like it or not the Clique is going to rule this business from both sides. They think we’re splitting up and that’s simply not the case. We’re just expanding. I think the wrestling business in general had better be aware because we’re on top in both places so they better be awful nice to us.

– On his matches with Hall and Nash: “Both Razor and I are very proud of the ladder match. Kevin and I both knew we had one in us and it was unfortunate we had only worked with each other probably five times in our entire career. The first time was at WrestleMania and it’s very hard to go out there the first time and hit a home run. But we were fortunate enough to do that at the last In Your House. I’ve very happy that probably two of the best matches I’ve had in my career have been with my best friends. It’s very fulfilling and it makes you look at yourself in the mirror and say, ‘That stuff has really worked. I really had a blast and a good time and I got to do it with my friends.'”

Kevin Nash Reflects 20 Years Later

May 19 PWTorch Livecast: Kevin Nash reflected on jumping to WCW with Scott Hall 20 years ago and whether they get treated differently today by Vince McMahon in an interview with PWTorch editor Wade Keller. (PWTorch YouTube Audio Clip)

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– Read through the entire, historical 1996 PWTorch Newsletter Back Issues HERE, available for VIP members. Not a VIP member? Find out how to sign-up and get instant access to over 1,000 Torch Newsletter back-issues in digital format.

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