On May 27th 1996, Scott Hall emerged from the crowd on WCW Monday Nitro and declared that if WCW wanted a war, he was going to give them one.
The unannounced promo not only stunned the crowd and the viewers at home, but also kicked off what one of the most famous and now infamous angles in wrestling history. The creation of the nWo. Scott Hall was followed to Nitro from WWE by Kevin Nash just a couple of weeks later, before the pair were joined by Hulk Hogan at Bash At The Beach.
However, speaking on his 83 Weeks podcast, Eric Bischoff has recalled his concerns about Hall re-joining WCW. The former WCW President explained that while he knew Hall to a small degree, by 1996 he had a reputation which caused him to be a little bit wary of working with the star. Bischoff initially recalled picking Hall up from the airport to take him to Nitro, to get a read on how he was.
“So Scott obviously had a history and a reputation. And I was a little bit concerned about it. It wasn’t a secret. And I wanted to really get inside Scott’s head. Now, I knew Scott a little bit I once had worked in WCW. I got to know him a little bit, but not really, not on a real personal level. So it wasn’t like I had never had conversations with Scott before. It wasn’t like I didn’t know anything about Scott. Certainly I grew up as a fan and Minnesota, as I grew up. I mean, I was well into my 20’s or 30. Well, 20’s for sure. When Scott Hall and Curt Hennig teamed up and AWA so I was very familiar with the character Scott Hall, and a little bit familiar with the person Scott Hall, having worked with him in WCW, before he had gone to WWF.”
“But his reputation preceded him and I picked Scott up at the airport, Marriott in Atlanta, I live there obviously at the time, and had him ride with me down to Macon because that was, you know, an opportunity to have some was about an hour and half drive, I guess two hour drive. And I thought it would be a great opportunity to kind of just get inside his head a little bit and see where see what I could really learn about him and where his head was at and if he was clean or not to be honest, and to also set the tone with him because in 1996 at this point 1996 the morale in the WCW locker room was very high.”
Bischoff continued, adding that while morale in a wrestling locker room is never perfect, things had improved massively in WCW in recent times. Something he was worried about ruining by putting Hall into the mix.
“Now I’m not going to suggest that, you know, there weren’t some people who weren’t happy with where they were at on the roster and that type of thing. Of course, there’s always going to be that but as a general rule, particularly compared to what the morale had been through the Bill Watts era and some of the other you know, previous management teams that have been in place, morale was always an issue and had been always an issue. So, at this point in 1996 things were really kind of good and I was a little concerned about Scott coming in and upsetting the applecart so to speak and reversing some of the gains that we had made in terms of morale and just people willing to help each other and that type of thing.”
On the ‘watch along’ episode of his podcast, Bischoff revealed that he wrote Hall’s promo for that night, expecting the former WWE Superstar to use his bullet points as a template. Instead, Hall performed the promo word for word as it had been written.
“So, I drove down to Macon, you know, with Scott, and felt pretty comfortable with him. And the way Scott treated people backstage. Granted, it was the first day in the job. So, you know, you one would expect that he would go out of his way out of his way to make himself feel a part of the team and be respectful of everybody else. And he was, he very much was, but I remember, we had talked about on the way down to Macon. We had talked about this promo and what I had hoped to accomplish with it. I didn’t really get a sense that Scott felt it, you know, he certainly understood what I was trying to do from a storyline point of view, not that, but I didn’t feel like he really felt the promo yet. And so I thought, you know what, I’m just gonna write it for him. And then I’ll let him make it his own. But I’m gonna give him the bullet points. And he ended up reading the promo that I wrote almost word for word. In fact, word for word.”
While the promo has since gone down in history, Bischoff detailed how he wishes it could have been even better.
“I wish you know looking back at it. Now, from a purely production point of view, I wish it would have come off a little more naturally, because he delivered that promo, much like he read it. You know, when he first saw it on paper, it was deliver a line, take a pause, and then I’m going to deliver this line, take a pause. So it had, it didn’t really have a natural flow to it. I think it had it had a more natural flow. By the way, not that fucking matters, because I don’t think the angle could have gotten any hotter than it was, or if his promo would have been a little more polished, the angle could have been even hotter. So I’m not I’m not saying that at all. But in terms of this being a classic moment, had Scott delivered that promo, in his own words, essentially saying the same thing. But in his own words, more importantly, in his own delivery, it would have been even better for Scott. But other than that, and everything else felt so real. You know, the fact that Tony was as confused as Tony was, I would have liked Larry to acknowledge it a little earlier. You know, Larry was pretending it wasn’t happening for a long time until Tony basically forced him into it.”
Just a couple of weeks later, Hall was joined on Nitro by Kevin Nash. ‘The Outsiders’ as they were initially known, said they were there to takeover WCW.
Hall and Nash joining WCW not only created a major stir amongst fans, but also with the wrestlers they’d left behind in WWE (WWF). Speaking on WWE Untold: Two Dudes With Attitudes, Nash revealed that Shawn Michaels was “p***ed” over his exit, admitting that he had every right to be.
“From Shawn’s standpoint, he’s looking at me and Scott [Hall] going ‘You motherf***ers. You guys let me put you over, around the world. Have five-star matches. You guys are both cashing in on it, and you’re taking two of my five best guys, for me not to work with. I could have a nine month run with each of you two.’ He was p***ed. He had every reason to be.”
After WWE and WCW had traded ratings victories earlier in 1996, Nitro enjoyed it’s greatest run of success after the arrival of Hall and Nash, beating RAW for 83 consecutive weeks.