Eric Bischoff Tried to Get Hulk Hogan to Turn Heel a Year Before the NWO Launched

If you're a wrestling fan, you've probably heard the story by now — at the Bash at the Beach event in 1996 Hulk Hogan turned heel and launched the New World Order faction (NWO) alongside Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, helping WCW launch into its most popular era while going head-to-head with the WWF in the Monday Night Wars. However in a recent interview with Chris Jericho on the Talk Is Jericho podcast, Eric Bischoff (the brains behind the group and an onscreen member) revealed that he tried to get "The Hulkster" to turn heel a year earlier but was personally shot down by Hogan.

"A year before all this went down, I went down to Tampa to meet with Hulk because the red and yellow thing, the babyface thing, the Hulkamania thing, wasn't working," Bischoff said (h/t Wrestling Inc. for transcript). "He knew it wasn't working. I knew it wasn't working. The fans knew it wasn't working. Everybody knew it wasn't working, so I flew down there and said, 'okay, I'm going to go down there and take my best shot at convincing Hulk to turn heel. I'm selling my guts out and I see him doing this, it's this funky thing he does with his lips. It looks like a fish. And he's stroking his Fu Manchu and I'm thinking he's either really loving this or he's going to f—king punch me.

"He's doing this and he goes, 'brother, I have to pick the kids up from school. Thanks for coming. Bye. You'll obviously never know what it's like to walk a mile in these boots. Thanks for coming by,'" he continued. "He basically threw me out of his house, but he did it very elegantly."

Bischoff later recalled when Hogan pitched himself to be the NWO's third man, which was originally booked for Sting.

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"He saw what was going on with Scott and Kevin," Bischoff said. "He could feel it and he threw his name into the hat. I said, 'that makes a lot of sense. Let's see if that works.' And once he threw his name into the hat... I knew that was going to be the answer, but the thing I wasn't sure of was whether or not he would really follow through because he was a little unpredictable, let's put it that way, at the time."