The Story So Far… It’s the Summer of 1996. The rebellious “Outsiders” have invaded the WCW and crushed everything in their path. First was Scott Hall, formally Razor Ramon in WWF, who made his stunning debut on WCW Nitro. Then Kevin Nash, formally Diesel in WWF, joined him. Wrestling fans around the world thought a full scale invasion from the WWF was incoming. It was truly riveting television as every night the audience was left wondering what was real and what wasn’t. A simple formula that makes wrestling so compelling. It all came to a massive showdown at Bash at the Beach 1996. The heroes: Lex Luger, Randy Savage, and Sting would do battle with “The Outsiders” Hall and Nash. With Hall and Nash constantly teasing a third member of their team, this match was set to be an explosive one.
Ultimately, after Hall and Nash took control of the match, Hulk Hogan would come down the aisle during the match – seemingly to come save the babyfaces as he had done for over a decade previously. “Who’s side is he on?!” Bobby Heenan, a WCW commentator, shouted as Hogan walked down the aisle. Hogan entered the ring and ominously leaned up against the turnbuckle pads in the corner of the ring before doing the unthinkable. He dropped a leg on Randy Savage and turned the entire wrestling world upside down. With a single leg drop the greatest babyface of all time had turned heel. Hogan would form the NWO with “The Outsiders” and shake sports entertainment down to its foundations. That is not the story that I would even dream to re-book. The lead up and execution of the formation of the NWO was breathtaking. One of the very best wrestling storylines in history. I’m not even insinuating re-booking the build up to one of the biggest Pay Per Views in history – Starrcade 1997. WCW had built the biggest match in history quite successfully. After the formation of the NWO, Hogan would go on to win the WCW title from The Giant. Luger, Sting, Ric Flair, and Arn Anderson would form a super group to challenge the NWO at Fall Brawl in a War Games cage match. The storyline leading into that match was whether Sting was loyal to WCW or would turncoat to the NWO. “Sting” had jumped Lex Luger from behind in a parking lot, but Sting had sworn up and down that it was a fake. When the match finally came, “Sting” came out for the NWO seemingly recreating a Hogan-like situation. Instead, the real Sting ran down the aisle, entered the cage, and beat the ever loving Hell out of the NWO. However, he would leave the cage after expressing his disgust with his team for their doubts. The NWO would go on to win this match as the 4 on 3 numbers game was simply too much for the good guys. Sting would then cut an absolutely incredible promo that was highlighted by him keeping his back turned to the hard camera in the crowd – a subtlety ruined when Bischoff blurted out that he is turning his back on us as we did to him. Sting declared himself a free agent and promised us he would pop up from time to time when we least expected it.
Sting for the next year would not wrestle a single match. WCW took a massive risk by having their franchise player not compete for a solid year. Instead he evolved into the persona of “The Crow” from the famous cult movie. He would lurk high up in the scaffolding with vultures on his arm – watching the villainous NWO rampage through the WCW. Eventually things would turn physical and Sting would have several memorable endings to Monday Nitro. He would rappel from the arena ceiling and descend on the NWO and beat the ever growing stable into a pulp. All the while Hollywood Hogan, the WCW champion, would constantly escape by the skin of his teeth. The WCW audience was rabid for a showdown. They would get their wish come Starrcade 1997. This is where the story completely falls of the rails. Most of you know what abomination would follow this incredible build up. Bret Hart was announced as the special enforcer for this match which was utterly unnecessary. Hogan would beat the shit out of Sting most of the match despite being terrified of Sting and running like a coward for an entire year from this guy. Hogan would drop the leg on Sting and pin him clean right in the middle of the ring. Bret Hart would claim that the referee counted too fast (he didn’t) and say he has already seen this kind of thing happen before. Remember Survivor Series 1997? Wink. Wink. Hart would restart the match and Sting would make Hogan submit to the Scorpion Deathlock to win the strap. What a pile of shit. How I Would’ve Booked It
Booking this main event was a no brainer, but let me explain to you how I would’ve booked the biggest pay per view in WCW history. I would’ve done as WCW did and had Hogan come out first to the ring which is an understandable violation of the usual tradition of the champion coming out last. Sting would then make his epic entrance. Lightning flashes. Thunder rolling. Perhaps have him rappel from the ceiling as he had done so many times before. The camera would need to cut to Hollywood Hogan who is shitting his pants in fear of this guy. Remember, the entire year build up to this match was Hogan running and staying away from Sting. His endless henchman from the NWO standing between the inevitable confrontation. The bell would ring and Hogan would heel it up and keep his distance. He would do the usual heel tactics like get in between the ropes to force breaks on tie ups. Perhaps he would crawl out of the ring a few times to be chased back by Sting only to have Hogan gain an advantage as Sting was rolling in to get him. Eventually after a few minutes of this, Sting would gain control and beat the ever loving shit out of Hogan. After 5 or so minutes of the Passion of Hogan and a Scorpion Deathdrop, The Outsiders would run down to ring side and jump on the apron only to be pummeled by Sting. Sting would turn his attention back to Hogan and make him tap out to the Deathlock. Bam. New champion. The audience gets exactly what they want after being teased for a fucking year. Hogan finally got his ass utterly wrecked. I won’t stop there though. You see, I have a solution to the problem that would eventually kill WCW in 2001. The NWO problem. After over a year of Hogan and the NWO killing everybody…it had run its course. Hogan would be entitled to a rematch at SuperBrawl, right? I would have members of the absurdly large NWO group start to abandon Hogan after his humiliating defeat. Sting would continue to decminate members and one by one they would remove their NWO shirts and throw them to the ground in the weeks leading to the big rematch. The rematch would go a bit differently. Hogan would be a little more confident and he would not make his entrance alone, he would be flanked by the only remaining NWO members – The Outsiders. Hogan would dominate a large part of this match due to constant interference by The Outsiders. Eventually, Sting would dispatch The Outsiders before turning his attention back to Hogan and hit a rocking Deathdrop. With The Outsiders recovering on the outside they would watch as Sting slowly applied the Scorpion Deathlock. The Outsiders would start to approach the apron as if they were going to help Hogan. Hogan would be in the hold and facing Hall and Nash, screaming in pain and reaching out with his hand almost begging for their help. The Outsiders would look at each other, take off their NWO shirts, and throw them in the ring at Hogan’s out stretched hand – completely disgusted by their defeated leader. The NWO would finally be broken and the shattering would be Hogan tapping out again to Sting – the conqueror of the biggest stable in WCW history. The biggest mistake WCW ever made was giving the crowd too much of a good thing. Because too much of a good thing is still too much. The NWO grew to encompass half the WCW roster and would go on until finally getting killed off in 1999 only to be brought back in 2000. The bad guys have to get their comeuppance eventually. You can’t keep swerving the audience and constantly find ways for Hogan to win the belt back. That is why I booked Starrcade 97 and SuperBrawl the way that I did. The NWO needed to die and this was absolutely the perfect way to do it. Tune in for the next “How I Would’ve Booked It!”