– USA Today’s For The Win blog recently spoke with Hulk Hogan. Below are some highlights:
FTW: Just before that pay-per-view (Bash at The Beach 1996), WCW started an 84-week streak of beating the WWE in Monday night ratings. During this period, did you ever think that the WCW would win the war, and WWE might disappear?
Hogan: I was praying to God that wouldn’t happen. I prayed to God that we would become the No. 1 wrestling show, and that WWE would thrive and stay the monster that they were. WCW might become a little bit [of a] bigger monster. I never wanted anybody to go away. I wanted two different companies so talent could have a choice where they could work and make big, big money.
FTW: Was there a moment for you where you felt WWE took control and turned the corner in the ratings battle?
Hogan: No, I just know that internally [in the WCW] things just started to fall apart. People got overconfident. I wasn’t [always] there…. When I was there every Monday, I had a really good feel for the direction and what [then WCW executive vice president] Eric [Bischoff] was doing, what the writers were doing. We got to the point where, I wasn’t part-time but I was there like every other Monday, and when I’d come back from being away for a week it was almost like the lunatics were running the asylum. The whole thing changed. There was a bunch of chiefs, and there should have been just one chief. I kind of saw things starting to lose direction.
FTW: What was it like backstage at a typical Nitro during this period? Were you guys always keeping an eye on Raw?
Hogan: We had monitors set up, and we would start early because we were a cable show, we would start early and end late if we needed to. We were pretty much watching minute-by-minute stuff, keeping a handle on the game and making sure we stayed in control.
FTW: So how did the nWo come together?
Hogan: Diamond Dallas Page was friends with Nash and Hall, and he told Eric that their contracts were up. So Eric talked to them and brought them in and you could feel the energy of these guys coming down from the big New York promotion. It was kind of like a shot of adrenaline, so we jumped right on it. Eric came up with the nWo idea, asked me if I wanted to join these guys, and I said ‘well I’ve always… always, always envisioned myself as a single performer. I never really saw myself as a group guy, but it worked out well because I was the leader of the nWo and still had the single main-event matches. The whole package worked really well.
FTW: Do you ever go back and watch your old matches on the WWE Network?
Hogan: Oh my gosh, my wife Jennifer, she goes ‘you’re living in the past! you’re living in the past!’ I say ‘no I’m not, I’m just getting good ideas!’ Some of that stuff we did back in the day was brilliant, some of the storylines and the delivery and the cadence of the storylines, how they were built…. They’d create drama and excitement. I just learned so much from that old stuff we did. I kinda like to watch the Network and go back to my roots just to keep in check with myself.