When Hulk Hogan turned heel and joined Kevin Nash and Scott Hall to form the nWo in 1996, it sent shockwaves through the professional wrestling landscape for years to come. While this part of the story is well-documented, what often gets overlooked is what happened directly after!
The Formation of the nWo
WCW Bash at the Beach ’96 was the site of the historic heel turn that saw Hulk Hogan join forces with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall to form “the new world order of wrestling, brother.” Right after Hogan revealed himself as the third member, one angry fan couldn’t handle what he was witnessing, so he bypassed security and jumped into the ring to attack. He soon had to face the consequences! Not long later, this “fan” had to deal with the harsh consequences!
“We had no idea who [the third man] was going to be,” Scott Hall admits. “The whole ‘third guy’ thing came up by accident. I remember Kev’ and I called Bret [Hart], and we spoke to him, and we told him it was really fun working at WCW. It was really laid back, guaranteed money, it was easy.”
Not long before this, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash jumped ship to WCW from the then-known World Wrestling Federation.
“We were so used to being in a shark tank in [the WWF]. Coming to Atlanta was like being in a country club. It was really tame in the locker room in WCW compared to New York. We told Bret he should come down. Bischoff was interested. He was offering him a pretty sweet deal… but Bret wasn’t interested.”
With Bret Hart unavailable at the time, their eyes moved onto someone else- Hulk Hogan.
“We wanted [the third man] to be Hulk Hogan,” Hall explains, “but Hulk had creative control in his contract, so he didn’t have to do anything he didn’t want to do.
“I met Hulk briefly at WrestleMania 9, but I didn’t know him.”
July 6th, 1997, had arrived, and it was time for Scott Hall and Kevin Nash to shock the wrestling world at WCW’s third annual Bash at the Beach by unveiling their third mystery partner. If things didn’t go to plan and Hulk Hogan was never to arrive, Eric Bischoff had a contingency plan in place.
“We actually went to the ring in Daytona, and Hogan wasn’t even there yet. He was on a jet, flying cross country from shooting a movie. Bischoff wanted it to be Hulk Hogan, but before we went out he told us, ‘If Hulk doesn’t show, I’m gonna send out Sting!'”
Hall continues, “When Hulk did come out and turned heel at Bash At The Beach in Daytona, he gave his interview, you know: ‘Hey, screw all you kids…’ People were buying it as a full-on shoot! People started throwing stuff in the ring, and if you watch the tape, you can see a fan hit the ring.”
A Fan Steps Into The Ring to Attack Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall Respond
While Hulk Hogan played the role of turncoat to perfection, one “fan” took things to heart and retaliated. Scott Hall explains what happened next:
“Me and Hulk are on one side; this dude gets over the railing – past security – inside the ring, and there’s big Kev’ waiting… (laughs)
“Dude, you’re out of luck now…
“I can’t imagine what this mark was thinking…[yokel voice] ‘Wehl, I’m gunna git’ dose guys…’
“He probably thinks security’s going to stop him, so he can tell all his buddies, ‘Well, I tried to, man…’
“No, man…security didn’t get you – you’re in the ring; NOW whatcha gonna do?”
As for what happened to the fan? Well, “Kev’ knocked this cat OUT!”
Hall continued, “Now the dude’s down, and me being the prick I am, I hear this commotion behind me. I look over and go, ‘Kev’ – is that a mark-?’
“I start putting the boots to this guy, full shoot! (laughs)
While Scott Hall laughs while looking back at this moment, it certainly wasn’t funny at the time. It could have taken a dark turn, or worse, had he and Kevin Nash not responded quickly enough.
“In my opinion, [the fans are] allowed to yell and cheer and boo all you want – you’re not allowed to touch the wrestlers, you’re not allowed to throw stuff at the wrestlers, and you’re CERTAINLY not allowed to go over the barricade into the ring. Once you come into the ring, we don’t know if you got a gun, a knife, or whatever. And guess what – that’s what I do for a living, man. Yeah, it might be ‘fake,’ but all I gotta do is turn the volume up a little bit, and it starts becoming REAL.
“So, that dude in Daytona, wherever you are – thank you. It was fun stomping on your face. I hope you learned your lesson.”
WATCH: Moments after Hulk Hogan turns heel, a fan jumps into the ring to fight him, and the nWo beats him up
Performers do not know the intention of someone rushing the stage, or in this case, the ring, so Kevin Nash and Scott Hall acted as they saw fit. Rightfully so. Obviously, this “fan” didn’t understand this whole moment was scripted and had an emotional reaction and took things into the matter of his own hands. Mind you, this was about eight years before Dimebag Darrell was killed on stage by a crazed fan. Still, in a moment where an unpredictable spectator rushes into that sacred space between those ring ropes, you do what you have to do to stay safe and send a strong message: STAY OUT OR PAY THE CONSEQUENCES! For this fan, it was a beatdown he’ll be sure never to forget.
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