Monday Night Wars I- New World Order is Born

The block that opened the wars was-Ted Turner’s trust he had in Eric Bischoff. It was Bischoff who brought up the idea of staging their own version of a wrestling program on Monday Nights to challenge the imperious status of WWF Monday Night Raw. Turner agreed to let Bischoff loose and WCW Monday Nitro was born in September 4, 1995.

It premiered in TNT as a one hour program and quickly expanded into two and then three hours. The first gun fire was the capture of Lex Luger who left WWF to join WCW and the stunning sequence of television mastery began when WWF’s women’s champion Alundra Blayze turned up in WCW Nitro and threw the belt to a garbage can which was a slap in the face of WWF. But still WWF had the upper hand in terms of ratings and this prompted Bischoff to unveil more tricks. One of them was to start the show himself and tell the worldwide audience the results of the rival program. This was possible to due to Raw being a taped program while Nitro emanated live. Vince McMahon were not to be outdone as he composed parodies of Turner and well established names of WCW and aired them after commercial breaks but it was short-lived as USA network insisted WWF to stop the nasty tactics.

Bischoff was quickly exploring more ways and began to realize that some revolutionary will only help turn the tables on the ratings. He thought long and hard about his prized acquisition Hulk Hogan and a way to present him in a perspective that would shock the world. The idea came to him while attending a New Japan pro wrestling show. The concept was to create a storyline where WWF wrestlers would invade WCW (storyline vise) and generate havoc endangering the origin of the program and threatening it to go to ground because of the lack of control which the rival group would cause. But the original idea of specifically dubbing the invaders as WWF cast were cut down and they decided to call the group as NWO (New World Order). To inject the severity of the situation, propaganda-style vignettes and product commercials concerning the nWo were preceded by an “interruption in the feed”, and a voice proclaiming, “The following announcement has been paid for by the New World Order” were aired during shows.

It all started on May 27, 1996 when Scott Hall showed up on WCW Nitro and delivered a promo targeting Bischoff and the company. Those words are immortalized in wrestling history as the ‘You Want A War’ promo and its success is considered as the one of the primary reasons for the evolution it preceded. While that was for the long term prosperity of the storyline what many were amazed at was how Hall had the capacity to be on a WCW program as he was a WWF employee at that time and that it was legitimately impossible to appear in another show while being contracted. That doubt of protected intimacy towards a real life situation and the realism of it was the pillar which worked in favour of the whole storyline. To stretch the plot even more, Kevin Nash showed up next week and they were called ‘The Outsiders’. In truth what had happened was both Hall and Nash’s –Razor Ramon and Diesel respectively in WWF-had expired and WCW kept it as a secret to thicken the mystery surrounding it.

Their request was for a three man tag match. It was to be Hall, Nash and mystery partner vs the three of the best WCW could put on the table. Bischoff was slated to have a segment in WCW’s next pay-per-view, The Great American Bash, with the Outsiders and where he promised to give the craved match at the next pay-per view, Bash at the Beach, but he would refrain from naming his candidates. This angered Hall and Nash and the segment ended with Nash power bombing Bischoff and they continued those gang-style attacks by appearing out of nowhere during matches and decimating wrestlers. According to the storyline they were not contracted to the company and hence were illegal which was furthered when every time they instigated an attack security guards would chase them away through the crowd.

So on July 7, 1996 the match was booked for Bash at the Beach. The vocal crowd who gathered to the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach would never have had any idea what they were about to witness. Actually, they about to witness arguably the greatest moment in the all of professional wrestling history. Near the beach of Florida, the setting was so natural and the outdoor feel was captivating.It is a shame wrestling no more hosts beach events. The match was called the ‘The Hostile Takeover Match’ and Lex Luger, Sting and Randy Savage was in the WCW corner.

The whole world was anxiously waiting to find out who the third man was for The Outsiders but Hall and Nash made their entrance without another man. They told they partner was in the town and he’ll come when he’s ready and that they should start the match without more time wasting. During the first half of the match Luger got pummeled by a Stinger Splash from Sting inadvertently which was intended for Nash and he had to be stretchered off. After sixteen minutes of action all four men remaining knocked each other down with still no sign of the mystery partner. Since Luger was injured WCW had the opportunity replace him and whoever representing two parties came first had the chance to gain the upper hand. The scene and everybody was at a standstill and suddenly befitting of the occasion the biggest name of the industry-face Hulk Hogan came walking down to the ring. Everybody and their moms were expecting Hogan to clean the house and get rid of this menace known as the Outsiders.

He climbed the ring steps, entered the ring and did his customary shirt removal. Hall and Nash shamed like they had seen a ghost and it was the end of their endeavor. Then Hogan threw the shirt at them and delivered an earth shaking leg-drop to Savage. The audience was in disbelief as their hero for so many years had betrayed them. The thunderous applause at the beginning turned into an utter silence as if they had electrocution.

Then three of them beat down Sting to a pulp and Hogan delivered two more patented leg-drops to make it three on Savage to symbolically destroy the kill the ‘face’ Hulk Hogan. The ring filled with trash as disgruntled and shocked fans threw everything at them.

Bash at the Beach finished and the ‘Hollywood’ Hogan and the NWO was born.

 

Trash filled ring at Bash at the Beach as Hogan speaks to 'Mean' Gene flanked by Scott Hall (L) and Kevin Nash (R)


References- Prelude To Famous Monday Night Wars- I

Prelude To Famous Monday Night Wars-II

Prelude To Famous Monday Night Wars-III

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