Eric Bischoff didn't just have an ace up his sleeve from the moment he convinced Hulk Hogan to turn heel and be the vaunted "third man" alongside Scott Hall and Kevin Nash in July 1996. He had four.
A winning hand for the ages, there was absolutely no topping this on the other side. Things were great on the surface - Stone Cold Steve Austin had, just weeks earlier, cut a promo that would inadvertently transform the organisation, whilst Champion Shawn Michaels was having matches that transcended it, but heel Hulk Hogan moved the earth beneath wrestling's feet. It was a bombshell unlike anything on the North American scene since Hogan himself stood front-and-centre of Vince McMahon's national expansion a decade earlier.
That was the grim irony at play. Eric Bischoff might have cribbed a little from the New Japan/UWFi invasion angle, but the reveal was pure, unfiltered Sports Entertainment. It took weeks for Hogan, with careful coaching by Hall and Nash, to make it all a little realer. The worker knew how to work better than most. After all, he'd done all his best training at the place most famed for its thrills, spills, and spine-tingling shocks.
Who needs reality anyway? If pro wrestling really is the best form of escapist entertainment, then at least let there be spectacular drama in the escape routes...
Square eyes on a square head, trained almost exclusively to Pro Wrestling, Sunderland AFC & Paul Rudd films. Responsible for 'Shocking Plans You Won't Believe Actually Happened', some of the words in our amazing Wrestling bookazines (both available at shop.whatculture.com), and probably every website list you read that praised Kevin Nash.