Hulk Hogan may be synonymous with one of the greatest factions of all-time, but that faction is most definitely not D-Generation X. Instead, Hogan infamously became the mysterious third man in 1996, joining Kevin Nash and Scott Hall to form the nWo at the Bash at the Beach. The nWo was a WCW creation, while D-X was made famous under the umbrella of the rival WWE.
DX was originally formed, much like the nWo, as a heel stable a little more than a year after Hulk Hogan shockingly turned his back on the fans. The late 1990’s was the breeding ground for the Monday Night Wars, spawning the Attitude Era led by various iterations of the nWo and D-X. Hogan was one of the first WWE poster boys to make the jump to WCW, but Nash and Hall are largely responsible for the free agent frenzy that highlighted the era.
Bret Hart famously signed with WCW in 1997 after a lengthy run in WWE that ended with the Montreal Screwjob and a long main event program with Shawn Michaels and D-X. Roughly a year before the 1997 Survivor Series, Bret signed an unprecedented 20-year deal with the WWE, which would have guaranteed him a position in management upon his retirement. But due to some financial hardships and lack of compelling storylines promised to Hart for the future, Vince McMahon encouraged him to negotiate with WCW.
Bret wound up signing a deal that paid him $3 million per year to join Hulk Hogan and the rest of the WCW roster. Coincidentally, Hogan’s contract with Turner happened to expire right around the same time that Bret Hart was negotiating his next deal.
Former WWE executive Bruce Prichard (who portrayed the Brother Love character onscreen) recently conducted an interview with Wrestling Inc. Prichard revealed that he did a guest booker scenario with Shawn Oliver where he was asked to go back and re-book the aftermath of the Montreal Screwjob.
In it, he detailed how WWE officials determined that Stone Cold Steve Austin was the next top babyface, and they were debating between re-signing Bret Hart or acquiring Hulk Hogan back from WCW. Ultimately, of course, they didn’t land either one at the time, but they would have been pegged as the big names that put Austin over on his way to the top of the card. That spot, of course, eventually went to Shawn Michaels and D-X.
“So we were considering whether or not we wanted to do a deal with Hulk (Hogan), or we wanted to do a deal with Bret. And the D-X thing came from the guest booker thing and I said, ‘well here is what you could have done. You could’ve brought Hogan in here’ — but the idea was if Bret leaves we let Bret go to WCW and we bring Hulk in, how do we get to where we want to go… And we were thinking Steve (Austin) was that next guy. Who could get him there? And you’re thinking either Hulk or Bret, and of course it ended up being Shawn. But we were in a very good position because you had a lot of guys to choose from. But that’s where that came from, it was an idea that if Hulk is available, then what do we do with him? And he was red hot as a heel in WCW, and we got this mega baby face coming up on the other side in Steve Austin, this could work.”
Keep in mind, this isn’t necessarily something that was close to being a certainty, but the idea behind bringing Hulk Hogan back in 1997 (in Prichard’s mind) would have been to put in him in D-X. Then they would have used Hogan as a member or leader of D-X to help put Austin over. Michaels certainly played that part well enough, and Austin took the ball and ran with it along with the likes of The Rock, Triple H, the Undertaker, and others. But unfortunately, even when the stars aligned for Hogan and Austin to be in the same company as top stars, they never worked a marquee program.
The nWo and D-X, though friends in real life, were always rivals in a sense, battling for stable supremacy. They never crossed paths on television until WrestleMania 31 during the memorable match between Triple H and Sting. But could you have ever imagined Hulk Hogan as a member of D-X?
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