Yesterday marked the 12th anniversary of a very significant event that changed the course (at least for a little while) or professional wrestling.

The date: May 27, 1996. While Mike Enos was battling Steve Doll in a match on World Championship Wrestling’s “Monday Nitro,” Scott Hall jumped the rail, grabbed a microphone, and declared war on WCW.

“You want a war? You go one!” the former Razor Ramon said to Eric Bischoff, then a member of the announce crew. This, of course, set the wheels in motion for one of the hottest angles to ever hit professional wrestling: The nWo.

The following week, Kevin Nash (aka Diesel) appeared, and he and Hall beat up Bischoff, as Nash powerbombed Bischoff through a table. These two former WWF superstars made it look like the WWF was indeed declaring war on WCW, which had all the fans at the time buzzing, and it quickly became the talk of the wrestling world.

This set up a six man tag match at the Great American Bash pay per view, with Sting, Lex Luger and Randy Savage battling Hall, Nash and a mystery partner. Who would the third invader be?

Originally, it was planned to be Davey Boy Smith, but at the last minute, he resigned with the WWF. That left the door open for Hulk Hogan, the great American hero, to turn heel and join “The Outsiders,” as Hall and Nash were dubbed.

Down to the ring came Hogan, and the fans were waiting for him to clear the ring of Hall and Nash, who had beat down WCW’s trio. Instead, Hogan dropped his leg across the throat of Savage, and thus the nWo was born.

As Hogan grabbed a mic and started to rant and rave, the fans, very irate at this time, started to pelt the ring with garbage, as they couldn’t believe their beloved hero had betrayed them, telling them to “stick it.”

What should have been an angle that lasted six months, a year at most, soon dragged on and on. The Monday night war with WWF’s “Raw” was on, and for a while, WCW was the hottest thing this side of Jessica Beil.

What started as an elite group soon became diluted. Mid-carders like Scott Norton, Stevie Ray, Michael Wall Street and Virgil were soon added to the ranks, along with top tier talent like The Giant, Syxx, Ted DiBiase and Scott Steiner.

As time went by, Bischoff, Savage, Luger and Sting would also join some variation of the nWo, whether it be nWo Black, nWo Red, Wolfpac, nWo Japan. You get the idea.

For a while, it looked like this angle would indeed drive Vince McMahon and the WWF out of business. “Nitro” continued to beat “Raw” in the ratings. But behind the scenes, ego’s were slowly destroying the company, until the day came when WCW was purchased by none other than Vince McMahon himself.

WCW did its best to kill the career’s of Ric Flair and Goldberg, to name just two. Flair, the man most people identified as WCW, was treated like a buffoon, and Goldberg, home grown talent that could have been the biggest thing to hit wrestling in years, was booked horribly by WCW.

Bischoff let Stunning Steve Austin and Mick Foley go, saying neither could draw a crowd. Both went to the WWF, where they became Stone Cold Steve Austin and Mankind, and helped the WWF back to the top. Other talent WCW let get away because they didn’t consider them marketable include Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko and Chris Jericho. All went to the WWF, all became famous.

You can point a lot of fingers at who killed WCW: Bischoff, Hogan, Nash and Vince Russo are four that come to mind. Each had a hand in destroying the goose that laid the golden egg.

McMahon can also be blamed. Instead of using WCW talent for a great invasion angle after he bought the company, he basically just buried its talent to satisfy his own massive ego.

In the end, it was sad to watch this company go under like it did, and for the reasons it did.

Still, for a while, to quote Flair, it was the best thing going. Whoooo!

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