Hulk Hogan recently recalled how Vince McMahon allegedly contemplated "shutting the doors" on WWE during the company's battle with WCW.
WCW's flagship show Nitro beat WWE RAW in the Monday night television ratings for 83 consecutive weeks between June 1996 and April 1998. Hogan's involvement in the nWo faction alongside Kevin Nash and Scott Hall was a key reason why WCW achieved so much success.
The latest A&E Biography: WWE Legends episode tells the story of the nWo. During the two-hour show, Hogan claimed that McMahon once gave him some alarming news about the state of WWE in the 1990s:
"That was the goal, was to become the number one company. I don't think the goal was ever to put Vince out of business even though we got really, really close. I had a conversation with Vince where he was just a couple of weeks away from shutting the doors."
Thanks to main-event stars like The Rock and Steve Austin, RAW bounced back and ultimately defeated Nitro in the ratings battle. In 2001, McMahon bought WCW and obtained the contracts of several wrestlers. Hogan eventually returned to WWE in 2002.
How the nWo helped WCW overtake Vince McMahon's WWE
Former WCW executive Eric Bischoff created the nWo after convincing Hulk Hogan to turn heel and join forces with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall.
Bischoff believes WCW would not have provided such strong competition for Vince McMahon and WWE without the nWo storyline:
"Nitro and Monday Night RAW were head-to-head in competition, too close to call most weeks, from the very beginning. It wasn't until the nWo story that WCW and Nitro began to dominate the ratings, and did so for a year and a half, almost two years. That would not have happened had it not been for the nWo."
The nWo (Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Sean Waltman) was inducted into the 2020 WWE Hall of Fame.
Do you think Vince McMahon was serious about closing the doors on WWE? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Please credit A&E Biography: WWE Legends and give a H/T to Sportskeeda Wrestling for the transcription if you use quotes from this article.
Will Hulk Hogan step into a WWE ring again? We asked a WWE Hall of Famer here