The Featherstone Files: Who is the Third Man?

Chris Featherstone
(Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)

(Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)

Welcome to the Featherstone Files. Here, you as the reader will give your thoughts on a number of wrestling topics, including “What if?,” “Best of…,” “Top X,” and much more.

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Today, we will be discussing the 21st anniversary of one of the biggest, most controversial moments in pro wrestling history. Weeks leading to the Bash at the Beach pay-per-view, Outsiders – Scott Hall and Kevin Nash – promised that there would be a “third man” to join the duo and solidify their invasion of WCW. At the event, which occurred on July 7, 1996, the Outsiders teamed up in what initially was a handicap match against the WCW representatives of Sting, Randy Savage, and Lex Luger.

During the match, Luger was “injured,” leveling out the playing feud to a two-on-two tag team match. All of a sudden, Hulk Hogan showed up after weeks of being absent. While it seemed as if he was coming to protect his fellow WCW comrades, fans witnessed what would be the most pivotal leg drop in pro wrestling history, as Hogan executed the move on the Macho Man.

Hogan would then by interviewed by Gene Okerlund, and expressed these words.

“Mean Gene, the first thing you need to do is to tell these people to shut up if you wanna’ hear what I’ve got to say. The first thing you gotta’ realize, brother, is this right here is the future of wrestling. You can call this the New World Order of Wrestling. These two men right here came from a great big organization up north and everybody was wondering who the third man was. Well, who knows more about that organization than me, brother? Let me tell you something. I made that organization a monster. I made people rich up there. I made the people that ran that organization rich up there. And when it all came to pass, the name Hulk Hogan, the man Hulk Hogan, got bigger than the whole organization.

“Billionaire Ted wanted to talk turkey with Hulk Hogan. Well Billionaire Ted promised me movies, brother. Billionaire Ted promised me millions of dollars. Billionaire Ted promised me world caliber matches. And as far as Billionaire Ted goes, Eric Bischoff, and the whole WCW goes, I’m bored brother. That’s why these two guys here, the so-called outsiders, these are the men I want as my friends. They are the new blood of professional wrestling, brother. And not only are we going to take over the whole wrestling business with Hulk Hogan and the new blood, the monsters with me, we will destroy everything in our path, Mean Gene.

“As far as I’m concerned, all of this crap in the ring represents these fans out here. For two years, brother, for two years I held my head high. I did everything for the charities. I did everything for the kids. And the reception I got when I came out here – you fans can stick it, brother. Because if it wasn’t for Hulk Hogan you people wouldn’t be here. If it wasn’t for Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff would still be selling meat from a truck in Minneapolis. And if it wasn’t for Hulk Hogan, all these Johnny Come Lately’s that you see out here wrestling wouldn’t be here.

“I was selling out the world, brother, while they were pumping gas in their car to get to high school. So the way it is now, brother, with Hulk Hogan and the New World Organization of Wrestling, me and the new blood by my side, whatcha gonna do when the New World Organization runs wild on you.”

The nWo would go on to be an integral part in helping WCW win numerous weeks of the Monday Night Wars.

While the unanimous decision favors Hogan being the right choice to be the “third man,” who could have been a suitable replacement? For instance, if the angle had to happen that night, and Hogan became injured a week before, who from inside or outside WCW would have worked?

Sting is usually the next discussed name. While he was the one of the most popular names in WCW, he was way too big of a babyface to make it work. In fact, the time he turned on Hogan at Fall Brawl in 1999, it only took him a few weeks to turn face again, because fans did not want Sting to be a bad guy.

Flair, Luger, Savage, are other names who may have worked. However, the shock value certainly would have not been the same, or even close.

What are your top three names who you think could have worked as a replacement? Comment below.

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