If Sting was the third man who helped created the New World Order and not Hulk Hogan, I fear for all involved.
Scott Hall recently revealed in an interview that if not Hulk Hogan, Sting was going to be the third man who helped The Outsiders get the win at Bash at the Beach and start the New World Order.
"We had no idea who it was going to be. The whole third guy thing came up by accident. I remember Kev and I called Bret and I spoke to him, Kev spoke to him and we told him it was really fun working at WCW. It was really laid back, guaranteed money, it was easy. We were so used to being in a shark tank in New York. Coming to Atlanta was like being in a country club. It was really tame in the locker room in WCW compared to New York. We told bret he should come down.
Bischoff was interested, he was offering him a pretty sweet deal but Bret wasn’t interested. We wanted it to be hulk, but Hulk had creative control in his contract so he didn’t have to do anything he didn’t want to do. We went to the ring, we hadn’t even met Hulk yet, I met him briefly at WrestleMania 9 but I didn’t know Hulk, we actually went to the ring in Daytona and Hogan wasn’t even there yet. He was on a jet, flying cross country from shooting a movie. Bischoff wanted it to be Hulk but before we went out, Bischoff told us 'If Hulk doesn't show, I’m gonna send out Sting.'"
The NWO angle was built on unpredictability and realism. There was a point where it actually seemed like WWE was invading WCW. To have the big reveal of a third man be the guy who's been a WCW/NWA lifer―mistake.
In the context, Sting would have not been a disappointment. We look back now almost 20 years later, and the idea seems like a major failure because we know how good it ended up being. Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, who weeks before were on WWE as top guys, coming to WCW under their real names in the way they were booked felt legitimate. The only answer for a third guy is the biggest name WWE ever created, which was Hulk Hogan.
If Sting was the mystery guy, then it seems like a classic formula in the wrestling swerve book. One of the faces on the face team is actually in cahoots with the opponents in the heel group. Again, in context, it would have been a story that Sting has turned heel, but the options of where to go after that would have been much more watered down.
WCW was the traditional territory wrestling in a dark dingy arena with fans who had a tooth stereotype. There was great tradition with the territory/company, but it wasn't cool. WWE had moments of making what they called Sports Entertainment cool with WrestleMania. The third man who joined Hall and Nash had to be able to come across as cool. While Sting had a charismatic look with the face paint and energy, the moment he joined Hall and Nash would have taken every cool factor away from it all. He's just another guy WCW/NWA guy who is making a heel turn.
Hogan joining was the shot heard around the world that made everyone turn on WCW and increased the company's name as well as put Hall and Nash on a whole other level. A big helping hand to all of this was the fact the Internet wasn't around like it is now to commentate or spoil behind-the-scenes action like it can now.
Imagine if there was no Internet today, and TNA Impact Wrestling tried a similar angle. All of the sudden Randy Orton and Sheamus or Chris Jericho and Dolph Ziggler showed up on Spike TV with hardly any gap of time from the last time you saw them on WWE programming. They showed up and made it seem like they were invading on behalf of WWE. They teased a third man, and the third man ended up being AJ Styles. A TNA Impact lifer. A guy with no connection to WWE. It's still interesting television but nothing compared to what it could be if Stone Cold Steve Austin showed up.
I'd imagine or could picture Sting and Hogan switching roles from how it played out in the history books. There would have been a fake Hogan who made people believe he turned heel. Hogan would have stood in the rafters for a year with a bird. Well, maybe he wouldn't have done the Crow gimmick, but he would have been the primary face who eventually takes the title from the now.
I guess the only bonus if Sting would have been the third man is less of a big deal to make if Bobby Heenan spoils the whole thing seconds before the reveal by screaming “Yeah, but whose side is he on?”