WCW once planned to have a full-on brand split and now details of those plans have been reported.
Fightful Select (subscription required) recently spoke with Eric Bischoff about the plans to split the WCW roster. The report states that nWo Nitro and WCW Thunder would have looked, felt, and been produced differently.
nWo Nitro would have been the edgier of the two, while WCW Thunder would have been more traditional. Bischoff also said that he knew the brand split wouldn’t happen when he found out the AOL/Time Warner merger was happening.
This was effectively the final nail in the coffin of WCW as the company was sold to WWE shortly afterward.
Bischoff has also mentioned in the past that he wanted to bring in more talent to help feature stars on Thunder. He has said this was one of the reasons he acquired Bret Hart in 1997.
Whether or not this was an early idea relating to splitting the WCW brands is unclear. However, it does show that Bischoff was thinking of more talent being on Thunder as early as 1997.