Was it ever on the cards for Hulk Hogan to turn heel in the WWF back in 1993, prior to him leaving for WCW?
With hindsight, it seems like it would've been the natural thing to do. His act was already stale by that point and the fans were starting to turn against him anyway. A Hogan heel turn would've generated massive publicity for the struggling WWF at that time, and a feud between the newly hated Hogan and Bret Hart as the babyface underdog could've been a big draw.
All you ever heard from Vince McMahon at the time though was that he wanted Hulk Hogan to become the "Babe Ruth of the WWF", steadily phased out of the limelight but brought back periodically as a "special attraction".
McMahon was so fixated on this particular conception of Hogan's future that he couldn't see the forest for the trees. He could've stolen a march on WCW by a good three years and made a mint from a Hogan heel run.
Were they that blind that they couldn't see it? Surely turning a wrestler when his act is going stale is one of the oldest tricks in the wrestling promoter's manual? Did McMahon really just see Hogan as a perennial good guy and nothing besides?
Sure seems that way. Hogan for his part was equally behind the times, as he didn't see Bret Hart as a viable alternative to the top babyface spot, so blame can go both ways there. And then look at what Vince did as soon as Hogan left — he tried to create Lex Luger in his image as another patriotic top musclehead babyface! Plus, although Hogan's act was stale, it's not like people were actively booing him like they were once he got to WCW, so the dynamic might not have worked the same.