NWO impact unexpectd?

In honor of NWO week at WWE, my question is: did anyone at the time imagine it would be one of the biggest angles ever? Did Bischoff know he was capturing lightning in a bottle or was he surprised at what he created and just went with it. Did they have all the cool merch and commercials in mind or did they just come up with that stuff on the fly? A related question: if Hogan isn't the third man, does the whole invasion angle just peter out, and we never get the NWO-fueled ratings war with WWF. What does that do to the business?
I don't think anyone at the time ever imagined it would be so huge, no.  Everything was DEFINITELY made up on the fly.  Sometimes during the show itself.  And if Hogan isn't the third guy, then it ends by Starrcade with Hogan giving Hall and Nash the big legdrop, brother, perhaps in the same match, and we likely never hear about the nWo again after that.