Re: What if Hall & Nash never left in 1996?
I think it would have almost be polar opposites if I'm honest. If Hall and Nash had stayed then that would have meant they had negotiated better contracts than what WCW had offered, that would have made The Clique even more powerful backstage than they already were. WWF television would have revolved around them, Michaels, Nash and Hall trading the World title with the likes of The Undertaker thrown into the mix. Triple H and Sean Waltman would have dominated the Intercontinental Title scene with HHH perhaps occasionally being used as a main-eventer during hiatus's and when a 'fresh' face was needed in a feud.
I believe Bret Hart would have been driven out soon afterwards and would have headed to WCW and taken Owen Hart, Davey Boy, Jim Neidhart and possibly Brian Pillman with him and would become a far more major player in WCW than he ever was. Not only do I think Hart would have left but I think Austin would have probably left again, but whether he would have headed to WCW or ECW is another question, same goes for Foley and maybe even The Rock who I think would have fitted in well with some of the top guys in WCW at the time.
I think if WCW hadn't have had the NWO to bail them out they would have had to have taken a different route altogether which is why I think you would have probably seen the back of the likes of Hogan, Randy Savage and possibly even Flair and the focus being switched to WWF refugees, home-made stars and youngsters. I think Goldberg would have probably become more like how Brock Lesnar was presented in his early WWE days, as an unstoppable monster heel who simply has no weaknesses. The Giant would have become one of the biggest heels in the company as well as Owen Hart who I feel would have made an amazing heel World Champion. Bret Hart and Sting would certainly be the faces of the company however it's tricky to figure out who else may have filled the higher ranks when it comes to faces. There would be a few options, DDP managed to become a huge star and seemed to avoid the revolving door of heel/face turns in the WCW/NWO era so there's no reason why he couldn't have done the same here. Davey Boy was hugely popular in the early nineties but had his demons, if he'd got his momentum and kept those demons under control he would certainly have been a force to reckon with. Two other names that spring to mind would be Konnan and Eddy Guerrero, both had arrived in WCW in late 1995/early 1996 and both were coming off of the back of being two of the biggest stars in Mexico. With their proven drawing power, youth and exciting ring styles I could see them both being massive players in a more youth focussed WCW and I think both would have certainly been in the higher ranks of the roster.