The New World Order (professional wrestling)
||This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (October 2009)|
|New World Order|
The nWo logo.
|Members||Hollywood Hulk Hogan (leader)
|Name(s)||New World Order
|904 lb (410 kg)|
|Debut||July 7, 1996|
|Disbanded||July 15, 2002|
|Years active||1996-2000, 2002, 2010|
The New World Order (commonly abbreviated NWO, in logo stylized as nWo) is a professional wrestling stable that originally consisted of Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. They are best known for their appearances in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and the World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment (WWF/E) throughout the 1990s and 2000s. The stable originated in WCW with the gimmick of a group of unsanctioned wrestlers aiming to "take over" and control WCW in the manner of a street gang; the group's initial three members and several others had gained fame in the rival WWF, although this connection was only implied. The group later appeared in the WWF (now known as WWE) after the purchase of WCW by the WWF. A similar group, known as The Band (which would later become interchangeable with the alias "The Wolfpac", a division of the nWo in WCW), appeared on Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) in 2010; although a resurrection of the nWo was implied, this group was never billed as such, since WWE owns the rights to this trademark.
The nWo angle became one of the most influential forces in the late 1990s success of WCW, and was instrumental in turning mainstream North American professional wrestling back into a more mature, adult-oriented product. Based on the Universal Wrestling Federation invasion angle in New Japan Pro Wrestling, and fueled initially by the unexpected heel turn of Hulk Hogan, the nWo storyline is generally considered one of the most successful angles in the history of modern-day professional wrestling, spawning several imitations and parodies (including groups such as bWo, lWo and oWn). It dominated WCW programming throughout the late-1990s and almost until the dissolution of WCW in 2001, during which time there were several, sometimes rival incarnations of the group. The nWo holds the record of the biggest wrestling stable in professional wrestling history.
- 1 Concept
- 2 History
- 2.1 World Championship Wrestling (1996–2001)
- 2.2 World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment (2002)
- 2.3 Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2010)
- 3 Legacy
- 4 List of incarnations and members
- 5 Music
- 6 Championships and accomplishments
- 7 Media
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The nWo storyline was an idea WCW Executive Vice President Eric Bischoff came up with after attending New Japan Pro Wrestling's Battle Formation show at the Tokyo Dome on April 29, 1996, which was headlined by a NJPW vs. UWF International match for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, as Shinya Hashimoto defeated Nobuhiko Takada. He wanted to do an invasion-type angle where WCW was being sabotaged by another wrestling group (initially insinuated as being the WWF, since its founding members had previously wrestled for the company). The nWo was originally portrayed as a separate entity from WCW (often, propaganda-style vignettes and product commercials concerning the nWo were preceded by an "interruption in the feed", and a voice proclaiming, "The following announcement has been paid for by the New World Order").
Others, such as Kevin Nash, television director Craig Leathers, chief WCW booker Terry Taylor, and Taylor's assistants Kevin Sullivan and Paul Orndorff, all contributed their own ideas to the nWo concept.
World Championship Wrestling (1996–2001)
On May 19, 1996, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash wrestled their final matches for the WWF as "Razor Ramon" and "Diesel," respectively. Both Hall and Nash had opted to sign with rival WCW instead of staying with the WWF, and as such made a homecoming of sorts; Hall, a former star in the American Wrestling Association, wrestled for WCW from 1989 until 1992 and Nash broke into the business with the company in 1990 and remained in WCW until 1993.
Eight days after his last WWF appearance, Hall showed up in Macon, Georgia for May 27's Nitro from the Macon Coliseum. As The Mauler and Steve Doll wrestled in the ring, Hall emerged from the audience and jumped over the guard rail, entered the ring bringing a halt to the match, and called for the ring announcer's microphone. "You all know who I am," Hall said to the stunned crowd, "but you don't know why I'm here." He went on to deliver a now-famous speech which has since become known as the "You Want a War?" speech, stating that he and unnamed allies had a challenge for WCW Executive Vice-President Eric Bischoff and any WCW superstar.
As Nitro neared its end, Hall accosted Bischoff, who was also the lead broadcaster for Nitro at the time, in the broadcast booth and demanded that he tell WCW owner Ted Turner to pick three of his best wrestlers. The next week, Hall reappeared on Nitro five minutes before the end of the broadcast and again interrogated Bischoff. Sting confronted and slapped Hall after Hall threw a toothpick at him, and Hall said he had a "little...no...BIG surprise" for Sting.
During the next Nitro, Hall again pestered Bischoff in the broadcast booth. Bischoff demanded to know of the "surprise" Hall had in store for Sting while being unaware that Nash, the surprise, was standing right behind him. Hall finally pointed his partner out, and Nash said, "So this is WCW, where the big boys play, huh? Look at the adjective: Play [sic]. We ain't here to play!" From then on, the two would become known as The Outsiders, randomly appearing at WCW events to cause trouble and (inevitably) be led out of the building by WCW security. Initially, the WCW broadcasters did not use "The Outsiders" to refer to Hall and Nash collectively, instead referring to Hall and Nash individually by their last names.
Despite the fact that Hall and Nash were both fully employed by WCW, the storyline's implication that they were WWF wrestlers "invading" WCW was enough of a concern to the WWF that it considered legal action over Hall and Nash's antics. Hall was the largest concern to the WWF; in addition to his usage of the terms "Billionaire Ted", "The Huckster", "The Nacho Man", and "Scheme Gene" (disparaging references to Turner, Hulk Hogan, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, and "Mean" Gene Okerlund that the WWF had made in early 1996 skits mocking WCW) in interviews, he had not fully distanced himself from his "Razor Ramon" character in the WWF, continuing to speak in a faux-Cuban accent and referring to people as "chico." WCW attempted to address these concerns at The Great American Bash in June 1996, where Bischoff invited The Outsiders to do an interview with him.
He promised them a match at the next pay-per-view event, and then directly asked both Hall and Nash if they were employed by the WWF, to which each replied in the negative. The WWF, still unsatisfied, filed a lawsuit, charging that Bischoff had proposed inter-promotional matches for TBS to associate the two companies with each other.
This was despite the fact that Ted Turner and WWF chairman Vince McMahon had carried on a rivalry for (at the time) eleven years, based on the fallout from McMahon's 1984 purchase of Georgia Championship Wrestling and its flagship program World Championship Wrestling, and the program's subsequent failure and McMahon's sale of its time slot to Jim Crockett Promotions (the forerunner to WCW). Also, prior to the nWo storyline, Bischoff routinely revealed results of taped episodes of Monday Night Raw, the WWF's flagship show, on live Nitro broadcasts (at the time RAW was only live every other week, as the WWF would show a live RAW on a Monday night and then tape the next week's show the following day) and had presided over a controversial angle on a December 1995 edition of Nitro in which Madusa, who had competed in the WWF as Alundra Blayze and was the reigning WWF Women's champion, appeared on the air with her championship belt and threw it in a trash can.
During their interview with Bischoff at The Great American Bash, both Hall and Nash pressed him again to name his company's three representatives. Bischoff said that he had found three men who would answer their challenge, but would not name them. Hall became skeptical of Bischoff's refusal and it led to an attack by both Outsiders, ending when Nash powerbombed Bischoff through the interview stage. Following this show, The Outsiders continued to randomly terrorize WCW events, always being chased away by armed security guards. Meanwhile, Bischoff held a draft on Nitro to determine WCW's representatives. Sting, his tag team partner Lex Luger, and Randy Savage were chosen. Meanwhile, The Outsiders had an ace up their sleeve: the mystery third man. It was rumored that Bret Hart was going to be the third man, as he was a free agent at the time, but he ended up signing a 20-year contract with the WWF, squashing the rumor.
The Hostile Takeover Match
The match Bischoff promised, a six-man tag billed as the "Hostile Takeover Match," was scheduled as the main event of Bash at the Beach, which was held at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Florida on July 7, 1996. Hall and Nash came to the ring by themselves, leaving speculation open as to who would be their partner. WCW interviewer "Mean Gene" Okerlund came into the ring immediately following Hall and Nash's entrance and, after discussing the situation with ring announcer Michael Buffer and referee Randy Anderson, demanded that The Outsiders tell him where their third man was. Hall and Nash assured Okerlund that their partner was in the building, but they did not need him at the moment. After Okerlund left the ring, Team WCW entered with all three members wearing face paint as a sign of solidarity.
The match did not start well for Team WCW, as Luger was taken out of the match shortly after it began. While he was being held in a corner by Nash, Sting ran over and hit a Stinger Splash to try to break up the hold. Although he hit Nash as well, Sting's move sandwiched Luger between Nash and the corner; Luger slumped to the mat unconscious and had to be removed from the arena on a stretcher. WCW announcer Bobby Heenan was heard on the broadcast asking for someone to come out and replace the injured Luger, since Hall and Nash had a third man waiting. With the match-up even at two a side for the moment and Hall and Nash's partner still yet to be revealed, the two sides continued to battle as announcers Heenan, Tony Schiavone, and Dusty Rhodes speculated as to who the third man was, at one point even accusing each other of being the third man.
The match reached its climax at approximately the sixteen-minute mark, shortly after a late tag from an exhausted Sting to Savage. Savage immediately went on the attack, nailing both Outsiders with repeated axe-handle smashes from the top rope. However, while referee Anderson checked on a downed Hall, Hall grabbed his shirt while Nash nailed Savage with a low blow which knocked both men to the mat. With all four men down, as Sting had not yet made it out of the ring, Anderson had no choice but to begin counting them out as he did not see the low blow. As he began his count, the fans' attention turned to the entrance area as Hulk Hogan entered and began walking to the ring to a loud roar from the crowd. Hall spotted him and immediately rolled out of the ring.
Hogan, who had not been seen on WCW television for some time, climbed into the ring to chase away Nash. He then characteristically tore off his T-shirt and threw it at The Outsiders, staring them down outside the ring while Hall and Nash feigned shock. Hogan then walked to the nearest corner, stared out at the crowd one final time, then stunned the audience into silence by hitting his leg drop finisher on the fallen Savage. The Outsiders returned to the ring as Hogan leg-dropped his long-time ally and friend for a second time, then high-fived Hall and Nash, officially revealing himself to be the third man. After Hall and Nash beat down Sting, who was making one final attempt to save the day for WCW, Hogan threw the bewildered Anderson out of the ring and hit a third and final leg drop on Savage while The Outsiders performed a mock three-count on Savage. The official match result was a no-contest and on commentary Schiavone said, "We are not even going to acknowledge that three-count... There was no three-count."
After Sting helped Savage back to the locker room, the crowd, which had only moments earlier given Hogan a loud ovation, began showing its anger and displeasure at his actions by throwing garbage into the ring. Hall later recalled that the fans throwing trash at the ring took him by surprise, as he had always believed that no matter how angry the fans got, they never should throw things at the wrestlers. One fan even ran onto the ring to confront the trio but was quickly subdued by kicks from both Hall and Nash as he tried to get under the ropes and was eventually taken away by WCW security.
While the fans continued to litter the ring with debris, Gene Okerlund reemerged from the back and headed down to the ring in order to get some idea as to why Hogan had done what he had. According to Okerlund, a fan threw a beer can at his face, causing him to have a nosebleed when he interviewed Hogan.
|“||Gene Okerlund: Hulk Hogan, excuse me! Excuse me. What in the world are you thinking?
Hulk Hogan: Mean Gene, the first thing you need to do is to tell these people to shut up if you wanna hear what I gotta say!
Okerlund: I have been with you for so many years, for you to join up with the likes of these two men absolutely makes me sick to my stomach! And I think that these people here (points to the crowd) and a lot of other people around the world have had just about enough of this man (pointing at Nash), this man (pointing at Hall), and you want to put yourself in this group? You've gotta be kidding me.
Hogan: Well, the first thing you gotta realize, brother, is this right here is the future of wrestling! You can call this the new world order of wrestling, brother!
Hogan's last statement gave the group its name - the New World Order. Hogan continued, reminding everybody of where Hall and Nash had come from and that he too had been there and how he had made the WWF a household name. Hogan followed by bringing up his signing with WCW in 1994.
|“||Hogan: And then Billionaire Ted, amigo, he wanted to talk turkey with Hulk Hogan. Well, Billionaire Ted promised me movies, brother. Billionaire Ted promised me millions of dollars. And Billionaire Ted promised me world-caliber matches. And as far as Billionaire Ted goes, Eric Bischoff, and the whole WCW goes, I'm bored, brother!||”|
He then declared that Hall and Nash were the kind of people he really wanted as his friends and that together, the three of them were going to take over WCW and destroy everything in their path. At this point, Okerlund directed Hogan to look at the debris strewn around the ring and told him that he could expect more of this if he chose to associate with Hall and Nash (subtly suggesting that Hogan should reconsider one more time). Hogan disregarded Okerlund and went into a tirade against the fans, who had largely turned against him over the previous eighteen months. In this tirade he managed to take another shot at Bischoff and some of the newer talent the fans were cheering.
|“||Okerlund (pointing at the debris on the mat): Look at all of this crap in this ring! This is what's in the future for you if you wanna hang around the likes of this man Hall and this man Nash.
Hogan: As far as I'm concerned, all this crap in the ring represents these fans out here! For two years, brother! For two years I held my head high! I did everything for the charities! I did everything for the kids! And the reception I got when I came out here, you fans can stick it, brother! Because if it wasn't for Hulk Hogan, you people wouldn't be here! If it wasn't for Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff would be still selling meat from a truck in Minneapolis! And if it wasn't for Hulk Hogan, all these johnny-come-latelies that you see out here, wrestling wouldn't be here! I was selling out the world, brother, while they were bumming gas to put in their car to get to high school! So the way it is now, brother, with Hulk Hogan and the new world organization of wrestling, brother, me and the new blood by my side... whatcha gonna do, brother, when the new world organization runs wild on you?
Hogan, Hall, and Nash attempted to attack Okerlund moments later; he threatened to sue if they did ("Hey, don't touch me! I've got a fleet of lawyers!"). The show closed with the three wrestlers continuing to taunt the fans, who booed and pelted them with garbage. Wrapping up the event on pay-per-view, a still-stunned Tony Schiavone said "Hulk Hogan, you can go to hell... Straight to hell."
As a result of Hogan's heel turn, wrestlers he had feuded with in the WWF, such as Savage and Roddy Piper, had their popularity as faces immensely boosted.
The night after Bash at the Beach, Hall and Nash arrived at Monday Nitro by themselves without Hogan and made no apologies for their actions. They also factored in the end of the program as they attempted to attack Sting, Arn Anderson and Randy Savage but were held back by WCW security. Hogan returned the next week on Nitro and assisted Hall and Nash in beating up Lex Luger and Big Bubba Rogers during Nitro's main event. He then made a challenge to the reigning WCW World Heavyweight Champion, The Giant, for Hog Wild in August.
The newly rechristened "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan won the match after knocking The Giant out with his title belt. After the match, The Booty Man came to the ring wearing an nWo t-shirt and carrying a cake and gift for Hogan, who was celebrating his birthday. All three nWo members assaulted Booty Man and left him lying unconscious on the outside of the ring. They did, however, make use of his gift- a can of black spray paint. Hogan spray painted "nWo" on the belt, and declared himself to be the nWo World Heavyweight Champion. This tagging would become a signature gesture of the group as they spray-painted almost anything with their initials, especially the backs of wrestlers they had knocked unconscious. Hogan would also refer to himself as the nWo champion during this and any other time he held the belt while a member of the group. Shortly thereafter the nWo began growing its ranks. Within two days of Hog Wild, Ted DiBiase made his WCW debut and in a play on his "Million Dollar Man" character in the WWF, it was said that he was the financier of the nWo. Since DiBiase could not be referred to on air as the Million Dollar Man, as the WWF had trademarked the name, DiBiase was given the nickname "Trillionaire Ted" as a play on the "Billionaire Ted" angle. On the September 2, 1996 Nitro, the nWo got its first defection from WCW as the Giant, who just weeks earlier had lost his title to Hogan, turned on his Dungeon of Doom teammates and attacked The Four Horsemen and Randy Savage as well.
As WCW's annual pay-per-view Fall Brawl was drawing closer, WCW was preparing their team to fight at Fall Brawl 1996: War Games against the nWo. On September 9 in Columbus, Georgia, the nWo tricked fans and wrestlers into thinking that Sting had joined the nWo by putting wrestler Jeff Farmer, who had last been seen in WCW one year earlier when he wrestled as Cobra, into the group as a Sting clone, complete with Sting attire and facepaint and by using a tape recording of Sting speaking in the nWo limousine. Farmer's resemblance to Sting was close enough that (at least in storyline) the announcers and wrestlers believed that Sting had betrayed WCW. This point was furthered when Farmer, as the fake Sting, attacked Lex Luger, who had been lured into an attack by referee Nick Patrick.
This led Luger, his longtime ally, friend and tag team partner, to publicly question Sting. At Fall Brawl, as Team WCW was being interviewed Sting came in and told his teammates that he had nothing to do with the attack. Luger told Sting rather bluntly that he did not believe him.
Going into the match only three wrestlers on each side had been officially named- Hogan and the Outsiders were to fight for the nWo and Luger, Arn Anderson, and Ric Flair for WCW. Sting had originally been named as the fourth man— in fact, Sting had enlisted his former rival Flair and Anderson to help him fend off the nWo in the match, but now his participation was in doubt. The last man out for team nWo was indeed the fake Sting, who apparently had convinced everyone (including the broadcast team) that the real Sting was nWo. However, Sting showed up as the last man for Team WCW and began taking apart the four members of the nWo by himself. After assaulting Hogan, Hall, Nash, and the bogus Sting, Sting walked over to Luger, shoved him, and said, "Is that good enough for ya?" Sting then left the ring and Team WCW, now fighting a 4-on-3 handicap match, lost when the nWo Sting locked Luger in the Scorpion Death Lock while Hogan executed a rear chinlock.
The next night on Nitro, an angry Sting laid into his fellow wrestlers as well as the fans for doubting his true colors. He came out unexpectedly, with no music or pyrotechnics, and kept his back to the camera purposely as he spoke:
|“||Sting: I want a chance to explain something that happened last Monday night at Nitro. Last Monday night I was on an airplane flying from L.A. to Atlanta. When I got to Atlanta, I tuned in the TV to Nitro. And I thought I was watching a rerun! It was a very convincing film. Often imitated, but never duplicated though! And what else did I see? I saw people, I saw wrestlers, I saw commentators, and I saw best friends DOUBT... the Stinger. That's right, doubted the Stinger! So I heard Lex Luger say 'I know where he lives, I know where he works out, I'm gonna go get him.' So I said to myself, I'll just go into seclusion. I'll wait and see what happens on Saturday Night, and I tuned in Saturday night, and what'd I see? More of the same... more DOUBT. Which brings me to Fall Brawl. I knew I had to get to Fall Brawl and get face to face with the Total Package to let him know that it wasn't me. And what I got out of that was, 'No Sting... I DON'T BELIEVE YOU STING!' Well, all I gotta say is I have been mediator, I have been babysitter for Lex Luger, and I've given him the benefit of the doubt about a thousand times in the last twelve months. And I've carried the WCW banner, and I have given my blood, my sweat, and my tears for WCW! So for all of those fans out there and all those wrestlers and people that never doubted the Stinger, I'll stand by you if you stand by me! But for all of the people, all of the commentators, all of the wrestlers, and all of the best friends who did doubt me, you can stick it! From now on I consider myself a free agent, but that doesn't mean that you won't see the Stinger; from time to time, I'm gonna pop-in when you least expect it."||”|
With that, Sting began a retreat from the ring that would last for the next fifteen months and in the process left his loyalties on the table for either side to try and move him to theirs. The nWo stepped up its efforts to try and recruit Sting, yet never removed the fake Sting from the group. In fact, as Sting's character and look evolved, so too did Farmer's nWo Sting character, although he never actually adopted any of Sting's characteristics other than the carrying of a black metal baseball bat to the ring.
On the same night that Sting made his speech, the nWo inducted its sixth official member into the group as new WCW signee Sean Waltman, who was friends with Hall and Nash and who had wrestled as "The 1-2-3 Kid" in the WWF, came in and became known as Syxx. In October, the nWo debuted Vincent, who had previously been DiBiase's manservant in the WWF as "Virgil", as its "head of security". Referee Nick Patrick became the group's official referee after he began showing partiality to nWo members during their matches. Miss Elizabeth turned against the Four Horsemen and joined the group as Hogan's valet.
The nWo continued to dominate WCW, with Hogan successfully retaining his "nWo" World Heavyweight Championship against Randy Savage and Hall and Nash winning the WCW World Tag Team Championship from Harlem Heat (Booker T and Stevie Ray) at Halloween Havoc 1996. In the meantime The Giant stole Ric Flair's WCW United States Championship and claimed it for himself, even though he had no right nor any reason to.
As WCW only recognized Hogan, Nash, and Hall as WCW employees due to their holding WCW titles, the other nWo members went unrecognized as WCW employees; because of this, they were unable to wrestle other WCW wrestlers. This led to the nWo starting a segment on WCW Saturday Night, called nWo Saturday Night, where nWo stable members wrestled jobbers with a referee wearing an nWo t-shirt and a gray ski mask presiding over the matches. These segments were taped prior to Nitro broadcasts in the empty arenas, with appropriate crowd noise pumped in.
The nWo used their financing to purchase ad time during WCW programming, which amounted to low budget anti-WCW propaganda. They would also hijack the broadcast signal on occasion. While all of this was going on, the nWo began gaining more and more power.
In October at Halloween Havoc, Roddy Piper made his WCW debut and immediately went after Hogan. For the next several weeks Piper pressed Eric Bischoff to give him a match against Hogan. However, a contract was never agreed to and Piper grew restless as the weeks wore on. The entire situation came to a head at the end of the November 18 edition of Nitro. Bischoff, who was still the program's lead broadcaster and who had continued to rail against the nWo, went into the ring on air and claimed that he and WCW management had gone to Piper's home in Portland, Oregon to try to negotiate a contract with him and his representatives for a match against Hogan.
Bischoff also claimed that Piper was not in the building but swore he would work with him to get the match signed. An irate Piper finally had enough and stormed to the ring while Bischoff was talking, to the surprise of the WCW Executive Vice-President. He immediately called Bischoff a liar and began asking him questions that Bischoff had no answers for. While Piper was asking his questions, The Giant ran down to the ring and grabbed him. Syxx, Hall, Nash, and Vincent followed and each tried to hold Piper back from attacking Bischoff. Hogan and DiBiase then entered the ring, with Hogan walking over to Bischoff and hugging him. Hogan then took the microphone from Bischoff and revealed to the crowd that WCW's Executive Vice-President had been working for the nWo all along.
Bischoff and Hogan eventually got Piper to sign the contract at World War 3 six days later (November 24), but the signing did not come without an nWo attack. Nevertheless, Piper and Hogan were booked for a match at Starrcade in December. The next night on Nitro, Bischoff permanently left the broadcast booth and became an egomaniacal tyrant as WCW Executive Vice President as well as a manager-type figure within the nWo.
At the top of the program, Bischoff issued an ultimatum to the WCW locker room. All wrestlers were given thirty days to have their WCW contracts switched over to nWo contracts and join the group. Anyone who failed to comply would become an nWo target, as Bischoff plainly stated at the end of his speech: "Either you're with us, or you're against us."
Almost immediately after Bischoff's speech, The American Males, Scotty Riggs and Marcus Bagwell, headed to the ring. Riggs and Bagwell, who had won the WCW World Tag Team Championship in September 1995 but had largely floundered since, had been having some friction over the previous weeks that came to a head when Bagwell attacked his tag team partner out of frustration after being eliminated from the World War 3 battle royal the night before. Bagwell and Riggs were debating the question of joining the nWo, with Bagwell wanting to join and Riggs refusing to. Bagwell finally turned on his partner and attacked him, with the rest of the nWo joining in. Upon his induction into the group, Bagwell changed his look and became known as "Buff" Bagwell, playing off his muscular physique. Others who joined the nWo were Mr. Wallstreet on December 9 and Big Bubba Rogers and Scott Norton on December 16. Japanese wrestler Masahiro Chono also joined the group on December 16 and established himself as the leader of nWo Japan, a sister stable in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
The Giant won a 60-man battle royal at World War 3 1996, earning a title match against Hogan. At Starrcade 1996, Piper defeated Hogan in a non-title match. At the same event, after costing Diamond Dallas Page the United States championship in a tournament final against Eddie Guerrero, the nWo retook possession of the belt and the belt was given to Syxx, beginning a feud between those two. The next night, The Giant was kicked out of the nWo when he refused to choke slam Piper in an nWo assault.
Toward the end of the year, on an episode of Nitro, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash introduced Kyle Petty from NASCAR as an honorary member of the group, as Petty drove the nWo race car on the Busch Series circuit (Petty had been previously involved in an angle with Jim Crockett Promotions, the predecessor of WCW, as a "judge" in the "Million Dollar Match" between Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair at Starrcade 1984 that featured Joe Frazier as referee for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship). An angle was run where The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott) "vandalized" the nWo car at a racetrack by peeling off the wrap (NASCAR teams often use vinyl wrap to cover a car instead of painting the car; multiple schemes printed on vinyl similar to decals are positioned, and each may be peeled off to show another scheme for another race), scaring off Petty and replacing him with Steve Grissom. In reality, the deal with Dan Shaver Racing had two drivers driving in selected races each. As part of the angle, Grissom's races carried the WCW paint scheme and Petty's an nWo paint scheme.
At the start of 1997, nWo had become so powerful, they began to get over and popular with the WCW fanbase and they even had their own pay-per-view event, titled Souled Out. Hogan and The Giant fought to a no contest in the main event due to the nWo referee, Nick Patrick, being biased toward Hogan in the match. U.S. champion Eddie Guerrero retained his title against Syxx in a ladder match. Nash and Hall lost their WCW World Tag Team Championship to The Steiner Brothers, but Bischoff re-awarded them the titles the next night on Nitro after claiming that Randy Anderson, who ran in to officiate after Nick Patrick was knocked down, was not an official referee for Souled Out; Bischoff also fired Anderson for his actions. The nWo went 4-1 in the remaining matches on the card, with the only loss suffered by Mr. Wallstreet in his match against Jeff Jarrett.
At SuperBrawl VII, Piper wrestled Hogan for the title in a losing effort. This match marked the first time (and one of the few times) that Hogan had successfully pinned Piper. Randy Savage, who had recently returned and was at ringside for the match, helped Hogan win by slipping him brass knuckles, which Hogan then used to knock Piper out. Savage then participated in a post-match beatdown of Piper, cementing his place in the nWo. Earlier that night, The Outsiders lost their titles to Lex Luger and The Giant, while Syxx defeated Dean Malenko for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. The next night, Bischoff again returned the tag team titles to The Outsiders, as Luger had been injured and was not cleared to wrestle in the match. Luger, however, would not immediately give Bischoff the belt back and instead issued a challenge for a "winner-take-all" tag team match at WCW Uncensored, which Bischoff accepted. Two weeks later, on the March 3 edition of Nitro, Turner Sports president Harvey Schiller suspended Bischoff for abuse of his office. Around that same time, NBA star Dennis Rodman became a member of the nWo.
Luger's challenge turned into a three-team elimination match at WCW Uncensored. He was on Team WCW with The Giant and The Steiner Brothers. Team nWo consisted of Hogan, The Outsiders, and Randy Savage. A third team was headed by Roddy Piper, who was still angry over his loss to Hogan at SuperBrawl, and consisted of himself and three of the Four Horsemen – Steve McMichael, Jeff Jarrett, and Chris Benoit. The match did not start well for Team WCW as the nWo jumped Rick Steiner backstage and left him unable to compete. The nWo eliminated every wrestler except for Luger without losing a man, but Luger rallied to eliminate Hall, Nash, and Savage. However, Savage hit Luger with a can of spray paint (given to him by Rodman) while Hogan was in Luger's finishing hold, the Torture Rack, and Nash held the referee with his back to the action, which enabled Hogan to pin Luger and win the match for the nWo. In addition to winning, per a pre-match stipulation, the nWo gained the right to challenge for any WCW championship whenever and wherever they pleased. The event, however, did end on a happy note for WCW as Sting descended from the rafters and attacked every member of Team nWo with a baseball bat and his signature move the Scorpion Deathdrop, thereby indicating his allegiance to WCW.
At Spring Stampede 1997, tension began to surface within the nWo ranks. Nick Patrick was kicked out of the group after counting Savage out in his loss to Diamond Dallas Page as Nash powerbombed him in the middle of the ring. The show ended with Savage and Bischoff at each other's throats and forcing them both to be held back by other group members. J.J. Dillon, who was appointed as WCW commissioner during Bischoff's suspension, later had Big Bubba Rogers and Mr. Wallstreet removed from the nWo due to a contractual technicality. Finally, Ted DiBiase quit the group months later and joined The Steiner Brothers on the August 4 episode of Nitro as their manager. In the interim, the nWo recruited The Great Muta on May 26, and Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Hiro Saito several weeks after Spring Stampede; they made occasional appearances on television due to their working for New Japan Pro Wrestling (with which WCW had a working relationship). The nWo also added Konnan, whom they dubbed "K-Dogg", on July 14 after he attacked Rey Mysterio, Jr. while Kevin Nash watched.
At Bash at the Beach in July, Dennis Rodman made his wrestling debut as he teamed with Hogan to take on Luger and The Giant in a tag team match. Luger won the match for his team by forcing Hogan to submit to the Torture Rack, and earned a World Heavyweight Championship shot at Road Wild, set for August. Luger, however, elected to take his shot on the August 4 edition of Nitro, five days before the pay-per-view, and defeated Hogan to win the championship. Hogan managed to regain the title at Road Wild after Rodman, dressed up as Sting, hit Luger with a baseball bat; as the show ended the nWo celebrated in the locker room as Rodman "rechristened" the WCW championship by spray-painting the nWo logo on it.
After Road Wild the nWo began a rivalry with The Four Horsemen, marked by a skit where they dressed as members of the group and mocked the Horsemen. The skit surrounded the recent addition of Curt Hennig to the Horsemen in place of a retiring Arn Anderson. The Horsemen responded by challenging the nWo to the annual WarGames match at Fall Brawl in September. The match pitted Flair, Hennig, McMichael and Benoit against Nash, Konnan, Syxx, and Buff Bagwell. During the match Hennig feigned a shoulder injury, then revealed it was all a ruse as he attacked his Horsemen teammates and provided the nWo with several pairs of handcuffs.
The nWo then used the handcuffs to lock Benoit and McMichael to the cage structure so all five members of the nWo (the four wrestlers already involved in the match plus Hennig) could beat on Flair. Despite the assault on Flair as well as the beating of the helpless Benoit and McMichael, the Horsemen refused to surrender and Benoit punctuated this by spitting in Bagwell's face twice. Finally, Hennig dragged Flair to the door of the cage and threatened to slam Flair's head in between the cage and the door if the Horsemen refused to surrender. McMichael then surrendered the match, which Nash relayed to the crowd, and the nWo was victorious in WarGames for a second consecutive year. To put an end to the night, Hennig slammed the cage door on Flair's head anyway and caused an injury severe enough that Flair missed several weeks of action. The next night, Hennig came out wearing Flair's robe, which he gave to Hogan as a gift, and later that evening became the fifth nWo member to hold a WCW championship at the time (after Hogan, Hall, Nash & Syxx) when he defeated McMichael for his United States Championship.
On the November 10, 1997 edition of Nitro, which followed the Montreal Screwjob at the WWF's Survivor Series the night before, the nWo came to the ring waving Canadian flags and Eric Bischoff announced that Bret Hart, the victim of said screwjob, was signed with WCW and would be joining the nWo upon his debut. One week later Rick Rude, who had been working for the WWF on a handshake deal for several weeks and who just six days prior had taped his appearance for that week's Raw Is War, returned to WCW as a member of the nWo and criticized Shawn Michaels for claiming he was the WWF Champion when he hadn't really beaten Hart, as well as proclaiming his sympathy for Hart and his desire for retribution against the wrestler who had ended his in-ring career three years earlier, Sting. Scott Hall then won a 60-man Battle Royal at World War 3 1997, and per a pre-match stipulation earned a WCW World Heavyweight Championship shot at SuperBrawl VIII scheduled for the following February.
Bret Hart made his WCW debut on the December 15, 1997 edition of Nitro and put to rest the speculation as to whether or not he was going to join the nWo by declaring he would not. Hart also said that he was named the special guest referee for Bischoff's match with Larry Zbyszko at Starrcade for control of Nitro. On the Monday before Starrcade, as a legitmate test run of an nWo centric program, the nWo completely took over the Monday night program. They tore down the set and ran off commentators Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, and Mike Tenay. They then replaced all WCW logos with the nWo logo and turned WCW Monday Nitro into nWo Monday Nitro. This event was intended as a legit test run for a permanent changeover of Nitro to an nWo-centric show, with the soon-debuting Thunder becoming the WCW-centric prime-time show (R.D. Reynolds and Bryan Alvarez, in their book The Death of WCW, claimed that this was part of a plan of Bischoff's to further relegate the WWF in wrestling's pecking order, treating the nWo and WCW as two separate promotions. However, due to abysmal ratings following the twenty-plus minutes of the conversion of the set on live television, the plan for an nWo weekly show was quietly dropped, with the only evidence being the occasional nWo Monday Nitro t-shirt being worn by an nWo member (Bischoff would also use the nWo Monday Nitro theme as his own entrance music for sometime afterward).
At Starrcade 1997, Zbyszko defeated Bischoff by disqualification after Scott Hall interfered, giving full control of Nitro to WCW. In the main event, Hogan lost the WCW Championship to Sting. Hogan had originally pinned Sting, but confusion arose when Bret Hart appeared at ringside and accused referee and former nWo member Nick Patrick of making a fast count, claiming "it would never happen again" (referencing the Montreal Screwjob). In reality, Nick Patrick was supposed to make it a fast count, revealing himself to be a crooked official. By Bret Hart's account in his biography, Patrick simply forgot to speed up the count, which left the fans extremely confused. Hart laid out Patrick and ordered the match to continue with himself as the referee. Hogan then submitted to Sting's Scorpion Death Lock.
Shortly after Hogan lost the belt at Starrcade, the nWo started showing signs of division within the group. For example, whereas before the group traveled to the arena together in one limousine, as 1998 began they all began traveling in separate cars. Though Bischoff denied any problems existed, clearly there were. Because of the controversy surrounding Sting's title win, James J. Dillon vacated the title on January 8, 1998 on the inaugural episode of WCW Thunder. This prompted Sting to finally speak after 16 months, telling Dillon "You got no guts!" before turning to Hogan and declaring him a "dead man".
In addition to the title being vacated, Scott Hall was still slated to face the world champion at SuperBrawl as per the stipulation surrounding his World War 3 win, and this also would have to be resolved with the vacant championship. New WCW commissioner Roddy Piper resolved that at Souled Out on January 24. Piper acknowledged Hall's number one contendership, but declared that since there was no champion for him to face at SuperBrawl he would face the winner of a second Hogan vs. Sting match at WCW Uncensored in March.
Later that evening the feud between Hall and Larry Zbyszko came to an end when he defeated Hall by disqualification when Louie Spicolli, who had just signed with WCW a month earlier, interfered. After the match Dusty Rhodes, who had been in the broadcast booth that night and who Zbyszko had asked to come to the ring with him, joined Hall and Spicolli in attacking Zbyszko and joined the nWo, where he served as a mentor to Hall.
While that was going on, Kevin Nash was banned from using his finisher, the jackknife powerbomb. At Souled Out he attempted to perform the move on The Giant in their match, but could not lift the 500-pound wrestler over his head and instead dropped him on his head and neck leading to a severe injury that kept The Giant out of action for several weeks. This led to J.J. Dillon announcing on Nitro that the jackknife as well as any variation of the powerbomb were barred from WCW, and that anyone using the move(s) would be seriously fined and disqualified for that match. He also said that if Nash attempted his finisher, not only would he be disqualified and fined, but escorted out of the arena by Doug Dilinger and the WCW security. Nash called Dillon's bluff in a match later that evening by powerbombing Ray Traylor, which led to him being handcuffed and escorted from the building by security.
The nWo continued to expand their ranks into the new year as former WWF star Brian Adams jumped ship to WCW and joined the nWo. Hogan gained a second bodyguard when Ed Leslie, who had previously tried to join the nWo at Road Wild in 1996, debuted as a barely recognizable bearded biker dubbed "The Disciple".
Soon, problems began to arise between Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage on the January 5, 1998 main event of Nitro. Savage had attempted to defeat Lex Luger on numerous occasions, but lost because of botched interference from fellow nWo members, including Hogan. This led to heated arguments between Savage and Hogan, and there were near physical confrontations between Savage and Nash.
At SuperBrawl VIII, the nWo had a mixed array of success. Hall and Nash regained the tag team championships from the Steiner Brothers after Scott Steiner unexpectedly turned on his brother Rick and manager Ted DiBiase. Scott handed the belts to Hall and Nash after the match and celebrated with The Outsiders and Dusty Rhodes, marking his induction into the nWo. However, Hogan lost to Sting in a match for the vacated world championship, and was attacked by Savage late in the match when he hit a downed Hogan with a can of spray paint while Sting fought off the rest of the group. This was in retaliation for Hogan calling the nWo back when they tried to interfere on his behalf in a match against Luger earlier that night.
After SuperBrawl Savage then made his intentions clear. He declared that he no longer needed the nWo's help to win matches, that Hogan had dropped the ball, and that he was going after Sting to try to bring the world championship back to the nWo. Hogan and Savage tried to one-up each other on episodes of Nitro and Thunder over the next few weeks, which led to a steel cage match at Uncensored in March which ended in a no contest. Savage then stated to Hogan that there were certain members of the nWo who were plotting to throw him out of the group, which were the first signs of a breakup of the group. Earlier that night, Hall lost his World War 3-earned title match against Sting.
The rift between the different factions of the nWo grew wider after Syxx, who had been out injured since October, was released from his contract. Shortly thereafter Scott Hall was removed from television and this led to a confrontation between Kevin Nash, Eric Bischoff, and Hogan on the March 26 edition of Thunder. Hogan told Nash that he didn't know where Hall was and made a shoot statement regarding Syxx saying that he "couldn't cut the mustard;" in reality, Hall had been sent to rehab to deal with his ongoing alcoholism. Sean Waltman (Syxx) returned to the World Wrestling Federation four days later as X-Pac and returned the favor, saying that if Hall and Nash were contractually able to do so, they would jump ship and follow him back to the WWF, which led Bischoff to respond with a simple "bite me" on the April 6 Nitro;
The differences within the nWo were becoming more apparent. Randy Savage and Nash were suddenly realizing that Hogan was only looking out for himself, and the nWo was secondary. Nash sided with Savage after Hogan had interfered in a number of Sting/Nash matches, not wanting to have to face Nash to take back his title. Nash supported Savage in his quest to defeat Sting, but also agreed to team with Hogan against the returning Roddy Piper and The Giant in a Baseball Bat on a Pole Match. Nash made it clear, however, that he would just as soon use the bat on Hogan. At Spring Stampede 1998, Hogan and Nash defeated Piper and The Giant. After the match, Hogan assaulted Nash. Nash later helped Savage defeat Sting by powerbombing the champion, earning Savage the win, the title, and the ire of Hogan who came out following the match arguing that Savage had "his title". Hogan and The Disciple then attacked Nash and Savage to close out the show.
The next night on Nitro, the long-awaited split of the nWo began taking shape. To lead off the evening, Hogan issued a challenge to the new champion for his title, and WCW Commissioner Roddy Piper made the match both a no-disqualification match and also said no run-ins would be permitted. Savage and Nash made their own speech later, where Nash said to Hogan "have a nice life" and implied that the nWo was not going to be together, at least in its current form, when the night was over. Hogan and Savage faced off in the main event of the program in a very physical match where both men resorted to whatever means they could think of to try and take the other out.
Late in the match, while Hogan and Savage were fighting in a corner, The Disciple entered the ring and gave referee Nick Patrick a neckbreaker. While this was allowed, due to the match being no-DQ, it also meant that no one was able to stop Hogan and Disciple from doing whatever they wanted to an exhausted and beaten Savage, who was wrestling with a legitimate knee injury that he exacerbated by landing on the knee while performing his trademark flying elbow (and would eventually result in his missing nearly a year of action after surgery shortly thereafter). They started by dragging Savage to a corner and wrapping his injured knee around the steel ringpost. After Hogan declared he was done, he ordered Disciple to grab the world title belt and come into the ring. As he had done numerous times before for Hogan, The Disciple hit his finisher, The Apocalypse, on Savage while the belt was draped over his shoulder.
Just after this, a furious Nash charged to the ring to aid the fallen Savage. After Nash entered the ring, Eric Bischoff came running from the back and slid into the ring to intercept him. Bischoff grabbed Nash's leg and held on to it, distracting him long enough so Hogan and Disciple could attack him. Hogan then told Disciple to hold Nash so he could give him a belt shot, but Nash ducked and Hogan knocked Disciple out. Nash then set up for the jackknife powerbomb, with Bischoff trying to stop him with several martial arts kicks to the back that had no effect. After tossing Bischoff aside, Nash nailed the jackknife powerbomb on Hogan. As the match was still going on, Nash pulled Savage on top of Hogan and went to revive Patrick as Bret Hart entered the ring. Hart picked up the title belt, struck Nash with it, rolled Hogan back over Savage, and revived the referee so he could count Savage out. Although Hogan was WCW World Heavyweight Champion for a fourth time and appeared to have taken the reins of the nWo again, the members of the group itself were now going to have to choose whose side they would be on: his or Nash's.
On the May 4 edition of Nitro, Kevin Nash, Randy Savage, and Konnan appeared wearing black shirts with a red nWo logo, as opposed to the familiar white logo. They called themselves nWo Wolfpac (a name which Nash had previously been using alongside Hall and Syxx to refer to themselves as a trio), and were joined in the following weeks by Curt Hennig, Miss Elizabeth, Rick Rude and Dusty Rhodes. The Wolfpac became the first nWo incarnation to wrestle as faces. Hogan's side retained the black and white colors of the original nWo and took on the moniker nWo Hollywood, with Vincent, Bischoff, Scott Steiner, Scott Norton, Brian Adams, and The Disciple on his side. Bret Hart never officially joined either side but supported nWo Hollywood as a member recruiter.
The allegiances of two nWo members were not yet known, however. First, Buff Bagwell suffered a severe neck injury at a Thunder taping the night after Hogan defeated Savage when Rick Steiner drove his head into the mat accidentally and was gone for several months. Also, the mysterious absence of Scott Hall was not resolved although he and Nash continued to be WCW Tag Team Champions. This didn't stop either side from recruiting new members, however, and the first WCW member to join one of the nWo factions caused a major problem for one of the main events for May's Slamboree. Nash and Hall were to defend their world tag team championships against two of WCW's stalwarts, Sting and The Giant. However, The Giant joined nWo Hollywood shortly before Slamboree as retribution for Nash injuring him at Souled Out in January. Despite this, the Giant maintained his alliance with Sting, but strongly suggested that Sting had a decision to make in terms of his allegiance. What happened at Slamboree exacerbated this problem.
Hall made his return to WCW in the colors of the Wolfpac for The Outsiders' title defense. During the match, however, he turned on Nash by hitting him with the title belt, which gave the win to the team of Sting and The Giant. The next night Hall was introduced as the newest member of nWo Hollywood.
On the May 25 edition of Nitro the Wolfpac added Lex Luger, who said joining "just feels right" and urged his friend Sting to join him. However, nWo Hollywood was not ready to see Sting join the Wolfpac and made their own effort to woo Sting. Sting revealed his decision on the following week's Nitro, swerving Hogan into believing that he was going to join his side, then turning on him and tearing off the black and white T-shirt he was wearing to reveal a red and black one underneath. As part of his joining the Wolfpac, Sting began painting his face red and black instead of the black and white "Crow" style face-paint he had been wearing since 1996.
At The Great American Bash 1998, the Wolfpac lost two members as Hennig and Rude turned on Konnan following a loss and joined nWo Hollywood. It was not a total loss for the red and black, however, as Sting defeated The Giant in a singles match for control of the vacated tag team championships. The next night on Nitro, Sting chose Nash as his partner and the two began defending the titles.
In the meantime, a new contender for Hogan's championship emerged in undefeated rookie and United States Champion Goldberg, who had run off an impressive string of victories. On the July 2, 1998 edition of Thunder, Goldberg was granted a title match against Hogan for the July 6 edition of Nitro. However, Hogan changed his mind and forced Goldberg to wrestle Scott Hall in order to earn his title match. Goldberg defeated Hall and then topped Hogan in the main event to win his first WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
After his loss to Goldberg, Hogan turned his attention to celebrity matches for the next two months, wrestling in two tag team matches at Bash at the Beach and Road Wild. Hogan won the first match with Dennis Rodman over Diamond Dallas Page and Karl Malone. The second match was a culmination of a storyline involving several Tonight Show skits involving Jay Leno making fun of Hogan, which resulted in Hogan and Eric Bischoff taking over the show and Diamond Dallas Page coming to save the day. Hogan and Bischoff lost to Page and Leno thanks to interference from Kevin Eubanks.
Meanwhile the feud between Scott Hall and Kevin Nash continued while Nash continued to defend his half of the tag team championship with Sting. On the July 20 edition of Nitro Hall and The Giant challenged the champions to a match for the titles. Late in the match Bret Hart, who had been feuding with Sting over the previous few weeks, came out in an attempt to attack Sting. Sting knocked Hart to the floor and climbed the turnbuckle to taunt him, but the momentary lapse in concentration enabled Hall to hit the Outsiders Edge and pin Sting to take the tag team championships back to the black and white.
The nWo Wolfpac became hugely popular amongst wrestling fans in the summer of 1998 while continuing their battle with nWo Hollywood, and formed a somewhat uneasy alliance with the WCW roster. Meanwhile, Hulk Hogan had his own battle to deal with in the form of The Warrior, who returned to wrestling on an August edition of Nitro. Warrior formed his own faction dubbed the One Warrior Nation, which included himself and former nWo member The Disciple.
The feud between Hall and Nash culminated in a singles match at Halloween Havoc in October, where Hall earned a countout win after Nash left the ring following two Jackknife Powerbombs. Nash later stated that he didn't care about winning the match, he just wanted his friend back. On the same night Hollywood Hogan defeated The Warrior when Hogan's nephew, Horace, interfered and joined nWo Hollywood. Bret Hart defeated Wolfpac member Sting, putting him out of action for about 6 months.
At World War 3 1998, nWo Hollywood attacked Scott Hall and kicked him out of the group for disrespecting Hogan and Bischoff a few weeks earlier. Kevin Nash went on to win the 60 man battle royal and earned a WCW World Title shot against the still-undefeated Goldberg. On the Thanksgiving episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, nWo Hollywood leader Hollywood Hogan announced his retirement from professional wrestling. Scott Steiner went on to assume the leadership role in the nWo Hollywood faction.
At Starrcade 1998, Nash handed Goldberg his first loss and won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Hall interfered in the match and shocked Goldberg with a cattle prod, incapacitating him long enough for an oblivious Nash to hit the Jackknife Powerbomb and score the win.
At the first Nitro after Starrcade '98, the main event would be between WCW/nWo President Eric Bischoff and WCW's franchise player Ric Flair. This was after months of feuding and weeks of demanding a match against Bischoff for the presidency of the company. Flair declared he would give up all his possessions if he lost and the match was made by Bischoff who believed that Flair would not be able to compete after having a kayfabe heart attack during a promo. Bischoff tried to leave the building to avoid the match and stepped into a limousine occupied by Flair's fellow Horsemen Steve 'Mongo' McMichael and Chris Benoit. They carried him from the back to the ring where Ric Flair beat him up in a one sided affair. Members of the nWo Black and White came to Bischoff's aid but were prevented from reaching the ring by the Four Horsemen.
While the Horsemen battled the nWo and Flair beat Bischoff in the ring, the Giant made his way through the melee and headbutted Flair. The Giant went for his signature chokeslam but was interrupted by a returning Macho Man Randy Savage, accompanied for the first time by new girlfriend Gorgeous George. Due to injury Savage had not been seen on WCW TV since June 15. Savage tricked the Giant into thinking he had his back, as Savage was donning an nWo Black and White shirt, and then 'low-blowed' him and knocked him out of the ring. Flair put his signature figure-four leg-lock on Bischoff and beat him in the center of the ring which was now surrounded by pro-WCW wrestlers and Horsemen. Flair celebrated with post-match knee drops on Bischoff and was joined by in the ring by other WCW talent and commentators Tony Schiavone and Larry Zybysko. Flair became WCW president for 90s days and Bischoff was relegated back to his old position as an on-air commentator. The ending of the match symbolized a new beginning for WCW heading into 1999 and appeared to be the possible conclusion to the nWo storyline.
As 1999 began, the divided nWo factions were led by world champion Nash, who was unhappy with Hall's actions at Starrcade, and Scott Steiner, who had taken over nWo Hollywood following Hogan's retirement in November. On the first Nitro of the new year, which took place at Atlanta's Georgia Dome, Nash and Goldberg were scheduled to face off in a Starrcade rematch as Nash had promised on the December 28 edition of Nitro. However, nWo Hollywood accused the former champion of stalking Miss Elizabeth and Goldberg was arrested and taken from the arena in handcuffs.
Later that night Hogan made his return to WCW for the first time since November 1998 and was challenged by the reigning champion. Hogan accepted Nash's request and took Goldberg's place in the main event. In the match, after the bell rang to begin the bout, Hogan poked Nash in the chest, after which Nash fell to the mat. Hogan covered Nash for the win and became champion again. After the win Hogan celebrated in the ring with Nash, Hall, and Scott Steiner, revealing that it was all a conspiracy and the nWo had reunited under the Wolfpac label. However, while Hogan, Hall, Nash, Steiner, Lex Luger, Konnan, Buff Bagwell, Eric Bischoff and Miss Elizabeth were part of the Wolfpac, the undercard wrestlers in the nWo (The Giant, Curt Hennig, Horace Hogan, Stevie Ray, Brian Adams and Vincent) were still in the black and white colors of nWo Hollywood and never were officially assimilated back into the group. This short-lived group was sardonically labeled the nWo B-Team by fans and commentators. This "B-Team" was a staple of WCW programming throughout 1999 and Stevie Ray was eventually made their leader. This B version of the nWo officially consisted of Stevie Ray, Vincent, Horace, Scott Norton, and Brian Adams. Konnan was one of the first people eliminated from the group, after being attacked by Lex Luger. He would then align with Rey Misterio, Jr. and feud with the nWo. Sting and Savage, members of the Wolfpac, were on hiatus during the nWo reuniting and did not partake in the now-heel stable upon their return.
End of the nWo era
The reunited New World Order did not last long for either faction.
nWo Elite/Wolfpac enjoyed initial success with Hollywood Hogan as WCW World Heavyweight Champion, Scott Steiner as World Television Champion and Scott Hall as United States Heavyweight Champion. However, they were wrecked by injuries when Hall's foot was accidentally backed over by a car and he was put on the shelf (and subsequently was stripped of the title) while Lex Luger suffered a torn biceps and as a result he and Elizabeth went on hiatus. Luger would appear sporadically in May and June 1999 on WCW Monday Nitro. Hogan dropped the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at Uncensored to Ric Flair and Steiner lost his World Television Championship to Booker T after Buff Bagwell accidentally nailed him with a chair. Shortly after, Steiner beat him down and threw him out of the group. Scott later reunited with his brother Rick, who interfered on Scott's behalf during his match with Bagwell at Slamboree in May 1999. Scott then inducted Rick into the nWo, although Rick never actually embraced it. A month earlier, Hollywood Hogan was severely injured during a fatal four-way match (with Page, Flair and a returned, white-painted Sting with a returned Randy Savage as the guest referee) at Spring Stampede for the World title, which Diamond Dallas Page won, and was put out of action indefinitely. It has been debated whether this injury was legitimate or not. Nash then began a rivalry with Page, who he blamed for causing Hogan's injury, and defeated him for the World title at Slamboree. By this point, however, the nWo storyline had petered. Scott Steiner was forced to go on hiatus due to a back injury. Other minor members included Disco Inferno, David Flair, and Samantha. Inferno engaged in a feud with Konnan that ended with a loss to him at Spring Stampede 1999 (which was the quiet end of his membership) while Flair and Samantha were quietly removed from television following Hogan's title loss at Uncensored.
Earlier that year, nWo Black and White (which was the B-Team of the New World Order) saw The Giant and Curt Hennig beaten down and removed from the group (with Hall explaining that it was "time to trim the fat"), The Giant would later become The Big Show at WWF's St. Valentine's Day Massacre: In Your House, and Hennig would later team with Barry Windham, while the others continued on with a storyline that saw every member told by Hogan they were the leader of the group. This led to infighting that eventually saw Stevie Ray win control defeating the other members in a Battle Royal. However, by that time, the Wolfpac Elite had collapsed and the nWo no longer had any importance in WCW. As the year went on, the nWo Black & White members slowly began distancing themselves from each other. Scott Norton left the company altogether shortly after the battle royal, preferring to stay in Japan where he had begun to build his career. Brian Adams was kicked out of the group and vanished from WCW programming for some time, eventually forming a tag team with Bryan Clark called KroniK. Vincent left the group and joined the West Texas Rednecks alongside former nWo stablemates Curt Hennig and Barry Windham, changing his name to "Curly Bill" and later to "Shane" (as another slap at Vince McMahon). Stevie Ray left the group to reform Harlem Heat with Booker T later that year and they won three more tag team titles together before splitting up for good toward the end of the year. Horace Hogan entered the newly created hardcore division and contended for its championship (never winning it), then played a part in the New Blood storyline that dominated WCW in the early part of 2000. He left the company after the incident at Bash at the Beach that year where Vince Russo fired his uncle.
Hogan and Nash also entered a feud before the end of the summer. Nash lost his World championship in a tag team match at Bash at the Beach in July pitting him and Sting against Sid Vicious and Randy Savage as Savage pinned him. The next night Hogan returned to Nitro and accepted a challenge from Savage for the championship; Nash interfered by powerbombing Savage and gave Hogan the victory, but the next week Nash attacked Hogan during a match with Vicious and aligned himself with Vicious and Rick Steiner. Over the next few weeks Hogan and Nash, along with Vicious and Steiner (on Nash's side) and Sting and a returning Goldberg (on Hogan's side) feuded with each other, culminating in a match at Road Wild where Hogan put his title and career on the line against Nash's career. Hogan returned to his red and yellow attire at a Monday Nitro shortly before the PPV and won the match at Road Wild forcing Nash to retire. Nash did continue to make appearances afterward, usually stirring up trouble backstage with Hall as his cohort, and wearing silly disguises to play mind games on some of the talent.
Reformation (late 1999-early 2000)
In late December, Nash, Hall, Jeff Jarrett and Bret Hart would reform the nWo. Hall, Nash and Jarrett would interfere on Hart's behalf in his match with Goldberg, causing Hart to win the vacant WCW World Title, and Nash announced that "the Band is back together". After Goldberg accidentally injured himself breaking the nWo's limousine windshield, Sid Vicious, Chris Benoit and Terry Funk were left to feud with the nWo. Scott Steiner returned and rejoined the group after attacking Vicious. The Harris Brothers would act as the nWo's bodyguards before joining the group themselves. As nWo members, the Harris brothers would become WCW Tag Team Champions twice. Hart was forced to vacate the World Title and went on hiatus from WCW in mid January due to an injury suffered in a match with Goldberg weeks earlier. At the following Souled Out, Nash defeated Funk to become WCW commissioner, but his reign was cut short after he suffered a broken ankle and had to withdraw from WCW for a while. Jarrett would win a title shot facing new World Champion Sid Vicious at Superbrawl. However, Jarrett would also feud with fellow nWo member Scott Hall after Hall attempted to defeat Vicious and win the title himself. The match at Superbrawl would be changed to a three-way dance between Hall, Jarrett and Vicious. Vicious won the match and Hall left WCW for good. Jarrett faced Vicious for the title again at Uncensored and lost. With the return of Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo in April, the nWo completely dismantled and Jarrett, Steiner and the Harris brothers joined The New Blood while the returning Nash joined the Millionaire's Club.
World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment (2002)
After the WWF bought WCW video library and trademarks in 2001, Vince McMahon brought in Hogan, Hall and Nash, the original nWo, at No Way Out 2002. The nWo was brought in as McMahon's hired thugs in an attempt to "kill" the WWF so that McMahon would not have to share power with new WWF "co-owner" Ric Flair. They began by targeting the company's two biggest stars, Steve Austin and The Rock. Hogan left the group after he lost his WrestleMania X8 match with the Rock and was assaulted after that match by Hall and Nash. Hogan's comeback to the WWF after over 8 1/2 years had fans cheering him, even though he was a heel. As a result, he turned face and began feuding with Hall and Nash, with The Rock and Kane at his side on occasion. Hall and Nash then brought in two former nWo members, X-Pac, on March 21, 2002, edition of SmackDown! in Ottawa, Ontario and The Big Show, on the April 22 edition of Raw.
The nWo reunion in the WWF/E did not last long, however. During an attack on Bradshaw, Kevin Nash injured his biceps and was put out of action for several months. Hall asked for his release from WWE in May 2002, because he was in the middle of a custody dispute with his ex-wife over their two children, according to Nash, who made that statement during media promotions in Detroit for Vengeance 2002. This dispute led to Hall getting drunk on an airline flight back from the U.K. and getting into an altercation. Upon returning to the United States, Hall was fired. Flair became a semi-member of the nWo after turning on Stone Cold Steve Austin. As owner of Raw, Flair set up a lumberjack match with Austin against the newest member of the nWo, which turned out to be Booker T. Booker had just finished a silly skit with Goldust minutes earlier, where he had been wearing a lumberjack costume and fake beard, all but destroying his "tough" momentum going into the match.
Nash introduced Shawn Michaels into the nWo on June 3 edition of Raw. Michaels then literally "kicked" Booker out of the nWo one week later. Michaels, then in the midst of a four-year retirement from pro wrestling, became the first nWo member who had never wrestled in WCW. Michaels and Nash then would set their sights on recruiting Triple H (by using threats and demands) into the nWo, implying that they would re-create on-screen their old backstage group The Kliq. This storyline was never finished, as Nash suffered a torn quadriceps tendon that forced him to miss an extended period of time. Afterwards, the nWo storyline was stopped and the remaining members drifted apart. Michaels went on to return to active competition within weeks, Big Show was eventually traded to SmackDown, and X-Pac was released from his contract.
On July 8, Kevin Nash returned to action on Raw, teaming up with Eddie Guerrero, X-Pac, the Big Show, and Chris Benoit to take on Booker T, Goldust, Bubba Ray Dudley, Spike Dudley, and Rob Van Dam. Seconds after tagging in for the first time, Nash tore his quadriceps after delivering a big boot onto Booker T, immediately putting him back on the injured list. On the following Raw (July 15), Vince McMahon came out to the ring to the entrance of the nWo and made the announcement that the group was officially disbanded as Eric Bischoff became Raw General Manager. This marked the last time that the nWo was seen on WWE programming until 2014, apart from mentions in promos, flashbacks, and DVD releases.
On August 11, 2014, to celebrate Hulk Hogan's birthday, specials guests arrived to be with him on it. Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, two of the original members of the nWo shared a moment with Hogan revealing a hidden nWo shirt hidden under his '80s Hulkamania style shirt. They were interrupted by Brock Lesnar but before anything happened, John Cena, Lesnar's opponent at SummerSlam, came to stop him. Lesnar slowly backed out of the ring, ending the confrontation.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2010)
Although never again billed as the nWo, the group would reunite in 2010 when, weeks prior to the debut of Hulk Hogan in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), Kevin Nash had hinted that "the band was getting back together" (a reference to nWo 2000 catchphrase, "The Band is Back Together"). On the January 4, 2010 live TNA Impact! Monday night three-hour special, Sean Waltman (Syxx/X-Pac) and Scott Hall made their returns to TNA and with Nash had sought to rehash, to some extent, their invasive alliance (though not legally permitted to use the nWo moniker due to WWE's ownership), with the debuting Hogan (who used an edit of the nWo 2000 theme as his entrance music, as well as all black attire and 5 o'clock shadow). This was the first time in over eight years the members had been seen together at a wrestling event. Hogan conceded the others were his "brothers 4 life"; however, he would decline the offer, stating that "it's a different time". Eric Bischoff then came down and clarified that in partnering with Hogan to run the talent department, everyone would have to earn their spots in the company. At the end of the show, Nash, Hall and Waltman assaulted Mick Foley, who confronted Bischoff in the office while trying to get a meeting with Hogan, and beat him down until Hogan arrived on the scene to end the show.
The following week The Band attacked Beer Money, Inc. (Robert Roode and James Storm), who had asked Bischoff for a match against Hall and Nash, after their match with Hernandez and Matt Morgan, which led to Bischoff, clearly on friendly terms with The Band, coming out and announcing a match between Beer Money and Hall and Nash at Genesis. At the pay-per-view Waltman, once again using the ringname Syxx-Pac, replaced Hall after a game of rock-paper-scissors for the spot in the match and teamed up with Nash against Beer Money. On the following episode of Impact!, Hogan told Nash, Hall and Syxx-Pac that their attitude towards their pay-per-view return was disrespectful. He added that since Hall and Syxx-Pac did not have TNA contracts, they were ordered to leave the company. Despite this Hall and Syxx-Pac kept on returning to Impact! Zone for random attacks and on the February 4 edition of Impact! Hall and Syxx-Pac turned on Kevin Nash and beat him down. At Destination X Hall and Syxx-Pac faced Nash and Eric Young in a tag team match, where their TNA futures were on the line; if The Band managed to win the match, they would get contracts with TNA, but if they lost, they would have to leave the company for good. In the end Nash turned on Young and gave Hall and Syxx-Pac the victory.
Beginning in late March, the group also began using their old moniker of The Wolfpac, as well as the entrance theme used by the nWo splinter group in WCW. TNA was able to do this since the Wolfpac intellectual property was not acquired by the WWF upon its purchase of WCW in 2001. On the March 29 edition of Impact! Nash offered Young a spot in The Wolfpac, claiming that what happened in Destination X was just business and nothing personal. Young refused the offer and in the main event of the evening, teamed up with Rob Van Dam and Jeff Hardy to defeat The Wolfpac in a six man tag team steel cage match. At Lockdown Nash defeated Young in a steel cage match. Later in the night Nash replaced Syxx-Pac, who no-showed the event, and teamed up with Hall in a St. Louis Street Fight, where they were defeated by Team 3D. It was later reported that Waltman had let TNA know days in advance that he was not cleared to wrestle by the Missouri State Commission and was not going to be able to attend the event. On the April 26 edition of Impact!, Waltman was found lying backstage in a pool of his own blood, after apparently having been put through a table off screen by Team 3D. The following week, Eric Young turned on Team 3D and revealed himself as the surprise third member of The Wolfpac, replacing Syxx-Pac. On May 4, at the tapings of the May 13 edition of Impact!, after TNA World Tag Team Champion Matt Morgan had been attacked by Samoa Joe, Nash cashed in his "Feast or Fired" contract, teaming with Hall, and pinned him to win the TNA World Tag Team Championship. Prior to their match at Sacrifice, Kevin Nash invoked the so called "Freebird Rule". This rule allowed Eric Young to be recognized as a champion and allowed any two of the three members to defend the championships at any time. At the event Nash and Hall defeated Ink Inc. (Jesse Neal and Shannon Moore), after an interference from Brother Ray, one half of Team 3D and Neal's trainer. At the June 14 tapings of the June 17 edition of Impact! The Wolfpac was stripped of the Tag Team Championship, due to Scott Hall's legal problems. The following day it was reported that both Hall and Sean Waltman had been released from their contracts with TNA. On the June 24 edition of Impact! Nash and Young decided to part ways, as Nash intended to go after Hogan, whom he blamed for what had happened to Hall and Waltman, and didn't want Young to get into trouble for it.
After Nash was unable to convince Hogan to re–hire Hall and Waltman and failed to secure a meeting with Eric Bischoff, he set his sights on renewing his feud with Jeff Jarrett, who claimed that Nash had tried to hurt TNA by bringing Hall and Waltman in. On the August 5th edition of Impact!, Sting, who had feuded with Jarrett prior to his 30 day suspension, returned to TNA and, together with Nash, beat down Jarrett, Bischoff and Hogan. On the August 26 edition of Impact! Nash defeated Jarrett in a singles match, after an interference from Sting. The following week Nash helped Sting defeat Jarrett. After the match Samoa Joe aligned himself with Jarrett and Hogan and drove Nash and Sting away. At No Surrender Jarrett and Joe defeated Nash and Sting in a tag team match, after Jarrett hit Sting with a baseball bat. On the September 16 edition of Reaction, Nash and Sting were joined by D'Angelo Dinero, who claimed to have gotten inside information from Bischoff's secretary Miss Tessmacher, that would suggest that Nash and Sting were right about Hogan and Bischoff being up to something. At Bound for Glory Nash, Sting and Dinero faced Jeff Jarrett and Samoa Joe in a handicap match, after Hulk Hogan, who was scheduled to team with Jarrett and Joe, was forced to pull out due to a back surgery. At the end of the match Jarrett abandoned Joe and left him to be pinned by Nash. At the end of the event it was revealed that Nash and Sting had been right about Hogan and Bischoff all along, as they turned heel with Jarrett, Abyss and Jeff Hardy, and in the process turned Nash, Sting and Dinero back to being faces. On October 13, 2010, Nash's contract with TNA expired and he announced his retirement from professional wrestling. His last TNA appearance was a taping broadcast on October 14, 2010, when Nash and Sting both announced they were walking away from TNA rather than being a part of Hogan and Bischoff's regime.
WCW went so far with nWo that they had their own PPV called Souled Out. It was practice for WCW so that their PPVs would have co-brand naming (ex. WCW/nWo Starrcade) from January 24, 1998 to March 14, 1999.
The nWo logo inspired future t-shirt designs for later WWE talent, most famously by Randy Orton, who wore a t-shirt with his finishing move & initials "rKo" in the classic nWo logo design. Then-NXT contestant Michael Tarver also wore a similar nWo-inspired shirt in 2010, with "nXt" in place of "nWo" in that shirt's design.
During his time in JCW. Scott Hall, Corporal Robinson, and Insane Clown Posse formed the JWO at JCW's Evansville Invasion on October 6, 2007. To date Fellow nWo Alumni Sean Waltman and Kevin Nash have joined this faction for occasional matches.
Some of the nWo members including The Giant, Scott Steiner, and Curt Hennig, were featured as downloadable content in the video game WWE 2K14. This DLC was released November 12, 2013.
The nWo made a one night return on August 11, 2014, to celebrate Hogan's birthday on Raw.
List of incarnations and members
- Entrance themes
- "Rockhouse" by Frank Shelley (WCW/WWF/WWE; used by nWo Black and White/Hollywood/nWo 2000; August 1996–July 1999, December 1999–March 2000, February 17, 2002–July 8, 2002, August 11 2014)
- "Tear It Up" by J.Hart and H.Helm (WCW; used by nWo Black and White midcarders; 1996–1998)
- "Wolfpac Theme" by J.Hart (WCW; used by nWo Wolfpac/Elite; 1998–1999)
- "The Band Theme" by Dale Oliver (TNA; used by the Band; 2010)
- "Wolfpac Theme (Instrumental)" by J.Hart (TNA; used by the Band; 2010)
Championships and accomplishments
- New Japan Pro Wrestling
- Total Nonstop Action Wrestling
- World Championship Wrestling
- WCW Cruiserweight Championship (1 time) – Syxx
- WCW United States Heavyweight Championship (8 times) – Curt Hennig (1), Bret Hart (3), Lex Luger (1), Scott Hall (1), Scott Steiner (1) Jeff Jarrett (1)
- WCW World Heavyweight Championship (8 times) – Hulk Hogan (5), Randy Savage (1), Kevin Nash (1) Bret Hart (1)
- WCW World Tag Team Championship (10 times) – Kevin Nash and Scott Hall (5)2, Sting and The Giant (1), Sting and Kevin Nash (1), Scott Hall and The Giant (1) Ron & Don Harris (2)
- WCW World Television Championship (3 times) – Konnan (1) Scott Steiner (1) Scott Hall (1)
- WCW World War 3 (3 times)
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- nWo: The Revolution (November 6, 2012, DVD)
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- Meltzer, Dave (February 14, 2011). "Feb 14 Observer Newsletter: UFC 126 in-depth, Rock and Jericho talk, Strikeforce tourney preview". Wrestling Observer Newsletter (Campbell, CA): 35. ISSN 1083-9593. "Regarding the Kevin Nash deal, as it turned out Nash had signed a TNA contract recently. Nash was always supposed to return to TNA with Sting after they spent most of 2010 building up the storyline where Sting appeared to be a heel to the public and on television only for the reveal at Bound for Glory that it was really Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff conspiring to steal TNA from Dixie Carter but Sting saw it coming, but nobody would listen. If you recall, in storyline, Nash and The Pope were the other two who found out because they were the two guys doing it with Miss Tessmacher and she spilled the beans. As you can see, the long-term on that sure held together, given that Pope was turned heel for no real reason before Sting and Nash ever started their comeback. While Nash had agreed to come back, while he denied it, months back, he just signed fairly recently when they were ready to bring him back when he and Sting were to return on the 1/31 show. I’ve heard several different versions about why things went down the way they did. Dixie Carter publicly admitted she released him when asked for reasons she said were between the two of them. Nash told friends that he signed the contract (he got a significant pay cut because TNA said they couldn’t afford his old deal), even though he wasn’t happy with the money."
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- Official Site (Archive)
- New World Order (Original)
- New World Order (Japan)
- New World Order (Hollywood)
- New World Order (Wolfpac)
- New World Order (Elite)
- New World Order (Black and White)
- New World Order (2000)
- New World Order (WWF/E)
- The Band