New World Order (professional wrestling)

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New World Order
Nwologo.jpg
The nWo logo
Stable
Members Hulk Hogan (leader and co-founder)
Kevin Nash (co-founder)
Scott Hall (co-founder)
See full list
Name(s) New World Order
nWo Hollywood
nWo Wolfpac
nWo Elite
nWo B-Team
nWo 2000
nWo Japan
The Wolfpac
Debut July 7, 1996[1]
Years active 1996–2000; 2002–2015 (reunions)
Promotions WCW[1]
NJPW[2]
WWF/WWE[3]

The New World Order (commonly abbreviated NWO, in logo stylized as nWo) was a professional wrestling stable that originally consisted of "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall, best known for their appearances in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) from the mid to late 1990s.[1]

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 later appeared in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) after the purchase of WCW by the WWF.[3]

The nWo angle became one of the most influential forces in the mid-to-late 1990s success of WCW and was instrumental in turning mainstream North American professional wrestling back into a more mature, adult-oriented product and became the main driving forces behind WCW topping WWF in the Monday Night Wars. Based on the Union of Wrestling Forces International (UWFi) invasion angle in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) and fueled initially by the unexpected villainous 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 the bWo, lWo and jWo. The group dominated WCW programming throughout the late-1990s and continued its domination until the dissolution of WCW in 2001, during which time there were several, sometimes rival incarnations of the group.

Concept[edit]

The nWo storyline was an idea created by WCW Executive Vice President Eric Bischoff, whose inspiration for the angle came after attending New Japan Pro Wrestling's Battle Formation show at the Tokyo Dome on April 29, 1996. The show was headlined by a NJPW vs. UWFi match for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, as New Japan's Shinya Hashimoto defeated UWFi's Nobuhiko Takada. Bischoff wanted to do an invasion-type angle where WCW was being sabotaged by another wrestling group, initially insinuated as being the WWF, since the nWo's 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 presented in the style of a broadcast signal intrusion, with 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.

History[edit]

World Championship Wrestling (1996–2000)[edit]

Formation[edit]

Main article: The Outsiders

On May 19, 1996, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall wrestled their final matches for the WWF as Diesel and Razor Ramon, respectively, as they both had opted to sign with rival WCW instead of staying with the promotion. Eight days after his last WWF appearance, Hall appeared in Macon, Georgia for the May 27 Nitro which was emanating from the Macon Coliseum. As The Mauler and Steve Doll wrestled, Hall emerged from the crowd and entered the ring, bringing the match to a halt, 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 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 wrestlers. As the episode 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 for "a war".[4][5] The next week, Hall claimed to have a "big surprise" for fellow professional wrestler Sting. On the following Nitro, the big surprise was revealed to be Kevin Nash. They were dubbed The Outsiders, randomly appearing at WCW events to cause trouble and inevitably be led out of the building by WCW security.[4][6]

Hall as Razor Ramon, whose antics led WWF to fear that WCW had infringed on their intellectual property

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 bigger concern to the WWF, as he had not fully distanced himself from his Razor Ramon character, continuing to act like Razor and speaking with Razor's Cuban American accent. WCW attempted to address these concerns at The Great American Bash in June 1996. Bischoff 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 they both said no.[7] The WWF, still unsatisfied, filed a lawsuit, claiming that Bischoff had proposed inter-promotional matches that would air on TBS, associating the two promotions with each other. Also at The Great American Bash, both Hall and Nash pressed Bischoff to name his company's three representatives for their impending match. Bischoff said that he had found three men who would answer their challenge, but would not name them.[4][8][9] Bischoff held a draft on Nitro to determine WCW's representatives, and Sting, Lex Luger and Randy Savage were chosen.

Hostile takeover[edit]

Main article: Bash at the Beach

The match Bischoff promised, a six-man tag team match billed as the "Hostile Takeover match", was scheduled as the main event of Bash at the Beach at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Florida on July 6, 1996. Hall and Nash came to the ring by themselves, leaving speculation open as to who the third man was. Team WCW then entered with all three members wearing face paint as a sign of solidarity.

Luger was injured (kayfabe) shortly after the match began and had to be removed on a stretcher. The match reached its climax at approximately the sixteen-minute mark, shortly after a late tag from Sting to Savage. Savage went on the attack, nailing both Outsiders with repeated axe-handle smashes from the top rope. However, while referee Randy 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, 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 fled the ring. Hogan, who had not been seen on WCW television for some time, climbed into the ring to chase away Nash and tore off his T-shirt, as he had done many times before.

With the fans still cheering wildly, Hogan stood in the corner nearest Savage and then hit him with his Atomic Leg Drop, stunning the crowd into silence and turning heel for the first time since his AWA days in 1981. The Outsiders came back into the ring to celebrate with their now-revealed partner as Hogan dropped the leg on the fallen Savage a second time, and after the three men all shook hands Hogan threw the referee from the ring and hit Savage one last time. The official match result was a no contest and Savage had to be carried from the ring by an exhausted Sting.

After the match, "Mean" Gene Okerlund came to the ring and interviewed Hogan. During the interview, Hogan exclaimed, "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 statement gave the group its name – the New World Order.

Hogan continued, reminding everybody of the "big organization up north" where Hall and Nash had come from and that he too had been there and how he had made that company a household name. Hogan followed by bringing up his signing with WCW in 1994.

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 while taking another shot at Bischoff and some of the newer talent the fans were cheering.

Hogan, Hall, and Nash attempted to attack Okerlund moments later; he threatened to sue if they did. 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".

The night after Bash at the Beach, Hall and Nash appeared on Nitro without Hogan, attempting to attack Sting, Arn Anderson and Randy Savage, but were held back by WCW security.[4] 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 then reigning WCW World Heavyweight Champion, The Giant, for Hog Wild in August.

Hogan becomes champion and Bischoff's secret is revealed[edit]

Syxx was the sixth person to join the nWo

At Hog Wild, the newly rechristened "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan (often shortened to Hollywood Hogan) won the match after knocking The Giant out with his title belt. After the match, Hogan rechristened the Big Gold Belt as the nWo World Heavyweight Championship by painting the group acronym in capital letters across the faceplate.[1][5][11]

Within two days of Hog Wild, Ted DiBiase made his WCW debut, declared himself the financier of the nWo, and was given the nickname "Trillionaire Ted".[12] On the September 2 episode of Nitro, the nWo got its first defection from WCW as The Giant, who just weeks earlier lost his title to Hogan, turned on his Dungeon of Doom teammates and attacked The Four Horsemen and Randy Savage.

As WCW's annual pay-per-view Fall Brawl was drawing closer, WCW was preparing for another battle against the nWo. On the September 9 episode of Nitro, the nWo tricked fans and wrestlers into thinking that Sting had joined the nWo by putting wrestler Jeff Farmer into the group as a Sting clone, complete with Sting attire and face paint. This point was furthered when Farmer, as the fake Sting, attacked Luger, who had been lured into an attack by referee Nick Patrick. This led Luger, his longtime ally and tag team partner, to publicly question Sting. At Fall Brawl, as Team WCW was being interviewed, Sting told his teammates that he had nothing to do with the attack, but Luger did not believe him. Going into the match, only three wrestlers on each side had been officially named: Hogan and The Outsiders for the nWo, with Luger, Arn Anderson, and Ric Flair for Team WCW. Sting had originally been named the fourth man for WCW, but his participation was in doubt. The fourth man for the nWo was indeed the fake Sting, who convinced everyone (including the broadcast team) that the real Sting was nWo. The real Sting showed up moments later as the last man for Team WCW and took apart the nWo by himself. After assaulting Hogan, Hall, Nash and the fake Sting, Sting left the ring and Team WCW, yelling at an apologetic looking Luger "Now do you believe me?" as he did so. Team WCW, now fighting a 4-on-3 handicap match, lost when the nWo Sting locked Luger in the Scorpion Death Lock.

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:

With that, Sting began a retreat from the ring that would last for nearly 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. As Sting's character and look evolved, so too did Farmer's nWo Sting character. On the same night Sting made his speech, the nWo inducted its sixth official member into the group, Sean Waltman, who was friends with Hall and Nash in real-life and wrestled as "The 1-2-3 Kid" in the WWF, now known as Syxx.[5] In October, the nWo debuted Vincent, who had previously been DiBiase's manservant in the WWF as "Virgil", as its "head of security".[1] 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. In the storyline, WCW only recognized Hogan, Nash, and Hall as WCW employees due to their holding WCW championships, and 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 Saturday Night, called nWo Saturday Night, where nWo stable members wrestled local jobbers.[4] The nWo also used their "financing" to purchase ad time during WCW programming, which amounted to low budget anti-WCW propaganda, or "hijack" the broadcast signal.

The nWo continued to dominate WCW, with Hogan successfully retaining the nWo World Heavyweight Championship against "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Hall and Nash winning the WCW World Tag Team Championship from Harlem Heat (Booker T and Stevie Ray) at Halloween Havoc.[14][15] In the meantime, The Giant stole Flair's United States Heavyweight Championship and claimed it for himself. At Halloween Havoc, Hogan's old rival Roddy Piper, whom WCW had just signed to a contract, came to the ring to confront Hogan. Piper began seeking a match with Hogan the next night.

The then WCW vice president, Eric Bischoff, who in November 1996 revealed that he had secretly been a member of the nWo all along.

On November 18, 1996, Nitro was live at the Florence Civic Center in Florence, South Carolina and opened with Hall and Nash physically attacking The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags), High Voltage (Robbie Rage and Kenny Kaos), Ciclope, and Galaxy and forcing Tony Schiavone to walk off the show after they threatened him. As the show moved into its second hour, Hogan and his entourage accosted Bischoff at the announce table and forced him to say that Hogan was better than Piper, who was still seeking a match with Hogan, but whom Bischoff had not agreed on a contract with yet.[16]

At the end of the show, Piper and Bischoff began arguing in the ring.[16] As Piper continued to badger Bischoff, The Giant entered the scene and grabbed Piper from behind. He was followed by Syxx, Vincent, and The Outsiders, who all stepped in to stop Piper from attacking Bischoff. Finally, Hogan and DiBiase came out and revealed to the entire world that Bischoff, despite appearances, had secretly been a member of the nWo all along.[16] Piper and Hogan were booked for a non-title match at Starrcade in December.[17]

The next night on Nitro, Bischoff permanently left the broadcast booth, and his character 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 join the group. Marcus Bagwell (redubbed "Buff Bagwell"), Mr. Wallstreet, Big Bubba Rogers, and Scott Norton became members in the following weeks.[1][5][18] Japanese wrestler Masahiro Chono also joined the group on December 16 and established himself as the leader of nWo Japan, a sister stable in NJPW.[2][19]

At Starrcade, Piper defeated Hogan. At the same event, after multiple attempts to convince Diamond Dallas Page to join, Hall and Nash attacked Page in his United States Heavyweight Championship tournament final match against Eddie Guerrero, costing him the match. The nWo left with physical possession of the title belt. It was then given to Syxx, and Guerrero began feuding with him.[20][21] The next night on Nitro, The Giant was kicked out of the nWo when he refused to perform a chokeslam on Piper in an nWo assault.

1997: expansion, success and feud with Sting[edit]

On the January 13 edition of Nitro, DDP seemingly accepted nWo membership, putting on a T-shirt but suddenly gave Scott Hall a Diamond Cutter. At nWo 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. The United States Heavyweight Champion Eddie Guerrero retained his title against Syxx in a ladder match,[21] while The Outsiders lost the tag team titles to The Steiner Brothers.[21] Bischoff re-awarded them the titles the next night on Nitro after claiming that Randy Anderson, who ran in to officiate after Patrick was knocked down, was not the official referee. Bischoff then fired Anderson for his actions.[15][22] On the same Nitro, Randy Savage returned for the first since Halloween Havoc. Claiming to have been "blackballed", he hijacked the ring until Sting showed up and they both left through the crowd.

At SuperBrawl VII, Hogan successfully defended his title against Roddy Piper. Savage, after weeks of roving with Sting as a "free agent", helped Hogan win. Savage 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 Cruiserweight Championship.[23] The next night on Nitro, 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, issued a challenge for a "winner-take-all" tag team match at Uncensored. Two weeks later on the March 3 episode of Nitro, Turner Sports vice president Dr. Harvey Schiller "suspended" Bischoff for abuse of his office. At Uncensored, Team nWo won the tag team titles. 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. At the event, Sting descended from the rafters and attacked the top members of the nWo: Hall, Savage, Nash and Hogan, indicating his allegiance to WCW.

Tensions began to surface within the nWo by April. At Spring Stampede, the show ended with Savage and Bischoff at each other's throats after the former's loss to Page, and both where forced 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. Additionally, Ted DiBiase quit the group after feeling remorse for some of the WCW wrestlers who were victims of nWo assaults. 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 full-time employment in NJPW. 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.[18] Luger won the match for his team by forcing Hogan to submit and earned a title shot at Road Wild, set for August.[24] Luger, however, elected to take his shot on the August 4 episode of Nitro, five days before the pay-per-view, and defeated Hogan to win the championship.[25] Hogan regained the title at Road Wild after Rodman, dressed up as Sting, hit Luger with a baseball bat.[26][27] Following Road Wild, the nWo began a rivalry with The Four Horsemen, marked by a skit where they mocked members of the group. The Horsemen responded by challenging the nWo to a WarGames match at Fall Brawl in September. The match pitted Ric Flair, Curt Hennig, Steve McMichael and Chris Benoit against Nash, Konnan, Syxx, and Bagwell. During the match, Hennig turned on his team to align with the nWo. The nWo was victorious after McMichael surrendered in the match.[18][28]

Bret Hart made his WCW debut on the December 15 episode of Nitro and declared he would not join the nWo, but did say he would be the special guest referee for a match between Bischoff and Larry Zbyszko at Starrcade. If Bischoff won the match, the nWo would be given permanent control over Nitro, but if Zbyszko won, it would remain with WCW. On the Nitro before Starrcade, the nWo completely took over the show by tearing down the set and chasing off the WCW announcing crew. They destroyed anything WCW-related and rebranded it nWo Monday Nitro. This event was done as a test run for a permanent changeover of Nitro to an nWo-centric show, with the soon-debuting Thunder becoming the WCW-centric show.[29] However, due to abysmal ratings following the twenty-plus minutes of the conversion of the set on live television, the plan was quietly dropped. Zbyszko later defeated Bischoff at Starrcade. Also at Starrcade, Hogan lost the title to Sting. Hogan originally pinned Sting, but confusion arose when Hart appeared at ringside and accused referee and former nWo member Nick Patrick of making a fast count. In reality, Nick Patrick was supposed to make it a fast count, revealing himself to be a crooked official. By 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, and the entire WCW came out to celebrate the defeat of Hogan.[30]

1998: dissension, nWo Hollywood and Wolfpac[edit]

Shortly after Hogan lost the title at Starrcade, the nWo started showing signs of division within the group. Because of the controversy surrounding Sting's title win, J.J. Dillon vacated the title on January 8, 1998 on the inaugural episode of Thunder.[31] 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 by declaring 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 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.[32]

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".[1]

At SuperBrawl VIII, the nWo had a mixed array of success. Hall and Nash regained the WCW's world tag team championship from The Steiner Brothers after Scott Steiner unexpectedly turned on his brother Rick and manager Ted DiBiase. Scott handed the championship belts to Hall and Nash after the match and celebrated with The Outsiders and Dusty Rhodes, marking his induction into the nWo.[33] However, Hogan lost to Sting in a match for the vacated WCW World Heavyweight Championship and was attacked by Savage late in the match. After SuperBrawl, Savage then made his intentions clear and 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,[31] which led to a steel cage match at Uncensored in March which ended in a no contest. Earlier that night, Hall lost his World War 3-earned title match against Sting.[34]

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 and sent to rehab for his ongoing alcoholism. Shortly thereafter, Hall was removed from television; this led to a confrontation between Kevin Nash, Eric Bischoff, and Hogan on the March 26 episode of Thunder. Sean Waltman (Syxx) returned to the WWF 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 episode of Nitro.[35]

Nash and Sting standing opposite each other in the ring, they would later join forces after the formation of the nWo Wolfpac to fight off the nWo Hollywood led by Hogan

The differences within the nWo were becoming more apparent as Savage and Nash were suddenly realizing that Hogan was only looking out for himself, and the nWo was secondary.[31] 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.[31] 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. At Spring Stampede, Hogan and Nash defeated Piper and The Giant, but after the match Hogan assaulted Nash. Nash later helped Savage defeat Sting by hitting a powerbomb on 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".[36][37] Hogan and The Disciple then attacked Nash and Savage to close out the show.[38]

The next night on Nitro, Hogan issued a challenge to the new champion for his title, and WCW commissioner Roddy Piper made the match a no disqualification match and 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.

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 disqualification, it also meant that no one was able to stop Hogan and Disciple from doing whatever they wanted to Savage. 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. After tossing Bischoff aside, Nash nailed the Jackknife Powerbomb on Hogan.[22][32][38] 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 the pinfall for Hogan.[32] 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.

Konnan was a member of the nWo Wolfpac, which was led by Nash

On the May 4 episode of Nitro, Nash, 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.[39] 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.[40]

At May's Slamboree, Nash and Hall were to defend the WCW World Tag Team Championship 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. At Slamboree, 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 on Nitro, Hall was introduced as the newest member of nWo Hollywood.[41]

On the May 25 episode of Nitro the Wolfpac added Lex Luger, who urged his friend Sting to join him.[31][39] However, nWo Hollywood made their own effort to woo Sting. Sting revealed his decision on the following week's Nitro, fooling 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.[31][39] 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, the Wolfpac lost two members as Hennig and Rude turned on Konnan following a loss and joined nWo Hollywood.[15][40][42] 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 WCW World Tag Team Championship. The next night on Nitro, Sting chose Nash as his tag team partner and the two began defending the titles.[42]

In the meantime, a new contender for Hogan's championship emerged in undefeated rookie and United States Heavyweight Champion Goldberg, who had run off an impressive string of victories. On the July 2, 1998 episode of Thunder, Goldberg was granted a title match against Hogan for the July 6 episode of Nitro.[31] 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.[31]

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.

Fans make Wolfpac hand gestures towards Kevin Nash

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 episode of Nitro, Hall and The Giant challenged the champions to a match for the tag team 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 pin Sting to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship back to the black and white.[32] 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. Nash later stated that he didn't care about winning the match, he just wanted his friend back. On the same night, 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.[43]

At World War 3, nWo Hollywood attacked Scott Hall and kicked him out of the group for disrespecting Hogan and Bischoff a few weeks earlier.[31] Kevin Nash won the 60-man battle royal and earned a WCW World Heavyweight Championship shot against the still-undefeated Goldberg.[44] On the Thanksgiving episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, nWo Hollywood leader Hollywood Hogan announced his retirement from professional wrestling and Scott Steiner went on to assume the leadership role in the nWo Hollywood faction. At Starrcade, Nash handed Goldberg his first loss and won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Hall interfered in the match and shocked Goldberg with a taser, incapacitating him long enough for an oblivious Nash to hit the Jackknife Powerbomb and score the win.[45][46]

On the first Nitro after Starrcade, 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. The match was made by Bischoff who believed that Flair would not be able to compete after he had a kayfabe heart attack during a promo. Flair defeated Bischoff in the match to become WCW president for 90 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.

1999: nWo Elite and B-Team[edit]

Main article: Fingerpoke of Doom

As 1999 began, the divided nWo factions were headed by world champion and de facto leader 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 episode 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.[47][48] 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 what would be known as the "nWo Elite" label.[49]

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.[50] 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 factions reuniting and did not partake in the now-heel stable upon their return.

End of the nWo era[edit]

The reunited nWo did not last long for either faction. nWo Elite/Wolfpac enjoyed initial success with Hogan as WCW World Heavyweight Champion, Steiner as World Television Champion and 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 Luger suffered a torn biceps and as a result he and Elizabeth went on hiatus. Luger appeared sporadically in May and June 1999 on Nitro.

Hogan dropped the WCW World Heavyweight Championship in a First Blood barbed wire steel cage match at Uncensored to Ric Flair and Steiner lost the 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, with Rick wearing a Wolfpack T-shirt on Thunder, and coming out to the Wolfpack theme for his World Television title matches on Nitro.

A month earlier, Hogan suffered a severe injury during a fatal four-way match (with Page, Flair and a returned, white-painted Sting with a returned Randy Savage as the special guest referee) at Spring Stampede for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, which Diamond Dallas Page won, and was put out of action for three months. 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 WCW World Heavyweight Championship at Slamboree. Scott Steiner was forced to go on hiatus due to a back injury and stripped of the United States Heavyweight Championship. 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 (which was the quiet end of his membership), while Flair and Samantha were quietly removed from television following Hogan's title loss at Uncensored.

However, by that time, the nWo Elite had collapsed and no longer had any importance in WCW. As the year went on, the nWo Black and White members slowly began distancing themselves from each other. Scott Norton left the WCW 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.

Hogan and Nash also entered a feud before the end of the summer. Nash lost the WCW World Heavyweight 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 hitting a Jacknife Powerbomb on 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 on Nitro shortly before the event and won the match, thus forcing Nash to retire. Nash did continue to make appearances afterward, usually stirring up trouble backstage with Hall as his cohort.

nWo 2000[edit]

In late December, 1999 Nash, Hall, Jeff Jarrett and Bret Hart reformed the nWo, this time with the colors black and silver. Jeff Jarrett was often accompanied by the nWo girls including Midajah and Tylene Buck. Hall, Nash and Jarrett interfered on Hart's behalf in his match with Goldberg, causing Hart to win the vacant WCW World Heavyweight Championship. 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. He later would be accompanied by Midajah to the ring. The Harris Brothers acted 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 WCW World Heavyweight Championship and went on hiatus from WCW in mid January due to an injury suffered in a match with Goldberg at WCW Starrcade 1999. At the following pay-per view 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 won a title shot facing new WCW World Heavyweight Champion Sid Vicious at SuperBrawl 2000. However, Jarrett also feuded with fellow nWo member Scott Hall after Hall attempted to defeat Vicious and win the title himself. The match at Superbrawl was changed to a triple threat match between Hall, Jarrett and Vicious. Vicious won the match and Hall left WCW for good. Jarrett faced Vicious for the title again at Uncensored but 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)[edit]

Hollywood Hulk Hogan making his entrance at WrestleMania X8 in March 2002, his first WrestleMania after nine years

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 as hired thugs in an attempt to "kill" the WWF so that McMahon would not have to share power with new WWF kayfabe co-owner Ric Flair.[51] They began by targeting the company's two biggest stars, Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. This rivalry led up to Scott Hall going against Stone Cold and Hogan going against The Rock at WrestleMania X8 (in matches which the nWo both lost).[3][52] As a result of Hogan shaking hands with The Rock and getting a positive response from the crowd after his match at WrestleMania, he turned face and began feuding with Hall and Nash, with The Rock and Kane at his side on occasion.[3] Hall and Nash then brought in former nWo member X-Pac on the March 21, 2002 episode of SmackDown! in Ottawa, Ontario.[53]

On March 25, the nWo (now consisting of Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and X-Pac) was drafted by Ric Flair to Raw despite rivaling against them. For the next 2 weeks, the nWo feuded with Kane until he was lured backstage by X-Pac and was put out of action by having his head smashed with a chair.[54] Following this, Kevin Nash was suspended for attacking Kane in story-line to recover on his injured biceps. X-Pac would begin wearing Kane's mask, taunting him on the fact that he put him out of action. Bradshaw, who had come to Kane's aid, fought Scott Hall at Backlash, which Hall won with help from X-Pac.[55] Big Show rejoined the nWo on the April 22 episode of Raw when Flair teamed him up with Austin, which Big Show chokeslammed.[56]

The nWo was shortly joined by Ric Flair when he attacked Steve Austin with a chair and Hall was ejected out of the group and fired from Raw for "repeatedly dropping the ball" on Stone Cold. In actuality, Hall had asked for his release for personal reasons.[3][57] Lacking members, Ric Flair would recruit Booker T and continued his feud with Austin.[58] Austin defeated Big Show and Flair in a Handicap match at Judgment Day.

Booker T now in the group, his sidekick Goldust attempted and failed many times to get in, with the rest of the members (X-Pac and Big Show) becoming frustrated at Booker. With Nash returning and attempting to rebuild the nWo, he brought Shawn Michaels into the faction.[3][59] Michaels then literally "kicked" Booker out of the nWo a week later.[3][60] Michaels, then in the midst of a four-year retirement from professional 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.

On July 8, Nash returned to action on Raw, teaming up with Eddie Guerrero, X-Pac, 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.[3][61] On the following Raw on 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.[3][62] Afterwards, the nWo storyline was stopped and the remaining members drifted apart. Michaels returned to active competition within weeks, Big Show was eventually traded to SmackDown!, and X-Pac was released from his contract.

WWE return (2014–2015)[edit]

The nWo making their way to the ring at WrestleMania 31

On the August 11, 2014 episode of Raw, which aired on Hulk Hogan's 61st birthday, featured Scott Hall and Kevin Nash as guests. The two shared a moment with Hogan, revealing an nWo shirt hidden under his "Hulkamania" shirt. They were interrupted by Brock Lesnar, who told Hogan, "Party's over, grandpa". Lesnar backed out of the ring when confronted by John Cena, his opponent at SummerSlam.

On the January 19, 2015 episode of Raw, X-Pac (who had joined as Syxx in WCW), Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash came out for a survey segment. They were interrupted by The Ascension, who were beaten down by the nWo, The APA, and The New Age Outlaws. On March 29 at WrestleMania 31, Hogan, Nash, and Hall returned to assist their long-time rival Sting in his WrestleMania debut match against Triple H. The nWo helped to fight off D-Generation X (X-Pac, Billy Gunn and Road Dogg), who had interfered on behalf of Triple H. Shawn Michaels later joined Triple H's side, turning the match in his favor, and Triple H would go on to win the match. Nearly six months later on July 24, 2015, Hogan was released from the WWE,[63] effectively ending the group's WWE return.

Legacy[edit]

In 1997, nWo had their own pay-per-view called Souled Out. It was practice for WCW events to have co-brand naming (example: WCW/nWo Starrcade) from January 24, 1998 to March 14, 1999.

The nWo has inspired many parody factions like Stevie Richards' bWo, Eddie Guerrero's lWo, and the Demon Making Plant, or dMp, in the Japanese manga Kinnikuman. During his time in Juggalo Championship Wrestling (JCW), Hall, along with Corporal Robinson and the Insane Clown Posse, formed the Juggalo World Order 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. Current New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) stable Bullet Club takes some of its gestures from the nWo, like the Wolfpac hand gesture, and have been considered the stable that most closely resembles the nWo since its inception.

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 downloadable content was released on November 12, 2013.

On October 30, 2014, the New York Knicks entered the arena using the nWo theme music against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

List of incarnations and members[edit]

Music[edit]

  • 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–present)
    • "Tear It Up" by J.Hart and H.Helm (WCW; used by nWo Black and White midcarders; 1996–1998)
    • "Wolfpac Theme" by J.Hart ft. C-Murder (WCW; used by nWo Wolfpac/Elite; 1998–1999)
    • "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" by Jimi Hendrix (WCW; used by Hollywood Hogan; June 1997–August 1999)

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

1 As part of the New World Order (nWo) storyline, the title was spray painted each time with the "nWo" initials and renamed as the nWo/WCW World Heavyweight Championship, while referred to by nWo members only as the nWo World Heavyweight Championship.

2 During one of their reigns, the nWo invoked "Wolfpac Rules" and named Syxx a co-champion due to a legitimate injury to Nash.

Media[edit]

  • nWo 4 Life! (June 1, 1999, VHS)
  • nWo: Back in Black (May 28, 2002, VHS and DVD)
  • nWo: The Revolution (November 6, 2012, DVD and Blu-ray)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  5. ^ a b c d e "New World Order History". Wrestling Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2008-01-24. 
  6. ^ "The Outsiders Profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-01-24. 
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  35. ^ WCW Monday Nitro. TNT. 1998-04-06. 120 minutes in.
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  40. ^ a b "nWo Hollywood Profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-01-24. 
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  52. ^ "WrestleMania X8 review". Gerweck.net. Retrieved 2008-01-24. 
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  54. ^ http://network.wwe.com/video/v520512783?start=0&contentId=153788908&postPlay=true&postPlayCount=1&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=raw_replays&play
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External links[edit]