New World Order Profile
In September 1995, World Championship Wrestling launched their new flagship television programme Nitro, in direct competition with the WWF’s Monday Night RAW. Eric Bischoff – in his role as President and play-by-play commentator – aggressively went after the WWF. For the first year and a half of Nitro, he repeatedly took potshots at his competition, even going so far as to give away RAW’s taped results on his live Nitro broadcasts.
In ‘retaliation’ to all this, Scott Hall – who worked as top babyface Razor Ramon in the WWF – jumped ship on the May 27, 1996 edition of Nitro. Hall made his way through the crowd, took a microphone and got into the ring as a match was in progress. “You all know who I am, but you don’t know why I’m here!” He then ominously proclaimed, “You want a war? You got it.” He returned later in the telecast to accost Bischoff at the commentary position, said there would be a big surprise coming, and that Ted Turner needed to find three men for an upcoming battle. On the June 2 Nitro, Kevin Nash – formerly Diesel in the WWF – confronted Bischoff and repeated the challenge.
The seriousness and presentation of the story-line was cutting-edge, making fans believe that the WWF were sending headline stars to confront their antagonists, although WCW never referred to their WWF names. After Vince McMahon filed a lawsuit against WCW for copyright infringement and confusing the public into thinking the WWF was involved in the storyline, Bischoff asked Hall and Nash point blank at the Great American Bash if they still worked for the World Wrestling Federation; both answered in the negative. They then demanded Bischoff tell them who their three opponents would be (which would take place on July 7 at the Bash at the Beach pay-per-view). When Bischoff said they would have to wait until the following night on Nitro like everyone else, Hall punched him in the stomach and Nash power-bombed him through the stage.
For the so-called “Hostile Takeover” match at Bash at the Beach, WCW chose Sting, Randy Savage and Lex Luger to represent them. Hall and Nash – dubbed The Outsiders – came to the ring without their ‘third man,’ saying they would keep him in reserve. The odds became even when Luger was stretchered out after colliding with the steel ring-post. Hall and Nash were in command when Hulk Hogan came to the ring, only to assault Sting and Savage and reveal he was the ‘third man.’ Gene Okerlund interviewed Hogan immediately after; Hogan told the fans they could “stick it” and that Hall and Nash were the future of the business. When Gene referenced the garbage being thrown by the irate crowd, Hogan retorted that “all this garbage represents all these fans out there.”
The New World Order – or nWo for short – went on a rampage, going after anybody and everybody in their path, regardless of whether they were fan favourites or rule-breakers. In particular, they targeted Randy Savage, as well as The Four Horsemen and the Dungeon of Doom. At the Hog Wild pay-per-view on August 10, the now “Hollywood” Hogan pinned The Giant to become the WCW World Heavyweight champion. The belt was spray-painted with the letters ‘nWo’ and was now proclaimed the ‘nWo World Heavyweight Title.’ After the match, Hogan’s best friend The Booty Man (Ed Leslie) came to the ring with a cake (as it was also Hogan’s birthday). Instead of celebrating with his friend, Hogan, Hall and Nash beat him up.
Ted Dibiase arrived on the August 26 Nitro and was recognised as the financial benefactor of the nWo, playing off his “Million Dollar Man” persona in the WWF. (He was often referred to as ‘Trillionaire Ted,’ as opposed to ‘Billionaire Ted’ Turner). Despite all the past feuding with Hogan, The Giant turned on his Dungeon of Doom stablemates on the September 2 Nitro. After chasing off the commentators, The Giant explained it was simply a case of money, before helping destroy the set. The nWo continued to play mind games in the lead up to their next major battle with WCW in the War Games match at Fall Brawl on September 15. Lex Luger, Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Sting were set to face the nWo when Luger was lured into a parking lot and attacked by a man that looked very much like Sting on the September 9 Nitro. Luger, Arn and Flair kicked Sting off the team, even if it meant going in a man short.
During the match, after ‘Sting’ had entered the War Games cage, the real Sting hit the ring to attack the imposter and then went to the back. Later referred to as ‘nWo Sting,’ he had previously worked as a preliminary wrestler named The Cobra. To add insult to injury, Hogan and nWo Sting combined to force Luger to submit. After the match, Savage came after Hogan but was beaten down, and when Elizabeth tried to stop the assault, she too was brushed aside. Earlier, Savage had taken another beating during his match with The Giant when Hogan distracted Savage, leaving him open to being knocked out with a steel chair by The Outsiders and then pinned.
The following night, the nWo ranks expanded when another WWF wrestler arrived in the form of Sean Waltman (123 Kid). Sitting in the audience on Nitro, he was questioned by Mean Gene Okerlund, but Waltman said he was just there as a paying fan. Later in the programme, Kid flicked a switch that released hundreds of nWo pamphlets from the ceiling. Re-named Syxx, he was officially made a member of the nWo and mostly went after the Cruiserweight Title. In the month of October, Dibiase’s former bodyguard Virgil – renamed Vincent – was made ‘Head of nWo Security,’ and WCW official Nick Patrick – after weeks of accusations about biased refereeing – confirmed he had joined as their official referee.
Savage got a shot at Hogan’s World Heavyweight Title at Halloween Havoc but went down after interference from The Giant. Earlier, The Outsiders defeated Harlem Heat to become World Tag Team champions. Rowdy Roddy Piper made a surprise appearance after the World Title match and challenged Hogan. During the course of getting the match signed, Piper confronted Bischoff on Nitro, claiming he had been dishonest in their dealings, and of trying to put off the match. As their argument got heated, the nWo came to the ring and subdued him, as Bischoff revealed Piper’s suspicions to be correct. With the President of WCW now in the ranks, a number of WCW wrestlers saw the way the wind was blowing; on the November 26 Nitro, Marcus Bagwell turned on his tag team partner Scotty Riggs and joined the group (soon he was renamed ‘Buff’ Bagwell); the following month, Dibiase enticed his former WWF tag team partner Michael Wallstreet to switch allegiances; Big Bubba Rogers turned on the Dungeon of Doom and Scott Norton also joined.
The nWo went international in December with the formation of nWo Japan. On the December 16 Nitro, Masahiro Chono turned on his manager Sonny Onoo and then recruited Hiro Saito and Hiroyoshi Tenzan from the ranks of New Japan Pro Wrestling. (nWo Japan members would make occasional appearances in WCW and vice-versa, but the storyline was largely separate from the WCW version). All of these movements made the faction immensely strong in the lead-up to Starrcade, where Piper finally got his showdown with Hollywood Hogan. But it was here that the first cracks began to appear.
Hogan was a very autocratic leader, who commanded his troops to protect him and the World Heavyweight Title at all costs. Therefore, when he lost to Piper (albeit a non-title bout), Hogan was incensed and blamed The Giant. The Giant had attempted to interfere and chokeslam Piper, who escaped from his clutches and knocked him out of the ring. Not long after, Piper clamped on a sleeper hold to finish “Hollywood.” Earlier, The Giant had also lost to Lex Luger when Sting appeared – now with black and white facepaint and trenchcoat – and dropped his bat in the middle of the ring. After saying something to each of them, he mysteriously departed. Luger got control of the bat and used it to knock out The Giant and win the match. The following night on Nitro, The Giant was accused of “dropping the ball” and was the first member to be kicked out. Prior to Starrcade, The Giant had won the sixty-man battle royal at World War 3 to earn a future shot at the World Heavyweight Title; now that he was back with WCW, he challenged Hogan to a match at Souled Out on January 25, 1997.
Souled Out was a unique pay-per-view branded as an nWo event, with WCW wrestlers ‘invited’ to take part. The set and entrance had an industrial look, decorated in a dark and drab colour scheme. Eric Bischoff and Ted Dibiase provided one-sided commentary throughout the event, and all matches were officiated by nWo referee, Nick Patrick. The Giant was thwarted by Patrick’s biased officiating, leading to Patrick getting choke slammed. The nWo ran out and each received a choke-slam until Hogan blasted him with a guitar. The Steiner Brothers defeated The Outsiders for the Tag Team Titles when Patrick was knocked out and WCW referee Randy Anderson ran in and made the count and Eddie Guerrero beat Syxx in a ladder match to retain the United States Title.
Hall and Nash attempted to get Diamond Dallas Page to join, and their history together was brought up (DDP had managed them during their first run with WCW in the early 1990s). After weeks of speculation, DDP made his decision on the January 13, 1997 Nitro by accepting a shirt, only to give Hall a Diamond Cutter and clothesline Nash out of the ring. The nWo tried to recruit him again at Souled Out during his match with Scott Norton, only for DDP to swerve them once more by agreeing, then giving Norton a Diamond Cutter and escaping through the crowd. The Nitro after Souled Out, Bischoff stripped The Steiner Brothers of the Tag Team Titles and returned them to The Outsiders, and then fired referee Randy Anderson. The Giant got another shot at Hogan but the match was ended after interference from Hall and Nash; Lex Luger came to The Giant’s aid to set up a Tag Team Title match with The Outsiders at Superbrawl VIII on February 23, where they became the new champions.
Randy Savage returned to WCW on the January 20 Nitro; he had not been seen since losing to Hogan at Halloween Havoc. Savage held up the show and blamed his absence on Bischoff, leaving only when confronted by Sting; the two then left through the crowd. However, at Superbrawl, Savage helped Hogan retain the Title in his rematch with Piper and reunited with Elizabeth, who had left The Four Horsemen and aligned with the nWo – seemingly under duress at first – after Savage’s exit back in October 1996. Also on the pay-per-view, Syxx legitimately become Cruiserweight champion after initially stealing the belt, when he beat Dean Malenko.
When Bischoff overturned Luger and The Giant’s Tag Team Title win and returned them to Hall and Nash, it prompted a response from Turner management. On the March 3, 1997 Nitro, the WCW President was confronted by Vice President of Turner Sports, Dr. Harvey Schiller. Bischoff pleaded his case, only for Schiller to suspend him until further notice. With his power greatly diminished, Savage took out his frustrations on Bischoff when he lost to DDP at Spring Stampede. Scott Steiner was shown being arrested at the start of the pay-per-view ahead of teaming with his brother against Hall and Nash for the Tag Team Titles. Rick took a singles match against Nash and was badly beaten up. Ted Dibiase and referee Nick Patrick openly showed their disgust at the prolonged assault and would leave the group shortly after.
More problems for the group followed when a new WCW commissioner was named in the form of JJ Dillon. In short order, he found a loophole in Michael Wallstreet’s contract which forced him to leave the nWo. For the next few weeks he wore anti-WCW shirts until leaving altogether and joining up with nWo Japan. Big Bubba Rogers also was on the outer and was fired by Bischoff. The now ‘Crow’ Sting finally confirmed his allegiance to WCW at Uncensored after attempts by the nWo to sign him, despite already having their own ‘Sting.’ (nWo Sting would leave WCW after repeated attacks from the real Sting which the nWo allowed to happen. He would become a more valued member of nWo Japan).
In light of these problems, the nWo tried to bolster their ranks. Sonny Onoo was still seeking revenge from being humiliated by Chono back in December 1996 by bringing in The Great Muta to fight him on the May 26, 1997 Nitro. Instead, Muta turned on Onoo as well and aligned with Chono. (Muta would go on to become a key player in the nWo Japan storyline, and like Chono, Tenzan and Saito, would make occasional appearances in WCW). NBA star Dennis Rodman was revealed to be a friend of Hollywood Hogan and became a celebrity member, even teaming with Hogan against Luger and The Giant at Bash at the Beach on July 13, 1997. The following night on Nitro, Konnan turned on Rey Misterio Jr and joined the group. Hogan feuded with Luger and lost the Title by submission on the August 4 Nitro, but beat Luger in the rematch five days later at Road Wild.
In the lead-up to Fall Brawl (September 14), Arn Anderson gave up his spot in the Four Horsemen to the recently arrived Curt Hennig, after being forced to retire due to a neck injury. The emotional segment – with a clearly distressed Ric Flair – was then parodied and mocked by the nWo. The Horsemen looked to shut them up in War Games at Fall Brawl, but the nWo got the last laugh when Hennig turned on The Horsemen, violently smashing Flair’s head in the steel cage door. Hennig was soon joined by his friend Rick Rude, who left the WWF in protest of the ‘Montreal Screwjob’ and appeared on the November 17 live Nitro broadcast (while also being shown on the taped RAW episode as a member of DX).
In what would be the biggest drawing pay-per-view in company history, Hollywood Hogan defended the World Title against Sting at Starrcade 1997. Also scheduled on the card was a match for control of Nitro between Eric Bischoff and Nitro colour commentator, Larry Zybysko. On the Nitro right before Starrcade, the nWo ran amok and tore the set down at the beginning of the programme and turned it into nWo Nitro. Bret Hart – who had arrived on December 15 – was heavily courted and made special referee for the ‘control of Nitro’ bout. Bischoff was absolutely certain he had Bret in his back pocket, but best laid plans will go awry.
Bret Hart showed his allegiance to WCW by turning on Bischoff and awarding Zybysko the winner, thereby depriving the nWo of turning Nitro into their own show. Then in the big main event, Sting forced Hogan to submit in his first match in well over a year to become the new World Heavyweight champion. Hogan had pinned Sting after a legdrop and Nick Patrick made the count. Bret made a second appearance to overrule it and restart the match; not long after Hogan tapped to the Scorpion Deathlock. Hogan got a rematch the next night on Nitro which again ended in controversy (the title was then declared vacant). JJ Dillon declared that Scott Hall would get a shot at the title at Superbrawl VIII, an opportunity he had earned back at the World War 3 pay-per-view by winning the sixty-man battle royal.However, at Souled Out 1998, Rowdy Roddy Piper (now the commissioner instead of Dillon) announced that Hogan and Sting would get a match for the title at Superbrawl VIII, and that he would face the winner at Uncensored. Hall wrestled Zybysko after starting a feud with him on Nitro, which involved the newly arrived Louie Spicolli, who accompanied Hall to the ring. To ward off Spicolli, Zybysko asked fellow commentator, “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes to watch his back. But the dream became a nightmare when Rhodes cost Zybysko the match and joined Hall and Spicolli in beating him down, revealing an nWo shirt under his clothes. Luger defeated Savage by submission in the main event, and Kevin Nash seriously injured The Giant with the Jackknife powerbomb.
Right before Superbrawl VIII on February 22, 1998, Brian Adams (formerly WWF star Crush) debuted in WCW and despite assuring Bret Hart that he could be trusted, he turned on him and joined the nWo. Hollywood also acquired a bodyguard in the form of The Disciple, formerly The Booty Man with an entirely different look. At Superbrawl, Scott Steiner shockingly turned on his brother Rick to hand the World Tag Team Titles to The Outsiders. Despite these latest additions, there were more dramas within the ranks when Randy Savage chose to help Sting defeat Hogan for the World Heavyweight Title. Savage had made a leadership challenge and decided to go after the Title himself. Louie Spicolli was also scheduled to wrestle Zybysko, but died of a drug overdose a week before the pay-per-view at the age of 27.
On the March 26 Thunder, Nash, Hogan and Bischoff got into an argument concerning Syxx, who had been taken off television and sent to rehab for alcoholism and then released from the company altogether (he had been out with an injury since October the previous year). Hall, Nash and Syxx had referred to themselves as the ‘Wolfpac,’ and this was the blow that caused Nash to go into Savage’s camp, when Hogan made unpleasant comments about his departed friend. Savage battled Hogan at Uncensored in a steel cage which ended in a no-contest after The Disciple knocked out two referees and Hogan and Savage continued to brawl uncontrollably; Sting came down to help Savage but was attacked by the “Macho Man” as well. Earlier, Sting defeated Hall, causing The Outsider to lose his future title shot. The Giant defeated Nash after being hit with a baseball bat by Brian Adams, and Luger defeated Scott Steiner.
Nash continued to support Savage but still teamed with Hogan at Spring Stampede on April 19 (against Piper and The Giant), only for Hogan to attack him after the match. In the main event between Savage and Sting for the World Title, Nash power-bombed Sting to enable Savage to become champion. Nash and Savage brawled with Hogan and The Disciple after the bout. During the course of all this, Savage tore his ACL but still agreed to defend against Hogan the next night on Nitro in a no disqualification match. After copious amounts of interference on both sides, Bret Hart made the difference by hitting Savage with the title belt to enable Hogan to win.
Hogan having the Title always seemed to mend any issues among the ranks of the nWo, but not on this occasion. On the May 4, 1998 Nitro, Nash, Savage and Konnan came out with red-and-black nWo shirts and called themselves The Wolfpac. Other defections followed, with Elizabeth, Curt Hennig and Rick Rude crossing over. Hogan retained The Disciple, Eric Bischoff, Brian Adams, Scott Steiner, Buff Bagwell, Scott Norton and Vincent, who continued wearing the black-and-white as nWo Hollywood. Bret Hart never claimed to be a member and wanted to be known as an ‘associate.’
Right before Slamboree on May 17, The Giant re-joined nWo Hollywood as he was set to tag with Sting against The Outsiders for the Tag Team titles. Hall swerved his best friend Nash by turning on him to allow Sting and The Giant to win the belts, and was later sworn in as another nWo Hollywood member. On May 25, Lex Luger joined the Wolfpac and urged Sting to do the same; at the same time The Giant and nWo Hollywood were attempting to get Sting to join them. The Stinger soon made his decision and joined the Wolfpac, going on to defeat The Giant in a singles match to gain control of the Tag Team Titles at Great American Bash on June 14, and later chose Nash as his new partner. Earlier, Hennig and Rude turned on Konnan after he lost to Goldberg and went back to nWo Hollywood.
On July 6, 1998, Hogan lost the title to Goldberg on Nitro in front of over forty thousand fans in the Georgia Dome. Hogan then mostly participated in celebrity tag team matches; at Bash at the Beach on July 12, he teamed with Dennis Rodman against Diamond Dallas Page and another NBA star, Karl Malone. At Road Wild on August 8, Hogan teamed with Bischoff against Page and Tonight Show host, Jay Leno. Hogan was then confronted by another nightmare from his past – The Warrior. Warrior sided with WCW for War Games at Fall Brawl 1998, but Hogan avoided a confrontation. The Warrior created the One Warrior Nation (oWn) and even recruited The Disciple. At Halloween Havoc on October 25, Hogan and Warrior battled in a largely forgettable match, and ended when Hulk’s nephew Horace hit Warrior in the back with a steel chair.
Bret Hart instigated a feud with Sting over his use of ‘his’ finishing move the Sharpshooter (as opposed to Sting’s Scorpion Deathlock). Hart defeated Sting after repeatedly hitting him with a baseball bat to put “The Stinger” out of action for several months. At World War III 1998 on November 22, Nash won the battle royal to earn a shot at Goldberg for the World Heavyweight Title at Starrcade. Hall arrived and despite his recent problems with Nash, tazered Goldberg to set up a Nash victory to crown a new World champion. Bischoff was also dethroned as President of WCW when he lost to Ric Flair, who got unexpected help from Randy Savage; as a result, Flair got to run the company for ninety days. In what was a busy month of November, Hogan announced on The Jay Leno Show he was retiring from wrestling and even wanted to run for President of the United States.
Due to the interference from Scott Hall, Nash promised Goldberg a rematch on the following Nitro, the first of the new year of 1999. However, Goldberg missed the match when he was accused of stalking Elizabeth by nWo Hollywood and detained at the police station. Hogan returned in a plain black shirt with no nWo logo and was challenged by Nash. In what has since been labelled the ‘fingerpoke of doom,’ Hogan poked Nash in the chest who then farcically fell to the mat and allowed himself to be pinned. The nWo was reunited, with Hogan, Nash, Hall, Steiner, Luger and Bagwell wearing the red-and-black (nWo Elite) and the rest continuing to wear the black-and-white as the nWo ‘B-team.’
On the January 7 Thunder, the nWo Elite went after the Latino World Order led by Eddie Guerrero, laying out several of their members and their opponents in the ring. The Giant and the rest of nWo black-and-white – not informed of the decision – took offense. Hogan tried to diffuse the situation, but then said he wanted The Giant and Nash to face each other to decide who really was the best ‘big man’ in the nWo; Nash won and The Giant departed for the WWF. Later in the show, Lex Luger and Nash confronted Rey Misterio Jr in the back and demanded he remove his lWo shirt; when Rey refused he was pummeled. Konnan confronted Luger and Nash about their treatment of Rey, and then he too was attacked and kicked out.
With Hogan now preoccupied with ‘nWo Elite,’ the rest of the black-and-white team comically bickered with each other over who should be the leader of their sub-group; eventually Stevie Ray became recognised to run the faction. At Uncensored on March 14, Hogan lost the World Title to Flair in a First Blood Barbed Wire Cage match; Scott Steiner also lost the TV Title after misguided interference from Bagwell, who was then given the boot. At Slamboree on May 9, Nash defeated Page to lift the WCW World Title, and The Steiner Brothers were reunited when Rick turned on Bagwell. But things were winding down, with injuries to key members keeping them sidelined for long periods; Luger (bicep), Hall (foot injury after it was run over by a car), Scott Steiner (back) and Hogan, who injured his knee back at Spring Stampede in a four-way match for the World Title. Hogan then defeated Nash in career match for the title at Road Wild on August 14, and returned to the red-and-yellow the next night on Nitro. The nWo ‘B’ team members dispersed into other roles.
Just when it seemed the nWo was gone for good, it was resurrected in December as ‘nWo 2000.’ Now wearing silver and black, it would consist of Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Bret Hart and Jeff Jarrett and several ‘nWo girls’ (Midajah, Tylene Buck and – briefly – Pamela Paulshock). Scott Steiner later joined the group and took on Midajah as his main valet, as did the Harris Boys (Ron and Don). Hart won the vacated World Heavyweight Title and held it until December 19, when he in turn had to vacate the title after suffering a concussion during his match with Goldberg at Starrcade 1999 and had to retire.
Nash became WCW commissioner after beating Terry Funk at Souled Out in January, but soon after broke his ankle; Hall left the company after losing a triple-threat match at Superbrawl 2000 on February 20 against Sid Vicious and fellow nWo member Jeff Jarrett. In April, the entire company was rebooted by the new creative team led by Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo, but would be sold to Titan Sports on March 23, 2001. After the initial WCW invasion storyline was finished, Ric Flair arrived in the company and claimed a fifty per cent ownership of the WWF after ‘buying’ WCW and ECW from Shane and Stephanie McMahon. In desperation, Vince decided to unleash a “lethal dose of poison” and “kill his own creation.” At the ironically named NWO (No Way Out) pay-per-view on February 17, 2002, the nWo was revived by Hogan, Hall and Nash.
They made their presence felt, going after The Rock and Stonecold Steve Austin. At Wrestlemania X-8 on March 17 in the Toronto Skydome, Hogan faced The Rock in a dream match, and Hall faced Austin. Despite being the ‘heel,’ Hogan was overwhelmingly supported by the huge crowd. When The Rock defeated Hogan, the nWo leader extended his hand in respect and it was accepted. Hall and Nash appeared and beat on Hogan, who was then saved by The Rock and two left together; once again, Hogan returned to the red-and-yellow. Sean Waltman (X-Pac) was reunited with Hall and Nash on the March 21 Smackdown, and then the former Giant (The Big Show) joined on the April 22 RAW. The nWo largely feuded with Austin, with Flair in his corner until he turned on ‘The Rattlesnake’ in the lead-up to the Judgement Day pay-per-view on May 19.
Hall was kicked out after repeated losses to Austin and was then released for ‘personal reasons.’ Flair recruited Booker T on the June 3 RAW, but when Nash returned from a bicep injury, he brought in Shawn Michaels, who promptly kicked Booker out. Overtures were made to Triple H – making it more like The Kliq than the nWo – but time ran out. Nash made his in-ring return on the July 8 RAW but immediately tore his quad. The following week, Vince McMahon announced that the nWo was being finished up – ironically on the same night that Eric Bischoff arrived and became RAW General Manager. The nWo have made sporadic appearances in the now-World Wrestling Entertainment, such as Wrestlemania XXXI when Triple H faced Sting. In 2010, Hogan, Hall, Nash and Sean Waltman (Syxx/X-Pac) formed ‘The Band,’ an nWo-style faction in TNA.