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The stable's gimmick was a group of unsanctioned wrestlers aiming to "take over" and control WCW in the manner of a street gang; the group's three initial members Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall had each gained fame in the rival World Wrestling Federation, although this connection was only implied. It is currently the largest stable in pro wrestling history.
The nWo angle was one of the most influential forces in the late 1990s success of WCW, and was instrumental in turning mainstream American wrestling back into a more mature, adult-oriented product. The brainchild of WCW Executive Eric Bischoff, 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, oWn, and MEM). 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 rival WWF even resurrected the angle for a time in 2002.
The nWo storyline was an idea WCW Executive Vice President Eric Bischoff came up with after attending a New Japan Pro Wrestling show. He wanted to do an invasion-type angle where WCW was kayfabe 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 his assistants Kevin Sullivan and Paul Orndorff all contributed their own ideas to the nWo concept. For instance, the logo was designed by Craig Leathers, Scott Hall is credited with the group's trademark hand-signals, and Taylor belatedly scrawled the group's most popular catchphrase, "When you're nWo, you're nWo 4 life", in one segment he scripted for WCW Monday Nitro in late 1996.
World Championship Wrestling (1996–2000)Edit
On May 19, 1996, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash wrestled their final matches for the WWF as their contracts had expired and they had recently signed with WCW. Eight days later, on the May 27 episode of Nitro, Hall unexpectedly interrupted a match between The Mauler and Steve Doll. He delivered 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 in the broadcast booth and demanded that he tell 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 he spat a toothpick at him and said he had a "little...no...BIG surprise" for Sting. Nash was revealed as Hall's surprise the next week, and the two were dubbed The Outsiders.
Despite Hall and Nash being fully employed by WCW, the implication that they were invading WCW from the WWF was enough of a concern that the WWF was not amused by Hall and Nash's antics. Hall particularly had not distanced himself very far from his Razor Ramon character he had portrayed for several years in the WWF (including continuing to speak in his faux-Cuban accent and using the word "chico" toward his opponents), and had also made mention in promos of "Billionaire Ted," "The Nacho Man," and "The Huckster", which were three characters the WWF was using in vignettes at the time to make fun of Ted Turner, Hulk Hogan, and Randy Savage as well as the WCW product as a whole.
Those concerns were finally acknowledged at The Great American Bash, where Bischoff (as Nitro's on-air lead commentator) invited The Outsiders to do an interview. Bischoff promised them a match at the next pay-per-view event. He then directly asked both Hall and Nash if they were employed by the WWF, with both acknowledging they weren't. It did not stop the WWF from filing a lawsuit against WCW, citing specifics about Hall's character and saying that TBS had proposed interpromotional matches to associate the two brands with each other, when in fact the two organizations had bad blood going back over a decade when Vince McMahon was forced to sell a WWF-owned timeslot on TBS to Jim Crockett Promotions, the forerunner of the modern WCW.
During the interview, both Hall and Nash pressed Bischoff again to name his three representatives. Bischoff said that he had found three representatives 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 the Great American Bash, The Outsiders continued to randomly terrorize WCW events, being chased away by armed security guards
The Hostile Takeover MatchEdit
The match Bischoff promised, a six-man tag known as the "Hostile Takeover Match," served as the main event of Bash At The Beach the following month. Hall and Nash came to the ring by themselves, leaving speculation open as to who would be their partner. 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 the 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 WCW's representatives, who had been drafted on a recent edition of Nitro, walked to the ring. The team of Lex Luger, Sting, and Randy Savage came to the ring with painted faces as a show of solidarity (which Sting had always done but Luger and Savage had never done).
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 but hit Luger at the same time, knocking him off the apron to the floor unconscious. Bobby Heenan was heard asking for someone out to replace the injured Luger since Hall and Nash had a third man waiting. With the matchup apparently even at two a side with Hall and Nash's partner still yet to be revealed, the two sides continued to battle as announcers Tony Schiavone, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, 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 beat on Hall and Nash, but was stopped by a Nash low blow, done while Hall was holding on to Anderson to keep him distracted. As Anderson began counting Nash and Savage out, Hulk Hogan, who had not been seen on WCW television for several weeks, made a surprise return run-in. After chasing off Hall and Nash, Hogan then shocked the wrestling world by legdropping the fallen Savage in the center of the ring, revealing himself to be the third man and turning heel for the first time in years. After neutralizing Sting, who attempted to save the day, Hogan threw Anderson out of the ring and legdropped Savage one more time while Hall and Nash executed a mock three-count. The match's official result was a no contest.
After Savage was then carried out of the ring, the fans began showing their displeasure with the now-heel Hogan by throwing cups, garbage, and other assorted debris at him in the ring. One fan even jumped into the ring in an attempt to attack Hogan but was intercepted by Hall and Nash and whisked away by WCW security. Hall later said that the reaction surprised him, as he had always believed that the fans should never throw things at the wrestlers no matter how angry they had gotten at something that had happened.
While debris continued to litter the ring Okerlund re-entered the scene to conduct an interview. This time, his focus was solely on Hogan as he demanded answers for what had just taken place. An angry Hogan specifically railed against the WCW fans, who recently had grown tired of his character and were not kind in their reaction toward him despite all that he had done for them over the last two years he had spent with WCW. He then cemented the turn by reminding everyone just how much he had done for wrestling (saying that if it wasn't for him, none of them would be there), saying that he had grown bored with the way his career had turned over the last few years, saying that Hall and Nash were the people he wanted as his friends and that together, the three of them would be taking over the company and destroying everything in their path. Hogan made a reference to he and The Outsiders being "the new world order of wrestling," and the name stuck.
Soon after the nWo formed, the stable began appearing on Monday Nitro, causing mayhem and attacking WCW wrestlers. After the newly rechristened Hollywood Hogan won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship from The Giant at Hog Wild, he spray-painted the letters "NWO" (in all capital letters) on to the title belt and began to refer it on occasion as the "nWo World Heavyweight Championship". The defacing of the belt was the first step of what they referred to as "taking over" WCW. 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.
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, the nWo tricked fans and wrestlers into thinking that Sting had joined the nWo. At War Games, the nWo won the match controversially as two wrestlers in Sting's style of face paint fought in the match: an impostor "nWo" Sting and the real Sting. The real Sting was revealed to be an ally of WCW, however as his fellow WCW wrestlers (including his longtime friend Lex Luger) and the fans had doubted his allegiance, he declared that he would no longer help WCW in the war against the nWo, leading to a nearly year-long retreat from the ring.
During this time the faction began introducing new members, including Ted DiBiase on August 26 (who was "financing" the group, an implied continuation of his "Million Dollar Man" gimmick in the WWF; with the Million Dollar Man name unusable, as it was WWF property, DiBiase was referred to as "Trillionaire Ted"), The Giant on September 2 (a former WCW hero), Syxx on September 16 (as its cruiserweight contender), and Vincent in October (as "head of security"). Referee Nick Patrick became the group's official referee after he began showing partiality to nWo members during their matches. The nWo continued to dominate WCW, with Hogan successfully retaining his "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 1996.
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, which led to the nWo starting a segment on WCW Saturday Night, called nWo Saturday Night, where nWo stable members wrestled jobbers in an empty arena. 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.
WCW President Eric Bischoff, who for months had railed against the nWo, was exposed on an early November Nitro by recent WCW signee Rowdy Roddy Piper as a member. Shortly thereafter, Bischoff gave the WCW locker room an ultimatum- join the nWo within thirty days, or become a target of the group. Soon after Bischoff's threat, Marcus Alexander Bagwell joined the faction on the November 25 episode of Nitro, turning on his American Males tag team partner, Scotty Riggs, and renaming himself "Buff" Bagwell. Others who joined the nWo were Mr. Wallstreet on December 9, Big Bubba Rogers and Scott Norton on the December 16 episode of Nitro. 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. The next night on the December 29 episode of Nitro, The Giant was kicked out of the nWo when he refused to choke slam Piper in an nWo assault. At the same event, they stole Eddie Guerrero's newly won United States title belt; Guerrero constantly feuded with mid-card nWo members such as Scott Norton and Syxx.
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), kayfabe 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 that they 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 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 at Souled Out, but were re-awarded the titles the next night on Nitro after Bischoff claimed that Randy Anderson, who ran in to officiate after Nick Patrick was knocked down, was not an official referee for Souled Out.
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 the match by slipping him brass knuckles which Hogan then used to knock Piper out. Savage then participated in a postmatch beatdown of the fallen Piper, cementing his place in the nWo. Earlier that night, The Outsiders lost their titles to Lex Luger and The Giant. The next night, Bischoff returned the titles to The Outsiders, as Luger had been injured and was not cleared to wrestle in the match. Two weeks later, on the March 13 edition of Nitro, Turner Sports president Harvey Schiller suspended Bischoff for his abuse of his office. Around that same time, NBA star Dennis Rodman became a member of the nWo.
Team nWo, which consisted of Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash, won a triple-threat elimination tag team match at Uncensored 1997 against Team WCW, which consisted of Lex Luger, Scott Steiner, and The Giant (Rick Steiner was originally selected to wrestle for Team WCW but was attacked and unable to make the match), and Team Piper, which consisted of Roddy Piper and Four Horsemen members Chris Benoit, Steve McMichael, and Jeff Jarrett. New member Dennis Rodman factored in the outcome as he interfered and hit Lex Luger, which was the decisive fall in the match. 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 his baseball bat and his signature move the Scorpion Deathdrop, thereby indicating his allegiance to WCW. He also set his intentions towards Hollywood Hogan and the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
At Spring Stampede 1997, the tension within the nWo grew and Nick Patrick quit the group and returned to being an honest referee. Ted DiBiase quit the group months later and joined the Steiner Brothers on the August 4 episode of Nitro as their manager. 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). Konnan was introduced in the nWo as K-Dawg on July 14.
On August 4, Hogan lost the World Heavyweight title on an episode of Nitro to Luger, after Luger earned a title shot defeating Hogan and Dennis Rodman with his partner The Giant at Bash at the Beach 1997. However, Hogan regained the WCW World Heavyweight Championship from Luger at Road Wild 1997.
A War Games match was announced for Fall Brawl 1997: War Games, after the nWo mocked The Four Horsemen in a skit where they dressed as members of the group. The skit surrounded the recent addition of Curt Hennig to the Horsemen in place of a retiring Arn Anderson. The Horsemen (Ric Flair, Benoit, Hennig, and McMichael) took on Nash, Bagwell, Syxx, and Konnan and were defeated after Hennig turned on the Horsemen immediately after entering and joined the nWo.
Rick Rude joined the nWo on an episode of Nitro on the same night he made a pre-taped appearance on the WWF's show Raw is War. He spoke of his sympathy for Bret Hart because of the Montreal Screwjob and how he had a grudge against Sting for ending his career in a match in Japan three years earlier. 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. Speculation had been abounding since the November 10 edition of Nitro (the night after the Montreal Screwjob) over whether he would align himself with the nWo as Eric Bischoff, who announced the signing of Hart to WCW that night as well as shooting on the incident where Hart punched out Vince McMahon backstage, declared that Hart was the newest member of the nWo that night. Instead of joining the nWo, however, he agreed to be the special referee in the match pitting Larry Zbyszko against the nWo's Eric Bischoff, with the winner of the match would gain control of WCW Monday Nitro. On the Monday before Starrcade, the nWo staged a complete takeover of WCW Monday Nitro. 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. 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.
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). 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 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 and Hogan's best friend Ed Leslie, barely recognizable as a bearded biker now known as The Disciple, all joined the nWo.
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.
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 and 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." (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, and the next night on Nitro Hogan issued a challenge to Savage for his newly won world championship.
The no-disqualification match between the two came to a climax just before its conclusion. While Hogan was attacking Savage in a corner, The Disciple hit referee Nick Patrick with a neckbreaker and then hit the fallen champion with his finishing move, The Apocalypse, on the title belt. While this was happening a furious Nash ran to ringside with Eric Bischoff following close behind to try and intercept him. Despite the best efforts of all three men in the ring Nash easily took them on, eventually powerbombing Hogan in a move that signaled the breakup of the nWo into two separate factions.
The match, however, was not over. Nash laid the unconscious Savage on top of Hogan, while Bret Hart came to the ring. In an unexpected move Hart laid out Nash with the championship belt, moved the pile so Hogan was covering Savage, and revived Patrick by placing him near Hogan. The referee counted Savage out and Hogan became WCW World Heavyweight Champion for a fourth time. Although Hogan had the title back in his and appeared to have taken the reigns of the nWo again, he was now the leader of a severely splintered group whose loyalties were now going to have to be split between either him or Nash.
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, and were joined in the following weeks by Curt Hennig, Miss Elizabeth, and Rick Rude. 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, who had helped Hogan defeat Savage several weeks earlier, did not officially join either side but sided with Hogan.
The allegiances of two nWo members were not yet known, however, as Hall's mystery disappearance from television was still unresolved (despite his standing as WCW Tag Team Champion) and Buff Bagwell had suffered a severe neck injury at the April 21 Thunder taping and was out of action. 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's 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 wasn't ready to see Sting join the Wolfpac and made their own effort to try and 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 facepaint 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 wasn't 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 kayfabe 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.The Warrior, who returned to wrestling on an August edition of Nitro. Meanwhile, Hulk Hogan had his own battle to deal with in the form of 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 Hulk 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. The next night on Nitro, Randy Savage returned wearing an nWo black-and-white t-shirt, but instead helped Ric Flair defeat Eric Bischoff in a match to determine the WCW presidency.
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 sexually harassing 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 and was challenged by the reigning champion. Hogan accepted Nash's request and took Goldberg's place in the main event. In the match, which has been called "the Fingerpoke of Doom" by fans, after the bell rang to begin the bout, Hogan poked Nash in the chest, after which Nash fell to the mat as if he'd been shot. Hogan covered Nash for the pin 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, Buff Bagwell, and Konnan 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. 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, a former member of the Wolfpac, had been on hiatus during the nWo reuniting and did not partake in the now-heel stable upon his return.
End of the nWo eraEdit
The reunited New World Order did not last long for either faction.
On the Elite/Wolfpac side they enjoyed initial success with Hulk Hogan as WCW World Champion, Scott Steiner as Television Champion and Scott Hall as United States 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 vanished from television. Hogan dropped the World Championship at Uncensored to Ric Flair and Steiner lost his Television Championship to Booker T after Bagwell accidentally nailed him with a chair. Shortly after Steiner beat him down and threw him out of the group. The following month Hogan was severely injured during a fatal four-way match at Spring Stampede for the world title, which Diamond Dallas Page won, and was put out of action indefinitely. Nash then began a rivalry with Page, who he blamed for causing Hogan's injury, and defeated him for the world title at Slamboree in May 1999. By this point, however, the nWo storyline had petered out as Scott Steiner left the group to reform a tag team with his brother Rick and the rest of group drifted apart. 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 99 (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 saw The Giant and Curt Hennig beaten down and removed from the group (with Hall explaining that it was "time to trim the fat"), while the others soldiered 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 Clarke called KroniK. Vincent left the group and joined the West Texas Rednecks alongside former nWo stablemates Hennig and Barry Windham, changing his name to "Shane" (as another slap at Vince McMahon) and later "Curly Bill". Stevie Ray reformed 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 the returning 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 Savage. Over the next few weeks Hogan and Nash, along with Vicious, Savage, and Rick 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 won the match and Nash was forced 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.
In late 1999, the nWo came back for one more run as the silver and black (rather than black and white). This version was also referred to as "nWo 2000" and the word "new" in the "new World order" logo was underlined to emphasize that this was a new version of the group. Consisting of Bret Hart, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Jeff Jarrett, Scott Steiner, and the Harris twins, Don and Ron. Several fitness models (Tylene Buck, April Hunter, Kim Kanner (Shakira), Midajah and Pamela Paulshock) were brought in to come to ringside with the group, but were usually ordered to the back by Jarrett, a misogynistic character. This nWo lasted into early 2000, but soon faded away, in great part due to the injury and retirement of Bret "The Hitman" Hart, the leader of the group, when he was side kicked by Goldberg. By this point, not only the nWo, but WCW as a whole, had lapsed into what seemed to be an inevitable and permanent decline, constantly bettered by the WWF and relegated to a permanent second-place status, a situation many longtime WCW fans blamed in part on WCW management having stayed with the nWo storyline for entirely too long. In April 2000, WCW management "rebooted" the company, and the nWo's place as the lead heel faction was taken by The New Blood.
World Wrestling Federation / Entertainment (2002)Edit
"Hollywood" Hulk Hogan making his entrance at WrestleMania X8 in 2002.After the WWF bought WCW in 2001, Vince McMahon brought in Hogan, Hall and Nash, the original nWo, at No Way Out 2002. In this storyline, 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 8 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, Kane and Bradshaw at his side on occasion. Hall and Nash then brought in two former nWo members, X-Pac (formerly known as Syxx), on March 21, 2002, edition of SmackDown! in Ottawa, Ontario and The Big Show (formerly known as The Giant), on the April 22 edition of Raw.
The nWo reunion in the WWF did not last long, however. During an attack on Bradshaw, Kevin Nash injured his biceps and was put out of action for several months. Meanwhile, 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 (Nash 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 immediately 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 five-year retirement from pro wrestling, would be 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 ultimately never resolved, as Nash suffered a torn quadriceps tendon which forced him to miss an extended period of time. Afterwards, the nWo storyline was permanently abandoned 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 quadricep 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, Vince McMahon made announcement that the group of nWo was officially disbanded as Eric Bischoff became Raw General Manager. This marked the last time anything regarding the nWo was seen on WWE programming, apart from a mention from DX and Eric Bischoff in a promo in 2006. Also, WWE wrestler Randy Orton wore a T-shirt with his initials "rKo", in the classic nWo T-shirt design.
The logo of The Band.Weeks prior to the debut of Hulk Hogan in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, Kevin Nash had hinted that "the band was getting 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), additionally with or without 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 is the first time in over eight years the members has 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 in a losing effort 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. On the March 29 edition of Impact! Nash offered Young a spot in the Band, 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 Band 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.