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The "too sweet" history of The New World Order
Throughout history there have been numerous groups in various organizations that have left a profound impact on the WWE Universe. The Four Horsemen, The Nexus, Evolution, D-Generation X; these are only a few groups of Superstars whose efforts as a cohesive unit propelled them into legend. However, there is arguably no group that has had more influence in sports-entertainment than the one that formed more than fifteen years ago, the original New World Order. ( PHOTOS | WATCH VIDEO PLAYLIST)
It all began in the summer of 1996 when two prominent WWE Superstars, Kevin Nash (Diesel) and Scott Hall (Razor Ramon), began to appear uninvited on WCW Monday Nitro. Known as The Outsiders, they would sit in the stands at ringside, shrouding their intentions and motives in mystery. Perhaps the biggest point of confusion was their status with WWE. Many competitors in the WCW locker room and WCW fans believed that WWE was invading WCW and a war between the rival companies was imminent.
When confronted by WCW President Eric Bischoff, The Outsiders made their objectives clear when Nash Jackknife Powerbombed Bischoff off of the entrance area. They arrived in the Atlanta-based organization with the intent of setting their own rules and answering to no one in authority.
Longtime WCW competitors such as Sting, Lex Luger and The Four Horsemen banded together in an attempt to take down The Outsiders, but the duo was nearly unstoppable, creating an atmosphere of mistrust and paranoia inside the WCW locker room. When they claimed that they were working with a third individual, that mistrust amongst WCW competitors, friend and foe alike, grew exponentially.
Finally, at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996, three top WCW stars, Sting, Lex Luger and “Macho Man” Randy Savage challenged The Outsiders and their mysterious third man. However, Hall & Nash started the match without their mystery partner and held their own against WCW’s finest. This prompted longtime fan favorite Hulk Hogan, absent for months during The Outsiders’ arrival, to make his way to the ring. What came next shocked the entire world and changed the entire landscape of sports-entertainment.
Nash & Hall retreated to the outside of the ring as Hogan ripped off his T-shirt to the delight of the fans. It seemed clear that The Hulkster was going to ensure that WCW would finally be rid of The Outsiders. The last thing anyone ever expected was for Hogan to slyly make his way to a turnbuckle, look down at his longtime friend and rival, “Macho Man,” and hit his iconic leg drop, allowing Hall & Nash to secure the victory. As angry fans threw loads of trash into the ring, it was obvious that the red and yellow clad Hulkster was the third man. Not only had the individual who always preached taking vitamins and saying prayers turned his back on the fans and WCW, but he would help usher in a new era.
Together, Hogan and The Outsiders made one thing abundantly clear, they were “the New World Order of professional wrestling.” Wearing black and white, the three made their presence known to everyone in WCW by interrupting matches and attacking other competitors, soon expanding their ranks to dominate all of Ted Turner’s organization.
With the newly anointed “Hollywood” Hogan carrying the WCW World Title and The Outsiders carrying the WCW Tag Team Titles, WCW management was forced to let the men compete. Soon enough, “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase joined the group as their financier. With DiBiase’s fortune, they began to have a great deal of influence over referees and other competitors. They went as far as hijacking the WCW broadcast signal to air special messages and their own program, nWo Saturday Night.
Even though WCW would have small victories, the power undoubtedly rested in the hands of Hollywood Hogan and Kevin Nash, the clear leaders of The New World Order. Many WCW competitors believed that the only way to rise to the top of WCW and to steer clear of The nWo was to join them, and the group expanded further, with “Macho Man” and Curt Hennig donning the iconic black and white t-shirt. One of The nWo’s greatest additions was future WWE Superstar Big Show, then known as The Giant. Perhaps the most severe blow to WCW would be served when Bischoff, the president of WCW, joined the group, the apparent corporate mastermind behind the entire operation.
As The New World Order’s recruiting efforts went into overdrive, WCW competitors began joining the group, each filling a role. Ring warriors such as Buff Bagwell, the physically imposing Scott Norton, Brian Adams and Dusty Rhodes all wore the black and white. Another major shock occurred when one half of WCW’s top tag team, The Steiner Brothers, joined the nWo. In a battle with The Outsiders, Scott Steiner turned on his own brother, Rick, proving that the nWo’s influence was strong enough to tear families apart. The group would go on to add athletes like Dennis Rodman and also expand into New Japan Pro Wrestling.
WCW’s only hope was their face-painted franchise, Sting, who had adopted a darker persona and descended from the rafters whenever The nWo would threaten his comrades. Sting focused his attention on Hollywood Hogan, and the members of the black and white would prove their loyalty, protecting their leader while feeling the wrath of Sting’s baseball bat. While Sting ultimately defeated Hogan for the WCW Title at Starrcade 1997, controversy surrounding the referee’s count speed and the arrival of Bret “Hit Man” Hart led to the cowardly nWo leader having Sting stripped of the championship, once again proving that the influence of the group was strong. This was yet another critical turning point in the nWo’s rise to power.
Despite their poisonous intent, The nWo dominated WCW and launched the organization’s television ratings to new heights, but like any great empire, there was a struggle for power that would ultimately lead to its downfall. Hogan and Nash began to have conflicting opinions over how the group should operate, resulting in Big Sexy’s departure from The nWo. While Nash’s original tag team partner, Scott Hall, remained aligned with Hogan, Konnan and “Macho Man” joined Nash to form The nWo red and black, also known as The Wolfpack. However, the red and black would not reach its pinnacle until the addition form of WCW stalwarts Lex Luger and Sting.
With Goldberg concurrently taking WCW by storm and amassing the longest-running undefeated streak in history, WCW was on the verge of re-establishing their footing. This culminated with Goldberg unseating Hogan for the title. However, at Starrcade 1998, Scott Hall assisted Nash in ending Goldberg’s unblemished winning streak, reuniting The Outsiders. Shortly thereafter, Big Sexy would lay down for Hollywood Hogan after the infamous “Fingerpoke of Doom” in an effort to unify the rival factions of The New World Order.
Through all the stunts and controversial acts, the group could never recapture their dominance and changes in WCW’s management shook the foundations of the organization. A final failed attempt at recreating The nWo took place in 2000 featuring Nash, Jeff Jarrett, Bret Hart and Scott Steiner, but that group’s reign was short-lived and easily forgotten.
The original three members of The nWo would ride together one last time when Mr. McMahon lost partial control of WWE to Ric Flair. The Chairman believed that injecting his creation with a lethal black and white poison would be the only way to restore order, even if it meant WWE suffering the same fate as WCW. The nWo dominated WWE until WrestleMania X-8 when “Stone Cold” Steve Austin crushed Scott Hall and The Rock conquered Hollywood Hogan.
The losses at The Show of Shows caused a rift amongst the three leading The Outsiders to turn on Hogan, giving birth to a resurgence of Hulkamania. Hall and Nash kept the group in tact for a short while after with former members X-Pac and Big Show, and later including Shawn Michaels and Booker T. However, Hall would soon part ways with WWE and Nash would be sidelined by an injury. Without any of the original three members, the nWo collapsed.
The New World Order remains one of the most influential groups in history with some of the biggest names of the ring filling out the ranks. While variations and splinter factions formed over the years, none could recapture the dominance, the attitude and the power of the original incarnation.