With the NWO being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame (as part of the 2020 class), I wanted to take a look back at just how great they were. “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan, “Big Sexy” Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Sean Waltman will be the four members inducted for the group. There is no denying the impact this group had in the world of sports entertainment and this Hall of Fame induction is well overdue. So let’s take an in-depth look at the greatest stable of all time.
Now it’s no secret that in the mid-90s Diesel aka Kevin Nash and Razor Ramon aka Scott Hall were looking to leave the then WWF and join Billionaire Ted Turner’s wrestling company World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Executive Vice President Eric Bischoff convinced Turner to shell out millions to land the duo. But then for some ungodly reason, he back-loaded their contracts, gave them creative control, and cut their number of dates to work from 200 to about 50 a year…yep that was a good formula to land wrestling megastars.
Shortly after leaving the WWF, Scott Hall would appear on WCW’s Nitro and deliver the famous line “You want a war” and stated he had some allies and then laid down an open challenge to anyone in the WCW locker room. The following week on Nitro, Hall had revealed Kevin Nash to be one of his allies. Hall and Nash were then given the name of “The Outsiders” because the storyline playing itself out on TV was the Hall and Nash were two legit WWF guys trying to invade WCW which is brilliant booking.
The duo would continue to cut promos until the Great American Bash PPV in 1996 when the two would approach Bischoff and demand to know the top three guys WCW had to offer. Those 3 guys are the guys that had been selected by the company to fight Hall, Nash, and their unnamed third man. The All-Star trio to combat Hall and Nash and their third guy would later be revealed by Bischoff on Nitro as “The Macho Man” Randy Savage, Sting, and Lex Luger.
At the Bash at the Beach PPV, the duo of Hall and Nash would come to the ring alone and continue to promise to everyone that their third man would be here. As the match would near its end fans were shocked to see none other than Hulk Hogan come storming to the ring to aid the WCW All-Stars in the most shocking of events to ever happen in professional wrestling Hulk Hogan would drop the iconic Leg Drop on Savage. He’d go on to lay waste to the referee and hit another leg drop for good measures thus revealing himself as the third man that Hall and Nash had been referring to this whole time.
The fans went crazy for this, I mean there was trash being tossed into the ring from every direction imaginable. Hulk Hogan the same man who had been on our TV set for nearly a decade telling children to eat their vitamins and say their prayers had turned his back on the fans. Hogan’s first time working as a heel since early in 1981 during his run with the AWA. This night changed professional wrestling because it turned Nitro into a must-see event on TV. Fans around the world simply wanted to know one thing… Why? Why Hulk Why?
Closing out the PPV in an interview with Mean Gene, Hogan would give his going against the machine and billionaire Ted speech and revealed that he, Hall, and Nash would be known as the New World Order.
Over the next few weeks on Nitro things would quickly shape up for the group and you could see what direction the company was going in creatively. They wanted to push the NWO to the moon.
The following night on Nitro, Hall and Nash would appear without Hogan to let the disdain the fans had settle in and keep the heat authentic. The following week the Hogan would return and challenge the Giant to a match at Hog Wild for the World Heavyweight Championship.
At Hog Wild “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan would knock out the Giant and win the World Championship and spray paint the famous NWO black spray paint over it.
Over the next few months, we would see the group get larger as names such as The Million Dollar Man, The Giant, and Fake Sting would join the NWO. Later on the 1-2-3 Kid, Sean Waltman would join the group, and later Eric Bischoff would join before a bunch of B-Level players started to join.
Again this angle had so much heat to it because of the real-life emotions that were poured into it and then on the wrestling side of it as a fan you hated watching it because there literally was not one person or team on the roster that could pose a credible threat to the group. And with the World Championship and The Boss at the side of the New World Order that would launch and take off straight to the moon. Multiple members would come and go through the NWO as the angle would drag on for years. Some good. Some bad. But as long as Hogan, Hall, Nash, and Bischoff were around the group could be on top. But they wouldn’t stay on top, as the NWO broke up into two factions. NWO Hollywood and the NWO Wolfpack. Kevin Nash and Macho Man started the Wolfpac while Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff led the NWO Black and White. However, this split-up wouldn’t last too long, as the NWO helped WCW beat WWE in the rating war at first, it also sunk the company, as they just couldn’t get away from the NWO.
In 1999, feeling the pressure from the WWF and the Attitude Era during the Monday Night Wars, in what seemed to be the last gasp effort to turn the rating war around Bischoff would run an NWO reunion angle to try to recapture the original spark the New World Order enjoyed during its first run.
Kevin Nash would win the 60 man battle royal at World War 3, to earn the right to face the undefeated World Heavyweight Champion Goldberg at the Starrcade event in 1999. After interference from Scott Hall, (with who Nash had been previously feuding), Nash hit the Jackknife Powerbomb and would go onto win the World Championship from Goldberg thus ending his legendary streak.
The very next night on Nitro (The Night WCW Died) Nash would come to the ring and troll the crowd about how unhappy he was with Hall’s action from the previous night. And it was announced Goldberg would receive a rematch tonight but he was kayfabe beaten down and unable to challenge for the World Championship. Hollywood Hogan would appear after not being seen on WCW programming since late 1998 and Nash would challenge him to take the place of Goldberg instead.
So the stage was set for Hogan and Nash to battle for the World Championship and as soon as the bell would ring Hogan would hit the infamous “Fingerpoke of Doom” revealing it was all a hoax by the trio and that they were back and better than ever. But by the time they tried to run this angle the group had already lost too much substance and the fans were craving to see the company build around the younger talent they had on the roster with guys like Goldberg, Rey Mysterio, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Booker T, Buff Bagwell, and Diamond Dallas Page.
So the reunion was short-lived and not well received by the fans BUT we can’t take away from what the NWO captured during the prime of their run and that was nothing short of memorable. The NWO should always be looked at as the best stable of all time.