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NWO in WCW: The Revolution that Shocked Wrestling

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In the mid-1990s, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) was the undisputed heavyweight champion of wrestling. Vince McMahon and his organization reigned supreme, with no organization able to rival its popularity or success. That is, until Ted Turner and his company, World Championship Wrestling (WCW), decided to get into the live television business. In this article, we’ll explore the shocking revolution that took place in WCW when the New World Order (NWO) faction was created. This faction was led by Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall, and it completely changed the landscape of wrestling.

Table Of Contents

  1. History of the NWO
  2. Iconic Storylines
  3. The Impact of the NWO
  4. After the NWO

History of the NWO

The New World Order, also known as the NWO, is one of the most iconic factions in professional wrestling history. It was formed in WCW in 1996 and quickly became a phenomenon that took the wrestling world by storm. The masterminds behind the creation of the NWO were Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, also known as Razor Ramon and Diesel in their previous WWE personas. Their unexpected arrival in WCW sent shockwaves through the industry.

The NWO’s formation was a game-changer for WCW as it presented a unique and edgy storyline. It blurred the lines between fiction and reality, making fans question whether it was a legitimate wrestling faction or an actual hostile takeover of WCW. This added an extra layer of excitement and intrigue to the narrative.

The NWO’s ranks soon swelled with new members joining the fold, including some of the biggest names in wrestling at the time, such as The Macho Man and Scott Steiner.

Their impact was so significant that the NWO became synonymous with professional wrestling in the late 1990s.

💡 Key Takeaway: The formation of the NWO in WCW was a groundbreaking moment in wrestling history, led by Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. It introduced a compelling and controversial narrative that captivated the audience and blurred the lines between fiction and reality.

How the NWO was formed

The formation of the New World Order (NWO) faction in WCW marked a turning point in professional wrestling history. It all started on the unforgettable night of July 7, 1996, during the Bash at the Beach pay-per-view event.

In a shocking turn of events on a prior episode of WCW Nitro, Scott Hall, formerly known as Razor Ramon in WWE, made his appearance and interrupted the ongoing match. With a microphone in hand, he challenged WCW to face the “Outsiders,” a renegade group hell-bent on taking over the company. This surprise invasion laid the foundation for the birth of the NWO.

Following Scott Hall’s disruptive debut, Kevin Nash, also known as Diesel in WWE, joined forces with him. These two influential figures became the masterminds behind the NWO and their goal was to dismantle WCW from within. Together, they identified themselves as the Outsiders and called for backup in their mission to conquer the wrestling world. This call was answered by legendary wrestler Hulk Hogan, who shocked the world when he revealed himself as the third member of the NWO during the aforementioned Bash at the Beach event.

The NWO quickly became a force to be reckoned with, using their disruptive tactics and hostile takeovers to create chaos and dominance in WCW. Their actions had a profound impact not only on WCW but on the wrestling industry as a whole.

💡 Key Takeaway: The formation of the NWO in WCW began with the interruption of Scott Hall at the Bash at the Beach event. This event ignited a revolution in professional wrestling and set the stage for the NWO to take over WCW.

Key Members of the NWO

Hollywood Hogan

The central figure and leader of the New World Order, Hollywood Hogan played a pivotal role in the success and impact of the faction.

Known for his charisma and wrestling skills, Hogan’s turn from a beloved hero to the leader of the villainous NWO sent shockwaves through the wrestling world.

Kevin Nash

A key founding member of the NWO, Kevin Nash, also known as Diesel in WWE, brought his size, strength, and in-ring skills to the faction.

With his laid-back demeanour and strategic mindset, Nash played a crucial role in the success of the NWO.

Scott Hall

Another founding member, Scott Hall, also known as Razor Ramon in WWE, made a memorable debut in WCW, igniting the NWO storyline.

His swagger, in-ring abilities, and edgy character added an extra dimension to the faction’s appeal.

The Macho Man

A former WWE Champion, The Macho joined the NWO in 1997, solidifying the group’s status as a major force within WCW.

With his intensity, unmatched charisma, and high-flying wrestling style, Macho became a fan favourite within the faction.

Eric Bischoff

Although not an in-ring competitor, Eric Bischoff played a significant role as the on-screen authority figure supporting the NWO. As the WCW President, he aligned himself with the faction, adding a mix of real-life management expertise and storytelling to the NWO narrative.

Syxx (Sean Waltman)

Formerly known as the 1-2-3 Kid in WWE, Sean Waltman joined the NWO as Syxx, bringing his high-flying and acrobatic wrestling style to the faction.

Waltman’s charisma and in-ring abilities added to the credibility of the NWO’s villainous lineup.

Buff Bagwell

A controversial figure in the wrestling world, Buff Bagwell joined the NWO and contributed to the faction’s popularity through his excellent physique and charismatic presence.

The Giant

As a massive and dominant force in the wrestling industry, The Giant (later known as The Big Show in WWE) aligned himself with the NWO, further solidifying their strength and impact.

💡 Key Takeaway: The NWO featured a diverse roster of wrestling talent, including Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Randy Savage, Eric Bischoff, Syxx, Buff Bagwell,

Iconic Storylines

The Outsiders Invade WCW

The First Shot Fired

The Outsiders, Hall and Nash, brought an unparalleled level of intrigue and chaos to WCW. Their enigmatic personas and undeniable charisma drew fans in, leaving them eager to see what they would do next.

This disruption sent shockwaves throughout the wrestling world and laid the groundwork for the NWO’s reign of dominance.

An Unholy Alliance

Hall and Nash were soon joined by another wrestling icon, Hollywood Hogan. With his transformation into the villainous Hollywood Hogan character, formerly known as the beloved Hulk Hogan, the NWO gained an undeniable superstar.

This unexpected alliance solidified the NWO’s power and attracted a massive following.

Unforgettable Moments

The NWO’s invasion led to a series of iconic storylines that captivated wrestling fans. From their hostile takeovers of WCW events to their infamous “Monday Night War” battles with the rival promotion, WWF in the ratings, the NWO’s presence was felt both inside and outside the wrestling ring.

Their rebellious and rule-breaking antics made for memorable moments that are etched in wrestling history.

The Outsiders’ Influence

The arrival of Hall and Nash, along with the NWO faction, revitalized interest in professional wrestling. The controversial storyline blurred the lines between fiction and reality, captivating audiences with its edginess and unpredictability.

The NWO’s rebellious nature and anti-establishment sentiment resonated with fans, leading to a massive surge in popularity for WCW and the wrestling industry as a whole.

A Lasting Legacy

The impact of the NWO cannot be overstated. Their rebellious and influential presence changed the way wrestling was perceived, pushing boundaries and ushering in the “Attitude Era.”

The legacy of the NWO can still be seen in contemporary wrestling, with new factions and storylines often drawing inspiration from their bold approach.

💡 Key Takeaway: The Outsiders' invasion of WCW signaled the beginning of the NWO revolution.

The nWo Takes Over WCW

Once the New World Order (nWo) faction solidified its presence in WCW, it began to flex its power and take over the company. Led by the masterminds Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Hulk Hogan, the nWo initiated a hostile takeover that shook the very foundations of WCW.

Invasion from Within

The nWo’s influence began to spread as they recruited more wrestlers to join their cause. The infiltration of WCW’s roster allowed the nWo to wreak havoc on the promotion from the inside out.

Names like The Macho Man, Ted DiBiase, and Eric Bischoff aligned themselves with the nWo, further solidifying their control

Rebranding WCW

The nWo didn’t stop at just recruiting wrestlers; they sought to completely rebrand WCW in their image. They commandeered WCW’s top championships and renamed them, symbolizing their dominance.

The WCW World Heavyweight Championship became the nWo World Heavyweight Championship, while the WCW Tag Team Championship transformed into the nWo Tag Team Championship.

Hostile Takeover

With their numbers growing and their influence spreading, the nWo’s hostile takeover of WCW escalated. They disrupted shows, interfered in matches, and caused chaos at every turn.

Their rebellious and destructive nature captured the attention of wrestling fans worldwide, making them the most talked-about faction in the industry.

Power Struggle

As the nWo’s grip on WCW tightened, power struggles emerged within the faction. Leadership disputes and personal conflicts threatened to fracture the group from the inside.

These internal power struggles ultimately contributed to the downfall of the nWo.

💡 Key Takeaway: The nWo's takeover of WCW was a pivotal moment in wrestling history. Their invasion from within, rebranding of titles, and hostile takeover tactics forever altered the landscape of professional wrestling.

The Impact of the NWO

Impact on the Wrestling Industry

The formation of the New World Order (NWO) in WCW had a seismic impact on the wrestling industry as a whole.

This rogue faction revolutionized the way wrestling storylines were crafted and presented, injecting a new level of excitement and unpredictability into the sport. Here are some key aspects of the NWO’s impact:

Shift in Power Dynamics

The NWO’s formation marked a shift in power within WCW. Prior to their arrival, WCW was dominated by traditional babyface (good guy) vs. heel (bad guy) storylines.

With the NWO, the lines between good and evil were blurred, and the rebel faction turned the wrestling world on its head. This shift in power dynamics created a fresh and thrilling atmosphere for both wrestlers and fans.

Change in Creative Direction

The NWO brought a new level of edginess and realism to wrestling storylines. Their guerrilla-style attacks on WCW’s top stars, such as Hulk Hogan’s shocking heel turn, created a sense of chaos and unpredictability.

This departure from the typical formulaic nature of wrestling storylines created a wave of excitement and captivated audiences around the world.

Popularity and Ratings Surge

The NWO storyline proved to be a major draw for WCW, attracting millions of viewers and helping the company surpass rival WWE in ratings during its peak.

The faction’s rebellious nature and groundbreaking storytelling captivated longtime fans and reeled in new viewers, making WCW a force to be reckoned with in the wrestling industry.

Evolution of Wrestling Characters

The NWO’s influence extended beyond WCW, as their success prompted other wrestling promotions to adopt similar rebellious factions.

This shift in storytelling influenced the evolution of wrestling characters, paving the way for more complex and morally ambiguous personas that are still prevalent in today’s wrestling landscape.

Lasting Legacy

Even though the NWO eventually disbanded, its impact and legacy continue to be felt in wrestling.

The faction’s groundbreaking approach to storytelling and character development raised the bar for what was possible in professional wrestling. The NWO remains a touchstone for fans and a vital part of wrestling history.

💡 Key Takeaway: The New World Order (NWO) faction in WCW revolutionized the wrestling industry by shifting power dynamics, introducing edgy storylines, and attracting millions of viewers. Their impact extended beyond WCW, influencing wrestling characters and leaving a lasting legacy in the industry.

Legacy of the NWO

The legacy of the New World Order (NWO) in WCW is undeniable. This faction, formed by outsiders Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, brought a completely new dynamic to professional wrestling. Their invasion of WCW in the mid-1990s sparked a revolution that forever changed the industry.

One of the key elements of the NWO’s legacy lies in its impact on the wrestling industry as a whole. Their presence brought about a level of unpredictability and excitement that had never been seen before. Fans were drawn to the rebellious nature of the faction, and the constant power struggles between the NWO and WCW created a storyline that kept viewers on the edge of their seats.

The NWO also revolutionised the concept of faction warfare in wrestling. With their black and white colour scheme and their trademark “Too Sweet” hand gesture, they created an instantly recognizable brand. Their popularity transcended traditional wrestling storylines, attracting mainstream attention and bringing new fans to the sport.

Furthermore, the NWO’s influence extended beyond WCW. The faction had a significant impact on the rise of popularity for professional wrestling as a whole during the late 1990s, fueling the “Monday Night Wars” between WCW and WWE. This era marked a boom period for the industry, with fans tuning in every week to see what the NWO would do next.

Despite its eventual downfall and multiple reformation attempts, the NWO’s legacy is enduring. The faction’s impact on the wrestling industry can still be felt today, with many modern-day factions drawing inspiration from their rebellious and disruptive nature.

After the NWO

The Reformation of the NWO

  • Despite the eventual dissolution of the NWO, the faction experienced a reformation in later years. Several attempts were made to revive the group and recapture the magic that once captivated wrestling fans. One notable reformation occurred in 1999, when Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall reunited as the “nWo 2000.” This iteration of the group aimed to continue the NWO’s legacy of chaos and dominance in WCW.
  • However, the reformation of the NWO in 1999 did not meet the same level of success as the original. Fans felt that the magic of the group had faded, and the storylines failed to generate the same level of excitement. Internal conflicts and creative direction issues also plagued the faction, leading to its eventual demise. Despite its best efforts, the reformed NWO could not recapture the same impact or interest as its earlier incarnation.

The Dissolution of the NWO

  • As the 2000s began, the NWO’s influence and relevance dwindled. The faction faced internal tensions, creative struggles, and the shifting landscape of wrestling. In 2002, WCW was purchased by WWE, marking the end of an era for the NWO.
  • With the purchase of WCW, WWE sought to integrate certain WCW talent and storylines into their own brand. The NWO was reintroduced in WWE, but it never achieved the same level of prominence as it did in WCW. The faction was eventually phased out, and its presence in wrestling significantly diminished.
💡 Key Takeaway: The NWO went through phases of reformation and eventually dissolved after its initial impact. Despite attempts to revive the faction, it could never recapture the same level of success and importance it had during its heyday in WCW.

The Reformation of the NWO

After several years of dominance, the NWO faction experienced a major shift with its reformation. The group had initially splintered into different factions, each with its own agenda and leadership struggles. However, fans were in for a surprise when a new version of the NWO emerged, signalling a renewed era of chaos and unpredictability in WCW.

Leadership Changes

  • The reformation of the NWO saw new leaders stepping into the forefront. Key figures like Scott Steiner and Jeff Jarrett took charge, injecting fresh energy and ideas into the group.
  • With the change in leadership, the NWO adopted a more aggressive and ruthless approach, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.

Recruitment of New Members

  • The reformed NWO expanded its ranks by recruiting talented wrestlers who aligned themselves with the faction’s rebellious ethos. Superstars such as Kevin Nash, Booker T, and Sting joined the NWO, further increasing their dominance in WCW.
  • The recruitment process often involved unsettling surprise attacks on unsuspecting wrestlers, leaving audiences on the edge of their seats.

Revitalised Storylines

  • The reformation of the NWO breathed new life into the wrestling storylines. The renewed faction sparked intense rivalries, leading to epic battles and unexpected alliances, captivating fans around the world.
  • The NWO’s resurgence injected a sense of urgency and excitement into WCW programming, drawing in a new generation of viewers.

Impact on WCW

  • The reformed NWO continued to thrive, capitalizing on their reputation as disrupters within the wrestling industry. Their chaotic presence continued to attract audiences, creating a buzz around WCW programming.
  • The faction’s renewed dominance also posed challenges for other wrestlers vying for the top spot, intensifying competition within the organization.
💡 Key Takeaway: The reformation of the NWO brought new leadership, new members, revitalized storylines, and had a significant impact on WCW programming. The faction's renewed presence added a fresh layer of excitement and unpredictability to the wrestling industry.

The Dissolution of the NWO

After dominating the wrestling industry for several years, the iconic New World Order (NWO) faction eventually faced its demise. The dissolution of the NWO marked the end of an era and left a significant impact on the wrestling landscape.

Internal Conflicts and Power Struggles

  • In-fighting and power struggles within the NWO faction led to its fragmentation. Different factions emerged within the group, each vying for control and dominance.
  • Ego clashes and personal rivalries among the members played a significant role in the downfall of the NWO. The once-unbreakable bond shattered as disputes escalated.

Creative Stagnation and Repetitive Storylines

  • Over time, the NWO storylines became repetitive and stale, failing to capture the audience’s interest as they did during the faction’s prime.
  • Creative decisions became questionable, with storylines lacking innovation and becoming predictable. This resulted in a decline in viewership and diminished fan engagement.

Declining Popularity and Relevance

  • As the NWO lost its initial novelty, wrestling fans’ interest started to wane. The faction’s rebellious and disruptive image began to lose its impact on the industry.
  • The emergence of new and exciting factions, coupled with the rise of other promotions, led to a shift in the wrestling landscape. The NWO’s relevance gradually diminished.
💡 Key Takeaway: The dissolution of the NWO can be attributed to internal conflicts, repetitive storylines, and the faction's declining popularity and relevance. These factors ultimately led to the end of one of wrestling's most influential and iconic factions.
Jake Skudder
Written by
Jake Skudder
Jake is an SEO-minded Combat Sports, Gaming and Pro Wrestling writer and successful Editor in Chief. He has more than ten years of experience covering mixed martial arts, pro wrestling and gaming across a number of publications, starting at SEScoops in 2012 under the name Jake Jeremy.