Top Fifteen Stables in Wrestling- Number Three
Our Number three stable of all-time catapulted World Championship Wrestling into the lead of the Monday Night Wars with the World Wrestling Federation before growing too big for its own good. While they had a huge part in WCW’s success, they also played a massive in WCW’s eventual demise and sale to WWF.
On May 19, 1996, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash wrestled their final matches for WWF as Razor Ramon and Diesel, respectively. Hall and Nash had accept large guaranteed contracts with WCW that Vince McMahon was unable to match. Eight days after his final WWF appearance, Hall made his debut on WCW Monday Nitro– emerging from the audience during a match between The Mauler and Steve Doll. Hall jumped over the guard rail, entered the ring and called for a microphone– the match was completely halted. Hall then opened his remarks with, “You know who I am, but you don’t know why I’m here,” too an astonished crowd in the Macon Coliseum. Hall then delivered his “You Want a War?” speech, where he stated he had several allies coming and openly challenged Eric Bischoff and any other WCW superstar.
The following week, Hall again confronted Bischoff and demanded that Ted Turner pick his best three wrestlers for a match. Sting came out to confront Hall, who threw a pick in his face. Sting would slap Hall, which led Hall to state that he “had a little… no… BIG surprise” for Sting. The next week Hall again interrupted Bischoff at the broadcast booth. Bischoff demanded that Hall reveal his surprise. Hall smiled and pointed behind Bischoff where Nash, the surprise, stood. Nash took the mic and said, “So this WCW, where the big boys play, huh? Look at the adjective: Play. We ain’t here to play!”
At the start of this storyline, WWF was considering legal action against WCW for insinuating Hall and Nash were WWF employees “invading” WCW. The fact the Hall was still cutting his promos using a faux-Cuban accent and using Razor Ramon mannerisms–like calling opponents “chico”– led WWF brass to believe WCW was infringing on WWF’s copyright of the Razor Ramon character. At Great American Bash, Bischoff interviewed Hall and Nash, now known as The Outsiders, and, after granted them a match at the next pay-per-view event, asked them if they were still employed by WWF. The Outsiders stated they were no longer employed by WWF, but tensions remained high between WWF and WCW.
At Bash at the Beach, the team of Sting, Lex Luger, and “Macho Man” Randy Savage would enter the arena representing WCW with face paint to symbolize solidarity to take on the the Outsiders and their unknown partner. The Outsiders had entered the ring without their partner and, after being asked by Gene Okerlund where their partner was, stated he was in the building but they didn’t need him yet. At the start of the match, Luger was taken out of the match early on and carted off on a stretcher; making the match 2-on-2. At around the 16-minute mark of the match, with all four men down, the crowd’s attention turned toward the entrance ramp. The announcers then excitedly announced the arrival of Hulk Hogan, who hadn’t been seen on WCW TV for a long while. Hogan entered the ring, causing Hall to get out of the ring. Hogan ripped off his shirt and threw at the Outsiders, then stunned the crowd when he hit Savage with his Big Leg Drop. After he landed a second leg drop, Hall and Nash entered the ring to high five Hogan. Okerlund then entered the ring while the audience threw garbage into the ring to find out why Hogan had turned his back on his fans, Hogan began with, “Well, the first thing you gotta realize, brother, is this right here is the future of wrestling! You can call this the new world order of wrestling, brother!” Hogan then added that he was promised movies and millions of dollars and high-caliber matches by Turner, but as far as Turner, Bischoff, and WCW was concerned he was bored. When Okerlund turned the conversation to the garbage being tossed into the ring, Hogan said, “As far as I’m concerned, all this crap in the ring represents these fans out here! For two years, brother! For two years I held my head high! I did everything for the charities! I did everything for the kids! And the reception I got when I came out here, you fans can stick it, brother! Because if it wasn’t for Hulk Hogan, you people wouldn’t be here! If it wasn’t for Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff would be still selling meat from a truck in Minneapolis! And if it wasn’t for Hulk Hogan, all these johnny-come-latelies that you see out here, wrestling wouldn’t be here! I was selling out the world, brother, while they were bumming gas to put in their car to get to high school! So the way it is now, brother, with Hulk Hogan and the new world organization of wrestling, brother, me and the new blood by my side… whatcha gonna do, brother, when the new world organization runs wild on you?”
Little by little the nWo was gaining steam and kept adding a new member that seemed like almost on a weekly basis. First to be added was “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase as the money guy funding the stable– though was called “Trillionare Ted” since Million Dollar Man was trademarked by WWF. The Giant also joined the group, and eventually Savage became a member. Kliq member Syxx joined WCW and quickly joined the nWo. Over the next year, the nWo grew to levels that no other faction has ever grown before then and hasn’t grown to since then.
After a few months, Bischoff replaced DiBiase as the money man and joined the stable– capitalizing on the group’s success. The stable was promoted as a separate entity from WCW, having their own vignettes and spots that were “paid for by the New World Order.”
The nWo then began trying to recruit Sting, who denied them and disappeared from WCW TV. After missing for several weeks, Sting began appearing in the rafters with a new look (his face painted completely in white with some black lines– like the Crow). After a while he began entering the ring to attack members of the nWo. This led to a match against Hollywood Hogan for Hogan’s WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Referee Nick Patrick was supposed to have a quick count for Hogan but went normal speed accidentally. Newly arrived Bret Hart entered the ring and restarted the match which allowed Sting to win the title. The title would be vacated on January 8, 1998, by James J. Dillon.
As 1998 continued, the nWo began showing signs of dissension. The group had a tradition of arriving to the arena in a single limousine together, but members began arriving in separate vehicles. Bischofff claimed that there was no issues within the group, but evidence showed the opposite to be the truth.
By May 4, the split within the faction became final. Nash, Savage, and Konnan entered the ring wearing nWo shirts with red letters, instead of the original white, and called themselves nWo Wolfpac (the Wolfpac name was a moniker Nash had used for himself, Hall, and Syxx as a team). Hogan’s side kept the black and white look and dubbed themselves as nWo Hollywood. Within a few weeks Dusty Rhodes, Miss Elizabeth, Curt Hennig, and Rick Rude joined the Wolfpac and created the first incarnation of nWo to be faces. Vincent, Bischoff, Scott Steiner, Scott Norton, Brian Adams, and The Disciple joined Hogan with nWo Hollywood. Bret Hart never officially joined either side but recruited for the Hollywood faction.
Two members had not made their allegiances known. The first was Buff Bagwell who had suffered a serious neck injury during a Thunder taping. The second and biggest unknown was Scott Hall– who had been missing while dealing with alcohol and drug abuse issues– who shared the WCW Tag Team titles with Nash as a member of the Outsiders. The allegiance issue became more clouded when the Outsiders were scheduled to defend their titles against the WCW team of Sting and the Giant. However, the Giant joined Hogan’s nWo sided as retribution for the neck injury he had suffered at the hands of Nash just before the match at Slamboree. Even as a member of nWo Hollywood, Giant kept his allegiance to Sting and told Sting he had a decision to make. The events at Slamboree further exacerbated the problem. Hall returned in Wolfpac colors to join his partner and friend Nash to defend the Outsiders’ titles. During the match, Hall turned on Nash by hitting him with the belt and joined nWo Hollywood. The betrayal caused Giant and Sting to win the tag titles.
On May 25, Lex Luger joined the Wolfpac and said joining “just feels right” and attempted to recruit Sting to the group. Hollywood also began recruiting Sting. The following week, Sting entered wearing the black and white shirt giving Hogan a sense of confidence that Sting had joined nWo Hollywood. Sting then ripped off the black and white while Hogan had his back to him, revealing a black and red shirt and attacked Hogan. After joining Wolfpac, Sting began painting his face red.
At Great American Bash, nWo Wolfpac lost two members in Rude and Hennig after they attacked Konnan and joined nWo Hollywood. Wolfpac got some good news though, when Sting beat Giant for control of the Tag Team titles they had won together. Sting would name Nash as his partner.
During this time, Goldberg had a great undefeated run and had become the top contender for Hogan’s WCW World title. On July 6, Goldberg defeated Hall to earn a title shot later that night then defeated Hogan in the main event to become World Champion.
Hogan spent the next two pay-per-view events in celebrity matches. At Bash at the Beach, he teamed with Dennis Rodman and defeated the team of Diamond Dallas Page and Karl Malone. At Road Wild, Hogan teamed with Bischoff to lose to DDP and Jay Leno– thanks to interference by Kevin Eubanks.
At Halloween Havoc, the Hall-Nash feud came to a head. Hall would score the countout win after Nash delivered two Jackknife powerbombs and walked away. Nash stated he didn’t care about winning, he just wanted his friend back. At World War 3 Hall was attacked and kicked out of the Hollywood faction. Later that night, Nash won the 60-man battle royal match to become number one contender for the still-undefeated Goldberg World title.
At Starrcade, Hall would stun Goldberg with a cattle prod while Nash was checking on an incapacitated refereed. Nash would hit Goldberg with the Jackknife powerbomb to earn the victory and end Goldberg’s udnefeated run.
As 1999 began, Nash was unhappy with Hall’s actions at Starrcade and promised Goldberg a rematch. However, Goldberg would be arrested. Hogan would challenge Nash and Nash would accept. As the match began, Hogan placed a finger on Nash and Nash dropped to give Hogan the pinfall victory. The nWo was reunited but it was shortlived. As injuries to several members led to WCW needing to scramble to change storylines.
In late 1999 and early 2000, the nWo reunited with Jeff Jarrett, Nash, Hall, and Bret Hart and dubbed nWo 2000. However, with a career ending concussion suffered by Hart, the faction didn’t quickly lost steam and was dismantled before year’s end.
In 2002, McMahon signed Nash, Hall, and Hogan to new contracts and they reformed the original nWo to go after the top faces of WWE. At Wrestlemania X-8, Hall would face Stone Cold Steve Austin and lose– Nash didn’t wrestle as he was recovering from an injury. Hogan faced The Rock in a Legend vs Legend match. Though Hogan was supposed to be the heel, the crowd cheered loudly for him. After losing to The Rock, Hogan turned face and left the nWo.
To try and keep the faction alive, former members while in WCW X-Pac and Big Show were added to the stable. In a twist, Shawn Michaels became a member as did Booker T. Booker T’s membership wouldn’t last long as Michaels Superkicked him out of the group. Nash would then suffer a torn biceps muscle and nearly a year, leading to the end of the nWo.
A similar incarnation was attempted on Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling, but went by the moniker of The Band– WWE owned the rights to the nWo name as part of their purchase of WCW. The Band would not last too long either, as most of the nWo steam had disintegrated.
If nothing else, the creation of the nWo catapulted WCW to the top of the ratings war with WWF. However, with the top members having too much booking power, it led to many disgruntled employees leaving and too many storylines that ignored some of top talent in WCW to push solely nWo members. Those poor decisions also led to the eventual demise and sale of WCW to rival WWF.