new World Order (professional wrestling)

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The nWo (New World Order) was both a professional wrestling storyline and the stable of wrestlers who were its central players. The nWo storyline, run by WCW, began on the July 7, 1996 Bash at the Beach PPV. This storyline involved a faction from "outside" WCW – originally Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Hulk Hogan (who would change his name to Hollywood Hogan while a member of the nWo) – "invading" WCW. This proved to be a turning point in the history of wrestling, as it drew attention to the (then) second-rated WCW, and helped bring pro wrestling back into mainstream entertainment.

The idiosyncratic capitalization of the group's initialism, nWo, comes directly from the official logo that WCW created for the stable.

The original nWo.

Original storyline

According to the storyline, the nWo were representitives of another wrestling organization (alluded to, but not actually mentioned, as the WWF, since its three founding members all formerly wrestled there), and planned to take over WCW. Scott Hall appeared first, interrupting shows by harassing the announcers. He promised a "big surprise", which ended up being Kevin Nash. Hall & Nash were collectively referred to as "The Outsiders." Both men then took to showing up unexpectedly during Nitro broadcasts, usually jumping wrestlers backstage, distracting wrestlers by standing in the entranceway of the arenas, or walking around in the audience. Within a couple of weeks, they announced the appearance of a mysterious third member (the story goes that Sting was asked to play this part, but he wasn't enthusiastic about becoming a heel). Bret Hart was actually the first choice for the third man, but WCW wasn't able to acquire him from the WWF (at least not for another year).

At Bash at the Beach, Hall & Nash were scheduled to team with their mystery partner against Lex Luger, Randy Savage and Sting. Hall and Nash came out without a third man. "Mean" Gene Okerlund came to the ring confused, demanding to know where their mystery partner was. They simply said he's in the building, but they didn't need him right then. Shortly into the match, Sting hit Nash with a Stinger Splash in the corner. However, Nash happened to be holding Luger at the time, and the splash knocked Nash into Luger, thus crushing Luger in the corner. Luger was knocked to the outside, and paramedics came out and took Luger away, reducing the match to Hall & Nash vs. Sting & Savage. Towards the end of the match, Hulk Hogan appeared, then shocked wrestling fans worldwide by attacking Savage & Sting to help Hall and Nash, with the match ending in a no-decision. In a post-match interview, Hogan claimed the reason for the turn was that he was tired of fans that had turned on him. Hogan labeled the new faction a "new world order of professional wrestling", and this began a long and bitter feud between WCW and the nWo. During one Nitro broadcast from the Disney-MGM Studios, Hall & Nash covered up the free-standing WCW logo with 3 spraypainted bedsheets (one to cover up each letter of WCW). When the deed was done, the bedsheets read "nWo" where the WCW logo had once been.

It was around this time that the World Wrestling Federation filed a lawsuit, alleging that the nWo storyline implied that Hall & Nash were invaders sent by Vince McMahon to destroy WCW. The lawsuit would drag out for several years before being settled out of court. The settlement eventually led to the WWF having the right to bid on the assets of WCW should it ever be offered for sale, which happened in March 2001.

At Fall Brawl 1996, team nWo defeated team WCW in the "war games" match, cementing their stranglehold on WCW. Sting, who was one of WCW's main supporters, grew disgusted at the accusation that he had joined the nWo, and after the war games match, he told WCW to "stick it", and went on a hiatus. The nWo debuted an Imposter Sting that made the fans to think that Sting betrayed them. The nWo continued to dominate WCW, and new members soon appeared, including Ted DiBiase, Syxx, and The Giant. They even had their own referee, Nick Patrick. Legendary superstar "Macho Man" Randy Savage took the lead in the battle against the nWo, but in the end he lost to Hogan and disappeared.

The odds were too much to bear for WCW, and soon Rowdy Roddy Piper surfaced in WCW to battle old nemesis Hulk Hogan, who had now dubbed himself "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan. He shocked WCW further by exposing WCW President Eric Bischoff as the mastermind behind the nWo, one of the reasons the stable had such incredible clout.

Piper gained a victory over Hogan, but could not capture the title. In January 1997, the nWo made great strides when they held their very own PPV titled Souled Out. In this event, Hogan faced former nWo member The Giant. Hogan defeated him, and Nash & Hall lost their tag titles to the Steiner brothers. But the next night, Bischoff gave the belts back to the nWo. In February 1997, Randy Savage returned and shocked WCW by joining the nWo. Through 1997, the nWo controlled the power in WCW. WCW seemed to gain an advantage in August 1997, when Lex Luger won the title from Hogan. But Hogan won the belt back at the 1997 Road Wild PPV. After an eventful fall, where the nWo destroyed the Four Horsemen, and gained a new member in the late Curt Hennig, Sting returned to action to face Hogan at StarrCade 1997. This was the most anticipated match in WCW history.

Sting vs. Hogan

In a controversial finish, special referee Bret Hart proclaimed Sting the new WCW Champion. But the title was soon held up, and Hogan and Sting fought again at Superbrawl 1998, where Sting captured the belt. For the first time, the nWo was having problems within. Savage was having problems with Hogan, and the two fought in a cage to settle the difference. Savage would defeat Sting at Spring Stampede 1998 to become the "WCW/nWo World Heavyweight Champion." Hogan was angered that another member of the nWo had captured the World Title and challenged Savage the following night on Nitro. In a shocking turn of events Hart assisited Hogan and helped him recapture the title.

On the May 4, 1998 episode of Nitro, WCW announced that nWo had split into two "factions." On one side was the nWo Wolfpac faction, which was headed by Kevin Nash and included Lex Luger, Sting, Konnan, and Randy Savage. Scott Hall, Curt Hennig, and the late Rick Rude were originally Wolfpac members as well, but they later betrayed the 'Pac and joined nWo Hollywood, which was headed by Hogan, and included Brian Adams, Buff Bagwell, Eric Bischoff, the late Miss Elizabeth, The Giant, The Disciple, Scott Norton, Dusty Rhodes, Dennis Rodman, Scott Steiner, Vincent, and referee Slick Johnson. Stevie Ray and Horace Hogan joined several months later. The nWo Hollywood faction was sometimes also referred to (originally) as "nWo black and white" (as opposed to the "red and black" Wolfpac). During this part of the storyline, WCW wrestlers like Goldberg were presented as faces, the Wolfpac wrestlers were presented as tweeners, and the nWo Hollywood faction as heels. To this day, the nWo is regarded as one of the most popular stables in pro wrestling history.

The "fingerpoke of doom"

The two sides battled each other throughout 1998. On July 6, 1998, Hogan lost the title to Goldberg at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, and the nWo slowly started to lose focus. It seemed that the nWo had beaten WCW by splitting in two—they had no one left to fight but each other. But splitting in two also destroyed the nWo. They never again had the power that they originally had. By October 1998, Hogan left the nWo and went on hiatus. As 1999 started, Nash was the WCW Champion, and he and Hogan conspired a huge nWo comeback in January. The storyline ended on the January 4, 1999 episode of Nitro with a now-infamous match in which Nash lay down for Hogan, and allowed Hogan to pin him with a single finger—a finish that fans nicknamed the "Fingerpoke of Doom." The nWo reigned again, with the nWo elite (Hogan, Nash, Hall, Buff Bagwell, Scott Steiner, Lex Luger and Miss Elizabeth) reunited under the Wolfpac label, while the undercard wrestlers in the nWo (Curt Hennig, Stevie Ray, Vincent, Horace Hogan and Brian Adams) continued in the "black and white" faction. This short-lived group was sardonically labeled the nWo B-Team by fans and commentators.

File:NWo Silver.jpg
nWo Silver & Black.

The end of the nWo

By mid 1999, the nWo had disappeared. In late 1999, the nWo came back for one more run as the silver and black, consisting of Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Bret Hart, Jeff Jarrett, Scott Steiner, the Harris twins, Don and Ron, and they even got a new referee, Mark "Slick" Johnson. They brought along several fitness models (Tylene Buck, April Hunter, Kim Kanner, Midajah O'Hearn and Pamela Paulshock) who would come to ringside and Jarrett would order them to the back. This nWo lasted into early 2000, but soon faded away. By this point, not only the nWo, but the entire WCW, 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 on WCW management having stayed with the nWo storyline for entirely too long. In late 2000, the nWo reunited one more time but was quickly forgotten.

File:NWo WWF.jpg
nWo in the WWF.


After the WWF bought WCW in 2001, Vince McMahon brought in Hogan, Hall, & Nash as the nWo, at the No Way Out PPV on February 17, 2002. In this storyline, the nWo was brought in as McMahon's allies in an attempt to "kill" the WWF so that McMahon would not have to share power with new WWF "co-owner" "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. However, Hogan left the group after he lost his WrestleMania X8 match with The Rock and was assaulted after that match by Hall & Nash. Hall & Nash brought in two nWo members afterwards, X-Pac (formerly known as Syxx), on March 21, 2002, at SmackDown! in Ottawa and The Big Show (formerly known as The Giant), on April 22, 2002.

The nWo reunion in the WWF would not last long, however. Hall was released in May due to drinking problems during a UK tour. Flair later 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. It turned out to be none other than Booker T. Nash introduced Shawn Michaels into the nWo on June 3, 2002. Michaels then kicked Booker out of the nWo one week later.

Abruptly, the nWo was disbanded by McMahon on July 15, 2002, after he regained full control of WWE from Ric Flair. The final nail in the nWo coffin was X-Pac fainting on July 15 before the show and Nash tearing a quadricep muscle during a match one week prior to the disbanding, taking him out of action for several months. Ironically, the nWo disbanded on the same night that Eric Bischoff, the man who was often credited for creating the nWo, made his return to the WWE as the general manager of RAW. At the time of the nWo's demise, Michaels was offering Triple H membership in the nWo. After the nWo broke up, Michaels turned face once more by befriending his long time fans and attempted to reunite with Triple H under the DX name, but Triple H turned on Michaels.


The nWo was at its strongest from July 1996 until March 1998. Their reign forever changed the face of wrestling, and the effects are still felt today. The nWo pushed the old Rock and Wrestling gimmicks aside in favor of more edgy and adult storylines. Their presence made WCW appear a more "adult" promotion, compared to the childish gimmicks the WWF was promoting. The Attitude Era which eventually led to the dominance of the WWF is considered by some fans to have been a direct result of the nWo's presence.

Some fans were critical of the WWF's handling of the nWo. From No Way Out until WrestleMania X8, the nWo storyline was handled in accordance to what the fans wanted. Post WrestleMania however, with Hogan back with his "Hulk" persona, the nWo in the opinion of many fans, was ruined by poor storyline, problems between wrestlers and some nWo members, and a general lack of interest by the WWF. Some believe that McMahon's speech in which he declared the nWo dead, was an attack on the years in which his promotion was placed second behind the then-hot WCW.

General credit for the "invasion" storyline is given to Paul Orndorff, with obvious inspiration drawn from both the UWF invasion of New Japan Pro Wrestling and New Japan's Heisei Ishingun stable. The name, "third man" storyline, and Hogan heel-turn were all ideas of WCW boss Eric Bischoff. Other details such as merchandise, hand-signs and the attitude of the nWo is mostly credited to Terry Taylor though Scott Hall had done the '4 life' gesture during his time as Razor Ramon in the WWF as early as 1994.

Spinoffs and parodies

nWo Wolfpac

Kevin Nash's splinter group (red and black) eventually became the dominant division of the nWo after the group remerged with certain members of nWo Hollywood (to form the red white and black wolfpac, also known as Mega nWo). The Wolfpac also became the first version of any nWo group to not be heels. The Wolfpac, though popular with fans at first, were generally considered tweeners until they re-merged with nWo Hollywood, when they became heels again.

nWo Black & White

After nWo Hollywood and nWo Wolfpac merged, certain nWo Hollywood members stayed out and kept nWo Hollywood alive, only, now known simply as nWo Black & White. It's members were The Giant, Curt Hennig, Stevie Ray, Scott Norton, Vincent, Horace Hogan and Brian Adams. The Giant and Hennig were kicked out early, and Norton left on his own. The remaining members didn't do much by themselves, their main exposure coming from their in-fighting over who the leader would be. Stevie Ray would win out, but this version of the nWo didn't last much longer. Gradually, the group drifted apart and was forogtten about. They were sometimes called the "nWo B-Team".

nWo Japan

The nWo's Japanese offshoot included American wrestlers who frequented Japanese professional wrestling, such as Scott Norton, and was led by Japanese wrestlers Masa Chono and Great Muta. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima and Hiro Saito were also members. It was later renamed Team 2000 after New Japan and WCW ended their working agreement.

bWo (Blue World Order)

Stevie Richards', Nova's and The Blue Meanie's answer to the nWo in ECW, the group was a parody of the nWo, and its primary colors were blue and white. Stevie was "Big Stevie Cool" (a parody of Nash's nickname "Big Daddy Cool"), Meanie was "Da Blue Guy" (a parody of Hall's nickname "Da Bad Guy"), and Nova was "Hollywood Nova" (a parody of Hogan's new nickname, "Hollywood Hogan"). Members of the Japanese faction Kaientai-DX (Dick Togo, Men's Teioh and Taka Michinoku) were briefly associated with the group. (Note; When the bWo, along with the rest of ECW, made a guest appearance on Monday Night Raw, Vince McMahon was reluctant to say what the bWo was a parody of, claiming on air that the nWo was a "clothing line".) On July 7th, 2005, the bWo reunited once again this time to confront JBL. The bWo's last appearance was on July 24, 2005, in the undercard of the WWE's Great American Bash PPV in a match against The Mexicools (Juventud Guerrera, Super Crazy, and Psicosis).

lWo (Latino World Order)

After the late Eddie Guerrero's spat with WCW head Eric Bischoff, a real-life conflict that was turned into a storyline, Eddie formed the Latino World Order, or "LWO" for short. The group consisted of almost every major Mexican wrestler on the WCW roster. Their colors were red, white and green, the same colors as the Mexican flag. Their main feud was with Rey Mysterio Jr., who did not wish to join the lWo. The group shortly folded in early 1999 after Guerrero's car accident on New Years.

oWn (One Warrior Nation)

The Warrior's group, the One Warrior Nation, reversed the nWo acronym when the Warrior made his WCW debut. The newer faction only grew to have two members - the other being Hollywood Hulk Hogan's associate and real-life friend The Disciple, who Warrior supposedly brainwashed. The oWn was basically forgotten about after Warrior could not come to terms with WCW over pay and was later released to never be heard from once again.


An evil group of wrestlers in the manga Ultimate Muscle, whom main team member was called Kevin Mask, a play on Kevin Nash's name.

D-Generation X

Many wrestling fans still argue whether DX was a parody, a rip-off, or an answer to the nWo. Made up of Triple H, Chyna, Shawn Michaels, X-Pac, Rick Rude and The New Age Outlaws in the WWF, they attempted to out-nWo the nWo, mooning other wrestlers, jumping opponents from behind, yelling their catchphrase "Suck It!" while doing their famous cross-handed Crotch Chop, and even showing up at WCW shows to harass people standing in line for tickets. One incident that almost caused a lawsuit happened when DX told people in line for Nitro tickets that the show was sold out, and that they should leave. Another "sketch" showed the DX members, dressed in camo gear, "invading" WCW offices, demanding to see Ted Turner and generally making pests of themselves. Interestingly, when TNA pulled a similar stunt on WWE years later, WWE threatened to sue to prevent TNA from showing any of the footage on their TV show.

pWo (Pussy World Order)

A splinter faction of "Women's Extreme Wrestling" (aka "Women's Erotic Wrestling"), an all female promotion located in Philadelphia. The pWo was the first major push into x-rated storylines for WEW, and saw several adult film actresses - Taylor St. Claire, Angelica Sin, Keri Windsor and Aria - "invade" WEW. Stephanie Bellars AKA George Frankenstein was later added to this group.

More nWo Information

Go to Planet nWo Hollywood An unnofficial nWo site with tons of nWo related material.


Each of the following wrestlers have, at some point, been a member of some official incarnation of the New World Order:

Notable feuds

(Names with an asterisk would either later join the nWo or are former members)

  • Sting*
  • Lex Luger*
  • The Giant*
  • The Four Horsemen
  • Ray Traylor*
  • Ted DiBiase*
  • Rowdy Roddy Piper
  • Macho Man Randy Savage*
  • The Steiner Brothers (Scott*)
  • Harlem Heat*
  • Chris Jericho
  • Goldberg
  • Bret Hart*