This would probably go down as possibly one of the most revolutionary and greatest storylines of all of Wrestling. The NWO storyline brought Wrestling back from its cartoonish angles into a more serious and darkened route.
The Start of the NWO:
It was promoted as the “Hostle Takeover”. Razor Ramon(Aka Scott Hall) made his appearance on a live broadcast of Nitro surprising everybody(Because people rarely had the net) and planned the seeds for a war. Hall declared war on WCW and it further brought interest because it was believed that Vince sent him down to WCW from the WWF to kill it.
This was the freshest thing to happen to WCW in a long time, People were growing tired of the same ol characters, same ol silly feuds along with Hogan’s Goody two shoes good guy gimmick and as ratings started to slowly shift. Hall would then recruit Diesel(Aka Kevin Nash) the following week for his warpath and the curiosity grew stronger because of the unpredictability.
With Kevin Nash and Scott Hall pretty much walking around WCW like they owned it, They issued the challenge for the PPV Bash in the Beach demanding that Bischoff finds his best 3 men to go against them and a surprise partner which remained anonymous until the match. People were curious to see who their surprise partner was gonna be and tuned in to what suprises WCW had in store.
The match was known as the hostile takeover match and was one of the few times where a heavyweight title match wasn’t featured in the main event. But it gained enough interest due to the star power and talent involved with Sting, Lex Luger, and Randy Savage being the representatives for WCW against the Outsiderz(Hall and Nash)
The match was itself was very entertaining. intense back and forth action until out of nowhere Hulk Hogan arrives on the scene. Hogan have been awol for the past couple of months and it was surprising to see him just appear or show up unannounced.
Hogan marches to the ring with the usual determination that we knew and loved from the Hulkster in the 80s. People were happy to see Hogan and thought that he was gonna save the day for WCW. Hogan walks around the ring for a minute and BOOM! It happens, He drops a leg on his one time friend Macho Man Randy Savage and revealed himself as the THIRD MEMBER of the newly formed NWO. Wrestling changed forever
The crowd couldn’t believe it, They stood in shock as their hero that they have looked up for over a decade had sold them out too. Hogan’s heel turn was so unpredictable and shocking that almost incited a riot. Fans started throwing trash, rushing the ring, cursing at Hall and Nash.
This ressurged Hogan’s stalling career overnight and made him possibly the most hated wrestler of all time. Hogan was reluctant of turning bad guy because he’s became so comfortable being a good guy for so long. But with ratings falling and people starting to boo him, Hogan took on the gamble and it was worth it.
The War path
With the addition of Hall, Nash, The Giant and others, Hogan and his crew of goons laid waste to every wrestler in their path throughout the rest of 1996. Everyone from the 4 Horsemen, The Dungeon of Doom, Randy Savage, Lex Luger, The Steiners, Harlem Heat and many others have fallen against the NWO. Sting feeling betrayed by WCW decided to not partake in helping them during the war.
The NWO grew stronger with Hogan winning the title and the Outsiderz winning the tag titles. They ran WCW with a iron fist and the ratings soared to the point where the WWF was on the verge of being put on the shelf.
The NWO steamrolled into 1997 even powerful when they recruited Eric Bischoff which was the owner of WCW(storyline wise). Randy Savage got tired of taking ass whippings from the NWO on the regular basis so he ended up joining himself. DDP, The Giant, Lex Luger along with Flair, Piper had to put their differnces aside and aligned themselves to take on a common enemy in the NWO.
The NWO hurt WCW to the point where none of the wrestlers trusted each other. Everybody that tried to challenge Hogan for his title ended up either failing or falling victim to the NWO’s wraft so here comes Sting.
The man who felt betrayed when WCW doubted him and replaced his usual colorful ring attire and outspoken personality with a black and white crow mystique and not saying a word for a year. It was the perfect build up for a possible Sting Vs Hogan clash at WCW’s Wrestlemania Starcade. This would be possibly one of the biggest grossing match in WCW history.
The actual match itself would go down as one of the biggest disappointments in wrestling history. Not only because of Hogan feeling the need to dominate Sting through half of the match with Sting mounting an offense here and there but also the fact that they botched the finishing match! People wanted to see Hogan get his ass kicked throughout this whole match and instead we were led to confusion where referee Nick Patrick Counted a fair 3 count which according to Bret Hart was a fast count.
Even though Hart(who was a referee that night) restarted the match and Sting ended up winning the title, It did damage control to Sting’s character in the long run and the NWO feud would carry on for another year.
I’ve always felt the NWO should have died right there after Starcade. They should have come with a better way to kill the NWO angle off because by 1998 It started to become over the top with the different factions. The NWO split up into different factions one started by Nash(Red and Black) the other started by Hogan(White and black). What was also strange is how long time WCW crusaders Sting and Lex Luger would don the NWO colors despite being in WCW’s frontlines
Despite the weirdness behind this angle, The T-shirts were selling like hot cakes, The Red and Black were fan favorites for that whole year before once again aligning themselves together with the White and Black thus making the whole Red and Black Vs White and Black battle look pointless. The infamous fingerpoke of doom where Hogan pokes Kevin Nash and Nash takes a fall handing Hogan the title is the final blow to the NWO credibility. Throughout the next two years, They would try to reform the NWO through different wrestlers but none of it would really stick.
After the WWF survived a possible takeover from the aligned WCW/ECW Alliance. Mr Mcmhahon pushed to his limits by then business partner Ric Flair decided to want to “kill” his creation by recruiting the NWO(Hall, Hogan, Nash) to unleash hell on the WWF. Ric Flair knowing about the history of these 3 men pleaded with Vince to change his mind only to no avail. The NWO would make their debut on No Way Out 2002 and the response was enormous!
It was like a wrestling fan’s dream come true. The NWO mixing it up with the WWF’s biggest stars Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. They didn’t even waste time making an impact as they would lay ass whippings down on Stone Cold and the Rock respectively throughout the following weeks. The fans relished and enjoyed it:
NWO attacks Stone Cold
NWO attacks The Rock
But in typical Mchmahon fashion. The NWO leading up to Wrestlemania 18 were made to look like a bunch of jokes. Being that they weren’t WWF creations. They had to be made an example of and made to look like a bunch of clowns. Especially with Stone Cold kidnapping Scott Hall and chasing 3 men with a crowbar and having them hide from Austin:
The NWO storyline would pretty much end within a month after Wrestlemania 18 with Hogan turns into a good guy again, Scott Hall getting fired and Nash’s injury. They tried to continue the storyline using additions of XPac, Big Show, and even having HBK lead the group only to make the group look sillier than before. The NWO as we knew it at that point was dead and should have been left dead after Mania.
The NWO will always go down as possibly the most monumental storyline in the history of Wrestling. It introduced a new era of chaos and mayhem that was missing among faction since the days of the early Horsemen who kicked ass and profiled.
The difference between them and the NWO is that the NWO were like a big gang and it made stables in Wrestling important again. It also made Hulk Hogan look cool and resurrected his career over night along with making stars out of anybody who joined the faction. They were responsible for making wrestling legit when it was becoming real stale in the late 90s and forced competition to step their game up. Thats how the NWO should be remembered. FOR LIFE!