The late 90s was a weird time for wrestling. The business had never been more popular or profitable. It was also was an exciting time for the wrestlers, who were starting to get paid like big time athletes thanks to Ted Turner and WCW.
Wrestling itself was getting much more real as well. The backstage antics of many of the wrestlers were starting to leak out to fans, and were sometimes far more interesting than anything which went on in front of the camera.
The New World Order was comprised of several guys who were known to get themselves into highly bizarre or scandalous situations. For whatever reason, it seemed that the stable not only attracted those wrestlers who would get up to no-good in storyline, but also those who would do so in real life. If you look at WCW during this period, all of the storyline good guys, such as DDP, Sting and Goldberg, were all generally good guys outside of the ring. You never never hear about those guys getting into any trouble. Hogan, Nash, Hall and Scott Steiner on the other hand were always getting into backstage drama. The good guys really were good and the bad guys really were bad. I’m not sure if that is life imitating art or vice versa.
This article celebrates the members of the nWo who got up to so much ridiculousness backstage during the 90s that it out-shined whatever they did in the ring.
Here are 20 shocking things you didn’t know about members of the nWo:
20. Buff Bagwell Is An American Gigol0
If you go back and watch Buff Bagwell on the WWE Network from before he injured his neck, you may notice that he was actually a pretty decent wrestler. His old partner, Scott Steiner, also has had a lot of positive things to say about Buff, including that he “brought it every night” and worked hard to try and earn respect.
Steiner also said that Bagwell was looked down upon by many of the boys because of his past as a male stripper. It didn't help that Bagwell's first gimmick was as a member of a team named "The American Males", who were basically male strippers, even if it wasn't mentioned directly.
Well Bagwell has gone back to his old industry now. In 2014, he revealed to TMZ that he is now a successful male gigolo. He advertises his “services” on the website “Cowboys 4 Angels”.
The things people will do to avoid working for TNA.
19 Scott Steiner Is Alleged to Have Made “Terroristic Threats”
People often hollered when they heard Scott Steiner, and sometimes that was because he was hollering terroristic threats towards them.
At least that is what police were saying in 2015, regarding threats Scott Steiner made towards Hulk Hogan. Police said they were investigating Steiner for “felony terrorist threats”. Steiner has openly stated his dislike for Hogan, blaming him for the demise of WCW.
Steiner is alleged to have ran into Hogan’s wife Jennifer at a San Jose airport and told her he was going to “kill Terry” when he got in. Hogan was on his way to the area for WrestleMania, and filled out a police report with his wife when he arrived. Charges do not ever appear to have been made however.
And Steiner was the guy who led nWo Hollywood in Hulk’s absence!
18 Hulk Hogan Was The Last “WWF Champion”
Hulk Hogan won his 6th and final World Title (assuming he doesn’t win it again someday) on April 21st, 2002. He defeated Triple H to win what was then known as the WWF Undisputed Championship. It would be the last time in company history that anyone would win a “WWF” championship (unless the World Wildlife Fund goes in a drastically different direction).
On May 6th 2002, with Hogan as the company’s premiere champion, the WWF became the WWE as a result of litigation with the World Wildlife Fund. As such the titles became renamed as well.
It is fitting that arguably the greatest star in the history of the company would be the final one to hold the belt under the name that it had been known for over 30 years.
17 Scott Hall Killed a Guy in Self-Defense
Hall was charged with second-degree murder in 1983, although the charges would later be dropped. There was an altercation between Hall and the deceased outside an Orlando, FL night club that resulted in Hall wrestling a gun away from the other party and fatally shooting him with it.
In an interview he would give to ESPN in 2011, Hall would state that he is still unable to forget the incident. Kevin Nash has said that he believes many of his friend’s substance abuse issues are due to suffering post traumatic stress disorder as a result of the incident.
The charges were dropped shortly afterwards due to lack of evidence. Considering it was the other person’s gun, there was little reason not to believe Hall’s claims of self-defence.
16 Kyle Petty Was a Member
There have been multiple incarnations of the nWo, be it in Japan, WWE, late-stage WCW, and there was even a monster truck. But perhaps the best example of the faction expanding outside of World Championship Wrestling, was when they entered the NASCAR series.
Yep, there was an nWo NASCAR team, and the driver was none other than Kyle Petty. The car only raced a handful of times, and didn’t seem to achieve much success. It wouldn’t be the last time WCW would try and break into the NASCAR world, perhaps figuring there was a lot of crossover fans considering the company’s southern audience.
In 1998, Lance Hooper would be the driver of a WCW car, which seems to have not faired any better than the nWo version.
15 Rick Rude Was Training for a Comeback When He Died
On May 1st 1994 Rick Rude suffered a career-ending injury in a match in Japan with Sting. Rude had fallen awkwardly onto a raised platform on the outside of the ring, injuring his back in the process. He was only 35 at the time.
Rude continued to work in wrestling, first becoming a commentator in ECW, as well as being involved in angles featuring the “Triple Threat” faction. In 1997, he would reappear on WWE television as “an Insurance Policy” for Shawn Michaels, and the DX faction.
In late 97 Rude defected to the WCW where he was immediately part of the NWO angle. He was usually involved in storylines with his friend Curt Hennig.
Finally at the age of 40, Rude was training for a return to the ring when he died of heart failure on April 20th 1999. His death was deemed to be heart failure as a result of an overdose of mixed medications.
14 Scott Steiner Owns a Restaurant
Holla if you’re hungry! Scott Steiner is now in the restaurant business. Last April, Big Poppa Pump held a reunion of old WCW and NWO wrestlers at his new Shoney’s franchise in Acworth, Georgia.
Photos from the event showed a shockingly civilized looking Steiner in a nice suit and glasses outside of the new eatery, though still sporting his “Superstar” Billy Graham inspired hair colour and goatee.
Some of the first to appear at his new restaurant included Jeff Jarrett, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, his brother Rick Steiner, and a very slimmed down looking Buff Bagwell. Steiner had also made local headlines in the area when he broke up a “road rage” incident that led to a gun being pulled at one point. Thank goodness Scott Steiner is around to keep the peace!
13 Hall and Nash's Kids Could Be The Outsiders 2.0
For those unaware, Scott Hall’s son Cody is an up and coming wrestling prospect. He had been training in the New Japan Pro Wrestling dojo in Japan, as well as wrestling with the promotion as a member of the Bullet Club, until he suffered an injury last year.The 25-year old Cody, is 6ft 8 and 265lbs. He was trained by Larry Zbyszko, Diamond Dallas Page, and Scott himself. He hasn’t wrestled since last April however.
Kevin Nash’s son, Tristen, is believed to be about 20 years old, 6ft 5 and 200lbs. In a shoot interview Hall would give recently he mentioned that if his son ever decided to go into wrestling, a tag team with Tristen and Cody, as the second generation “Hall and Nash” team would be too good an opportunity to pass on.
Not much is known about Tristen’s interest in possibly going into wrestling. Kevin Nash was arrested in late 2014 for getting into a fight with his son however.
12 The Fake Razor Ramon Joined the nWo
Remember when WWE brought in a fake Razor Ramon and Diesel? The guy who played the fake Razor would actually join the NWO later in his career. Only he joined the Japanese version of the stable.
Rick Bognar, a Canadian wrestler, first got his start in the industry in Japan. He wrestled for the hardcore promotion FMW in the country from 1989 to 1994. After that he made a brief appearance in ECW before being signed to the WWF in 1996. There he would infamously portray the fake version of Razor Ramon.
After his stint in WWF bottomed out, he went to work for New Japan Pro Wrestling under the name “Big Titan”. Conveniently enough, he also joined NWO Japan shortly after Scott Hall finished up a tour with the same stable and went back to the United States.
Bognar would retire in 1999 after suffering a neck injury.
11 Nash Used Arn Anderson’s Own Beer Cooler When Mocking Him
In the fall of 1997 it became official that Arn Anderson’s career was over. Neck and arm injuries had plagued the Enforcer, and while he had been off of television for many months, his retirement wasn’t official until that September.
The week after an in-ring ceremony celebrated Arn’s accomplishments, the nWo mocked the Horseman, and Arn in particular. Members of the nWo dressed up as members of the 4 Horsemen. Kevin Nash played the role of Anderson, and made light of Arn’s drinking.
While much has been made of the skit, what isn’t mentioned often was how aware Arn, Flair and others were of what was going to happen. In fact, Arn even leant Nash his own beer cooler to carry out to the ring. Apparently Arn really did keep a beer cooler in the back.
It was only after the segment aired, and Arn’s wife became upset, that Anderson felt Nash had been too hard on him. The Horsemen were also upset that the segment didn’t involve them coming out to give the nWo their comeuppance.
10 Scott Steiner Brought a Tiger to the Ring
Scott Steiner is a bold and daring man. That’s why it is not overly surprising that on the October 23rd 2000 edition of Nitro, he brought a friggin tiger to the ring.
Steiner cooly walked out for the main event of Nitro that night with his tiger on a leash, like he was taking it for a walk. Before heading into the ring, Steiner scratched and petted the tiger as if it was his pet, and why wouldn’t it be?
The all-star commentating team of Tony Shiavone, Mark Madden and Stevie Ray didn’t quite know how to react, though that happened frequently regardless of whether a live tiger was inolved or not.
While late-era WCW is perhaps the most maligned promotion of all-time (TNA aside) there were bright spots. Scott Steiner’s ranting promos, synthetic physique and crazy antics often made putting up with the rest of the show worth it. His WCW world title run is often overlooked because of how poorly received the company was at the time.
9 Kevin Nash Almost Fought Mike Tyson
After the end of Hulkamania but before the birth of the Attitude era was a tough time for WWE. Kevin Nash, then known as Diesel, was tasked with being the new “good guy” champion from Survivor Series 95 to Survivor Series 96. His title reign will not go down in the history books as one of the more successful ones.
Vince McMahon did have an idea once that may have gotten more publicity for Big Daddy Cool however, but ultimately it was one Nash wasn't interested in going through with.
According to interviews Nash would give later, Vince pulled him into his office one night and told him he wanted to arrange a cross-over wrestling/boxing bout between him and Mike Tyson. Nash must have been salivating at the idea of how much money he would make off PPV bonuses to go up against Tyson at the time. Vince then informed Nash he wouldn’t be paid anything as it would be for charity. Nash declined, he wasn’t going to get knocked out by Mike Tyson for free.
8 Eric Bischoff Announced He Had Purchased WCW
Much has been made of WCW’s final days, especially the final edition of Nitro when Shane McMahon bought the company (in storyline).
WWE’s purchase of WCW overshadows how close Eric Bischoff and a team of investors actually came to purchasing the company beforehand. In fact, Bischoff’s team were so confident that the deal was final they announced publicly that they had bought the company. They may have jumped the gun on that one however. While an agreement was in place to purchase the company, the deal had yet to be fully finalized.
Bischoff had a plan for the company that involved them shutting down for a period, relaunching, and filming shows in Las Vegas. Their big relaunching was to occur at WCW’s first ever “Big Bang” ppv in May of 2001. It never happened however, AOL-Turner cancelled Nitro, decreasing the value of the company and allowing Vince McMahon to purchase it at a reduced price.
7 Kevin Nash Has Endorsed Bullet Club
Many fans of New Japan Pro Wrestling will notice that the “Bullet Club” stable uses many of the same hand signs, tactics, and phrases that the new world order used in the 1990s. Once upon a time that would have been declared “gimmick infringement” and be the grounds for some controversy. Not in this case however.
The original members of the new world order, at least Hall and Nash anyway, have endorsed Bullet Club, and allow the group to pay homage to them. It doesn’t hurt that Scott Hall’s son Cody is a member.
In 2015, Nash officially offered his support to Bullet Club at a Jeff Jarrett promoted Global Force Wrestling event. Nash got in the ring to close the show and gave the “2 sweet” hand signal with Bullet Club members Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows.
Bullet Club has expanded since that time, and now have an active stable in ROH as well. Styles, Gallows and Anderson are referred to as “the Club” in WWE.
6 Hogan Was Six Feet Tall at 12 Years Old
Hulk Hogan may not have been a giant, but he was still really big. Much bigger than the guys who often main event PPVs these days. Not that smaller guys shouldn’t be given that chance, but Hogan stood out as a big guy during a period in wrestling history where everyone was a big guy.
Hogan was reportedly already 6ft tall and close to 200lbs by the time he was 12 years old.
As a result of his size Hogan was something of a natural athlete as a youngster. He was scouted by multiple baseball teams, including the Reds and the Yankees. Hogan was also supposebly a very good bowler when he was a youngster.
Ultimately it would be Hogan’s size that made him an appealing pro-wrestler, and it is even what landed him the name “Hulk”. Originally known as “the Super Destroyer”, Hogan was on a talk show with Lou Ferigno from “the Hulk” once when the host of the show noted that Hogan was bigger than the Hulk was. Hogan figured he should have the name after that.
5 Macho Man Had His Own Fashion Designer
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that “Macho Man” Randy Savage had his own fashion designer. Michael Braun not only designed and tailored costumes for the Macho Man, he did the same for Jimi Hendrix. You might even notice some similarities between Hendrix’s and Savage’s wardrobe.
In a documentary on his life, it was said that Savage felt big and colorful ensembles helped him appear larger than he really was. He liked capes and robes that he could stretch out while holding his arms in the air, creating an image not unlike a peaccok extending its feathers.
In the 1980s Savage was all about neon, bright colors, tassels and flashy sunglasses. In the 90s he started wearing more black, especially when he was a member of the nWo. No matter the colors however, Savage always had a unique look to him. Whether Savage needed the boost which came from his wardrobe or not, it certainly added to his character.
4 Hogan Wanted to Leave Wrestling, Play Bass for Metallica
There have been numerous rumours regarding whether or not Hulk Hogan actually did once audition for Metallica. When the band was asked about it they had no recollection of Hogan ever auditioning or ever working with the group.
Hogan then addressed the issue after hearing the band denied his claims. He said that he never stated he auditioned for Metallica but that he did try very hard to get into the group. Long before he became a pro-wrestler Hogan had played guitar or bass in bands. He started playing guitar in junior high school, though sadly little audio or video evidence of his early music career exists.
Hogan claims that he put together as much tape of him playing bass as he could and had it sent over to the band after hearing they were looking for a new bassist. He also stated that if he had been offered a spot in Metallica he would have left the pro-wrestling business. Metallica never got back to him.
3 Ted Dibiase is a Travelling Minister
The former “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase now leads a much more modest life. Once the financial-backer, in storyline, of the new world order, Dibiase now travels the country as an ordained minister.
In hindsight, the Million Dollar Man character incorporated a lot of religious elements into his storylines. Dibiase represented the deadly sin of greed, while the good guy he was feuding with would eventually prove that Dibiase’s evil ways don’t win out in the end. He represented greed and evil, and punctuated it with a maniacal laugh at the end of his promos. The Million Dollar Man existed during a time of clear cut good guys and bad guys in wrestling. There was no good at all in his character, only greed.His role in the nWo was short-lived. Shortly after Eric Bischoff was announced as a member, there was little need for Dibiase anymore. He managed the Steiners for a little while as a good guy, but nothing much ever came from it.
2 Hogan’s Leg Was Broken His First Day of Training
Hulk Hogan had his leg broken on his first day of training. Had he decided wrestling was not for him after that experience, there is no telling where the business would be today.
Hogan was trained by Hiro Matsuda, who evidently was a bit stiff with new trainees. Many wrestling trainers will try and weed out the weak students by testing them on their first few days. This can involve making them do hard exercises or by stretching them in submission holds. While Matsuda was putting Hogan through this type of initiation he ended up breaking his leg.
Luckily this incident didn’t prevent Hogan from continuing his training however. After his leg healed Hogan went right back to Matsuda for further training. Matsuda was impressed with Hogan’s perseverance and continued to teach him.
Hogan would then land a role in Rocky III, become famous, sign with Vince Jr. and then take pro-wrestling to heights it had never been to before.
1 Macho Man Made a Rap Album
“Macho Man” Randy Savage is one of the greatest pro-wrestlers of all time. If you ask any wrestling fan who grew up on 80s and 90s wrestling, there’s a good chance they will say Macho Man was their favourite.
There is one thing that every Macho Man fan would like to forget however, the time he released a rap album.
One thing Macho Man fans can take solace in however, is that his single from the album was really just a wrestling promo with a rap beat behind it. The single “Be a Man” (also the name of the album) was really a promo Savage cut on Hogan, who he seemed to be mad with at the time.
Lyrics from the song basically implied that Hogan needed to “be a man” and stop running from Macho. In the end however, Savage will be better remembered for his classic matches than he will his ill-fated rap career.