The New World Order at their absolute peak gave us the greatest faction in wrestling history. Hulk Hogan turning heel for the first time in his mainstream career to form the faction with fellow big names Kevin Nash and Scott Hall shook the wrestling industry for a much needed change. Fans started choosing WCW over WWE in the Monday Night Wars thanks to the popularity of the nWo and wanting to see what they would do next. In fact, the faction helped bring in millions of new viewers that didn’t watch wrestling prior leading to record breaking ratings and the highest level of success in WCW history.
Things would get out of hand when all the wrestlers on the roster wanted to join the nWo. The political power of Hogan, Nash and Hall all helped keep the group strong. Not only did the story dictate that the nWo dominated WCW on television, but the real life situation backstage followed suit. Too many wrestlers ended up joining the group out of request or due to WCW wanting to make the nWo large enough to have its own roster. We'll take a look at some of the wrestlers that hurt the group along with others that could have helped. These are eight wrestlers that should have joined the New World Order and seven that clearly didn’t deserve it.
15 Should Have Joined: Sting
The initial plans for the leader of the New World Order varied between Hulk Hogan and Sting. WCW management feared Hogan would turn down the idea in favor of continuing his run as the top face. Sting was the other man in mind for the top spot leading the nWo. Things all worked out and Sting did join the Wolfpac version of the group.
It all worked out for the best, but Sting could have been a really cool member during the glory days of the nWo. Diamond Dallas Page, Lex Luger and the newly signed Bret Hart were all top faces credible enough to carry the WCW side of things. A heel Sting turn would have kept him fresh following the exposure of his crow character after he lost the WCW Championship.
14 Didn’t Deserve It: Vincent
One of the dumbest signings in wrestling history came when WCW signed former WWE wrestler Virgil to a contract to join the New World Order. Aside from a very short push that flopped badly, Virgil was known for being the manservant of Ted DiBiase. No one ever accused Virgil of being a talented wrestler and it showed when his career fell into complete irrelevance.
WCW originally just signed DiBiase to be the benefactor of the nWo but eventually decided to add Virgil with him under the new name of Vincent. The name was meant to be an insult towards Vince McMahon. WCW fans were the only ones to be insulted with the signing and Vincent was the first big negative addition to the group. It ended up being a sweet gig for him making great money to do the absolute bare minimum. Many other wrestlers on the WCW roster deserved the spot way more, but Vincent somehow lucked into it.
13 Should Have Joined: Raven
The New World Order was the coolest thing going in professional wrestling during the mid-90s. Sadly, they let many of the least cool wrestlers join the group to hurt the reputation. Raven was the coolest act in ECW before coming to WCW with the same character. WCW consistently failed to use Raven to the best of his ability and he could have been a good fit in the nWo.
It sounds ridiculous on the surface given the vast differences in Raven’s persona and the approach of the nWo. However, Raven’s character culmination revealed him to be a huge sellout at the end. Many of his usual character elements could have continued with his hypocritical portrayal making him the perfect fit. Both Raven and the New World Order would have benefited from him being a part of the faction.
12 Didn’t Deserve It: Big Bubba Rogers
This isn’t meant to disrespect the overall career of Big Boss Man as he was great for WWE. However, WCW received nothing similar in terms of success when signing him to join the company following Hulk Hogan’s move. They tried to bring over many former WWE stars with Hogan to create competition. Boss Man worked under the name of Big Bubba Rogers when he joined the New World Order.
Rogers added nothing to the group and lost most of his luster from the WWE run. Most fans struggled to remember he was even in the faction. The nWo kicked Rogers out after he suffered an injury. His return led to him feuding with the nWo but nothing would help. Rogers’ WCW career was a huge bust and he had no business being in the New World Order.
11 Should Have Joined: Wrath
WCW signed the physically impressive Bryan Clark to a contract following his forgettable run in WWE as Adam Bomb. Eric Bischoff’s desire to create real life Mortal Kombat characters saw him give Clark the character of Wrath. The overall work of Wrath actually delivered with him looking great despite not having a big role on the show.
Wrath actually formed an impressive winning streak until losing to Kevin Nash in a somewhat big Nitro match. The profile of Wrath could have been much higher if he joined the New World Order instead of a team with Mortis and James Mitchell. Wrath’s size, power and strength provided the perfect muscle for Hulk Hogan and crew to improve the group. Instead, he had a lackluster WCW career and many less deserving wrestlers joined the nWo.
10 Didn’t Deserve It: Disco Inferno
Disco Inferno was one of the founding members of the New World Order Elite squad. The split between the two nWo factions the Wolfpac and Hollywood led to new members joining each group. Eventually, they would merge to create one “nWo Elite” faction with all the top players. Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were back together with Lex Luger joining among others.
The biggest name to stand out negatively and destroy any chance of credibility was Disco Inferno. Most known for being a comedic character, Disco was a glorified enhancement talent WCW conditioned fans to view as a joke. The lack of talent and credibility made him a glaring weakness for the group looking to regain popularity. Disco received many more opportunities he didn’t deserve but this was at the top of the list.
9 Should Have Joined: William Regal
An underrated aspect of the New World Order was the expansion of talents as a global brand. The Great Muta, Masahiro Chono and Tenzan were three very talented Japanese wrestlers that joined the nWo in WCW. They went on to form/continue the nWo: Japan stable in NJPW. It added another dynamic to the reputation of the New World Order in the wrestling world.
Another wrestler from a different background in wrestling could have been beneficial. William Regal wrestled the British style and always stayed true to his roots. WCW could have used his strengths as a heel to add to the global reach of the nWo. Regal had talent that everyone respected but just couldn’t get the opportunity to show it off. A run with the nWo may have been what was needed to thrive in WCW.
8 Didn’t Deserve It: Horace Hogan
Ed Leslie wasn’t the only person to join the New World Order as a favor of Hulk Hogan. Hulk’s nephew Horace Hogan signed with WCW as a part of Raven’s Flock and eventually moved up to the nWo. Horace was the one to help Hulk defeat Ultimate Warrior at Halloween Havoc 1998. The fact that Horace played such a role in a huge match was bad enough, but it showed just how far the nWo had fallen.
Horace held zero relevance in the wrestling world other than being a relative to Hulk. The favor for Hulk landed Horace a cushy spot standing in the background of group segments and contributing to the various beat downs of the nWo. It's hard to say Horace is responsible for the downfall of the New World Order, but he's clearly one of the examples of how badly things would become.
7 Should Have Joined: Saturn
The talented Perry Saturn made the jump from ECW to WCW with the hopes of a singles career. Following his ECW run as a tag team wrestler with John Kronus in The Eliminators, WCW felt he was better off on his own. Saturn had a solid mid-card career contributing to various groups and teams. The most success in WCW came from a feud with Raven after he turned on The Flock.
WCW never capitalized on the relevance he held after breaking away from Raven. Saturn would remain in the same forgettable spot in WCW until he requested his release to join WWE with the rest of The Radicalz. WCW could have kept him happy with a spot in the New World Order. The group lacked talented wrestlers and continued opting to add the over the hill performers. Saturn would have added something new that was clearly needed.
6 Didn’t Deserve It: Konnan
Konnan was a huge star in Mexico with a strong run in AAA. Wrestling pundit Dave Meltzer still argues that Konnan was a bigger name in Mexico than Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan were in the United States and not abroad. Konnan cashed in on his success to land a contract with WCW. The company hired many of the Mexican wrestlers for the cruiserweight division. Despite being the biggest name, Konnan was one of the least impressive wrestlers from Mexico to join WCW.
It would only get worse when Konnan joined the New World Order. The awkward promos of Konnan felt completely out of place in the heel group. Factor in how mediocre his matches were compared to the likes of Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero and Psychosis to give a look at how weak of a member he was for the nWo. Konnan basically performed like the over the hill peers in the faction rather than live up to his prior reputation.
5 Should Have Joined: Shawn Michaels
No, Shawn Michaels never signed with WCW, but he would have been the perfect fit for the New World Order. Various rumors through the 90s made it clear that WCW badly wanted to sign Michaels at different points. Michaels’ close friends Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Syxx-Pac all were early members of the nWo. They used the Kliq greeting of the “too sweet” sign that they made up with Michaels and Triple H as a popular act of the new faction.
Hulk Hogan started to grow stale in the role as the leader of the nWo. Michaels jumping ship after his issues with WWE could have made a splash the New World Order needed around 1998. WWE was planning to faze him out of the main event picture with the rise of Steve Austin, The Rock and even Triple H before he left for retirement. Michaels joining WCW would have added a much needed jolt of lightning into the nWo and extended the shelf life.
4 Didn’t Deserve It: The Disciple
Ed Leslie’s wrestling career basically saw him follow his best friend Hulk Hogan around as he got jobs based off the connection. Following a run as Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake in WWE, Leslie made the jump to WCW in the 90s with Hogan. WCW showed loyalty to Hogan by giving Leslie various characters. Many horrible flops as The Booty Man, The Zodiac and another few characters led to his transformation into The Disciple.
This character specifically was created just to be Hogan’s lackey in the New World Order. The Disciple literally held Hogan’s belt for him and stood behind him in promos. Commentary rarely mentioned anything about him aside from his presence giving Hogan an advantage. The Disciple had no character depth aside from being the sidekick of Hogan on screen and in real life.
3 Should Have Joined: Harlem Heat
Harlem Heat is one of the most underrated tag teams in wrestling history. Real life brothers Booker T and Stevie Ray worked tremendously together in WCW. They would go on to have an incredible ten WCW Tag Team Championship reigns as a unit. Booker and Stevie brought the physicality and believability to the ring as legitimate tough guys.
The New World Order could have used them as the premiere tag team in WCW when it became clear Scott Hall and Kevin Nash would have to split up. Stevie Ray did join the nWo on his own after splitting from Booker. The singles career of Booker would overshadow his brother’s, but they should have been in the group. Booker’s popularity would have come even faster if he decided to honorably leave the New World Order after spending some time with them.
2 Didn’t Deserve It: Buff Bagwell
Buff Bagwell’s entire career is essentially the story of a wrestler getting many opportunities he didn’t deserve and doing poorly with them. The biggest break of his career came when he split from American Males tag team partner Scotty Riggs to join the New World Order. Bagwell was given more promo time than the other secondary members of the group showing WCW wanted to move him up the rankings.
Sadly, Buff just didn’t have “the stuff” to become a top player in the industry despite his claims. The lackluster performances of Bagwell helped damage the credibility of the nWo being a faction that only sought out the best. Bagwell is still ridiculed in many WWE productions today looking back at WCW and for good reason. The legacy of Buff’s career is basically underachieving in the New World Order for many years.
1 Should Have Joined: Eddie Guerrero
The talent and potential of Eddie Guerrero in WCW was obvious to everyone but the people in charge of WCW. Guerrero had a tremendous heel persona that got him over with minimal opportunities. The heel work of Guerrero in the legendary Mask vs. Championship match against Rey Mysterio is still talked about by fans and studied by wrestlers today.
One huge issue with the New World Order is that it never built new stars. The bigger names were stars living off prior success and the younger performers did not have the talent to stand out. Eddie joining the nWo would have given them a star to dominate the cruiserweight division to start with before growing as a name and moving up the card. WCW instead chose to drop the ball and let him rise to legendary status in WWE.