In total, over 40 wrestlers officially joined the New World order stable at one point or another. This includes the original stable from 1996, the red and black Wolfpac, NWO Hollywood, the 1999 Elite Wolfpac team, NWO 2000, NWO Japan and even the version which appeared in WWE.
Many of the wrestlers involved with the New World Order angle had been involved with several other gimmicks previously in their careers. In fact, most members of the New World Order, especially the original version, we're chosen because they had worked gimmicks during the 1990s with Vince McMahon's promotion. The first few months of the New World Order invasion angle actually portrayed the group to be invading members from WWE. As such, wrestlers such as Ted DiBiase and Bubba Rogers were added to the group in part because they had portrayed well-known characters in WWE during the 80s and 90s.
This article takes a look at 20 of the most forgettable and embarrassing gimmicks ever worked by a wrestler who was also a member of the New World Order. There were quite a lot of gimmicks to go through but we're confident we have the best ones listed here. That is to say, we're confident we have the worst gimmicks listed in this article.
20 Hollywood Hogan as Mr. America
When the New World Order debuted in WWE, Hulk Hogan was still working his Hollywood Hogan gimmick. Hogan, Nash, and Hall debuted at the February 2002 PPV, No Way Out. Even though fans treated the NWO as bad guys coming in, you could tell many fans were thrilled to see Hogan back in a WWE ring.
Eventually, WWE made the decision for Hogan to turn on Nash and Hall and once again dawn the red and yellow. Hogan would spend the next year as one of the top babyfaces in the company again, even winning the WWE Undisputed Championship. At WrestleMania XIX, he defeated Vince McMahon in a match billed as 20 years in the making.
Following his victory over Vince McMahon, however, Hogan was forced to wrestle under a mask.
In storyline, Vince McMahon said he was going to make Hogan sit out the remainder of his contract. Instead of doing that, however, Hogan decided to don a disguise and wrestled as Mr. America.
Why Vince McMahon signed a wrestler who looked just like Hogan is anyone's guess. It's also not clear if Hogan's character was collecting two payment at the time. Later that year Hogan and Vince McMahon got into a dispute over pay. This resulted in Hogan leaving the organization for a time. He would be back in 2005, however. Mr. America has never returned.
19 Kevin Nash as Oz
In 1991, WCW repackaged Kevin Nash as Oz. He had been wrestling as one half of the Master Blasters for a year prior.
Many fans remember the ill-received Oz character from WCW but few know the backstory of how the character came to be. Jim Herd was running WCW at the time. His reign atop WCW, although short-lived, might have resulted in the worst period of wrestling booking ever. This includes everything Vince Russo has ever done. Herd ran WCW from early 1989 to 1991. If you have the WWE Network and are a glutton for punishment, Jim Herd's contributions to the wrestling business have been immortalized for all to relive.
One of Jim Herd's worst creations was Oz. Nash was dressed in emerald green and dyed his hair and beard the same color they are naturally today.
Also of note, Turner Broadcasting had just secured the rights to the movie The Wizard of Oz at the time. Turner Executives figured having a character such as Oz could help remind fans that the movie sometimes plays on the network. This is the kind of booking which was going on at the time.
Despite a dramatic entrance and wardrobe, fans hated Oz. By 1992, Kevin Nash's gimmick needed a total makeover yet again.
18 Big Show as Andre the Giant's Son
In 1995, Hulk Hogan was the top babyface in WCW. He had resurrected his career in the company after leaving WWE following the steroid scandal of the early 90s. At first, WCW experienced the most success they'd ever seen off the move. A well-reviewed Hulk Hogan vs Ric Flair feud gave the promotion the major league feeling they had been lacking for years.
That summer, WCW felt they needed more top heels to feud with the Hulkster. Waiting in the wings was a young giant of a rookie named Paul Wight.
Instead of allowing Wight to become his own character, WCW again attempted to piggyback on the coattails of a WWE creation.
They named Paul Wight "The Giant" and told fans he was the son of the late great Andre the Giant.
Wight did have some resemblance to Andre, especially back then, but the relationship was fictional. By the time he would wrestle his first match for the company, all reference to him being Andre the Giant's son had been dropped. The decision to do so was likely made due to the frequency with which the company was using old WWE angles on their programming. WCW would recreate nearly ever feud Hogan had in WWE, even once bringing back Zeus, his nemesis from the "No Holds Barred" movie he starred in.
17 Buff Bagwell as The American Male
Buff Bagwell gets a lot of slack from WWE fans. He is probably most remembered for his ill-reviewed match with Booker T on an episode of Monday Night Raw. The match was so bad it forced the company to change their plans for the WCW invasion angle. Much of the blame for the match was given to Bagwell, who was blown up and exhausted shortly after the match started.
Bagwell was 1/2 of the American Males before joining the NWO.
The tag-team were a pair of babyface good guys who the ladies loved because of their resemblance to Chippendale dancers. Speaking of which, the gimmick largely played off Bagwell's real history as a male exotic dancer. Scott Steiner has said that Bagwell had to work extra hard to get respect in the back as a result of his previous profession. It is also a profession he is speculated to have gone back to after his wrestling career ended. Bagwell is said to be something of a male gigolo professionally nowadays.
His partner in the American Males was Scotty Riggs, who ended up joining Raven's Flock after his team with Bagwell broke up. As of this writing, Bagwell still makes appearances on the independent circuit.
16 Konnan as Max Moon
Konnan only wrestled as Max Moon on three occasions in WWE before leaving the promotion forever. A backstage disagreement between Vince McMahon and Konnan led to Konnan storming out of the company after having not given any notice. This is said to have infuriated Vince McMahon who had invested tens of thousands of dollars into the creation of the Max Moon character. Konnan has never been back to the company.
In interviews he has given since, Konnan says the reason he decided to leave WWE so abruptly was that he was still a giant star in Mexico and there was a lot of money to be made there. The country had just lifted the ban on showing wrestling on television;
"Wrestling was so hot in Mexico because they had lifted this 30-year ban on wrestling on TV in Mexico City. I was able to capitalize on that wrestling boom. I was wrestling three times in one day on many weekends. The amount of work was incredible. It was like when Raw and Nitro were going head-to-head and there was work for everybody."
Currently, Konnan is working with Impact Wrestling. He manages LAX but in storyline has been missing for several weeks.
15 Ron and Don Harris as The Blu Brothers
Ron and Don Harris joined the revamped version of the New World Order which developed after Vince Russo joined the company in 1999. Before they joined NWO 2000, however, they were known as the Blu Brothers in WWE.
The team was managed by Uncle Zebekiah, who you might better know by the names Zeb Colter or "Dirty" Dutch Mantel. Contrary to their current appearance, the brothers wore long hair and bushy beards back then. The duo appeared to be a pair of backwater heels. They feuded with the likes of the British Bulldog and Lex Luger, who had been put together as a tag team during this period as well.
The Harris Brothers would not last long in the role, however. After spending only a year in the company in 1995, the brothers left WWE for ECW in 1996. They would be back in WWE with a new gimmick a year later, however.
When they first appeared in WCW during the 1999 time period, they were enforcers for Jeff Jarrett and even Vince Russo himself. Eventually, they officially joined the final version of the New World Order to appear in WCW. When WCW was purchased by Vince McMahon in 2001, WWE decided not to rehire them.
14 Curt Hennig in The West Texas Rednecks
Curt Hennig's body of work is so strong that few spend much time thinking about his time in the West Texas Rednecks. Despite this, his father Larry "The Axe" Hennig has spoken on multiple occasions about how much fun his son had during this angle. He even suggested to WWE that Curt would have loved for the "Rap is Crap" song to be played during his WWE Hall of Fame induction.
The angle began in WCW during the summer of 1999. WCW had signed rapper Master P and Hennig and his cronies would make the perfect heels for P's No Limit Soldiers.
Instead of getting behind the popular recording star, however, many fans supported the West Texas Rednecks.
This is possibly as a result of members of the faction producing a highly entertaining country song, Rap is Crap. Some of WCW's southern fanbase found it easier to cheer for the country music lovers than the rappers. Regardless, the faction never got the heat they set out to get but they appeared to have a lot of fun in the process regardless. Whether their popularity hindered WCW's attempt to turn their large investment in the No Limits Soldiers into something profitable is up for some debate. It's possible that had the fans not gotten behind the Rednecks, the No Limit Soldiers may have gotten over as a babyface act. It doesn't seem likely, though.
13 Brian Adams as Crush
Brian Adams has been a lot of things in wrestling but none more terrible than when he was "Kona Crush". He would eventually join the NWO black and white in 1998 but before then wrestled as Kona Crush while still in WWE. This was just after his former trio, Demolition, broke up for good and left him alone as a single's wrestler.
Crush dropped the facepaint he wore as the third member of Demolition and began playing up his background as a Hawaiian.
It was a little better than what his former Demolition teammate, Smash, was doing at the time. WWE had recast Smash as the Repo Man, a guy who basically repossessed items a person failed to make payments on.
After Hogan left the promotion, WWE was looking for a new top babyface and there were rumors Crush was in-line for the role. Ultimately, Vince McMahon chose to go with Lex Luger in an All-American gimmick.
Crush was one of many wrestlers who tried and failed to slam Yokozuna on the USS Intrepid after Yokozuna had defeated Hulk Hogan for the WWE Championship at King of the Ring. He was unsuccessful and suffered a storyline back injury which took him out of action for awhile. When he returned, he aligned with Yokozuna and the dastardly Mr. Fuji.
12 The Disciple as "The Zodiac"
Ed Leslie aka Brutus Beefcake has been a lot of terrible things in wrestling but nothing quite like this next entry. Before becoming Hollywood Hogan's Disciple (and later Ultimate Warriors only member of the One Warrior Nation), he was known as "the Zodiac".
Leslie followed Hogan to World Championship Wrestling in the mid-1990s. After a short stint under a different gimmick, Leslie then joined Kevin Sullivan's stable the Dungeon of Doom. His character was sent to suffer from amnesia and would only ever say the words yes or no. He would cover his face with black and white face paint.
Those who remember the plot line between Hogan and the Dungeon of Doom often remember it with mixed emotions. On one hand, the two-dimensional nature of having clear-cut good guys and bad guys was a throwback to the 1980s and a peak period for the business. The flip side was, of course, that many fans had grown tired of this cookie-cutter black and white style of wrestling. Hogan's run as a true babyface in WCW would not have a long shelf life. Neither would the Zodiac. He would leave the promotion for two years after having worked as the character. When he returned, he had grown in a beard and was named the Disciple.
11 Lex Luger as The Narcissist
Before Lex Luger joined the NWO Wolfpac, he was known as The Narcissist in WWE. The gimmick was part of a notably poor stint in WWE.
Luger had been a big star for the NWA in the 1980s but when he made the jump to WWE in the early 90s, things didn't go exactly as planned. He sat out a year while participating in Vince McMahon's World Bodybuilding Federation. Unfortunately, that organization closed down not long after McMahon's steroid scandal began. Following that, Luger adopted the gimmick of The Narcissist.
He would bring a full length mirror with him to the ring and pose in front of it before his match began. His gimmick was simply that he was so impressed with his own physique he could not stop looking at himself.
Thinking of didn't last long, however. The steroid scandal of the early 90s also marked the departure of Hulk Hogan from the company. This left Vince McMahon searching for his new top babyface and he thought he found that in Lex Luger. The gimmick was dropped in favor of an all American red white and blue gimmick. That act failed to get over with fans as well, however, and Vince McMahon ended up turning to Bret Hart as the man to portray the top role in the company.
10 The Harris Brothers and Brain Addams as DOA
Before the Harris Brothers joined the New World order in WCW's dying days, they were two members of the disciples of Apocalypse faction in WWE. They were joined by their cousin, Chainz, and another future NWO member, Brian Adams.
This was during a weird time in WWE. Bryan Adams had been a member of the Nation of Domination before being kicked out by faction leader, Faarooq. Savio Vega was also kicked out of the group at the same time. Vega would go on to form Los Boricuas with other wrestlers who had a Puerto Rican background. Adams formed the DOA, a gang of bikers. The Nation of Domination, Los Boricuas, and the DOA generally feuded with each other. WWE dropped the gang like angles shortly after the 1997 Survivor Series in Montreal. After that PPV, the Hart Foundation and several other factions ceased to operate in WWE. What was left was D-Generation X and eventually, The Corporation.
The DOA never got over in WWE. Neither did Los Boricuas for that matter. They fell down the rankings in WWE pretty quickly and were gone from the company in 1999. The pair is now involved in running the AroLucha company out of Nashville, TN.
9 Kevin Nash as Vinnie Vegas
After Kevin Nash bombed in the role of Oz, WCW wasn't done trying to have him work an over the top gimmick. Rather than just have the seven-footer go out to the ring without much fanfare or a gimmick, WCW dubbed him Vinnie Vegas.
The gimmick being that he was a really big wrestler who hailed from Las Vegas... we guess, anyway.
This was still during the period when WCW was going overboard with gimmicks in an attempt to re-create the success WWE had during the 1980s. The Vinnie Vegas character didn't get over, though it wasn't quite as ridiculed as Oz was.
It was while working as Vinnie Vegas that Shawn Michaels took note of what Nash was doing in WCW. At the time, Shawn Michaels was looking for a bodyguard to watch his back as he started his singles career. As this was the early 90s, it was the first time WWE was experimenting with smaller guys in the main event picture. Having a giant bodyguard would make Michaels feel more intimidating. WWE reached out to Nash and he made arrangements to be released from his WCW contract. When he finally would return to the company in 1996, Nash was all done portraying gimmicks.
8 Scott Hall as The Diamond Studd
Scott Hall wrestled as the Diamond Studd while in WCW. He was even managed by Diamond Dallas Page, the man who would eventually bring him into his house and get him sobered up for the first time in decades.
Hall had wrestled for the AWA and NWA under his real name of Scott Hall for a couple of years before adopting the Diamond Studd gimmick. He'd also wrestled under the name Starship Coyote as one half of the tag team American Starship. Not to mention, working along with Dan Spivey who was then known as Starship Eagle. It's not clear who came up with those names as it's likely nobody wishes to take the credit for them.
The Diamond Studd gimmick was during Jim Herd's reign of terror on WCW. Herd is the man who famously wanted Ric Flair to ditch everything he had accomplished in wrestling and start a new gladiator gimmick. He also let Flair go to WWE with the WCW Title belt. Herd did not excel in the role, in other words.
Scott Hall didn't get over much in the role but he did dude just enough to get noticed by Vince McMahon and WWE. The company hired him in 1992 and he began working as Razor Ramon upon his debut.
7 Booker T as G.I. Bro
Yes, Booker T was once in the New World Order. He joined the faction in WWE and not WCW. In fact, Booker's brother Stevie Ray joined the New World Order and that is how their tag team Harlem Heat broke up. Ray would spend most of his time with the faction on the NWO black and white B-team, however.
Before Booker T achieved success in either WCW or WWE, he was known as GI Bro in the Western Wrestling Alliance. At the time in WWE, Sgt. Slaughter had just turned his back on America and aligned with Saddam Hussein. Booker was the true blue babyface defending America, just in a smaller promotion.
Unfortunately, the Western Wrestling Alliance didn't last long and this left Stevie Ray and Booker looking for work. They would be signed by the Global Wrestling Federation and Eddie Gilbert a short time later. After holding the GWF Tag Team Titles on three occasions, the brothers left the promotion for World Championship Wrestling In 1993. It was not the last time we would see GI Bro, however.
During Vince Russo's time as head booker in WCW, the G.I. Bro character was brought back.
Booker portrayed the role as he joined the Misfits in Action stable. It's not clear how many people were still watching at this point, however.
6 Brian Adams in Kronik
Considering he had a 17-year career it isn't too surprising that Brian Adams has had more than one gimmick which one could consider forgettable or embarrassing. For most of Kronik's time in WCW, Bryan Clark and Brian Adams formed a great tag team. Unfortunately, they are usually remembered for an atrocious match they had against the Undertaker and Kane in WWE. The match was so bad it resulted in them immediately leaving the promotion.
The team informed in WCW in April of the year 2000. The promotion only had a year left to live at that point. They would hold the WCW Tag Team Championships on two occasions and were arguably one of the more popular acts during a very unpopular time in WCW.
WWE chose not to pick up Adams and Clark's contracts when they purchased the company in 2001. Kronik ended up in the organization that September anyway, however. As mentioned above, though, they departed WWE just a few days after wrestling the Brothers Of Destruction at the Unforgiven pay-per-view. Considering Adams had already wrestled in WWE for nearly a decade prior, it's somewhat amusing he got let go because the company didn't feel he could wrestle after one bad match.
5 Rick Bognar as the Fake Razor Ramon
Yes, the fake Razor Ramon was in the New World Order at one point. In fact, he joined the faction just after leaving WWE. Bognar had been with the company for a year portraying the fake Razor Ramon character which was meant to satirize Scott Hall in WCW, or something like that anyway.
Fans hated the fake Razor Ramon character and Bognar was gone from WWE in 1997. As for the fake Diesel, he ended up having a fairly decent career as Kane in WWE before taking time away to dabble in politics. Bognar went to Japan and would somewhat ironically join the New World Order faction that existed in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
In fact, Scott Hall a.k.a. the real Razor Ramon had just finished up a tour of Japan with the NWO Japan stable when Bognar arrived. He would wrestle under the name Titan and there was no reference made to him having portrayed the fake Razor character in WWE.
Bognar would suffer a neck injury in 1998 and his career never recovered. Prior to arriving in WWE in 1996, he wrestled for FMW wrestling in Japan before being scouted by Paul Heyman. Wrestling as Big Titan, he had a short stint in ECW before being signed to WWE to play the fake Razor character.
4 NWO Sting as Cobra
Few fans are aware of the gimmick Jeff Farmer portrayed just before being repackaged as the NWO or fake version of Sting. WCW attempted a very detailed storyline for him that unfortunately when absolutely nowhere.
Another WCW wrestler at the time named Sgt. Craig Pitman was legitimately an ex-Marine. The backstory which was explained by Bobby "the Brain" Heenan and "Mean" Gene Okerlund was that Pittman and Cobra had served together in the Gulf War. During the fighting, Pittman abandoned Cobra in the desert and reported him as having gone AWOL. Cobra vowed revenge so he learned to wrestle and came to WCW to confront Pitman. The two wrestlers then had a back-and-forth feud in the summer of 1995 that even the most diehard wrestling fans have no recollection of.
WCW stopped using Farmer as the NWO storyline wore on but Farmer simply joined the NWO stable in New Japan Pro Wrestling. He eventually turned on the NWO Japan stable and went by the name Super J. He would return to the fake Sting gimmick in 2004, however, when he began wrestling on the independent circuit in the United States.
Farmer hung up the boots in 2005 and went back to school. The last time he was heard from, Jeff was working at the University of Miami Miller School Of Medicine.
3 Vincent as Soul Train Jones
Real name Michael Jones, the most forgettable gimmick he has ever portrayed is the one he has today. That's the gimmick where he looks lonely at autograph signings and fan conventions. At times, it appears as though he is living off of the free bread and salad at the Olive Garden.
Jones also had a forgettable stint in the Championship Wrestling Association promotion from 1985 to 1987 where he wrestled under the name Soul Train Jones. At the time, Jones had just come out of college where it is believed he was a solid amateur wrestler.
This might shock even the most die-hard wrestling fans but Jones actually wrestled in some high profile matches.
If you can believe this, Soul Train Jones main evented a show in the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee on March 2nd, 1987 against Nick Bockwinkel. The match was for the AWA World Heavyweight Championship. Jones lost, of course.
Jones did win the AWA International Championship, however. He defeated Big Bubba Rogers, aka the Big Bossman, to win the belt. He also held the AWA Southern Tag Team Championships along with none other than Hall of Famer, Rocky Johnson. In fact, his last match as Soul Train Jones was when he and Johnson lost the titles.
2 The Disciple as The Booty Man
Without a doubt, the worst gimmick ever portrayed by Ed Leslie (and there were a few of them) was The Booty Man. While the gimmick did not last long at all, it left a lasting impression in the minds of everyone who saw it.
In a nutshell, the gimmick was that Leslie was infatuated with his own buttocks.
Similar but much worse to what Billy Gunn would do years later, Leslie would shake his rear end to the delight of nobody in particular except for maybe himself. His finishing move was a rather uninspiring "High Knee" or "Hiny", aka another name for his buttocks.
During his time working the gimmick, Leslie was managed by Kimberly Page. His only real rivalry during this period was with Kimberly's real-life husband, Diamond Dallas Page.
It's hard to blame Leslie for assuming an over-the-top ridiculous gimmick would get over. This is the same guy who wrestled in front of tens of thousands of fans during the heyday of the 1980s all while pretending to be a barber. Leslie had learned that bad gimmicks can pay off in a big way when they are done right. He also learned in WCW that the opposite can be true, however.
1 Mike Rotunda as VK Wallstreet
When Mike Rotunda left WWE for WCW in 1995, the company knew they wanted to capitalize off his success in WWE as IRS. What they couldn't figure out, however, was what to name him.
The company switched back and forth between referring to him as Michael Wallstreet and VK Wallstreet on several occasions. The VK in his name was meant to be an allusion to Vincent Kennedy McMahon.
After first debuting as Michael Wallstreet, his name became VK Wallstreet after a few weeks. It then switched back to Michael Wallstreet's in 1996. We think he was generally referred to as Michael Wallstreet or Mr. Wallstreet while in the NWO but his name kept switching so much it's hard to keep track. In 1997, he joined the NWO Japan faction as Michael Wallstreet.
The Rotunda family have a strong relationship with WWE. At the moment, at least four of them are employed by the company. Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas are active wrestlers, Mika Rotunda (Mike's daughter) works backstage in a production role and father Mike Rotunda works as an agent.
As of this writing, Mike's son Bray Wyatt is one-half of the Raw Tag Team Champions. Bray's brother, Bo Dallas, is also in the Raw tag team division as one-half of the B-team with Curtis Axel.