The New World Order was a wildly successful stable. It all started in WCW, when Scott Hall and Kevin Nash—big name players from WWE—showed up unannounced and started making ominous threats about taking over. Soon, the duo was the focal point of all WCW programming. They grew even more prominent when Hulk Hogan turned heel for the first time since the Hulkamania run, and the trio positively dominated the top of the card.
Time marched on and the nWo ballooned in size, arguably diluting its quality with every new member. Nonetheless, the group was wildly popular and cutting edge on account of getting so much adoration and moving so much merchandise as a heel unit. Soon there were two separate nWos on WCW programming, and a Latino World Order, too. Just a couple years after the long story had fizzled, the nWo 2000 showed up. Years later, the group had additional runs in WWE.
Part of the nWo’s intrigue was the degree to which the group bent reality. They performed in a much grittier style than most performers of the day, and the group’s magnetic pull on new talent—particularly guys coming in from WWE—made them the constant subject of fan speculation and rumors. More than a creative juggernaut, the group actually did have all manner of insane real life stories swirling around them at any given time. This article looks back at 15 unexpected moments when members of the New World Order were at their wildest and most controversial behind the scenes.
15 The nWo Had The Police Called On Them Due To An Attack On Nitro
On an infamous episode of Monday Nitro, early in the nWo’s run, the heel group staged an attack backstage in the parking lot area, that most memorably included Kevin Nash lawn-darting Rey Mysterio into the side of a trailer.
14 Kevin Nash Once Got Scott Hall Beat Up By The Nasty Boys
In an incident discussed in several shoot interviews, Kevin Nash delivered a stiff shot to Jerry Sags in a match. Sags was already hurt, and thus staying out of the action for the most part, and became enraged when he thought The Outsiders were taking liberties.
Sags thought it was Scott Hall who had delivered the blow and thus began legitimately throwing punches in front of the fans, giving Hall a beating. Nash didn’t realize The Nasty Boys thought they’d gotten a cheap shot and didn’t realize they blamed Hall, and thus was severely pissed off on behalf of his friend whom he thought they were attacking for no reason.
13 Sting Was The Back Up For Hulk Hogan, To Lead The Original nWo
As I’ll continue to discuss later in this list, there was a lot of turmoil about who the original, mystery third man would be for the nWo, joining Hall and Nash as charter members of the main event group. While it would, of course, turn out to be Hulk Hogan who led the original ensemble, Hogan and Eric Bischoff have both noted in numerous interviews that he was apprehensive about turning heel. They cite Hogan’s sense of responsibility to his fans—particularly the kids—and he allegedly didn’t cement his membership in the group until the very last minute.
12 Hulk Hogan Flubbed The Group’s Name On Live TV
When Hulk Hogan formally joined ranks with Hall and Nash at Bash at the Beach 1996, he cut a scathing promo in which he denounced the fans and the fans responded by littering the ring with trash. While fans look back at the moment as iconic, there’s one significant error that detracted from it—in introducing the nWo, Hogan called the group the New World Organization.
11 Eric Bischoff Stole The Idea For The nWo From Japan
The nWo was positively cutting edge in so many ways. Part of the appeal was that mainstream American wrestling had never seen an angle like it, in which a large heel force invaded a wrestling company and threatened to take it over.
10 Vince McMahon’s Lawyers Forced A Change In The Early-nWo
While this factoid tends to get lost to the sands of time, at the very beginning of the nWo angle, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash weren’t even referred to by name. Hall used his Razor Ramon accent and look, and the implication seemed to be that it was not Hall and Nash, but Ramon and Diesel from WWE who were challenging the WCW roster.
9 Bret Hart Was Originally Supposed To Lead The nWo
Kevin Nash and Eric Bischoff have each talked about early plans for Bret Hart, rather than Hulk Hogan, to be the mystery third man upon the launch of the nWo at Bash at the Beach 1996. The idea was that with Hall and Nash each portrayed as outsiders from WWE, Hart would be the perfect choice to complete the trifecta from up north.
8 Shawn Michaels Joined The nWo… 5 Years After He First Wanted To
It’s well-documented that Shawn Michaels was close friends with his fellow Kliq members, including Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Sean Waltman. There came a time around 1997 when he was very unhappy in WWE, particularly after his compadres had left for WCW. At this point Michaels approached McMahon about letting him out of his contract, because he wanted to go to WCW and reunite with The Kliq, and likely would have wound up being a member of the nWo. McMahon both wouldn’t release Michaels from his contract, and gave Michaels advice against signing there when he did have the chance.
7 Scott Steiner Mauled Diamond Dallas Page
As Hulk Hogan took a backseat and spent some time away from the ring, Scott Steiner got the reigns of the nWo toward the end of its initial run. Around this time he got involved in a heated personal issue with Diamond Dallas Page. A lot of the details vary from source to source, but the gist is that Page’s real-life wife Kimberly accused Tammy Sytch of drug possession. Though Sytch (better known as Sunny) was cleared, Scott Steiner took offense on her behalf and went after Kimberly, and then DDP. The issue started backstage, but continued with Steiner cutting a promo that walked the line between storylines and reality, calling out Page.
6 Eric Bischoff Meant It When He Challenged Vince McMahon To A Fight
In the build to Slamboree 1998, Eric Bischoff put out an unconventional challenge, calling out Vince McMahon. He invited his business rival from WWE to come to the WCW PPV and fight him in the ring. Common sense tells us this was a publicity stunt, and there was little chance McMahon would show. As angry as he might have been with Bischoff for threatening to put WWE out of business, fighting on Bischoff’s home turf, in front of Bischoff’s paying audience wouldn’t compute—and that’s if McMahon was up for a public shoot fight at all.
5 The nWo Is The Only Stable To Appear On Both Nitro And Raw
The Monday Night War marked a tumultuous time in wrestling. It wasn’t unusual for talents to bounce from one wrestling promotion to another—sometimes back and forth like Jeff Jarrett, or even appearing on the two different shows on the same night like Rick Rude.
Intellectual property rights and timing being what they are, it was highly unusual for a faction to jump from one company to another, though WWE would come to reference legendary groups like The Four Horsemen, and acknowledge factions like The Dangerous Alliance on documentaries.
4 The WCW Locker Room Really Was Angry With The nWo
WCW told the story of the nWo as an invading group and, over the years to follow, focused booking around all of WCW banding together to fight back the insurgents. There was no real invasion, and there were a number of real life friendships behind the scenes between WCW and nWo guys, such as DDP being close with The Outsiders. Just the same, there were also some real tensions.
3 Kevin Nash And Scott Hall Didn’t Know Who The Third Member Of The nWo Would Be At Bash At The Beach
While it’s difficult to believe, and accounts have varied as to exactly what was going on, both Scott Hall and Kevin Nash have claimed that they were not sure who the third man would be to complete their team at Bash at the Beach 1996.
This is a big deal given that Hall and Nash had become one of the hottest main event acts of their era, and whoever the third person was revealed to be was going to make major headlines, regardless of his identity. By that time, Bret Hart, who was originally in the running, was decisively out because he’d stayed put in WWE. Hulk Hogan seemed to have been the plan. But whether it was a matter of maximizing chaos and mystery, or Hogan was really that unsure he wanted to turn heel, it seems there was still possibility Sting might be revealed as the third member of the group.
2 Diamond Dallas Page Helped Conceive Of The nWo
Diamond Dallas Page had been close with Scott Hall, and to a lesser extent Kevin Nash, during their first tours of WCW, before WWE made them superstars as Razor Ramon and Diesel. Page has said in interviews, and Eric Bischoff confirmed in WWE’s nWo documentary, that Page was instrumental as a go-between to get the guys re-signed to WCW in 1996.
1 An nWo Match Gone Wrong Led to Kevin Nash Slapping Roddy Piper Backstage
WCW was nothing if not star-studded in the late-1990s, and the deep roster gave way to inter-generational in-ring wars. That included Roddy Piper squaring off against The Outsiders, and one particular match that came across poorly.
While the details are sketchy about exactly what went wrong, the crux of the matter is that it led to Kevin Nash either slapping Piper across the face or punching him to the floor (depending on the account). The story got new life nearly 20 years later when Piper discussed it on his podcast, claiming he backed down Nash. Nash took to Twitter to denounce Piper and clarify his recollections. Sean Waltman was quick to back Nash’s story on social media. Rather than continue the disagreement, Piper came across as genuinely confused and conceded that maybe he misremembered. The general consensus from people around WCW at the time seems to be that Nash’s version of the story was on point.
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