July 7, 1996 is one of the most important dates in the history of professional wrestling. The main event of WCW’s summer pay-per-view saw Lex Luger, Sting, and “Macho Man” Randy Savage defend their company’s honor as they took on Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and a “Mystery Man.” Of course, we all know that secret opponent turned out to be none other than Hulk Hogan. Once the legendary babyface dropped an Atomic Leg Drop on Savage, his best friend, the landscape changed forever. The trio would form the New World (Organization) Order of Wrestling. They would user in an era of “cool heels,” bad guys who were beloved by the audience.
The nWo's success was unheard of. T-shirt’s boasting the graffiti logo could be seen wherever you went. It wasn’t just a hit in the world of wrestling, it was a cultural phenomenon. The New World Order’s success is still seen today. Faction’s like NJPW’s Bullet Club can be seen as an homage and WWE still sells their merchandise.
It’s been over 20 years since the stable formed and despite tons of coverage from various outlets, there are a lot of stories that fell through the cracks. Tales of members who could have been to the group's inspiration to super random tidbits, here are 15 nWo Facts Even Die-Hard Fans Don’t Know.
15 The Only Faction To Have Their Own PPV
The inaugural Souled Out pay-per-view even in 1997 was a pretty novel idea. It was lauded as an nWo specific event. Sure, WWE had a few In Your House PPVs like Rock Bottom, D-Generation X, and Revenge of the ‘Taker named after their wrestlers, but none of them were as specific as Souled Out.
All eight of the card’s matches saw members of the New World Order take on wrestlers from the WCW roster. In addition to that, all of the bouts were refereed by nWo's personal ref Nick Patrick and commentary was provided by members Eric Bischoff and Ted DiBiase.
The show was a test run for future nWo-centric shows. However, a low buy rate mixed with negative reactions put the kibosh on any future events like this.
14 The Godfather Was Almost Their Vincent
Charles Wright was able to carve out a very successful career for himself throughout his decade-plus run within the WWF. During that time, he had a variety of different gimmicks that managed to keep the brawler fresh. He started out as Papa Shango before becoming Kama, the Godfather, and eventually the Goodfather. We almost didn’t get to see the latter two characters had he signed to WCW.
When the nWo was heating up, creative figured they needed an enforcer for the group. Somebody to act as Hogan’s heavy, but take a bunch of losses while building up Hollywood’s next challenge. The 6-foot-6 330-pound Wright was a great choice for this role. He named his price and just as the contract was being written up, it was revoked. Apparently, Virgil asked for one-third the price and was signed immediately.
13 Bullet Club and nWo Literally Share DNA
Professional wrestling is definitely a family business. Throughout history, we’ve seen folks like Bret Hart and The Rock enter the profession of their fathers, and in Rocky’s case, grandfather. New Japan even has a fourth-generation wrestler with the “Celtic Prince” David Finlay.
Bullet Club is no stranger to multi-generational grapplers. Three of their members of sons of the legendary Haku. Not only that, but two Biz Cliz members are sons of nWo members. Both Cody and Cody Hall’s dads, Dusty Rhodes and Scott Hall, were in the New World Order.
There’s even one case of a member belonging to both crews. Surprisingly, that accolade goes to Jeff Jarrett. That’s right, J-E-Double-F J-A-Double-R-E-Double-T is, as of now, the only man to join both groups.
12 Rick Rude: Time Lord?
Years before Vince and Shane McMahon shocked the world by appearing on both Monday Night Raw and Monday Nitro on the same evening, somebody had done it before. The infamous Montreal Screwjob left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths. Guys like Jim Neidhart and the British Bulldog left the WWF and would appear on their rival’s television, but that didn’t compare to Rick Rude.
Back in 1997, WWF would tape some episodes a week in advance while Nitro was always live. This allowed Rude to jump ship and join the New World Order the very same night he appeared on Raw. This was confusing for fans watching at home and a big win for WCW.
Not only was Rude the first man to appear on both shows within the same night, but he was also the first person to be a member of both the nWo and D-X.
11 Almost Included Chyna
Miss Elizabeth may have been the first woman to join the nWo in 1996, but that wasn’t supposed to be the case. WCW wanted that spot to go to Joanie Laurer, who would eventually wrestle for WWF as Chyna.
Laurer was dating Triple H at the time was hoping to be hired by the WWF but hadn’t heard anything. She was eventually offered a contract by WCW at the behest of Kevin Nash. According to the Ninth Wonder of the World, “I had plans to go to Florida and meet with Kevin Nash, it was all ready to go.”
She was eventually talked out of joining the faction by Shane McMahon who promised to make her a star within WWF. Chyna would make her debut at February 1997’s In Your House and would go on to have an incredibly successful career that saw her win both the Intercontinental and Women’s championships.
10 Parodies Galore
You know what they say, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Just ask all of the groups who have aped the famous faction. The first, and arguably most popular is the bWo. ECW’s Blue World Order was founded by Stevie Richard, the Blue Meanie, and Nova. However, within this group, they were known as Big Stevie Cool, Da Blue Guy, and Hollywood Nova. The stable hilariously mocked the nWo with over the top antics.
ECW wouldn’t be the only promotion who tried to make of buck off of the (BLANK) World Order. The Insane Clown Posse’s Juggalo Championship wrestling jumped on the bandwagon when they formed the Juggalo World Order. In addition to JCW stalwarts like the ICP and 2 Tuff Tony, the jWo was a revolving door for various guests like Sid Vicious, DDP, Vampiro, and even the nWo's Scott Hall and Kevin Nash.
9 They Weren’t Just Involved In Wrestling
During the late ‘90s, the New World Order wasn’t just all over WCW television, they managed to break out into mainstream pop culture. Basketball player Dennis Rodman was definitely the biggest example of a non-wrestling entity joining the ranks, but there were more. The nWo could also be seen in both NASCAR and Monster Jam as the group sponsored cars and trucks in both ventures.
The craziest media crossover had to have been when the two hosts of TBS’s Dinner and a Movie antagonized Diamond Dallas Page during WCW’s Clash of Champions XXXV.
Hulk Hogan flipped the script by bringing the nWo into movies. The Hulkster had a breakout moment in the 1999 comedy Muppets from Space in his villainous Hollywood Hogan persona.
8 60+ Members
Despite forming with only three members at the 1996 Bash at the Beach, there have been over 60 people associated with the nWo. The nWo soon became the hottest thing in wrestling, everybody wanted to be a part of it, eventually ballooning out of control. The crew would continue to grow with some great additions like the Giant, Syxx, and Scott Steiner. Of course, with a roster so dense, there were bound to be some stinkers including WWF’s Virgil and Crush, now known as Vincent and Brian Adams.
Then there were the multiple incarnations like the Wolfpac, Hollywood, and nWo 2000. These versions included strange choices like Disco Inferno, Horace Hogan, and the Harris Twins.
It’s not just wrestlers who have joined the ever-expanding group. No, the five-dozen strong lineup includes preposterous celebrity members like Dennis Rodman, NASCAR driver Kyle Petty, and the most recent “honorary member,” Kendall Jenner.
7 Included Both Razor Ramons
Everybody knows the New World Order included both a fake version of Sting and, eventually, the real deal. But did you know the stable also included both versions of Razor Ramon?
That’s right, not only did the group have the original Bad Guy in Scott Hall, but, proving they would let literally anybody in, they also allowed WWF’s Fake Razor to join the ranks.
After a pathetic run from September 1996 until January 1997 that didn’t fool anybody, Rick Bogner joined New Japan Pro Wrestling. There, he joined nWo Japan. Wrestling under the name Big Titan, Bogner would have another less-than-stellar run. Upon joining the stable in September of 1997, Bogner would be forced to retire in April of 1999 after suffering a neck injury.
6 The Third Man Could Have Been Sting
Up until the final hours leading up to 1996’s Bash at the Beach folks behind the scenes were unsure about who was going to be The Outsider’s “third man.” There was a lot of speculation as to who could have joined the two invaders from WWF. There were rumblings the spot could have been filled with people like Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels. Backstage, they always wanted the spot to be filled with Hulk Hogan.
Turning heel for the first time in well over a decade in front of a massive crowd was a huge risk that Hogan was unsure about. According to Hall, the alternate defector would have been Sting. The veteran WCW babyface would have abandoned his team of Lex Luger and Randy Savage to side with the Outsiders mid-match. It would have been a good choice, but definitely lacked the gut punch we got with Hogan.
5 Included Japanese Legends
The New World Order included some of the biggest American superstars of all time with the likes of Hollywood Hogan, Randy Savage, and Sting joining their ranks. They were also to persuade some of Japan’s most popular wrestlers to wear the iconic t-shirt too.
Only a few months after its formation, nWo had grown popular enough to expand into foreign territories. Due to WCW’s working partnership with New Japan, they were able to form nWo Japan. This group was originally under the leadership of Japanese wrestling legend Masahiro Chono and featured the likes of Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima. All of whom would eventually win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
The Japanese version even featured classic nWo-style in-fighting when the Great Muta usurped power from Chono, turning the faction from hated villains to beloved good guys in 1998.
4 Had 33 Different Title Reigns In WCW
It’s safe to say that nWo ruled WCW during their stint within the promotion. They were on top of just about every major pay-per-view during their lifespan and were constantly positioned as the most important aspect of the company. This obviously led to a ridiculous amount of title reigns for the faction. While in the group, members held the Cruiserweight Championship once, Television Title three times, United States Championship ten times, Tag Team Titles eleven times, and the big one eight times.
And that is just within WCW, you can add seven more reigns when you include the Big Show’s stint as WWE Hardcore Champion and nWo Japan’s three IWGP Heavyweight and three IWGP Tag Team Championship reigns. Bringing the total up to an even 40.
3 Nash And Hogan Own Half Of Its Merchandise Rights
WCW was notorious for giving out some of the most insane contracts the wrestling world has ever seen. Their seemingly infinite bank account led to people like Stevie Ray, Rick Steiner, and Buff Bagwell earning millions.
Other wrestlers opted for clauses in their contracts that furthered their success. Hulk Hogan’s “creative control,” and the Outsiders getting pay increases whenever a larger contract was signed are a few examples. Another bonus the founding nWo members garnered was splitting half of all New World Order merchandise profits equally between them. Kevin Nash was able to double his earnings when he bought Scott Hall’s portion when the Bad Guy was suffering financial woes.
It really sucked for Nash when WWE removed all of the now merchandise from its site following Hogan’s racist comments. Thankfully, for Big Daddy Cool, the products have been recently added back to the site, continuing his license to print money.
2 Ripped Off A Japanese Angle
Much like how New Japan’s beloved Bullet Club has taken inspiration from the heyday of the nWo, WCW originally got the idea for their black and white rule-breakers from a Japanese storyline. In 1995, struggling wrestling company Universal Wrestling Federation proposed an invasion angle to NJPW. This saw wrestlers from UWF cross enemy lines. It was unheard of for the two companies to join forces for one massive arc.
Eric Bischoff, who attended one of the NJPW/UWF shows, loved the idea of a promotion appearing to be under siege and came up with the New World Order. Using Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, established talent from WWF, Easy E was able to make it seem like the Atlanta-based promotion was indeed under attack.
1 Bullet Club Is Just... Too... SWEEEEET!
Kevin Nash personally endorsed Bullet Club. During a Global Force Wrestling show in 2015, the former Diesel came down during the main event and helped Doc (now Luke) Gallows pick up the win. After the match, Nash even too sweet-ed the big man.
That’s not the only case of nWo members signing off on the B.C. Another founding member of the New World Order, Hulk Hogan was quoted giving the new group his approval. In an interview with AP, the Hulkster said, “I’m about ready to jump on a plane and fly to Japan and get involved with that Bullet Club, man. I’m so excited about those kids.”
New Japan tried to capitalize on Hogan’s interest and offered him a spot at Wrestle Kingdom 12. Unfortunately, they couldn’t match the Immortal One’s hefty fee.