Wrestling / New World Order


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Did everybody come to this trope page to read about... Dubya-See-Dubya?


OR... did everybody here on TV Tropes come to read about thee—!

(in unison) "n-W-o!"

Survey says: One more for da good guys!

The New World Order (nWo) was a professional wrestling stable which formed at World Championship Wrestling's Bash at the Beach 1996 pay-per-view. It was the brainchild of then-WCW President Eric Bischoff, who got the idea from New Japan's cross-promotional gimmick with its sister show UWFI.

"You know who we are, but you don't know why we're here."

Months prior to the show, "The Outsiders" — Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, freshly-released by the World Wrestling Federation (known there as "Razor Ramon" and "Diesel") — terrorized Nitro, threatening the company with war. The duo also claimed a "third man" was coming to help them. During the main event of Bash at the Beach, Hulk Hogan swooped in to challenge The Outsiders—only to swerve the audience and out himself as the "third man". In the post-match interview, he renamed himself "Hollywood Hulk Hogan" and jeered that he'd always been a money-grubbing heel, but that WWF politics were forcing him to wave the flag and shill vitamins, and now he was freeing himself from such outdated pablum. He proclaimed himself, Hall, and Nash as "the new world order of wrestling".

Once the nWo was established, it attacked the entire WCW roster indiscriminately, forcing faces and heels into an Enemy Mine situation to oppose the trio. The nWo soon added three new members to round out the Five-Bad Band: Ted DiBiase, implied to be the financial backer of the group; The Giant, WCW's first defector and the group's powerhouse; and Syxx (Sean "1-2-3 Kid" Waltman), who served as the group's token cruiserweight. In time, even Bischoff (still an "announcer" in kayfabe) would reveal himself to be one of the architects behind the nWo, promoting himself to Hogan's top sycophant in the process.

The nWo spread like a virus throughout WCW and dominated storylines for several years, bringing with it both the good (the nWo angle helped WCW beat the WWF in the Monday Night Wars for 84 weeks in a row from 1996 to 1998) and the bad (the Finger Poke of Doom and alleged backstage politics which killed the creative direction of the product). The few remaining holdouts, led by Sting, formed their own faction called the nWo Wolfpac—and, in doing so, dispelled any lingering doubt that Bischoff's nWo brand was here to stay. Regardless, the group slowly faded away from WCW programming as the company's fortunes turned south and Bischoff was booted out. A final attempt at reviving the group came in 2000, but this attempt failed, and WCW was driven out of business in early 2001.

Revamps and reunions

The original nWo triumvirate of Hogan, Hall, and Nash were brought back on Raw in February 2002 — this time by Vince McMahon who sought to destroy the WWF ("INJECT IT WITH POISON.") when he saw what his own creation had become in the hands of Ric Flair, who, in kayfabe, was co-owner of the company. The return of Hogan to the WWF opened the door to a legitimate dream match — The Rock vs. "Hollywood" Hogan at WrestleMania X8 — but an injury suffered by Kevin Nash caused the angle to be dropped in its entirety practically a week later. This marked the last appearance of the 'real' nWo for over a decade, as WWE still owns the trademark.

Anyway, in early 2010, Nash, Hall and Waltman (the latter of which had gained notoriety as "X-Pac" of X-Pac Heat fame in the intervening years) formed "The Band" and started to feud with Hogan and Bischoff, now kayfabe owners of TNA. Yes, it was the "Hollywood/Wolfpac" feud all over again. Once again, this angle fell apart due to medical concerns, and Waltman turned heel/face/heel in the process of being hastily written off television. Hall's personal demons caught up with him again, leading to his exit from TNA as well, making this variant of the nWo short-lived. Undaunted, Nash turned his sights on Hogan's crony, Jeff Jarrett, forming yet another nWo at Bound for Glory 2010: Immortal, a heel stable being puppeteered by Hogan and Bischoff.

In 2015, the Big Three reunited at WrestleMania 31 where, in a swerve, the nWo rallied to Sting's side as he fought off Triple H and the rest of D-Generation X. It seems that Hogan, Hall and Nash despise Triple H even more than their sworn enemy...even though former nWo members were now in D-Generation X, but nevermind!

The nWo should not be confused with the infamous conspiracy theory (though it would make reading whale.to much more exciting), or the comic book Squadron Supreme: New World Order.

The nWo and its affiliates are examples of:

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  • '90s Anti-Hero: The nWo's appeal was having made wrestling more "reality based": They used wrestlers' real names, they came down the ramp in street clothes, and they did worked shoots.
    James Ferrarella: Nearly all heels since then have tried to be cool. I mentioned in my piece about Larry Zbyszko that Larry never strove to play a cool or even likeable person. That is what a heel was supposed to be. Nash helped change that. Fans, especially the older, teenage group, began cheering the “bad” guy.
  • Anti-Hero Substitute: The babyfaces who had refused to join nWo Hollywood made up their own club, nWo Wolfpac, which became an anti-heroic counterpart both to the nWo and the Wolfpac members' previously clean-cut babyface personas.
  • Arch-Enemy: Most of Sting's career, going on 30 years now, is defined by his everlasting battle against Bischoff, Hogan and their lackeys. In fact, apart from Ric Flair (now retired, along with most of Hogan's rogues gallery), Sting is probably the wrestler Hollywood Hogan despised most of all.
    Bryan: (WoW) The bottom line is that people—at least in this crowd—still had faith that Sting was their superhero, who would save the company and drive out the offenders. (He failed.)
    Vinny: (He did fail.)
  • Badass Biker: 90s Street Gang Version. nWo-branded sunglasses (order now, operators are standing by), black tees, cowboy boots, and mom jeans.
  • Bandwagon Technique: The group initially capitalized on this in their battle with WCW wrestlers, sowing the seeds of doubt as to who was in the group and who wasn't to keep everyone paranoid and off their game; eventually, the nWo themselves fell victim to this...
  • Black Dude Dies First: Well, it's not a fatal example, but Vincent, an African-American, was always the first guy to get Scorpion Deathdropped by Sting whenever he cleaned house against the nWo. Sometimes, they fed Vincent to the sharks to allow everyone else to get away. His status as an industry joke begins here. However, Vincent later subverted it after he became Genre Savvy shortly after the nWo reunification: the boys gave him a task that would no doubt end in an asskicking, and Vincent separately went to "Wolfpac-wannabe" Disco Inferno and said they wanted him to do it. (With predictable results). Vincent was very pleased to avoid it for once.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: Move over, David Arquette: This was the "Ultimate Swerve". In the span of 120 seconds, the crowd went from cheering Hulk Hogan's surprise arrival to booing and hurling garbage at him.
  • CamelCase: That goes for the knockoffs and parodies too. lWo, bWo, eCt.
  • Car Fu: Nash got wrecked by a Hummer in a notorious [[Series/{[Dallas}} "Who Shot J.R.?"-like]] storyline. The New Blood pulled the exact same trick on Hogan with a brand-new Hummer and a different limo.
  • Cassandra Truth: DDP explained his refusal to join the Wolfpac's side for War Games in 1998 by specifically stating that he didn't trust Kevin Nash. Come January 4, 1999, well…
  • Catch Phrase:
    • "When you're nWo, you're nWo 4 Life!" Or, at least until you get kicked out.
    • "... just... 2... SWEEEEEET!"
    • Scott Hall had his own routine:
      Hall: Who's here to see... dubya-cee-dubya?
      crowd cheers
      Hall: And who's here to see the nWo?
      crowd boos
      Hall: That's another one for the good guys!
  • Celebrity Star: Adding to the roster of an already massive nWo roster total (see Loads and Loads of Characters below), there were actors, musicians, athletes and various other personalities that have joined the nWo even if it was just for one promo or "Paid Announcement". These include NASCAR racer Kyle Petty, actors Grace Jones and Robert Vaughn, and, most notoriously, pro basketball player Dennis Rodman in WCW; various baseball players, cyclists, motorcyclists, musicians, two soccer players, a sumo wrestler and an announcer for nWo Japan in NJPW and the infamous Bubba the Love Sponge in TNA when he briefly joined "The Band".
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder:
    • The nWo got its first influx of wrestlers by people who betrayed WCW for the nWo left and right.
    • The nWo dropping anyone who was a threat to Hulk Hogan, or arbitrarily upset the rest of the group.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: The grainy "THIS MESSAGE HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY THE NEW WORLD ORDER" promos, aired under the kayfabe explanation that the nWo bought their own time on the show (Ted DiBiase being their financial backer).

  • Everyone Is a Suspect:
    • Savage and Luger were suspected of being the third Outsider — Luger especially. He had been acting jittery in the months before the Bash at the Beach card. Basically anyone in WCW who had history with the WWF was a suspect.
    • This happened when Kevin Nash was wrecked by the Hummer in 1999, as he had pissed off a lot of people that year; most of them, ridiculously enough, inside his own stable: Betraying Hogan by entering into talks with Flair, dumping a vat of sewage into Randy Savage's sunroof ("Yer a stupid per-seeyon, hee-yeah"), tossing Scott Hall out of the group for drunkenness, among other things. There are a lot of rumors, but allegedly the driver was expected to be Carmen Electra (a new celebrity addition to the nWo), Sable (who was in talks and appeared in the Nitro stands), Hogan, and countless others. It was "revealed" about a year later that Billy Kidman was the one who drove the Hummer, but obviously that wasn't the original plan and the storyline was discarded. In 2000 it was shown that Eric Bischoff put him up to it.
      Actual fan sign: I DROVE THE HUMMER.
  • Evil Costume Switch:
    • Anyone who joined the stable lost their old, visually-striking attire — or at the very least had its color scheme altered to fit the group. Even Miss Elizabeth changed into the "denim pants/black tee combo" when she became an nWo moll. Randy Savage wore a black hat (get it?) when he joined up.
      Jay Hunter: This is exactly what I think of when ex-WWF wrestlers come into WCW: You've lost your gimmick, you're now in jeans and a black shirt, no prestige, no class.
      V1: You're in worse shape because you don't care as much. Your matches are never as good 'cause it doesn't matter as much.
      Jay: 'Cause you're already paid.
    • More interestingly, what started as teasing an Evil Costume Switch eventually became Sting's "Crow" gimmick: black trenchcoat and white facepaint to replace "Surfer" Sting's fringe jacket and war paint. At the time, Sting did it to momentarily dupe the nWo into thinking he was joining them.
  • Evil Knockoff: The nWo had one of Sting during the time when where his allegiance laid was ambiguous, now known as Fake Sting/nWo Sting, portrayed by Jeff Farmer.
  • Evil vs. Evil:
    • In 1998, the nWo split with the Wolfpac, lead by Kevin Nash and wearing black and red, and nWo Hollywood, lead by Hogan and wearing the traditional black and white, due to an internal power struggle. This eventually was subverted when the nWo Wolfpac became anti-hero faces.
    • When Flair debuted on Nitro in mid-September of '98, he reformed The Four Horsemen and proceeded to shoot on Bischoff in the most memorable tirade of his career (which is saying something). However he quickly lost his marbles after being appointed as WCW President, and there was no one but the nWo to remove him from decision-making. By 2000, even Arn Anderson had enough and turned to Hogan for help.
  • Face–Heel Turn:
    • Hogan's historic turn triggered the formation of the group.
    • Got used for a large portion of the additions from WCW to the nWo. Of special note is The Giant's turn, which came about a month after he turned face in the first place, and even that was a completely by-default Heel–Face Turn, as he was considered a face because of the Enemy Mine situation the nWo put the faces and heels of WCW in.
  • Finger Poke of Doom: The Trope Namer.
  • Foreign Remake: Of a New Japan "invasion" angle. Bischoff played a black-suited hypeman role similar to Sonny Onoo. (Ominously, New Japan agreed to the feud on the condition that they controlled the booking; all of the UWFI guys ended up getting destroyed by New Japan, and the promotion died an ignominious death.)
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: HOGAN, number one.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: It began with Scott Hall getting into with altercations with WCW wrestlers. Together, The Outsiders ran roughshod over WCW: attacking wrestlers during matches, in the backstage area, and in parking lots. From then on it only increased to the point the nWo even had their own pay-per-view, where they pitted themselves against everyone else on the WCW roster who was not part of the nWo, to prove "WCW sucks!"
  • Invincible Villain: The nWo never lose. Even if the match is going the good guys' way, nWo always wins with a cheap shot or run-in. As a result, they pretty much steamrolled over the entire company. The only ones who were able to stand up to them were Sting (assimilated via the Wolfpac and written off TV) and Goldberg (finally losing to Nash in 1998).
    The Death of WCW: Such was the case at Starrcade, when Nash was scheduled to take on—and lose to—the Giant. However, that afternoon, Nash, suffering from indigestion, called the office and said that he seriously believed he'd had a minor heart attack. Nobody backstage believed the story, since Nash had been saying he wouldn't lose to Giant for months, and it had become a running joke.
  • Joker Jury:
    • Hold on, the ref is wearing sunglasses.... It's Nick Patrick! He's baaaaaaaaaaack.
      Patrick: "Thanks to the NWO, my officiating has improved immensely."
    • nWo Souled Out '97. The idea is that it's an nWo show and not a WCW one, so the announcer is a heel (a voice over the loudspeaker berating the face wrestlers before/during the match), the referee is a heel, and both commentators are heels. Everyone either walks out to nWo music, or no music at all.
  • Kick the Dog: Firing fair referees and stripping dissenting wrestlers of titles at will for not following their agenda (especially early on), people turning against friends more than ever before in the name of the group, the incessant verbal taunting during gang beatdowns courtesy of Eric Bischoff, oh yeah, they qualify.
  • Knight of Cerebus: This "third man" twist rocked the entire industry. Hogan hadn't wrestled as a heel in decades, long before he hit it big. More and more fans tuned in to watch as war erupted inside WCW, as the entire roster all found themselves in the sights of the ever-growing nWo.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters:
    • It might just be easier to list who was not in the nWo. By 1998 almost everyone was/had been a part of that group. The original nWo black and white alone had: Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Hulk Hogan, nWo Sting (Jeff Farmer), The Giant, Syxx, Vincent, Buff Bagwell, Michael Wallstreet, Big Bubba Rogers, Scott Norton, Randy Savage, Konnan, Curt Hennig, Scott Steiner, Louie Spicolli (unofficially), Brian Adams and The Disciple (Brutus Beefcake). Including part-time and non-wrestlers, Ted DiBiase, Eric Bischoff, Rick Rude, Miss Elizabeth, Dusty Rhodes, Masahiro Chono, The Great Muta, Dennis Rodman, Nick Patrick (crooked referee) and Kyle Petty (the nWo racecar driver).
    • In addition to Chono and Muta (who were considered official members of the nWo proper), nWo Japan members included Hiro Saito, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, Tatsutoshi Goto, Michiyoshi Ohara, and Big Titan, with some WCW nWo wrestlers making regular appearances with them. Fun fact: With Big Titan's membership in nWo Japan, this means that there were two entirely separate members of the nWo who were both known as Razor Ramon in the WWF.
    • During the split between the Wolfpac and nWo Hollywood, Lex Luger and Sting (the real one) joined The Wolfpac. Stevie Ray and Horace Hogan would join nWo Hollywood. Bret Hart would align himself with Hollywood Hogan, but never officially joined the group during this time.
    • During the "nWo Reunion", David Flair, Disco Inferno (unofficially) and Torrie Wilson joined the nWo.
    • During the final iteration, nWo silver, Bret Hart, Jeff Jarrett, and the Harris Brothers (Ron and Don) joined, as did Scott Steiner's valet Midajah, and Mark "Slick" Johnson, a partial referee.
    • The WWE iteration added Shawn Michaels and Booker T to the stable.
  • Meaningful Name: The Wolfpac was originally the name Nash, Hall, and Syxx used as a trio within the nWo (as in "pack of wolves"). Nash's growing issues with Hogan and Bischoff in 1998 which led to the split of the nWo into two separate factions stemmed from Syxx being fired and Hall being sent to rehab, leaving only Nash (as in "lone wolf").
  • Memetic Hand Gesture: The nWo "2 sweet sign" was The Kliq's symbol. You can see Shawn Michaels, X-Pac, Nash and Hall doing it in 1994. Nash and Hall re-introduced it into WCW.

  • Now Buy the Merchandise: Kevin Nash squawking out, "Buy the shirt!" in TV spots.
  • Obfuscating Disability: How Scott Steiner joined in. The last Nitro of 1999 saw Steiner making a tearful retirement speech after (allegedly) suffering a stinger earlier in the year, and being verbally berated by the nWo. Later in the night, when he seemed that he was about to make the save for Sid Vicious, he hit Sid with a lead pipe, then removed his back brace and shirt to join the nWo. This was also used against Rick Steiner by Buff Bagwell, who was legitimately injured by Steiner, but kept up the appearance long after he had recovered.
  • Only in It for the Money: The ethos of the nWo. They take over wrestling shows, milk them dry, then move on to do the same to a different company.
  • Orcus on His Throne: All the top members, but Hogan in 1997 especially, as he hid behind everything and everyone he could to keep from having a match with Sting. If anything, Bischoff and DiBiase were the power behind the throne because they held the power to change the show's title, build nWo Souled Out sets, plant nWo-affiliated refs, etc. But Eric still needed muscle to rub out the WCW dissenters, something Hogan never quite seemed willing or able to do, despite his big talk.
  • Popularity Power: Granted, it was more like what "what will they do next and how will anyone beat them?" They started getting less popular when it became apparent what they would do next is continue to win and no one would stop them. The Wolfpac were popular for being something different and the best hope to stop the nWo. But they weren't popular enough to prevent the Fingerpoke of Doom.
    DDT: Another nWo problem is that WCW doesn't want to make them too heelish or too facey, for that might hurt T-shirt sales. Thus, you end up with the nWo playing the crowd as faces a good portion of the time, but wrestling other faces. This weakens the face/heel dynamic that powers the crowd, makes your faces look ineffective for the most part (because the face can't get the big blowoff win that might make the nWo look bad, and also, if the face DID get the blowoff win, you have a divided crowd on the issue).
  • Power Stable: Let's see. A stable that radically changed the landscape of professional wrestling, blurred the lines between kayfabe and reality, and brought about the biggest success of both its parent company and the professional wrestling industry as a whole? Yeah, they qualify.
  • Power Trio: The very first line up.
  • Putting the Band Back Together:
    • In late 1999, the nWo reformed with a different lineup, this time in black and silver.
    • Following WCW's demise, this was attempted several times, with the last real attempt happening in WWE in 2002 (since they owned the nWo trademarks); TNA would literally put "The Band" back together in 2010, as Hall, Nash, Hogan, Sean Waltman, and Eric Bischoff (the principal players of the nWo) were all in the company in the early months of the year.
  • Redshirt Army: The "B-Team" with Horace Hogan, Vincent and the other jobbers of the squad. If someone from the nWo lost regularly, chances are it'd be one of them.

  • Savage Wolves: The Wolfpac's Animal Motif were wolves.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Infamously confusing a verb for an adjective notwithstanding, Kevin Nash's statement when he joined Hall was a very accurate representation of early 90s wrestling and what the nWo would do to shake things up. Early 90s wrestling was becoming clunky, formulaic, and illogical, something had to be done, and Bischoff knew it.
    Kevin Nash: "Where the big boys play." But look at the adjective: "play." We're not here to play!
  • Smug Smiler: Hall and Nash the minute they realize they just landed on an awesome pay day.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": It's "nWo", not "NWO", "Nwo" or "N.W.O."
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • The stable itself was one. After Bischoff and other WCW executives had the Smoky Mountain Wrestling invasion angle cut off before it could get going, they decided they liked the idea of an invasion anyway and started their own version.
    • The Nexus was the nWo but updated for the reality of there not really being any competition for the WWE anymore. They didn't want to take over the company, they just wanted to get revenge on WWE for humiliating them in NXT, and what better way to do that than taking out the face of the company, John Cena?
    • Bullet Club, so much so. Eric Bischoff got the idea for the nWo from a New Japan invasion angle, so maybe they prefer to think of it as New Japan taking back what's theirs.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: The group came to dominate a ridiculous portion of WCW programming, to the point where they almost could have run a full show with just their own guys; they even put on an "unauthorized" pay-per-view because of this.
  • Start My Own: The nWo Wolfpac faction, which was formed because members like Nash and Savage were tired of Hogan trying to make the nWo all about him even when they were getting world title shots.
  • Sunglasses at Night: Yes, their attire included wearing sunglasses indoors at night.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Ted DiBiase was the very first addition to the group, acting as their mouthpiece and bribing other superstars to join. Within weeks his role was subsumed by Bischoff, who was spending more and more time in front of the cameras; fed up, DiBiase decided to quit wrestling (though he still had a three-year contract) and surrendered his spokesperson role, which is what Eric wanted anyway. A few months later, Ted would return as The Steiners' manager... until Scott S. turned heel and joined the nWo.
    • In 1998, Hall no-showed and got carted off to rehab again, leaving The Giant [!] to assume his place: the fist bumps, the cigs, the poses, the "Hey, yos!"... even pushing nWo shirts onto people. Big Tobacco quickly ditched the cigarettes, though, probably due to pressure from standards and practices. Hall came back a few months later.
      Nitro fan sign: "SURVEY SAYS ALCOHOL."
  • Torch the Franchise and Run: In-universe, this was Vince McMahon's reason for bringing the nWo into the WWF, as he was in a feud with Ric Flair at the time, and didn't care for the way Flair was running his half of the company, to put it lightly.
  • Trope 2000: The final iteration of the nWo in WCW was known as "nWo 2000".
  • Villain-Based Franchise: The massive expansion of the nWo was initially conceived as a gateway to turning the stable into its own brand altogether, with the nWo banner being put either alongside or outright replacing WCW's in several event titles (namely the first two Souled Out pay-per-views and a Nitro takeover episode). This plan was aborted when it didn't draw as well as they'd hoped.
  • White Gang-Bangers: The nWo was modelled pretty heavily on an LA street gang, with their hand signs, members all wearing the same colours and spraypaint, even their motto "nWo 4 life" is similar to several of the more brutal gangs like MS-13 that execute members who try to leave. Being raised from the fairly monochrome WCW roster, they were made up almost entirely of whites, and one fake Hispanic (Scott Hall). They did have Konnan who, with his plaid shirt over a white t-shirt, bandanas on his head and knee, and legit street background, was the most "gangster" nWo member. And on the strength of a Latino-style rap video (though he himself is Cuban by descent), he was for several months one of the most over wrestlers on the roster.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: They kept coming up with entirely new and inventive ways to screw guys like Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho over.
  • Yoyo Plot Point: There was little creative freedom afforded to the nWo. The only variable is which wrestler or stable they are about to crush next, remaining unchanging and unbeatable.
  • You Are Number 6: Syxx was so named for being the sixth man to join.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Vince McMahon brought the nWo into WWE, and later disbanded the group permanently when they were no longer useful to him. Hilarious in Hindsight when you considered that in the days before the group was officially formed in WCW it was implied that Hall and Nash were moles sent by the WWF, though eventually it was established (in kayfabe and Real Life) that Vince was not well-liked by either and did not send them.
  • Zerg Rush: One of the key strengths of the nWo after a while was sheer quantity. Maybe two wrestlers could survive against four or five guys, but when the nWo sent a dozen people at them it almost always resulted in a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown (unless Sting was involved, in which case he was a One-Man Army against them).

The preceding trope article has been paid for by the New World Order.