Wrestling / New World Order


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

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. Freed from such outdated pablum, Hogan claimed, he could go on to greater fame and fortune! (Just go with it.) 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 Fingerpoke 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 (who else) 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 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 (giving poor Eric Young "Stockholm Syndrome") 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, Big Kev 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 as part of the veterans' victory lap which happens yearly. In a swerve, the nWo rallied to Sting's side as he fought off 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:

  • Anti-Hero Substitute: It got to the point that in the Nitro prior to Starrcade 1997, the nWo hijacked the broadcast and renamed it nWo Monday Nitro. Eventually Bischoff decided to chuck the WCW brand entirely, and the babyface stragglers who had refused to join nWo Hollywood made up their own club, nWo Wolfpac. The Wolfpac is considered a blemish on everyone's careers now but at the time it was hugely successful.
  • Archenemy: 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 Hulk despises 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 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 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. Bonus: When the nWo leadership broke up with the departure of Hall, Vincent was briefly left holding the whole pie. The last days of WCW were actually quite good to Vincent (he also moonlighted in Creative Control, Vince Russo's stable) even if nobody was watching it.
  • 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. Credit where it's due: the world got swerved by this one. The only drawback is it can never be topped.
  • CamelCase: That goes for the knockoffs and parodies too. lWo, bWo, eCt.
  • Car Fu: Nash got creamed by a Hummer in a notorious "Who Shot J.R" 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/The Cameo: 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 pro basketball player Dennis Rodman, NASCAR racer Kyle Petty and actors Grace Jones and Robert Vaughn 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:
    • People betraying 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.
  • Ear Worm: The nWo, Wolfpac, and nWo Japan themes.
    Kevin Nash: Cue the porno music!
  • Everything's Worse With Wolves: The Wolfpac.
  • 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.
    • Kevin Nash pissed off a lot of people in 1999; most of them, ridiculously enough, inside his own stable: Betraying Hogan by entering into talks with Flair, dumping a vat of sewage into Randy'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 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 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 hoary "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.
    • David Arquette's heel turn. DDT Digest described his costume as a cross between Randy Savage and Vito Corleone.
    • More interestingly, what started as a 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 Bischoff and company into thinking he was joining them.
  • Evil vs. Evil:
    • In 1998, the nWo split with the Wolfpac, lead by Kevin Nash and wearing black and red, turning face, and nWo Hollywood, lead by Hogan and wearing the traditional black and white, staying heel.
    • The nWo and Wolfpac re-merged as a heel faction, with the big names wearing black and red and the "nWo b-team" relegated to black and white.
    • When Flair debuted on Nitro in mid-September of '98, he reformed the 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 changes. Of special note is The Giant's turn, which came about a month after he turned face in the first place. A completely by-default Heel–Face Turn, where he was really only considered a face because he was representing WCW against the nWo. One might say he didn't so much turn as the company turned around him.
    • And many more followed.
  • Fingerpoke Of Doom: The Trope Namer.
  • Five-Bad Band: Initially before the group's expansion.
  • 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: They 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 (and a gimpy Nash refusing to sell anything or take bumps of any kind). 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), Steiner (who joined the Black & White), 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."
  • 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. Fans must have liked what they saw, since the WWF began hemorrhaging viewers while WCW swept them up. WCW even temporarily displaced the WWF as the biggest wrestling promotion in the world; Nitro defeated Raw in the ratings for 84 straight weeks, thanks mainly to the strength of the nWo angle. There was even a point where the WWF was seriously looking at bankruptcy.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters:
    • It might just be easier to list who was NOT in the nWo by 1998. Everyone was a part of that group. Probably even the audience members were in the nWo and didn't even know it. 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, "Macho Man" 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).

      So the grand total was something like 49% nWo, 49% Wolfpac and 2% WCW (the Four Horsemen and some jobbers).
    • 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. 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.
  • '90s Anti-Hero: In the process of Writing Around Trademarks, the nWo made wrestling more "reality based" long before the IWC warmed up to the idea. They used wrestlers' real names. They came down the ramp in street clothes. 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.
  • Now Buy the Merchandise: Kevin Nash squawking out, "Buy the shirt!" in TV spots.
  • Obfuscating Disability: Scott Steiner. 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 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.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns:
    • Early 90s-style wrestling was becoming clunky, formulaic, and illogical. Even greats like Ric Flair were having trouble with the shorter format, and Hogan arriving in WCW only exacerbated the problems. Something had to be done, and Bischoff knew it.
    "Where the big boys play." But look at the adjective: play. We're not here to play!
    • Kevin Nash has professed to be many things, but never claimed to be an English major.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": It's "nWo", not "NWO", "Nwo" or "N.W.O."
  • Spiritual Successor: After Bischoff and other WCW executives had the Smokey 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.
  • 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: A cleverly significant example no one thinks about (except for maybe Diamond Dallas Page; see Cassandra Truth above). The Wolfpac faction, which had become immensely popular over time, was apparently 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. Yet not only did they keep the nWo name, but colors aside, they continued using the exact same nWo logo.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • 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 "Ay, yos!"... even pushing nWo shirts onto people. Big Tobacco quickly ditched the cigarettes, though, probably due to pressure from upstairs. Hall came back a few months later.
    Nitro fan sign: "SURVEY SAYS ALCOHOL."
  • Torch the Franchise and Run: This was Vince'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.
    • 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 Benoit and Jericho over.
  • Yoyo Plot Point: Strangely for the stable which revolutionized wrestling, there was little creative freedom afforded to the nWo/Millionaires/Immortal. The only variable is which stable they are about to crush next. Nitro just couldn't get over the hump of an unchanging, unbeatable nWo and fell into a permanent rut.
  • 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 beatdown (unless Sting was involved).

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