The face of North American professional wrestling was changed forever in the spring of 1996 when Scott Hall, who had worked in the World Wrestling Federation as Razor Ramon, appeared on an edition of World Championship Wrestling Monday Nitro and cut that famous promo. “We are taking over” was the declaration Hall made on that fateful night, and he, with those words, unofficially launched the stable that would be known as the New World Order. Hall would later be joined by Kevin Nash, and Hulk Hogan, the ultimate hero and babyface of the 1980s and 1990s, later shocked the wrestling world by turning heel and evolving into the Hollywood Hogan character.
Some of the biggest names in pro wrestling that featured for WCW during the “Monday Night Wars” were part of the NWO at one time or another. “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Konnan, Rick Rude, Bret “Hitman” Hart, Scott Steiner and many others joined up with the NWO at different parts of the storyline, and it was the expansion of that portion of the roster that watered things down to the point that viewers got tired of seeing the faction at events and on television. Too much of a good thing was, in fact, a negative, as WCW was out of business forever less than five years after Hall made his debut.
Some of the members of what became known as the NWO “B-Team” are probably remembered by even casual wrestling fans who fell out of love with WCW before the company closed its doors. Vincent, for example, was with the NWO from the early days of the faction before it became overrun with a boatload of midcard talent. Others, however, may not ring a bell in that you may not even recall when, how or why they joined up with the NWO in the first place. It is, upon seeing those names, not all that much of a wonder why fans got so tired of the gimmick.
10. Kyle Petty
OK, so race car driver Kyle Petty technically was never a wrestler, but he still deserves a shout-out in this piece for his time in the NWO. Well before the group became watered down and played-out, Petty was seen as one of the bad boys of NASCAR, and his real-life reputation made him an ideal partner for Hollywood Hogan and his group of outlaws. Petty never did compete inside of a WCW ring, which is a shame because he was actually quite good on the microphone in his limited role. NASCAR and pro wrestling: The two industries really do work together nicely.
9. Rick Steiner
Scott Steiner went from being a tag team competitor to a member of the NWO and “Big Poppa Pump.” Steiner would, as a heel, feud with his brother Rick, but the two would eventually rejoin under the colors of the NWO Wolfpac. Unlike with Scott, though, Rick did not do much of note as a member of the faction, so much so that some would not even consider him to be in the group. An induction ceremony counts nevertheless, but it would be Scott and not Rick who would go on to be the top heel in WCW during the dying days of that company.
8. Louie Spicolli
The wrestler who accumulated a cult following thanks to his days in Extreme Championship Wrestling and who is often incorrectly credited with creating the Death Valley Driver finishing move was one of several ECW stars to make the jump to WCW in the 1990s. Spicolli would become an outside member of the NWO in that he was associated with Hall during Hall’s feud with “Living Legend” Larry Zbyszko. Spicolli and Zbyszko were actually supposed to have a match in WCW, but the encounter never occurred as Spicolli tragically passed away at the young age of 27 years old.
7. Hiroyoshi Tenzan
It is well known among even WCW fans that the NWO concept was so well received in North America that it was used overseas, most notably in Japan. That fact was even openly discussed on shows such as Nitro, as it was claimed that the faction was so powerful that it was taking over the world of pro wrestling. Hiroyoshi Tenzan was one of the members of NWO Japan, and he made appearances on US television that were, for the most part, rather forgettable. Fans can still find NWO Japan footage thanks to websites such as YouTube and Daily Motion.
6. Disco Inferno
Some wrestling storylines should not be as entertaining as they are and should not click with fans, but this is not one of them for reasons that somewhat defy logic. Disco Inferno was never seen as being “cool” among viewers, nor was he the typical thug that would link up with the NWO. He got his chance with the NWO, however, as he, after some convincing, became an associate of the red-and-black Wolfpac. The saying at the time was that you don’t turn your back on the Wolfpac, but wrestlers who showed their back to Disco were more often than not just fine after doing so.
5. Torrie Wilson
Well before she began her in-ring career in World Wrestling Entertainment, Torrie Wilson made her debut in WCW as Samantha. The job of that character was to seduce David Flair and convince him to turn heel on his father and join up with the NWO, a ploy that worked. Her role as a member of the faction was short-lived, though, as the storyline as a whole had largely died down by the time that WCW fans first got a glimpse of her on television. Samantha became a name lost to memories and history, but Torrie Wilson went on to have a successful wrestling career.
4. David Flair
It is not easy, in real life or in wrestling storylines, to follow a legend of any industry, and the son of Ric Flair learned that when he was, for a time, a mainstay on WCW programming. Flair eventually turned heel on his famous father to join up with the NWO, but only after he had received quite a bit of punishment from Hogan during an angle. The story goes, in fact, that Hogan went a little too far with his actions on that night, infuriating the “Nature Boy” in the process. David took the beating and continued his pursuit of a full-time wrestling career, but he never rose to greatness with any company.
3. Big Bubba Rogers
Did you happen to forget about Big Bubba Rogers turning on his Dungeon of Doom family to link up with the NWO? You probably are not alone, as his stint with the faction was over almost as quickly as it began. What was particularly ridiculous about Rogers teaming up with the Hogan-led group is that he was, in the early days of the NWO, jumped by Hall and Nash during an edition of Nitro. This was not the first pro wrestling story that asked fans to have poor memories regarding certain issues, and thus we had to pretend that the Rogers beatdown had never occurred.
2. Dusty Rhodes
“American Dream” Dusty Rhodes turning heel on WCW and joining up with the NWO was one of many examples of the company taking what was once a good idea and running way too far with it. The Outsiders, Hall and Nash, did not need a mouthpiece cutting promos for them during television shows, as they were doing just fine on their own. While there is something to be said for promoters going for “shock value” with angles, Rhodes linking up with the invaders made little sense even on paper and especially when you consider how the wrestler was legitimately treated during his time with the WWF.
1. Michael Wallstreet
Mike Rotunda had several gimmicks during his days in the WWF and WCW. He was Irwin R. Schyster in the WWF, and Rotunda was given the name Michael Wallstreet when he made a return to WCW. The idea that the Wallstreet character, who was said to have a history with “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase in reference to when the two worked in the WWF, would link up with the NWO was easy enough to understand, as the faction was originally staging an “invasion” of wrestlers from a different company. Wallstreet did not, however, make much of an impact while serving as a member of the group in North America.