The New World Order of professional wrestling turned the business on its ear when Hulk Hogan joined Scott Hall and Kevin Nash to create this alliance. The trio ran roughshod over its competition and continuously grew in numbers when different wrestlers decided if they couldn’t beat the nWo, they needed to join them. A number of members were lost in the shuffle and competed in either mid-card or lower card matches while with the faction. Fans were always aware that Nash, Hall and Hogan were the core, and that the rest of the members were for the most part interchangeable.
For all the praise that the faction has received, it has also received its share of criticism for not elevating other talent. The names of the members are numerous, and many were past WWF stars, like Curt Hennig, Rick Rude or Ray Traylor (who competed as the Big Boss Man). The group would have been better off to make stars rather than to use stars whose time had passed them by. Those who were members of the nWo were able to achieve different things, but many also suffered their share of setbacks in life, and some even passed away.
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15. Ted DiBiase
Everyone has a price in the nWo, it seems. Ted DiBiase’s role with the nWo was that of a manager that provided financial backing, not unlike his character in the WWE. He wasn’t given the specific title of benefactor or Million Dollar Man, but DiBiase’s role was still the same nonetheless. DiBiase remained with WCW until his contract ended toward the end of 1999. After DiBiase’s wrestling and commentating career came to an end, he held different roles behind the scenes for the WWE. However, in 1999, after his time with WCW came to an end, he founded the Heart of David Ministry. Since DiBiase’s induction into the WWE Hall of Fame he has continued to make various wrestling appearances and continued to be seen by his long-time fans that have followed him throughout his career.
Born Michael Jones, no one would forget this former WWE and WCW wrestler who has become more popular for what he has become than his in-ring career. While in WCW, Jones competed as Vincent, a character that was simply there because of his WWF past, and the jab his name represented. After leaving the WWF in 1994, Jones competed on the independent scene until WCW signed him and he remained with the company as ‘head of security’ until he retired in 2000. Despite making one-off appearances here and there, and even briefly returning to the WWF, Jones has become known for memes that show him alone at a wrestling convention. He even created a GoFundMe account with the intent of becoming a millionaire. Jones has sadly become a caricature of the wrestler he once was, rather than move on to becoming something else.
13. Buff Bagwell
Bagwell was one of the nWo members that is credited with adding depth to the faction. He was often aligned with “Big Poppa Pump” Scott Steiner, but their alliance dissolved when he accidentally hit Steiner in the back with a steel chair during one of WCW’s pay per view. After a very brief stint with the WWF, Bagwell competed several times with TNA during the company’s early days. In April 2012, Bagwell was seriously injured in a car accident and placed in intensive care after suffering broken bones in his neck, face and jaw. Friends such as Scott Norton, Sting and Diamond Dallas Page remained close to him during that time. Eventually, he had four plates surgically inserted into his face. Bagwell has since been reported to be working as a gigolo.
12. Scott Norton
Prior to becoming a professional wrestler, Norton was a professional arm wrestling champion and bodyguard for the late singer Prince. After competing in New Japan Pro Wrestling for a few years, Norton joined WCW as part of a team that really didn’t seem to go anywhere. As part of the nWo, he formed a team with Buff Bagwell. Norton was never relegated to simply competing for WCW, and would often travel to wrestle in Japan. He was generally used to squash opponents, but he wasn’t elevated in the process. He left WCW in 1999 and returned to Japan to focus his efforts there. Norton competed on the independent scene and even started up a small promotion known as Wild West Championship, wrestling and acting as booker. As recently as 2012, Norton worked a tag team match for All Japan Pro Wrestling for their 40th anniversary tour.
11. Brian Adams
After two stints in the WWF, Adams signed with WCW in 1998, and upon his arrival immediately joined the nWo, then left a short time later. He returned to the WWF after WCW was bought out, and competed very briefly with the company. Adams briefly competed on the independent circuit after his release, most prominently for All Japan Pro Wrestling. In January 2003, he made his last in-ring appearance in a tag team match with fellow Kronik tag team partner Bryan Clark. He suffered a spinal injury that forced him into retirement. In 2002, Adams was scheduled to have his first boxing match against Rick Zufal on the Never Surrender pay-per-view but injured his shoulder during his training. On August 13, 2007, Adams was found unconscious in his bed by his youngest son and pronounced dead by paramedics when they arrived. It was concluded that he died as a result of mixing painkillers with a muscle relaxant and sedatives, which impeded his respiratory system. He was 43 years old.
10. Rick Rude
Rude was most known for his career from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s before a back injury forced him to retire. His story is actually quite remarkable, as he was the first wrestler to appear on both Monday Nitro and Monday Night Raw in the same evening. He came on the live Nitro sporting a mustache, and criticized Shawn Michaels, DX, and the WWF, calling the company the Titanic. An hour into the program, a pre-recorded Raw Is War aired, featuring Rude with a full beard. What is also interesting to note is that he also appeared on ECW television during the same weekend. Rude’s role was to manage friend and fellow Minnesota native Curt Hennig. While preparing for an in-ring comeback, Rude suffered a heart attack and passed away at the age of 40 on April 20th, 1999. An autopsy revealed that he died from an overdose of medications.
9. Scott Steiner
The transformation that Steiner underwent from his time as one-half of the Steiner Brothers to his “Big Poppa Pump” character was incredible. Gone was the clean shaven look and mullet, and in its place was short blond hair and a blond and black goatee. Like a few others who had guaranteed contracts whether they wrestled or not, he chose to pursue other interests and didn’t join the WWF after WCW was purchased. In 2002, he finally joined the WWE, but was a shell of his former self as his stamina and mobility were hindered by his increased muscle mass. Scott Steiner bounced around the independent circuit after being released by the WWE, and joined TNA in 2006, finally leaving in 2012. At 54 years of age, Steiner still competes on the independent circuit. He has seen his share of issues with the police and TNA officials, among others, but through it all he remains the same personality in and out of the ring.
8. Eric Bischoff
The man considered the visionary behind the nWo rose through the ranks in WCW, from a behind the scenes role to an administrative role and to someone who appeared on television as a commentator. Not unlike his rival Vince McMahon‘s role with the WWE. Many fans are aware of the year and a half run Bischoff and WCW had where they were consistently beating the WWF in the ratings while going head-to-head Monday nights. Fans are also aware of how the company was losing money each month. When WCW closed its doors and was purchased by the WWF, Bischoff was in the midst of a transition to serving as a President for Matrats, a wrestling company focused on grassroots. He returned to wrestling in 2002 and held the on-air role of General Manager with the WWE until 2005. Bischoff returned to wrestling in 2009, working for Dixie Carter and TNA until 2014.
7. Michael Wallstreet
Mike Rotunda used different aliases throughout his career, competing under his real name or as I.R.S. in the WWF, and going by Michael Wallstreet and V.K. Wallstreet in WCW. In the winter of 1996, Rotunda joined the nWo after being offered a partnership by his former Money Inc. partner Ted DiBiase. In an interesting storyline, Rotunda’s nWo contract was found to be null and void months later due to his existing WCW contract. Despite being forced out, the character would often show his disdain for WCW by wearing an anti-WCW t-shirt. He left the company for a couple of years, joining NJPW, but returned in 1999 while using his real name and reforming the Varsity Club, a faction he was a part of earlier in the decade. Today, Rotunda is a road agent with the WWE and enjoys watching his sons Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas actively compete as part of the WWE roster.
6. Masahiro Chono
He was trained by the best, including Antonio Inoki, Lou Thesz and Stu Hart. He spent the majority of his career competing for New Japan Pro Wrestling. However, while he was working for WCW in the 1990s he was also a part of nWo Japan. He was considered the leader of this off-shoot faction, and even became a part of the American version as well. Chono is one of the most decorated Japanese wrestlers of his generation, capturing the IWGP Heavyweight and Tag Team championships. He was originally a fan favorite, but the change in character worked for Chono moving forward. After WCW was purchased, Chono returned to Japan and competed for NJPW, then began working in an advisory role with All Japan Pro Wrestling. He continues to compete for various promotions in Japan.
5. Great Muta
For years, this legendary wrestler was known for wearing face paint and spewing his trademark mist. He competed for WCW on several occasions, including when the company was known as the National Wrestling Alliance. Although he spent the better part of his career with New Japan Pro Wrestling, Muta also competed as part of nWo Japan alongside faction leader Masahiro Chono. He even feuded with Chono at one point for the rights to the nWo name. He also competed for All Japan for over a decade between 2002 and 2013. Muta’s popularity wasn’t forgotten in the United States, as Wrestle-1’s working relationship with TNA allowed for him to be seen once again competing in 2014. Muta’s high-striking and aerial assault will not be forgotten. He still competes in his homeland, but has often praised fans in North America for their overall awareness and knowledge of the product.
He was long known for his lucha libre style and popularity in Mexico. However, when Konnan joined the nWo in 1997 he made a seamless and believable transition, as his nWo character took on thug like characteristics. He feuded with other luchadores during his time with the promotion, and when the nWo split from black and white to black and red, Konnan went with the red and was part of the nWo Wolfpac. He was kicked out of the faction when he stood up for friend Rey Mysterio Jr. After WCW closed its doors, Konnan pursued other interests, and joined TNA for a span of five years, leading the 3 Live Kru and Latin American Xchange. After departing the company in 2007, Konnan returned to Triple A in Mexico where he is still an active booker and match maker for the promotion. He hosts a podcast that can now be heard on Chris Jericho’s Podcast Network.
3. The Disciple
A man of many names, Ed Leslie’s time with WCW saw him take on a number of different roles and characters. After leaving WCW in 1996, he returned a couple of years later under the name The Disciple, and his role was to act as Hollywood Hogan’s bodyguard. When he returned he was almost unrecognizable as he sported a beard, dark sunglasses and looked like a member of a motorcycle group. One of the character’s most memorable moments was when he was held captive by The Warrior, but his role declined once The Warrior left WCW. After leaving WCW, Leslie went into semi-retirement and dealt with his share of drug addictions. Leslie has been seen most recently on an episode of The Edge and Christian Show on the WWE Network.
2. Bret Hart
The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be was a surprising addition to the nWo. Upon leaving the WWE in 1997, Hart joined WCW and his role with the company was always changing, flipping between face and heel. It would have made the most sense for him to work against the nWo, but Hart was almost always aligned with Hogan as part of the nWo black and white. He would often feud with the rival nWo Wolfpac, almost exclusively Sting. Their feud appeared somewhat underwhelming considering how talented both men were. After receiving a concussion during a match against Goldberg, Hart’s time with WCW almost immediately came to an end. Hart has suffered a number of health concerns since his retirement, but, despite suffering a stroke and being diagnosed with cancer, Hart has overcome these obstacles and persevered. Hart last appeared this year alongside his niece Natayla during her feud with Charlotte.
1. Horace Hogan
If the name sounds familiar, it should. Horace is the nephew of Hulk Hogan and competed as part of the nWo. After moving around the world, and competing for New Japan Pro Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling, it was in WCW where he had a chance to have a character and stand out. He wasn’t, however, initially aligned with his uncle, but rather with Raven as part of his Flock. Hogan’s eventual loving embrace quickly came to an end when he attacked Horace with a steel chair which left his nephew with a wound so bad that it needed stitches. Despite this attack, Horace remained with the nWo until his uncle’s on-screen incident during one of WCW’s pay per views. After briefly competing on the independent circuit for a couple of years, Horace retired from active competition.