NWO

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The NWO was a phenomenon. The angle/wrestling stable started in 1996 when Scott Hall made a surprise appearance on WCW Monday Nitro. This was before the internet was a huge part of our everyday lives and most fans did not know that the artist formerly known as Razor Ramon had left the WWF and signed with WCW. Many fans, myself included, thought it was the long dreamt of cross promotion between WWF and WCW. World Championship Wrestling even played it that way. Scott Hall sold this ‘invasion’ angle very well and a couple of weeks later he was joined by the second ‘invader’ Kevin Nash, formerly known as Big Daddy Cool Diesel. Due to a lawsuit from the then WWF for false advertising, WCW made it clear both men were not a part of the rival wrestling organization and were working ‘independently’. Nash and Hall became known as The Outsiders and began dismantling the WCW roster. Even though the NWO was the key to launching the Monday Night Wars into the stratosphere and helping to make wrestling the biggest form of entertainment at the time, the cracks in the storyline could already be seen. Two men who made their careers in the WWF were beating the hell out of WCW staples which made the promotion look bad, but it did not seem like the higher ups in WCW realized this or perhaps did not care.

Overall, the angle was entertaining and got over with the fans big time. They started branding some of the PPV’s as NWO run and their t-shirts and other merchandise were big sellers. The NWO angle gave WCW the edge in the Monday Night Wars which they had for a little over a year and a half. Then things started getting convoluted. By late 1998 the NWO split into 2 rival factions (NWO and NWO Wolpac) with the majority of the WCW roster being allocated to either group. It seemed as though they forgot that the big draw was NWO trying to take over WCW, not actually succeeding and having approximately 30 members. The angle became too big for its britches and overwhelmed the creative team with all of the individual egos they had to appease. Slowly but surely the NWO fizzled out as did WCW as a whole. Without the NWO storyline it seemed as though WCW’s creative team had nothing left. In 2001 WCW went under and was sold to Vince McMahon and the WWF seceding the Monday Night War to the most well known wrestling promotion in the world.

In 2002 the WWF/E brought back the original three members of the NWO (Hall, Nash, and Hogan) mostly to show they were no match for the WWF/E roster. Besides Hogan having a very memorable match at WrestleMania that year against The Rock, the NWO was gone shortly after and despite a forgettable quasi-reunion in TNA (Total Nonstop Action Wrestling) in 2010 they became another memorable past wrestling angle.

The NWO storyline was initially highly entertaining and kept me interested, but over time it became very predictable which can, and will, doom any angle. If handled correctly, this group could have lasted a good 5 years, but instead lost its momentum in just 2-3. During all of this the WWF kept plugging away and introducing the world to now legends and household names like The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mick Foley, Degeneration X, etc… Individuals and storylines that kept things fresh and interesting while WCW put all of it’s eggs in one basket called the NWO.

The New World Order was a great idea that was initially executed fairly well, but egos and weak creative teams could not maintain it.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1996

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Now things are getting interesting in WCW.

This is the year when the NWO angle started which helped WCW to have a 2 year or so run as the top wrestling promotion in the U.S. Even though it was a huge angle that lasted a few years too long, the true key to WCW’s success at this time was the new crop of wrestlers they had on their roster and this Halloween Havoc was a great example of this.

The PPV started off with Dean Malenko defeating Rey Misterio, Jr. to win the Cruiserweight Championship – This was a great example of the talent level WCW had at this time as these two got the show off to a fantastic start. Two top notch wrestlers who had differing styles that worked perfectly together.

Diamond Dallas Page over Eddy Guerrero – Eddy Guerrero was a great mix of high flyer and mat wrestler. DDP was a guy who got his start in the business at a later than normal age, yet kept himself in shape and worked hard to put on some classic matches that defied time. This was a terrific match that really showcased both performers.

Syxx over Chris Jericho – Never really liked Syxx/123 Kid/X-Pac/Dumbass (not an official name), but he could put a good match when he tried and with Chris Jericho at the top of his game this was another excellent match from an overall great show.

The Outsiders beat Harlem Heat for the Tag Team titles – Excellent match from four big guys who could put on a great show when they worked at it. Harlem Heat always seemed to work hard and put on good matches. The Outsiders (Kevin Nash and Scott Hall) got lazy towards the end of their WCW run, but when they put out the effort, as they did in this match, they really showed everyone how talented they truly were.

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After all of these good matches you cannot help but be concerned about the main even featuring Hollywood Hogan and Randy Savage. Even though Savage was late in his career, he still put on some classic matches, but Hogan was definitely past his prime. Fortunately, this match was worked perfectly with a bit of comedy thrown in. Hogan came out wearing a hair piece that came into play during the match when Savage pulled it off and wore it himself. Overall, this was a good, solid main event despite Rowdy Roddy Piper coming out at the end and giving one of the most boring promos ever. I love Roddy Piper. He was a great wrestler and terrific promo guy. This was a poor example of it. It went so long the PPV just abruptly had to end which was great, since it got to the point of embarrassment.

Despite the ending promo, this was an excellent show that proved WCW could be a very good promotion when they tried.

1997 was pretty solid as well and will be the sole PPV featured next week.