Every Member of the nWo, Ranked

Too sweet me, all 400 of ya.

The new World order are going into the WWE Hall of Fame this year, and while the company is limiting the group to its three founding members, I’d like to believe that the lack of a physical building for the Hall of Fame means that there’s room for everybody. Can’t remember who was in the nWo? I’ve got you covered! Here, ranked, is every member of the nWo as recognized by WCW and the WWE. 

49. Shawn Michaels

The WWE’s desperate Hail Mary attempt to save their floundering version of the nWo, Michaels’ debut as the new leader of the faction was his first appearance on television in two years. The nWo was disbanded one month later. You may think that putting him last is unfair, but I’ll never get over the whiplash of being thrilled to see Shawn Michaels again followed by the disappointment of seeing him wear a Kangol hat in 2002.

48. Ron and Don Harris

What nobody knew in 2000 is that the Harris Brothers were Nazis. What everybody knew in 2000 is that the Harris Brothers were fucking terrible.

47. Ric Flair

Ric Flair briefly associated himself with the nWo in 2002, which is one of the most depressing things I’ll write about professional wrestling this year.

46. Mark Johnson

The nWo had two evil referees. This jawn is the lesser of the two. He absolutely wrote his own Wikipedia page.

45. The nWo Girls

Babes, man—every group of cool dudes needs babes. nWo 2000 had five of them: Pamela Paulshock, April Hunter, Midajah, Shakira, and April Hunter. Hunter has the longest association with wrestling, but I legit loved Midajah in her later role as Scott Steiner’s main freak.

44. David Flair and Torrie Wilson

David and Torrie joined the nWo after David electrocuted his father with a taser, handing the WCW World Heavyweight Championship to Hollywood Hogan. He was kicked out shortly thereafter, and Nature Boy forgave his son within three months. At that point, David started wrestling regularly, so this was as good as it got for him.

43. Michael Wallstreet

The worst original member of the nWo, Wallstreet was brought in during the early attempt at making the group look like a well-financed corporation. All these cool people riding Harleys and spraypainting backs, and they’re hanging out with a guy whose last name is “Wallstreet.” A gang of remorseless thugs … and their stock broker, reminding his pals to contribute to their 401(k).

42. Barry Windham

One of the best wrestlers of his generation, Barry Windham was pretty well out of it when he joined the nWo as Curt Hennig’s tag team partner. They didn’t make an impression together in the nWo, but the West Texas Rednecks ruled.

41. Big Show

An altogether different person than The Giant, Andre the Giant’s son who mysteriously disappeared in early 1999, the Big Show joined the nWo in 2002. Maybe as good as Show Gunns, his 2001 tag team with Billy Gunn? Hard to say.

40. Rick Steiner

The Dog Faced Gremlin faked out his brother during a 1998 induction, but in 1999 Big Poppa Pump got his wish, welcoming Rick Steiner into the Wolfpac. That’s … pretty much all that happened. Scott talked a good game about getting their team back together, but he was too big of a singles star at that point for it to happen.

39. Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

A one-night member of the nWo, Heenan begged Eric Bischoff for a seat at the commentary table during the nWo’s takeover of Nitro and was allowed in. A week later, he rejoined Tony Schiavone and Mike Tenay at the WCW Nitro commentary desk, claiming to have acted as a martyr for the cause. Absolute weasel move.

38. Dusty Rhodes

I love Dusty Rhodes more than words can express, but in 1998 he had zero business turning heel and joining the nWo. Hearing Big Dust say “too sweet” was pretty funny, and Britt Baker is carrying on his proud tradition of making fun of Tony Schiavone while he looks on glumly, but it just didn’t work. How do you boo the American Dream?

37. Kyle Petty

The son of the King Richard Petty, Kyle Petty spit in the face of tradition by joining up with the new World order, driving an nWo branded stock car in the Busch Grand National Series, NASCAR’s minor league. I always got up to get a snack during the This Week in WCW Motorsports packages on WCW Saturday Night, since I was only interested in the major leagues of stock car racing, so I missed out on Petty’s recruitment leading to a feud with WCW driver Jason Keller. According to motorsports journalist Matt Weaver, their feud culminated at the All Pro Bumper to Bumper 300, where Keller finished 10th and Petty crashed into a wall and did not finish. Randy Savage was there rooting for WCW, while Kevin Nash and Scott Hall witnessed their faction’s first major defeat.

36. Booker T

Booker T wanted to join the nWo in 2002, even though its only members at that time were Big Show and X-Pac. Few wrestlers have been portrayed as having worse instincts than the Booker T who joined the nWo, and he lasted about a month before Shawn Michaels literally kicked him out.

35. Disco Inferno

I have no idea how Disco Inferno wound up in the Wolfpac. Maybe he asked nicely? The wild thing is, once he got in, he was never kicked out. I mean, he wasn’t invited to be part of nWo 2000, but when they said “4 Life,” they really meant it when it came to Disco. And, get this—the Wolfpac was crazy over even while he was standing there. 1998 was truly wild, y’all.

34. Lex Luger

Joining nWo Wolfpac was pretty much the beginning of the end of Lex Luger as a going concern near the top of WCW’s card. It’s impossible to know whether he was the anchor constantly dragging Sting down, or if Sting was the anchor constantly dragging Luger down, especially by the time 1998 rolled around and both of them let their red and black t-shirts do the job of keeping them relevant.

33. Sting

After spending a year hitting members of the nWo with the Scorpion Death Drop, Sting gave up the life of a sad rafter clown and decided to be a cool dad, joining the nWo Wolfpac. He looked like a tomato. Tomato Sting is the worst Sting.

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32. Horace Hogan

Hulk Hogan’s nephew, Horace Hogan got into the nWo because that’s how nepotism works. It’s like he got to pledge into a fraternity on the basis of his legendary party animal of an uncle, but instead of hanging out with the cool Chads like Hall and Nash, he got stuck with virgins like Vincent.

31. Big Bubba Rogers

I’m a Big Bossman apologist, but Big Bubba Rogers’ run with the nWo is mostly notable for his being the second person fired from it. Both of the group’s evil referees had longer runs in the black and white.

30. Miss Elizabeth

WCW booking was often an exercise in galaxy brain thinking, as their take on one of the most beloved storylines in wrestling history saw Miss Elizabeth turn heel on Randy Savage. Like, sure the two were divorced by the time she hitched her wagon to Ric Flair, but it’s Miss Elizabeth. She turned on Flair and rejoined Savage in time for his feud with Diamond Dallas Page, but other than an excuse to put her in black sequined dresses there was no reason for her to pledge herself to the new World order.

29. Brian Adams

Kona Crush was a t-shirt and jeans wrestler during his time in the nWo, which was somehow worse than when he was Kona Crush. That said, the way he said “pencil-necked geek” in his teaser promo in WCW/nWo Thunder for the Sony PlayStation is very underrated.

28. Vincent

Even a dominant heel faction needs to eat pins every now and again, so why not Ted DiBiase’s former bodyguard? The scourge of WCW Saturday Night, Vincent either wrestled poorly or failed to look dangerous while standing at ringside for three whole years. Pretty wild, you guys. Maybe the nWo kinda sucked?

27. The Disciple

Pretty incredible that on a list 49 entries deep that Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake isn’t somewhere between 48 and 49, but like the Academy Awards I love rewarding people who radically alter their look for a role, and despite the Beefer being part of my life for a very long time, 10 year old me didn’t recognize him even though he was once again playing “Guy Who Loves Hulk Hogan.” He later joined the One Warrior Nation, which did not change its name to accommodate its second member. That’s about as Brutus Beefcake as it gets.

26. Stevie Ray

The leader of the nWo B-team, Stevie Ray kinda ruled because he looked rad as hell in black and white and he’d hit people with a big piece of metal to win his matches. His faction was literally called “nWo B-team” though, so he didn’t win a lot.

25. The Hollywood Hogan Monster Truck

After Hulk Hogan turned heel, so did the monster truck based on his likeness. The truck has an impressive lineage, starting out as the 15th Bigfoot and winning a championship as Snake Bite before donning the red and yellow and eventually spitting in the face of all the little Hulksters in the Monster Jam crowd who were there to see a gigantic truck with huge, rippling biceps. From 1996-1998, those biceps hated children.

24. The Guys from Dinner and a Movie

Paul Gilmartin and Claud Mann joined the nWo 4 life at Clash of the Champions XXXV because every gang needs a cinephile and a chef.

23. Jeff Jarrett

Smashed guitars over other wrestlers’ heads, called folks “slapnuts,” and was the focal point of the nWo’s final, tired fart of a reinvention, the silver and black nWo 2000.

22. Ted DiBiase

Revealed as the secret benefactor of the nWo, nobody had any time for this rehashing of his Million Dollar Man character’s final phase as the leader of the Million Dollar Corporation. The first misstep in the whole nWo saga.

21. Louie Spicolli

He was only a pledge member for a month before his untimely passing 22 years ago, but his pairing with Scott Hall ruled and had a lot of promise.

20. Bret Hart

I’m a boring person, so Bret Hart is one of my favorite wrestlers. That said, the Hitman had no business in the nWo, and his presence there felt like a means of keeping him away from Hulk Hogan, who never passed the torch to him when they were in the WWF together towards the end of the Hulkamania era. Fuck Hulk Hogan is the thing.

19. Nick Patrick

The nWo’s original evil referee, there was a moment in the nWo vs. WCW angle where Chris Jericho beating him was a big deal for WCW. Of course, the job security the nWo offered him evaporated shortly thereafter, which is what happens when you sell out.

18. Konnan

The former Mexican Heavyweight Champion had already ditched his luchador duds and leaned into gang-inspired attire when he joined the Dungeon of Doom, but the Dungeon of Doom was a cartoon for children and the new World order was real shit. Ludicrously popular in 1998, the year call and response promos were at their peak.

17. Rick Rude

Rick Rude rules, and the night he appeared on a pre-taped Raw and a live Nitro is one of the weirder moments in the Attitude Era, but he mostly stood around Curt Hennig, wore a suit, and did zero pelvic thrusts.

16. Eric Bischoff

Honestly, Easy E should probably be closer to the top five due to the sheer amount of hatred he was capable of generating, but I actually lived through his feud with Jay Leno and his wasting 15 minutes of pay-per-view time to challenge Vince McMahon to a match, so fuck him.

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15. Buff Bagwell

Probably the only member of the new World order with calf implants, Marcus Alexander Bagwell really came into his own after setting aside his All American Hot Boy gimmick and began reveling in the fact that he was a hot redneck. He still sucked, but it was okay because you were supposed to hate him.

14. Tenzan

Sick mask, lots of yelling, incredible mullet.

13. Curt Hennig

Stabbed Ric Flair in the back by turning on him in a War Games cage match, then strut around for a few months in one of Flair’s robes, which he cut the sleeves off of. It’s an incredibly well done moment, maybe the best nWo debut once the group made the switch from “Group of Outsiders” to “Corporate Entity.” Beyond that feud with Flair, the former Mr. Perfect was just another body in a sea of bodies.

12. Great Muta

Yeah, he’s had more elaborate facepaint, but the black and white nWo logo on the face is my favorite. Should have been treated like a special attraction, but wrestling has a short memory so everything about his TV Championship matches with Arn Anderson ceased to exist.

11. Masahiro Chono

If I were counting nWo Japan (I’m not because I’m not all that familiar with late 90s New Japan), Chono and Muta might be higher, but all I remember about Chono is that he looked incredible, like a cyberpunk hitman. A former NWA Champion (on WCW television, even), he was treated like a mid-carder during his run with nWo USA, which was and is pretty confusing.

10. nWo Sting

Fooling all of Sting’s friends despite looking nothing like Sting, the nWo’s bogus Sting turned the WCW locker room’s faceblindness to his advantage. He kept Sting’s seat warm while he was hanging out with vultures and watching The Crow.

9. Dennis Rodman

WCW loved bringing in famous athletes for stunt bookings, and Dennis Rodman was the most distinctive of the bunch. Wrestling with the nWo when he wasn’t winning NBA Championships with the Chicago Bulls, he made their appeal feel universal and mainstream in a way that’s harder to quantify than television ratings and t-shirt sales.

8. Scott Norton

Just a thick wall of meat. God, Scott Norton looked like an absolute monster. There were no fewer than three Scot Norton pin-ups on the wall of my childhood bedroom. Pretty sure I modeled some of my conceptions about queerness off one of those pin-ups, where he’s flexing with a very oily Buff Bagwell.

7. Syxx

The nWo’s seventh member. But he was called Syxx. That’s the gimmick. Never really equaled the infamy of his 1-2-3 Kid persona, but did answer the question of what that character would look like if he started smoking weed and listening to Temple of the Dog tapes in his Sony Walkman. Later rejoined the nWo while in its WWE incarnation, which made total sense given how much everybody hated X-Pac and that version of the stable.

6. “Macho Man” Randy Savage

Forever cursed to be chained to Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage made the most of it, feuding with Diamond Dallas Page and having the sickest merchandise in WCW. For a brief moment (that feud with Page, which holds up), it felt like the nWo revitalized Savage, who is one of the greatest of all time but seemed to be sleepwalking in his first two years with the company.

5. The Giant

In his second stint in the nWo, The Giant could be seen ripping cigs during his wrestling matches. It ruled. If the nWo were around today and he joined, dude would be blowing sick vape clouds mid-chokeslam. Everyone would love him.

4. Scott Steiner

Scott Steiner’s heel turn in 1998 broke my heart, but this is where Big Poppa Pump was born. He was already a star tagging with his brother Rick, but the nWo gave him the opportunity to branch out as a singles wrestler, and the world is better for it. Imagine the last 22 years without a heel Scott Steiner promo. I don’t want to live in that world.

3. Hollywood Hulk Hogan

I mean, fuck Hulk Hogan, but you can’t have the nWo without its founding members. While everybody remembers what was terrible about his run (rightfully so), his losses to Lex Luger and Goldberg were two of the most emotionally cathartic title changes of the late 1990s. On the other side of that coin, his refusal to lose cleanly to Sting at Starrcade 1997 presaged the end of WCW, then sealed the deal with the Fingerpoke of Doom in 1999. Also, imagine calling yourself “Hollywood” when you’re starring in films like Santa With Muscles. The unmitigated gall.

2. Kevin Nash

Big Sexy, y’all. When I was a kid, I wanted to either be Kevin Nash or be a woman. I got one of those wishes, and I get to admire Nash from afar, a real win/win situation if there ever was one. Yeah, his beating Goldberg at Starrcade was bad and the Finger Poke of Doom was worse, but it’s hard not to admire a man whose main contribution to that era was the genius decision to split the nWo in two so he could sell an old shirt in a new color. Real King shit.

1. Scott Hall

The nWo’s first member, Hall’s debut on WCW Nitro, where he’s wearing a glorious denim jeans/denim vest ensemble, is arguably the most indelible image of the Monday Night War. While he never won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship due to the popularity of the other founding members of the stable and his addiction issues, you don’t need the title to be the best. Hall defined the group, the group defined an era, and you can’t do much better than that.

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Colette Arrand

Colette Arrand is a minor transsexual poet and nu-metal enthusiast.

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