Released: November 6, 2012
My buddy Slackamania (just a nickname, he’s not insane) and I will be double-teaming this review. He’s a die-hard wrestling fan from way back in the day just like me, so I hope you enjoy his thoughts on the program, while I will be handling the special features – like a boss. Is that still cool to say? Was it ever cool to say? I don’t know, but hopefully you’ll keep reading.
Stars Align: A brief introduction into the history of WCW from its NWA roots, The purchase of Ted Turner in 1988, WCW signing Hulk Hogan in 1994, and the launch of WCW Monday Nitro and the Monday Night Wars.
Free Agents: Through his friend DDP Scott Hall got an offer from WCW for a large contract (1.2 Million) which was even more than Sting or Flair were making. Hall really didn’t want to leave WWE, but wanted his situation to improve and had to take WCWs offer. Nash says Hall told him what he was making for only 150 days and received an offer himself. Vince couldn’t afford WCWs offers and they were even guaranteed. DDP compared it to George Steinbrenner signing big name free agents for the Yankees. Hall & Nash were upfront and honest with Vince about it.
The Outsiders: Halls contract expired on a Sunday night and showed up on a live Monday Nitro. Kevin Nash debuted one week later. It was realistic and felt like a legitimate WWE takeover of WCW. They were doing things such as showing up from the crowd instead of the entranceway, attacking with baseball bats, even powerbombing WCW President/Announcer Eric Bischoff.
Bash At The Beach:So the stage was set for The Outsiders & a third man to take on WCWs team of Sting, Randy Savage, & Lex Luger at Bash At The Beach 1996. Lots of speculation on who the third man would be. The shock around the wrestling world happened when Hulk Hogan legdropped Savage to reveal himself as the Third Man. Jimmy Hart & Hulk Hogan mention that he was getting boos in WCW, due to being the WWE and New York and hated from being from the South. Hogan claims that he was the perfect person to be the third man.
Here’s The NWO: While a core of three, Bischoff seen the NWO as an organization and added new members. At first it was guys from the WWE like Ted DiBiase, Syxx, & Vincent. WCW talent jumped ship too such as The Giant & Marcus Buff Bagwell. DiBiase was brought in to be the manager and mouthpiece of the NWO, but Bischoff assumed the role when the angle was getting hot. Eric claimed that all along he was positioning himself to transition from the announce booth to the NWO.
Element Of Reality: Nash & Hall knew they had something hot, and didn’t want ”Memphis” type wrestling interviews and promos. After talking with production, they decided on sound bites in Black & White. Thus the NWO Following Announcement promos began to air on WCW programming which was revolutionary and made it look like the NWO had purchased airtime on the WCW product. Matt Striker claimed that it was so different, but simple. Their attacks were legitimate as they were not only run-ins, but also outside the ring even in parking lots. The memorable Nitro incident is shown where they attacked WCW talent including darting Rey Mysterio into a trailer. Residents of Orlando thought it was real, and called ambulances & the fire department showed up on scene thinking a real gang fight had happened. Cody Rhodes was so upset and his dad Dusty even gave him a kayfabe update on the wrestlers injured IF YOU WILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL.
Fan Interest: WCW started to pull away in the Monday Night Wars. WCW was filling large venues such as The Superdome & The Georgia Dome. The NWO became hip and the ”cool” bad guy. Joe Hennig’s softball team was named the NWO and even had the 2 Sweet sign. It was mainstream and part of pop culture. Big Show said the NWO felt real and not ”bubblegum crap” like The Dungeon Of Doom. More NWO antics are shown such as Eric Bischoff stopping the replay tape on Nitro of Roddy Pipers win over Hulk Hogan at Starrcade 96. Matt Striker said that while many flipped the channels during the MNWs, that he put the remote down when the NWO was on during their peak and he felt most of the rest of the world did too. A screenshot of various Nitro ratings was shown on how successful the NWO was.
WCW vs. NWO: Bischoff created a WCW vs. NWO feud. It made fans choose which organization they wanted to root for. The NWO even took over Monday Nitro to NWO Monday Nitro in December 1997 (to meh reviews) they tore down the whole set! The NWO expanded to even more members like Randy Savage, Scott Norton, Konnan, and Curt Hennig. Many backstage were trying to get in the group. Lex Luger said the NWO should have been an exclusive group. Dusty talks about his surprising turn at Souled Out 1998. Cody was distraught over it and even spit at a picture! That’s how well it was working. Dusty had to call Cody to tell him what was up. Dusty said they were taking wrestlers that had some name to them and were making them NWO. Joe Hennig talks about how his dad enjoyed being a member of the NWO and used to laugh watching his promos back. Kidman said many wanted to join the NWO as it meant more money, TV exposure etc. Arn said the talent joining was getting out of hand. Booker T said he was personally offered to join the NWO by Nash, but felt he was a solo act. DiBiase and Dusty think they didn’t know how to evolve the NWO, so they just kept adding new members. The NWO had their own PPV Souled Out which Kevin Nash called their first huge blunder, as they lost matches even though the odds were stacked in their favor and even had their own referee!
Rivalry vs. Sting: WCWs last hope and hero against the NWO was Sting. Luger said he was perfect for the WCW franchise, and went into the Crow character to show he was in mourning for WCW and the fanbase. He didn’t speak or wrestle for 15 months, but was the hot figure to go against the NWO. Sting propelled from the rafters to attack various NWO members many times. Matt Striker said the huge problem was both Sting and the NWO were both over and who wants to see friends fight? Sting gave WCW hope in their battle against the NWO.
Mainstream Appeal: Basketball star Dennis Rodman one of the most controversial athletes in pop culture in the 90s went NWO. He showed up at various events with the NWO, even wrestling at Bash At The Beach 1997. It brought in a new audience to watch WCW, so the next year they brought Rodman back and the idea of DDP was for Rodman and Hogan to take on him & Rodman’s basketball rival and complete opposite Karl Malone to a tag team match. Clips showed all the mainstream exposure it had. Cody Rhodes called Malone the perfect foil to go against Rodman and it was great to use real athletes in the wrestling ring. Hugh Morrus thought it was awful but knew people would have different opinions on it. The next month they brought in Jay Leno to team with DDP against Hulk Hogan & Eric Bischoff. DDP said Leno was a good guy and into it. It helped expand the audience as the angle was done not only on Nitro but the Tonight Show. Striker said it made wrestling the elephant in the room and the cool thing. The NWO helped give legitimacy to it with celebrities involved
Internal Strife: Problems between the NWO caused it to split into 2 groups NWO Hollywood & the Wolfpac. Dusty called it the downfall of the NWO due to it being a wrestling angle when the NWO itself was a takeover angle. Arn called it a long leap off the cliff. Dusty was approached about Disco Inferno being NWO and said don’t ask me about that dumb question. Striker called the Wolfpac cool, but splitting it was like making your little sister join, and that nothing would replace the original Black & White. Talent started to leave . Creative Control started the downfall of the group. Big Show said you shouldn’t be a player and a coach at the same time, referencing Nash being a star wrestler and booker. They merged the 2 groups together through the infamous Finger Poke Of Doom. but too many members and overkill. Big Show said with 9 limos of NWO who was there to take them on in WCW. Spinoffs were even created such as the Latino World Order.
Restoration Attempt: NWO 2000 was created but went nowhere. Dusty laughed at it. Russo said it might have gone somewhere if Bret didn’t get hurt. Nash said the situation was not fixable. DiBiase said it had some good wrestlers in it but some guys past their usage. Booker T said the payoff needed to be good defeating evil (WCW defeating the NWO) but it didn’t happen. WCW was purchased by the WWE in 2001 and brought in the original 3 NWO members in 2002. Booker T called it a shell of itself and squeezing the juice out of it. Kidman said it just didn’t have the feel like it did in WCW that it was just another stable and not a takeover. Booker T said only Hogan benefitted from it, as the rest crashed and burned.
NWO 4 Life: The NWO was revolutionary and will be remember for many of its contributions. Matt Striker called its legacy the change, and that it was the period where it was proud to say you were a wrestling fan. DDP says the NWO will still be talked about for decades. Nash closed it out by joking it was as big as the Beatles, then said maybe Zeppelin. In a nice touch, the closing WWE credits got spray painted NWO and a preceding announcement has been paid for by the New World Order.
Scott Hall’s Nitro Debut (WCW Nitro – May 27, 1996): While Steve Doll and Mike Enos were setting the WORLD on fire with a match, we come back from a commercial to see RAZOR RAMON walking down the arena steps. Everybody is standing up and pointing at him in disbelief. He walks behind the floor seats and jumps the railing over by the ringside announce table. Both Tony and Larry are baffled by what is happening right before their eyes. They never mention his name because there’s no need. You know who he is. Razor demands a mic and gets in the ring as everybody clears out – including referee Nick Patrick, which if I believe so, will become important MUCH later.
Scott Hall ~ “Hey, you people – you know who I am, but you don’t know why I’m here. Where is Billionaire Ted? Where is the Nacho Man? That punk can’t even get in the building. Me? I go wherever I want, whenever I want. And where, oh where, is Scheme Gene? ‘Cause I got a scoop for you. When that Ken doll look-a-like, when that weatherman wannabe comes out here later tonight, I got a challenge for him, for Billionaire Ted, for the Nacho Man, and for anybody else in uh, WCW. *goofy laugh* Hey, you want to go to war? You want a war? You’re gonna get one.”
Ref Randy Anderson gets on the apron and tells the yet unnamed Scott Hall to get out of the ring. Hall drops the mic, peacefully exits the ring, and heads to the back (?) as we go to commercial. I always thought that was strange.
Kevin Nash’s Nitro Debut (WCW Nitro – June 10, 1996): The week before, Hall promised that next week he would have a big surprise for Bischoff with him. Well who do you think shows up but Big Daddy Cool himself – DIESEL. Of course, no names are given. Over at the announce position, Heenan goes on a tirade about Randy Savage showing up at the Great American Bash. Surely this Sunday, Savage wouldn’t hit a man with glasses. Heenan spots Scott Hall coming up beside Bischoff and gets the heck out of there. Bischoff wonders where the big surprise is. He’s right behind you and its Kevin Nash.
Nash to Bischoff ~ “You’ve been out here for six months running your mouth. This is where the big boys play, huh? Look at the adjective (verb?): play. We ain’t here to play. Now he (Hall) said last week that he was going to bring somebody out here – I’m here. You still don’t have your three people and you know why? Because nobody wants to face us. This show is about as interesting as Mark Shod (?) reading exerts from ‘Mein Kampf’.”
Bischoff ~ “Speak your peace and leave because I don’t want any trouble.”
Nash ~ “Yeah, no trouble because you know I’ll kick your teeth down your throat. Where’s your three guys? What, you couldn’t get a paleontologist to get a couple of these fossils cleared? You ain’t got enough guys off a dialysis machine to get a team? Yeah, where’s Hogan? Where’s Hogan? Out doing another episode of ‘Blunder in Paradise’? Where’s the Macho Man, huh? Doing some Slim Jim commercial? Hey, we’re here. You want to say something?“
Bischoff ~ “Look, I don’t have the authority right here right now. You want a fight? The fight isn’t with me. You want three guys? Tomorrow morning at 9 o’clock, I’m going to be in Atlanta, I’ll be at the offices of WCW, I’ll try and get you your fight. And you know what, live this Sunday in Baltimore, ‘Great American Bash’, you guys want to show up? You want a fight? You show up and I’ll see if I can get you your fight.“
Nash to Hall ~ “I don’t know about you, but hey they love us in Baltimore.“
Hall ~ “Hey big mang, I say me and you, we be at the ‘Bash’. Maybe these punks want a fight.“
Nash ~ “Bring what you got. The measuring stick just changed around here, buddy. You’re looking at it.“
And Kevin Nash shoves Bischoff back onto the table as he hands him the microphone to end the program.
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper confronts Eric Bischoff (WCW Nitro – November 18, 1996): Eric Bischoff is in the ring to tell the crowd that Roddy Piper still has not signed a contract to face Hollywood Hogan, but he’s going to do everything he can to make this- IS THAT BAGPIPES I HEAR? The crowd goes insane as Roddy Piper walks out the tunnel. Bischoff doesn’t look too happy to see him and Piper has got his FIGHTIN’ EYES going. He’s here to tell some truth because he’s never heard more lies in his life than when he was telling them. Piper calls Bischoff a liar and the crowd seems confused, but Bischoff looks 1000% guilty. Did you have a nice flight to Portland? Is the path to his ranch straight or crooked? He grabs Bischoff and calls him a “little piece of poop” as the Giant and the rest of the new World order grab Piper (except for Hogan who comes out when Piper has been stopped). Hogan embraces Bischoff and reminds everybody that Eric runs WCW and now he works for the nWo! Hogan continues to denigrate Piper by calling him a coward and how he was nobody before he fought Hogan. A bunch of policemen come down and have to restrain Piper while the nWo pose and watch Piper while they head to the back. Before we go, Piper says he’ll be at World War 3 with the contract for his match with Hogan in his teeth! No surrender! No retreat! Kiss his butt, Hogan.
Hollywood Hulk Hogan confronts “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (WCW Nitro – December 30, 1996): Oh boy, this is when Roddy Piper starts yelling out Gaelic things – or as we like to call it in America, gibberish. Roddy Piper is in the building and he’s heading to the ring. He receives a lot of love from Knoxville. Last time he checked, Hollywood Hogan was napping in the middle of the ring last night to make him the ICON. Whatever that means. He tells us that was his last fight. Funny how that turned out. WrestleMania 25 rolls around and who do I see wrestling Chris Jericho? Piper gets interrupted by Hogan and Bischoff. Hollywood looks PISSED. Piper makes a few Hogan jokes, but then things get serious. Hogan mentions Piper’s kids. Oh snap. He told them he would take it easy on their daddy. Is that so, Hollywood? Piper starts to undress for a fight when the new World order attack. During the mauling, they drop Piper’s shoulder on Norton’s knee. The man does have a pretty lethal knee. Giant just stands back and watches while Hogan blasts Piper’s hip with a chair. Trash is thrown all over the ring. Hogan orders Giant to chokeslam Piper, but he tosses Piper aside and stands alone while Hogan schemes with the rest of the nWo-ites. Here come the EMTs to carry Piper out on a stretcher. Hogan slaps the Giant for screwing up again. Big mistake. Giant grabs him by the throat and SCREAMS for the rest of the new World order crew to get the heck out of the ring. Meanwhile, Piper is speaking that Gaelic stuff on the stretcher as he’s being wheeled off into an ambulance. Giant yells in Hogan’s face demanding a world title shot that he feels he deserves for winning World War 3. Hogan begins to cry! He apologizes to the Giant and says he’ll grant him a title shot. Once he’s safe on the floor though, he tells the nWo to attack the Giant! He does alright against them until the numbers game takes over. They rip the nWo t-shirt off him and bash the title belt in his face until he’s completely unconscious. And now Piper’s ambulance is driving away as we fade to black.
The nWo’s WWE debut (WWF No Way Out – February 17, 2002): Since Ric Flair became partners with Vince McMahon controlling the WWF, Vince decides to kill his own creation by bringing in the new World order. he wanted to INJECT a lethal dose of poison into the WWF. The original three make their big return here at No Way Out and what do they do but change their minds immediately on what their whole purpose for coming back to the WWF was. They don’t want to destroy the WWF, they just want to make it better. WHAT. Hulk thanks Vince McMahon for giving them a chance to come back. God bless Vince, God bless the people, and God bless America.
Discs 2 and 3 are on the way!
Final Thoughts: The documentary was good for what it was worth and well produced. It was nice to see guys interviewed for the set like Waltman, Russo, and Luger. However the major gripe I have was it was way too short at only 63 minutes in length. Many major NWO events weren’t even covered (Syxx fired from WCW, NWO/4 Horsemen feud, Hogan/Sting Starrcade 97 match, Scott Steiner turning on his own brother to go NWO, Goldberg rivalry etc.) Not one of the better documentaries WWE has done, but a easily a watch despite nothing new or groundbreaking revealed. Thankfully it has a lot of cool extras from NWO matches, promos and the Legends of Wrestling Roundtable on the Blu-Ray. Thumbs in the middle on the NWO documentary.