wrestling / Columns

Top 7 Worst NWO Members

July 11, 2021 | Posted by Steve Cook
nWo Kevin Nash Scott Hall Hulk Hogan

The wrestling world recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of one of the genre’s most memorable moments. It was July 7, 1996 when Hulk Hogan shocked the world by leg-dropping Randy Savage & joining Scott Hall & Kevin Nash to form the New World Order. The NWO took World Championship Wrestling to the top of the wrestling scene, posing the strongest threat to Vince McMahon’s dominance of sports entertainment before or since. Many of wrestling’s top stars from the time period donned the NWO black & white t-shirt at one point or another.

Not all of them were great fits for the group. Today, we look at the least fitting members of the New World Order.

7. Vincent

All due respect to the man also known as Virgil & Soul Train Jones, who has become a cult favorite over the past several years. He’s all about that Olive Garden meatsauce and that f*ck money, and we love him for it. But I still remember watching this whole NWO thing play out back in the day & my thoughts & opinions on it at the time. From the start, the NWO consisted of the elite of pro wrestling. Scott Hall, Kevin Nash & Hulk Hogan were big money ballplayers. Then you had Ted DiBiase funding the group with his trillons of dollars. Made sense. The Giant had dominated WCW since his arrival. A fake Sting was kind of stretching things, but it was a good ploy that had the result of driving the real Sting up to the rafters. Syxx was a very talented wrestler.

Then, we had Vincent. Virgil hadn’t even been a thing in years, after getting a bit of a push in the early 1990s. Now he shows up as part of the NWO and we’re supposed to think it’s some type of a big deal? It started the trend of the group being watered down.

6. David Flair

I still don’t know why David Flair had a wrestling career, other than he was Ric’s son. We could tell from the start that he wasn’t cut out for it. Even young & dumb wrestling fans like I was back in that time frame could tell these things. Some guys have that look like they belong, and some look like a fish out of water. David was definitely the latter.

It wasn’t all bad though, as David’s presence in the NWO led to us seeing the first televised appearances of Torrie Wilson. To be perfectly honest, that’s why David’s not higher on this list. We have some more nepotism to talk about a little bit later, so stay tuned for that.

5. Disco Inferno

Listen, I know Disco’s somewhat of an annoying personality these days to people that bother to listen to him. I can’t imagine a scenario where I would bother listening to what he has to say, but apparently some people get something out of it. Whatever. All I know for sure is that he did have some value as a comedic heel in WCW during the 1990s. Not the best worker in the business, but far from the worst. I remember him having a good match with Dean Malenko…on one hand, it was Dean Malenko, but on the other hand he hung in there. Had some fun theme music too that’ll stay in your head for days.

Him in the NWO? Good Lord. Not a fit at all. They tried to use him as a comedic lackey, but the people didn’t even buy that like they did with Louie Spicolli. Lamer than Bandon Cutler or Michael Nakazawa. Disco had some useful stretches in WCW, but this wasn’t one of them.

4. Horace Hogan

Hulk Hogan has gotten a number of people jobs they didn’t deserve due to the fact they were associated with Hulk Hogan. It’s the cost of doing business with a star. In fairness to Hulk, some of these people he brought along with him had redeeming value at some point. Brutus Beefcake was an over motorscooter in the late 1980s with the Barber gimmick. The Nasty Boys were a perfectly acceptable brawling tag team that had wild matches on many a WCW PPV. Jimmy Hart was a loud & annoying manager that served the purpose of getting his wrestlers over.

Horace Hogan? He was Hulk’s nephew. He followed his uncle into the business and did some work in Japan & in the indies. Did a lot of stuff in FMW, probably because Onita marked out for getting to work a Hogan. He came to WCW & joined Raven’s Flock (as “Horace Boulder”, a shout to an early Hulk gimmick name), and once that group dissolved we got a family angle. Hulk revealed that Horace was his nephew, then beat the crap out of him as a message to The Warrior before their match at Halloween Havoc 1998. This led to Horace giving Warrior a lame chairshot to get Hulk the win, and Hulk telling Horace he passed the test & could join the NWO.

Here’s the thing. Back in 1989, Kendall Windham was teased as a possible member of the Four Horsemen. They never pulled the trigger on it, because even though Kendall’s brother Barry was a Horseman, nobody would have bought Kendall in the role. Nepotism only goes so far with wrestling fans. Horace Hogan as a viable member of the NWO didn’t pass the laugh test. No wonder he got shunted to the B Team with Vincent & Stevie Ray.

3. Bret Hart

Bret’s WCW stint was an unmitigated disaster, and his relationship with the NWO was a big part of it. The group teased his joining them in the weeks following his departure from the WWF, which as a fan at the time didn’t make much sense. Hart was incredibly popular with wrestling fans at that moment after he’d punched out Vince McMahon, why would you want to swim upstream and try to make fans boo him? They ended up turning Hart heel and making him an “associate” of NWO Hollywood, hanging out with them & recruiting for the group, but not donning the t-shirt.

Bret did don the shirt in late 1999, becoming the leader of a new NWO featuring Hall, Nash, Steiner & Jeff Jarrett. It didn’t feel right at the beginning, and we didn’t get to see if Bret would eventually grow into the role since his in-ring career ended not long after the group was formed. Don’t get me wrong, Bret could lead the heck out of a heel faction, as his 1997 run with the Hart Foundation showed, but the NWO just wasn’t the right fit for him. He needed to do his own thing, not somebody else’s.

2. Shawn Michaels

The WWE version of the NWO was an awful idea on pretty much every level that somehow managed to get worse as it went along. You’d think the company was deliberately trying to bury one of the ideas that put WCW on top for a couple of years there. I’m sure that wasn’t the case, WWE would never book complete nonsense out of spite. No sir. Michaels had been the face of D-Generation X, the WWF’s answer to the NWO. He was friends with Kevin Nash though, so on some level it kind of made sense…

No, it really didn’t. Watching the above video kind of broke my brain. HBK in NWO colors just didn’t look right. The only thing memorable about his NWO stint was kicking Booker T out of the group with a superkick. Other than that, I can’t name a single thing he did while in the NWO.

1. Dusty Rhodes

In fairness, the video above shows Dusty getting quite the pop when he drops the big elbow & joins the NWO. If you go back a few years to a point where the American Dream turning heel might have led to something useful in the ring, or at least in weeks & months of awesome promos, it could have been really cool. By the time 1998 rolled around, Dusty was a color commentator on WCW’s B shows that hadn’t been in the ring in years, and whose relevance wasn’t exactly at an all time high. I mean, we thought Dusty was funny on commentary, but beyond that he didn’t have much to offer in 1998. His role in the group pretty much consisted of baby-sitting Scott Hall, who was having a number of personal problems at the time & wasn’t always on television.

Dusty did get to cut the occasional promo & sit in on the occasional B show for commentary, but dude did about as much for the NWO as I did during 1998, and all I was doing was wearing a knock-off t-shirt that I got on vacation. It was a white one that glowed in the dark. Pretty cool stuff. I didn’t get the Wolfpac Wolf shirt until Nitro came to town in March 1999. By then, Dusty was out of the NWO and happy that nobody who was actually a fan of his held this storyline against him.

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