On Wednesday, because we are old, we celebrated the 19th birthday of the formation of the New World Order at WCW’s Bash at the Beach ’96 pay-per-view. To continue that birthday celebration, Nate Birch and myself are ranking the original 33 nWo members, before they splintered off into nWo Wolfpac and nWo Black and White and nWo Mauve or whatever.
As a note of clarification, the nWo was a gangly mess and they added and discarded people on a whim, so if we left out your favorite member — say, for example, the nWo inducted Larry Johnson as Grandmama on a random episode of Thunder and we forgot about it — take it in stride. Also, damn I want Grandmama in the nWo now.
Anyway, here’s our ranking of the 33 original nWo members. When you’re this, you’re this for life.
33. The Disciple
Brandon: Like any list that includes Brutus Beefcake and isn’t “best wrestling barbers,” Brutus Beefcake is at the bottom. Hulk Hogan always needed Beefcake around doing SOMETHING. When he was regurgitating his WWF act, Beefcake had to show up and regurgitate his. When Hogan was an unstoppable babyface who could defeat entire factions by himself, Beefcake had to show up as “The Booty Man” and be the same. When Hogan went Hollywood, Beefcake had to DRESS EXACTLY LIKE HIM AND FOLLOW HIM AROUND.
The Disciple’s role in the nWo seemed to be “help Hogan out with his matches against celebrities.” He tried to help Hogan defeat Jay Leno at Road Wild, then interfered in Hogan and Dennis Rodman’s tag team match against Diamond Dallas Page and Karl Malone to hit Page with a Stone Cold Stunner (!!) to give the nWo the match. Eventually he’d turn on Hogan to get fresh with The Ultimate Warrior in the rafters.
32. Jeff Katz
Brandon: At nWo Souled Out, teen radio show host and WCW Hotline operator Jeff Katz was tasked with finding the first “Miss nWo.” He accomplished this by asking weird local biker-moms questions they couldn’t hear, and making the best of their mumbled woos and answers.
You may know him best as the guy who raised $100,000 to Kickstart a revolutionary wrestling show and used the money to buy himself free lunch for the next five years.
31-30. The Dinner and a Movie Guys
Brandon: I’d honestly forgotten about this until recently, but the hosts of TBS’s Dinner and a Movie — a random movie with a movie-themed cooking show in the commercial bumpers — turned heel and joined the nWo at the final Clash of the Champions in 1997. Paul Gilmartin and Claud Mann apparently hated wrestling tradition and were swayed by the Macho Man Randy Savage to make nWo-themed food instead of WCW food. I know, right? This pissed off Mean Gene, especially when they removed their aprons to reveal nWo Macho Man shirts.
They got their just desserts moments later when Diamond Dallas Page showed up, wrecked their studio, ruined their food and killed them with Diamond Cutters. They never got their revenge, unless you count anchoring a bad cable movie show for 16 years.
29. Nasty Nick Hogan
Brandon: WCW lost to the nWo at War Games ’96 and was forced to pay for the nWo’s “paid announcement” commercials. Hollywood Hogan used that money to have a hotel room party and induct two new nWo members: NASCAR racer Kyle Petty (more on him in a minute) and “Nasty Nick At Night,” his son. What the nWo needed with a child is beyond me, and who the hell lets a kid into the same hotel room as Scott Hall? That’s just asking for trouble.
Hogan announces that they’ve talked to Nick’s mom, and that from now on he’ll be allowed to stay up and watch the nWo wrestle from 8-10 on nWo Monday Nitro. Everyone cheers. Years later, The Hulkster would use that same technique to put his daughter in charge of the TNA Knockouts Division.
Nick Hogan is still an active member of the nWo, by the way, because when you’re nWo, you’re nWo something something.
28. Louie Spicolli
Nate: Hey, it’s that guy Tommy Dreamer misnames his Death Valley Driver after! Yes, believe it or not, there was a time when Louie Spicolli was still alive and, like, doing things in wrestling. During his WCW stint the thing he was doing was being Scott Hall’s lackey. Spicolli wasn’t officially an NWO member, but everybody kind of figured him hanging around with one of the NWO founders made him an NWO member by osmosis. Hey, we’ve already listed two guys from a TBS cooking show and one of Brutus Beefcake’s less-celebrated personas, it’s not like Louie Spicolli fell short of some stringent NWO admissions bar.
27. Kyle Petty
Brandon: As I mentioned earlier, the nWo added NASCAR’s Kyle Petty to the group because the New World Order can’t just conquer pro wrestling, it must conquer ALL hillbilly sports tentpoles! Petty drove the nWo car from September of 1996 to September of 1997, spraypainting “RACECAR” on the hoods of any cars he beat. I don’t know, I don’t follow NASCAR. Whenever Petty would do well, the nWo would brag about it. Whenever he wrecked (as seen above), the guy who drove the Slim Jim Halloween Havoc car would show up on Nitro and sh*t-talk him. It was extremely important.