The New World Order is regarded as one of the best professional wrestling stable of all time. They came at a time when both WWE and WCW were still in the age of the flashy-cartoon character stytle of presentation and a change was needed. When the group formed in July of 1996, it changed the industry forever as many other groups in professional wrestling in different promotions were formed that were inspired by this faction. But as good as the original NWO was, there were two specific versions of the group that are not well recieved.
That is, NWO 2000 which was formed in late 1999, and WWE’s version of the NWO. Today, I am going to compare and contrast between the two versions and make my opinion on which was better between the two.
How Did it Start?
At Mayhem in 1999, Bret Hart became the WCW Champion after winning the tournament finals. Bret Hart and Goldberg also became the WCW Tag Team Champions on an episode of Thunder not too long after this. But these two would then have a match for the WCW Championship at that year’s Starrcade. That match is infamous because it was the match that Bret Hart recieved a concussion due to a stiff kick by Goldberg which eventually lead to the end of his career.
On the next Nitro, Bret Hart and Goldberg had a rematch for the WCW Championship as Roddy Piper would be the referee of that match. During the match, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash made a run in and we thought that they were there to attack Bret Hart, but they attacked Goldberg. Jeff Jarrett also appeared and smashed his guitar on Piper’s head. They then proceeded to spray paint Goldberg and Piper’s body with spray paint (which was silver this time instead of black) as Kevin Nash went on the mic to say that “the band is back together” as this was the formation of the NWO 2000. It is important to note, that all four members of NWO 2000 held championships at the time.
Over in WWE, the NWO was brought into the company a year after WCW was bought by WWE. Hogan, Hall, and Nash all had contracts with Warner Media and WWE could not bring the three of them in during the Invasion Angle. The NWO were brought in to WWE by Vince McMahon to “kill WWE” since Vince McMahon and Ric Flair were feuding at the time. The NWO then made their debut at the No Way Out pay-per-view as they opened the show with a promo from the three of them. The three members also attacked Steve Austin at the end of the show during his match against Chris Jericho for the WWE Championship.
Looking at how these two first started, I will have to give the slight edge to NWO 2000. I liked how WWE debuted their version of NWO, but it did not have the same effect as it did when NWO 2000 formed.
The Initinal Run
WWE’s NWO’s major feuds were against the top stars at the time which was The Rock, and Stone Cold Steve Austin. The build to that year’s Wrestlemania was originally intendeed for Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan, but due to creative differences, it was changed to The Rock and Hulk Hogan. The same night when The Rock challenged Hulk Hogan for a match at Wrestlemania, The NWO attacked The Rock and even did a skit where Hulk Hogan drove his truck to crash his truck towards the ambulence The Rock was in.
Steve Austin was left to feud with Scott Hall and during this feud, there were times that WWE inadvertently exploited Scott Hall’s alcoholism. Including at one point where Steve Austin poured a large amount of beer on Scott Hall before giving him a stunner on Smackdown.
Over in WCW, on the next Thunder, Bret Hart, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Jeff Jarrett cut a promo explaining how this reuinon was built up for the entire month. I give it to them for contunity. Their first set of attacks involved Goldberg, and Terry Funk. And a match was made for Souled Out 2000 as Bret Hart will defend his WCW Championship against Sid. But before this match, Bret Hart faced Terry Funk in a hardcore match. His injuries he suffered at Starrcade got worse during this match. Terry Funk then set up a match between Kevin Nash and Bret Hart for the WCW Championship on the line.
Not only this match ended in a no contest due to the interference of Sid and Arn Anderson, but it would also be Bret Hart’s final match as a full time wrestler. Also on this same Thunder, Jeff Jarrett was injured for suffering a concussion when he was attacked in the cage as Chris Benoit and Jimmy Snuka did dives from the top of the cage that landed on Jeff Jarrett. Things are not going so well for this version of the NWO.
For the initinal runs, I will have to give this to WWE since Hogan, Hall, and Nash had feuds with the top stars of the company that lead to Wrestlemania. The first feuds of NWO 2000 lead to a minor show and was affected by injuries. But more on that on the next category.
After the Big Matches
At WCW Souled Out 2000, WCW finally aknolwdged that Bret Hart had a concussion at Starrcade which means that he is unable to defend his WCW Championship. The Championship became vacated and Chris Benoit was the one to take Bret’s place. Benoit defetead Sid to win his first and only WCW Championship. But it was too late as he, Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, and Perry Saturn jumped ship to WWE a week later.
The reason why Bret Hart and Sid was going to have a match, is because Sid replaced Goldberg, who was injured by breaking an ungimmicked limo glass with his hands that also severly cut him. According to Vince Russo on the WWE documentary NWO: The Revolution, Vince said that NWO 2000 was not going to work without Bret Hart and Jeff Jarrett as Vince Russo wanted those two to be the central focus point of the group. In fact, the first thing Vince Russo wanted to do when he came to WCW was to push Bret Hart and he did exactly that.
Also, Scott Steiner joined NWO 2000, but was suspended a few weeks after he joined for cutting a shoot promo on Nitro. What came next was at Superbrawl 2000 when it was a three-way dance between Sid, Jeff Jarrett, and Scott Hall for the WCW Championship even though Jarrett and Scott Hall were members of the NWO. Scott Hall got a neck injury during the match as Jarrett smashed a guitar over Hall’s head. Scott Hall then got in trouble during the european tour which lead to him being sent home and to never appear on WCW televison ever again. The NWO 2000 quietly disbanded as the next major storyline was The New Blood vs The Millionare’s Club.
After Wrestlemania 18 in which we seen The Rock defeating Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin defeating Scott Hall, Hulk Hogan turned into a crowd favorite again due to his reception and fan support at Wrestlemania. On that week’s Smackdown, X-Pac returned from injury and also became the next member of the NWO as he attacked Hulk Hogan. This was four years in the making since Hulk Hogan said that X-Pac “could not cut the mustard here in WCW” on a promo he did on Nitro in 1998. But this feud never started since NWO was drafted on Raw, and Hulk Hogan was drafted to Smackdown on the first ever WWE Draft. NWO then continued their feud with Steve Austin, and also feuded with the likes of Bradshaw and Kane. After the Insurrextion pay-per-view, Scott Hall was fired due to his involvement of the plane ride from hell incident.
From this time until Shawn Michaels returned to WWE and joined NWO, Booker T, and Big Show became members of NWO and Kevin Nash was still healing from his injuries. On that next Raw, Booker T was kicked out of the NWO and he started a minor feud with X-Pac. Then on the July 8th episode of Raw, Kevin Nash suffered a torn quadricep during a 10-man tag team match. Then the next week, Vince McMahon oficially disbanded the NWO.
What happened with NWO 2000 after Souled Out creativly, is way worse than how WWE’s version of NWO was handled. Even though WWE’s version of NWO was doomed from the start, at least the group had a longer presence on televison than NWO 2000 did. Plus, they tried to make it work with WWE’s NWO and we would not know how far NWO 2000 would have went if Bret Hart and Jeff Jarrett got injured as the group was just starting. But for this round, I will give it to WWE’s NWO and with those results, I believe that WWE’s NWO is better than WCW’s NWO 2000.