Jay Shannon draws upon almost a half-century experience as a devout wrestling fan to look at the past, present and future of professional wrestling.
The rumors are running wild that Kevin Nash is about to reform the New World Order with R-Truth, The Miz and several other disgruntled WWE Superstars. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the rogue group. (They first appeared on July 7, 1996). I wanted to look at the various members of the nWo and where they are now. Some are still around but many have left us. I hope you all enjoy this look at the New World Order of Wrestling.
“Greatness is a road leading towards the unknown.” — Charles de Gaulle
After leaving the then-WWF in 1996, Kevin Nash showed up with Scott Hall in WCW. They didn’t use names, at first. There comment was “You know who we are.” Nash, who had utilized several alter-egos during his career, decided to go with his actual given name when identities were finally revealed. Nash would go from WCW into a short acting career and then return to the ring. He worked for some time in TNA, sporting his Grey Fox look. When he returned to WWE, recently, he dyed his hair back to Diesel Black. This has brought mockery from C.M. Punk, with whom he is currently feuding. He is also having issues with old friend, Triple H. He is technically “fired” from the WWE but he’s still around to cause chaos for one and all.
The former AWA tag team specialist (with Curt “Mr. Perfect” Hennig, adopted a Cuban-esque heel persona as Razor Ramon. The character was based on Al Pacino’s Scarface. Like Nash, Hall jumped to WCW in 1996. They were known as the Outsiders. The “new” Scott Hall was a patchwork of Razor Ramon and his real personality. Over time, Hall’s personal demons got the better of him and his wrestling career derailed. He has made several appearances in recent years. Earlier this year, Hall was hospitalized (according to TMZ.com) due to a cardiac issue. Kevin Nash has stated, publically, that Hall suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, brought on by his years of in-ring injuries.
When Hulk Hogan first worked in the then-WWF (1979-80), he was a heel being managed by the late “Classy” Freddie Blassie. Of course, by late 1983, he had gone to the AWA and came back…this time as the ultimate face. For almost a decade and a half, Hulk Hogan wore the white hat (ok, it was red and yellow, but you get my meaning, I hope). When Hogan accepted a lucrative deal from Ted Turner and WCW to “jump ship”, it was decided that Hogan should try to make the biggest heel turn in the history of the business. He succeeded, in spades. Hall and Nash kept talking about a third member of their group. At Bash at the Beach ’96, Hogan arrived to help the good guys, or so the fans thought. Out of nowhere, he attacked Randy Savage and others. As Gene Okerlund stumbled into the ring, Hogan took the stick and let the world know they were the “New World Order of Wrestling”. Hogan did not own the rights to the name “Hulk” (it was owned by Marvel Comics). To avoid having to pay a huge royalty fee to the comic giant, Hogan adopted the new name of “Hollywood”. Hogan has gone back and forth between heel and face in the last decade or so. He even donned red, white and blue to portray the masked Mr. America. As most fans know, he is currently the leader of the Immortal faction in TNA and also is set as the (storyline) person in charge of the entire Impact/TNA product.
Ted DiBiase (Sr.)
The “Million Dollar Man” retired from active competition in 1994. He worked as a manager in the WWF before crossing over to WCW. He served as one of several “managers” for the group. After his management career ended, Ted took on a new foe…The Devil. Ted became an ordained minister and toured the world, spreading his religious message to all who would listen. In 2010, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by two of his three sons (Ted, Jr. and Brett). Ted has made occasional appearances, over the years.
Paul Wight was a stand-out basketball player who was discovered by actor, Danny Bonaduce. Danny introduced Paul to Hulk Hogan (Hogan was one of Danny’s friends). Paul was brought in, at first, as the “Son of Andre the Giant”. Fans absolutely despised the disrespectful storyline and “The Giant” was quickly repackaged. After his run in WCW, Paul was brought into the WWF as “The Big Show”. He also worked in the indies as Paul “The Great” Wight (pronounced White). Big Show is currently sidelined after an attack from Alberto Del Rio, followed by another from Mark Henry. The Giant/Big Show has held numerous titles during his career.
Sean “Syxx” Waltman
After starting in the GWF (Dallas) as the LIghtning Kid, Sean moved to the WWF. He went through a handful of “Kid” names before beating Razor Ramon. He was then christened “The 1-2-3 Kid”. When he joined the nWo, he was given the name Syxx. The name referred to his being the 6th member of the group, as well as the addition of 1+2+3 to equal 6. Syxx would later become Syxx-Pac (a reference to his enjoyment of alcohol, as well as a nod to the Wolfpac faction of the nWo). When he returned to the WWF, he was renamed X-Pac. He was a part of D-X and had a successful tag team with Kane. Eventually, his own personal demons would end his WWF/E career. After a relationship with Chyna (Joanie Lauer), Sean moved to Mexico to re-energize his life and career. He partnered with Konnan in AAA and also worked on the WSX project, created by MTV. In recent years, Sean has gone back and forth between Mexico and US Indies. An indy version of D-X has toured the US (X-Pac, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn/Kip James). He was also at the 2011 Hall of Fame induction of Shawn Michaels, an old friend.
Jeff Farmer went through several identity adjustment in his early career. He was Lightning in the Thunder and Lightning tag team. He also worked as Cobra. Eventually, he was brought in as an imposter Sting. He would use that character in the US and Japan through 2004. After wrestling, Farmer became the project manager for the research project known as Genetics, Exercise and Reseach (GEaR) at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine.
Steve Borden was looking for a new twist on his identity by the late 90s. He had started out as the heel Flash in the Blade Runners group in Mid-South before becoming “Surfer” Sting in WCW. After many years, the gimmick had grown somewhat stale. Sting then moved into his “Crow Sting” phase. The new look was based on the Brandon Lee film, “The Crow”. When the nWo splintered, Sting was brought in. His Crow makeup suddenly went from ghost white to blood red. Sting left the group after suffering an injury. Sting went into semi-retirement after the demise of WCW. He would later join TNA, where he has held their top title on several occasions. Currently, he is pushing a new “Psycho Sting” persona. The newest incarnation appears to be somewhat mentally unhinged. He recently dropped the TNA World title to Kurt Angle.
Best known to fans as Virgil, Vincent joined his old “boss”, Ted DiBiase, Sr., when the nWo first expanded. Vincent (a jab at Vince McMahon) basically did the same gimmick of being a manservant to DiBiase. After leaving WCW, Vincent/Virgil worked the indy circuit. Last spring, Virgil returned to WWE for a brief program with Ted DiBiase, Jr. He also worked the Wrestlefest 2010 show for Big Time Wrestling in Fremont, CA. He was a really pleasant guy with a wealth of wrestling knowledge and experience to share with those who wanted to listen.
The son of “The Assassin” Jody Hamilton, Nick was the nWo’s own special referee. During his career, Nick has worked for the NWA, WCW, WWE, Deep South and Florida Championship Wrestling organizations. A chronic back problem would lead to his release from WWE in 2008. From there, he went on to work both on-camera and behind-the-scenes to help Rampage Pro Wrestling grow. He worked, hand in hand, with his dad, Jody. As of 2010, Nick was fully retired, making appearances at various conventions and reunion shows.
He started as a last-minute announcer on Verne Gagne’s AWA symdicated program. The original announcer was unable to work the show and Eric was pulled in. Eventually, he would move to WCW and work up from announcer to in-ring personality. He took over the managerial reins from Ted DiBiase. After WCW’s demise, Bischoff worked, somewhat briefly, for WWF/E. He also moved into television production, as well as numerous non-wrestling business ventures. When Hulk Hogan agreed to work for TNA in 2010, he brought his old friend, Bischoff, with him. Bischoff currently serves as a member of Immortal and Hogan’s right hand man. Bischoff also helps with much of the backstage production of the TNA products.
Elizabeth Huelette-Poffo was working for International Championship Wrestling, owned by Angelo Poffo. While working for the company, she was introduced to Angelo’s son, Randall (better known as Randy “Macho Man” Savage). The two dates and eventually married in December of 1984. When Savage entered the WWF in 1985, he brought his wife with him. Elizabeth became Savage’s manager. Their marriage was not made public knowledge. Over time, the marriage began to fall apart. Despite a highly-promoted “wedding” at Summerslam 1991, the two divorced in 1992. Elizabeth left wrestling and eventually married a Florida attorney. After that marriage failed, she returned as the valet to Ric Flair in a later version of hte Four Horsemen. She would betray Flair and join the nWo. She became romantically involved with another wrestler, Lex Luger. The two were living together when Elizabeth died on May 1, 2003.
Randy didn’t want to be a wrestler, at first. He was more interested in a career in pro baseball. He was working as a catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals organization when he accepted an off-season offer from his father, Angelo Poffo, to work as a wrestler. To get around a “no-compete” clause in his baseball contract, Randy donned a mask and worked as The Spider (ironically, he would face another Spider in a cameo in the first Spider-Man movie). After a shoulder injury ended his baseball career, Poffo went into wrestling, full time. Georgia booker, Ole Anderson, came up with the Randy “Savage” name after seeing Randy’s in-ring “fire”. Ole is quoted as saying “(that kid) wrestled like a savage”. Randy worked numerous territories before heading to the WWF in 1985. He would become the company’s number two man (behind only Hulk Hogan). His Intercontinental Championship match against Ricky Steamboat at Wrestlemania III actually eclipsed (in many fans’, myself included) the main event of Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant. He worked as both a face and heel. He eventually changed from Miss Elizabeth to Sherri Martel as his manager. In WCW, he would have Madusa (Miceli), Nora Greenwood (Molly Holly) and Gorgeous George (his then-girlfriend) as his managerial entourage. In addition to his wrestling duties, Savage worked as a commentator on early episodes of Raw. He also did a ill-received rap album and several acting appearances. Inlater years, Savage married Barbara Lynn Payne. Savage had done a few commercials for the WWE’s Legends Action Figures collection and the WWE All-Stars video game. Shortly after celebrating his one-year wedding anniversary, Savage died on May 20, 2011 after suffering a massive heart attack. There was some confusion as to whether the heart attack caused his death or the automobile accident that occeured after Savage’s heart attack. It was later announced that Savage’s heart attack was in no way caused by drugs or alcohol.
V.K. Wallstreet/Mike Rotunda
He has been a man of many identities. He formed a very successful tag team with his brother-in-law, Barry Windham, in the old WWF. He also teamed with Ted DiBiase, Sr. (as I.R.S.) to create the duo known as Money, Inc. Mike was also one of the first American n.W.o. members to travel to Japan to help launch the Far East chapter of the rogue group. Mike is now retired and mostly works guest appearances. He is also cheering on his two sons, both of whom have had stand-out starts in Florida.
In the early 80s, Curt went back and forth between the AWA and then-WWF. He never rose above mid-carder on his first run in the WWF. In the AWA, he would team with a future n.W.o. stablemate (Scott Hall) to win that organization’s tag team titles. When Curt returned to the WWF in 1988, he was transformed into “Mr. Perfect”. He became, in many fans’ minds, the greatest Intercontinental champion of all time. After a tremendous run in the WWF, he jumped to WCW in 1997. He spent three years there, part of that time as a member of the Wolfpac faction of the splintered n.W.o. He also captained the West Texas Redneck faction in their feud with rapper Master P and his No Limit Soldiers. After leaving WCW in 2001, Curt did some indy work for a couple years before returning to the WWE in 2002. Curt was released from WWE on May 5, 2002, after a physical altercation with Brock Lesnar. On February 10, 2003, Curt Hennig was found dead in a Florida hotel room. The cause of death was later revealed to be “acute cocaine poisoning”, according to the medical examiner of Hillsborough Cpunty, Florida. Despite his controversial death, the WWE still paid tribute to their great star by inducting him into the WWE Hall of Fame, Class of 2007. The Hennig legacy continues in wrestling as Curt’s son, Joe (wrestling as Michael McGillicutty) and daughter, Amy, currently folow in their father’s and grandfather’s (Larry “The Ax” Hennig) footsteps. An interesting side not: Michael was Curt’s middle name.
Big Bubba Rogers
Art sometimes imitates life. Such was the case with Ray Traylor. Ray actually was a prison guard in Georgia when he was discovered by scouts for Jim Crockett Promotions. He was trained by Mickie Henry and Ted Allen. He first debuted as a bodyguard to Jim Cornette. His prison guard past was glossed over and never used in JCP. It would return in 1988, when Traylor jumped to the WWF. He was brought in as a prison guard, using the slang term for one…The Big Boss Man. He spent the next five years as a solid member of the WWF Expansion. He would leave the WWF in 1993 and take an extended tour of Japan. He recently more training through his teamings with Stan Hansen and “Dr. Death” Steve Williams. In December, 1993, Traylor arrived in WCW. He went through a series of hame changes: The Boss to Big Bubba Rogers to Guardian Angel (a tribute to the group of men and women who assist local police in fighting crime) and finally to his given name, Ray Traylor. He would both join and feud with the nWo. He was also a member of Kevin Sullivan’s Dungeon of Doom.
On October 12, 1998, Traylor returned to the WWE as BIg Boss Man. The character was altered from a prison guard to that of a mercenary/bodyguard for hire. He would eventually join “The Corporation” and share the tag team championships with Ken Shamrock. After the Corporation/Corporate Ministry story ran it’s course, Boss Man formed a short-lived tag team with Curt Hennig. After that, he was moved to Ohio Valley Wrestling to help train new wrestlers. He was released, as part of budget cuts, in 2003. A year later, on September 22, 2004, Ray “Big Boss Man” Traylor died of a heart attack at his home in Georgia.
Chono began wrestling in Japan in 1984. After five years, he rose to the upper levels of competition in the Land of the Rising Sun. His star exploded due to his association with WCW. When New Japan decided to form a Japanese version of the nWo, he was one of the first chosen and is often seen as the leader of that group. It did require a heel turn, similar to Hollywood Hogan’s, to pull it off. The nWo group would later morph into Team 2000 and later Black New Japan. Chono remained in charge of the two follow-up groups. In 2005, he formed a very successful tag team with Tenzan. They won the IWGP Tag Team Championships. By 2007, Chono had moved into promoting, while still wrestling on occasion. He would form a Legends team in Japan that is often compared to TNA’s Main Event Mafia. The members of his Legends group included: Chono, Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Riki Choshu, AKIRA, and Shiro Koshinaka. In January of 2010, Chono made a break with New Japan and began working as a “journeyman” or “freelance” wrestler.
After receiving a solid training from Brad Rheingans, Verne Gagne and Masa Saito, Scott “Flash” Norton worked for Verne’s AWA during 1989. He eventually left there for the Pacific Northwest territory. There he continued with a lumberjack character that was first tried in the AWA. He changed from “Flash” to “Flapjack”. When he left Oregon, he did his first tour of Japan (New Japan). He became very popular, due to his strength and speed. He came to the attention of scouts from WCW and joined the company in 1993. Norton remained in Mid-Card Hell until 1996, when he joined the nWo. In 1996, Norton returned to New Japan to help create the Japanese version of the nWo. In 2006, Norton decided to become a freelance performer and promoter. He started Wild West Championship Wrestling (not to be confused with the rival to World Class Championship Wrestling in the Dallas area in the 1990s). He also worked with the HUSTLE promotion. By 2008, he went into semi-retirement. Within the last year, Norton had expressed interest in a return to the US to work for TNA.
After a very successful (if not controversial) basketball career, Rodman decided to expand his options. He purchased The Stark Club in Dallas and began to intermingle with various celebrities. He was brought into the nWo by Hollywood Hogan in 1999. His biggest match was against “Macho Man” Randy Savage at Road Wild 99. Rodman would return to wretling, in 2008, to win the first (and only) Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling. Rodman would later appear on The Apprentice, where he was “fired” when his alcohol issues were seen, by Donald Trump, as out of control. In recent years, it was announced that years of alcohol abuse had caused permanent brain damage to the former basketball stand-out. The extent of the damage was not revealed but it was said to be “severe”.
The Great Muta
Keiji Mutoh began his wrestling career in 1984. He went through several identities in his early career. To season him up, Keiji was sent to Florida to train under Hiro Matsuda (who trained Hulk Hogan and Lex Luger). He also did a short run in World Class, as the Super Black Ninja. His character was morphed into a tribute of The Great Kabuki. It was even pushed that “The Great Muta” was the son of The Great Kabuki. In fact, they were not related. Great Muta was brought into WCW in the late 80s and quickly rose to a top tier position in the company. His feuds with Sting and others were legendary. He worked for both WCW and New Japan for many years. He was a member of both the US and Japanese versions of the nWo. In 2002, Keiji Mutoh jumped ship from New Japan to All Japan. He would eventually rise to the position of President of the company. He resigned from that spot in 2011, after 9 years. The resignation was directly related to a backstage incident between Yoshikazu Taru and Nobukazu Hirai. The assault eventually led to Hirai suffering a stroke. Mutoh felt responsible and could not continue to hold the top spot. He agreed to stay on as a wrestler, trainer and member of the advisory board of All-Japan. Muta also made several US appearances in 2010 and 2011, mostly in California.
Not only was he a member of the nWo, but also the Latino World Order. After leaving WCW, Konnan spent quite some time in TNA. He became a key member of 3LiveKru (with Ron “R-Truth” Killings and B.G. “Road Dogg” James). After the Kru split, Konnan became the leader of the Latin American Xchange along with Homicide and Hernandez (later Salinas was added). Eventually, Konnan returned to Mexico. He is currently one of the top personalities in the AAA organization. Due to several severe health issues, he has mostly served as a manager to his Legion Extranjero (Foreign Legion) and other stables. He is also an advisor to the management of the AAA organization and a trainer for new talent.
Marcus Alexander Bagwell received his training in Florida from Dusty Rhodes, Mike Graham and Steve Lawler. He first worked under a mask as the Handsome Stranger in the Global Wrestling Federation (Dallas, Tx). I actually saw his first match and my little sister kept the rose he gave her for many years. After a short run in the GWF, Bagwell moved to the expanding WCW. He was teamed with The Patriot, 2 Cold Scorpio, Scotty Riggs and Tom Zenk. Eventually, he was recruited to join the nWo. Due to his recent body resculpturing, he was given the nickname of “Buff” Bagwell. He teamed with Scott Norton as “Vicious and Delicious”. Bagwell journeyed to Japan to help Scott Norton build the nWo Japan faction. When the nWo ran its course, Bagwell joined the New Blood clique to battle The Millionaire’s Club. When WCW closed down, Bagwell did a very short run in WWE. In 2001, he accepted a buy-out of his AOL Time Warner contract and came to the then-WWF. His career with WWF/E ended after a Double Powerbomb from the APA (Bradshaw and Ron “Farooq” Simmons). There were claims that the injury that Bagwell suffered was fake and he was trying to get more money. That was never proven. After the debacle with WWF/E, Bagwell moved into the indy circuit. He has made a few appearances in TNA in recent years. He has also had a sporatic acting career. Most notable, he joined fellow nWo teammates, Booker T and Scott Steiner, for the “Wrestling with Demons” episode in the third season of Charmed.
He was trained by The Sheik and Dr. Jerry Graham, Jr. He began his career working for The Sheik in his Detroit promotion. Eventually, he would move to Memphis and then on to WCW. In WCW, he joined his brother Rick (Rob Rechsteiner) to form one of the top tag teams of the era. In 1992, Scott and Rick moved to the WWF. They took tag team gold there, as well. After 2 years in the WWF, the Steiners took a short break. In 1995, the brothers showed up in ECW. After less than six months, the brothers resigned with WCW.
When they returned, the brothers took the tag belts from Harlem Heat, only to drop them to Booker T and Stevie Ray after only three days. When the nWo formed, the Steiners initially feuded with Hall and Nash. During 1997-98, Steiner did a major body modification. He muscled up tremendously and got rid of his dark mullet hairstyle in favor of a close cropped blonde hairstyle with a Fu Manchu mustache and goatee. He began to have issues with his brother, Rick. They would eventually split and feud. Scott was brought into the nWo as “Big Poppa Pump” and “The Genetic Freak”, names he still uses to this day. He also used the nicknames of “White Thunder” and “Superstar”. The latter was an homage to a childhood idol, “Superstar” Billy Graham. He eventually took over the “muscle” position formerly held by Scott Norton. He would move past the nWo to have a very successful singles career, including winning the WCW World Title.
After WCW folded, Scott worked with World Wrestling All-Stars, before returning to the WWE in 2002. He spent the next two years with the company. He has a very forgettable feud with HHH over the World title. HIs increased bulk made him much slower than in the past. Fans booed him unmercifully and rumors of steroid abuse ran rampant. NO PROOF OF STEROID USE OR ABUSE WAS EVER SUBSTANTIATED. After teaming with and then feuding with Andrew “Test” Martin, Scott was sidelined with an injury. During the down time in 2004, the WWE negotiated a release for Steiner, which he accepted.
After a year in the indies, Scott accepted an offer from his old friend, Jeff Jarrett, to join TNA. He aligned himself with Jarrett and later Christian Cage, serving as a bodyguard to both. In 2007, he reunited with his brother, Rick, for a short run in the company. Scott stayed near mid-card until 2008, when he joined the Main Event Mafia. The collection of Legends ran rough-shod over their competition for close to two years. After the Main Event Mafia disbanded, Steiner went into a short feud with Bobby Lashley.
After the Lashley feud, Scott left TNA to take a tour of Puerto Rico. Scott had nearly died there, several years earlier. He still sports a huge scar on his side from the surgery that saved his life. He returned to TNA from WWC in January, 2011. He helped train Crimson, only to later feud with him. He also eventually joined the Immortal group. In recent weeks, he has served as Kurt Angle’s personal trainer.
The “American Dream” has worked both the face and heel side of the wrestling fence. It surprised everyone when he accepted a position in the nWo. His association with the rogue group was quite short-lived. It began when RHodes seconded Larry Zbyszko to the ring for Larry Z’s fight against Scott Hall. At hte end of the match, Louie Spicoli rushed in to attack Larry Z. Rhodes went after Spicoli and then seemed ready to attack Hall. Instead, he blasted Larry with the Bionic Elbow and then showed off an nWo T-shirt. The heel turn was the second-biggest, only behind the Hulk-to-Hollywood Hogan switch.
Eventually, Rhodes would jump to ECW and feud with “King of Old School”, Steve Corino. After ECW folded, Rhodes opened his own Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling. The organization closed down after several years. It had many veterans on the roster, as well as several outstanding rookies. Dusty would then turn up in TNA during their earliest days. He was the booker and writer for TNA for some time. He resigned from TNA when he was asked, by Dixie Carter, to join a creative writing team, instead of doing solo work. Since leaving TNA, Dusty had gone into semi-retirement. He entered the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007. The Rhodes name continues in wrestling through Dusty’s two sons: Dustin aka Goldust and Cody. Dusty’s daughter, Kristen, is a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.
The auxillary member of the nWo worked in Mexico as Madonna’s Boyfriend and in the WWF as Rad Radford. He also had a great run in ECW. Louie was a good friend to Scott Hall and Hall used him in nWo-related storylines. He was never made an official member but often worked with early members of the group. Sadly, Louie’s life came to an abrupt end at the tender age of 27. While stressing over his mother’s cancer battle, Louie accidentally overdosed from a mix of Soma and wine. He died on February 15, 1998.
Brian was trained by Japanese legends, Tatsumi Fujinama and Antonio Inoki. He began his career in the Pacific Northwest. He spent four years there before joining the WWF in 1990. He was brought in as Crush, the third member of the Demolition team. He would eventually take over for Ax (Bill Eadie), who served more as a manager, due to an injury. After abour a year, Brian returned to the Pacific Northwest. He returned to WWF in 1992. This time, the WWE played up his tan and physique as he was billed from Kona, Hawaii. He embraced the Islander mind-set and changed from Demolition black leathers to bright singlets. He went back and forth between heel and face during the next six years. The Hawaiian persona was down-played when Crush joined the Nation of Domination. Brian left the WWF in protest of the infamous “Montreal Screwjob” of his friend, Bret Hart. Brian showed up in WCW, a few months later, as an instant member of the nWo. He would be partnered with several nWo regulars, before settling on Bryan “Adam Bomb” Clark as his “Kronik” partner. They won the tag team championships, twice, before WCW folded. Kronik had a brief run in the WWE, before moving on to World Wrestling All-Stars. Later on, Brian tried his hand at boxing, while still wrestling. His career came to an end after a match pitting Kronik against Bill Goldberg and Keiji Mutoh (Great Muta). Brian suffered a severe spinal injury in that match. On August 13, 2007, Brian was found unconcious in bed by his wife. Brian was pronounced dead at the scene, his home in Florida. The cause of his death was never clearly stated but a “coronary incident” is listed as the cause of death. Sources stated that some steroids that he had taken, several years earlier, may have damaged his heart, but that was never confirmed by the medical examiner.
Bret had a tremendous career in the WWE/WWF. He went from a tag team specialist to one of the top singles performers in the company’s history. In 1997, he accepted a lucrative offer from Ted Turner’s WCW to “jump ship”. That led to the infamous “Montreal Screwjob” and a dozen years of bitter hostility towards Shawn Michaels and the WWE. Eric Bischoff claimed, one day after the incident, that Hart was not only coming to WCW but he would be the next member of the nWo. Hart showed up on December 15, 1997, but didn’t immediately joined the renegade squad. That wouldn’t happen until April, 1998, when he turned on a face Randy Savage and help Hollywood Hogan regain the WCW World title. Hart chose to start as an associate member of the group but eventually joined, full time. Hart took some time off and returned as a face. He won the World title and then partnered with Goldberg to win the tag titles, making him a double champion. During a match at Starrcade ’99, Hart took an accidental Thrust Kick to the head from Goldberg. That kick effectively ended his in-ring career, at least for many years.
The Disciple (Brutus Beefcake)
Ed Leslie began his career in the 1970s. He spent several years as the “brother” of Hulk Hogan. The two have remained friends to this day. Ed entered the WWF in 1984, shortly after Hulk Hogan. He was given the gimmick of Brutus Beefcake. He was managed by “Luscious” Johnny V(aliant). He was eventually given “The Barber” gimmick to push his heat. He would often cut the hair of his opponents, after beating them. At Wrestlemania III, he appeared twice. First, he was part of a tag team with Greg “The Hammer” Valentine. The two partners seemed to have some friction. Beefcake then returned to aid Roddy Piper in his war against “Adorable” Adrian Adonis. Over time, Beefcase would get his own talk segment, known as “The Barber Shop”. It was on that program that Shawn Michaels turned heel and attacked his partner, Marty Jannetty. Beefcake’s career would come to a sudden stop, in 1990, when he was injured in a parasailing accident. The driver of the boat took off before all parties were ready and Ed took a knee to the face from the parasailer. The accidental strike shattered Ed’s face. It required extensive reconstructive surgery. Many felt Ed’s career was done, for good.
After nearly 2 years, Beefcake returned, sporting a protective mask. The WWF broke kayfabe to explain the actual events that had sidelined the popular star for so long. Brutus stayed active until shortly after Wrestlemania IX. He and Hulk Hogan had been feuding with Ted DiBiase, Sr. and I.R.S (Mike Rotunda). Brutus simply vanished for some time.
When Ed showed up, a year later, in WCW, he had to find a new name. “Brutus Beefcake” was trademarked and Ed couldn’t use it. Hogan came up with the idea of using his old nickname for Ed “Brother Bruti”. Over the next five years, Ed went through numerous identities, from “The Butcher” to “Zodiac” to “The Booty Man” to “The Man with No Name”. By June, 1999, Ed was phased out of WCW and went into semi-retirement.
Ed made a few appearance between 2000 and 2007. He also He also worked as a toll booth attendant. In 2008, Brutus was recruited by his old friend, Hulk Hogan, to assist him in the reality program, Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling. From there, Brutus (now able to used the Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake identity) toured the country. He was one of the first guests at Pro Wrestling Destination. Beefcake still takes occasional bookings but is enjoying semi-retirement, once again.
Rick’s last name was actually “Rood”. He was trained for the business by the legendary Eddie Sharkey, the same man who trained The Iron Sheik, The Road Warriors, Nikita Koloff and dozens of others. He started his wrestling career in 1983. His early career was spent in Georgia, Florida and the Mid-Atlantic territories. In 1987, Rude was brought in as part of the mid-80s “Hulkamania Expansion”. He rose quickly and eventually took the Intercontinental Championship from the Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania V. Rude would lose the title back to Ultimate Warrior at SummerSlam 1989. The two would feud, off and on, for the next several months. Rude even challenged Ultimate Warrior for the WWF title, after Ultimate Warrior defeated Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania VI. Shortly after that feud, Rude mysteriously vanished from the WWF.
After spending a year on the indy circuit, Rude showed up in WCW. He became a charter member of the Dangerous Alliance, led by Paul E. Dangerously (Paul Heyman). Rude held several titles, including the short-lived WCW International Championship. That title was a renaming of the NWA World Championship after WCW lost the rights to call the championship that Rude held the “NWA World Championship”. Rude would trade the championship with Sting until a missed landing off a Suicide Dive injured Rude’s back. The corner of Rude’s back was driven into a corner of the ramp platform. Rude would have to surrender the title, which was “stripped” from him after he smashed Sting in the face during a title match. Rude then announced his retirement from the sport in 1994.
The retirement was not permanent. Rude collected on a lucrative Lloyd’s of London insurance policy and took two full years off to allow various injuries heel and to re-energize himself. In 1996, he arrived in ECW, as a masked man. Rude tormented Shane Douglas for some time before revealing his true identity. Rude both feuded with and teamed with Shane Douglas during his short stay in ECW. Rude was later brought over to WWF/E as the “insurance policy” for Degeneration X. Rude chose to remain a manager, so as not to reinjure his back. Rude holds the distinction of being the only man to show up on both Monday Night Raw and Nitro on the same night, prior to the WCW/WWE merger (Novemer 17, 1997). Raw was on tape and Rude was making his final appearance with D-X. At the same time, Rude (now sporting a mustache) ripped into D-X and the WWF. Rude was quickly placed in the position of manager of the nWo. Rude expressed a desire, behind the scenes, to return to ring action. He was training for a return while recovering from an injury in 1998-99. He died on April 20, 1999 of heart failure. The heart failure was triggered, according to the medical examiner from an overdose of “mixed medications”.
Mike Bollea is the real-life nephew of Terry “Hulk Hogan” Bollea and the cousin to Michael “Mike Awesome” Alfonso. He was trained for action by the great Boris Malenko, with additional training coming from the WCW Power Plant. He began his career, in Japan, as Horace Boulder. Eventually, he did a forgettable run in the WWF as “The Predator”. In the early 90s, Horace returned to Japan. In April, 1998, Horace made his first appearance in WCW, under the name Horace Boulder. He was placed under the tutelage of Raven in his Flock. Horace’s career turned the corner on October 19, 1998. On Nitro, Hollywood Hogan explained to the world that Horace was the son of his dead borther. Hogan showed a compassionate side that had been hidden under the “Hollywood” persona. Hogan then offered membership to his nephew in the elite group. It was a ploy, as Hollywood then attacked Horace witha steel chair. He turned it into a promo against “Warrior”, who Hogan was set to feud with. Despite the horrible attack, Horace joined the nWo, a few days later, at Halloween Havoc. Horace stayed with WCW until it merged with WWE in 2001. Horace was released from the WWF/E in 2002 and worked the indy circuit in both the US and Japan. He is currently semi-retired.
Larry Pfohl had a good football career but decided to try professional wrestling. He received training from Hiro Matsuda (who trained Hulk Hogan), Bob Roop and Barry Windham. He spent a couple years in Florida before moving to Jim Crockett Promotions. He was brought into the Four Horsemen group, as a replacement for Ole Anderson. He wrestled with the group, as a heel, until he decided to challenge Ric Flair for the World title. He then became one of the top faces in the company. He would then feud with the group for almost a full year. From there, he went after and won the United States title. In 1991, he took the next step when he beat his old mentor, Barry Windham, for the World title. Lex took on Harley Race as his manager. Shortly after, Luger began to have issues with WCW Management. Since he had fulfilled the required number of matches in his contract, Luger simply sat at home until just before his contract ended. He returned for a final match, where he dropped the World title to Sting.
Luger left WCW and began working for Titan Sports, parent company to the WWF. Vince McMahon, who had become enamored with the sport of bodybuilding, decided to create the World Bodybuilding Federation (WBF). Shortly before the WBF’s kick off, Luger was severely injured in a motorcycle accident. The loss of Luger was seen as one of the key factors that caused the WBF to fail.
After recovering from his injuries, Luger was placed in the WWF as “The Narcissist”. Luger began to utilize the steel plates and rods in his arm (inserted after the motorcycle accident) as a weapon. He still utilized the Human Torture Rack as his finisher, abandoning The Piledriver aka Attitude Adjustment (the first move to utilize that name). After a few months, Vince and Creative decided to turn Luger face and convert him into a replacement for Hulk Hogan. Luger adopted a patriotic gimmick and feuded with Yokozuna. While he came very close, Luger was never able to wrest the championship away from Yokozuna. Luger, along with Bret Hart, were the only two men to ever share the Royal Rumble win. They both faced Yokozuna at Wrestlemania X. After Hart took the title from Yokozuna, Luger was shifted into mid-card status.
Luger contacted his friend, Sting, in WCW, and expressed his discontent with the WWF. Sting helped engineer Luger’s return to WCW. Eric Bischoff, who was in charge of WCW, didn’t initially want Luger back. Sting explained Luger’s worth to Bischoff and Eric saw the potential to “trump” WWF. Just 8 days after appearing at SummerSlam, Luger showed up on WCW. This broke with the norm in the business, which usually had a wrestler bonded under a “No Compete Clause” for up to 90 days. Luger went heel, rather quickly, and joined the Dungeon of Doom and later aided Kevin Sullivan in his campaign to end Hulkamania. Sullivan and Ric Flair struck a deal to unite the Four Horsemen and the Dungeon of Doom, calling the united force “The Alliance to Destroy Hulkamania”. Despite the negative character that Luger was portraying, he and Sting still remained close friends. He would return to Sting’s side after “The Alliance” (which was a combination of the Four Horsemen and the Dungeon of Doom exiled Luger for failing to defeat Hogan and Randy Savage. After the end of The Alliance, Luger began to feud with various members of the nWo. After almost a year of feuding with the outlaw group, Luger accepted an offer to join the nWo Wolfpac splinter group. He teamed, quite often, with Buff Bagwell as the so-called “Totally Buff” tag team.
After the nWo ran its course in WCW, Luger continued to feud with various stars until WCW folded in 2001. Since then he has made occasional appearances in TNA and on the indy circuit. Luger also embraced christianity and toured the country to “spread the word”. In 2007, Luger suffered a spinal stroke that left him in a quadriplegic state for more than two years. Through extensive physical rehabilitation, Luger was able to regain the majority of movement in his legs. He still has limitations in his arms. In early 2011, Luger was offered a position in WWE. He works behind-the-scenes, mostly focusing on the Wellness Program.
Glenn Gilbertti received his training from Steve Lawler. He started wrestling in 1991. In 1992, he had short runs in both the WWF and the USWA. He would then spend the next couple of years working the East Coast and Southern Corridor indies. He joined WCW, in 1995, as mid-carder “Disco Inferno”. The name came from a very popular song of the 1970s, which was featured in the film “Saturday Night Fever”. He was instantly hated and the crowd usually cut loose with “Disco Sucks” chants. This instant heat brought him to the attention of management and his star rose quickly. He would get a face turn and push which led to several runs with the Television title. When that push ended, he was turned heel, again, and teamed with Alex Wright as “The Dancing Fools”. When the team failed to go anywhere, they split and Disco joined the nWo Wolfpac. When WCW went through a “remodel”, the nWo was phased out and The New Blood and Millionaire’s Club were formed. Disco joined the New Blood. Later, he would shift to the Filthy Animals faction and finally a reteaming with Alex Wright as the “Boogie Knights”.
After WCW folded, Glenn worked with World Wrestling All-Stars. He joined Jeff Jarrett, in 2003, in TNA. He would spend two years with the organization before going into semi-retirement. He has made a few appearances in TNA and works numerous conventions and reunion shows, as well as part-time status in the indy circuit.
David Flair wanted to be a state trooper in his home state of North Carolina. Pressure from his father and wrestling fans led to David entering the business. He was trained by his father, Ric Flair. David began in WCW by teaming with his famous father. He shocked the wrestling world, at Superbrawl IX, when he turned on his dad and joined the nWo Wolfpac. Due to negative feedback on his skills, David was pulled off the road and sent to the WCW Power Plant for further training. WCW took advantage of the training and filmed numerous vignettes of David at the Power Plant.
After “graduation” from the Power Plant, David was awarded the US title after his father, Ric (as WCW President) stripped Scott Steiner of the title. In August, 1999, Ric Flair was pulled off television after backstage conflicts with Eric Bischoff. Within a few weeks, David lost his valet, Samantha, to Billy Kidman and the US title to Chris Benoit. Ric patched things up, at least temporarily, with Bischoff and he returned with Arn Anderson in October to help David in his feud with “Diamond” Dallas Page. Flair feuded with DDP, his wife, Kimberly, Chris Kanyon and Bam Bam Bigelow during this feud. David would later bring in Daffney and Crowbar to assist him. After that feud played out, David joined the New Blood faction and partnered up with Miss Hancock (Stacy Kiebler). That relationship fizzled when (storywise), Miss Hancock became pregnant and David was not the father. When the storyline finished, David left WCW TV for good. After WCW folded, David worked with World Wrestling All-Stars and Ohio Valley Wrestling. In 2002, Flair was invited by Vince Russo to join TNA. He was part of Russo’s Sports Entertainment Xtreme group, at first. He would later leave that group to form Next Generation with Brian (Christopher) Lawler and Eric Watts. In 2003, he left TNA. Flair worked the indies, part time, while helping his father train Reid Flair, David’s younger brother. David continued to work the indies until 2008, when he retired from wrestling. He was there for his father’s induction into the WWE Hall of Fame but has rarely been seen since.
Samantha (Torrie Wilson)
Toriie’s career was the stuff of legend. She was sitting in the crowd at a WCW show with her then-boyfriend. Scouts saw her and invited her backstage. She was asked if she would walk out as a valet to Scott Steiner, that night. Kevin Nash saw Torrie and felt she would be perfect for a “seduction storyline” to help turn David Flair against his father, Ric. Torrie was renamed “Samantha” and sent to seduce the younger Flair. Both Samantha and David joined the nWo. After a short run with the nWo, Samantha was pulled off television. She returned in the Fall of 1999 under her real name, Torrie Wilson. She was involved in numerous storylines through the end of WCW. She then went to WWE, as part of the “Invasion” angle. She got into a short feud with Dawn Marie during the storyline.
Later, Torrie would be one of the first of the WWE Divas to pose for Playboy. Torrie would never win the Divas or Women’s title during her six-year WWE career. She would, however, feud with most of the major stars. She helped to elevate numerous female wrestlers to the top tier of the Divas division. She left the WWE when her contract expired on May 8, 2008. She made a one-night return at Wrestlemania XXV. After television, Torrie began an acting career. Her biggest appearance, so far, was as part of the NBC reality show, “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Outta Here”. She finished second, losing to Lou Diamond Phillips. She also launched a clothing line known as “Officially Jaded” with Nick Mitchell (Mitch of Spirit Squad fame).
After beginning his career in the Texas indies as Super Collider, Lane Huffman joined his brother, Booker, to form the Ebony Experience in Dallas’ GWF group. They were recruited to join WCW as Harlem Heat. The team had a tremendous run in the tag team division, winning the tag belts 10 times. Stevie would also win the WCW Television title when Booker T was sidelined with an injury. He would eventually feud with his brother when Booker returned. Stevie would join nWo Hollywood and be placed in various tag teams. When the nWo factions merged back into a single unit, Stevie left. He reunited with his brother, Booker T, to feud with Chris Kanyon, Bam Bam Bigelow and “Diamond” Dallas Page. The brother duo began to have issues when Midnight, a female bodybuilder, was introduced as a member of the team. Stevie would eventually turn on his brother and join forces with Big T (Ahmed Johnson), Kash and J. Biggs (Clarence Mason). Stevie would win the rights to the name, Harlem Heat, and was planning to form the new version with Big T. However, the trio of associates left WCW and Stevie reconciled with his sibling. Stevie then moved to commentary on WCW Thunder. Stevie lost a “retirement” match to Scott Steiner in 2000. Soon after, he left WCW. He worked a few shows for World Wrestling All-Stars before retiring from the business. He used the money he had earned to open a garage in Houston. He would also partner with Booker to form the “Booker T and Stevie Ray Pro Wrestling Academy”. Stevie currently runs the academy, while his brother works for WWE as a commentator.
He was trained for the business by his father, Jerry Jarrett, as well as Tojo Yamamoto and “Nature Boy” Buddy Landell. He started out working for his father in the CWF, later USWA. Jeff had long blonde locks and was an instant hit, especially with the female fans. He would turn heel in 1993 when he joined the WWF. His gimmick was that of a country singer-turned-wrestler. He came out in gawdy Porter Waggoner-like outfits and lip syncing to his own music. He would win the European, Intercontinental and Tag Team titles in the WWF. He also won the NWA North American title during the time when the NWA and WWF worked together to co-promote shows. During the middle of his runs with WWF, Jarrett worked for a year with WCW (1996-97). He would hold the United States title. He was also inducted into the prestigious Four Horseman. He would feud with Steve “Mongo” McMichael after Jeff left the Horsemen. Steve would take the US title from Jeff, but Jeff left WCW with a bigger prize, Steve’s wife, Debra.
Jeff would return to WCW in 1999. He helped found the final WCW incarnation of the nWo (nWo 2000). The group disbanded after only a short time together. Following the demise of WCW, Jeff spent some time with World Wrestling All-Stars before joining forces with his father, Jerry, to form Total Non-Stop Action aka TNA Wrestling. He has been a key player with the organization since day one.
Ron and Don Harris
The twin brothers were trained by Rocky Monatana and have worked for almost every known wrestling organization on the planet. They began their career as the Bruise Brothers and worked for several indy promotions before being offered a position with Smoky Mountain Wrestling in 1993. Beginning in 1994, the brothers went back and forth between WWF and ECW, several times. During their first run in the WWF, their name was altered to the Blu Brother, Eli and Jacob. They were managed by their “Uncle Zebekiah” (Dutch Mantel). In 1996, they returned to ECW as the Bruise Brothers but didn’t stay long. When they returned to the WWF, later in the year, they were brought in as the Grimm Twins. Those characters went nowhere, so they were repackaged as Skull (Don) and 8-Ball (Ron). They formed the Disciples of Apocalypse with Chainz (cousin, Brian Lee) and Crush. When the DoA was disbanded, the two brothers continued to work as a tag team until they left in 1999.
When they joined WCW, Eric Bischoff decided to take shots at Vince McMahon so he renamed the brothers as Gerald (Ron) and Patrick (Don). The names were meant to represent Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson, Vince’s right hand men. The duo was known as Creative Control (also a jab at Vince). After a few weeks, the brothers finally got the chance to use their real names as part of nWo 2000. After WCW, the brothers worked again in the indies before joining their old friend, Jeff Jarrett, in TNA. Don retired from active competition in 2005 and has worked for TNA as a road agent, on-screen Head of Security and consultant for the group. Ron left wrestling and became involved with Christian music. He currently worked for the record company, Beach Street Records.
Hiro Saito (nWo Japan)
Hiroyuki Saito began his career in 1978. He is credited as the creator of the Senton Splash. He was a contral performer for New Japan for many years. He held both the WWF and NWA World Junior Heavyweight titles. He was a charter member of nWo Japan. He left New Japan in 2005 to help Tatsumi Fujiwara with his Muga organization. He also worked for several indy groups throughout the Far East. He is currently semi-retired.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan (nWo Japan)
He began his career in 1993, mostly working independent groups in Europe. In 1995, he joined New Japan. When he joined NJPW, he changed from his given name of Hiroyoshi Yamamoto to Hiroyoshi Tenzan. He became an outstanding tag team specialist (winning the tag belts on 8 occasions, with 3 different partners) and singles star. He also had brief runs in WCW and WWF. He helped form nWo Japan in the late 90s. In recent years, he has worked with both NJPW and AJPW in Japan. After the nWo, he formed a heel group known as G.B.H. Tenzan was forced out of wrestling for 15 months, beginning in 2009,due to an injury. Since returning, he has continued to compete on a regular basis. In August, he wrestled in the 2011 G1 Climax. He finished with a respectable 5 wins, 4 losses.
Satoshi Kojima (nWo Japan)
Satoshi began his career in judo. When he learned of the financial opportunities that professional wrestling offered, he switched sports. He was trained by Animal Hamaguchi, Kensuke Sasaki, and Hiroshi Hase. He began his career in New Japan, where his first opponent was Hiroyoshi Yamamoto (Tenzan). He often worked in tag teams, both as a part of nWo Japan and as one half of the Bull Powers (with Nakamishi). In 2002, he made a surprising move over to All Japan. He worked there from 2002 until leaving in 2010. When he left he returned to New Japan. On October 10th, he is scheduled to fight his old foe/partner, Hiroyoshi Tenzan.
AKIRA aka Akira Nogami(nWo Japan)
AKIRA spent the first two decades of his career as a staple in New Japan. It was seen as shocking when he jumped to All Japan in 2004. After 3 years, he returned to New Japan. In 2010, he left New Japan to join Yoshihiro Tajiri’s SMASH Promotion. Besides being one of their top stars, AKIRA also helps with training of younger talent.
Big Titan (nWo Japan)
Rick Bognar began his career in FMW in 1989. He would team with Mike “Gladiator” Awesome in the company’s Strongest Tag Team Tournament. At the same time, he won the World’s Martial Arts World Championship. He would join Tenryu’s WAR organization in 1995. He became part of one of the most disliked storylines of all times when he was recruited by the WWF, in 1996, to portray the second Razor Ramon (after Scott Hall had defected to WCW). He fans instantly rejected the characters of Razor and Diesel (played by Glenn “Kane” Jacobs). Rick was quickly removed from WWF TV. Rick returned to Japan to finish out his wrestling career. He retired to Calgary, in 2001, and opened a wrestling school. The school closed in 2003. Rick has enjoyed retirement since the school closed. He has very little contact with the wrestling business, currently.
Tatsutoshi Goto (nWo Japan)
He began his career in December, 1982, in Japan. An avid weight lifter, he did very well in the annual Young Lions Cup tournaments. In 1986, he made it to the finals, before losing to the man who would become Jushin “Thunder” Liger. He quickly established himself as a tag team specialist, winning titles in both New Japan and WAR. He was enlisted into nWo Japan when they began their expansion. He formed a moderately successful tag team with Hiro Saito known as the Blonde Outlaws. Goto is still working regularly. In July, 2010, he won a six man title with Yoshihiro Takayama and Daisuke Sekimoto.
Michiyoshi Ohara(nWo Japan)
A frequent partner to Goto (see above), Ohara began his career in 1990. He joined New Japan, where he would wrestle for the next 14 years. He joined Goto and others in nWo Japan. Wrestling fans were surprised, in 2004, when Ohara’s contract was not renewed with New Japan. For the next 3 years, Ohara worked as a journeyman or freelance wrestler. In 2007, he accepted an offer from Inoki Genuine Federation. A year later, he was forced to retire, due to his injuries.
The New World Order of Wrestling has boasted some of the best and brightest of wrestling stars over its 15-year history. From Hall, Nash and Hogan sprang one of the top groups in the history of the business. Versions of the group have bridged out from WCW to Japan and even to the WWF/E. If Nash does, in fact, create a new version of the nWo (by whatever name), I can only hope that it lives up to the legacy of the Black and White, Black and Red and the other versions of the elite group.