A virus can be defined as “a corrupting influence on morals or the intellect; poison.” If you think about it, WCW was a perfect host. It had some mostly decent talent, some true super stars, good rivalries, good story telling, and honest to God, great matches. But the Early 90s weren’t too kind to WCW, countless missteps made by the creative heads dropped viewership and attendance to live shows. When Eric Bischoff took over, he wanted to do something that was completely different from the competition, so he injected Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan into the program and wanted these three men to take over and tell a different type of story. As the old adage goes: “be careful what you wish for.”
“Oh! I just learned about this! It’s called foreshadowing!” – 8 yr old me.
“Oh!… you’re back. I thought after the previous article and the meds, you would have gone away.” – Present Me.
“Haha! Nope still here, and actually there’s a lot more room now that everyone else vanished.”- 8 yr old me
“Jeez, I hope everyone’s ok…” -Present Me.
“…” -8 yr old me.
I’m getting an “Identity” flick vibe from 8yr Old Me
“…Right, then! Back to it!” -Present Me.
After Bash at the Beach, The NWO really picked up momentum. Not only were they the most hated individuals in the promotion but the reality/shoot take of their attacks on WCW wrestlers and spray painting NWO across their bodies, caused even more hatred from fans at every show. At almost every occasion, the fans would throw trash into the ring as the NWO were giving their promos.
“Yea! We were pissed! I would have wanted to throw trash, too!” 8yr Old Me
“You change your stance on trash throwing after your high school freshman talent show.” Present Me
Can’t believe WCW allowed this much trash in the ring.
The fact of the matter is that people were tuning in. The fans loved to hate the NWO, Hogan in particular, who was now going by Hollywood Hogan, wearing black and white instead of his red and yellow gear, and once he won the WCW Heavyweight Championship at Hog Wild, Hogan spray painted the Belt “NWO”, to signify their take over.
“Man, I remember kids spray painting NWO on school walls because they “claimed” NWO “ PM
“Not me! I’m all WCW!” 8YOM
“How’s the working out for you?” PM
“… I get picked on… a lot. It’s not a good time to be a nice guy.” 8YOM
“Not sure if it helps but, eventually, you get to side with another group of people who run under the name of the Four-mer faction that used to run the place.” PM
On top is the faction we deserved to go against the NWO, on the bottom is what we got… Frikkin Mongo…
NWO shirts not only peppered the crowd in attendance of live recordings, but almost always outnumbered any other wrestling shirt. As their popularity grew, so did their numbers and influence, even getting a referee, Nick Patrick, on their payroll.
ACTUAL Picture of Nick Patrick, I swear this isn’t Danny McBride. Although, NWO Bound and Down, anyone?
By now, the WWF may have had all the ingredients to begin the Attitude Era but they hadn’t been put together quite just yet, leaving WCW as the only wrestling company in the US that blended reality with kayfabe in a manner that was gaining a lot of attention.
Attitude Era wasn’t quite ripe, yet.
Around this time, there were a few new recruits for the NWO: Ted Dibiase, the Giant and long time friend of Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, Syxx. WCW, who at this time was represented by Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Lex Luger and Sting, would get another chance at the NWO at Fall Brawl: WarGames. A week before the event on Monday Nitro, the NWO teased a new member that was hiding in a limo outside the arena. When Lex Luger was called out to the parking lot by a ref (Nick Patrick, of course), he was attacked by the individual hiding in the Limo who turned out to be, none other than: Sting wearing black and white face paint.
To be fair, it was a nice limo.
Needless to say, this put a strain on the WCW team, as they realized they didn’t have a fourth member they could trust to replace Sting. At the event Sting swore it wasn’t him but no one, not even the announcers, believed him. So when War Games began, no one knew who’s side he would be on. As the match, which consisted of a long cage surrounding two rings and each team having their members come out one at a time, progressed, we saw NWO use their numbers game to overpower team WCW. Then, Sting showed up and began beating his WCW teammates.
But then the real Sting showed up.
He was wearing similar face paint as the phony Sting, but put a quick beating to Fake Sting and whichever NWO member stood in his way. Once he made his point, that it was NOT him who beat down Luger a week before, nor did he betray WCW, he left his teammates to get beaten. Turning his back on WCW, as WCW had turned their back on him.
“Every night I burn, Dream the crow black dream!” I uh… I was a big fan of the Crow.
Fun piece of trivia: WWF had previously done a storyline with a duplicate Undertaker that wasn’t well received but did that stop them from trying it again? Nope. Soon after Kevin Nash and Scott Hall made their debut as the Outsiders, WWF used a heel Jim Ross storyline, who even tried a shoot angle, to bring back Razor Ramon and Diesel, the former aliases of Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. Only it wasn’t Scott Hall and Kevin Nash in the roles, but Rick Bognar and Glenn Jacobs.
I think I bought this version at the dollar store
“ Hey, little buddy! Remember the scary Dentist you mentioned last time?!…” PM
“…THIS is what happened to that guy!” PM
“Wow! Talk about unoriginal. He’s not even scary anymore. He’s scary tall, but that’s about it. It’s a shame they never did anything with him..” 8YOM
“ Patience, little buddy… ” PM
They didn’t last long but it is interesting to know that WCW ended up doing a better version of the duplicate or impostor and actually use it to benefit a storyline. In this case, to drive away the Icon And homegrown hero Sting.
Seriously, it was a great story! The matches were… ok. But people weren’t necessarily tuning in for the matches, they wanted to see how and when the NWO would get their comeuppance. The seeds were planted for an eventual avenging hero to emerge but the reign and reach of the NWO would only continue to extend.
This is only 10% of the NWO roster by the end of 1998.
And while the main focus was on the NWO, its not to say there weren’t other storylines and better matches happening at that time.
WCW Cruiserweights and other Fantastic Beasts…