The New World Order has always been for life. Now, the faction's memory will live on well beyond in the WWE Hall of Fame.
ESPN's Marc Raimondi reported Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Sean Waltman will be inducted in April as the "core" members of the nWo. Hogan, Hall and Nash were the three founding members of the faction, with Waltman joining for a brief time from late 1996 to early 1998 before returning to WWE.
"You've got four guys that were basically going at Vince as a shoot, pushing hard to actually try to take over," Hogan told ESPN. "Not put him out of business but basically take his spot and be the No. 1 company. All of a sudden, you're inducting four guys in the Hall of Fame that 20 years ago were trying to stab you in the back. It's like Vince says: In the WWE, never say never."
The nWo is the first announced inductee in the 2020 WWE Hall of Fame class. The 2019 class included D-Generation X and the Hart Foundation, so it makes sense to continue the faction trend with one that changed the business forever.
The nWo formed at the 1996 Bash at the Beach pay-per-view, with Hogan, at the time the most over babyface who had ever existed, turning on longtime frenemy Randy "Macho Man" Savage and joining Hall and Nash, known to that point as The Outsiders. In the pre-Internet era, Hall and Nash were hyped as rogue actors who were not under contract with WCW.
"The reason why this worked was the crowd was under the impression both Diesel and Razor Ramon from the WWE were going down to Turner and basically taking over, gonna take over their program," Nash said. "And then when Hulk joined—he was basically the standard of WWE—you couldn't have had a better situation. You had two top guys, and then you had the face of WWE all joining."
The halcyon days of the nWo were defined by worked-shoot promos and devious acts of heelishness that often incensed fans to the point they threw items in the ring. The faction grew in notoriety and numbers after its debut, allowing WCW to win the ratings war against WWE for the better part of two years.
Seeing the popularity of the nWo and reality-based storylines, WWE also pivoted to its beloved Attitude Era. It's unclear what the wrestling world would have looked like without the nWo, but the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock and D-X likely owe a bit of gratitude to the roads paved by the nWo.
"The nWo was kind of the epicenter of that Attitude Era," Nash said. "It was the first thing. It shifted Vince's way of thinking. We built the Saturn rocket, we put it on the launchpad, and Vince came and kicked us off. Before we got in the capsule, he said, 'I'll take this from here.' He took the Attitude Era, and he took it another step further."
Of course, that same faction ultimately wound up being part of WCW's downfall. The popularity of the nWo led to a wild expansion that eventually included numerous iterations on WCW television, diluting the product in convoluted storylines that often had disappointing payoffs.
After WCW shuttered, the nWo had a brief reunion in the early 2000s on WWE programming that also failed to capture the magic of the original. For that initial stretch, though, there may have been no hotter heel faction in wrestling history.