Almost Foolproof – A Look Back At The nWo

Mark Madden

ALMOST FOOLPROOF

Fans accurately remember the nWo invasion as a cataclysmic event that turned the entire wrestling business on its ear.

But it could have been so much more. Should have been.

The nWo angle was sabotaged in two major ways: Dilution, then the split. Its shelf life was cut by months, maybe years.

The nWo was initially perceived as an elite force, Green Berets in wrestling gear. The quantity was small, the quality high. The nWo should have been limited to ex-WWE wrestlers for a lot longer. That was the original deception. That’s why it worked.

Guys like the Giant joined. Not a star. Still isn’t. Buff Bagwell. Cool hats. Not a star. Big Bubba Rogers couldn’t be The Boss Man, so why bother? Scott Norton. Not a star. Brian Adams. Ditto. Keep it to top-level ex-WWE performers as long as possible, and the eventual inclusion of the group’s first “pure” WCW guy is a big deal. (That first “pure” WCW guy, by the way, should have been Scott Steiner.) Masa Chono as the nWo’s Japan rep? US fans didn’t know Chono.

Eric Bischoff being revealed as the group’s leader was a horrible mistake. Why would the man running WCW lead a rebel faction? How could he benefit more? He couldn’t. It was stupid. Ted DiBiase was perfect. He "had the money." Another unspoken tie to WWE.

Then, after the nWo beat down WCW for two years, it was time for WCW to get some heat back. But Hollywood Hogan was never going to allow that to happen, especially not at his expense.

So the Black & White/Wolfpac split occurred, and those two factions battled each other while WCW looked even more second-rate through lack of inclusion in crucial angles and main events.

Not that WCW wasn’t second-rate at that point. The angle should have ultimately played out with the nWo winning a winner-take-all match for the promotion. The nWo brand name was much stronger. Then do the nWo split. At that point, it’s the next logical step.

But to get to that winner-take-all match, and put the result in doubt, WCW would have needed some credibility. The only way to get that was through some wins. Some payback. Hogan nixed that.

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