Welcome to the 10 part installment looking back at the New World Order, quite possibly the greatest wrestling faction of all time. With World Championship Wrestling and the World Wresting Federation going head to head on Monday night’s and battling each month for Pay Per View domination, it seemed to be a give and take battle each week. But with the creation of the New World Order, WCW broke through and gained an advantage that lasted for nearly two years of Monday Night domination. Come take a trip back and remember that when you’re nWo, you’re nWo for Life. Last week was Part IX: The Fall
On this 18 year anniversary of the beginning of the New World Order, we’ve looked at everything. What it was, what it could have been, and what it failed to become. We’ve traced the history back to 1997 and now we’re standing right at the edge of the present. Current talk is that the original incarnation of the New World Order in Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash could be making an appearance on Monday Night Raw tonight.
We haven’t seen the New World Order in a decade. Is it time for not just a nostalgic return, but a true return of the New World Order?
Before I begin, I think it would be good to discuss the BULLET CLUB in New Japan Pro Wrestling. I didn’t touch on them back in Part VI because I felt their use of Wolfpac mannerisms and D-X crotch chops made them more of a parody of the large factions than anything. But with the recent results of Jeff Jarrett and Scott D’Amore from Global Force Wrestling joining the group, and that GFW is trying to set up partnerships with wrestling promotions from all over the world, it certainly gives me the feeling of an invading faction that can come in and cause destruction anywhere, not just in New Japan Pro Wrestling or Global Force Wrestling but anywhere they want to in the world. They certainly feel cool without feeling too cool (especially with many on the Internet hating old veteran Jarrett being associated) and it really feels like anyone could be a member. I think it’ll be good to keep an eye out on them as a spiritual successor to the nWo.
But what about the name itself? And the image? Could another invasion work? Could new talent take the mantle and rise above a comparison of the original? In a world where it feels like we’re bombarded with reboots and rehashes, can the nWo actually work this far in the 21st Century?
There are three ways of thinking like this for me:
Just like the image shows. There isn’t a heel turn that could mean as much as John Cena turning his back on his millions of fans like Hogan did in 1996. There also isn’t a single top wrestler that would benefit from such a turn quite like John Cena either. The heat would be astronomical done right, and it would be the kind of thing to make the WWE feel fresh and exciting once again. He would also be the perfect foil against the underdogs of the company. Adult fans already blame John Cena for everything. They blame him for the PG era, they blame him for their favourite superstars not getting over, they blame him for Daniel Bryan’s push, they blame him for JFK getting shot, they blame him for Nintendo rejecting Sony at the 1993 CES Show, they blame him for the recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, they blame him.. oh you get the point.
But the problem with a John Cena turn of course is if fans would actually hate him afterwards. It might take a bit for his fanbase to turn on him, and there could be a lot of sad faces. But watch something from John Cena when he wasn’t the biggest star in the company and he has incredible range for his charisma. Jim Cornette once said that John Cena he thought was going to be the next Ric Flair, in that he’s the eternal heel. Instead Cena became the eternal babyface. But what’s the problem with Ric Flair? Everyone loves Flair being bad. And if Cena goes out and becomes sarcastic and spiteful like most heels become? He’ll be cheered by the TV MA crowd in no time. It will leave the WWE in a position for Cena to be beloved by the current base that will never leave the product, but unfortunately the impact of their hero turning his back on them could cause a lot of young fans to leave the WWE. That’s the big difference between when Hogan turned and 2014 John Cena. When Hogan turned, his fans were all grown up and already WWF and WCW fans. Cena is still creating new fans. He’s the only one who really can, and if he turns heel to usher in the great New World Order of 2014, it might not do what’s intended. It’ll instead feel like when Stone Cold Steve Austin turned heel in 2001. It was by far the most creative and exciting time in Austin’s career since 1997 but people just didn’t want to boo him. WWF merchandise sales dwindled, ratings dropped and they haven’t been the same since. WWE can’t survive that.
A heel John Cena leading the New World Order seems perfect until you think it out. I’m ruling this one a no go. At least not until Cena turns 40.
There isn’t a single wrestler more controversial than CM Punk today. Every day someone has an idea for how he’s going to return to the WWE. Paul Heyman already said he plans to be done with the business for as long as possible. Even many of Punk’s fans have finally turned their gaze away from their once beloved hero. The Alternative to a John Cena. The man who became a marquee player by criticizing the WWE. Who better than to be a complete hypocrite and return to the WWE but also to come in to destroy it?
The stage is already set for him really. Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman might have been played once as his hated foes, but they are prepared to challenge John Cena and take the WWE World Heavyweight championship. Imagine if the WWE booked something in which nobody from the WWE could interfere in one of their future matches. Nobody in the WWE?
Insert the Straight Edge Superstar.
Punk’s return could have him speak once again about just being a spoke on the wheel, but realizing it was time to destroy the wheel, derail the company and destroy it. His time on the outside only helped him see that the only way they can take down The Authority is to rip the company inside and out. He tried to do it with the Nexus and it was a failure. Now with Heyman and Lesnar, he can do it the right way. No more glad handing. No more kissing ass. No more commercials. No more hopes for ice cream bars.
The twist to this New World Order is they already have a champion. But where it would work is by actually feeling unstoppable. Lesnar is one of the most hated men in the WWE. Punk would be a poisoned hypocrite. You could add new members but even when not wrestling, Heyman is the most powerful voice in professional wrestling today. You won’t find a more formidable trio. It’s the ultimate triple threat.
The problem is that CM Punk is done with the company, and this is about as likely as WWE listening to Konnan and releasing Rey Mysterio so he can go work for AAA. CM Punk’s reaction to this idea would probably be a lot like this tweet. Leave the memories alone.
It can’t work in the Reality Era
Here’s a sad and painful fact: it can’t work today. Not yet.
With how things work in wrestling today with social media and loose lips, having something develop like a New World Order that won’t just feel like 2002 again is nigh impossible. As much fun it is to dream about the top stars in the business coming out in nWo t-shirts, the original black and white and meaning something more than a nostalgia trip? It just won’t go. We know too much. There isn’t enough kayfabe.
Every scenario I can think of is something where I can see the ceiling. Dolph Ziggler leading the nWo due to his trouble shattering the glass ceiling? Ziggler isn’t popular enough to drive it. NXT guys like Kevin Steen and Prince Devitt (former leader of the BULLET CLUB) forming the New World Order to break into the WWE? It would just feel like a rehash of The Shield combined with being a reboot of the nWo. Alberto Del Rio, Rey Mysterio and the original Sin Cara start up the Latino World Order in AAA? That one might actually work, but it isn’t the WWE and it isn’t the New World Order.
The other unfortunate fact is that there isn’t an equivalent to the WWF vs. WCW war that fans would immediately recognize outsiders coming in. Early on I talked about how the UWF-I invasion from New World Origin nearly failed if it wasn’t for Takada winning the IWGP heavyweight championship. Even if say Kevin Steen came in starting the New World Order as basically “ROH invading WWE”, there’s too many people that would have no idea who he is to care about ROH trying to invade WWE under the guise of the nWo. Sad but true.
Could WWE do it but poorly? Of course. But I’m talking about something that shakes the very core of the WWE and makes people ask, “WWE or New World Order?” The sad truth is, something like that just won’t work today.
Better to wait for John Cena to turn 40.
Photo via WWE.com
Thank you for coming with me on this journey detailing the New World Order. You can read every part here:
Part I: The Bad Guy Brings a War http://old.lastwordonsports.com/2014/05/27/nwo-18-part-bad-guy-brings-war/
Part II: New World Origin http://old.lastwordonsports.com/2014/06/04/nwo-18-part-ii-new-world-origin/
Part III: The Adjective Player http://old.lastwordonsports.com/2014/06/12/nwo-18-part-iii-adjective-player/
Part IV: Strength in Numbers http://old.lastwordonsports.com/2014/06/19/nwo-18-part-iv-strength-numbers/
Part V: The Third Man http://old.lastwordonsports.com/2014/06/27/nwo-18-part-v-third-man/
Part VI: Imitation World Order http://old.lastwordonsports.com/2014/07/04/nwo-18-part-vi-imitation-world-order/
Part VII: Bash at the Beach 1996 http://old.lastwordonsports.com/2014/07/10/nwo-18-part-vii-bash-beach-1996/
Part VIII: Brand Split http://old.lastwordonsports.com/2014/07/17/nwo-18-part-viii-brand-split/
Part IX: The Fall http://old.lastwordonsports.com/2014/07/27/nwo-18-part-ix-fall/
Part X: Brave New World Order? http://old.lastwordonsports.com/2014/08/11/nwo-18-part-x-brave-new-world-order/
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