The night after Bash at the Beach, Hall and Nash arrived at Monday Nitro by themselves without Hogan and made no apologies for their actions. They also factored in the end of the program as they attempted to attack Sting, Arn Anderson and Randy Savage but were held back by WCW security. Hogan returned the next week on Nitro and assisted Hall and Nash in beating up Lex Luger and Big Bubba Rogers during Nitro's main event. He then made a challenge to the reigning WCW World Heavyweight Champion, The Giant, for Hog Wild in August.
The newly rechristened "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan won the match after knocking The Giant out with his title belt. After the match, The Booty Man came to the ring wearing an nWo t-shirt and carrying a cake and gift for Hogan, who was celebrating his birthday. All three nWo members assaulted Booty Man and left him lying unconscious on the outside of the ring. They did, however, make use of his gift- a can of black spray paint. Hogan spray painted "NWO" on the belt, and declared himself to be the nWo World Heavyweight Champion. This tagging would become a signature gesture of the group as they spray-painted almost anything with their initials, especially the backs of wrestlers they had knocked unconscious. Hogan would also refer to himself as the nWo champion during this and any other time he held the belt while a member of the group. Shortly thereafter the nWo began growing its ranks. Within two days of Hog Wild Ted DiBiase made his WCW debut and in a play on his "Million Dollar Man" character in the WWF, it was said that he was the financier of the nWo. Since DiBiase could not be referred to on air as the Million Dollar Man, as the WWF had trademarked the name, DiBiase was given the nickname "Trillionaire Ted" as a play on the "Billionaire Ted" angle. On the September 2, 1996 Nitro, the nWo got its first defection from WCW as the Giant, who just weeks earlier had lost his title to Hogan, turned on his Dungeon of Doom teammates and attacked the Four Horsemen and Randy Savage as well.
As WCW's annual pay-per-view Fall Brawl was drawing closer, WCW was preparing their team to fight at Fall Brawl 1996: War Games against the nWo. On September 9 in Columbus, Georgia, the nWo tricked fans and wrestlers into thinking that Sting had joined the nWo by putting wrestler Jeff Farmer, who had last been seen in WCW one year earlier when he wrestled as Cobra, into the group as a Sting clone, complete with Sting attire and facepaint and by using a tape recording of Sting speaking in the nWo limousine. Farmer's resemblance to Sting was close enough that (at least in storyline) the announcers and wrestlers believed that Sting had betrayed WCW. This point was furthered when Farmer, as the fake Sting, attacked Lex Luger, who had been lured into an attack by referee Nick Patrick.
This led Luger, his longtime ally, friend and tag team partner, to publicly his alliance and pointedly told Sting that he didn't believe he was with WCW. This came to a head at Fall Brawl. Going into the match only three wrestlers on each side had been officially named- Hogan and the Outsiders were to fight for the nWo and Luger, Arn Anderson, and Ric Flair for WCW. Sting had originally been named as the fourth man— in fact, Sting had enlisted his former rival Flair and Anderson to help him fend off the nWo in the match, but now it was no longer clear if he would in fact be the fourth man. The last man out for team nWo was indeed the fake Sting, who apparently had convinced everyone (including the broadcast team) that the real Sting was nWo. However, Sting showed up as the last man for Team WCW and began taking apart the four members of the nWo by himself. After assaulting Hogan, Hall, Nash, and the bogus Sting, Sting walked over to Luger, shoved him, and said, "Is that good enough for ya?" Sting then left the ring and Team WCW, now fighting a 4-on-3 handicap match, lost when the nWo Sting locked Luger in the Scorpion Death Lock while Hogan executed a rear chinlock.
The next night on Nitro, an angry Sting laid into his fellow wrestlers as well as the fans for doubting his true colors. He came out unexpectedly, with no music or pyrotechnics, and kept his back to the camera purposely as he spoke:
|“||Sting: I want a chance to explain something that happened last Monday night at Nitro. Last Monday night I was on an airplane flying from L.A. to Atlanta. When I got to Atlanta, I tuned in the TV to Nitro. And I thought I was watching a rerun! It was a very convincing film. Often imitated, but never duplicated though! And what else did I see? I saw people, I saw wrestlers, I saw commentators, and I saw best friends DOUBT...the Stinger. That's right, doubted the Stinger! So I heard Lex Luger say 'I know where he lives, I know where he works out, I'm gonna go get him.' So I said to myself, I'll just go into seclusion. I'll wait and see what happens on Saturday night, and I tuned in Saturday night, and what'd I see? More of the same...more DOUBT. Which brings me to Fall Brawl. I knew I had to get to Fall Brawl and get face to face with the Total Package to let him know that it wasn't me. And what I got out of that was, 'no Sting...I DON'T BELIEVE YOU STING!' Well, all I gotta say is I have been mediator, I have been babysitter for Lex Luger, and I've given him the benefit of the doubt about a thousand times in the last twelve months. And I've carried the WCW banner, and I have given my blood, my sweat, and my tears for WCW! So for all of those fans out there and all those wrestlers and people that never doubted the Stinger, I'll stand by you if you stand by me! But for all of the people, all of the commentators, all of the wrestlers, and all of the best friends who did doubt me, you can stick it! From now on I consider myself a free agent!"||”|
With that, Sting began a retreat from the ring that would last for the next fifteen months and in the process left his loyalties on the table for either side to try and move him to theirs. The nWo stepped up its efforts to try and recruit Sting, yet never removed the fake Sting from the group. In fact, as Sting's character and look evolved, so too did Farmer's nWo Sting character, although he never actually adopted any of Sting's characteristics other than the carrying of a black metal baseball bat to the ring.
On the same night that Sting made his speech, the nWo inducted its sixth official member into the group as new WCW signee Sean Waltman, who was friends with Hall and Nash and who had wrestled as "The 1-2-3 Kid" in the WWF, came in and became known as Syxx. In October the nWo debuted Vincent, who had previously been DiBiase's manservant in the WWF as "Virgil", as its "head of security". Referee Nick Patrick became the group's official referee after he began showing partiality to nWo members during their matches.
The nWo continued to dominate WCW, with Hogan successfully retaining his "nWo" World Heavyweight Championship against Randy Savage and Hall and Nash winning the WCW World Tag Team Championship from Harlem Heat (Booker T and Stevie Ray) at Halloween Havoc 1996. In the meantime The Giant stole Ric Flair's WCW United States Championship and claimed it for himself, even though he had no right nor any reason to.
As WCW only recognized Hogan, Nash, and Hall as WCW employees due to their holding WCW titles, the other nWo members went unrecognized as WCW employees. Because of this, they were unable to wrestle other WCW wrestlers, which led to the nWo starting a segment on WCW Saturday Night, called nWo Saturday Night, where nWo stable members wrestled jobbers in an empty arena. The nWo used their financing to purchase ad time during WCW programming, which amounted to low budget anti-WCW propaganda. They would also hijack the broadcast signal on occasion. While all of this was going on, the nWo began gaining more and more power.
In October at Halloween Havoc, Roddy Piper made his WCW debut and immediately went after Hogan. For the next several weeks Piper pressed Eric Bischoff to give him a match against Hogan. However, a contract was never agreed to and Piper grew restless as the weeks wore on. The entire situation came to a head at the end of the November 18 edition of Nitro. Bischoff, who was still the program's lead broadcaster and who had continued to rail against the nWo, went into the ring on air and claimed that he and WCW management had gone to Piper's home in Portland, Oregon to try to negotiate a contract with him and his representatives for a match against Hogan.
Bischoff also claimed that Piper was not in the building but swore he would work with him to get the match signed. An irate Piper finally had enough and stormed to the ring while Bischoff was talking, to the surprise of the WCW Executive Vice-President. He immediately called Bischoff a liar and began asking him questions that Bischoff had no answers for. While Piper was asking his questions, The Giant ran down to the ring and grabbed him. Syxx, Hall, Nash, and Vincent followed and each tried to hold Piper back from attacking Bischoff. Hogan and DiBiase then entered the ring, with Hogan walking over to Bischoff and hugging him. Hogan then took the microphone from Bischoff and revealed to the crowd that WCW's Executive Vice-President had been working for the nWo all along.
Bischoff and Hogan eventually got Piper to sign the contract at World War 3 six days later (November 24), but the signing did not come without an nWo attack. Nevertheless, Piper and Hogan were booked for a match at Starrcade in December. The next night on Nitro, Bischoff permanently left the broadcast booth and became a egomaniacal tyrant as WCW Executive Vice President as well as a manager-type figure within the nWo.
At the top of the program, Bischoff issued an ultimatum to the WCW locker room. All wrestlers were given thirty days to have their WCW contracts switched over to nWo contracts and join the group. Anyone who failed to comply would become an nWo target, as Bischoff plainly stated at the end of his speech: "Either you're with us, or you're against us."
Almost immediately after Bischoff's speech, The American Males, Scotty Riggs and Marcus Bagwell, headed to the ring. Riggs and Bagwell, who had won the WCW World Tag Team Championship in September 1995 but had largely floundered since, had been having some friction over the previous weeks that came to a head when Bagwell attacked his tag team partner out of frustration after being eliminated from the World War 3 battle royal the night before. Bagwell and Riggs were debating the question of joining the nWo, with Bagwell wanting to join and Riggs refusing to. Bagwell finally turned on his partner and attacked him, with the rest of the nWo joining in. Upon his induction into the group, Bagwell changed his look and became known as "Buff" Bagwell, playing off his muscular physique. Others who joined the nWo were Mr. Wallstreet on December 9 and Big Bubba Rogers and Scott Norton on December 16. Japanese wrestler Masahiro Chono also joined the group on December 16 and established himself as the leader of nWo Japan, a sister stable in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
The Giant won a 60-man battle royal at World War 3 1996, earning a title match against Hogan. At Starrcade 1996, Piper defeated Hogan in a non-title match. At the same event, after costing Diamond Dallas Page the United States championship in a tournament final against Eddie Guerrero, the nWo retook possession of the belt and the belt was given to Syxx, beginning a feud between those two. The next night, The Giant was kicked out of the nWo when he refused to choke slam Piper in an nWo assault.
Toward the end of the year, on an episode of Nitro, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash introduced Kyle Petty from NASCAR as an honorary member of the group, as Petty drove the nWo race car on the Busch Series circuit (Petty had been previously involved in an angle with Jim Crockett Promotions, the predecessor of WCW, as a "judge" in the "Million Dollar Match" between Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair at Starrcade 1984 that featured Joe Frazier as referee for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship). An angle was run where The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott) "vandalized" the nWo car at a racetrack by peeling off the wrap (NASCAR teams often use vinyl wrap to cover a car instead of painting the car; multiple schemes printed on vinyl similar to decals are positioned, and each may be peeled off to show another scheme for another race), scaring off Petty and replacing him with Steve Grissom. In reality, the deal with Dan Shaver Racing had two drivers driving in selected races each. As part of the angle, Grissom's races carried the WCW paint scheme and Petty's an nWo paint scheme.
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