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This is a review of the Back in Black:NWO New World Order DVD as opposed
The NWO, for those who don't know, were a heel group of wrestlers who caused havoc in WCW from 1996-1998 (their prime years) and WWF/WWE from February 2002. This is a DVD detailing their genesis and some of their greatest moments.
Is the DVD good? Yes and no. Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first.
Firstly, this is NOT an exhaustive account of the NWO. We are given a bit of history about the founding members of the NWO (Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash)and footage follows of their genesis at WCW Bash at the Beach which took place in July '96. We then see them causing havoc from July '96 until August 1996-then disappointingly, we fast forward to the WWF circa late 2001 where we see the return of Ric Flair and the subsequent return of the NWO at No Way Out 2002 in February. What follows is the feud between The Rock and the NWO. The DVD ends with happenings from WrestleMania X8 where Steve Austin faced Scott Hall and Hollywood Hogan faced The Rock.
I feel this DVD could have done with being much much longer. Several of the NWO's most pivotal moments are missed out such as the feud between Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan, the Sting/Hogan match from Starrcade '97, the splitting up of the NWO and the NWO Wolfpac VS NWO Black and White feud. It would have been interesting to see footage from said periods. They were all integral parts of the NWO era.
However, the good things about this DVD are the highlights of the NWO's career. We see Scott Hall and Kevin Nash's return to WCW in 1996. Also, who can forget the Hulk Hogan heel turn from Bash at the Beach '96? Some pivotal moments are caught on tape and it's good to see them again. It brought the memories of 1996-98 flooding back.
Now to the DVD extras. There is an NWO advert from 1996 and a short NWO music skit. The other extras are matches. We see the Bash at the Beach '96 main event which is essential NWO viewing. There's War Games from Fall Brawl '96 where the NWO fought four top WCW stars and it is a heated match. There's also Kevin Nash VS Bill Goldberg from Starrcade '98-this is a fantastic match. The final match was from the WWF where The Rock & Steve Austin faced Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash & Scott Hall. The match was short but sweet. The only complaint I have is that the DVD could have included additional matches. Ones that come to mind include Macho Man VS Hulk Hogan from Halloween Havoc '96, Roddy Piper VS Hulk Hogan from Starrcade '96, Sting VS Hollywood Hogan from Starrcade '97 and a match from the NWO Wolfpac VS NWO Black and White feud.
All in all, a good DVD. It could have been longer and included more matches but overall, it was a good event and essential viewing if you were a fan of the NWO from 1996-98.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The nWo (new World order) was the name of a stable that revolutionized
professional wrestling. It originally consisted of Hulk Hogan, Kevin
Nash and Scott Hall and it kicked off with one of the most remembered
moments in wrestling history: The legendary Hulk Hogan's heel (bad guy)
turn. Hogan had left the dominant wrestling promotion WWE (formerly
known as WWF) for WCW. But WCW fans never really took Hogan to their
hearts. At WCW pay-per-view Bash at The Beach in 1996, Hogan did the
incredible. He dropped the big leg on (good guy) Randy Savage. It was
stunning! Along with Nash and Hall, he formated the nWo. In the weeks
prior to this event Nash and Hall had "invaded" WCW, saying they were
going to take over the company. These two were also well-known stars
from WWE, the company that battled with WCW over the fans. The angle
was so well executed some people actually thought it was legit. With
Hogan as the leader, nWo started a "war" against WCW and battled all
their superstars. What made it so believable was that all three men
originally came from WWE. What made it so special was that this type of
storyline had never been done before. It felt much more real and
intense than anything else. Another thing was that it had the fans to
make a choice. Were you nWo or WCW? Hogan quickly became the most hated
superstar but Nash and Hall remained pretty popular and the nWo vs. WCW
storyline became a bigger success than anyone could dream of. WCW, who
had always been the smaller promotion suddenly started to beat their
big rival in the battle for the TV ratings in what was called "The
Monday Night War". WWE would eventually turn the tables though. WCW
were never able to follow up the successful nWo story. In 2001 Vince
McMahon's WWE bought up WCW. It doesn't have anything to do with nWo of
course, but it's important to know that this documentary is made by WWE
and no one else.
I didn't know how much I should expect from a documentary from WWE about a creation that became one of the reasons they nearly went out of business. In one way this is a very easy story to retell. Hall, Nash and Hogan, three big names, came from WWE to WCW and started a faction that turned the wrestling business upside down. There isn't more complicated than that. But since nWo had such a big impact on the Monday Night War, you cannot really tell one story without telling the other. And here comes the big problems with this documentary.
It starts off great with presentations of Hogan, Hall and Nash and how they made names for themselves in WWE. Although I can't help being annoyed by comments like "Everyone knows WWE is the place to be, but I did what I had to do". Then we are shown Scott Hall's first appearance on WCW Monday Nitro and the build-up for the highly anticipated match at Bash at The Beach: Nash and Hall vs. "The defenders of WCW", Sting, Randy Savage & Lex Luger. Thankfully the match is given enough time, of course completed with Hogan's run-in when he shocks the wrestling world by revealing that he is "The third man". It is world-class booking and a moment in wrestling history that everyone simply has to see. After the match Hogan gives a shoot interview, which is considered by many to be the best ever, where he trashes WCW, WWE and the fans. Then some Nitro clips and Hogan's World Title win against The Giant follows. nWo beating down 4 Horsemen and Dungeon of Doom (both faces and heels!) on Nitro is awesome. And so is the backstage beatdown when Nash throws Rey Mysterio Jr like a dart. This is the first half of the DVD and so far it has been excellent.
But then all of a sudden we jump six years forward - to WWE! The year is 2002 and McMahon has signed Hall, Nash and Hogan to reform the nWo once again. Naturally they aren't able to start another revolution. There is no shock factor, all three wrestlers are past their prime and very much has changed with sports entertainment since 1996. When this DVD was made, nWo was still alive, but now, three years later, we know that it has died once and for all and that it died pretty quickly after its reformation. The problems with it were many but I don't have space to go through all of them here. What needs to be said though is that nWo in WWE had no importance to sports entertainment whatsoever and actually had very little to do with the faction that wrecked havoc in WCW and the entire wrestling industry six years earlier. Therefore, to let the present nWo take up half the time of this documentary is ridiculous. I'll go as far as saying it is disrespectful and it insults the intelligence of true wrestling fans.
On this DVD, there is absolutely nothing on important stuff like the nWo split-up, Sting, the "Fingerpoke of Doom" or any nWo members other than the original three. Neither is there any analyze on what impact nWo had on the Monday Night War or why the angle eventually got stale and died. The only thing this documentary is good for is to show how nWo was created. But then they just cut the rest of the story to make room for the lame attempt from WWE to reuse the idea. A horrible priority! Out of the total 84 minutes, WCW gets only 32!
I'll sum it up by simply saying that this story is told from the wrong perspective. While the DVD contains some great historical moments that every fan has to see, it is certainly not good enough as a documentary.
nWo Back in Black Rating: 2/5
It is lamentable to see the opportunity of issuing the complete DVD
history of THE storyline in sports entertainment that mattered the most
get tarnished by the preoccupations of the moment of one Vinnie Mac.
These preoccupations were to promote and make successful the WWE's
version of the nWo - and it was fully deserved to see it not live up at
all to unrealistic expectations, despite the involvement of Ric Flair
and even Arn Anderson. For, make no mistake about it - the nWo success
was highly due to the presence of the true defenders of old school
wrestling, the true WCW champions and the true tradition that the nWo
was only mimicking; and that was The Four Horsemen! The three-way and
sometimes four-way war that the arrival of the nWo generated (Horsemen,
Dungeon of Doom, nWo and... Sting & his friends, basically) was truly a
unique situation that could not be replicated. Neither could the
"corporate takeover" angle (though this nWo version 2.0 was just a
little bit better than the pathetic "alliance invasion", when a
depleted WCW and an equally-shorthanded ECW formed said alliance. What
was exactly the highlight of this whole thing again - Stephanie McMahon
telling Classie Freddie Blassie that the WWF was dead -or was it
already WWE- and so was he? And, shortly thereafter, Mr.Blassie did
pass away - but that is another story of course - unscripted this
It is understandable that Vince McMahon thought that this would work out wonderfully well. He had seen the phenomenal success of the "nWo vs WCW" angle; and he had also seen - first hand since he was a part of it - that "Stone Cold feuding with the boss" had saved his company from going under (which they very nearly did in the heyday of the nWo saga in WCW). Hence, "Mr. McMahon" was convinced that "Stone Cold vs the nWo" (or his "shot of poison" into the arm of the WWE, as he called it then) was going to work wonders for his sagging ratings and stagnant wrestling story-weaving crew... and it could not get the job done. It was redundant to see the same faces play the same roles all over again - only to accommodate the likes of Stone Cold and the Rock who had not been a part of it the first time around since they were not in WCW. To see Flair align himself with the nWo briefly, out of hatred for Austin, was totally ridiculous and out of character when one remembers the memorable Horsemen-nWo clashes of 1996, 1997 and 1998. Ahh, those were the years...
Ultimately though, I am tempted to say that this entire exercise failed so miserably because LARRY Z wasn't there to comment on it! Larry Zbysko, then of the WCW broadcast team and today of new rival TNA, had added this brilliant bit of color commentary in 1996 in an episode of WCW Monday Nitro on TNT that shortly followed in the wake of the nWo formation. He had likened Hollywood Hogan to the antichrist of wrestling then - complete with three "6s" on the back of his head! This was much in sync with the whole "Novus Ordo Seclorum" mystique that the nWo developed in a hurry - and it did measure up to the aura of greatness of a group that represented excellence, such as The Horsemen did and still do in the memory of connaisseur fandom. Alas, for the nWo, it was only to really last through those three initial years of its existence... Years that are BARELY covered in this DVD...
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