Failing to Capture a Revolution
Ten years ago, the WWE released a DVD/VHS documentary called NWO: Back in Black.
It was a pretty bare bones, hour-long documentary that glossed over a lot of the group's incredibly popular run.
Earlier this month, WWE released an entirely new DVD/Blu Ray collection on the infamous group. It was a chance to make up for the previous lackluster release.
It's too bad that it once again completely failed to make a compelling story out of it.
Where They Went Wrong
A lot of footage and interviews on this feature are ones we've seen before in other WWE videos, and worst of all, the main feature is still only an hour long.
Fans who are familiar with the group know that Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were the key components to making the New World Order work.
But because of Hogan’s TNA employment, his interviews discussing the NWO are from 2002. The same goes with Scott Hall’s.
Due to Hall’s current physical and mental condition, it’s understandable why he wasn’t included here, but it’s still a shame nonetheless.
Another key member, Eric Bischoff (due to his involvement in TNA), had his interviews conducted from 2003.
It's also sad how many former members of the group have passed away. Randy Savage, Curt Hennig, Rick Rude, Ray Traylor (The Big Bossman), Brian Adams and Miss Elizabeth are gone, and we'll never hear their stories.
So who are we left with?
Mainly Kevin Nash, Syxx (X-Pac), The Giant (The Big Show), Ted DiBiase and Dusty Rhodes are given the most amount of screen time to talk.
While those were all good choices to hear from, there were so many more who could have added valuable input.
To help fill that gap, it would have been nice had WWE reached out to former NWO members that we never hear from like Buff Bagwell, Konnan, Vincent, the Fake Sting or Scott Steiner.
Hell, I would have settled for Stevie Ray and Horace Hogan.
Sure, Steiner and Bagwell have heat with the company, but other wrestlers who had a falling out with WWE, such as Goldberg, still have come back for other documentaries (Goldberg took part in the Rise and Fall of WCW feature, but he too was missing from this NWO film).
WWE also couldn't help but take its obligatory shot at Jeff Jarrett (which seems to be a prerequisite for every major DVD release these days) when they mentioned washed up guys who should never have been in the group, and then they went to a video of him posing.
Basically, the hour length is completely inexcusable.
The fantastic Rise and Fall of ECW documentary (released in 2004) was nearly three hours long. After all these years, they couldn’t have wrung out even an hour and a half out of the NWO?
We end up hearing from Cody Rhodes and Booker T more than most guys who were actually in the group.
The biggest surprise was the addition of Vince Russo, except that too ends up being a disappointment. There are only two snippets from his interviews put into the feature.
There was so much more that he could have added. He was on the side of the WWF when WCW was beating them in the ratings, and he tried to revive the group (the silver black and white version) but failed miserably.
That's basically the problem with the entire feature, there was so much more that could have been done and so many more stories to tell, but the WWE just didn't seem interested in trying.
The rise of the group is told in great detail, but once they get to the Wolfpac era, the feature is almost over.
- Not surprisingly, the death of Louie Spicolli isn’t even mentioned. He died during the height of the group's popularity, and there were a couple clips with him in it, but the subject is never brought up.
- No mention of Sean Waltman being fired. Bischoff got rid of Syxx to show Hall and Nash who was in charge. It completely backfired on him, as it just upset the two into no longer helping out creatively.
- D-Generation X, and how they were influenced by the group isn't talked about. The Blue World Order isn't either.
- Vince McMahon only shows up once. It would have been fascinating to hear what he felt about WCW's biggest stars being his creation, or his thoughts on why his version of the group failed.
The WWE also seems to take no blame for the fact that the NWO in 2002 failed. The company made a huge mistake (in the long run) by turning Hogan face so quickly, which was just one in a series of blunders they made.
They don't try to justify that choice, and instead portray the group as being over-the-hill instead of taking any personal creative liability for why it failed.
- Michael Buffer's voice can't be heard on the ring introductions. This is possibly due to his "Let's get ready to Rumble" trademark.
- Hulk Hogan's Jimi Hendrix theme song is replaced by the regular NWO theme.
- They couldn't have gotten Shawn Michaels to talk about what his thoughts on the last formation of the group was?
The bonus features are pretty much what you'd expect. There are some good matches and interviews here that can keep you occupied for hours.
Though quite a few matches have already been released on DVD, the DDP vs. Savage match is a highlight, and the Syxx empty arena match is hilarious.
For the Blu Ray version, there's an NWO Legends Round table featuring Kevin Nash, J.J. Dillon, Michael Hayes and Jim Ross.
That would be a great extra, if it hadn't already aired before on WWE on Demand. Still, it may actually be more interesting than the regular feature.
The NWO is arguably the most entertaining group in the history of professional wrestling.
Over the course of six years and two companies, they made wrestling popular again. Yet somehow, they spiraled out of control and sped up the demise of WCW.
It's a fascinating story that contains some of the biggest names in the history of the business. The definitive story on this group still hasn't been told, and now sadly may never be.
Overall, I'm sorry to say that the hour-long feature is lousy. If you're really into the matches listed, it may be worth it. Otherwise, it's hard to justify the $25 ($20 for the DVD) price tag.