The New World Order (a.k.a. nWo) was an on-screen group of wrestlers within World Championship Wrestling between 1996 and 2000 and within World Wrestling Entertainment in 2002. The nWo was instrumental in turning pro wrestling towards a more mature, adult-oriented product. Initially fueled by the unexpected heel turn of Hulk Hogan, the nWo is generally considered one of the most successful angles in WCW history, spawning several recreations, imitations, and parodies. The faction consisted of over 40 wrestlers, managers, and celebrities, but the core members were Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Hulk Hogan. They were formed to take over control of WCW, and true to its design, many experts believe it ruined WCW from a creative standpoint. In reality, the nWo was supposed to popularize WCW, but it may have had the opposite impact as more fans supported the nWo than WCW wrestlers.
The genesis of the group started in May 1996 when Scott Hall (whose WWF contract just expired) returned to WCW to claim a "hostile takeover." He was joined shortly thereafter by Kevin Nash (whose WWF expired in early June), and they faced Randy Savage, Lex Luger, and Sting at that year's Bash at the Beach in a six-man tag match where Hulk Hogan was revealed as their third partner.
After its initial success, there were several additions to the group and many variations of the group, including nWo Japan, nWo Hollywood, nWo Wolfpac, nWo Elite, nWo B-Team, nWo 2000, and WWF/nWo. Additionally, there were unofficial variations including the bWo in ECW, the lWo in WCW, the oWn of the Ultimate Warrior, and the etWo as a joint TNA/PAMB venture (which was the only one to exceed the coolness of the original).