The nVo

A History
By Phil Abramson


Pre-1996: We all follow wrestling in various capacities. Phil follow it religiously from 1986-the present. Bartow establishes himself as the president of the Curt Hennig fan club. Jon goes to WM 11 and meets various superstars backstage with his dad. And Briar is shocked when Big John Studd's son reveals that the results are predetermined. But we all go to college and figure that part of our lives is over. Who knew?

1996

July : The formation of the nWo. Hulk Hogan turns heel and joins Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. This begins an angle that transforms WCW and serves to inspire us.

August : At the VSA Leadership Conference in the Best Western Hotel, Phil am sharing a room with Bartow, Moshe and Pedro. During the "break" period, as a baseball game is on the TV, Phil take out a WWF magazine from my bag. Bartow notices what I'm reading and reveals his interest in wrestling as well. We discuss the recent Summerslam and how the British bulldog flubbed by calling Psycho Sid - Sid Vicious, his WCW name. Fitting this revelation should come at a VSA event...the impetus for future nVo battles.

September : Classes begin and Bartow, Briar, Jon and Phil find ourselves in POLI 240, "The American Presidency" with Richard Born as the instructor. I'm psyched about the class as the subject interests me and Born is a hoot, having had him for intro. Just by chance, the 4 of us sit together with Bartow closest to Born and then Jon, me and Briar. Also in the class is Mike Riggs and the 5 of us go to ACDC for lunch after each class. Over the course of our lunches we talk about wrestling as well. Afterwards, while Jon and Phil go to other classes, the Jays return for "double duty" - the Congress class.

October : Stassen-Born 96. We launch the campaign! If they had won, Stassen and Born could be running for re-election right now. Oh well. A highlight is the day in Noyes when we watched the debate, then studied for Born's midterm while putting Stassen-Born posters around Noyes. Only Briar could not attend because he was in bed by then. (early morning radio job)

November : We go to our first live event. Its the Survivor Series at MSG. Psycho Sid wins the world title, Bret beats Austin, and Rocky Maivia makes his WWF debut. Jon provided the tickets, Briar provided the car, Bartow provided the apartment, Phil provided the trivia. Graham provided his absence and also a long running-joke. "So how'd you like the show Graham?" "Graham, you're being very quiet!" At Survivor Series we learned from a loud woman that wrestlers must "hook 'da leg" in order to sercure the pin fall.

December : With the end of the semester, our class with Born ends. Phil still regard it as my favorite Vassar class. But as the nWo increases their dominance in WCW, the nVo first looms on the horizon...

1997

February : After months of reading web sites to find out what's been happening on the Monday programs, an idea arrives! Why not watch them ourselves? Oh but how can we? We live in dorms! The idea of watching wrestling in a dorm! Well, we did it and it began in Raymond House. Every Monday, Bartow and Phil started getting together to watch the Nitro replay which at that time was shown from 11 pm - 1 am. Ah, the matches involving Ice Train vs. La Parka. Guess 1997 wasn't the year of the Ice Train after all... Originally, we watch in the MPR but we soon move to the basement where we don't have to deal with as many Raymond residents to gawk at us. Since we both have Jewish Studies on Tuesday morning, we bring our books with us but all they do is sit on the table and gather dust. The same goes for Bartow's books for Born's seminar.

March : In a moment of inspiration, Bartow writes "vWo" on a Naps pizza box. It stands for Vassar World Order. Like many discarded angles, it doesn't last long and soon gives way to the nVo - New Vassar Order.

April : Bartow and Phil run for VSA exec positions and mosh in his car to the tune of (think of Demolition's theme) "Here comes the VP. And here comes the AcEx. VSA Exec Board. Walking disaster." We ran as "outsiders" and then when we lost we were truly outsiders. The nVo took on a whole new meaning. The VSA was WCW and as "Hall" and "Nash" we were going to bring them down. Tara, Bella - ugh! We thought about getting Baumgarten to turn and be Hogan but Phil could never stand the guy. Meanwhile, Briar and Jon start to assume their identities in the group. Briar is able to play Hogan as he is an insider (runs VKR) who can give us legitimacy. And Jon makes a good Syxx as the tagalong! (In later years, these roles become even more fitting as Briar grabs the power as elections chair and as Jon wears his DX shirt and literally looks like the former Syxx except for a few extra pounds)

May : The nVo disbands for the summer. But we'll be back! After all, with the Jays becoming seniors and Jon and Phil becoming juniors, the school is ours for the taking.

September : We're Back. First day back at Vassar, Briar and Jon meet Crazy Josh, a disturbed freshman. Josh over hears the two talking about the upcoming Raw is War at MSG and asks to come along. Thankfully, we had no additional tickets: we did not hear from Josh until a year and a half later...
With Bartow living in a TA we now have a place to watch it w/o dealing with the Raymond peasants. So TA 8 is place now and Danielle, Dave and Yusef come to dread Monday nights. Well, not Yusef - he watches with us from time to time hoping that the Warrior will come back. Go figure that the Warrior DID come back...albeit, a few months after Yusef graduated...
September is also a notable month as we attended TWO live wrestling events in the span of 4 days. On a Friday night it was off to the Mid Hudson Civic Center for a house show. Since all the real WWF talent was in Britain, we were treated to a main event of DOA vs. The Nation. We also got to meet Poughkeepsie white trash : "Did you know that wrestling is fake???" But most importantly, we went backstage and met Rocky Maivia (before he was the Rock), Jesse James (before he was Road Dogg), and saw Scott Taylor (before he was "1/2 of the TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS, TOO COOL" Scotty Too Hotty) and Brian Pillman (before he was dead) and we met Brakus who gave away the ending; "I'm going to come out and save Ahmed." So much for Brakus...
Three days later it was back to MSG for Raw is War. On the way down we listen to Jock Jams as usual, but when the YMCA part of the medley comes on, we happen to pass a gay guy in his black Mustang. Anyways, we all (the quartet and guest Mike Marrella) give him looks for a few miles, then at our exit, Bartow has the idea of honking to say good-bye. Needless to say, the gay guy pulls over, expecting for us to stop and have an orgy by the roadside. Against arguments from Briar, we convince Bartow to drive away as fast as possible. Once we reached MSG with our rectums intact, we joined up with Efrain Torres. And I'm sure Graham was there in spirit. This Raw was notable as it was the first time Austin stunned McMahon. Briar was especially surprised to see this happen after insisting "McMahon is not going to let anyone touch him!" Two months before the screwing of Bret Hart, the WWF is still strong at this point.

October : This month is marked by the passing of Brian Pillman. The nVo mourns the loss.

November : The question arises - should we attend Survivor Series for a second straight year? Only problem is that its not in MSG - its in Montreal. Bartow insists that we go for it but the rest of us are a bit more reluctant. We decide not to, but what happens changes the face of wrestling and is still felt today. The screwing of Bret Hart. Had we been there we would have probably had no idea what was going on as the story only became apparent when internet sites reported the whole story. Life stops as we spend the next few days devouring whatever news we can find on the internet about it. And its at Briar's apartment where Phil watch the next night, when the nWo sings Oh Canada and the WWF puts on the sorriest excuse for an episode in their history. 20 minutes of DX arguing with Shamrock. And Shamrock doesn't even have mic skills. The WWF starts going downhill and WCW gets stronger with the addition of Bret and the hype of the upcoming Hogan-Sting main event for Starrcade.

December : Just because school isn't in session, doesn't mean we can't go to wrestling events. Although not an official nVo trip, Bartow and Phil do go to the Nassau Coliseum with Tim Wan and his 2 cousins (the future founders of the Peoples Crappy Newsletter). Of course the show sucks since they're still in the post-Bret era. We did get pleasure out of heckling Earl Hebner though. But the worst part was the lights shining in our eyes the entire time "The lights! The lights!" Anyhoo, 1997 comes to a close. Coming up in 98 - the nVo consolidates its political power.

1998

January : The nVo adds an additional member as Kate becomes The First Lady of the nVo. This is fitting since Elizabeth is affiliated with the nWo at the time. We go to another house show. This one is in Hartford. Emily goes with us and is forced to put up with our madness during the car ride. Once there we meet Jon's parents and then watch the show in a mostly empty arena. During intermission we all decide to go backstage. Now if we were intelligent like Emily, we would have stayed with Jon's dad who would have gotten us there easily. Instead we miss an opportunity to meet The Rock again because we follow Jon around the arena and back before we finally get to our destination. Try following someone who you're pretending not to know... :) However, we do make our way backstage and take pictures with Chyna, Marc Mero, Taka and some Mexican minis. Bartow later gets into trouble with Kate for looking at Chyna the wrong way...

February : Its a rough month for this Outsider as my dad had heart surgery. At least Phil didn't miss too much. WWF hadn't improved yet from the Bret incident and WCW was starting to go downhill as well. Too much talent, too few ideas.

March : Wrestlemania 14 - the first PPV we watch on PPV. Briar, Jon and Phil watch in Monica's TH. Monica gets all excited at the Mero & Sable vs. Goldust & Luna match. Phil don't think the rest of Monica's housemates were too excited at our presence though. The next night we all go to Raw in Albany! Kate is there too. It must be pointed out that every time we go to these things, Jon squirms at the ticket counter while the rest of us act like we don't know him. But they always (after an eternal wait) seem to find the tickets. This time the wait was truly eternal to which we said to Kate (after a long drive) "Well guess we're not getting in." But we did get in and we sit right next to the fireworks, and see Val Venis' first promo. As one fan yelled out - "What's his name? Val Penis?" We also are there to witness the return of X-Pac and the reformation of DX. WWF is starting to get good again and we were there to see it.

April : The nVo makes its political impact. Briar gives us true legitimacy in his tenure as elections chair. He also starts a tradition of nVo members running the elections. With him as chair and with Bartow and Kate sitting the table, we are in control! And Phil won Senior Class Secretary. (sadly Jon lost his computer committee reelection bid) So although we're always outsiders at heart, the group is back in control!

May : Unfortunately it was time for the Jays to graduate. But before they did, we ordered and watched the Wrestlemania box set. It must be noted that Briar was able to watch them all in a week but Bartow held onto the set for the entire summer and then some! We say goodbye to the 97-98 school year. Never again would we order Chinese food from TA Eiiiiiiggggghhhhtttt!!!

June-July : Summer. Nothing happens.

August : Summerslam! We reunite to be there. Its at MSG and we drive down from Poughkeepsie where we meet Bartow in the city. The show's all right. Austin beats Undertaker. HHH beats Rocky in a ladder match where the belt was hanging way too low.

September : The night after Summerslam, we make another trip to see the Raw tapings in New Haven. Kate comes with us this time and it takes...forever. Hours and hours of wrestling. The Kaientai theme is still playing in my head. But Tony saves us when he signals for us to go backstage. Once there Jon installs Tony's modem. We also have a fascinating conversation with referee Jimmy Corderis. The content of that conversation eludes me. We saw Austin, Vince, Undertaker and Kane up close. The Jays shook Vince's hand and the Undertaker said to me in a deep voice "Hello." Phil also remember HHH giving me a look that said "Who the hell are you?" The Rock walked by too - it was backstage heaven! The ride home wasn't heavenly though. Lets just say we had an unpleasant encounter at the Taco Bell - the Pizza Hut was closed and they wouldn't even crank the fro yo machine. And how we wound up riding through Wesleyan also eludes me. When did we get back to campus? 3 in the morning? Long night.! .. Many of us think that's the last time the nVo will go to a live event together. But we'd dispel that theory in 1999.

October : With the Jays away from Vassar, Jon and Phil start watching Raw in his TA. Kate joins us as well!

November : Reunion time. Its Survivor Series and we took over Jon's TA. His housemates were scared. To prepare for the event, Briar made a bracket for the tournament which would be won by the Rock. Sage and Phil make a grand entrance as we had previously been doing Daisy Chain interviews. Ala the Outlaws Phil said, "The Senior Class Council proudly brings to you, the Road Dogg Phil Abramson, the Bad Ass Sage Friedman, the Senior Class Council!" To which Sage added (at Briar's prodding) "If you're not down with Senior Council, Phil got 2 words for you - suck it." That was a fun night. Mike Marrella joined us as well.

December : 1998 draws to a close. Jon and Phil watch Rock Bottom and Jon adorns the walls of his TA with Rock Bottom computer posters. And, that's about it for that.

1999

January : After Winter Break, Jon and Phil return to campus for our final semester. Jon comes back with many many toys like a big Stone Cold cutout. The night before classes start is nWo Souled Out and Bartow is on campus as well. After watching the Jets get destroyed in the AFC Championship game, Bartow and Phil drive over to the Chinese place of TA 8 fame. On the way we listen to WWF The Music Volume 3 which had just been released. Then its on our way to TA 13 to watch Souled Out. Or...Phil should say we started watching it before turning it off in disgust. Chris Benoit vs. Mike Enos, and Van Hammer vs. Fit Finley did not seem to be worthy PPV matches. The next Sunday was a little better as Briar came up to campus for the Royal Rumble. The highlight was keeping track of the wrestler entrances in "real time" and "WWF time". Oh yeah, Vince won and "No Chance in Hell" is played over and over. Fittingly Phil get appointed Elections Chair that same night. And for many VSA candidates...they had no chance in hell! Later on in the month its the Superbowl and WWF did Halftime Heat on USA. With Jon's TA hosting a campus wide superbowl party as part of Winter Weekend, we included Halftime Heat in the promotions. It was even mentioned in the Winter Weekend program and a pic of Rock and Mankind was included on flyers posted advertising the event. Neither the game nor the match though was particularly impressive.

February : Jon, Kate and Phil continue watching Raw on Monday nights. Meanwhile the campus activities office announces that mini course registration will be soon. Voila, idea! A wrestling appreciation mini course!

March : Prior to Spring Break, we have the mini course signup in the College Center. Jon and Phil bring the Stone Cold cutout to the college center and pump my WWF music CD (the first of two times we play this CD in the CC). Who's the first to sign up? You guessed it. Crazy Josh (remember September 1997?) Phil get a very bad feeling about this. After lingering at our sign up table for forever, Josh finally gets out of there. Rather than stick around for the second hour of signups, Jon and Phil say screw it and go to McDonalds. After Spring Break, things really start to get interesting. The week before WM, its off to Albany for Raw. Its me, Jon and Briar and our guests, Emily, Michelle Laredo and Ben Horst. So each of us has a person to explain things to. This time we're absolutely spoiled with front row ringside seats! Michelle gets so excited when The Rock comes out, she nearly breaks Emily's arm... The next Sunday, its Wrestlemania and the grand kickoff to our minicourse. Phil arrive early to help setup and shortly thereafter Jon's housemates inform us that Crazy Josh is pacing outside the TA...for easily a half hour. Very very frightening. Only when Heat is about to start does he knock the door. Others come as well including Tom Conoscenti who later attended many other classes, and some others who we never saw again...guess they just wanted the free PPV! Also arriving in grand fashion were Bartow and Kate proclaiming as they walked through the door "Oh you didn't know!" Ben came by to and the VCR was running to tape it for Briar. So we watched WM with a full house and later that night Phil wrote an article about it that was printed in the Miscellany News.

April : April was the month of the nVo elections. That's right - not the VSA elections - the nVo had truly taken over. With me as elections chair, Jon as assistant, and the Jays giving their advice over email, we could not be stopped. All the details of this election may be more appropriate for a different anthology, however Jon and Phil made sure to make it VERY wrestling oriented. We had the mandatory candidates meeting and played Stone Cold's theme as everyone walked into the room. Phil wore my nWo shirt, Jon wore his DX shirt. Outsider takeover! After the ACDC debates, Chris Wood said to me - "You reminded me of Vince McMahon up there." YES! Mission accomplished. Even on election day, wrestling clothes and music were in - the second time the CD played in the CC. It culminated in the reading of results in the cafe (BJ got screwed!) and the Damion trial (Damion screwed Damion) - both of which ended favorably - if only "No Chance in Hell" could have played during them...alas Volume 4 would not be released until November. Also in April, it was off to Hartford for Raw. Now leading up to this, Crazy Josh had not been behaving himself very well. Annoying and offensive he was. But when Tom brought a case of beer to one of our Monday nights, Josh went over the top. After around 3 beers, Josh spewed 10 times as many insulting and offensive remarks than John Rocker could ever think of. Phil got pissed, Kate got pissed, we were all pissed and decided that he couldn't be around anymore. So we let him know he was no longer welcome at the mini course. Crazy Josh did not take this very well and begged us to reconsider. Uh uh! As a precaution, we decided to meet for the Hartford trip where Josh would not find us. This ruled out Jon's TA or in front of Main - instead we hid behind the Chapel and took off from there!

May : Last month at Vassar for us... sniff... But the nVo makes it one final time at VC. The event is Slamboree. The nWo had just about dissolved in WCW and now it looked like the nVo would go their own ways too. Two weeks after Slamboree it was Commencement. And proving that wrestling was an integral part of our Vassar careers, Owen Hart passes away that night in a tragic accident at the Over the Edge PPV. Thus, my first nights as a Vassar alum are spent absorbed in the Owen Hart tribute episode of Raw.

June : So much for going our own ways! The nVo is all back together for King of the Ring in Bartow's NYC apartment. We agree that the PPV was pretty bad but old times prevailed! Briar played computer sounds of old WWF themes including the Boss Man's. Ironically Boss Man's old theme is played on Raw the very next night!
June was also the start of Jon's weekly pilgrimages to Bartow's house in Long Island, before it burn down. This weekly event was very similar to the meetings at TA-8. First of all, Chinese food was always in order. Secondly, Kate was there and Bartow would inevitably treat her like shit, so she would snap like her idle Ken Shamrock. Gene, Bartow's dad, would play the role of Yusef, popping in every once in a while in his underwear. While, Diane, Bartow's step-mother, played the role of Danielle and was never spotted during any of Jon's visits, although she was rumored to be present. Phil played the role of Graham, he never showed. Kate commuted every Monday from the city, but writing letters for the NYC Parks Department was too much excitement for Phil for one day. Once, Jay Briar visited, and we all watched RAW from the hot tub...eureka! Too bad that house burnt down, Jon was looking forward to escaping the radiation at Brookhaven National Lab and watching Raw. But Bartow will soon have a new house in Long Island, just begging to be scorched.

August : Summerslam! Hosted by Phil. Briar, Kate and Sage attend. Jon has radiation induced mono. Jesse Ventura ruled and the Test vs. Shane match was awesome. Seeing how this event may be controversial from an nVo perspective, I'll refrain from going into any more details!

October : As Hall and Nash return to WCW Nitro, Bartow and Phil return to Vassar College for the AAVC Conference. We relive old nVo memories and repeat Nash's statement "We're bringing the band back together!"

December : The band is back together! As the nWo reforms on Nitro, the nVo is revitalized as well. New identities are assumed. Bartow and Phil are still the Outsiders. Briar becomes Jeff "Slap Nuts" Jarrett and Jon becomes Bret Hart. And the stage is set for a new millennium!

Y2K

January: Jon went to RAW in New Haven. Unfortunately, his tickets never made it too him, but he was able to talk his way into ring sides seats. Next, the Royal Rumble. Bartow, Phil and Jon, met up at WWF New York and had one EXPENSIVE meal. Since only had two tickets, Bartow watched it at Tim Wan's, while Phil and Jon enjoyed amazing seats.

February: Uneventful. Jon would have gone to No Way Out in Hartford, but had a Quantum I midterm.

March: Uneventful. We should have gotten together to see The Rock on SNL, but again, Jon had another midterm.

April. On April 2nd, Jon's birthday and more importantly WM2K, the whole gang made it to Phil's for the event. 12 hours of WWF..sans commercials. The Jay's worked a fruze that fooled both Phil and I. We even had Marguerite as a special guest. A long day, but a good one.

May: Jon goes to Smackdown! in New Haven. Hours of taping, but at least didn't see Kaientai 17 times!

Summer: Jon is the whore of the nVo. He goes to Bartow's new house semi-regularly to escape the black holes at Brookhaven National Lab. He also visits Briar when visiting his lovely girlfriend Emily in DC. Nothing else really goes on nVo wise.

September: Jon, Bartow, Briar and special guest Marguerite (and Graham in sprit) enjoyed a fun-filled day at WWF New York and then at Madison Square Garden for a house show. No doubt, the highlight came when Jon saw Tony at the entrance ramp and proceeded to plow his way through a row of people, knocking over someone's beer and getting tackled by a security guard in the process. If only Phil had a camera to record the moment.

Nothing happens again until 2001...

2001

January: Zippo!

February: Although not a nVo event, Phil went to a XFL game: LA XTreme at NY/NJ Hitmen. Most of the game was spent watch fights in the stands and women removing their shirts.



March: The month starts out on a sad note with the death of Harold Stassen, age 93. On the 23rd, after 20 years of intense rivalry, WWF acquires WCW. The next day, Jon and special guests Efrain Tores, Marguerite Mugge, and Irfon Reese go to MSG for a pretty tame house show. No WCW crossovers yet. Jon was able to talk to Tony without being trampled by security guards. Then all four nVo members (sans special guests) when to Phil's for Wrestlemania X-7:Phil's Way or the Highway. The Jay's fooled us once again with their work-shot-work, this time including fake cell phones and blood packets. It was very convincing.
Skipping to 2002

2002

January : 2001 was a remarkably slow year. The nWo was extinct from the wrestling world and the nVo did not meet up as often as in the past. But things would quickly change as the calendar changed to 2002. Suddenly, in a desperate effort to boost ratings and recover from the disastrous Alliance angle, Vince signs Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash to the WWF. Finally the original nWo was back together! In keeping with the spirit, the original nVo gathered at Phil's for the Royal Rumble. Well, 3 out of 4. Briar, Bartow and Phil were present, significant since we assumed the Hogan, Nash and Hall personas. Jon (the Syxx / X-Pac persona) was unable to make it as he was just getting back from Brazil. Fittingly, X-Pac was also absent from the PPV, also probably in some South American country doing drugs or something. The nWo was still a month away from debuting but we experienced the next best thing: the return of Mr. Perfect! Things couldn't have gone much better for Bartow's favorite wrestler as he finished third in the Royal Rumble. As usual, Chinese food was consumed. The biggest difficulty was giving the order on the phone. Every time Phil named off an item, the Jays said "What?" Fortunately Phil was able to get through the order without cracking up. To be safe, next time we're ordering pizza.

February: After returning from Rio de Janeiro, alas without an Intercontinental Title tournament victory, Gans joined the new first lady of the nVo (Gorgeous George if you will) Emily and had Briar and Moshe (possibly the Barry Horowitz of the group, since he's the only good Jew to ever join the group) to watch No Way Out, which Jon quickly became the last to notice shared initials with the nWo which returned at the nights rather underwhelming event. The evening included homemade chili (which caused Jay's digestive system to look for a "way out") and dip, as well at the ever-present dump cake, plus a call to Phil and a voicemail to Bartow as we, too, returned to the days of old and thought fondly of Yussef's imitation of Howard Finkle announcing "HACKsaw Jim DUGgan will be ON the CARD in BUFFalo." The group was happy to learn of the first intra-nVo relationship, as two one-time attendees were now bedding each other: Michelle Laredo (see March 1999) and Efrain Torres (see September 1997). Maybe by Summerslam they will be ready for The Match Made in Heaven II, after which Efrain will be suffocated nearly to death in the Undertaker's casket.

March : nVo reunion time for Wrestlemania X-8! Hogan and Rock steal the show. Italian food is consumed instead of Chinese.

April : The WWF splits into separate Raw and Smackdown rosters. Likewise, unable to co-exist any longer, Phil and Briar hold the nVo brand extension draft, the results of which can be seen on Jon's WWF web page. Crazy Josh is Briar's first pick for Smackdown and Mr. Born is Phil's first pick for Raw.

May : The WWF changes its name to WWE because they got sued by the pandas. In turn, the nVo changes its name to nVe. Apparently, New Vassar Entertainment doesn't catch on among the masses and ratings plummet.

June : On the night that Stone Cold leaves, Vince pins Flair to regain total control of the WWE. In nVe terms, Phil loses control of Raw to Briar and begins jobbing. Later in the month, Vince abolishes the nWo. But for how long? How long?

September : Bartow (the Kevin Nash of the nVe) suffers a serious knee injury in a car accident. Likewise, Nash is also out with a knee injury. Coincidence or has Bartow merely lost his smile?