Oh, the 90’s. A decade that brought us so much in wrestling. A time that brought us Austin 3:16, smelling what The Rock was cookin’, Rikishi’s superior posterior, the Undertaker going full-on Charles Manson, and Triple H and Stephanie McMahon’s Vegas drive-through marriage. Man, the 90’s were weird.
There are some things from the 90’s that we will all happily leave in the past (I’m talking to you, Bra and Panties matches and Naked Mideon). But, there are some things that can be brought back either to milk the cash cow known as “nostalgia” or shake up the current state of things with a rehashed concept. If we’re talking about the latter, obviously, by the title of this article, I’m talking about factions.
In the 90’s and 2000’s and even a bit earlier, factions were running wild in wrestling. They were groups of wrestlers ranging from all parts of the card, united under a common purpose. I’m talking about the Hart Foundation, the Ministry of Darkness, The Corporation, The Nation of Domination, The Union (lol remember the Union?), the NWO, and D-Generation X. For me, having all of these different groups running amok on Monday nights was an exciting thing. It was like gang wars on TV, just without the drive-bys. You never knew which factions would start feuding with each other, which faction the hottest free-agent would join, and which matches would end in a DQ due to interference (plot twist: it was all of them). Yeah that last part kinda stinks because PPV main events would often see shenanigans ruin the finish. But the stories and intricacies of two large groups feuding have the potential to be awesome.
Since around 2005-ish and the dissolution of Evolution (say that 5 times fast), factions have been few and far between. The Nexus was a cool idea without a lot of development, the Straight Edge Society had a solid run, the Social Outcasts…ugh. But what if we bring back faction warfare in today’s WWE? We already have SAnitY and the Undisputed Era in NXT, but what if we make it a main roster thing too? I’m not talking about haphazardly grouping Superstars together for the sake of giving them all something to do. I mean dedicate maybe a year or two to developing stories involving multiple factions. The possibilities are endless and it’s a great way to give a rub to up-and-coming talent who WWE wants to develop into stars. Triple H, The Rock, Randy Orton, Batista, Edge & Christian…all of these guys got their first rubs from faction work, so the logic is there.
Before I go more in depth with examples of what could work, let’s set some criteria. A good faction has 3 important parts: (1) a legitimate main-event talent; (2) someone in the thick of things in the mid-card; and (3) two guys who can join to be a formidable tag team. There doesn’t need to just be 4 guys, but those are the main components and the guys who will get the biggest rub from being in the faction moving forward. Without further ado, let’s see what I have as believable factions in today’s WWE. Editor’s Note: The Shield, the New Day, and the Miztourage will not feature separately because they’re already their own thing and I won’t mess with that.
1. Balor Club
C’mon, just look at the picture attached to the article, you knew it had to be this. Since everyone’s favorite Irishman came onto the scene in NXT, he was promoting the “Balor Club.” Seeing as he was fresh out of New Japan Pro Wrestling and was the leader of Bullet Club, what would become the most popular faction since the NWO (fight me about it), there was a buzz that we would see a WWE-style Bullet Club in the form of Balor Club. We didn’t get it then, but we should now. It books itself. We have Finn as the leader and main event talent, and the Good Brothers, aka the Club, aka Gallows and Anderson, aka Tex Ferguson and Chad 2 Badd as the tag team contenders. They’re all real-life best buds and have excellent chemistry. What about the mid-card, major rub spot? Let’s think. We need someone who fits in the theme of the group (very cool, but ruthless), can go in the ring, and has superstar potential. My vote? Bring up Aleister Black from NXT. This guy is ELECTRIC! He should be hot-shotted to the main roster ASAFP. What better way to bring him up than to stick him with one of the most popular guys in the business in Finn Balor? They can bring in other guys along the way, but this core group has all the tools for success. Their motivation? Simple. “We’re not getting the shots we deserve, so we’re going to take them for ourselves.” It’s a nice tweener role that all involved fall nicely into.
2. Triple H’s Mythical Heel Stable
Ok, so right around this time last year there were rumors about Triple H putting together a heel stable to run rampant on RAW. As far as the members go, people were speculating everything. And most of the speculations sounded awesome, just like this idea is. If Triple H knows anything, it’s manufacturing a good faction. This is one of those factions like the Ministry or the Corporation that I wouldn’t mind being huge. Maybe 8-10 people. The motivation here? Triple H wants to dominate every division with his hand-picked champions. The de facto main eventor will be Samoa Joe who should get at least one reign as Champ. Bring in both the Revival and the Authors of Pain in the tag division. The mid-carder to get the rub should be Neville. Move him out of the Cruiserweight division but let him keep the edge of the “King of the Cruiserweights” persona. Speaking of Cruiserweights, bring in Triple H’s guy, the Bruiserweight, Pete Dunne. For the love of God, push this guy to the moon. In this faction start him off being a double champion (UK Champ and Cruiserweight Champ). Let the story unfold, and we’ll check back in 4 years when Dunne and Tyler Bate are main eventing WrestleMania. Let Sasha Banks turn heel again and start running the Women’s division. Nia Jax will also be a welcome addition. And maybe just a sprinkle of a heel Jason Jordan. Such a big stable has endless possibilities and huge potential for dramatic heel/face turns and blowout breakup moments.
3. Smackdown’s Pure Face Stable
This would be the foil to Triple H’s heel stable on RAW. Now, the motivation here is “we’re really great performers, but heels keep stealing wins from us and we can’t do this alone anymore.” Pretty much a “you watch my back I’ll watch yours” dynamic. What’s great about this is that it’s such a weak ideal to join upon that heel turns and betrayals are likely to come. The best thing about a faction is the breakup anyway right? So in Triple H’s “mastermind spot” we have Daniel Bryan who decides to do this because he’s sick of being the Smackdown GM. The GM role isn’t great for him anyway. The tag team should be Breezango. Firstly, they’re hysterical and Daniel Bryan has a great sense of humor so the back and forth between the three of them should be awesome. They’re also great in the ring. Have them come to Daniel Bryan saying “we’re tired of being a comedy act, we know we’re better than people think. Help us.” Very interesting dynamic there. Put Chad Gable in the mid-card rub spot because HE’S AWESOME. It would be a huge waste if WWE doesn’t make him a star. Tye Dillinger would also be a welcome addition to the mid-card spot. Becky Lynch could finally recapture the Women’s championship under the mentorship of Daniel Bryan. The main event talent is difficult to book because Sami Zayn had to go and be Kevin Owens’ best friend again. Without the most Daniel Bryan-esque guy available, why not Shinsuke Nakamura? He doesn’t have to talk much and it will keep him in the main event picture. Have Daniel Bryan sit him down and say “listen, I know your last shot at the title was ruined by the numbers game, let me help you because you can be a great champion.” Nakamura, always wanting to do things himself, wouldn’t join right away but eventually would come around and win a championship alongside his newfound ragtag group of companions.
What do you think? Should factions come back or should the single stars stay by themselves? Who do you want to see in a faction together? Let me know in the comments below!