The history of factions in wrestling has delivered some of the most remarkable ideas. Fans witnessed the business change forever when the New World Order dominated WCW. This faction warfare put more eyes on the wrestling product to take the business mainstream. WWE found massive success with the Attitude Era changing the landscape of the industry. There’s no doubt D-Generation X pushing the envelope with edgy content that spoke to the times helped. The controversial faction added to the appeal of the Attitude Era and created a great deal of money coming into the company.
Many factions contributed to the business profit and the entertainment aspect of the wrestling product. The one constant for the best groups is they all had a great leader. A respected name with the credibility to back up the stable’s mission is pivotal to getting over. On the flip side, there have been some horrible leaders to ruin the potential of certain factions moving up in the rankings. A mediocre wrestler or disappointing leader can sink the chances of a stable growing before it even gets going. We’ll look back at the history of wrestling with eight of the best faction leaders of all-time and seven of the absolute worst.
15. Best: CM Punk (The Straight Edge Society)
The Straight Edge Society was a short-lived faction, but it showed how a great leader can lead a group of wrestlers. CM Punk was one of the best heels in the WWE and used his real life identity as someone with a straight edge lifestyle to talk down to the fans. WWE allowed Punk to take his heel antics to the next level with The Straight Edge Society faction.
Punk essentially had his own cult that saved talented wrestlers like Luke Gallows, Serena Deeb and Joey Mercury by giving them a chance to follow his word. The wrestlers not being used by WWE found a new chance to succeed. Punk’s superb talent set the tone for The Straight Edge Society, making them a compelling group that benefited all those involved to create good television.
14. Worst: Jeff Jarrett (Planet Jarrett)
One constant complaint during the early days of TNA saw fans upset with Jeff Jarrett dominating the television time. Jarrett used his influence on the product to position himself as the top heel on TNA for many years. This was shown with the inception of Planet Jarrett, as a heel stable trying to ensure Jarrett would retain the TNA Championship.
The other members of the group at different points were Monty Brown, James Storm, Chris Harris, Gail Kim and Team Canada. Jarrett was arguably the worst member of the faction, but everyone still worked under him. TNA would improve dramatically once Jarrett stepped aside and other stars were given opportunities. It was clear from the early stages of Planet Jarrett that Jeff shouldn’t be leading such a heavily focused faction in TNA.
13. Best: Paul Heyman (The Dangerous Alliance)
Wrestlers aren’t always the leaders of factions. Managers sometimes have the magic needed to get the performers over. This was the case when Paul Heyman led The Dangerous Alliance in WCW. Steve Austin, Rick Rude, Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton and Madusa were all extraordinary talents in different ways. WCW still couldn’t find a way to utilize them effectively.
Heyman became the mouthpiece for the unit of successful heels all working under his tutelage. The Dangerous Alliance was unfortunately short-lived or it could have been up there with the greatest stables of all-time. Heyman proved he was one of the best talkers and characters in the business during The Dangerous Alliance days, which would earn him many more opportunities later in his career for the WWE.
12. Worst: Lance Storm (Team Canada)
Lance Storm is one of the most talented wrestlers of his time and did many great things in the wrestling ring. Sadly, microphone skills and charisma were clearly not his strong suits. Unfortunately, personality is arguably the biggest factor in someone leading a faction. The leader has to speak and get the point across for the rest of the wrestlers.
Storm led Team Canada in WCW to mediocre results. It was meant to be an imitation of Bret Hart’s Hart Foundation, but Vince Russo weakly wrote the angle by making Storm the only speaker. Team Canada would get exposed by not having a strong talker to add to the promos that were desperately needed to get a stable like that across. Storm could have been a great member of the group, but should have never led the stable.
11. Best: Raven (Raven’s Nest)
An underrated faction that doesn’t get the respect it deserves is Raven’s Nest in ECW. Raven ascended to the top of the company as their most compelling character. The depth and range of the character forced fans to take note of him as the hottest act in ECW. Raven led Stevie Richards and The Blue Meanie in the faction.
Meanie and Richards played the perfect lackeys that allowed Raven to assert his power as a top villain, manipulating them to his advantage. All three men benefited from the work of Raven making them all relevant in the ECW landscape. Raven even did a great job leading The Flock in WCW despite having less freedom or upward momentum. If WCW gave him the opportunity that ECW did, they would have had another main event star.