It's fair to say that the concept of stables, factions, or whatever you prefer to call them, has seen better days. Gone are the days when The Four Horsemen reigned supreme, or those eras when we saw the nWo, D-Generation X, The Hart Foundation, Evolution, and other great teams of three or more people become important cogs in the pro wrestling machine. But you've still got The New Day enjoying great success on SmackDown Live, with The Miz having formed an "Entourage" on RAW after potentially saving Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel from the unemployment line. And let's not forget the Titus Brand – I'll have to admit that may have some legs in it after all, with Titus O'Neil and Apollo Crews likely to be joined by Akira Tozawa in due time. (Thank goodness The Welcoming Committee appears to be over and done post-Money in the Bank.)
Over the years, we've seen certain stables, such as DX and The Heenan Family, make the most out of their time as a unified group of wrestlers. We've also seen awful factions like The Truth Commission, The Oddities, The Mexicools, and Sports Entertainment Xtreme get 86'd before fans could get too sick of them. Heck, even good factions wear out their welcome and then some, as you'll soon find out below. You've also got stables that either lasted too quickly or didn't live up to expectations through no fault of theirs.
Who are the wrestling stables that stayed too long for a lot of fans' likings, and who are the ones that left us wanting more when they disbanded? Let's find out below, and check out 8 of the former and 7 of the latter.
15 15. Evolution (Lasted Too Long)
Let's start off with an entry which I feel will be very controversial, mainly because they achieved such iconic status together. Evolution was a stable whose membership represented the past (Ric Flair), present (Triple H), and future (Batista and Randy Orton) of the WWE as people knew it, and together, they ruled Monday Night RAW with an iron fist from the spring of 2003 to early 2005, when Batista memorably turned on Triple H with that memorable thumbs-down that led to their World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania 21.
Make no mistake, Evolution was a great stable, and they had some memorable moments during their two-year reign of terror. But those are the operative words here – "reign of terror." Entire episodes of RAW revolved around Triple H and Evolution, and even if some of RAW's babyfaces would win titles from Evolution members during that reign, it would still be Evolution looking strongest when all was said and done. It was too much of a good thing, and the loud pop Batista got for finally turning on Triple H was a sign of how many people had gotten sick of their dominance.
14 14. The Shield (Wanted More From)
In a sense, you can argue that WWE disbanded The Shield at the right time – WWE needed someone to replace the disgruntled Batista as one of Triple H's closest allies, and did so by having Seth Rollins serve as HHH's Plan B and betray The Shield with a brutal chair shot to Roman Reigns' back, as Dean Ambrose's shocked expression told more than any words can say. All three Shield members have experienced success in singles competition since their 2014 breakup. So why want more from the Hounds of Justice?
The reason is actually quite simple – having The Shield last longer, possibly with a short-term replacement for Rollins, could have saved us from the debacle that is Roman Reigns' ongoing God-push as a babyface. Fans detested him not only because of WWE's insistence on him as their new alpha dog, but also because they felt he wasn't ready for such a role in terms of in-ring, and especially mic skills. That's something that could have potentially been averted by keeping The Shield together for at least a few more months.
13 13. Kai En Tai (Lasted Too Long)
Kai En Tai was WWE's answer to Krusty the Klown bellowing out "Me so solly!", "Me rikey flied lice!", and "Me frappa dickie rong time-uh!" on that Simpsons episode where his dated, racist humor disgusted the likes of Jay Leno and other popular comedians of the time. This was Vince McMahon's idea of a comedic Japanese stable, and while a lot of us might have found the whole "choppy choppy your pee pee" bit with Val Venis hilarious when we were kids, hindsight tells us that Taka Michinoku, Dick Togo, Men's Teioh, Funaki, and even Yamaguchi-san deserved much better.
Kai En Tai would become a tag team when it was just down to Michinoku and Funaki, and their shtick was just as casually racist, with Shane McMahon doing his worst martial arts film/anime dubbing impressions as his words failed to match the two wrestlers' lip movements. We're so lucky and thankful to the gods of wrestling that Shinsuke Nakamura and Hideo Itami (despite his unlucky NXT run thus far) didn't come along at such a time.
12 12. Right To Censor (Wanted More From)
Speaking of factions involving Val Venis, Right to Censor was the complete opposite of the stable the Big Valbowski once feuded with. It was a brilliant trolling attempt on WWE's part, the company's answer to the allegations levied by L. Brent Bozell and the prudish Parent's Television Council (PTC) watchdog group.
In this stable, leader Stevie Richards was at his hammy best as the ultra-conservative, short-haired Steven Richards. Val Venis got a similar short haircut and prudish persona but somehow kept his risqué ring name. The Godfather renounced his pimping ways and became The Goodfather. Ivory traded her conventional wrestling gear for a buttoned-up white shirt and long black skirt, and Bull Buchanan...was that guy from The Truth Commission drafted as the faction's muscle.
Right to Censor lasted slightly less than a year, disbanding in May of 2001 with little fanfare. But it showcased some interesting character development for everyone involved, and could have had a little more legs, had it not been for a little something called the Invasion. Damn that Invasion.
11 11. Spirit Squad (Lasted Too Long)
KENNY! JOHNNY! MITCH! NICKY! MIKEY! They're...the Spirit Squad! And boy, were they annoying. To be fair, that's what this faction of five male cheerleaders was supposed to be, but what was supposed to be a comedy stable turned out to be a key player on WWE programming for far longer than anyone had hoped for. I bet Terry Gordy was rolling over in his grave as the Spirit Squad egregiously used and abused the Freebird Rule to reign for a whopping 216 days as World Tag Team Champions in 2006.
The Spirit Squad's 10-month reign of awfulness was mercifully put to an end when DX and Ric Flair beat them in a 5-on-3 handicap match. And in true DX fashion, all five members were placed in a crate and "shipped off" to "OVW, Louisville, Kentucky" – right back to the developmental territory they came from. Bet that's something that Dolph Ziggler buried into the deepest recesses of his mind...until Kenny and Mikey (briefly) came back to WWE in late-2016 to remind him of his time as Nicky. Or is that...NIIIIC-KYYYY!!!!!!!!!
10 10. The Hart Dynasty (Wanted More From)
The Hart Dynasty was made up of David Hart Smith (aka Davey Boy Smith Jr.), Tyson Kidd (a longtime family friend of the Harts), and Kidd's real-life girlfriend, Natalya (Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart's daughter), and they were pushed on SmackDown in 2009 as a faction with great promise and talent, and even greater bloodlines. As a stable, Smith and Kidd won two tag team titles, while they did have a memorable feud against another next-generation faction in The Usos and Tamina. But looking back, you kind of wish that Creative had something better for them. Much better.
The end came for The Hart Dynasty in late-2010, when Kidd turned on Smith. And in the years that followed, we saw Natalya achieve success in women's competition (farting gimmick and Great Khali storyline aside), and Kidd finally return to relevance alongside Cesaro, only to suffer a career- and life-threatening spinal injury during a 2015 match against Samoa Joe. Smith was shuttled down the card until his 2011 release, but thankfully, he's made a much bigger name for himself in Japan.
9 9. DOA And Los Boricuas (Lasted Too Long)
Hell, why don't we list both of the non-Nation of Domination factions involved in those early-Attitude Era "Gang Warz" that seemed to last forever? This was simply racial stereotyping in the WWE at its worst, and while we could give credit to the Nation for (mostly) being tasteful in its portrayal of angry black militants, Los Boricuas and the Disciples of Apocalypse represented the worst of Latino street thug and white biker gang tropes respectively.
What made the Gang Warz especially painful to watch was the fact that there was no real babyface faction to root for – all three stables were villainous in the truest sense. The Gang Warz drew crickets from audiences almost from the start, and when the three-way feud had ended, all the Boricuas were nondescript jobbers, while only the Harris Twins (8-Ball and Skull) remained after Crush and Chainz (aka Brian Lee/Underfaker) quietly left WWE.
8 8. The Nation Of Domination (Wanted More From)
As explained above, the original Nation of Domination was good enough as it is, but they splintered and thus gave birth to the horrible Gang Warz storyline. They soon became "bigger, badder, better, and blacker," as stable leader Faarooq promised, introducing Kama Mustafa (ex-Papa Shango, future Godfather) and Ahmed Johnson, then Rocky Maivia when Ahmed got injured. Somewhere around that time, bodyguard D'Lo Brown was promoted to a wrestling role in the faction, while Mark Henry joined later on, making the Nation easily the most dominant African-American stable in WWE history, Owen Hart's later inclusion notwithstanding.
The Nation also helped the aforementioned Mr. Maivia shed his awful "blue chipper" gimmick and become The Rock we know and love today. And while WWE had to disband the stable when The Rock's popularity overshadowed everyone else's, it might have been interesting to see how The Rock, The Godfather, Brown, Henry, and Owen worked together as good guys with their own unique personalities and gimmicks, and none of the militant angst that defined the stable's original incarnation.
7 7. The Corre (Lasted Too Long)
Welcoming Committee aside, there probably hasn't been a worse faction name out there than The Corre. So do you pronounce that as "Corey," "Cor-ay," or what? No, it's just "core" with a superfluous "r," and it was the stable formed by disgruntled ex-Nexus members Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel, and Heath Slater. And Ezekiel Jackson. For some time, it did seem that they had promise, but things would go awry soon after WrestleMania XXVII.
Aside from all three aforementioned Nexus alumni losing their respective belts, you also had Gabriel and Slater being used to get The Rock and John Cena over, as if those two needed any help looking strong. And when Barrett lost his IC Championship to Jackson when The Corre finally folded, it was the travesty of travesties – the guy had the muscles, but he had no charisma, precious little in-ring skills, and even less promo skills. But since Zeke would soon find himself in WWE oblivion due to a string of injuries (not to mention said weaknesses), The Corre did no favors to absolutely none of its members in the long run.
6 6. The Hart Foundation (1997) (Wanted More From)
For most of his decade-plus WWE run, Bret "The Hitman" Hart was a great technical wrestler, yet plain-vanilla on the mic – a 4/10, as he would probably rate himself. But that changed in 1997, when he made his first heel turn in nearly a decade. He was fantastic in running down America and its favorite wrestling sons, not the least of them being Shawn Michaels and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, but since he needed some help in running roughshod over a WWE that had changed too much for his liking, he enlisted the assistance of family and friends – brother Owen Hart, brothers-in-law Jim Neidhart and Davey Boy Smith, and family friend Brian Pillman.
Unfortunately, the reformed Hart Foundation lasted just eight short months in 1997, with the Montreal Screwjob ending Bret Hart's WWE run on a very sour note, and Davey Boy and Anvil following him to WCW soon after. And one month prior, Brian Pillman tragically passed away at the age of 35. Had it not been for the backstage politics of the time, we could've seen more of The Hart Foundation as the shrill, yet effective voice of traditional values in the newer, raunchier era of Attitude.
5 5. The Authority (Lasted Too Long)
Oh, Triple H. You sure love being part of a faction, don't you? And you sure love being part of groups that wear out their welcome – we're not including the two-man DX revival in here, because that was just him and Shawn Michaels. That's why it just MIGHT have been just right that the rumored HHH/Samoa Joe/Kevin Owens faction never got a formal launch. Because you know what's sure to follow, and what's sure to get fans wanting to change the channel, or shouting "WHAT?" at live shows – a 20-minute Triple H introductory promo, with or without Stephanie McMahon joining him and emasculating the babyfaces.
Those latter two features were hallmarks of The Authority during their three or so years as WWE's top heel stable. And while The Authority did give us a brief, and somehow satisfying Evolution reunion, the rise of Seth Rollins as a WWE megastar, and Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury as younger, more incompetent versions of Vince McMahon's Stooges, it all goes back to HHH's marathon spiels, Steph's own grating presence as her husband's partner in crime, and the fact that The Authority gave the WWE Universe something they didn't want – McMahons hogging TV time.
4 4. The Wyatt Family (Wanted More From)
And the controversy continues with a stable whom many feel had outlived its usefulness several times over. The WWE had a great thing going when the former Husky Harris reinvented himself into creepy cult leader Bray Wyatt, and his army of bearded followers, Erick Rowan, Luke Harper, and later on Braun Strowman, were, by and large, productive members of the faction. But by having The Wyatt Family disband and reform repeatedly, while having them oftentimes lose when it mattered the most, WWE dropped the ball with the backwoods cult, especially now that their leader and his onetime followers are on rudderless paths on RAW and SmackDown respectively.
Indeed, Bray could have used his Family to build credibility after the Superstar Shakeup, and we're hoping WWE could find a way to make him look like a force after that short-lived run of his with the WWE Championship. But forget any hopes of having Bo Dallas save his own floundering career by aligning with his real-life brother; as mentioned in the intro, he and Curtis Axel now work for The Miz as part of his "Entourage."
3 3. Aces And Eights (Lasted Too Long)
It seemed as if Dixie Carter and company had something good on their hands with the mysterious stable known as Aces and Eights. They attacked just about every TNA main eventer out there in the summer of 2012, all behind masks to conceal their identity. And it was only in October 2012 – four months after Sting was ambushed by three masked men – that Devon (or D-Von, for the WWE fans out there) became the first stable member revealed to TNA fans.
More members were revealed in the weeks that followed – D.O.C. (a.k.a. Luke Gallows). Mr. Anderson. (Mike) Knox. Wes Brisco. Garett Bischoff. With the exception of Bully Ray in March 2013, each new member seemed less impressive than the last, and by the time Brooke Hogan and Tito Ortiz joined in August 2013, Aces and Eights had long run its course.
Instead of establishing themselves as the biggest threat to ever hit TNA, Aces and Eights was, at the end of the day, a motley crew of midcarders and second-generation stiffs.
2 2. The Nexus (Wanted More From)
You shouldn't be surprised with this one. The first season of NXT in its "game show" form was a weird hodgepodge of Tough Enough-esque trials, wrestling matches pitting rookie against rookie or rookie against pro, and the birth of Michael Cole as the most annoying heel in recent memory. But it also gave us The Nexus, which was all eight NXT Season 1 rookies, led by winner Wade Barrett, spreading absolute mayhem across the WWE Universe in one of the most memorable debuts of all time.
Then someone, maybe somebody in WWE Creative or John Cena himself, had the genius idea to have Cena conquer this evil faction of rookies and have him almost singlehandedly do so at SummerSlam 2010. That cut The Nexus' legs from under them, and making things worse was the symbolic, and literal burial Barrett suffered, as he lost a Chairs Match to Cena at TLC 2010. Oh, how great things could have been if not for Super Cena.
1 1. nWo (Lasted Too Long)
When talking about our number one stable that lasted too long, we have to draw a line here. OG New World Order with The Outsiders (Scott Hall and Kevin Nash) and Hulk Hogan? That was brilliant. These guys were hell-bent on taking WCW over as a separate entity, and it was understandable that they'd want to add to their ranks. As such, The Giant, Ted DiBiase, and Syxx (formerly 1-2-3 Kid in WWE) made good additions, and so did "Macho Man" Randy Savage, and especially Eric Bischoff as the nWo's main backer.
Then the nWo became so bloated that you even had guys like Buff Bagwell, Scott Norton, Vincent (Mike "Virgil" Jones trolling the competition, as always), and Horace (hooray for nepotism) Hogan in their ranks. There were all sorts of offshoots – nWo Japan, the Latino World Order, and even Warrior's laughable oWn (One Warrior Nation) to counter the overpopulated menace that was then the nWo.
Long story short – the nWo helped WCW dominate the Monday Night Wars for a couple of years, but when their ranks overflowed and their storylines became too convoluted, they arguably contributed to WCW ultimately losing to WWE and folding years after the faction ceased to be relevant.
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