Stables and factions have always played a large role in professional wrestling and they have for many years. In the old days of the territory system, factions like The Four Horsemen, Devastation Inc and the Legion of Doom ran roughshod through the NWA. When WWE started to break out in the '80s under the leadership of Vince McMahon, he started to ensure that stables played a large role in his company as well.
Many early stables were led by managers and were defined by who they managed but in later years, factions and stables consisted of wrestlers joining forces to dominate as a force, usually with evil intentions. Here is a look at 10 of the best stables in WWE history.
Randy Orton had already worked in one of the best stables in WWE history with Evolution. After leaving them, he turned babyface but soon switched back to his more natural heel role with his "legend killer" gimmick, where his goal was to take out the heroes of yesteryear. It was at this time he started Legacy, with fellow second generation stars.
The group consisted of Ted DiBiase Jr. (son of The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase), Cody Rhodes (son of The American Dream Dusty Rhodes) and Manu (son of Afa, the Samoan). Manu left shortly after their formation but the other three remained together for two years, with Orton serving as world champion during that time.
If this included their run in WCW, the nWo would probably rank first or second on the list of the best factions of all-time, but when just looking at WWE, they rank much lower. Gone was the dominance of their WCW days and the freshness of them invading WCW and Hogan turning bad.
In WWE, it was just Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall arriving and repeating their invasion angle. However, things did not go well for them as Hall lost to Stone Cold Steve Austin and Hogan to The Rock at WrestleMania that year. Still, they are the nWo and are all three members are WWE Hall of Famers. The addition later of Sean Waltman and Shawn Michaels did little to make it better.
8 THE MILLION DOLLAR CORPORATION
The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase arrived in WWE after a successful career in the NWA and the territories. He started out his career as a millionaire who humiliated people by paying them money to do whatever he asked. When he couldn't win the world title he created his own. Then, he started his own WWE stable.
From 1994 through 1996, the Million Dollar Corporation included some of the biggest stars in WWE history. His first client was Hall of Famer Nikolai Volkoff. Over time, Ted DiBiase also introduced WWE to The Undertaker as well as The Ringmaster Steve Austin.
7 THE NATION OF DOMINATION
During the Attitude Era, the biggest stable was D-Generation X but there were other stables, many of them failing to remain memorable. There were gang wars in WWE during that time between Los Boricuas, DOA and the Nation of Domination. Out of the three stables, only the Nation of Domination became legends.
Members of this stable included WWE Hall of Fame stars Faarooq (Ron Simmons), Kama Mustafa (The Godfather) and Mark Henry. Also involved was D'Lo Brown and Owen Hart but the true gold standard of the Nation of Domination was "The Rock" Dwayne Johnson, who eventually took over as the leader by booting out founding member Faarooq.
In 2003, WWE decided to create a new stable that bore a striking resemblance to the Four Horsemen. As a matter of fact, they even brought in Nature Boy Ric Flair to be the bridge between Evolution and the Four Horsemen. The stable was set up so that Triple H was the world champion and the rest were there to make sure he kept his title.
The name signified the past (Flair), present (Triple H) and future (Batista and Randy Orton) in the Evolution of WWE. It was also a stable full of champions. Randy Orton was the Intercontinental Champion, Triple H the world champ, and Batista and Flair winning the tag titles.
5 THE SHIELD
The Shield walked in the footsteps of The Fabulous Freebirds from years before -- a three-man stable that was built as an all-for-one unit. Originally, The Shield was a stable hired as muscle for CM Punk but they gained so much popularity that they broke off and became the most dominant trio in WWE history.
As a six-man team, they were almost undefeated, with only a small handful of loses in their career. They were also champions, with Dean Ambrose holding the United States title and Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns as tag champs. They broke up but then enjoyed one more great moment when all three men held the world title on the same day at Money in the Bank 2016.
4 THE CORPORATE MINISTRY
The Corporate Ministry was the merging of two giant factions into one dominant stable. The two factions were The Corporation, which was a McMahon led stable and the Ministry of Darkness, which was led by Undertaker. It started with the Ministry of Darkness feuding with Mr. McMahon and they even snatched away and crucified Stephanie McMahon to drive him crazy.
Undertaker merged his faction with Shane McMahon's Corporation, which included names like Ken Shamrock, Big Bossman and Big Show. It turned out to be a ruse and the stable ended up under the leadership of Mr. McMahon, who planned to use them to beat Stone Cold Steve Austin, who he had been feuding with for over a year.
3 THE HEENAN FAMILY
The Heenan Family was not a faction but was a true stable in the '80s-era WWE. Basically, the stable was anyone managed by Bobby "The Brain" Heenan at the time. It included Hall of Famers like Andre the Giant, The Brain Busters, Ravishing Rick Rude, Big John Studd, Harley Race, Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff, and Nature Boy Ric Flair.
The Heenan Family actually started before Bobby Heenan entered WWE but it thrived in WWE, as Heenan did everything he could to bring down Hulk Hogan. He had three world champions (Flair twice and Andre), three IC champs (Mr. Perfect twice, Rick Rude), two tag champs (Brain Busters, Andre and Haku) and a King of the Ring (Harley Race).
2 THE HART FOUNDATION
The Hart Foundation started out as a tag team, and enter the WWE Hall of Fame in 2019. That was Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart and Bret "The Hitman" Hart, with manager Mouth of the South Jimmy Hart. However, over time Jimmy Hart was gone and Bret Hart had moved on to singles action and a huge success.
Later, when Hart turned heel and started his own faction, he kept the Hart Foundation name since almost everyone involved was related. It involved brother Owen Hart and brother-in-law's Jim Neidhart and British Bulldog. Brian Pillman, trained by the Hart's, also joined. That last stable held the WWE title (Bret Hart), European title (British Bulldog), IC title (Owen Hart twice) and tag titles (Owen and Bulldog).
1 D-GENERATION X
The headliners for the 2019 WWE Hall of Fame class is the greatest stable in WWE history. D-Generation X started out in 1997 when Shawn Michaels and Triple H teamed up with bodyguards Chyna and Ravishing Rick Rude. Soon, Rude was gone but the other three created the stable that helped launch the Monday Night Wars.
After Shawn Michaels retired due to a bad back, Triple H branched out with DX and invited new members in The New Age Outlaws and then "X-Pac" Sean Waltman returned to WWE from WCW and joined up as well. As a unit, DX held 23 total WWE titles.