A professional wrestling faction can be a very special thing when done correctly. Finding the right performers and the proper persona for a group is important. However, the chemistry between members is often what distinguishes a great faction from a forgettable one.
Below are 10 examples of stables that had some or all of the ingredients that it takes to succeed in the world of sports entertainment. In an attempt to separate the great from the truly elite, we have decided to rank the 10 top factions the wrestling world has ever seen.
10 The Dangerous Alliance
The Dangerous Alliance was a faction founded (and led) by Paul Heyman in 1987. Back in those days, Heyman went by the name Paul E. Dangerously – hence the name Dangerous Alliance. The group started out in AWA, but reached the height of its popularity in WCW in the early 1990s, and later reformed in ECW.
In truth, the faction never stayed together (or in any one place) long enough to build the kind of lasting legacy some of the other groups on our list have. However, it did have several high profile members, including Rick Rude, Arn Anderson, and Madusa. It also helped launch the career of a man who would later come to be known as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.
9 The Wyatt Family
Led by their enigmatic leader Bray Wyatt, The Wyatt Family was one of the most freighting factions to ever set foot inside a wrestling ring. The cult-like group consisted of large, bearded men who looked like something out of a horror film. The core members were Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erik Rowan. However, other stars like Braun Strowman, Randy Orton, and even Daniel Bryan were involved at one point or another.
While all the core members of the Wyatt Family were convincing in their roles, it was Bray Wyatt (particularly his mic work) that stood out. The group provided a platform for Bray Wyatt to prove he was a main event talent and positioned the other members to have noteworthy runs in WWE.
8 The New Day
Historically, comedy factions haven’t fared well in professional wrestling – they tend to get stale rather quickly and usually have limited upside. That being said, the New Day has stayed relevant and remained popular for several years now. The trio, which formed in 2014, consists of Big E, Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods. In total, The New Day has won the WWE Tag Team Championship 5 times. Recently, Kofi Kingston won the WWE Championship, which has heightened the group's profile.
With Kofi Kingston getting a main event push, it will be interesting to see if The New Day can continue to gain momentum, or if the wind up going back to becoming a mid-card comedy faction. If they can stay hot (particularly Kofi Kingston), The New Day could end up further down the list in short order.
7 The Hart Foundation
Not to be confused with the Hall of Fame tag team The Hart Foundation, The New Hart Foundation faction originally formed back in March of 1997. The pro-Canadian stable boasted an impressive roster including the likes of Bret Hart, Jim Neihart, Owen Hart, The British Bulldog, and Brian Pillman. The anti-American group was the focal point of WWE television throughout their run. Moreover, the stable also got their hands on every major WWE title over their relatively short time together – including the WWE Championship – which was held by Bret Hart.
Unfortunately, due to Bret Hart’s departure from WWE in late 1997, the group lasted less than a year. If they stayed together a bit longer, with the talent they had, The New Hart Foundation could have given some the top factions on our list a run for their money.
Evolution was the dominant faction in WWE in the mid-2000s. The group was led by Triple H and included big-name stars like Ric Flair, Batista, and Randy Orton. They were a heel (villainous) stable who liked to bend the rules. In truth, the group was essentially a revised WWE version of The Four Horsemen and even had the latter’s leader (Ric Flair) as a member. Evolution has a main event-level faction which held most of the major titles and was the centerpiece of WWE television at the time.
While WWE tends to overate the faction’s impact, the group was still quite successful in solidifying both Randy Orton and Batista as main event players.
5 The Bullet Club
The Bullet Club started was a little known faction who performed in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NLPW) that went on to become an international phenomenon. It was none other than Prince Devitt (aka Finn Balor) who started the group back in 2013. At one point or another, The Bullet Club featured just about every top wrestler who wasn’t signed by WWE. The faction was also prominently represented in Ring of Honor Wrestling (ROH). Notable alumni include A.J. Styles, Cody Rhodes, and Kenny Omega.
Today, it’s nearly impossible to go to any wrestling event without seeing a sea of Bullet Club t-shirts in the audience. The factions success proved that there was a significant market for pro wrestling outside of WWE and helped pave the way for promotions like AEW
4 The Shield
While they have reformed periodically since, The Shield debuted in 2012 and went on to become one of WWE’s top attractions, until they disbanded in 2014. The Shield consisted of Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose – all three of which would go on to capture world titles as singles competitors.
The Shield has a complex legacy. One of the things that makes them unique is that they became a main event draw without having any previously established stars in the group when they debuted. Moreover, they helped Seth Rollins become the Superstar he is today. Unfortunately, The Shield was also the launching point for Roman Reigns main event push, which caused a lot of fans to sour on WWE as a whole.
3 The Four Horsemen
The Four Horseman are pretty much the blueprint for every heel (bad guy) faction that followed. Founded in 1985, the Horsemen never met a rule they didn’t break. Led by the legendary “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, the original team also featured Arn & Ole Anderson, Tully Blanchard, and manager James J. Dillon. They were the first faction to emphasize their opulent lifestyle and ability to attract women – concepts that have since become mainstays in professional wrestling.
The only downside here is that The Horseman spent their peak years in promotions like AWA and WCW, back when WWE (then WWF) was the big game in town. A lot of fans didn’t fully get to appreciate the group until the Monday Night Wars when it was past its prime.
2 D-Generation X
Founded in 1997, D-Generation-X is a faction that defined the Attitude Era. They were known for crude over the top humor that often tested the boundaries of what was acceptable to show on cable television. The original members are Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Chyna, and Rick Rude. Stars like X-Pac, Billy Gunn, and Road Dogg would later find success as members of the group.
The stable's antics helped WWE take back momentum during the Monday Night Wars, when pro wrestling was at the height of its popularity – though acts like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock arguably played a more significant role in WWE ultimately emerging the victor.
1 The New World Order
At their peak, the New World Order (NWO) was the most popular faction in the history of professional wrestling. WWE would like fans to believe that DX was the greatest faction of all-time since the NWO was a WCW creation but fans who are old enough to have lived through the Monday Night War know better. While the NWO would eventually feature seemingly half of WCW’s roster – Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash were the guys that really got the ball rolling.
The group played a key role in almost putting WWE out of business, and helped reintroduce pro wrestling to a mainstream audience. One could reasonably argue that the formation of the New World Order signaled the beginning of the golden age of wrestling in the late-1990s.