Over the years, wrestling has given us a lot of factions. Most have been heels as gathering up bad guys in one spot is an impressive sight. From a trio of guys to sprawling leagues, the sight of so many big stars gathered together is impressive. Many have been used to boost guys up like The Shield, Evolution and others. In some cases, it’s a loose gathering under one banner while others present themselves as a cohesive unit. What matters is that with the right star power involved, these factions can do massive business and boost the guys involved majorly.
Of course, every pack has their runt. While groups of three or four are able to handle things well, the more you spread out, the more likely it is you get a garbage guy or two. Some guys just don’t belong in these factions, nowhere near the talent or star level needed to make it work and seem completely out of place. For every shining star of a team, there’s a real dud who has absolutely no place there and his spot in the group makes it look poorer. From 10 of the greatest factions in wrestling history, here’s one member who was the clear star and another who had no place there at all and show how forming such super-teams can have its drawbacks.
20. The Corporation – BEST: Vince McMahon
Say what you will about Vince McMahon but he is a genius when it comes to getting fans to hate him. By 1998, he had embraced the “Mr. McMahon” persona that would make him a hit and boost WWE to major success. He thus formed “The Corporation,” a band of stooges and heels that would help him out. It was their help that made The Rock champion and finally a main event level star while other guys would get a rub around them. But Vince was always the driving force, using his natural heel charisma to the utmost as he flaunted being the evil boss. He would use Kane, Big Show, Chyna, Triple H and others to go after Steve Austin and others who got on his bad side and drive them to success. While The Corporation had good workers, it was always McMahon who was the best member and why it was a huge deal.
19. The Corporation – WORST: Big Bossman
Ray Traylor had a good career, a tough guy who could be better in the ring than he looked. His run as The Big Bossman made him a star in the late 1980s before a rough run of multiple characters in WCW. He returned as a tougher Bossman, now working with McMahon and set up as an enforcer. However, he was slowed by age and injuries, his time for the Hardcore Title rough and trying to push him as a main eventer didn’t work. His time would include feuding with Al Snow for the infamously terrible “Hell in a Kennel” match and a bad feud with Big Show. It seemed his time with The Corporation was because Vince had a soft spot for the guy but otherwise, Bossman just didn’t fit with an elite group.
18. The Nexus – BEST: Wade Barrett
The debut of The Nexus is one of the best things WWE ever did. In 2010, this pack of rookies cut from the original NXT show suddenly stormed the ring to beat up John Cena and the announcers and tear the ring area apart. It was fantastic and instantly got them over. The plan was for Daniel Bryan to be the leader but he got fired for choking a guy in the attack and so Wade Barrett stepped up to the plate and proved himself well. A great worker, Barrett was terrific on the mic and sold The Nexus as a huge deal.
Sadly, WWE would undermine them with bad booking, rushing them to defeat and a break-up that diluted the entire thing. However, Barrett would show the drive that would push him for some runs although injuries would keep him from being elevated more. The Nexus may have failed in the end but Barrett did make them the talk of wrestling for a while.
17. The Nexus – WORST: Michael Tarver
There were a few guys in The Nexus who didn’t pay off at the time. Most notably, Husky Harris who had bad stuff before repackaging himself as Bray Wyatt and Skip Sheffield who became Ryback. However, Tarver has to be the most notable failure of the bunch. He had a good look and some promise and was notable for the kerchief over his mouth to stand out during their attack. But in matches, Tarver was ignored in favor of more skilled guys, often the first pinned in elimination bouts and not making much of an impact. He suffered a groin injury and was put out in late 2010 and his entire run with the group was forgotten. Now on the indies, Tarver has to be the weak link of the Nexus.
16. Bullet Club – BEST: AJ Styles
Created in New Japan, the idea of the Bullet Club was that it was a bunch of non-Japanese workers rebelling against what they thought were the too-strict rules of the company. They were soon taking off majorly to explode onto the scene. They’ve moved on since to Ring of Honor and over the years have boasted over twenty members. They’ve included the original founder Prince Devitt (now known as Finn Balor), Cody Rhodes, Adam Cole, the Young Bucks and more. Yet AJ Styles’ tenure is probably the best. Having left his long run in TNA, Styles was already hailed as one of the greatest wrestlers around and his time in New Japan just seemed to invigorate him. Styles was soon winning titles and helping The Club in attacks on various wrestlers. He kept it up with them in ROH and shone wonderfully in a leadership role. He left for WWE but Styles’ time with The Club was just another reminder why he is the Phenomenal One.
15. WORST: Frankie Kazarian
This isn’t a shot on Kazarian himself who is a fantastic worker. Rather, it’s that his tenure with the Bullet Club was not only short but also did them huge damage. After plying his trade in TNA, Kazarian and Christopher Daniels took off as Bad Influence, winning the tag team titles and showing off their great skills on the mic with impersonations of other wrestlers. Moving to ROH, The Addiction rose up more, holding the tag belts and soon feuding with the Bullet Club. In early 2017, Kazarian suddenly turned on Daniels to help the Young Bucks beat him down and joined The Club. But only a month later, at the 15th anniversary show, Kaz turned on The Club to help Daniels beat Cole for the ROH title and they laughed about setting The Club up for this. That’s why Kaz has to rank as the worst member as his only goal in joining was to help put a bullet in the Club.
14. The Heenan Family – BEST: Mr Perfect
While they weren’t together a whole lot, it was obvious the Bobby Heenan “Family” was a major deal for WWE. At one time or another, his charges included Andre the Giant, Hercules, Rick Rude, The Brainbusters, Paul Orndorff, Haku and many others. But far and away the best of the bunch had to be Mr. Perfect. Curt Hennig was an absolutely amazing worker already but in WWE, he just took off wonderfully, playing up an arrogant guy who could back it up in the ring. Once he joined with Heenan in 1990, Perfect won the IC title for two long reigns, putting in fantastic bouts with many workers.
He was actually the last guy Heenan would manage before he retired to become a commentator and his promos matched his terrific work. Heenan had tons of clients in WWE but far and away Hennig was the perfect guy to have as his last.
13. The Heenan Family – WORST: Red Rooster
Poor, poor Terry Taylor. A good worker, Taylor had been a success in Mid-South, was great on the mic, had lots of charisma and could have gone far. According to legend, it was literally the flip of a coin whether he or Hennig would get the Mr. Perfect gimmick. Taylor lost that big time as he was stuck with the utterly idiotic gimmick of the Red Rooster. Dressed in red outfits and a red streak in his hair, Taylor had to strut around and do promos with a rooster’s call. At first a heel with Heenan, he turned face but his entire run in WWE was slammed as totally stupid. Taylor himself hated it and WWE enjoys to mock him today as well as “what were we thinking?” about the whole act. It made you feel bad for Taylor and for Heenan trying to push him more.
12. The Fabulous Freebirds – BEST: Terry Gordy
The Freebirds broke the mold as the first cool heels. They showcased a great style in promos, an awesome dynamic and won the fans over majorly. Their feud with the Von Erichs made World Class a major success and the hottest thing in wrestling at the time. While Michael Hayes was terrific as their leader with killer promos, it was Gordy who was the real powerhouse of the team. While bulky and tough, Gordy could be a fantastic worker, going from brawling to technical work with ease and believable either way. He could get wild and crazy but backed it up with good promos of his own and carried himself well. Holding numerous titles and hailed in Japan, Gordy was one of the toughest men wrestling had ever seen and Hayes always gave him credit as the glue to the team. Hayes got the attention but “Bam Bam” was the one who made the Freebirds fly.
11. The Fabulous Freebirds – WORST: Iceman King Parsons
In 1988, after time away, the Freebirds returned to World Class but a turn came with Hayes turning face and even aiding the Von Erichs. Angered by their friend’s betrayal, Gordy and Buddy Roberts decided to form a new Freebirds with long-time WCCW face “Iceman” King Parsons. Now calling himself “Blackbird,” Parsons led them in attacks on Hayes and others in the company. Parsons was a good worker and a terrific promo guy but him as a Freebird never quite worked. On a DVD, Hayes sums up the problem being “how can you have a Freebirds without Michael Hayes?” The group just didn’t make much of an impact and Hayes would bolt back to WCW in 1989 as WCCW began their death spiral. It’s sad how Parsons just never took off as a Freebird to hold the team down.
10. The Dangerous Alliance – BEST: Arn Anderson
In 1992, Paul E. Dangerously organized the Dangerous Alliance, a fantastic group of heels who spent the year running roughshod on WCW. In a group with Steve Austin, Rick Rude, Bobby Eaton and Madusa, Arn Anderson was the clear star. Already a veteran of the Four Horsemen, Anderson brought in his terrific skills to the team. Able to mix brawling with great technical work, Double A was fantastic selling any type of match and held the Alliance up well. He also showed off in the promos, always able to sell a big bout and give some great threatening lines. Anderson was terrific to hold the Alliance together and make them one of the best heel groups ever. While Paul E was the leader, Double A was the real guy who made this Alliance so Dangerous.
9. WORST: Larry Zbyszko
Larry Zbyszko is famous for his feud with Bruno Sammartino but otherwise, was never that great a worker. He was great on the mic but his in-ring work showed off a lot of stalling and slow battles and many still blame him for helping to drive the AWA into the ground as champion. When he had a partner to cover for his issues, Zbyszko could be better. He and Anderson were great as the Enforcers as tag team champions and their work in the Alliance was also good. Zbyszko could offer some good promos but in singles work, he failed to shine as well. The Alliance did well (even with the bad booking of WCW at the time) but Zbyszko didn’t have the same success as the others and a reason the Alliance itself fell apart at the end of the year.
8. The Hart Foundation – BEST: Owen Hart
This might be a surprise as one would think Bret was the best of the Foundation. But Bret himself always said Owen was his superior in many ways, the most talented of all the Hart brothers. Owen was a fantastic athlete, able to take to the air with high flying moves and yet, was still a technical master. He was also stunning on the mic, a terrific heel and could get a crowd going easily. Owen was already a singles star but his teamwork with Davey Boy Smith was top notch as they held the tag team titles. He had a way of riling up a crowd that Bret could never touch and that boosted him and the Foundation majorly. While the group faded after Montreal, Owen stayed in WWE until his tragic death and showed he really was the best of the Harts.
7. The Hart Foundation – WORST: Jim Neidhart
It wasn’t that Neidhart wasn’t skilled. However, it was always clear Bret was the in-ring leader during their time together. The Anvil was the strongman, the tough guy who took abuse but handled himself with his strength. He and Bret were great with runs as tag team champions but his shortcomings were shown when they finally split up and Neidhart and Owen didn’t click as well. By the time the Foundation formed again in 1997, Neidhart was pretty much just on the sidelines, was in big tag bouts occasionally, but nothing too major. He faded fast when the Montreal Screwjob split them all up and showed his lack of real drive without Bret. While good in the Pink and Black Attack, Neidhart just didn’t do as well on his own and was the obvious weak link in the later Foundation chain.
6. DX – BEST: Triple H
When D-Generation X first started, Hunter Hearst Helmsley was still pushed as the “blue blood” but showed signs of change. Having Chyna as a backup helped as Hunter was taking off as a singles star. The point of DX at first was to push Shawn Michaels as he feuded with Bret and then get wild after Montreal. But when Shawn went out for his back injury, Triple H picked up the leadership mantle and it did wonders for him. Before his first knee injury, Triple H was a really great worker and showed that along with fantastic mic skills. He had the backings of the crowd to boost him up and make him a huge star. It was thanks to DX that Hunter finally became a main eventer and showed how he was the true heart of DX all along.
5. DX – WORST: Rick Rude
Rude had been a fantastic worker for years from World Class to his first run in WWE as IC champ. He’d shown off as well in WCW with runs as US champ and his cocky manner making him one of the best heels around. But by 1997, Rude’s injuries had taken their toll and forced him into the role of DX’s “enforcer.” The problem was, Rude couldn’t actually do any in-ring work, not just due to injury but issues of his insurance and legal issues. So he just stood around and tried to look menacing while Hunter and Shawn did all the talking. They had Chyna for that, so Rude really contributed little and it’s no wonder he jumped to WCW (leading to him appearing on “Nitro” and “RAW” on the same night). Rude passed away a couple of years later and it’s a shame his last gasp at the big time was so lame.
4. nWo – BEST: Hulk Hogan
Say what you will about Hulk Hogan but he gets fans going. He proved that for years as the biggest face in wrestling and while his time in WCW was low for a while, he still had that charisma. That’s what made his heel turn in 1996 such a massive hit. Hogan had the charisma, the star power and mic skills, he just amped it up majorly to become a bad guy. It worked wonderfully, as fans loved to hate him and it was thanks to him that the nWo became such a massive deal. While it got out of control and fed his ego too much, there can be no denying that Hogan was the key to the nWo becoming the dominant force that pushed WCW to the top for a while and make him a megastar once more.
3. nWo – WORST: Horace Hogan
The problem with the nWo was that it became way too popular when they were meant to be the heels. The point was to have them eventually beaten by the good guys but Eric Bischoff bought the idea they could last forever and kept shoving them at fans. So more and more guys were added, many of them B or even C-listers who didn’t belong to such an elite group. Tops among them was Horace Hogan, Hulk’s nephew who was getting a push despite having no real talent at all. At Halloween Havoc 1998, Horace interfered in the horrible Hogan/Warrior bout to let Hogan win. That was his high point as he never amounted to much and even as the group imploded and twisted into different packs, Horace has to rank as one guy who never belonged in this massive group.
2. The Four Horsemen – BEST: Ric Flair
The obvious choice. Mention The Horsemen and Flair is who comes to mind. The Nature Boy was already riding high as NWA champion, a master in the ring and his mic work remains absolutely stunning. In his prime, Flair could put on a match with anyone, even Road Warrior Hawk or some B-level territory guy and fans responded to him. As the centerpiece of the Horsemen, Flair made sure they were around to help him retain his title by any means necessary and showcased their great style. Through all its incarnations, Flair was the backbone of the team, keeping them going and making sure the Horsemen were seen as top dogs no matter what. So much of Flair’s career is already legendary but his time with the Horsemen made them elite and still the best faction of all time.
1. The Four Horsemen – WORST: Paul Roma
When Flair made a big return to WCW in 1993, they wanted to get the Horsemen back together again. Arn and Ole Anderson were in but Tully Blanchard turned down their offer and Barry Windham was busy. So, in one of the worst moments of an already bad year, WCW had Flair come out to announce the latest member of the most elite team in wrestling was…Paul Roma. A long-time mid-carder in WWE, Roma had okay looks but nowhere near the skill or star power to belong to the Horsemen. The fans hated it right off with Roma never being accepted by them. He and Arn formed a team to win the tag titles but it was still hostile for fans and their incarnation split by the end of the year. Most cite this as the worst Horsemen unit ever and Roma never belonged with this group at all.
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