Wrestling stables stretch way back before the territory days of the Four Horsemen vs. the Von Erich family, and if booked correctly in modern wrestling, can bring chaos, unpredictability and excitement to any show. They have been a staple of WWE story lines since the turn of the century, with at least one significant group being present within the product at all times, whether good or bad (e.g. the Alliance…bad).
The stable can serve many purposes, and contain all different types of members mixed together, like Evolution which was made up of the past (Ric Flair), the present (Triple H) and the future (Randy Orton & Batista), or the Shield containing three young members from developmental looking to make a name for themselves on the main roster. However, the most exciting part of a faction, apart from the overall demise, is when they find another hot group to engage with, leading to explosive confrontations (e.g. NWO vs. DX at WrestleMania, the Shield vs. the Wyatt Family or the Shield vs. Evolution).
Like with all phases of wrestling, the stable format depends on solid booking and exciting storylines, which has significantly cost many groups in recent memory. WCW over booked the NWO, WWF under booked the Alliance, and the less said about the Social Outcasts the better, yet overwhelmingly, the fans are drawn in and fascinated by the group mentality more often than not.
Since the arrival of Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, the anticipation and excitement of a possible reunion with AJ Styles or Finn Balor has the audience glued to the product, a clear example of the effect a ground breaking stable can have on the fans. With that in mind, here are the 15 best stables across the entire landscape of professional wrestling, which stand out as the best, and most unique of the last decade.
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15 Straight Edge Society
When WWE asked CM Punk to turn heel and vanquish Jeff Hardy in 2009, it resulted in the best bad guy on the entire roster, the feud of the year, and one of the most promising groups in all of wrestling: the Straight Edge Society (SES). Enforcing his real life beliefs on the crowd, Punk began a cult-like group that included Luke Gallows, Serena and Joey Mercury, as well as the shaving of fans' heads to show cleansing. It was at this time that Punk did arguably his best work on the mic, but despite this, the promising and entertaining trio never fulfilled their promise after moving to RAW and eventually disbanding.
14 Mount Rushmore
Down in California is one of the lesser known wrestling promotions to casual fans: PWG, which consistently puts on the best wrestling in the US, while booking the hottest independent talent available. From Pro Wrestling Guerilla comes quite possibly the most talented 4 man group in wrestling history: Mount Rushmore, consisting of Adam Cole, the Young Bucks and Kevin Steen. While the grouping did not achieve monumental championship success, due to changing lineups and their limited schedule, the original lineup remain 4 of the best wrestlers in recent memory, and thus their inclusion on this list.
13 Aces and Eights
Next up is TNA in 2012, a group many dubbed a failure, despite their overwhelming dominance and success of their president, Bully Ray. Based on the idea of an MC, with each member having to earn their ‘cut’, the group boasted an impressive roster, including D.O.C. Gallows, Ken Anderson, the aforementioned Bully Ray and even former UFC fighter Tito Ortiz. Bully Ray dominated during this time as champion, and it was only until a new incarnation of the Main Event Mafia that the group had any legitimate threat. Folding in 2013, the group was a hit in TNA, even when the majority of the product around it felt lackluster and boring.
In similar fashion to Evolution years earlier, this group featured the biggest star of the present, along with two future main eventers (or so WWE thought and hoped at the time). The formation of the faction came when Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr. joined Randy Orton during his ‘Age of Orton’ phase, becoming quite successful, with the youngsters winning the tag team championship, all while helping Randy remain at the top of the card with his WWE title. The group dominated RAW for some time until the young stars turned on Orton and set out on their own to become huge stars in their own right (or leave the company and become Stardust…).
Comprised of Kevin Steen, Steve Corrino and Jimmy Jacobs, the three men rose from the ashes of disrespect and poor booking to dominate Jim Cornette’s Ring of Honor, later adding more members like Jimmy Rave, Matt Hardy and Cliff Compton. This group saw the birth of the villainous character of Kevin Owens we see today, with the faction coming together after the then Steen turned on his partner and best friend El Generico (stop me if you’ve heard that one before). With the goal of destroying ROH, the group was successful for the fantastic heel promos and incredibly memorable storylines, before disbanding after being defeated in 2013.
10 The Wyatt Family
The first current group in this list, the Wyatt family; led by charismatic and sinister Bray Wyatt, the group has not yet found championship success, but continue to be an entertaining and unique part of WWE programming. Consisting of Wyatt and his followers Luke Harper, Erick Rowan and Braun Strowman, the bearded cult often become embroiled in the most interesting feuds on the roster, but due to very poor booking from management, always come out second best in these encounters. Despite this, WWE still have time to rectify this and turn the faction into one of the most dominant forces the PG era has ever seen.
9 La Familia
Late in the time of the original brand split, the Edge/Vickie marriage formed the stable of La Familia, with the aforementioned duo, Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins and Chavo Guerrero, who together ran Smackdown and most memorably made the Undertaker's life hell. The dominant heel group ran roughshod over the blue brand for over 2 years, holding many championships, including the Tag Team, ECW and World Heavyweight titles. Eventually the cracks began to show in the faction and this led to dissolution, with now only Zack Ryder remaining an active performer in WWE’s books.
8 Main Event Mafia
When Kurt Angle, Sting, Kevin Nash, Booker T and Scott Steiner came together in 2008 in TNA, they became known as the Main Event Mafia (MEM), the greatest collection of champions ever assembled into one group. Their reign as the dominant, veteran heel group combatted TNA upstarts the Frontline, featuring AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, the MCMG and more, leading to quite possibly the best feud and era in the history of the young promotion. The on screen clashing of egos and changing ideologies led to the groups demise in 2009, before Sting would reform the group in 2013 as baby face saviors, which never quite clicked like the first edition.
The Nexus… Oh the potential, the potential which went so sadly wasted at the hands of Super Cena and the infamous finish of the Team WWE vs. Team Nexus match at Summerslam. A group which completely changed the landscape of WWE upon their debut should have been higher on this list, yet were booked so poorly and ended so quickly they became the biggest ‘what if’ in WWE history. Consisting of a group of angry rookies, during their time they shook up a previously stale WWE product and achieved acceptable success early on, but never stood a chance with Mr. McMahon not being able to pull the trigger on the next generation.
6 The Authority
While many people are critical of the on screen role of the Authority since 2013, there is no doubt the success of the group, which has included Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, Kane and the Big Show. From the Daniel Bryan “Yes” Movement to Seth Rollins turning on the Shield, the heel faction has been involved in the most memorable and important storylines the WWE has to offer. Despite the often long-winded promos and the formulaic structure of the show under the Authority, the group has no doubt been dominant and achieved unmatched success during this period of time.
5 The New Day
The New Day, since their 2015 heel turn, have consistently been the most entertaining phase of the WWE product, and the most successful tag team, with a reign as champions lasting from Summerslam 2015 to the present day. There is little doubt that the original face debut of the trio fell flat on its face, but due to the talent of the three members (Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods), they managed to turn it into a success story with the heel turn. Despite this rejuvenation, the tag team division has offered little resistance to the New Day, but with the recent injection of talent, the trio should remain relevant, entertaining and successful for years to come.
4 Los Ingobernables
Perhaps no faction in wrestling in recent years has achieved more worldwide success than Los Ingobernables, winning world titles in several promotions such as CMLL, AULL, ROH and NJPW. The original group features stars such as La Mascara and La Sombra (now WWE’s Manny Andrade), while the sister group, Los Ingobernables de Japon features Tetsuya Naito, Jay Lethal and Evil. They formed in 2014, and through the working relationship with CMLL and NJPW (and the subsequent relationship between NJPW and ROH) have become one of the top heel factions in the world, building around always antagonistic and talented Tetsuya Naito and La Mascara.
Much like Los Ingoberables, CHAOS is present over various promotions, and features a plethora of talented stars like Kazuchika Okada, Will Osperay, Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano, after being formed by the King of Strong Style, Shinsuke Nakamura. Forming way back in 2009, the group dominated the Japanese wrestling scene as a vicious, hard hitting, heel stable, but have recently transformed into a popular faction with the addition of another heel group to NJPW. The group is ever evolving, adding new members like Will Ospreay, one of the most talented fliers in the world of wrestling, and present a diverse talent base to cater to every need of the fans.
2 The Shield
No team in recent WWE history has been as successful in such a short period of time than the Hounds of Justice, becoming the first in a long string of successful NXT call ups. Unlike any other WWE stable before them, the Shield were completely selfless, putting the greater good above their individual egos, consisting of Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose. Debuting at Survivor Series in 2012 to help CM Punk, the group were protected like no other in history, competing in amazing matches versus all comers, and only came undone when Seth Rollins shockingly turned on them after a big victory over Evolution. With all 3 going on to solo success, they will go down in history as one of the most successful and over stables in WWE.
1 Bullet Club
Perhaps the most popular stable in wrestling today, the Bullet Club, and its former members now have a strong presence in 4 major wrestling promotions world wide: NXT, ROH, WWE and of course the original base of the Club, NJPW. Originally forming with Prince Devitt (Finn Balor) and Karl Anderson, the group has added stand out performers like AJ Styles, the Young Bucks, Luke Gallows, Kenny Omega and more, their NWO like antics have made them ultra popular, and merchandise selling machines all over the world. Now with the departures of some top stars, Omega and the Bucks have formed ‘the Elite’ of BC, keeping the future of the club alive, as they look to dominate the entire wrestling world into the future. Their popularity and old school antics endear them to the world, and their in ring work is second to none, making them the best wrestling faction of the last decade.
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