It’s a sad fact of life that wrestling factions aren’t nearly as popular as they once were in WWE. Rumor has it that even the word faction was banned for a time in WWE. There’s no good reason for this. It makes sense that wrestlers would band together for common interests. What workplace doesn’t have employees that form little subgroups. Factions aren’t just one of the few things in professional wrestling that just make sense; they also lead to some of the greatest storylines. There’ s just something compelling about watching a group of wrestlers tear through the company week after week.
The other great thing about factions is that they are recyclable. While there are some wrestling factions you can’t recreate because of how infamous or specific they were (A new D-Generation X would be a tough sell), the basic idea behind some of the greatest wrestling factions in history can easily be repeated. In fact, one look at the WWE roster reveals an infinite amount of potential for modern day recreations of some of wrestling’s greatest groups. These are the top 15 old school factions the WWE can recreate with current superstars.
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15 The Nexus
Nobody is quite sure how WWE’s NXT promotion system works. While some wrestlers get on the fast track the main roster (such as Kevin Owens), others like Asuka seem destined to forever be stuck in the company’s developmental program despite the fact they’ve got the skills to get the bump. It’s a strange situation. It’s also a situation that WWE can use to their advantage with the formation of a new Nexus. Much like the original group, this new Nexus could be formed out of a shared desire to shake up the main roster and establish their era. The twist here would be that this group could feel as if they’d been passed over by the authority. It’s a mix of real and kayfabe that could tie NXT and WWE together.
14 The Un-Americans
The whole “America vs. the world” mentality in professional wrestling gets a little old. It’s based on a dated mentality and it seems like every wrestling promoter in the world has explored the idea for all its worth. One of the most interesting instances of this storyline was when Bret Hart and the Hart Foundation pitted Canada against America. It was a unique twist on an old concept that produced unique atmospheres for wrestling matches. While you can’t recreate the Hart Foundation, you can recreate Christian and Lance Storm’s Un-Americans.
Honestly, all you have to do is put Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, and Bobby Roode in the same ring, have them cut some anti-America promos, and you’ve got a genuine heel faction. Do you have any doubt Owens and Jericho could make it work?
13 The Samoan SWAT Team
If there’s one thing that’s remained consistently true about Samoan wrestlers, it’s that they’re tough. Call it a stereotype if you must, but in defense of the cliché, the vast majority of professional wrestlers that hail from the island have been some of pro wrestling’s most legitimately tough competitors. Most of these wrestlers were once featured on the infamous Samoan Swat Team. While Fatu and Samu were the group’s most infamous members (they later went on to form WWE’s Headshrinkers), many capable Samoan wrestlers were in the faction at one point. It’s a legacy that could easily continue with The Usos and Roman Reigns.
With The Usos having recently completed their heel turn and Roman Reigns begging for the same, now is the time to let this group run wild on WWE.
12 The Millionaire's Club
Vince Russo’s era in WCW was pretty much an undisputed disaster. Just because the man wrecked 99% of the things he touched in that organization, however, doesn’t mean that he didn’t occasionally have a good idea. The Millionaire’s Club is a pretty good example of one of those rare good ideas. The idea here is that a group of veteran wrestlers have banded together together to take down a batch of rising stars.
The problem here was that Russo made the mistake of portraying the veterans as good guys, but WWE could fix that error by making sure that their own group of veterans are firmly portrayed as the heels. Stars like Randy Orton, Big Show, Kane…maybe even John Cena could all find new purpose as disgruntled veterans.
11 The J-Tex Corporation
Necessity is the mother of invention. It’s also a major contributor to the formation of the infamous J-Tex Corporation. When WCW realized that they had a few wrestlers from Texas and a few wrestlers from Japan not really doing anything, they decided to put the talents together and form a Japanese/Texas connection. It was a strange concept, but it oddly worked. WWE’s in a bit of an awkward place to revive this concept given that they’re missing a few prominent wrestlers from Texas, but they could rework the idea slightly and put some southern talents together with the company’s sudden influx of Japanese talent. It would be a unique take on the nationalities angle and would also give wrestlers with nothing else to do otherwise a great faction to be a part of.
10 The Acolyte Protection Agency
You really do have to appreciate the little moments of brilliance peppered throughout the Attitude Era. For instance, when Faarooq and Bradshaw left the Ministry of Darkness, WWE could have just had them ditch the Acolyte bit altogether and simply move on to something else. Instead, they decided to take advantage of the tough guy reputation the two had built up and turned them into guns for hire that other wrestlers would turn to when they wanted to even the odds.
It was a great idea played for both laughs and to help further major angles. The modern WWE could benefit from a similar idea by throwing a couple of tough performers together and turning them into a tag-team/mercenaries. Imagine someone like Heath Slater or James Ellsworth turning to a new APA for protection.
9 The Dungeon of Doom
The Dungeon of Doom was a pretty stupid idea. At a time when WCW was trying to embrace a more family-friendly style, it was decided that the best way to give new company star Hulk Hogan something to do would be to pit him against a collection of Saturday morning cartoon villains. No, seriously. There was a mummy, a shark, a giant and…whatever Ed Leslie was supposed to be. For as bad as the idea was, though, it still managed to pack a kind of campy charm.
One Halloween season, WWE needs to do the right thing and revive the fabled Dungeon of Doom by having wrestlers adopt some campy gimmicks and wage war on the faces. Have them last a few weeks and lose at the Survivor Series if you must; just make this happen WWE.
8 The Disciples Of The Apocalypse
Before the Attitude Era, WWE played with the idea of revitalizing their increasingly stale product by kicking off a gang war. The idea was that factions like Los Boricuas, the Nation of Domination, and the Hart Foundation would regularly engage in feuds before the whole thing culminated in a big blow-off match. It didn’t pan out and, to be honest, neither did the biker gang known as the Disciples of the Apocalypse.
Even though a few wrestling companies have tried and failed to make the wrestling biker gang idea work, it’s hard not to look at talents like Baron Corbin and Apollo Crews without thinking how these otherwise bored guys would fit the biker gang mold pretty well. The bottom line is, these guys need SOMETHING to do.
7 The Million Dollar Corporation
One of the oldest and most successful tricks for getting heat in professional wrestling is to pit the rich against the poor. From Dusty Rhodes vs. Ric Flair to Vince McMahon vs. Steve Austin, there is just something timeless about seeing blue collar wrestlers fight white collar workers. This was the basis of the Million Dollar Man’s Hall of Fame career. While Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Corporation wasn’t really a formal group of wrestlers, it was a rotating series of alliances forged over the love of the almighty dollar. It’s such a perfect concept that WWE would be foolish to not take another stab at it. Just say that Tyler Breeze is actually a multi-millionaire and have him start attracting other heel wrestlers willing to do dirty work for extra cash.
6 The Alliance
TNA is going fall. Whether it be this year or in several months, the walls are starting to close in on the wrestling organization and there is writing on all of them that says the once promising company is done. WWE have reportedly already purchased the rights to TNA’s library, but it’s likely that they are going to go full boat at some point and bring on TNA’s talent as well. If that day does come, perhaps it's time to revisit that whole invasion idea. Only this time the alliance won’t consist of WCW and ECW but rather former TNA talent and NXT. It’s a fantastic set-up that could potentially lead to months of storylines. Well, assuming WWE doesn’t completely blow it like they did that one time, that is.
5 The J.O.B. Squad
Al Snow isn’t exactly the greatest wrestler to ever live, but the man does have a few career highlights. The brightest among them is certainly his run in ECW as a member of the J.O.B Squad. For those that don’t remember this time, the J.O.B Squad was a collection of jobbers that banded together to continue not winning matches. That may sound pretty ineffective, but it was a great way to give some wrestlers that were never going anywhere anyway a lovable piece of programming time.
While WWE would never use the word jobbers on television, the idea behind this faction is still a solid one. Have the always lovable James Ellsworth lead a bunch of enhancement talent in their failed attempts to gain respect, sign a contract, and win matches.
4 The Radicalz
The Radicalz (the “z” is crucial) weren’t much of a faction in the grand scheme of things. So far as anyone can tell, WWE knew they wanted Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero and Perry Saturn in their company, but they weren’t quite sure on how to bring them all in at the same time in a way that allowed all of them to shine individually. As such, it was seemingly decided that the wrestlers would come in as one group of really talented workers. There are a couple of ways to recreate this in WWE these days. You either wait for the influx of TNA wrestlers and have them for a radical sub-section of the roster, or you do the same with emerging indie talents looking to skip NXT and break the system.
3 The Varsity Club
The Varsity Club was a stroke of booking brilliance. Basically, Kevin Sullivan recognized Jim Crockett Promotions had just signed three incredible in-ring workers (Rick Steiner, Scott Steiner, and Mike Rotunda) who all happened to have celebrated collegiate accomplishments. As such, he had them wear letterman jackets to the rings from their alma maters and become heels by exerting their superior wrestling skills on the rest of the roster. Their matches had the atmosphere of a college sports game and were almost always great due to the talent of the wrestlers involved.
Even without the specific college angle, a stable of modern day in-ring greats that all group together over their shared skill set is something that needs to happen in order to help WWE get over their fear of recognizing actual in-ring professional wrestling skills.
2 The Dangerous Alliance
This one should have happened the moment that Paul Heyman started managing wrestlers again. Once upon a time, Paul Heyman’s Dangerous Alliance terrorized WCW. They didn’t just win a couple of matches or beat up the occasional babyface backstage; they absolutely demolished nearly every wrestler that stood in their way and forced both enemies and allies to come together to stop them. Honestly, they were better than the NwO in many ways.
While it’s hard to replace the likes of Arn Anderson and Steve Austin, it just makes sense to have Heyman create his own faction of talented wrestlers with Brock Lesnar as his championship centerpiece. By picking up a combination of wrestlers that are main eventers and are on the backburner, Heyman could form the most compelling factions in years.
1 The Four Horsemen
You can debate whether or not the Four Horsemen were the first pro wrestling faction of all-time, but there’s little argument that they are the greatest. The Horsemen may have started when someone happened to book four of Jim Crockett’s best talents for roughly the same promo shoot time, but it was clear from their first on-screen appearance that sometimes you just need to put great wrestlers together and let them do their thing.
The question is, who should be in the modern Four Horsemen? Well, sticking with the original blueprint of the group, we’d pick AJ Styles as our singles champion, The Miz as our secondary champion, and the Revival as our decorated tag team. Imagine that group getting into feuds with the rest of the roster and try not to get excited.
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