The wrestling world is mostly a lone wolf sport. Yes, there are a variety of tag teams that vie for their own division’s belts, but isn’t each tag team just a pair of lone wolves, anyway? But every so often, several superstars decide to form a team, faction, alliance, or a stable. The idea, as Arn Anderson once so eloquently put it, is that they are “individuals acting singularly, thinking collectively” for the betterment of themselves and the territory.
One on one action is great and tag teams is double your pleasure, but stables open so many doors and so many more matches. Having a group of guys just having your back also makes for some of the greatest brawls in history. Every November, the WWE gives us several make-shift stables to pit them in the Survivor Series.
Over the years, we have seen a tremendous amount of memorable stables, from Nation of Domination to The Wyatt Family, even ECW’s J.O.B. Squad and the WCW’s MIA. But being memorable for launching The Rock, filling crowds with “fireflies,” or having comical names is far different than dominating the wrestling landscape. Obviously all are memorable, but below are the top 15 most dominant stables in wrestling history.
15. The Brood
Dominant stables are designed to help create one bonafide singles star, but when you get two, the group has to be considered one of the greatest. The Brood was supposed to be a platform to get Gangrel over. but actually launched Edge and Christian instead. According to Gangrel in a podcast with Colt Cabana, Vince never thought a group of vampires would’ve ever gotten over. He was kind of right, since E and C were never cited as vamps. But still to this day, The Brood’s theme music is wildly popular and their entrance has got to be second only to The Undertaker’s.
14. The Blue World Order
How does a parody act that somehow withstood the test of time, and will still occasionally pop up at independent shows, make this list? The answer is in the question. Once Stevie Richards, the Blue Meanie, and Nova became the Blue World Order, all of their other parodies ceased and the fans latched on to ECW’s comical version of the hottest act in wrestling. They certainly didn’t dominate in the ring, sans Stevie headlining Barely Legal ’97, but the fact that the fans have constantly rooted for the novelty act every time they come out lands them on this list for dominating the sands of time.
13. The nWo
Yes, you’re reading this list correctly. The New World Order, brother, is number 13 on the list of most dominant factions. On comparable lists, you’ll see like this group in the top five, but remember this is the group that was so big it included just about everyone in the company, which was a lot of mid-carders and outright jobbers. The original concept, derived from a New Japan angle, which had a bunch of guys from “up north” invading was a big time idea. But when WCW creative had no idea what to do with the group, it became watered down. So yes, it was a dominant group, but nowhere near the top.
12. The Heenan Family
Bobby “The Brain” Heenan is universally accepted as the greatest manager of all time, so why shouldn’t he front one of the greatest stables of all time? Heenan had the magic to make every single person in his stable seem better than they were and still manage to have some of the spotlight shine on him as well. The lineup alone is enough explanation to their dominance – Arn and Tully, The Islanders, Harley Race, Mr. Perfect, King Kong Bundy, and, of course, Andre the Giant.
11. The Kliq
Arguably the most dominant stable of all time wasn’t even a stable at all. Half DX, half nWo, with X-Pac in the middle, The Kliq dominated the mid-to-late nineties by lobbying for big backstage moves to position themselves at the top of the card. Or at least those were the rumors.
If they were put together on-screen, they would most certainly make it higher on the list, perhaps even besting our number one.
10. Triple Threat
Every company needs a quintessential squad that can more or less sum up what they’re all about. The NWA had the Horsemen, WCW had the nWo, and WWE had DX. Well, ECW had the Triple Threat. Similar to the history of The Horsemen, it is actually the second incarnation of the Triple Threat that is the most memorable. Chris Candido, Bam Bam Bigelow, and Shane Douglas, at one point in ECW’s history, had all of the gold and two of the hottest women in wrestling at their side. All good things unfortunately come to an end, as Bigelow was offered a shot in WCW and Douglas lost the world title to Taz shortly thereafter, leading to the end of the best stable in ECW history.
Triple H grew up idolizing Ric Flair, so when he noticed Flair backstage at a show looking down in the dumps, he asked Vince if he could run with ‘Naitch and the rest is history. The duo took Batista and Randy Orton under their wing with the intent of minting two new stars. The result? The old-school themed stable, Evolution. For a moment in time, the WWE seemed like the NWA of old as Evolution was hellbent on making sure Triple H would retain his title at all costs against the likes of Goldberg and other top stars. The Four Horsemen never got the chance to run up north, but Evolution goes down as the closest thing to being the symbol of excellence in WWE.
8. The Dangerous Alliance
He might be an advocate now, but at one time, Paul Heyman was Paul E. Dangerously, the psycho yuppie from New York and he was determined to take down the NWA. He aligned himself with Madusa and created The Dangerous Alliance. It was the NWA’s newer version of The Horsemen since Flair had gone up north. Led by Rick Rude, The Alliance was similar to The Horsemen; comprised of Larry Zybysko, Bobby Eaton, and Arn Anderson, and a young Stunning Steve Austin. Both he and Heyman have said they learned plenty from Rude, as the group terrorized Sting and the rest of the company.
7. The Corporation
Shortly after The Montreal Screwjob, Vince decided he needed a stable of his own, dedicated to making sure his vision of the WWE was carried out. Hence, the original Corporation was born. Ken Shamrock, The Big Bossman, Stooges Patterson and Briscoe, and Shane formed the nucleus with McMahon teasing an emotional Mick Foley to do his bidding. The group would eventually add The Rock to their ranks and the group then truly became a powerhouse force. The Corporation was the first of its kind and laid the groundwork for every ruling power faction since, including the Authority.
6. The Fabulous Freebirds
In 1979, Bill Watts put Michael P.S. Hayes, Terry Bam Bam Gordy, and Buddy Jack Roberts together and they became the template for every single group that came afterwards. The Fabulous Freebirds were the first stable to ever use rock and roll for entrance music and, of course, you can’t forget about The Freebird Rule. The group and their war with The Von Erichs put the spotlight of the wrestling world squarely on Texas. Without the ‘Birds, there might not be Horsemen, DX, nWo, and three man groups like New Day.
5. The Bullet Club
Founded by Prince Devitt (Finn Balor) and Karl “The Machine Gun” Anderson, The B.C. took New Japan by storm and despite losing four members in the past two years (A.J. Styles and Luke Gallows being the other two), they have also taken the states by storm as well. Its ranks, include the Superkick party-loving Young Bucks, Tama Tonga, and the group’s current leader, Kenny Omega. While not called the B.C. WWE is playing off their past relationships as well. From crossover appeal in Japan, all the way to the WWE Universe, there is not much more dominance than that.
4. The Shield
The Shield dominated the WWE landscape for the better part of a year, capturing the U.S. Title and the Tag belts. Their entrance, coming through the crowd only helped to ignite the fans’ adulation for the group. A looming war with The Wyatt Family had crowds chanting “this is awesome” before a single punch was thrown. The Shield was so dominant that Triple H brought back Evolution in an effort to stop the upstarts. They destroyed everyone in their path, from Daniel Bryan to John Cena and CM Punk to even The Undertaker. Their domination came to an abrupt end one night after defeating Evolution, as Seth Rollins turned his back on his brothers, ending the Shield.
3. D-Generation X
There are some who cite the nWo or ECW for changing the way wrestling was portrayed. But then the Curtain Call happened. Any trace of kayfabe was gone in an instant. About a year later, HBK and HHH gave the famous “you were a good guy/you were a bad guy,” promo that birthed DX. The group ran roughshod over not just their competition but the entire Attitude Era, even into the aughts, when HBK returned to action. The group transcended wrestling and their trademark chop has been prevalent in many other sports. Most importantly, despite his current place in the company, it was Triple H who encouraged and taught most of this generation of superstars how to rebel against the very Authority he’s now a part of.
2. The Hart Foundation
As if Bret Hart needed more reasons to argue that he’s the the best in business. In 1997, before The Montreal Screwjob anyway, he was untouchable. Not only was he the best heel in the industry, but he was biggest face too, as America hated him and the rest of the world still adored their hero. Backing him up, The Hitman had his most trusted confidants in the industry – his family. The Hart Foundation had all the gold and some Slammys too. DX might have been the face of The Attitude Era, but The Hart Foundation were just as instrumental.
1. The Four Horsemen
You likely went through this entire list, knowing that The Four Horsemen were going to easily be #1, specifically the quartet that was inducted into the Hall of Fame: Barry Windham, Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, and Ric Flair. The NWA World champion, the tag champs, and U.S. Champion not only dominated, but destroyed Dusty Rhodes during their run and somehow found a way to take a licking from every single face in the company while maintaining their credibility. Flair used to tell fans to ‘learn to live with it’ and the fans have lived with it for almost thirty years now, still throwing up four fingers, and paying homage to the greatest group in history.
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