Every wrestling fan has a love for a legendary factions. A group of wrestlers uniting for a common goal is a nearly foolproof idea and an effective way to utilize multiple talents on the roster. Not everyone can become the next Hulk Hogan or Steve Austin, but all deserve a chance to succeed. Factions can save careers or find the perfect use for talents floundering on the roster. Most factions won’t be able to have every member work as a main eventer. Midcarders, tag teams and enforcers all have places in the classic faction. Variety is necessary and each performer having distinct differences is important.
Another pivotal facet of a faction is having all members on the same page. You logically need each person on the squad to have the same goal at the end of the day. The structure of wrestling shows usually revolves around everyone wanting to win titles or gain power. You need one specific person to be established as the respected leader. The New World Order was led by Hulk Hogan. Bret Hart was the man in charge of The Hart Foundation. The Four Horsemen followed Ric Flair’s lead. You never wondered about this unless there was a storyline in play and that’s absolutely needed.
The purpose, leadership and results of a faction are what dictates how far they will go. Booking a group of guys to always lose despite having the numbers advantage or experience as a team is a surefire way to kill any momentum. Pro wrestling has seen many factions fall on both sides of the spectrum and we’ll look at what caused it here. No one has been exempt from the successes and failures of factions through all the eras and different wrestling promotions to exist in the history of the business. These are the top eight wrestling factions and worst eight wrestling factions of all time.
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16 Worst: X-Factor
Most factions fail due to a lack of talent in the group, but it is even worse if skilled workers can’t get it to succeed. X-Pac, Justin Credible and Albert all had a great reputation or potential to excel but floundered when put together in the trio known as X-Factor. There was little to no direction or reason to believe they were a tight unit. The group theme song being done by Uncle Kracker also ruined any chance of them being viewed credibly. A faction that should have been entertaining ended up becoming one of the worst of all time, due to poor booking and a lack of purpose.
15 Best: Evolution
The best factions have a group of memorable talents that all have a distinct purpose. Evolution exemplified that with the past, present and future of wrestling all coming together. Triple H was the top dog in the WWE and established his role as a heel by using the past legend of Ric Flair and future stars Randy Orton and Batista to help form his kingdom. Flair found a role to be featured effectively on television. Orton and Batista became two of the biggest stars of the decade. Triple H had his most compelling run as a heel. Everyone benefited and left an impact positively on the show making the faction a massive success.
14 Worst: The Corre
The Nexus had huge potential at the beginning of their attack on the WWE. The group of young upstarts trying to buck the system by taking over the company was a tremendous idea, but it fizzled out quickly. Nexus still has a memorable place in WWE history but one specific moment saw it hit a new low. Wade Barrett, Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel broke off to start another sub-faction from the original group called The Corre. Aside from the hilarious and ridiculous name, the faction was created with the bones of a group that floundered. The Corre suffered a quick death and lost a match at WrestleMania XXVII in less than three minutes.
13 Best: The Nation of Domination
The controversial use of racial discrimination in WWE made The Nation of Domination a memorable faction. Faarooq, The Rock, Mark Henry, D’Lo Brown, The Godfather and others united in affirmative action against the WWE. WWE could have done better in positioning the faction higher up the card, but they did great work in limited time. The Rock may not have ever blossomed into an iconic Superstar if not for his time in The Nation. Many forget how compelling the group was during their peak and the NoD was definitely an all-time great faction.
12 Worst: Dungeon of Doom
WCW gave us many of the most foolish ideas in wrestling history. The Dungeon of Doom would make the list for the ridiculousness that took place in the faction. Hulk Hogan making the jump to WCW meant there needed to be various monster heels for him to overcome. The Dungeon of Doom made up most of them with the likes of Kamala, Earthquake and The Yeti following the leadership of Kevin Sullivan. There’s a level of charm for how stupid and silly the entire gimmick was, but it deserves a spot among the worst stables. Luckily, WCW changed their philosophies as the years went by and transitioned away from this terrible stable type.
11 Best: New Day
It may be too early to anoint New Day as one of the greatest factions ever, but the results are unquestionable. Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods debuted their faction to boos from the crowd as boring faces that wouldn’t work in the current era. They changed the persona to snarky heels, dropping hilarious one-liners about the crowds and opponents. New Day became one of the hottest acts in wrestling due to the approach of just tapping into their natural personalities. The faction’s merchandise is among the top selling in the company and they made a failing tag team division credible once again. New Day has years of success left in them and hopefully WWE allows it.
10 Worst: Aces and Eights
TNA will ultimately make any list looking at the worst of anything in pro wrestling and that applies to factions as well. Aces and Eights were a group of masked bikers invading the company with months of mystery before anyone was revealed. The talent involved was mostly busts such as Garret Bischoff, Wes Brisco and Mike Knox. Bully Ray and D-Von tried to save it, but it was always going to be a disaster. The creative idea behind the faction was basically Eric Bischoff using his love of motorcycle culture to write characters. TNA has lost a large percentage of their audience and that gradually started during the Aces and Eights storyline.
9 Best: D-Generation X
An obvious choice for the positive side of the list has to be D-Generation X due to their impact on the business. Shawn Michaels, Triple H and Chyna engaged in sophomoric humor that was desired by the fans of the time during The Attitude Era. DX only improved with Road Dogg, Billy Gunn and X-Pac replacing Michaels. The skits and catchphrases by DX created many of the memorable moments from The Monday Night Wars. You can argue D-Generation X deserves to be higher on the list, but their terrible rebirth in 2006 and beyond was so bad that it tainted the legacy. Middle-aged Triple H and Michaels doing crotch chops and making awkward jokes left a lot to be desired but luckily the glory days still are most memorable.
8 Worst: The Spirit Squad
A group of male cheerleaders likely isn’t the best idea for a faction in the WWE, but they did a decent job getting heel heat. That was likely due to their association with Vince McMahon in a feud against DX. The faction featured five talented young stars from development but it helped no one. PPV matches against Shawn Michaels and Triple H are definitely helpful but they were treated as complete goofs. The Spirit Squad was essentially made for DX to make jokes about and beat up every week. Dolph Ziggler is the only wrestling success from the faction and he completely changed his look to make everyone forget he was involved with them, which took years to repackage down in developmental. The other four members are nowhere to be seen today thanks to the awful faction.
7 Best: The Shield
The Shield debuted in the WWE during a main event match featuring CM Punk, John Cena and Ryback. They have never looked back after getting the ball to run with from the start. WWE protected The Shield by having members Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose winning all of their matches until they were established. Their tremendous matches and dynamic personalities made them must-see performers. WWE decided to end the faction by having Seth Rollins turn on his partners to align with Triple H. All three men have become big players in the company since them and are expected to be the faces of the promotion for the next decade. It all started with The Shield.
6 Worst: The Mexicools
Super Crazy, Psicosis and Juventud Guerrera were all tremendous wrestlers at some point, but WWE forced them to have an atrocious gimmick when they finally signed them. The trio portrayed The Mexicools in one of the most racist concepts in WWE history. The Mexicools entered the arena on lawnmowers and portrayed characters based on offensive stereotypes. None of them found success in the faction and it ended after a few months, but should be remembered for all the wrong reasons. They had a PPV match against The Blue World Order in one of the worst bouts of the year, which sunk the chances of both factions in the WWE. You know a group is bad when they take other factions down with them.
5 Best: The Four Horsemen
The standard for great factions will always be The Four Horsemen, as they were the first legendary group in wrestling. Ric Flair led every version of the group with Arn Anderson typically being his right hand man. Both men were credible enough to make any other combination work. The incarnation viewed as the best also included Barry Windham and Tully Blanchard. Other big names such as Lex Luger, Sid and Chris Benoit all spent time in the different versions of the group. The symbol of the four fingers will live on in wrestling infamy thanks to the incredible work of the Horsemen. Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Bayley and Ric’s daughter Charlotte use The Four Horsewomen moniker today behind the scenes as a nod of respect to the legendary faction. What made the Horsemen so remarkable was their ability to put so many talents over, while still coming out of the match looking tremendous for the in ring skills they all possessed. No faction was more worked than these guys, as they would wrestle almost every night at one point in time.
4 Worst: Immortal
The biggest criticism of TNA is their reliance on past stars from WWE and WCW and recycling the stale content. Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff starting the faction Immortal is the biggest example of this. The group was basically a carbon copy of the New World Order with Jeff Hardy playing the role of fan favorite turning heel. Sadly, the faction instantly morphed into the worst days of the overpopulated nWo with the likes of Jeff Jarrett, Abyss and Gunner coming aboard. TNA has endured many horrible moments, but Immortal is easily one of the worst.
3 Best: nWo
The Monday Night Wars truly heated up when Scott Hall and Kevin Nash joined WCW to form the New World Order with Hulk Hogan. The moment of Hogan turning heel to complete the original trio is something no wrestling fan can forget and it led to huge money coming into the company. WCW passed WWE in the ratings war for the first time thanks to the success of the renegade group invading the company. Fans were heavily invested in the faction until they started adding too many members to water it down. The group was responsible for many negative things towards the end, but the success delivered by the nWo makes them among the greatest factions of all time.
2 Worst: nWo 2000
The reboot of the New World Order in 2000 was a completely different concept a full year after the original faction died. Bret Hart won the WCW Championship thanks to Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Jeff Jarrett and Scott Steiner helping him defeat Goldberg. The latest version of the nWo saw them use silver spray paint and humiliate the legacy of the group. Hart suffered an injury that eliminated him as the leader of the group, thus ruining any chances of success. The Harris brothers somehow became part of the faction and everyone just gave up at this point, as this was the beginning of the end for the company.
1 Best: The Hart Foundation
Most would say selecting The Hart Foundation as the greatest wrestling faction of all time is a bold choice, due to how short their time together was but they did something special. The Hart Foundation was the perfect example of a wrestling faction having everyone work together for a common goal, but they also make opponents look strong, like the Horsemen did. Bret Hart was the leader as the WWE Champion for the majority of the faction’s run, with the very credible Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith as his seconds in command. Jim Neidhart was the muscle and Brian Pillman was the wild card. The great storytelling and in-ring performances led to 1997 becoming one of the most memorable years in wrestling history. Steve Austin’s ascension may not have taken off if not for the work of The Hart Foundation as wrestling’s greatest faction.
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