Factions (or stables, depending on how long you have been a wrestling fan) used to very commonplace in wrestling and were quite effective at generating heat from fans while building up babyface to be white hot. In the territory days, groups like The Fabulous Freebirds would ride into town, declare their distaste for the local crowd, and proceed to run roughshod over the promotion’s finest babyface, and seem nearly unbeatable along the way.
One of the most famous faction battles involved The Freebirds facing off against the Von Erich family in World Class Championship Wrestling, where the cocky rock and rollers from Georgia waged a years-long battle against the wholesome, All-American boys from Dallas. These type of factional matchups boil wrestling down to it’s most basic and best characteristics: good guys banding together to beat back the bad guys. while whipping the crowd into a frenzy.
In the WWE, factions have been kept to a minimum since the end of the Attitude Era, and most of the notable factions that managed to pop up were heel factions. In 2016, The Authority, The Wyatt Family, and The League of Nations all disbanded and the WWE has yet to debut any new factions in 2017 on the main roster (sAniTy of NXT being the notable exception). It has been reported that Vince McMahon has soured on factions and is very resistant to the idea of introducing any new factions.
However, with the roster as deep as it has ever been, introducing factions would allow the WWE to bring along new talent and get them over with the fans without having to carve out weekly in-ring time for them. This would allow talent to “get the rub” and still be brought along slowly without overexposing them, similar to how the then-WWF built up Chyna by sticking her with Degeneration X and brought along Randy Orton and Batista by putting them in Evolution.
Key in the development of these factions is to make sure that the members personalities mesh and are complimentary. The faction should have enough members to hold every major title as well (World/Universal, IC/US, Tag Team) and should have at least one female superstar. Factions cannot also only involve heels. There must be babyface factions to combat the heels. Also, not every superstar on the roster should be in a faction. With all that in mind, here are 6 factions that I believe should be introduced by WWE and why they would be hugely successful, starting with the heel factions.
The Samoan Empire (Heel)
Bankroll: The Rock
The WWE has a long history of featuring tough Samoan performers, many of which come from the same bloodline. Unfortunately, many of these performers had gimmicks associated with the old school (not to mention offensive) idea that native islanders are unsophisticated savages. That wouldn’t be a problem for these performers, all of which are good on the mic and look good in a suit while beating their opponents to bits. The group itself can be “bankrolled” by The Rock (who is cousin to all of the wrestlers in the group, except Samoa Joe) and finally allow Roman Reigns to unleash the monster heel inside. Reigns would be freed to be as smug as he’d like while proclaiming his family’s superiority over all others. Nia Jax would also benefit from this in that she would be associated with others whose stature and strength are similar to hers, instead of her just being the giant in the current Women’s division.
The Chosen (Heel)
This group would fill the void left by The Authority, in that all of these performers were signed by Triple H and came through NXT. This fact alone would afford them the ability to be as cocky and insulting as they would want to be, both to other superstars and the WWE Universe. Add the backing of Stephanie McMahon and you have a group that not only is talented enough to win every title on the roster but bold enough to keep them by any means necessary. With all of the egos involved, there could be a constantly simmering undercurrent regarding who is really in charge of the group, making for a secondary subplot that could provide added intrigue.
Balor Club (Heel)
If you’ve been reading this, you probably are wondering why I hadn’t already listed Balor Club, as it seems like the biggest “DUH!” possible. In fact, it is. Putting together these former members of NJPW’s Bullet Club seems like it should have already happened in the actual WWE for as long as it has been teased, so we aren’t going to waste our time here. Balor, Styles, Gallows, and Anderson were some of Japan’s best heels, working a style that was equal parts exhilarating and traditional Japanese strong style. Adding Becky Lynch and Hideo Itami, two performers with loads of talent and experience, gives Balor Club the potential to rule all WWE’s divisions like Bullet Club never could.
And now the babyface factions…
The Fringe (Babyface)
Rhyno and Heath Slater
Composed of some of the WWE Universe’s most unique characters, this group has the potential to be the biggest breakout stable. Not only that, but this group could have find itself feuding with members of multiple other factions at once. The unpredictable, unhinged superstars in this group may not employ the most conventional tactics inside and outside the ring, but are nonetheless endlessly entertaining performers capable of telling compelling stories. All of these performers are good at selling a good beating, which make for compelling comebacks.
Team Angle (babyface)
Kurt Angle (Manager)
This stable features some of the best in ring technicians in the WWE, many of which have extensive amateur wrestling experience, and is led by a WWE Hall of Famer known for the same. Each member possesses the skills necessary to easily outwrestle any opponent, this group could also rely on excellent conditioning to turn any match into a clinic. This aspect of the group also would benefit their opponents, as beating any member of this team would stand as a showcase of the heel’s skill as well, while protect Team Angle from taking what might seem like bad losses. Team Angle would offer a showcase of traditional wrestling for those hardcore fans who tune in looking for it while providing new fans with entertaining, action filled matches.
John Cena (Part-time)
The New Day
The final faction would be the most kid and family friendly: Cenation. Led by John Cena (who at this point is a part time worker), this group would be composed of performers who best embody Cena’s family friendly values. No tag team is more entertaining than The New Day, and this alliance would allow them to continue to entertain fans in the same ways as they currently do. The same can be said for Bayley, whose character traits most resemble John Cena. Being associated with Cena would cement this. Kassius Ohno has all the personality and acumen to be the lovable enforcer of the group and Kalisto can continue to fly high and sell masks to kids, a la Rey Mysterio. Finally, with Cena being part time, Enzo would assume the role of clever mouthpiece for the group, all while possessing the ability to take a good beating in order to whip fans into a frenzy.
These factions could grow interest in new and old performers alike, while taking the WWE in new (old) directions. If you have better ideas for factions, let me know in the comments. If you would like to read parts 1-5 of this series, or any of my previous ramblings about the WWE, you can do so by clicking this link.
Thanks for reading!