A faction is a collection of wrestlers that work together to serve the same purpose and a common goal; all for one and one for all. But problems arise when the faction has a common quality that makes it unfit to watch, or a gimmick so outrageously bad that to deem them as anything other than a scripted accident would be a lie. The collections of factions chosen in this article are ones that we not only wish didn’t exist, but that were so bad we wished we had forgotten about them. They may be memorable, but not for the right reasons. Some were a desperate attempt to capitalize on what was popular in culture, and cartoonish in nature.
Others seemed like creating a faction just for the sake of creating a faction, simply collecting a number of midcarders or wrestlers seen as being of a common ilk and putting them together, without anyone getting over. The members of a faction no doubt do their absolute best to gel as a collective unit and draw emotion from their audience, but in a number of different cases those emotions consist of shaking one’s head with complete embarrassment. It ultimately didn’t help to elevate anyone. In the next ten examples, we’ll explore instances from different wrestling promotions past and present that manage to take factions and make them so incredibly awful that we couldn’t help to remember them.
10. The Right to Censor
The RTC was a heel group in the WWE that ran during the Attitude Era from 2000-2001. The faction was intended to be a parody of the Parents Television Council. At the time the PTC was actively protesting against the WWE because their content was highly explicit in both sex and violence, with the intent to pressure sponsors into pulling their funding from the WWE. But from their promos to the manner in which they dressed, the Right to Censor really didn’t help anyone in the faction’s cause. They all wore white button up shirts, black ties and black slacks, including the only woman in the faction, Ivory. The faction consisted of their leader Stevie Richards, who went by Steven at the time, Val Venis, Bull Buchanan, The Godfather (who became The Goodfather) and the aforementioned Ivory.
They had an angle where former WWE women wrestler The Kat was being ‘forced’ into the group, which went against her Right to Nudity. The group’s concept also incorporated ideas used in other promotions as well. ECW’s ‘The Network’ and WCW’s ‘Standards and Practices’ angles appear to have influenced the concept and development of the RTC. The group used the sound of shrill alarms and buzzers with an underlying swing jazz beat as their theme music. Even though the faction had some success, with Buchanan and The Goodfather holding the Tag Team Championship and Ivory winning the WWE Women’s Championship, the booked success was a reach in comparison to the group’s success with fans. The group had a short shelf life because there really wasn’t much to them. Once their faction split, they either went back to their previous characters, or rebranded without a mention of their RTC past.
9. The Mexicools
The Mexicools were a walking stereotype. They were a stable that consisted of Mexican wrestlers who had achieved some popularity in WCW and ECW in the 1990s, branded with new personas in the WWE. The members were Super Crazy, Psicosis and Juventud Guerrera. The team claimed that they were fed up with the stereotypical portrayal of Mexicans in the United States as illegal immigrants working low paying jobs. The problem was that they would contradicted this ideology all the time. They made their initial debut riding in on lawn mowers and wearing matching overalls, an allusion to Hispanic Americans stereotypically working as gardeners. How do you fight a stereotype? Dress up like the stereotype apparently!
Juventud Guerrera did a promo where he questioned and challenged who were true luchadores within the WWE, before he went completely off the rails and questioned the status of Mexican Americans overall. Their lawnmower was considered their ‘limo’ which played more on the stereotype that they said they wanted to eliminate. It was believed to be a parody, but it didn’t really come across that way. After repeated backstage problems, Juventud was released from WWE, leaving Psicosis and Super Crazy as the only remaining team members, and they slowly started to diminish as a tag team. Crazy would see success as a singles superstar, before he and Psicosis were later reunited. Even though they captured the tag team championship, the group’s questionable presentation was more memorable then their title reign.
8. Three Faces of Fear
This faction was led by ‘The Taskmaster’ Kevin Sullivan. Sullivan was considered a tough man in his own right, but the collection of wrestlers aligned with him was over the top and awkward, and to take them seriously would be ridiculous. The men that were part of this faction weren’t oversized unskilled athletes, but very credible and talented men. The faction was originally created in 1995 and consisted of, well, you guessed it, three members: Sullivan, Avalanche and The Butcher (no he didn’t wear a bloody apron and walk to the ring with a cleaver to hammer down his believability, but he might as well have with that name).
This faction’s primary storyline was a feud with Hulk Hogan, and a notable member of this faction being Ed Leslie, who was known famously as Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake while in the WWF, and in real life a long-time friend and ally of Hogan. The faction had more names for Leslie during this time then actual storylines, as he went by the names The Butcher and The Man With No Name during the time that this faction was in existence.
The second man of the triad was Avalanche, played by the late John Tenta. It seemed as though WCW wanted to capitalize on the WWF’s decision to look at Tenta and think “yup, he looks like a natural disaster.” He was frightening and physically imposing, but it didn’t seem as though he could escape disastrous element of his name, as the former Earthquake in the WWF became Avalanche in WCW. He had earned quite a reputation as a capable sumo wrestler prior to coming to the WWF, but here was used as a henchman that wasn’t able to do anything other than follow and look frightening.
Which leads us to Kevin Sullivan himself. Despite his diminutive size, fans wanted to see him have his face punched in because he came across as a bully. The Three Faces of Fear didn’t last, but was reinvented in another manner to thwart Hulk Hogan once again.
7. The Dungeon of Doom
If we thought the Three Faces of Fear was gimmicky, they didn’t hold a candle to that of The Dungeon of Doom. The group itself was a cavalcade of wrestlers that had some notoriety and recognition, and then were slapped together in the follow-up version of Kevin Sullivan’s earlier group.
One of the members, John Tenta was reinvented somewhat, with the name Shark and a look to match. His face was painted around his lower jaw and throat to resemble a shark’s head and teeth. While that looks cool now with the popularity Finn Balor has brought to the look, it wasn’t then. It looked odd and out of place. An oversized man in spandex, balding and bearded, with his lower jaw painted wasn’t intimidating. It was comical.
The next member was Kamala The Ugandan Giant. Kamala was a recognized name and face, and considered a threat wherever he competed. And, yet when he was part of the Dungeon of Doom, his presence helped to solidify them being considered a joke. A tall African man without shoes and paint on his face and stomach that couldn’t speak coherent English wasn’t threatening in 1995, it seemed like something out of a carnival.
Another member of the Dungeon of Doom came from the Three Faces of Fear. Hulk Hogan’s pal Ed Leslie was repackaged as The Zodiac. While the chants of YES and NO in today’s WWE are very popular, Zodiac’s vocabulary of just say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ didn’t offer fans any hope there was a ‘movement’ coming, unless they were using the facilities.
The only shred of hope that could be held out for in this faction was carried by Meng, who was also Haku in the WWF, who carried around a spike that rested on his thumb, and Paul Wight, whom it was hinted was the son of the late Andre the Giant, though this was never directly stated. Wait, so two fairly intimidating and imposing guys were being used to solidify the Dungeon’s scary gimmick and frighten viewers? It seems more like Halloween gone way too far, for far too long. On second thought, the last two members were just as gimmicky as the rest, and thankfully weren’t held to these characters for the rest of their careers.
6. Misfits In Action
The WWE isn’t the only promotion that was guilty of creating forgettable factions, WCW also was guilty of this as well. Military based characters are nothing new to wrestling. The problem with this faction was they were clearly the brainchild of Vince Russo, as the members names were either loaded with innuendo, reflected their origin, or were simply made of mixed parts. In less than a year, the faction was featured in feuds with other factions in WCW and then disbanded.
Bill DeMott led this faction; prior to the creation of the group he went under the name Hugh Morris, but would be renamed General Hugh G. Rection, something a teenager just going through puberty would have come up with. Even though the faction consisted of Corporal Cajun (Lash LeRoux,) Sgt. AWOL (The Wall), Lieutenant Loco (Chavo Guerrero Jr), Private Stash (Van Hammer, who played a stoner with another sophomoric name that alluded to drugs), and G.I Bro (Booker T) it wasn’t until their valet was added that they turned heads. Tylene Buck, who started in wrestling as a Nitro girl, would become Major Gunns, so named to highlight her rather buxom nature. Just as quickly as they came in, the MIA were quickly MIA and equally forgettable.
5. Spirit Squad
Give me an S, give me a..P? Fine, cheerleading isn’t my strong suit, but the same can be said about the all-male cheerleading faction known as the Spirit Squad. Kenny, Johnny, Mitch, Nicky and Mikey all made up this group that would work as one, and collectively managed to annoy everyone that watched them in the process.
The faction members first had time to hone their craft down in Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). While they were successful, holding the WWE Tag Team titles for almost seven months, their irritating and peppy nature got on your nerves. And, while that was their intent, their classic overselling and general uncertainty of whom was the standout of the group made it a challenge to believe in them.
A short time after losing the titles in the fall of 2006 they were sent backdown to OVW to be repackaged. Between 2007 and 2008 almost the entire faction was released, with only Nicky being the hold out. Who is Nicky? After being repackaged, Nicky became Dolph Ziggler, whose success speaks for itself. Despite being featured in high profile feuds with DX and fighting on behalf of the McMahons, the Spirit Squad was another example of an otherwise forgettable faction.
4. Disciples Of Apocalypse (DOA)
That isn’t a typo, and it wasn’t in fact SOA. However, given the success of Sons of Anarchy, the faction may have been better suited for today. But this faction’s run in the late 90s has proven forgettable.
In the midst of the attitude era, Crush, Chainz, Skull and 8-Ball represented a biker faction that was created out of necessity. Much like the creation of Los Boricuas, Crush was fired from The Nation of Domination by the leader at the time, Faarooq. Just like Vega, Crush formed this faction to thwart and compete against The Nation. After less than half a year as the leader of DOA, Crush left the company. Chainz, Skull and 8-Ball would remain a faction, but the group would dwindle down by member. Chainz would compete on his own and would leave the promotion the following year. By 1998, both Skull and 8-Ball would also leave the company, the end of a potentially imposing faction that didn’t have the shelf life to make them memorable.
3. Los Boricuas
There was a time when factions seemed to spread like wildfire. The problem with a wildfire is it is normally dangerous, and in the case of this Hispanic faction, it was dangerous….dangerously awful. Let’s consider a few things when it comes to Los Boricuas.
The faction originated almost out of necessity rather than need or interest. Savio Vega, played by Juan Rivera, formed the faction after he was kicked out of the Nation of Domination. Miguel Perez, Jose Estrada Jr, and Jesus Castillo made up the rest of this faction. While not being household names too many in the United States, they had a following as singles stars in other promotions. All three were second generation wrestlers, or had a lineage linked to wrestling.
The group really didn’t generate much excitement among fans, despite being used in feuds against other factions during the ‘gang warfare’ era such as the Disciples of Apocalypse and The Nation of Domination. By the summer of 1998, Vega left the faction and later left the company. Even though Castillo Jr, Estrada and Perez would continue to team together briefly, they would also be forgotten by the company, leaving later that same year.
2. The Truth Commission
The argument that a group is only as good as its leader would normally hold true. In the case of The Truth Commission, the only notable character with any semblance of personality was their leader, The Jackyl.
The Jackyl character was played by Don Callis, who had the gift to promo. In fact, he was so proficient on the mic that he went from being the only one that could wrestle within the group to leading the group as their Commissioner. The unfortunate part was that he was the only memorable character in the faction, and would be surrounded with men of similar build and look. Recon and Sniper were a tag team, and Kurrgan (yup, he would later join The Oddities) topped off the faction.
The group debuted in the United States Wrestling Association, performing there between 1996-1998. We would be hard pressed to recall any memorable title wins during their WWF run in the late 1990s.
1. The Oddities
In a past life did the late John Tenta upset someone? Did he refuse to job to Hulk Hogan or the Ultimate Warrior or put over the bigger face? Was he some over-bearing diva that managed to insult those working around him? I’m guessing the answer to those questions is probably no. So why was he reinvented in the WWE as Golga? Oh, you remember Golga don’t you? The masked man that had an innocent yet odd fascination with everything Cartman and South Park. Now, I appreciate the animated character Cartman and the humor that came from South Park, but was having a man that is supposed to have a mental illness and a fixation on this particular show really necessary?
Much like the Dungeon of Doom, the Oddities did little to get the fans into them. They were supposed to prey on people’s natural discomfort with things outside what is familiar to their, day to day lives. Today, most people would have issue with that angle because families are made up of members possessing many different characteristics. Today, the WWE regularly grants wishes to children through the Make a Wish Foundation, and some of those children may face challenges that the collection of characters who made up the Oddities seemed to satirize, and that is insulting.
The faction also consisted of Robert Maillet, who isn’t necessarily a household name, despite an extensive movie and TV career, and neither was his ring name. Maillet competed as Kurrgan, a nearly seven foot tall, and parachute pant wearing member of the faction, who would dance on occasion. It also consisted of another nearly seven foot tall member named Giant Silva. Remember him? Probably not because Silva, much like the rest of the faction, was equally forgettable.
They were led by Jackyl, who portrayed a maniacal leader that simply wanted to use this band of misfits similar to the way Dr. Frankenstein used his monster. Once he was no longer aligned with them, they were repackaged as fun loving group that the fans didn’t have to be afraid of them anymore. The faction was now led by Sable, but even her time at the head of the faction was short-lived, as she was moved into a feud for the women’s title.
The group also included the rap group the Insane Clown Posse, who eventually turned on them. Are we sensing a trend here? The group was so awkward and forgettable and disconnected from the fan base at the time that EVERYONE KEPT LEAVING THE FACTION. Well, at least they had the sensible and logical Luna Vachon to bring order to the group….or not. The group disbanded in 1999 much to the glee of John Tenta.