The art of a faction in professional wrestling is among the most underrated aspects of the industry. A faction can make numerous performers better by aligning them. Most of the better groups have a strong leader that is already an established main-eventer or someone with the potential to move up into a top spot. The big name adds credibility to the purpose of the faction with the other members gaining relevance by the uniting of the talents. Not every faction has the same intentions. Most try to dominate the promotion by acquiring all of the old while others just have fun.
We’ll look at all sides of the historical wrestling factions. The best ones left an impact that lives on today through fans remembering them fondly or even wanting a reunion in some cases. The worst ones fall between disappointments and disgraces that hurt the product. Each story has a reason for the success or failure that gave them the legacy associated with the groups. The infamous groups in wrestling history for better and worse will be discussed here as we break them all down. These are the eight best factions of all time and the eight worst factions of all time.
16 Best: Evolution
The purpose and structure of a faction is pivotal to how fans view it and how it can be presented. Evolution is the perfect simple formula for a group benefiting everyone involved. Triple H represented the present, Ric Flair represented the past, and Randy Orton represented the future. Batista joined the group as another future star a little later on. They all united with similar goals that made them a well-functioning stable.
15 Worst: nWo 2000
The final incarnation of the New World Order in WCW ended up being the worst of the legendary group. WCW was on its deathbed with nothing looking up so they decided to go back to the nWo well one more time. Bret Hart was facing Goldberg for the WCW Championship that culminated in Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Jeff Jarrett attacking Goldberg. The heels aligned with new leader Hart to form the nWo 2000.
14 Best: Nexus
Nexus is not remembered well due to the fact it ended in disappointing fashion, but they were an absolute force at their peak. The first season of the NXT competition show saw Wade Barrett win a spot on the WWE roster. Everyone else from the cast joined him on his first night on Raw to give one of the most memorable moments in WWE history. The young group delivered a brutal beat down to John Cena, CM Punk and all of the ringside employees.
13 Worst: The Corre
The low point of Nexus was when the group officially split with some of the members moving from Raw to Smackdown. Wade Barrett, Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel formed their now faction known as The Corre. What could possibly be worse than that awful name? The addition of the talentless Ezekiel Jackson, that’s what. Barrett, Slater and Gabriel just ended their time in a historically significant faction and were now goofs.
12 Best: Nation of Domination
Ron Simmons signed with WWE following a great success in WCW. As the first ever African-American WCW World Champion, Simmons changing companies was an important deal but WWE introduced with a horrible character. The company changed courses quickly to save his career there by having him form the Nation of Domination. WWE went the controversial route of the pro-black group having disgust towards the white wrestlers and fans oppressing them.
11 Worst: Truth Commission
One terrible idea WWE tried to pull off in the late 90s was the Truth Commission. The unspoken controversial replication was of a white separatist group known as the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. All of the wrestlers in the faction were giant dudes that lacked the in-ring skills or charisma to become stars. WWE added the loud personality of Don Callis as The Jackal to speak for them.
10 Best: The Shield
The most recent faction to dominate the wrestling world was The Shield. WWE found out how successful it could be to allow talented young wrestlers to run with the ball if you protect them in the booking. Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose were all in the WWE developmental system for years from the days of FCW into the early stages of NXT. They each clearly possessed great potential and harnessed it with the main roster call up as The Shield.
9 Worst: Spirit Squad
The idea of male cheerleaders in a world like WWE is likely not going to work out and it didn’t for the Spirit Squad. WWE placed five of their top prospects in the gimmick as annoying heels that delivered cheers to antagonize the crowds before their matches. They won the WWE Tag Team Championship and had a few noteworthy moments against D-Generation X. Sadly; they were just used as glorified jobbers for DX to destroy on a weekly basis.
8 Best: D-Generation X
The original rise of D-Generation X gave WWE one of their best factions in company history. Shawn Michaels and Triple H decided to start showcasing their natural personalities as juvenile jokesters. DX pushed the envelope forward in making the product more edgy. WWE was so impressed with it that the entire show started to progress with content aimed towards the adult audience rather than hokey storylines and characters.
7 Worst: X-Factor
X-Pac saw his best faction moments come in D-Generation X but his worse WWE stint came with another group. WWE decided to pair X-Pac, Albert and the newly signed Justin Credible into a stable known as X-Factor. All three men were lost in the shuffle and needed some sort of direction. The faction wasn’t a bad idea on paper but the execution and booking saw them come off extraordinarily lame.
6 Best: The Hart Foundation
The Hart Foundation deserves to be mentioned among the greatest heel factions in wrestling. Hell, they could be considered faces to the international audience and many Americans today dissatisfied with the latest Presidential Election results. Bret Hart turned on the United States after fans started booing him in favor of anti-heroes like Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels. The family reunion with heels Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, Jim Neidhart and Brian Pillman formed the top faction.
5 Worst: The Millionaire's Club
WCW had an interesting idea in 2000 to try and create interest in the declining product. Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff were forced to work together after both had horrible moments causing them to lose individual power. The backstage duo were a pair on screen leading the New Blood of young talent tired of being held down by the bigger names. This led to the formation of the older legends having their own stable known as the Millionaire's Club.
4 Best: Four Horsemen
The one stable most associated with greatness in professional wrestling has to be the Four Horsemen. Ric Flair was arguably the top performer in the industry and served as the ideal leader to a heel group. Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard and Ole Anderson provided outstanding depth of credible talents to join him in dominating the shows on a weekly basis. The villains were viewed as legitimate stars that provided a threat to every face on the roster.
3 Worst: Sports Entertainment Xtreme
TNA has a negative reputation in the wrestling world due to the terrible ideas to come from the company through the years. From the early days, they have delivered absolutely terrible concepts. One happened to be a faction named Sports Entertainment Xtreme. Vince Russo’s brainchild saw the acronym of S.E.X. make up the heels wanting to oppose the tradition of the NWA considering TNA worked with them at the time.
2 Best: New World Order
The formation of the New World Order completely changed the wrestling industry forever. WWE had strong competition from WCW for the first with the nWo helping them take a lead in the Monday Night Wars ratings battle. Hulk Hogan turned heel to shock the wrestling world by aligning with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. Their purpose was simple – take over the WCW and rule the wrestling business. Many fans believed it was a WWE vs. WCW war considering the three names were huge WWE stars.
1 Worst: Immortal
We have already touched on it a little but the most terrible thing to happen to factions is promotions trying to recapture the magic of the New World Order. It is understandable to want to replicate facets of the most successful group but outwardly ripping it off leads to failure. The biggest example of this happened in TNA when Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff joined the company.
They tried to imitate Hogan’s heel turn by having Jeff Hardy turn on the fans and align with Hogan and Bischoff to form Immortal. Ric Flair and Fortune joined the group to immediately add way too many members. Each week saw TNA sink lower and lower with fans giving up on the cheap nWo rip-off. This was the idea that exposed Hogan and Bischoff as no longer having the mind to creatively put together wrestling shows. Immortal is one of the major reasons TNA is in the terrible shape it is and deserves to be the worst faction in wrestling history.
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