When you think about a wrestling stable or “faction”, the general consensus is that they really don’t work in wrestling anymore and the golden age of groups like the 4 Horsemen, the nWo and D-Generation X are long gone. But recently factions are coming back in vogue. The Shield, The Wyatt Family & even the partially reunited Evolution have taken over the WWE and have been apart of some of the hottest matches of the last few years. This documentary covers them all! From the Heenan Family to the Oddities and beyond, “WWE’s Greatest Factions” is the perfect choice for someone who loved it when the good guy was outnumbered by the stable of the day.
The DVD opens up with one of the big dogs in D-Generation X. And no, this isn’t you’re typical “countdown”-style of format so don’t let their positioning on the DVD fool you. The format is that of the recent Ultimate Warrior DVD where matches are inserted after the overall recap of the faction. In this case, the Corporate Rumble pitting DX versus The Corporation for the last entrant into the Royal Rumble of that year. (Another interesting note is that CM Punk’s comments are featured on the DVD but it’s obviously not new footage.)
The review of The Heenan Family was spot on & they basically focused on Bobby Heenan and how having him in your corner was an instant stamp of credibility. Paul Heyman has to be the closest you’d get to Bobby Heenan in today’s WWE & I don’t think even Heyman can top “The Brain”. Their match featured Bobby Heenan, Big John Studd & King Kong Bundy versus The Machines & Captain Lou Albano.
Incredibly, the Right to Censor is included on the list. The way the Superstars spoke about them and the video packages that were put together, made their act seem like this group had a MUCH higher impact on the WWE than it really did. Although it was funny that AJ Lee said she’d probably join the Right to Censor if they were around today.
And they’re followed by one of the greats, The Fabulous Freebirds. The differences between each member of the group is a formula that still stands today in groups like The Shield. You had the talker in Michael Hayes. The muscle in Terry Gordy. And the technician in Buddy Rodgers. There’s no better way to complete a stable than with this formula. Their match featured the Freebirds in an elimination match against the Von Erichs.
Next up was the Nexus. This is the GREATEST WWE factions right? I don’t know what to say…
Ah & onto one of my personal favorites, WCW’s Dangerous Alliance. The talent in that group was unbelievable. Rick Rude. Stunning Steve Austin. Beautiful Bobby Eaton. Arn Anderson. Larry Zbyszko. Medusa. And the incredible mind of “Paul E. Dangerously” or better known as Paul Heyman. I wholeheartedly believe that if it wasn’t for ECW, Heyman’s Dangerous Alliance would be looked back on much more fondly & intently when talking about Paul Heyman’s career. Their match featured Stunning Steve Austin and Beautiful Bobby Eaton versus Marcus Bagwell & Sting.
The next group featured was the fantastic stable of the Hart Foundation. They were absolutely revolutionary in the way they were able to turn the American audience into the bad guys and yet be idolized by the Canadian fans. It was never done like this before and has never been done again. Combine that with the incredible talent the Hart Foundation possessed & it truly did make them one of the best stables in wrestling history. If not for the Montrel Screwjob and Bret Hart leaving for WCW, the Foundation might have lasted for years longer and only God knows how big they might have become. Their featured match was one from RAW where The Hart Foundation faced Stone Cold Steve Austin, Dude Love & The Undertaker in a Flag Match.
The nWo was featured next… but the good nWo before it became too big for its own good. A lot of interviews from guys like Dean Ambrose or Seth Rollins who were teenagers when the nWo was at its height & how popular they were, even in the mainstream entertainment business. Just as with Stone Cold Steve Austin, you could find nWo merchandise anywhere, even in stores like Wal-Mart & the Burlington Coat Factory. It was incredible how popular wrestling was during this era and the nWo was a HUGE factor. The War Games match pitting the nWo versus WCW was the match featured for the nWo.
The next Attitude Era group that joins the list is the forever cool Brood. Between their extremely unique entrance, to the hard rock music theme and vampire imagery (Edge admits to buying a vampire encyclopedia to get everything right), The Brood was just damn cool. John Cena REALLY puts over the brood as a fan, along with many others. In today’s environment, the Brood would probably just look like a Twilight rip-off but in 1998, The Brood was different and could back up their gimmick with their talent in the ring. The match featured was the Brood versus the Job Squad consisting of Al Snow, Bob Holly and Scorpio.
Next up was one of the the best stables of the mid-90s, the Million Dollar Corporation. Ted DiBiase couldn’t wrestle any longer so a managerial role was perfect for him and his character. The talent in the Corporation left a lot to be desired. Sure there were some diamonds in the rough (*ahem* “The Ringmaster” *ahem*). Their bonus match consisted of the Million Dollar Corporation versus Lex Luger, Mabel, Mo, Adam Bomb, Billy & Bart Gunn in a Survivor Series Elimination Match.
The very controversial Nation Of Domination when they first debuted with all of the racism talk. Once they got past that background, we saw the birth and launch of The Rock into super-stardom and has never looked back since. Interestingly though, there’s no mention of when Owen Hart joined the faction even though their featured match was Triple H & The New Age Outlaws versus Farooq, Owen Hart and D-Lo Brown.
The bWo (Blue World Order) wasn’t supposed to work, according to Paul Heyman. But almost immediately, the ECW faithful took to the nWo parody and even when so far as to buy their merchandise by the hundreds. Heyman sounded shocked even today that they actually MADE money when he wasn’t even sure if he wanted to put the gimmick on TV.
The Corporation was one of the more well-known stables in the late 90s but that may be because they were the foil to the insanely popular Stone Cold Steve Austin. Consisting of mostly mid-to-upper mid-card heels, the Corporation was headed by Vince & Shane McMahon along with their “corporate champion”, The Rock while the others filled their roles as henchmen perfectly. The idea of The Corporation was just a natural evolution when the Austin/McMahon storyline started to stale.
Speaking of evolution, four elite men formed the next group, Evolution in 2002. Arguably the best stable in recent memory, Evolution consisted of the 16-time World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair, the current World Heavyweight Champion Triple H, the 3rd generation Randy Orton and an absolute beast named Batista. There hadn’t been a better assembled group of talent formed since probably the Four Horsemen and that was never more apparent than when every member of Evolution left Armageddon 2003 with gold around their waists.
And now the one everyone’s been waiting for, The Oddities! OK so going from Evolution to the Oddities is a bit of a stretch but they had their niche. They had fun in the ring and the fans had fun watching them. They were never taken seriously (which was smart) but where a nice, albeit strange, way to break up the intensity RAW was usually filled with at the time. I’ll admit though, the strangest part about The Oddities might be the fact that Kurrgan has developed a pretty nice acting career since leaving wrestling.
ECW’s Triple Threat was up next & I’ll be honest, I didn’t know TOO much about the group consisting of Shane Douglas, Chris Candido and Bam Bam Bigalow. On paper, these three men in their primes could probably dominant pro-wrestling. If this faction existed today and they WERE in their primes, I could absolutely see them dominating TNA. You had the name value in Bigalow (& that he was damn good for a guy of his size). You had the talker in Shane Douglas who I don’t believe he ever met a mic he didn’t love. And Candido, probably one of the most underrated technical wrestlers of his generation. I would have loved to have seen more of these three on a larger stage but unfortunately I do not own a TARDIS. We are treated to a very good tag team match between Douglas & Bigalow versus Rob Van Dam and Sabu.
The next stable is one that should have been bigger in Legacy. They shot straight to the top right at the very beginning of their main roster careers but there was nowhere else for them to go. Orton was going to be a main eventer whether the group succeeded or failed. Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase had some great matches during their feud with Shawn Michaels & Triple H but the question always lingered, “Who will break out & become the star of this team?” A lot of money was riding on DiBiase but it was Rhodes that was seemingly injected with charisma while DiBiase’s vanished within months.
And it’s time finally for the Dungeon Of Doom! The Dungeon Of Doom… One of the greatest factions of all time… Thank God this isn’t a countdown show. Oh and their showcased match is the Dungeon Of Doom versus the Hulkamanics in a War Games match.
Probably the most shocking entry is the next, The Straight Edge Society. A ton of CM Punk praise is heaped on him & not only were there a lot Punk promos showed but new Punk footage is shown in a tattoo parlor where he admitted that he was attempting to portray a “wrestling Jesus” but didn’t tell the WWE office because he didn’t want the plug to be pulled on the Society.
And the best is saved for last, the 4 Horsemen. What can be said about the Horsemen that hasn’t been said before? They set the standard for every stable that followed them and did so stylin’ & profilin’. There was no one better when they were active and I have yet to see someone come along to surpass them. Their match featured Flair, Blanchard & Anderson taking on Sting, Lex Luger and Barry Windham.
The Blu-Ray exclusives are not to be ignored either. Featuring the current stables of the WWE, The Wyatt Family, The Shield and the Spirit Squad are all profiled the same way the rest of the DVD is formatted. While each stable also has their own exclusive match, I thought it was even more interesting to hear the current roster comment on their contemporaries rather than those stables of the past.
As a whole, this is definitely a title I would pick up instantly. I always loved a good stable and while there may be some duds on this list, the retrospective look at some the best factions in wrestling history (along with some great matches attached to the documentary) showed what it takes to be a great stable.