Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Art of the Faction

- (noun) a group or clique within a larger group, party, government, organization, or the like: a faction in favor of big business

One of the greatest parts of wrestling is the faction. A group of men who decide to come together to take over the industry. Well that's at least one way to phrase it. Another would be simply 3 or more guys who have each others back and live the life. In my view the faction is started by a main eventer or World Title contender and his crew who protect his title by posing obstacles in rivals way. Also those underlings eventually becomes stars themselves and go after the lower level belts. Yes call me old school but wrestling should always be about the belts. In this blog I will only focus on a few but you can send a list of any number groups that I left off. May have to do a follow up blog about this subject.

3 Favorite Factions of All Time

1. The 4 Horsemen - They are the standard for what a faction in wrestling is supposed to be. At the top the greatest of all time the Nature Boy Ric Flair, the 16 time world champion.
The line up may have changed many times over the years but 2 things always remained the same the Nature Boy and The Enforcer Arn Anderson. As a kid growing up in the 80's I think of the Horsemen as Flair, Anderson, Tully Blanchard and Barry Windham. Managed by the great J.J Dillion will always reign as the standard of how a faction was supposed be.

You had the world champ who provide very capable obstacles to run fight through to get to him. They had all the belts, money and women. They had the best feuds that would carry the company at the time. They had the best matches on the card and elevated an entire roster coming after them. The Horsemen are definitely what led to the success of the early War Games matches.
It does matter if you have Sting or DustyRhodes coming after Flair's World Title or The Road Warriors coming after Arn and Tully Blanchard's Tag Titles or even Lex Luger and Nikita Koloff coming after Barry Windham and US Title you were in for good matches. Not to mention the names would mix and match still keep you interested. The Rock N' Roll Express were gunning for the Horsemen so where everyone else in WCW/NWA at the time.

2Evolution - Any faction that includes Triple H and Ric Flair will have you in good shape. Evolution is my second favorite of all time which will shock a lot people. Just like those Horsemen, everybody on that Raw Brand wanted a piece of Evolution. They had their problems with Chris Beniot, Chris Jericho, Edge, Goldberg and the list goes on and on. Everybody wanted a piece of World Champion Triple H and for that you had to go through 3rd generation superstar Randy Orton, The Animal Dave Batista and manger/hit man The Nature Boy Ric Flair.
With Flair and Batista taking the tag team titles, Orton with the IC belt and Triple H with the World title dominated the show.

The only thing that did Evolution in was that it was too good and lived up to its name. Eventually Orton then Batista both realized they could rule the World too. It did what a faction is supposed to do in my opinion it created stars. The build to Batista's chase of the World title was classic.

3. D-Generation X - Originally started as HBK-Shawn Micheals, Chyna, and Hunter Hearst Helmsley now known as Triple H. When people talk the Attitude Era, they love to talk about Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock but you can not leave out D-Generation X. The bad boys who took to WCW's doorstep literally during the Monday Night Wars.

My favorite incarnation of DX is when Triple H takes over the group as the undisputed leader of the group. You have to love a faction that can function as face faction taking on the Nation of Domination and the Corporation or as heels running the company with the McMahon-Helmsley Era. My favorite incarnation was with Triple H running the show, The Outlaws as tag champs and X-Pac taking on all comers. To run interference and keep a guy like Kane off Triple H takes a lot guts.

Honorable Mention

The Fabulous Freebirds - Live from Bad Street USA is a group that does not always gets credit as a faction but one of the most influential are the Freebirds. Terry Bam Bam Gordy, Buddy Roberts and leader Micheal PS Hayes. In the later years in WCW Jimmy Jam Garvin became part of the crew. This group should actually be inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame this year in my view since Wrestlemania is being held in the home of Bad Street USA. They actually created what is know in wrestling as the Freebird rule. Allowing any 2 members of the group to defend the tag team titles at any time and recognized the entire group as the tag team champions. Later used by Demolition and the Spirit Squad. They got it done in every territory they were in. These guys spent time in AWA, WCW and WWE but they are probably most know for their time in WCCW ( World Class Championship Wrestling). Their feud with the Von Erichs will go down in history as one of the greatest in the history of wrestling.

The Future of the Faction

I dont know that the future of the faction holds. Right now each major organization has factions on their show and being used in different ways. There are negatives and positives to each one but hopefully

The Nexus - In the WWE, the Nexus had one of the strongest debuts that I have ever seen from any group. They took out the face of the company John Cena and stomped everyone who got in their way. But thanks to bad booking there were made to look weak and sorry. Too much Super Cena beating them all and Wade Barrett made to look incapable of winning a match without the help of the group.
Now that the Nexus has a new breathe of life with CM Punk as the leader they definatley changes the dynamics. Punk is a former World Champion and proven Main Event level star that gives the group instant credibility.
My suggestion now is to get the other guys involved in feuds and going after belts. Tag Titles and US title would really up the profile of the group. Even using that Freebird rule with the tag titles. The other members need to prove that they can work in the ring. You can't build stars by having them just jumping on people every chance they get then letting the superstar beat them up. Also get rid of David Ortunga. He doesn't belong in pro wrestling at all. He sucks on the mic and in the ring and brings nothing to group.

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Ric Flair and The 4 Horsemen

Ric Flair and The 4 Horsemen