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Opinion

My Top 10 Best Factions of All Time

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Recently, WWE.com released their list of the Top 10 Best Factions of All Time, and some of the results floored me. It never ceases to amaze me how much back patting and audience influencing the WWE tries to do. Just look at the list they put forth.

Right off the bat the WWE ruins their credibility and any impartialness they might have tried to demonstrate by listing The Undisputed Era as their Number 10 best faction of all time.

ALL. TIME.

We’re talking almost 50 years worth of wrestling history here, at least! And a faction that is not even on the main roster, is not seen on television, is currently down one injured member, and is only months old is considered by WWE as a top ten best faction OF ALL TIME?!

So, while I don’t usually write articles like this, these results and the fact that the WWE has actually tried to pawn them off as legitimate have motivated me to create my own list this week of the Top 10 Best Factions of All Time. I based my list and rankings on the group’s impact on the wrestling business at their peak, their level of focus or involvement in their company’s top angles and storylines, the accomplishments both of the group and the individuals within them while members, and the effect that association in siad group had on the future careers of its members.

So here is my list of the Top 10 Best Factions of All Time:

Honorable Mentions
The Corporation
Camp Cornette
Nexus
Ministry of Darkness

10. New Day– The New Day are the epitome of what a faction is intended to do for its members. The group is greater than the sum of its parts. Individually, Xavier Woods, Big E, and especially Kofi Kingston seemed destined for mid card mediocrity. In Kofi’s case, he had already spent many years in limbo already, never able to quite crash the glass ceiling and reach that “next level.” Together, in addition to adding a record tag team title run to their resumes, they have become bigger stars than any could have ever hoped to become on their own at the time of their formation. Like others on this list, their initial run as heels was so well done and entertaining that it got them over as one of the biggest babyface acts in the company, not to mention a top merchandise seller, and did so without any member gaining a singles title to their credit. All three men have become so identifiable as a unit, it’s hard to see them being truly split up or seperated any time in the near future- which for the sake of their careers, might be best. “Power of Positivity” indeed!

9. Bullet Club– The OGBC makes my list not only for its prominence and longevity as a top faction in New Japan, but also for the way its impressive roster brought new American eyes to NJPW and the influence its alums are currently having on the wrestling world today. When you have names like AJ Styles, Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, Gallows and Anderson, among others, on your roll call, you’ve had an impact. Plus, when is the last time you have seen a group from a foreign promotion have such a commercial presence when it comes to merchandise in the States?

8. Nation of Domination– The Nation is underrated as an all-time faction. Though it might not quite be on the level of other top groups, the NOD were a core focus of the WWF during the Attitude Era (the height of the company in terms of overall relevance), had memorable feuds with the likes of DX and the Undertaker, and helped to launch the rise of one of the greatest superstars of all time. Without the Nation, Rocky Maivia may not have found that perfect vehicle for a needed heel persona at the time that the Nation provided, and ultimately helped to catapult him into superstardom as The Rock. Plus, if you were watching the product at the time, you can’t discount how much heat and controversy Faarooq and his original Nation cohorts were creating. It was uncharted territory for the WWF in that era.

7. Shield– I must give credit where credit is due. The Shield burst onto the scene, were immediate main event players upon their debut, and the success that its members have had individually in their careers cannot be discounted. There are very few factions that can claim that every one of its members has been WWE Champion. While the jury may still be out on Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns are arguably the top two faces of RAW and possibly the company itself. Their current success has to give due reverence to the popularity and impact the Shield first had as a threesome.

6. Hart Foundation– The WWF struck gold with the Hart Foundation in 1997. And the dynamic of being THE heel stable of the year and huge heat magnets in the US, while at the same time the biggest baby faces ever in Canada was unprecedented. Don’t believe me? Go back and watch some of those episodes of RAW from the summer of 97, and especially the Calgary Stampede PPV. The roster of members fit perfectly and they played off of each other very well. Even the addition of Brian Pillman, who wasn’t technically a relative of the family, made sense and gave the group a bit of an edge that they needed for their era. They were perfect foils for guys like Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels. Heck, they even got The Patriot a run in the main event! While their lack of longevity knocks them down a few notches (the group only lasted about seven months), their impact and contribution to the eventual birth of the Attitude Era can’t go unnoticed.

5. Evolution– when your group consists of Triple H, Ric Flair, Randy Orton, and Batista, can you NOT be in the top five of all time? Not only was Evolution a mainstay in the main event during its heyday, holding all three major titles at once (World Heavyweight, IC, Tag Team), as well as cementing the careers of group number 7 on my list during a comeback tour in 2014, it was the launching pad that Orton and Batista needed to elevate themselves as future big time players in the WWE- potential that both men clearly delivered on eventually as singles stars.

4. Heenan Family– there is no denying the level of stardom Hulk Hogan achieved in the 80’s in the WWF. However, what is a superhero without super villains? Enter Bobby Heenan and the Heenan Family! The Family was the source of a steady supply of challengers for Hogan and other top stars of the 80’s and early 90’s, such as Ultimate Warrior and Big Bossman. Names to Heenan’s credit include Rick Rude, King Kong Bundy, Haku, Barbarian, the Brainbusters, Mr. Perfect, and of course the man who challenged Hogan at the most important wrestling event ever at WrestleMania 3, Andre the Giant. This stable wasn’t even included in WWE’s list!

3. Four Horsemen– while I admit that my list is WWE/F heavy because of the fact that is the product I grew up on, no one can dismiss the impact of the Horsemen. Throughout all of their various incarnations, they were always a focus of the show and a presence in the main event- which happens when your leader is Ric Flair. They were part of some of the most memorable angles in wrestling and no doubt held, and continue to have, a special place in the hearts of NWA and WCW fans. They were the standard bearer for all other factions to come after them. Not all of their roster combinations were as great or as successful as the originals, but memorable nonetheless.

2. D-Generation X– when you talk about impact, you have to look at a group that were both the top heels and then the top babyfaces in the company during its hottest run. The original HBK/Triple H/Chyna/Rude version of DX almost single handedly brought the Attitude Era to the WWF in 1997 as its top heel act, only to then become one of the biggest acts in the company as baby faces after WrestleMania 14 when they added the New Age Outlaws and X-Pac after the departure of Michaels. It also launched Triple H into the next level in 1998, as he was no longer seen as HBK’s sidekick. They remained relevant as a faction through the year 2000 and were part of many memorable moments, such as the “War on WCW” and Nation parody. While what they did in wrestling was historic, not to mention the positive effect the association had on the careers of X-Pac, Gunn, and Road Dogg, the cultural impact the group had may have been just as big. DX shirt sales were through the roof, and the crotch chop and “Suck It” catch phrase became part of the lexicon for the male demographic the WWF was targeting.

1. nWo– no group has had a bigger impact in wrestling as the New World Order. The departures of Scott Hall and Kevin Nash to WCW from WWF. The heel turn of Hulk Hogan. The 83 week win streak in the ratings war. When the nWo was on fire, it was an inferno. Plus, without the nWo’s success, how do the careers of the likes of Sting and Goldberg unfold? Yes, there were some blunders and mistakes made down the road involving the group, but during the most competitive time in the business, no one faction single handedly turned the tide for its company the way the nWo did.


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Opinion

AJ’s Controversial? Wrestling Opinions 10.12.21

AJ feels like spouting off about a few wrestling topics that bug him. How controversial are they though?

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As Eric Bischoff, President of WCW once said, Controversy Creates Cash…no I’m serious; it’s even the title of a book that he did. Everyone has their hot takes on professional wrestling and some are always wide eyed and kind of shocking to some. There are some of us that will have same opinions or chastise me on a show or an article maybe but hey, don’t hate the player, hate The Game.

Maybe there are some that the readers at home agree with or you want to also be the one to chastise me, @PhenomenalAJB on Twitter. This one is going to be fun!

#1- There are more things than just WWE/AEW and are better majority of the time

There are many people that will rant, rave and complain that the mainstream product is so bland and boring and the classic, “Who even watches this trash?” Whether you love the flippy dippy do’s like I don’t or long drawn out storylines that peter out very quickly because fans aren’t invested in a story or character. To those people, I will say something very bold, very confusing and very… very controversial…

THERE ARE OTHER COMPANIES YOU CAN WATCH ON VARIOUS PLATFORMS IN VARIOUS MEANS ON YOUR OWN TIME!

I don’t know how and I don’t know why that this is even a topic. “TNA has been dead for years” No it hasn’t. Pay $1 USD for Impact Plus on YouTube so you can watch it without commercials at 8:30 Eastern. “Two hours is too long!” NWA and MLW both go for an hour on their respective YouTube Channels as well and if you want to watch, you can hop in at any time. Everyone has something for everyone and you might find your new favorite wrestler in a matter of minutes into an episode. I would never have known who Eli Drake (now LA Knight on SmackDown Live), Alexander Hammerstone or even in the early stages of TNA Impact, AJ Styles, was! You can watch more than what is broadcasted on your TV. Is it easier? Of course but, there is so much more than just the popular option.


#2- Belt Collecting now is just redundant and moronic

Back in 1996, Ultimo Dragon famously has a picture of him holding TEN championships looking like an amazing superstar with amazing defenses. What people don’t know is, that was because eight championship belts were united in a tournament called “The J-Crown Championship” with the adage of ‘All or Nothing’. He lost them one by one but, it was to show that he was the best Junior Heavyweight (or Cruiserweight/Light Heavyweight) out of everyone in various promotions.

People after that really haven’t belt collected other than unifying championships to a grand caliber… then Austin Aries showed up. Aries kind of revised the gimmick and brought it back to light. Newer fans might have thought this was cool but older fans kind of groaned and grumbled. I was one of them but, nothing is original in anything anymore so it’s a fresher concept at the time back in 2018. He did surpass Ultimo with ELEVEN championships but it seemed everyone started doing it to an extent after. Matt Cardona, after being released from WWE, started doing it, getting up to six championships before dropping them. As of right now, not necessarily solo belt collecting, The Bloodline has a stranglehold of the World Championships for both Singles and Tag Teams, we had Becky Two Belts, Bayley wanted Dos Straps but nothing makes this worse than Kenny Omega’s stint as a belt collector.

I am not and will never be a Kenny Omega fan. I don’t see the appeal, I don’t see the amazement or anything like that out of him. I’m impressed he did three 35+ Minute IWGP Championship matches against Okada because that takes a lot of stamina to do so but, that’s about it. When he won the AEW Championship, alright. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that since he helped build the company up. The Triple A Megas Championship… nothing too wrong here. I hate that he had five defenses in two years but he vacated it due to his injuries. It wasn’t until Don Callis and Omega popped into Impact and made the Hogan Era of TNA look like a dream… okay ALMOST but still. Kenny defeats Rich Swann and Moose in two different matches and has everyone else carry the belts while holding the AEW Championship. I understand heel tactics and mentality but at one point in an interview about going for the Impact Championship, he compared it to a common Comic Book and the AEW Championship as Superman Issue #1. I understand trying to be a heel in this story but you boost your clout, not rain on what you are going after. Heel or Face, belt collecting has just been a cluster within itself in the past four years and it honestly needs to stop.

#3- Overuse of Certain Moves

This one is a more recent problem that I have seen and no, I wish EC3 paid me to say this but it is true and very annoying to even bring up but here I am, wishing for Carter money and a fifth Rum & Coke…

Stop. Overusing. Moves. Because you think. They were cool.

If I had a shot for every time a Canadian Destroyer, Superkick, Suicide Dive, Avalanche (Insert High Spot here), Dual Dropkick spots where they cancel each other out or opposing members do back to back high spots on the prone partner spot… I would not have written this article due to death… even if it was water, I would have died due to drowning. They don’t look cool anymore when everyone does it. It’s bland. When Petey Williams wrestled in his last return to Impact, the Destroyer looked very… stale. Superkicks are the new DDT apparently (another Finisher turned common everyday move) and most people that do dives mess it up in some way shape or form whether it’s their feet get caught in the ropes, they didn’t get a full launch or they overshoot it. Having your own move special to you is difficult now but different wrestlers do their own styles or the pay homage to a family member or a wrestler that they interact with or ask permission… or asked to stop.

How’d you feel if you watched WCW and WWF in 1997 and saw DDP do the Diamond Cutter and HHH did the Pedigree Pandemonium and say they do the same move? That is exactly what happened too if Dallas didn’t ask Hunter to stop using it. We might not have the RKO out of nowhere or an iconic move that seldom bigger names use today.


That’s my list. I said before if you agree with my list and if you don’t and want to throw hate my way… @PCTunney is the hate mail account so enjoy!


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Opinion

AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns

With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

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With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.

With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.

1. Johnny Gargano

Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?

WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen  the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.

2. James Storm

This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.

Watch your Money and your Alcohol.

Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”

3. Big Cass



Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.

Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.

4. Bronson Reed



The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.

Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?

5. Bray Wyatt

And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.

To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.

– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!


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