Shane Thorne & Nick Miller, Johnny Gargano, The Iconic Duo and more NXT Superstars reveal the people who had the most profound influence on their sports-entertainment careers.11/22/2017 - 20:30
The Road Dogg & Billy Gunn cause chaos to capture their first Tag Team Championship at the expense of Hawk & Animal.11/22/2017 - 12:30
After his title defense against Johnny Gargano, WWE U.K. Champion Pete Dunne receives a tag team challenge from fellow U.K. Superstars Tyler Bate & Trent Seven.11/22/2017 - 12:30
Following his sensational, albeit losing effort against Pete Dunne, Johnny Gargano struggles to find his purpose in NXT.11/22/2017 - 12:15
Two-time Divas Champion Paige is back, and she brought some friends with her to Raw, but not to be outdone, a trio of NXT Superstars made their shocking arrival to SmackDown LIVE.11/22/2017 - 14:45
Classic factions reborn
There have been a number of memorable factions and groups throughout WWE history. Some of these cliques were influential in changing the landscape of sports-entertainment and others served only to appease the leader. When the factions formed, they filled their ranks with competitors who followed a certain creed or philosophy, but with each member looking to enhance their own careers in some way.
WWE.com looks at seven classic groups of competitors in WWE history and reimagines them with current Superstars and Divas. What if John Cena reformed The New World Order? Who are today’s Four Horsemen? What if The Undertaker revived his reign of evil with The Ministy?
Find out who fits into what group and let us know what you think in the comments below and on Facebook.com/WWEClassics.
The Million Dollar Corporation
Rather than using his vast fortune on expensive cars and his bumbling ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez, Alberto Del Rio may be better served taking a page out of “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase’s playbook and utilizing his wealth to buy a faction of Superstars seeking fortune and glory. In 1994, DiBiase bankrolled Nikolai Volkoff, Bam Bam Bigelow, IRS, Kama, Tatanka, King Kong Bundy, Sid and The 1-2-3 Kid in order to take control of WWE.
Del Rio’s assets would allow for worthy investments both on his part and for the Superstars who see green and wish to join him. The Prime Time Players — motivated by money and success in WWE — wouldn’t hesitate to join The Mexican Aristocrat. The same can be said for Jinder Mahal. A sense of entitlement notwithstanding, Mahal’s lavish lifestyle would only be bolstered by an alliance with Del Rio.
The Million Dollar Corporation also needs a hard-hitting Superstar who prides himself on being the toughest in WWE. Del Rio would in effect have to hire a mercenary of sorts. DiBiase’s original incarnation of the faction featured Bam Bam Bigelow and Kama — no nonsense ring warriors using their brash attitudes an in-ring style to collect a hefty check. A comparable Superstar for Del Rio to hire would be Antonio Cesaro. The Swiss-born competitor’s aggressive nature makes him a necessity for The Mexican Aristocrat, while Cesaro’s enjoyment of the finer things in life ensures he won’t dissent from Del Rio when the paychecks clear.
One of the most pivotal moments of the original Million Dollar Corporation was when fan-favorite Tatanka betrayed his tag team partner, Lex Luger, and joined DiBiase. The acquisition was huge for DiBiase’s faction and Del Rio would be wise to follow suit. The Mexican Aristocrat would need someone the WWE Universe loves, a Superstar who is powerful and loves a good skirmish. The best way for Del Rio to do this would be sending Brodus Clay a blank check. The Funkasaurus is beloved by the WWE Universe and may not sell-out, but Del Rio would be foolish not to extend the olive branch.
The Ministry of Darkness
Darkness once reigned supreme in WWE when The Undertaker channeled the forces of evil and formed The Ministry during the late 1990s. If The Deadman were once again to employ the forces of evil to impose his will over WWE, there are a number of Superstars he could recruit to make a revived Ministry unstoppable.
Initially, The Phenom need not look further than his own brother, Kane. Channeling The Big Red Monster’s anger and reforming it into the hatred that truly boils inside of him, The Undertaker’s most powerful ally is his own kin. Their relationship has been rocky at times, but Kane has nothing left to prove to The Deadman and together once more, The Brothers of Destruction would change WWE forever.
The Deadman’s original Ministry sought out competitors looking for guidance on the path to success. Often times, The Undertaker abducted these Superstars and converted them to follow the beliefs of his evil faction. The same could happen to a number of competitors today. Both Tensai and Mark Henry would be able to unleash their inner fury in ways that were previously unheard of. With The Undertaker’s dark influences, the larger-than-life Superstars could be virtually unstoppable.
Yoshi Tatsu has displayed a dark side before. When embroiled in a rivalry with Tyson Kidd on WWE NXT, the high-spirited Japanese Superstar briefly took on a more serious persona, painting half of his face and defending his own honor. For Tatsu in the Ministry, the question remains: Would he have to be brainwashed, or join of his own free will?
Yet the Ministry cannot be contained by the forces of darkness alone. A strong-willed woman would balance the inner rage of many members and serve as queen. Aksana has a penchant for involving herself with men in power, and the Lithuanian beauty would be the perfect candidate to rule alongside the revived Ministry of Darkness.
The Dangerous Alliance
When Paul Heyman — then known as Paul E. Dangerously — was fired as a commentator in WCW in 1991, he exacted his revenge on the organization by recruiting U.S. Champion Rick Rude, WCW Tag Team Champions Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton, Television Champion “Stunning” Steve Austin, Larry Zbyszko and Madusa into a faction known as The Dangerous Alliance.
The original Dangerous Alliance was a group of talented thugs and a modern incarnation would certainly be the same. Along with Heyman’s unique gift for spewing venom on the microphone, Brock Lesnar’s disregard for rules and the safety of his opponents would immediately make a new Dangerous Alliance a force to be reckoned with.
Lesnar is an unstable commodity, and Heyman would have to expand his new Alliance to include Superstars who want to attain personal success in sports-entertainment. The Miz is the perfect talent for Heyman. The Awesome One also fits the mold of the original Dangerous Alliance. The Most Must-See Superstar in WWE isn’t afraid to step on toes on his way to the top, and he has achieved his personal success through his own determination.
Drew McIntyre was once dubbed “The Chosen One” by Mr. McMahon. Since then, the Scottish Superstar has done his best to live up to the high standards declared by The Chairman. The former Intercontinental Champion has sometimes struggled to make a major impact in WWE, but as a member of The Dangerous Alliance, McIntyre’s career would skyrocket. Heyman is a master at molding any Superstar into a World Champion, and the Scot’s personality meshes perfectly with the creed of Heyman’s faction.
Thus far in his young career, Alex Riley’s biggest moments came during his time as The Miz’s right-hand man. Joining The Dangerous Alliance and realigning with The Awesome One, as well as falling under the guidance of Heyman, would be the most logical move for the so-called Varsity Villain to achieve success. With his “jock” attitude, Riley’s rightful place is with the faction, and given Heyman’s track record, a championship would certainly be in A-Ry’s future.
The new Dangerous Alliance would also need a strong female among its ranks — similar to Madusa in the WCW incarnation. There is no WWE Diva who fits the bill to a tee more than Eve. The multi-time Divas Champion will do nearly anything to achieve success, often breaking alliances and aligning with those in power to remain on top of the Divas division. With Heyman in her corner, Eve has the potential to be the most talked about and successful Diva in WWE history.
Dudes With Attitude
The original Dudes With Attitude was a group of NWA/WCW’s most popular competitors in the early 1990s. The team of Sting, Lex Luger, El Gigante, Paul Orndorff, The Steiner Brothers and Junkyard Dog were the perfect counter to Ric Flair and The Four Horsemen, ensuring that contests were called fairly down the middle and opponents were discouraged from using nefarious tactics.
Comprised of popular and beloved Superstars Sheamus, The Great Khali, Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Rey Mysterio and Santino Marella, the new Dudes With Attitude could provide a perfect counterbalance to any foes brazen enough to employ questionable methods to ensure their own success. Just as the original Dudes surrounded the ring to fend off The Four Horsemen the first time Sting defeated Ric Flair for the NWA Title, the new incarnation of the faction would fend off any threat, win or lose, keeping fair play in check.
More than two decades later, there is most certainly a place for a faction like the Dudes With Attitude. Keeping their demeanors and energy positive, and keeping the WWE Universe firmly on their side, there’s no limit to the success they could achieve.
During the late 1990s, one of WCW’s most prominent factions was Raven’s Flock. The group was made of up a rag-tag collection of competitors including Saturn, Kidman, Scotty Riggs, Kanyon, Stevie Richards, Reese, Lodi, Sick Boy, Van Hammer and Horace. Each member of the group was looking for respect in an organization entrenched in battle with The New World Order. The Flock’s leader, Raven, was the most vocal of the faction, demanding his own personal respect by exclaiming: “What about me? What about Raven?”
Since becoming WWE Champion, CM Punk has felt that he is not being shown the level of respect he deserves as champion. Just as Raven felt WCW’s war with The nWo outshined himself and his Flock, The Second City Saint feels that he’s overshadowed by The Rock and John Cena.
Citing lack of respect as a motivation, a number of Superstars would no doubt follow the WWE Champion’s lead — competitors who rarely compete on Raw or SmackDown but are highly regarded by the WWE Universe. Curt Hawkins, Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater fit perfectly into the creed of The Flock. Another particular standout is Tyson Kidd, who delighted the WWE Universe at Money in the Bank with his raw athleticism, yet has not been given any title opportunities. If Punk is Raven’s counterpart, then Kidd is undoubtedly Perry Saturn — Raven’s closest ally who eventually broke free of The Flock to find his own success.
Kaitlyn’s acceptance into The Flock comes as she demands more respect for her abilities. The WWE NXT season three winner had a Divas Title opportunity stolen from her at Night of Champions when she was attacked backstage — an ultimate show of disrespect.
Certainly, The Flock can soar once more, only this time the question becomes: “What about me? What about CM Punk?”
The New World Order
Who could possibly comprise the modern incarnation of the most notorious faction of all time? It would take a major betrayal of the WWE Universe akin to Hulk Hogan’s original collusion with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. The only Superstar capable of such an impactful move would be none other than John Cena.
When Hogan deceived WCW, he was as polarized as Cena. Some still loved the classic red and yellow, others were tired of it. Judging by Cena’s reactions in various arenas all over the country, the same can be said for his creed of “hustle, loyalty and respect.” The Cenation leader could eventually just have his fill of “Cena sucks” chants, grab a can of black spray-paint and really give the WWE Universe something to “boo” about.
To maximize their initial impact, the 21st century New World Order would need a strong base, similar to Hogan and The Outsiders. Both Hall and Nash were loved and hated by fans based on what served their needs. Well-rounded veterans, The Outsiders did whatever they needed to ensure their own success. Given the pasts of both Randy Orton and Christian, joining John Cena in The nWo would give them each an edge over other seasoned veterans in WWE.
Of course, Big Show is the only member of the original New World Order still in active competition. When the black-and-white–clad faction reformed in WWE in 2002, The World’s Largest Athlete once again donned the colors and there’s nothing to stop him from doing it again, after all, “When you’re nWo, you’re nWo 4-Life.”
With four major Superstars taking charge, The nWo would inevitably expand its ranks. To keep its legacy intact, The New World Order’s recruitment efforts would focus on Michael McGillicutty and the fact that his father, Curt Hennig, was a member of the faction. Wearing the black and white with promises of achieving greater success than his Hall of Fame father would only elevate McGillicutty to championship contention.
To stave off any legal troubles they might encounter, The New World Order would need to look no further than David Otunga. A powerful and rising competitor, Otunga’s legal expertise — as well as his celebrity — makes him the perfect addition to The nWo.
Finally, The New World Order needs a loud and obnoxious mouthpiece. This is someone who doesn’t mince words and, no matter what, always skews in favor of the black and white. The original group had WCW President Eric Bischoff, but Cena and his colleagues need to look no further than the announce table for Michael Cole. Now that’s an alliance that’s just too sweet.
The Four Horsemen
Through their various incarnations, The Four Horsemen remain the most influential group of all time. Today’s Horsemen would be made up of Superstars who pride themselves on being the best and have no problem using any means necessary to secure victory. There are four WWE competitors who fit the bill quite well and even draw strong parallels to the group’s WWE Hall of Fame incarnation of Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham and manager JJ Dillon.
Historically, The Four Horsemen were the sworn enemies of Dusty Rhodes. If The American Dream’s son, Cody Rhodes, joined the faction’s ranks it would only serve to separate himself from his father’s shadow. Rhodes’ arrogance and in-ring abilities make him the perfect candidate for a revitalized Four Horsemen.
The group needs an enforcer — a hardened competitor who refuses to pull any punches. The bare-knuckle brawler himself, Wade Barrett, has every characteristic required of being one of the toughest Horsemen since Ole Anderson.
A Horseman must excel at his craft and not only strive to be the best, but believe that he is the best. Former World Champions Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan possess these essential characteristics and are regarded among the elite wrestlers in the world.
Individually, these four competitors are formidable in their own right, but together — under the guidance of original Horseman Arn Anderson — they can undoubtedly be limousine-ridin’, jet-flyin’, kiss stealin’, wheelin’ dealin’ sons of guns.