The 411 Wrestling Top 5 2.27.13: Week 209 – Top 5 Worst Stables
Hello everyone and welcome to 411 Wrestling’s Top 5 List. Your “Kennection to All Things Wrestling” Ken Hill here once again to deliver more list-y goodness to y’all. What we are going to is take a topic each week and all the writers here on 411 wrestling will have the ability to give us their Top 5 on said topic, plus up to three honorable mentions.
So, on to this week’s topic…
5. Legacy – ) Evolution (They wish) 2.0, The Body Oil Boys, and so on and so forth. This group could’ve worked if Orton hadn’t been the only competent member of the group. Sure, DiBiase and Rhodes got an impressive win over DX, but it was really the only notable one as a team, and never stayed consistently dominant like Evolution. They didn’t even break up like most groups, as it was Orton who came out smelling like roses despite his maltreatment of the group.
4. Straight Edge Society – Triple H lampshaded the notion that maybe if there had been more (high-profile) members, SES might’ve seemed more of a threat, not just Mercury, Gallows and Serena. Like with Orton, Punk seemed the only semi-competent member of the group, but even he suffered when de-masked by Big Show after getting his head shaved by Mysterio. Getting squashed by Show in a 3-on-1 affair summed up the overall effectiveness and presence they had as a group: None.
3. X-Factor – I’m sorry…what was the reason Prince Albert, Mr. Bronco Buster, and a “great” ECW Champ got together again?
2. WCW-ECW Alliance – Doesn’t really need an explanation, but I’ll give one anyway. These guys were made to look like WWF(E)’s bitches (Vince booked them as such, apparently), and WWE had to give them Stone Cold (which made some sense), then half of their roster (NO sense whatsoever) to make them look like a moderate threat, and it still bombed. Maybe if some of the more prominent WCW stars had been signed, but I digress…
1. Spirit Squad – The notion of future Dolph Ziggler aside, I HATED these guys. Annoying to a fault, cacophonous, and the only stand-out, Kenny Dykstra, failed in the long run as a singles star. They upset Big Show & Kane for the Tag Team Titles…I repeat, BIG SHOW & KANE, and then they were fed to DX, making the Tag Team Titles seem as worthless as they did pre-Team Hell No. The only reason they held the titles for as long as they did was because, aside from Cryme Tyme, there were no other good teams to put the straps on (Eugene & Hacksaw, The Highlanders, need I go on?).
5. Mean Street Posse – I can look back on them with fondness now, especially with some of their antics with Crash Holly in the 24/7 era of the Hardcore title. But overall, these three sucked something fierce. In 2000 in particular they looked totally out of place in a roster stacked with talent from top to bottom. Sorry lads.
4. X-Factor – A failed vehicle for X-Pac, who never really recovered from DX fading away leaving him with little to nothing to do. Albert as the muscle wasn’t a bad idea, except for the crowd not giving a damn, and Justin Credible’s arrival from ECW proved to be pretty dissapointing too.
3. Straight Edge Society – A real disappointment, mainly due to the poor booking than anything else. It was great to see Luke Gallows be given a vehicle away from his stint as Festus, and Joey Mercury’s inclusion after a well documented history of personal problems was a nice touch. Serena Deeb arrived with some promise, but she was fired for breaking kayfabe after not living out the straight edge lifestyle in public. As for Punk, it could’ve been a great vehicle for him but it seemed to take him down a step. Prior to this, he was fighting for World titles, but now he was stuck in midcard battles with Big Show. Speaking of Show, the fate of the SES was ultimately sealed when he easily kept disposing of them. A real shame.
2. WWE’s incarnation of the nWo (2002) – The debut promo at No Way Out was ok and actually made for quite the visual, seeing Hogan, Hall and Nash back in a WWE ring and in nWo colors. But the problems started from there: The Hall/Austin match at Wrestlemania 18 stank, as did most of Hall’s matches between then and the plane ride from hell which saw him get fired. Hogan left the group for a face run back in the red and yellow, and X-Pac replaced him and didn’t do much of note either, then Big Show and Booker T were brought in which actually saw them slip further down the card. It did re-introduce Shawn Michaels to the promotion, but Kevin Nash’s torn quad saw Vince McMahon pull the plug on the whole thing altogether. I like all of the personalities involved with the re-incarnation of the group, but sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say that it just wasn’t working. It just felt dated and lackluster right from the start.
1. WCW-ECW Alliance – I’ll admit that the initial swerve of the merger was fun to watch, but the overall execution of the Alliance’s 6-month run had some major problems. Firstly, the two promotions hated each other in the past and even with new owners in kayfabe terms, such a scenario was scarcely believable. The ex-ECW talent didn’t fare quite as badly (mainly because most of them had already been in the WWF for a year or so), but the workers from the WCW side were constantly buried by the WWF roster. Some probably deserved it, some who had talent were never given the chance to properly impress until the storyline died down. Throwing in some WWF turncoats just seemed like a cop-out in retrospect. Even as a youngster, it was tough for me to suspend my disbelief that the Alliance would actually overthrow the WWF. I know they couldn’t get all of the ex-WCW stars out of their fat contracts, but if that was the case they probably shouldn’t have tried!
5. Legacy – Randy Orton was once a part of Evolution, a group that legitimately turned him into a main event star. It seemed that Legacy was an attempt to do the same for Cody Rhodes and Ted Debase, Jr. However, if that was the goal, the creative team did absolutely everything wrong in terms of accomplishing it. Rhodes and DiBiase were never portrayed as up-and-comers when they were with the stable. They were portrayed as guys who ran interference for Orton and constantly did jobs to his adversaries. There was a ridiculous amount of in-fighting with the group and these weird tangential storylines where weeks at a time were wasted deciding whether Manu and Deuce (Or was it Domino?) were members of the faction when the time could’ve been dedicated to getting Rhodes and Debase over. There were a couple of hot angles involving DiBiase standing up to Orton, but, at the end of the day, the younger members of the group were made into such horrific jobbers that there was no heat whatsoever when the split actually occurred. This did nobody any favors and completely derailed DiBiase’s career when it originally looked like he had a lot of promise.
4. Special K – It’s not often that you’ll see something from Ring of Honor on an internet wrestling writer’s “worst of” list. Special K is a rare exception. For those of you who didn’t watch ROH at the time, let me fill you in. The company decided that it would create a heel stable of “ravers,” spoiled rich kids who blew their parents’ money on big parties and drugs. Oh, and, for some reason, Joey Mercury and Mike Whipwreck were also members. Speaking of members, Special K had about 2,000 of them. I’m only slightly exaggerating. It seemed like there was a new guy on every other show, and, on the shows where new members weren’t appearing, old ones were vanishing with no explanation. It didn’t help that it was apparently a prerequisite for membership that you had to look like you were 14 years old and in no way built like a professional wrestler. And their matches . . . oh, dear god, THEIR MATCHES. I hate to use the term “spot monkey,” but watching these guys perform was cringe inducing for anybody who likes their wrestling to look anything like a halfway realistic fight. There would be a flip, and then everybody would stand around staring at each other until they got into position to do the next flip. It was every negative stereotype of indy wrestling ever, all in one stable.
3. PMS – I complained about Legacy earlier because it was supposed to get two guys over and failed miserably at doing so. However, when it comes to PMS, my problem is that I can’t figure out who the hell it was supposed to get over. It was a stable of three women, two of whom couldn’t wrestle worth a damn, and one poor guy so green that he could barely get any further than Sunday Night Heat. I mean, really, how was a feud with PMS supposed to work? A baby face wrestler gets pissed off at them and then does . . . what, exactly? Punks out their jobber boyfriend in five minutes? Has a ten-minute match on pay per view against Ms. Jacqueline? Really awkwardly beats up Ryan Shamrock? This was just one of those weird Vince Russo ideas that he did so he could make a bunch of sex jokes, even though it in no way fits in with what professional wrestling is supposed to be.
2. No Limit Soldiers – Hootie hoo. This is one of the greatest examples of poor marketing in pro wrestling history. Rapper Master P and his hip-hop posse were brought in for a ridiculous sum of money to be a major part of a wrestling show with a largely southern, largely redneck fanbase. In addition to not getting over, the group’s presence subjected us to ridiculous segments like thirty minute long birthday parties for P’s nephew and Curt Hennig cutting promos on Nitro house DJ Ran. The talent lineup for the group was also pretty perplexing. Rey Misterio, Jr. and Konnan were associated with it for a while, which was fine given that they’re both talented performers. However, they were joined by Master P’s personal bodyguard “Swoll,” who was a big stiff with no training, a man with freakish arms called “4×4,” who was somehow an even bigger stiff with even less training, Chase Tatum, a who had to have been at the bottom of his Power Plant class, and the late great BRAD ARMSTRONG, who, despite being an awesome wrestler, stuck out like a sore thumb. Simply put, nothing good came of this.
1. The WCW/ECW Alliance – Don’t get me wrong, some of the best wrestlers in history and some of the biggest stars in wrestling history were a part of this stable. However, the reason that it tops the list is that it’s the biggest example of wasted potential in professional wrestling history. I almost feel like I shouldn’t say too much because this has been written about time and time again over the years and I don’t want to belabor the point, but it is mind-boggling that something as seemingly easy as a WCW vs. WWF feud could be booked with the result being that the hosting company’s business actually went significantly DOWN and not up. That’s far worse than any Dungeon of Doom, Misfits in Action, or X-Factor, because it killed a large part of the wrestling business’ popularity and threw a lot of seemingly easy money out the window.
HM–The No Limit Soldiers. Sure, let’s blow a few million on a rap star with no wrestling experience and his idiot cronies. Typical WCW logic.
HM—The Oddities. Originally a jackboot group, they turned into a freak show, funny but never anything threatening.
HM—Million Dollar Corporation. For a guy supposedly so rich, you’d think Ted DiBiase could do better than Tatanka, Bam Bam Bigelow, Nikolai Volkoff and King Kong Bundy.
5. Straight Edge Society: This one is painful because it had some great potential. CM Punk going on a trip of wanting to “save” people and forming his own cult, how can you blow that? Well, making his first member Luke Gallows helped and the shaving of Serena didn’t go over as well as hoped for. What made it worse was that they just stopped there, no more recruiting, just these three with Punk the one always in the ring and on the mic. It was all summed up when Punk warned HHH of the wrath of the Society and HHH replied “you mean both of them?” Getting rid of Serena and Gallows after all that was even more insulting, a good idea never given a real chance to get off the ground.
4. The Spirit Squad: Male cheerleaders. Male cheerleaders. Vince McMahon spent much of 2006 pitting DX in a feud with MALE CHEERLEADERS. I don’t care who’s backing them, you do not expect fans to get behind something so goofy as an actual threat, making this even more a waste of time than usual for WWE.
3. M.I.A.: When people mention their hate of Vince Russo in WCW, this usually pops up. First he takes Booker T, nicely over by this point and saddles him with the stupid G.I. Bro gimmick. He’s then put in with a bunch of oddballs like Major Stash (he was going to be Private Stash but actually argued about being just a private and so was promoted, I swear I’m not making that up), Major Gunns (because of her breasts in tight shirts, gotta love the Russo subtle wit), Lieutenant Loco (Chavo Guerrero, so named as he was Latino), Sgt. AWOL and their leader Hugh G. Rection (say it out loud). Despite feuds with various others and a heel turn, they were just one big joke that fans never found funny.
2. Dudes with Attitudes: Face stables just don’t work as faces are supposed to be standing on their own rather than ganging up. The idea of guys doing that against the Four Horsemen did make sense but in 1990, with Ole Anderson booking and cost-cutting running rampant, it didn’t exactly shine. Sting and the Steiners were one thing but having an overweight Junkyard Dog, rough Paul Orndorff and the infamously terrible El Gigante didn’t exactly sell them as something to win the young fans over. They even had cards printed up but aside from watching Sting’s back at Great American Bash, they didn’t do too much to be any real force before quietly disbanded.
1. The Dungeon of Doom: I did an entire Spotlight on how horrible the Dungeon was, a mix of freaks like Kamala, Loch Ness and guys like Zodiac and the Shark, good workers saddled with ugly new personas. We had ridiculous vignettes with Kevin Sullivan and his “father” in a cave recruiting these guys and doing more evil laughing than actual in-ring stuff. Sure, the Giant gave them actual heat with his attacks on Hogan but they flushed that goodwill down the toilet with a seven-foot tall Mummy they called the Yeti following a monster truck match on the roof of an arena. Just a huge waste of money and talent, a sad statement of WCW at the time.
5. The New Blood/The Millionaires Club – Yes, yes…you can say that these weren’t really stables and more of a grouping of older stars and younger talent. However, since most people are voting for The Alliance, this choice is just as valid as that. The reason I have included them is when WCW did the great reboot with Vince Russo at the helm and the promise of change was being run up the flag pole, people legitimately had hope that things may change but this being WCW and many of the Millionaires Club having the chance to veto or greatly change booking and the booking of matches rendered it the wasting of the last great opportunity for WCW to claw it’s way back to parity with the WWF. Case in point, Billy Kidman “beats” Hulk Hogan but in no way did Hulk put over Kidman. He made Billy look like a putz and protected himself the whole way. Then things got retard when Hogan BECAME a member of the new Blood in what has to be a singularly retarded booking decision but when you look at Russo, you know he’s just a retard…period.
4. Million Dollar Corporation – Not sure what Vince was aiming for with the M.D.C but it certainly didn’t amount to much of anything. Sure they were all over the main event and occupied large portions of the card but they never really did much in the way of being effective and outside of Sid, a threat to anyone. Considering you had King Kong Bundy and Nikolai Volkoff as members, the heatless Karma Mustafa, The Underfaker, Balls Mahoney as Xanta Klaus, the over the hill I.R.S you can just hear the crowd going apathetic in everything they ever did.
3. nWo Black and White – This is just bad. You take a hot idea of the nWo and think “if you put someone with us, they will automatically be made”. Soon you had your hot heel stable now consists of Horace Hogan, Stevie Ray, Scott Norton, Brian Adams, and Vincent. So you take the original main eventers make them “The Elite” and you create a b team so lame that you’re leader is Stevie F’n Ray. Total dreck.
2. Right To Censor – Never has such a fantastic idea been so poorly executed. Stevie Richards managed to get this idea over and got good heat going forward. Soon he needed some back-up and that came in the form of The Goodfather, Bull Buchanan and Val Venis and Ivory. Then they became job fodder. Then they became a joke. Then they disappeared. Richards was an okay worker and like a lot of ideas Vince has had since 2000, he manages to fuck something up that had the potential to actually be a good draw. Main event draw? Not really. Strong second tier stable that could be used as a launch pad for future talent? You bet. Wasted potential.
1. LWO – I’m not sure if this was someone’s good intentions gone astray or latent racism escaping. I get the concept of a bunch of wrestlers banding together to better their position in the company. It made sense that it was the Mexican wrestlers. I’m fine with all of that. What I have a problem with is that you have a group of talented wrestlers that you have put together; give them Eddy Guerrero as a mouthpiece, which it has been floated was punishment because Guerrero had heat with Eric Bischoff and throw every cliché imaginable at them including every racial stereotype you can think of. Their main feud was trying to get Rey Misterio to join them, which he reluctantly did. Once the actual nWo reformed they were forced to disband with Rey Misterio refusing to throw down his “colours” in storyline terms. Things never make sense when it should be a no brainer that they do. Not sure why the disbanding had to happen because an LWO feud against the nWo could have been all sorts of fun. Anyway, this sucked.
List your Top Five for this week’s topic in the comment section using the following format:
5. CHOICE: Explanation
4. CHOICE: Explanation
3. CHOICE: Explanation
2. CHOICE: Explanation
1. CHOICE: Explanation