wrestling / TV Reports

411’s This is Awesome Report: Most Awesome Factions

May 28, 2023 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
The Shield wwe Raw 31119 Roman REigns Dean AMbrose Image Credit: WWE

-Today (May 27) I celebrated my 42nd birthday with my family. My wife bought me a new laptop which I have been needing as my old one is, well…old and could only run if it stayed plugged in which meant I could never leave my desk with it. This will be the first review on my new one and here’s hoping it is as good to me as the previous one.

-Now this time it’s all about the factions which makes sense as this day also marks the 27-year anniversary of Scott Hall appearing on Nitro to kick off the nWo angle. I just did a Retro Review of that show and you can find it here. Let’s get to it!

-Host: Greg Miller
-Run Time: 55:43

-Greg Miller welcomes us to the show and gives us a rundown of what makes a faction and their purpose.

-Opening video package which always brings the nostalgia. RAVEN’S FLOCK IN ECW! The UnAmericans! Right To Censor! NEXUS! Triple Threat! WYATT FAMILY! The Cabinet! The Shield! The talking heads note you need at least three members, and there needs to be a leader. Judgment Day, The Brood, The Freebirds, and The Hurt Business get a little shine here, so don’t expect them later in the show. Same with The LWO and Imperium!

The Four Horsemen
Debut: World Championship Wrestling: 11/9/85; Key Members: JJ Dillon, Arn Anderson, Barry Windham, Ric Flair, and Tully Blanchard; Fact: 1st Faction Inducted into WWE Hall of Fame (2012)

-I mean, might as well come out swinging with what most consider the greatest faction of all time. Arn was the enforcer and Shawn Michaels notes that Tully was the first cool bad guy he ever saw. GUNTHER puts over Barry as a perfect technician. Charlotte talks about her dad and how he was perfect for the role and was just a star. We get classic Flair quotes about his suits, watches, and shoes. JBL says they were the group that was an attraction as heels. GUNTHER seems to be a big fan of The Horsemen and I could see GUNTHER in the group as the heavy because he could obviously go in the ring like The Horsemen. They run down the period where The Horsemen held all the Gold and then they ended up in the WWE Hall of Fame. Flair feels they are the greatest faction of all time. Sadly, they didn’t touch on the versions that followed. I mean obviously they weren’t going to mention Benoit, but it just made it seem like this version was the only version.

New World Order
Debut: WCW Bash at The Beach: 7/7/1996; Key Members: Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash, Syxx, and Scott Hall; Fact: Hogan, X-Pac, Nash and Hall are all two-time WWE Hall of Famers

-Now this group gets my vote for greatest faction, but the Monday Night War was everything to me as a wrestling fan. Prison Dom says the nWo was just so cool and if Prison Dom says it then you know it has to be true. Bischoff (also a May 27 birthday) notes the original nWo was all about anarchy. SURVEY TIME! BASH AT THE BEACH 1996! Here’s my review from two years ago. I still get goosebumps watching the reveal of the third man! HULK HOGAN IS HERE! THE LEG DROP HEARD ROUND THE WORLD ON MACHO MAN! The fans then just pelt the ring with garbage and one even tried to rush the ring and that didn’t go well. REY MYSTERIO LAWN DART! That bump from Rey is still awesome. Now unlike the Horsemen earlier they do discuss other versions and in this case: the red and black of The Wolfpack! THE THEME MUSIC! All of this just makes me so happy! Eric notes a lot of the cool stuff we saw came from Hall, Nash, Hogan, and X-Pac just based on their personalities. The nWo was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2021 during the pandemic ceremony.

D-Generation X
Debut: RAW: 8/11/97; Key Members: HHH, Shawn Michaels, Chyna, Billy Gunn, X-Pac, and Road Dogg; Fact: Hall of Fame (2019)

-They basically listed every member other than Rick Rude and I guess Mike Tyson. This was the answer to the nWo and was born out of the kliq. The State of The Union Press Conference is still great! Godfather notes they were heels, but were loved like babyfaces. They do cover Mike Tyson joining the group. The New Age Outlaws gets some love from Baron Corbin as does Chyna as one of the toughest women in the history of the business. They show classic footage of DX tormenting Slaughter. They discuss the idea of “Suck It,” and the crotch chop. HHH notes they had been doing the crotch chop for years. Dawkins says he got detention countless times for saying “suck it.” I am guilty of that as well as I was at a basketball game in high school and a fan from the other team threatened to choke me (he thought I was laughing at an injured player) and I told him to suck it. The security guard ejected me and not the grown man threatening me with violence. Years and years later DX is basically running the WWE and we get them standing face to face with Imperium only a few months ago.

The Corporation
Debut: RAW: 11/16/98; Key Members: Mr. McMahon, The Rock, Shane McMahon, Ken Shamrock, Big Boss Man; Fact: Eight members currently in the WWE Hall of Fame

-Eh, they probably could have highlighted someone better than this group. The talking heads give us a rundown of Mr. McMahon and how he created a group to face Austin. The Rock sold out for the WWF Title and joined in 1998. Gargano: “It had a lot of people.” THE STOOGES! Mick Foley notes he and Vince made great TV together. THE CORPORATE ELBOW! GUNTHER talks about how everyone at home could relate as they had a boss they heated and could live through Stone Cold. We see the various ways The Corporation screwed Austin over the years. GUNTHER: “The Corporation pissed me off so much.” LIKE SUCKS AND THEN YOU DIE!

The Heenan Family
Debut: WWE Debut: 09/1984; Key Members: Bobby Heenan, Ric Flair, Andre The Giant, Big John Studd, Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect, Paul Orndorff, King Kong Bundy, Harley Race; Fact: 20+ Superstars were a member of The Heenan Family over 10-Year Span

-I never thought of Flair as a member of The Heenan Family. I also appreciate that they noted WWE debut as there was a Heenan Family in the AWA. Jimmy Hart notes they were so great because of Bobby Heenan. I mean, yeah! Just being associated with Heenan gave you credibility and that’s why he managed so many people. The Heenan Family were always feuding with Hulk Hogan and the biggest rivalry was Andre/Hogan! Again, this is my childhood and what got me hooked on wrestling as a child. You can thank this era for me writing this review. They show the various title wins for The Family: Andre and Haku win Tag Gold, Rick Rude wins IC Gold, Ric Flair wins The WWF Title.

Hart Foundation
Debut: RAW 4/7/97; Key Members: Bret Hart, Owen Hart, The British Bulldog, Jim Neidhart, and Brian Pillman; Fact: Main Evented 10-Man Tag Team Match at Canadian Stampede

-More Monday Night War greatness! This was brilliant as the American wrestling fans turned on Bret Hart and the WWF leaned into it. The moment where he reunited Bulldog and Owen with Owen having tears in his eyes in amazing. Foley brings up the unique dynamic that the US hated The Hart Foundation while Canada loved them. It made for amazing television and they bring up Pittsburgh where Bret said if they US got an enema you would out the hose in Pittsburgh! Wooo! That’s where I am from (well, just south, but still). CANADIAN STAMPEDE: Bret said the ovation when he walked down the ramp hurt his ears. No kidding! The 10 Man Tag has to be watched by any fan to be believed. Austin was the most hated man on the planet in that moment. The Harts win and the entire family plus some fans jump in the ring as Canada celebrates their conquering heroes. You can find my review of Canadian Stampede here.

The Nation of Domination
Debut: Survivor Series 11/17/96; Key Members: The Godfathter, D’Lo Brown, The Rock, Owen Hart, Faarooq, and Mark Henry; Fact: Produced three WWE Hall of Famers

-More from The Monday Night Wars! Factions were just a big part of that time period and WWE had a bunch of them. The talking heads make me happy by signing the awesome theme song! They talk about Owen joining The Nation and Godfather said nobody ever explained to them why but they loved Owen so much they didn’t care. Faarooq was The Nation according to Mark Henry. The biggest thing though is that The Nation was the springboard for some jabroni named The Rock, who failed as a babyface. The Rock figuring out his heel character is amazing as he tries to undercut Faarooq at every turn. We get the fantastic segment where he gave every Nation member a Rolex, but gave Faarooq a photo of himself. Roberts says The Nation is criminally underrated. Mark Henry, Godfather, and Faarooq all end up in the Hall of Fame. The Rock will be there and Owen Hart should be there, but I understand why he’s not. Simmons: “I’m still waiting for my Rolex.”

New Day
Debut: SmackDown 11/28/14; Key Members: Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, Big E; Fact: SmackDown Tag Titles (7), RAW Tag Champs (483 Days)

-If the minimum for a faction is three then they just qualify. This group was just grown together and took what looked like a DUD of a gimmick at first and by sheer talent, and determination turned into the group into one of the most popular acts in WWE history. Dawkins says the group is the definition of betting on yourself. That sums the group up perfectly. Woods says what set them apart was the fans watching at home believed what they were seeing and how much fun they were having. They discuss the initial pastor gimmick from 2014. Kofi says they knew they fans wouldn’t accept it, and leaned into the boos. THE POWER OF POSITIVITY! New Day wins a ton of Tag Titles and then each got what they wanted most as singles with Kofi and Big E winning The WWE Title and Woods becoming King of The Ring. They put over they never turned on each other and they never attempted to make the group fight each other. “They can do this for the next 50 years as New Day.” I can see the WWE bringing them back in 20 years to pop the crowd on RAW 50.

The Shield
Debut: Survivor Series 11.18.22; Key Members: Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins; Fact: All Three Members Became WWE Champion

-SIERRA HOTEL INDIA ECHO LIMA DELTA! WWE took three of their best from NXT and debuted them together and history changed forever. Their debut match headlined TLC and they tore the house down against Team Hell No and Ryback in a TLC match. Rollins why the high flyer, Ambrose the crazy man, and Reigns the powerhouse. Rollins says their goal was to knock down the doors, kick everyone out of the way, and run the show. We see highlights of them hitting The Rock with the Triple Powerbomb. Undertaker ate one as well. It can’t be stated enough how they just let the group run over the roster during their initial run including dominating a reunited Evolution. Then Seth turned to break up the group and each went on to have a great solo career as all three won the WWE Title at least once. The group reunited in 2017 for some more fun and then Ambrose left and was never heard of again. Reigns: “We started a whole new culture for this place and did it on our own terms. Believe that.” I mean, we have basically been living in The Shield Era since as they have dominated the uppercard and Main Event of two major companies.

Debut: RAW 2/3/03; Key Members: HHH, Ric Flair, Batista, Randy Orton; Fact: 50 World Title Reigns between the Four Members

-That’s probably the best fact out of any listed on this show. I mean, this group deserves to be mentioned here and I figured there was no way this show was ending without them. This was HHH’s way of having his own version of The Four Horsemen and it was perfect. The idea was HHH was the present, Flair the past, and then they needed two guys to be The Future. Orton was the easy pick because everyone had him pegged as a future star and he was going to get every chance. Batista nearly wasn’t in the group, but they don’t touch on that here. Orton and Batista hit the jackpot getting picked for the group and Batista specifically soaked up everything he could from HHH and Flair. It is crazy who quickly Batista improved and the crowd organically just jumped on the bandwagon. The group won every title at Armageddon and Batista notes it felt right and was cool as well. HHH notes they were a key flagpole in the ground of The Ruthless Aggression Era. HIT THE THEME SUNG: EVOLUTION IS A MYSTERY! Man, factions tend to have some BANGERS for theme music! Orton notes it is the most important thing he has down. They mention the 50 World Titles won between the four members, though obviously all of Flair’s were before the group formed. It breaks down as Flair: 16, HHH and Orton 14 each, and Batista 6. Don’t cry for Batista though as he has DISNEY/MARVEL MONEY!

The Bloodline
Debut: SmackDown 7/09/21; Key Members: Jey Uso, Roman Reigns, Jimmy Uso, Solo Sikoa, Paul Heyman; Fact: Held the WWE Universal Championship, RAW and SmackDown Tag Titles for 1500 + Days

-That brings us to the present day and the current dominant faction! After years of trying they finally hit it right with Roman Reigns and they have been reaping the financial benefits every since. Acknowledge Me! Reigns just hit 1000 days in his Universal Title run and The Usos held the Tag Titles for well over a year before losing them this past WrestleMania. Solo says they are family and grew up together. We get a brief history of The Samoan Dynasty and I mean, that could take an hour to cover by itself. Roman says his job is to elevate everyone and there is so much more greatness to chase. Kind of a subdued recap of the group as they have done better video packages on them since.

-On the next episode it’s all about Money in The Bank! That should be fun and let’s see if they bring up CM Punk and his back to back wins in the match.

-As we have talked about this show is all about nostalgia and targets my soul. They are some groups they could have featured and left out some of what we got but the got the heavy hitters right at least. It is fascinating how a good chunk of these groups were born or active during The Monday Night War! They have started to tap back into factions since with The Shield, Wyatts, New Day, reunited Evolution, and then into The Bloodline, Imperium. I continue to enjoy this show because I like reminiscing about the things that made me a fan, but I could see how this show wouldn’t do much for younger fans. I am their target audience though and will keep watching as long as they pump out the content. Thanks for reading!