It’s fair to say factions are one of the coolest things in wrestling. The idea of having a group of individuals fighting together for a common goal, regardless of the means, makes people get invested in the product presented.
Of course, factions only work if the booking behind them is right, whether being the reasons as to why an individual joined a group, their collective motivations or even the storyline being told.
With that being said, here are eight reasons why WWE should consider having more factions in their product.
1 – Brings A Sense Of Freshness To Feuds
One of the main criticisms of WWE’s product in the past decade has been the stale nature of its televised product.
WWE likes to nail in our heads that Raw is the longest-running weekly episodic television show in history and the formula to keep it running week after week seems to be repetitive matches.
In 2016 Kevin Owens won the Universal Title on August 29, and, alongside Chris Jericho, proceeded to feud with the pair of Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins until February of next year, when the Festival of Friendship took place.
For one reason or another, situations like these tend to happen more often than not and I believe having more factions in the roster could help make this problem less evident.
Sure, the example of a six-month feud is ridiculous but imagine a two to a three-month feud between the Undisputed Era and Evolution.
All four men in each faction could potentially have a stellar match with a member of the opposite faction.
A feud that otherwise would drag for months and inevitably overstay its welcome, would be fresher and wouldn’t expose as much the already beaten to dead formula WWE uses in their booking.
2 – Faction Domination
If faction warfare becomes the name of the game, then we can expect that, inevitably, one of them rises to the top of WWE’s brands and becomes the most dominant force in the company.
Right now on NXT, the Undisputed Era are trying to live up to their name and win every championship on the black and yellow brand and, despite them often failing, the fans are still invested in the story being told.
There’s something unique and very appealing about having a faction dominating and destroying everything in its path – New Japan’s Bullet Club is a good example of that – but it tends to be very satisfying watching them being overthrown as well.
WWE’s version of the Bullet Club, the O.C., composed of AJ Styles, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, held the US and Raw Tag Team Championships respectively prior to last night’s Raw.
However, during SummerSlam’s pre-show, a reunion with former member Finn Bálor was teased, leaving fans hoping the Demon joins their ranks.
A four-man heel Club on Raw could be close to unstoppable, especially when on SmackDown the New Day currently hold the WWE and SmackDown Tag Team Titles.
Since the brand split means nothing anymore, it would be nice to see both factions hold all the gold and potentially square off somewhere in future.
3 – Survivor Series Would Mean Something Again
The division of the WWE roster into two brands and subsequently loss of interest in said division by WWE means that Survivor Series, the one time of the year where Raw and Smackdown go head-to-head in direct competition, doesn’t mean as much anymore.
Out of WWE’s ‘Big Four’ Pay-Per-Views, Survivor Series seems to be the weakest link of the lot. The once-prestigious event has become less and less relevant over the years, with the company’s lack of interest in the brand split as one of the main reasons.
However, when ‘brand supremacy’ is thrown out the window and storylines are well-presented, the event tends to be enjoyable to watch and throwing factions into the mix could very well be the recipe for success.
In 2017, the Shield faced off against the New Day at Survivor Series. Despite the very short build the feud had, the star power alone made the match feel like one of the most important bouts of the night.
Imagine having a high stakes faction war once a year, where the two most deserving ones would compete at Survivor Series and the winner would have one of their members enter at number 30 in the Royal Rumble.
4 – Injuries Wouldn’t Kill Feuds Anymore
In a high-risk business such as professional wrestling, it’s inevitable that wrestlers pick an injury or two once in a while, whether from performing risky moves or simply from accumulated fatigue.
In any sport, injuries are problematic to the athletes’ health but in collective sports, individuals can be replaced. Although this is also true when it comes to pro-wrestling, especially with WWE’s vast pool of talent, specific storylines can be delayed or even scrapped due to injuries.
On the December 13, 2016 episode of SmackDown Live, the Hype Bros (remember them?) Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley won a tag team Battle Royal to become no. 1 contenders for the SmackDown Tag Titles.
Unfortunately, during the last spot of the match, where Ryder eliminated Konnor from the Ascension (remember them?), he also picked up an injury and plans had to change.
Had Mrs. Hype given birth to a third Hype Bro, things would’ve continued as planned.
In March 2018, roughly a year in a half after Ryder’s incident, then-NXT Tag Team Champion Bobby Fish picked up an injury that would have made him and his partner Kyle O’Reilly forfeit the belts.
However, this did not happen because of their Undisputed Era stablemate Adam Cole, who pulled double-duty and defended the NXT Tag Team Titles alongside O’Reilly on the following month’s NXT Takeover: New Orleans.
5 – It Helps Undeveloped Characters
If in-ring work was the only thing to go by in WWE, then half its roster would be solid contenders for the company’s top titles.
As WWE’s goal is to ‘sports entertain’, character development and the ability to communicate with the crowd are essential in order for a wrestler to ‘get over’.
However, not everyone is a natural on the mic and can immediately connect with a crowd. Being part of a faction could put these wrestlers in the spotlight while hiding their weaknesses and, at the same time, allow them to grow as performers.
The Rock gained a lot from joining the Nation of Domination back in the day and that certainly helped him become the ‘most electrifying man in Sports Entertainment’.
The same goes for Batista and Randy Orton who greatly benefited from their time in Evolution, and all members of the Shield who probably wouldn’t have reached the heights they’re at now if they hadn’t formed the group.
6 – Tournaments Galore
One of the best things about NJPW’s product is the amount of exciting tournaments they put together on a regular basis.
New Japan’s G1 Climax tournament during the Summer is probably the only time of the year where the excitement around pro-wrestling is comparable to WrestleMania’s.
For a month straight, NJPW’s best travel the country having match of the year contenders almost every night, carrying the legacy of a prestigious tournament that started all the way back in 1991.
Although New Japan has dozens of members for each faction, which can be overwhelming at times, it is always a spectacle when faction members face each other, when they otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kazuchika Okada, Kenny Omega vs. Kota Ibushi, and EVIL vs. SANADA are just a few examples of friendships/partnerships being put aside for an opportunity of immortality.
In introducing more factions, WWE would greatly benefit from the creation of a few tournaments during the year, allowing wrestlers to further their characters by having stellar performances.
Let’s not forget how amazing the WWE Cruiserweight Classic was and how exciting it was to watch #DIY members, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, facing each other for the first time in the promotion, especially when many speculated a heel turn was in books.
Just imagine the possibilities: Adam Cole vs Kyle O’Reilly, Xavier Woods vs Kofi Kingston, Uso vs Uso, just to name a few.
7 – Reunions! Reunions Everywhere!
I don’t know if the show “Who wants to be a Millionaire?” is still a thing but it wouldn’t surprise me if one of the questions asked on the show was “How many DX reunions were there in the last 20 years?”.
Out of my head, I honestly cannot answer that and I bet the involved can’t either.
WWE clearly likes to reunite old pals just for the sake of doing it and in the scenario presented, where factions would be the focal point of the show, that could get old really easy but we all know they’re still going to do it.
The hope here would be, that the next time DX decide to tell people to ‘Suck it’, they’d get completely destroyed by the likes of the Undisputed Era or the O.C., granting their reunion not useless for once.
8 – That Merch $$$
Queue Shane McMahon’s music.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Reunions equal to nostalgia that equals to money.
How many Shield shirts can you buy in a lifetime?