Recreating All-Time WWE Factions with Today’s Roster of Superstars
So, let's open the field to any other era in WWE's past and see which other stables could have modern-day equivalents.
Plenty of groups just couldn't work today, as they were too specific for their time or with their particular members.
But with a little tweaking and some fantasy booking, here are some ways WWE could take the Superstars of 2020 and try to recapture some of the magic of past factions.
Ric Flair was the center of The Four Horsemen and would go on to fill the mentor role in a new variant of that, dubbed Evolution.
In The Nature Boy's place as the frontman and representation of the present was Triple H, backed by two members of the future, Batista and Randy Orton.
WWE could bring this back as "the next stage in Evolution" by having Triple H filling the Flair role of "the past," while Orton moves into Triple H's position.
Filling The Viper's role as a young blue-chipper should be Austin Theory. He's only 22 and has made giant leaps in an extremely short time. He wrestled his first NXT match in December and has already been moved to the Raw roster and competed at WrestleMania 36.
Batista's replacement as the muscle of the group would be Dominik Dijakovic, who has been wowing NXT fans with his athleticism.
A foursome of Triple H, Orton, Theory and Dijakovic would be unstoppable.
With Jon Moxley in All Elite Wrestling for the foreseeable future, it's doubtful Dean Ambrose will step back in a WWE ring to reunite with Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins any time soon.
WWE should avoid trying to find a new Shield at all costs, but if it did happen, it would have to include three of the top talents in NXT.
Keith Lee could be one of the better choices for the Reigns part. He's one of the most physically intimidating Superstars on the roster and someone who could be groomed as a future world champion with relative ease.
Rollins was dubbed The Architect of The Shield and eventually took on a persona of the more cerebral of the bunch. That's the role Adam Cole plays for Undisputed Era, so he'd be a natural fit in this spot.
For the wild card that Ambrose signified, there are a few possibilities. Tommaso Ciampa springs to mind, but that's too obvious. Instead, how about Karrion Kross or Timothy Thatcher?
Both have an edge to them and have yet to fully define their characters, so they could be suited to keep audiences on their toes as the new Lunatic Fringe.
The Wyatt Family
While he was temporarily aligned with Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt's true followers were Luke Harper, Erick Rowan and Braun Strowman.
Together, they made up The Wyatt Family and acted like a cross between The Manson Family and Deliverance.
Currently, Wyatt has a different faction with his Firefly Fun House puppets and his Fiend persona. But if he were to resurrect his previous faction, there are a handful of bearded brethren who could join the ranks.
Cameron Grimes is begging to be a follower in a stable and given direction. Saxon Huxley from NXT UK could use a change in character, as could Lars Sullivan, if he ever returns to the ring.
Killian Dain already has experience of a faction from his time with Sanity and could fit the Rowan role of one of the big bodyguard types.
Babatunde Aiyegbusi could also play that role and benefit from standing beside Wyatt.
The League of Nations
International factions have been a staple of WWE, including groups such as The Un-Americans and The League of Nations, which consisted of Sheamus, Rusev, King Barrett and Alberto Del Rio.
They're all relatively the same: Superstars from countries other than the United States who, at least for that time, embrace their flags and use that to get heat from American audiences.
In recent years, WWE has expanded its borders considerably, and such a gimmick wouldn't work as well in 2020, but there's a lot of potential members to pick from.
Even ignoring names such as Drew McIntyre and Finn Balor, there are almost 100 Superstars from other countries, with over 30 just on the NXT UK brand itself.
This makes it especially hard to narrow down the choices, but some options who could be rather neat to see a new version of this stable include:
- Jinder Mahal (India)
- Cesaro (Switzerland)
- WALTER (Austria)
- Ilja Dragunov (Russia)
- Jordan Devlin (Ireland)
- Shinsuke Nakamura (Japan)
- Bronson Reed (Australia)
- Joe Coffey (Scotland)
- Mansoor (Saudi Arabia)
- Arturo Ruas (Lebanon)
That's just scratching the surface. The possibilities are endless.
The Nexus was the entire rookie group of the first season of NXT stepping up to the main roster as a united front to beat down anyone in their way.
Only Daniel Bryan remains an active member of the faction on the current roster, but most saw some decent levels of success.
In an attempt to stay true to the spirit of the group, a 2020 version would have to use only talent from the black-and-yellow brand.
- Adam Cole in the Wade Barrett leadership role.
- Johnny Gargano in the Bryan role as the in-ring technical underdog.
- Keith Lee in the Skip Sheffield big man role.
- Velveteen Dream as the Darren Young role.
- Matt Riddle as the Heath Slater funny guy.
- Isaiah "Swerve" Scott as the high-flying Justin Gabriel type.
- Damian Priest as the cocky David Otunga spot.
- Pete Dunne as the Michael Tarver no-nonsense fighter.
None of these are perfect fits, but that would probably be the closest thing to a modern-day Nexus.
The Million Dollar Corporation
Everybody had a price for The Million Dollar Man, and when Ted DiBiase wanted to bankroll a team of stars to do his bidding, he could afford an interesting assortment of talent.
He had big guns such as Bam Bam Bigelow, Sycho Sid, King Kong Bundy and Kama, but also The Ringmaster version of Steve Austin, The 1-2-3 Kid, Nikolai Volkoff and Tatanka.
This group even had the fake Undertaker for 1994, as well as DiBiase's trusty tax guy, Irwin R. Schyster.
In 2020, the closest thing to the rich jerk character is Robert Stone, who calls his group The Robert Stone Brand. Currently, its only member is Chelsea Green, but it could be expanded.
If Drew Gulak reverted to his PowerPoint presentation days from 205 Live, he would be a nice Schyster equivalent.
Alternatively, if The Robert Stone Brand could have a hostile takeover of Bivens Enterprises, Malcolm Bivens could fill that spot. That would also open Indus Sher to become the potential muscle of the squad, but AOP would be more likely.
It would be interesting to see Robert Roode bring back more of his TNA side and tap into the rich gimmick to be part of this crew, too.
Some other ideas are Big Show in the King Kong Bundy role, Bobby Lashley or Ridge Holland in the Kama spot and maybe Chad Gable as a new Ringmaster of sorts.
The Heenan Family
Bobby Heenan disliked the term "stable" as he felt it was better suited for horses, so he referred to his clients as being part of his family.
Unlike The Wyatt Family, though, this was just a collection of Superstars such as Big John Studd, Andre the Giant, Harley Race, Haku, Mr. Perfect and Ric Flair.
The closest to Heenan these days is Paul Heyman, which would make this new version The Heyman Family.
There was a similar concept to this in 2013 with a loose faction of "Paul Heyman Guys" like Cesaro and Curtis Axel, but it was never a tight unit.
With Heyman now executive producer of Raw, we see him pushing Superstars such as Murphy, Akira Tozawa, Humberto Carrillo and others, but it's a different story in character for him.
Of course, Brock Lesnar would be a must for this group, as he's the meal ticket for The Advocate.
Cesaro could also revert back to this and be given the main event push that has always eluded him.
Heyman would have to go for either Ronda Rousey or Shayna Baszler to help take control of the women's division, as they're legitimate athletes with accomplishments he'd love to spin yarn about.
Other options could be Bobby Lashley, AOP, Apollo Crews, Austin Theory, Riddick Moss, Shelton Benjamin, and even Roderick Strong—all talented in the ring but could use a mouthpiece on the mic.
In the late 1980s, WWE tried to capitalize on the popularity of The Road Warriors with its own version called Demolition.
Instead of Hawk and Animal, it was Ax and Smash, with Crush eventually joining the ranks.
These days, The Viking Raiders are the closest things to Demolition, with AOP as the next best pick. But both teams are missing a third member to turn this into a faction.
There are no other true vikings to team with Erik and Ivar, but an honorary member could be Aleister Black. He's got the beard and the tattoos, and he could switch the dark and brooding persona for something more on that vibe.
Of course, that shouldn't happen for real, as it's more likely to hurt The Dutch Destroyer's future, but what could work is for AOP to add Samoa Joe as a third member.
The Samoan Submission Machine would be a great leader, as he enjoys dishing out punishment to opponents and can stand next to AOP and look just as intimidating, if not more so.
In 2008, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase (as well as Sim Snuka and Manu, for a short time) teamed with Randy Orton as The Legacy, which played off how all the members were second- or third-generation wrestlers.
On the 2020 roster, there are almost 20 men and women who are of the same ilk, ranging from Roman Reigns and The Usos to Angel Garza, Cal Bloom and El Hijo del Fantasma.
To switch things up, though, let's build a new Legacy from the women's division, which has seven great Superstars to choose from.
At the front of the pack would have to be Charlotte Flair, backed by Natalya.
Carmella is often overlooked as being second-generation, as her father, Paul Van Dale, can be seen on past episodes of WWF Superstars from the '80s and '90s.
The remaining four come from NXT and have potential for bright futures.
Xia Brookside is the daughter of NXT trainer and Performance Center coach Robbie Brookside.
Rachael Ellering is the daughter of Legion of Doom and AOP manager Paul Ellering. Her recent tweet about a comeback may indicate she's gone from NXT, where she went by the name Rachel Evers, but her release has yet to be announced.
Raquel Gonzalez is the daughter of Ricky Gonzalez, who went by the name Desperado.
The most unproven of the bunch would be Simone Johnson. If she has even one-third the talent of her father, The Rock, she could be one to watch out for.
Being children who were born into the business offers these Superstars a wonderful kinship, and with Flair in the leadership role, they could dominate all brands.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.