With the emergence of Priceless (and the seemingly imminent inclusion of Randy Orton as its leader) as the newest WWE stable, it appears that WWE could be heading back to this tried, tested, and true formula in pro-wrestling. Ted DiBiase Jr., Cody Rhodes, and Manu are all 2nd generation Superstars making for endless possibilities of their legendary fathers (Ted DiBiase, Dusty Rhodes, and Afa) to make entertaining appearances. If the unit is kept strong there is also possibilites for future additions. I have been a big supporter of adding The British Bulldog’s son, D.H. Smith, to the mix, and Nattie Neidhart would definitely be a strong female force as well.
I will get to the rundown of the greatest wrestling factions of the past in a moment, but lets first break down what makes a successful stable.
1. The group must have at least 4 members. A 3 person team simply has not worked on a consistent basis; examples are Demoliton (Axe, Smash, Crush), and Legion of Doom (Hawk, Animal, Droz).
2. Each member has to be at a different skill level, and each one has to be able to feud over a different major championship in the particular company. Essentially you cannot have all 4 members going for the world title. Spreading out over every title allows a stable to gain exposure over the entire wrestling TV show and really be seen as a force.
3. The 4 members- 2 have to be a tag team (usually the team pre-exists and joins the group, re: Nash/Hall; Road Dogg/Billy Gunn) – 1 has to be either an up an comer vying for a U.S. or Intercontinental type of title, or a fearsome enforcer - The last member, and leader, has to be a main eventer and be in the world title picture. A manager or consultant is also quite often used to add some extra flash to the unit.
Alright then, lets get to a brief synopsis of some of wrestling’s top factions:
* THE FOUR HORSEMEN*
This team has gone through many versions and transformations, but were the prototype for what a stable should be. The original Horsemen consisted of Ric Flair, Ole and Arn Anderson, and Tully Blanchard, with J.J. Dillion as manager in 1986 for the NWA.
However, the real wheelin’, dealin’, jet flyin’, limousine ridin’ horsemen kicked in with the addition of Barry Windham and the removal of an aging, grumpy Ole Anderson. All of a sudden you have four performers in the prime of their careers, and running the show.
Arn and Tully were tag champs, Windham held the U.S. strap, and the Nature Boy had the world title. This was the only time, until Evolution, where a stable had control of all the major championships. This run lasted from 1987 to 1989 and really set the standard for all future stables. Strong promos with tough wrestling made for a terrific dynamic.
The Horsemen folded and reformed a few times following this, but never to the same glory. Lex Luger, Sting, Sid Vicious, Paul Roma, Brian Pillman, Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Mongo McMichael are some of the other members over the years, with the final version wrapping up for WCW in 1999.
Well part 1 of The Greatest Stables is done, but there are many more to go…including a peak back at some of the worst groups to every grace the squared circle.
Andy McNamara is a SLAM! Wrestling writer, and play-by-play broadcaster for Toronto Maple Leafs inter-county league baseball, along with university basketball and volleyball on Rogers Television in Toronto. He is also the Host of Oakville Blades hockey on TV Cogeco.