A 55 person-strong wrestling stable, Adam Page and Roderick Strong as a team, Eddie Kingston in a mask & 3 gyrating wrestlers…
I don’t know if you’ve watched any wrestling recently, but there’s a strong resurgence of the faction. 3+ members, banded together sharing the same objective, often threatening to be messier and more backstabby than they ever were as singles stars.
The New Day, RETRIBUTION, Dark Order, and the more recently formed “Pinnacle” – just some of the groups we have today looking to leave their mark on the wrestling industry. Some (The New Day) have already achieved so much we’re certain they’ll be remembered – Others (RETRIBUTION), perhaps not.
Here are 10 forgotten stables from wrestling past which you may have chosen to forget, or not even known existed:
“Allied People Powered by Loathing Everything…that you stand for”, APPLE… Yes, seriously. This team both debuted and retired as a group on the same night in April 2011 – formed with one sole purpose of taking down Wade Barrett and The Corre.
“Leader” Santino Marella wanted to avenge the newly injured Vladimir Kozlov so reached out his hand into the WWE RAW locker-room for a lucky dip of 3 unused wrestlers to help him out.
Daniel Bryan, Mark Henry and Evan Bourne were “selected” and for one night only, challenged The Corre to a match…Which they lost.
Bryan would go on that year to win the Money in the Bank briefcase and feud with the then World Heavyweight Champion (and fellow APPLE member) Mark Henry. The former “Sexual Chocolate” only weeks after fighting for Team APPLE would be drafted to SmackDown where the “Hall Of Pain” reign began for the big man.
Evan (now Matt Sydal of AEW) also succeeded following his short spell with Team Apple. Later in 2011 he and Kofi Kingston would capture the WWE Tag Team Championships as “Air Boom”. Sadly, Air Boom would be the last storyline in WWE for Sydal following several wellness policy breaches.
For Santino, he never truly avenged his friend Kozlov (in fact, Vladimir was released by the WWE months later). But “The Cobra King” did move on to come extremely close to winning the World Heavyweight Championship himself, outlasting The Great Khali, Big Show, Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett – only for (fellow APPLE member) Daniel Bryan to win the Elimination Chamber match at the PPV event.
Beat Down Clan (BDC)
This isn’t MVP’s first rodeo leading a stable, oh no. Back in 2014 during his tenure with TNA Wrestling, he (please don’t get me to explain how or why…) gained TOTAL CONTROL OF WRESTLING OPERATIONS FOR TNA. Yes, I know, but stick with me.
Once he had control, MVP, fellow Hurt Business member Bobby Lashley and one half of the current ROH World Tag Team Champions, Kenny King, attacked the then TNA World Heavyweight Champion, Eric Young.
The trio (yet unnamed) spent a couple months chasing, until Lashley finally captured the World Heavyweight Championship from Young. Later on, Samoa Joe and Low Ki would join the group and MVP presented them as his “family” and officially christened them the “Beat Down Clan”.
Lashley broke away from the group in a spat with MVP over leadership, but would then feud himself with the remaining members. At one point MVP took on Lashley for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, and none-other than the Scottish Psychopath Drew McIntyre (then of Evolve and ICW) helped Lashley to victory.
The disbanding of the Beat Down Clan wasn’t actually any fault of MVP’s, legal disputes outside the ring and Low Ki leaving TNA virtually sealed the fate of the stable – MVP himself announcing his departure from TNA, leaving just Kenny King as the sole member remaining who was taken off TV.
A group so high, fell so ungracefully, so quickly and it’s end also marked the end of many members careers in TNA Wrestling.
Is this a sign of things to come for MVP & Lashley in the Hurt Business? History repeating itself?
Spinoff’s are rarely good, are they. Remember “Joey”?…Ever heard of “That 80’s Show”?… Who even asked for “Saved By The Bell: The College Years”?
Well, Wade Barrett didn’t get the memo. The Corre (extra “r” was never explained), was a poor spinoff of Barrett’s previous (actually good) stable, The Nexus.
Barrett, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel and Ezekiel Jackson formed this band of merry men after Wade was kicked-out of The Nexus by a new leader, CM Punk. Unhappy with how things turned out, he decided to get the band back together, complete with nifty group name, a jazzy diagonal logo and funky new generic entrance music.
Needless to say, The Corre, were pretty rotten (see what I did there?). At WrestleMania XXVII (the one when The Miz beat Cena in the main event, cheers Rock) they were roundly trounced by Big Show, Kane, Kofi Kingston, and Santino Marella in under two minutes.
The four of them tried to take down The Rock and John Cena (unsuccessfully) to claim back some cheap heat the RAW after Mania – but the crowd weren’t buying it. After many (many) losses to almost everybody, The Corre dissolved just a few months after it’d started.
The Nexus was the best thing that happened to Wade Barrett. Since, he failed to capture audiences with The Corre, those few years where he had Bad News for everyone and the yucky King Barrett segments following his surprising victory at the 2015 King of the Ring. Doing well now though right, I don’t feel bad anymore.
Heath Slater had a rollercoaster of a time in WWE before departing in 2020. Nexus, Corre, random regular feuds with WWE Legends, 3 Man Band, Slater-Gator, Social Outcasts (don’t worry, I won’t be reviewing that mess of a group) and a 3-year run with Rhyno – 3 years!
Gabriel didn’t ever get further than being “that guy who does the 450 splash” in WWE, regularly filling up the spots on Main Event or losing to Prime Time Players – you know, memorable stuff like that.
Ezekiel Jackson is now retired from Pro Wrestling, in 2015 hanging up his boots after short spells with TNA and Lucha Underground following his departure from WWE in 2014.
So what have we learnt from this? Spinoff groups from successful groups cannot succeed or escape the shadow of where they came from? *Hands podium to MJF and The Pinnacle for their rebuttal…*
Fun video/ Below we see CM Punk vs Wade Barrett – a match made after The Corre came to RAW to face-off against The Nexus, the anonymous GM at the time making a match between the two leaders to work out who benefits in the upcoming Royal Rumble PPV. (Of course, John Cena took centre stage in this short rivalry between Barrett and Punk, because, well…It’s JOHN CENA!).
Add one pinch of NXT’s Roderick Strong, a teaspoon of AEW’s Adam Page, sprinkle over some of IMPACT’s Jimmy Jacobs and finish with a hint of B.J. Whitmer – Voilà! You have yourself “The Decade”, a villainous stable from Ring of Honor formed in December 2013 as a not-so-subtle FU to those wrestlers jumping ship to the “bigger promotions”.
Strong, Jacobs and Whitmer had been associated with ROH for ten years when the group formed – hence the name. Page was recruited into the group later on, eventually forcing Roderick out of the Decade.
After 3 turbulent years together, The Decade was no more in early 2016 after Whitmer turned on newest member Colby Corino (who, fun fact, appeared on an edition of WWE Underground in 2020, losing to Erik of the Viking Raiders).
Roderick Strong and Adam Page have gone on to have successful careers so far in their respective promotions, Jimmy Jacobs became a WWE writer for a few years before now settling as part of IMPACT Wrestling’s creative team.
The lesser known B.J. Whitmer left ROH in 2018, and signed with All Elite Wrestling as a producer.
The below video shows The Decade in a backstage segment with none-other than current WWE authority figure, Adam Pearce!
Disciples of Apocalypse & Los Boricuas
The Nation of Domination (the good version) were pretty successful, for the most part. But then, disaster struck for members Crush and Savio Vega as Farooq “fired” them from the stable.
This led both exiled men to form their own groups…Crush got together a gang of “Biker Dudes” called the DOA (Disciples of Apocalypse), whilst Vega led the “Los Boricuas”, a Puerto Rican stable.
The DOA consisted of Crush, Chainz, Skull and 8-Ball – quite extraordinary names if you ask me. (also see/ RETRIBUTION). DOA instantly feuded with both the Nation and Los Boricuas in a big willy-wag contest to see which faction is the best.
Even though he formed the group, Crush left the DOA (and the WWE) in protest of the infamous Montreal Screwjob, Chainz then assumed leadership.
They had a quite limited run, their last match as DOA in WWE was as a tag team, defeated by Ken Shamrock and Mankind at a house show. Soon after that angle, all members left the WWE in May 1999, both 8-Ball and Skull heading to WCW.
Fun fact #1, Bill Goldberg retired Crush from wrestling in 2003, suffering a spinal injury during a match for the Japanese promotion W-1.
Fun fact #2, remember when there was an “imposter” Undertaker in 1994? Yes? Well that was none other than Chainz aka Brian Lee.
Fun fact #3 (last one, I promise), Skull and 8-Ball are real life twin brothers (The Harris Brothers) who spent their entire wrestling careers together as a team, but with many names. The Bruise Brothers, Creative Control, The Grimm Twins and the Blu Twins.
Why so little information about Los Boricuas I hear you scream! Well, because they’re essentially the exact same as the DOA – just, Puerto Rican.
Vega, Miguel Pérez, José Estrada Jr. & Jesús Castillo – four jobbers, essentially. They also feuded with the Nation of Domination in that same willy-wag-off, interestingly though (I guess?) Savio Vega won the triple threat between the three leaders.
As with the DOA, this marked the end of the WWE careers of all members, the four Puerto Rican’s parting ways with the company in 1999.
They didn’t leave us much of a wrestling legacy, however, one of the most banging entrance music tracks of all time was given to us by Los Boricuas – listen, drink it in, and add it to every single one of your Spotify playlists. Every playlist.
Hey Vince, I’ve got these three talented superstars, what should we do with them? I tell you what, we don’t need anymore wrestling, they can dance…OK that’s settled then, they dance.
That about sums up the thought process that must’ve happened with Kelly Kelly, Brooke Adams and Layla who joined together as Extreme Exposé – a “dance trio” who each week on the ECW “edgy” segment of WWE TV they would have a little dance routine prepared and very little clothing for a brief 2-minutes.
A then 19-year old Kelly Kelly regularly performed stripteases (it was her “thing” apparently) in WWE, and these segments were called Kelly’s Exposé. Stories passed, clothes were lost, Mike Knox was a very angry man.
Kelly returned from an injury in January 2007, that’s where Layla and Brooke come in. Seemingly out of nowhere, the trio just started dancing and stripping together – no real “goal”, no aspirations for the group, just good ol’ gyrating.
The group was discontinued when Brooke was released from the WWE that year – probably for the best. Kelly went on to have a pretty stellar career in WWE, Layla formed the much loved LayCool with Michelle McCool and Brooke moved over to TNA where she enjoyed 7 years as Brooke Tessmacher.
Death Crew Council (DCC)
In 2016 on TNA, vignettes aired for many weeks showing three masked men with altered voices cutting promos about not being the heroes or villains, but “those that will restore order” to TNA.
After a fairly quick feud with the “Broken” Hardy Boys, DCC revealed themselves to be AEW’s Eddie Kingston, Bram and most shockingly (for TNA viewers at least), the man who claimed he had left TNA two months prior, James Storm.
This was Eddie Kingston’s TNA debut, who would then go on in 2018 to claim the crown of LAX, becoming their leader after dethroning Konnan.
Death Crew Council were very short lived, in under a year they had debuted with quite high appeal and interest from fans, to imploding on themselves after Kingston spat in Storm’s face.
A tale of what could have been for three top performers – we’ve seen recently how good Kingston can be on the mic during his tenure with AEW, Storm’s resume speaks for itself.
Bram, interestingly was one of the original members of NXT’s tag team The Ascension. But after driving under the influence was released by WWE and in stepped Victor to take his place alongside Konnor.
Edge, Vickie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, Curt Hawkins, Zack Ryder, and, of course, Bam Neely. These 6 would become ravelled up in family drama the likes of which you only see on the most Bollywood of Bollywood movies.
Divorce, Engagements, Weddings, Reunions, the lot. They just couldn’t get along.
This was the era of Vickie and Edge, endless displays of affection, countless boos from the WWE Universe – top drawer stuff. Surprisingly we all remember those moments, but rarely do people connect them to “La Familia”, a somewhat hidden in plain sight stable that were kind of just, there?
Edge the superstar, the R-Rated, going toe-to-toe with the likes of The Undertaker, HHH, John Cena – main eventing most PPV’s. His success almost shadowed the entire La Familia stable so much they were an afterthought.
Ryder and Hawkins barely getting a moment to shine, if only for the one WWE Tag Team Championship reign which started after their win at the 2008 Great American Bash PPV – interestingly taking the titles from none other than Miz & Morrison.
I know you’re dying to know, Bam Neely? Well, this was his WWE debut as part of La Familia. He lost almost ALL of his matches during his time with the stable, and once La Familia dissolved because Edge was a sod to them, Bam was quietly released from WWE.
A stable? Perhaps I’m stretching this one a tad. The Rosebuds were the accompanying conga-line to Adam Rose during his entrances firstly on NXT and then again once he moved to RAW.
The Rosebuds, for the most part, we’re nothing more than props – aside from that one time with the bunny stuff, but I won’t bore you.
Quite the list of talent have been a Rosebud however, some very striking names, some surprising, and some quite unbelievable when you see where they are now (especially in comparison to the “star” Adam Rose).
Alexa Bliss, Becky Lynch, Braun Strowman, Mia Yim, QT Marshall, Scarlett Bordeaux and Zelina Vega to name just a few of the incredible names who have dressed up as flowers, lemons, sailors and everything in between.
There are 55 wrestlers credited as once being a part of the Exotic Express – so if I am suggesting The Rosebuds are a stable (which, for this article alone, I am), could it be assumed that The Rosebuds are one of the largest stable to every exist in professional wrestling? Bullet Club have 42 current and past members in total, Chaos 26, Vince Russo’s Sport’s Entertainment Xtreme only topped out at 27.
It’s ironic that many of the Rosebuds who paraded Rose around on their shoulders as the greatest person they’d ever seen – have gone on to have MUCH more successful careers in WWE.
Adam Rose, for all the lollipops he sucked, and matches he equally sucked, he didn’t half compile an elite group of party animals to parade him to the ring!