As the territory system came to an end thanks to Vince McMahon and what would become WWE, professional wrestling changed forever.
Vince McMahon’s promotion grew to incredible heights and came to dominate the industry by the turn of the millennium. However, they did have a major challenger along the way.
As the WWF went its own way following “Black Saturday” — where it took over the television slot of Georgia Championship Wrestling — the competition was reeling. This saw GCW purchased by Jim Crockett Promotions although it wasn’t long before they were struggling too. The end result was Ted Turner swooping in to buy JCP and World Championship Wrestling was born — albeit using a name that had been long established since the early 1980s.
The WWF and WCW went on to stand tall over North American wrestling, together at first, until Turner’s promotion was purchased by Vince McMahon in 2001. The WWF became WWE and went unchallenged until the creation of AEW in 2019.
As WWE and WCW took hold of the wrestling world, each company was headed by numerous factions and on-screen groups, which came to characterise their respective eras.
In this feature, we will take a look back at the greatest factions that WWE and WCW ever produced.
D-Generation X (DX):
One of the most iconic factions in wrestling history, D-Generation X revolutionized the wrestling scene during the late 1990s. Comprising memorable members such as Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Chyna, and the New Age Outlaws, DX pushed boundaries with their rebellious nature, risqué humor, and anti-establishment storyline. Their unique blend of charisma, edginess, and in-ring talent made them a fan favorite and helped redefine the “Attitude Era.”
nWo (New World Order):
Arguably the most influential faction in wrestling history, the New World Order shook the wrestling world in the mid-1990s. Led by Hollywood Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash, the nWo invaded World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and blurred the lines between good and evil. Their “us vs. them” mentality sparked a revolution, attracting viewers and generating immense popularity for WCW during the infamous Monday Night Wars.
The Four Horsemen:
Although The Four Horsemen, led by wrestling icon Ric Flair, dominated the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) during the 1980s before WCW took off, the group appeared in WCW multiple times under various guises. The original iteration of the faction comprised of Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, and various other members, represented class, style, and ruthless aggression. Their slick promos, high-level technical skills, and presentation of wealth and extravagance made them the envy of wrestling fans worldwide.
The Ministry of Darkness:
In the late 1990s, The Ministry of Darkness emerged as one of the darkest and most chilling factions in wrestling history. Led by The Undertaker, this demonic cult-like group pushed the boundaries of storytelling and character development. With eerie rituals, psychological mind games, and a sinister aura, The Ministry of Darkness left an indelible mark on the industry, showcasing the Undertaker’s versatility as a performer.
In the modern era of professional wrestling, The Shield made an unforgettable impact upon their debut in 2012. Consisting of Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose, this dominant trio wreaked havoc, targeting injustice and corruption within the WWE. Their unique blend of youth, athleticism, and tactical teamwork propelled them to main-event status and future individual success, solidifying their place among the greatest factions of all time.
Factions have always been pivotal in professional wrestling, adding a layer of intrigue, drama, and excitement to the overall narrative. D-Generation X, the nWo, The Four Horsemen, The Ministry of Darkness, and The Shield are the top 5 factions in wrestling history, each making an indelible mark on the industry and leaving a lasting legacy. These factions not only elevated the careers of their members but also provided fans with unforgettable moments that continue to be celebrated and remembered to this day.