This past Monday on RAW, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows won the WWE Raw Tag Team Championships, defeating the Uso’s and the Revival.
With this win, four championships are held by two stables; The O.C hold the Raw Tag Titles (Gallows & Anderson) and the US Title (AJ Styles) and the New Day hold the WWE Championship (Kofi Kingston) and the Smackdown Tag Team Championships (Big E & Woods). WWE have been notorious for never being big on stables, but it could be changing with these two stables holding this amount of gold. Here are five underrated stables in WWE history.
1. The League of Nations
A collaboration of four non-American wrestlers being put together because they are foreign and heels. Classic Vince move. After Sheamus won the WWE title from Roman Reigns at Survivor Series 2015, and during a rematch on the November 30th episode of RAW, Reigns was attacked by Alberto Del Rio, King (Wade) Barrett and Rusev. They could’ve been a massive threat to the entire roster – four brute wrestlers who combined their skills to make a threatening force. However, their booking let them down massively – never being taken seriously and becoming henchman for Triple H and the rest of the Authority, as well as being created to just put over Roman Reigns.
Being buried at Wrestlemania 32 by Mick Foley, Stone Cold and Shawn Michaels really didn’t help them either. The group began to disintegrate on the April 4th 2016 episode of RAW after they blamed Barrett for a loss to the New Day, calling him a ‘weak link’. The rest of the group disbanded after Del Rio and Rusev walked out on Sheamus during a six-man tag team match, leading to a confrontation, a brawl and the end of the League of Nations. A shame really, they had potential, but were fed to the ‘Big Dog’.
2. La Familia
I feel like everyone except Edge can be classed as ‘underrated’ here, as all the spotlight was always on Edge and Vickie Guerrero. The ‘family’ began in 2007, after Vickie and Edge had revealed their on-screen relationship following Survivor Series in which Edge cost The Undertaker his World Heavyweight Championship during a Hell in a Cell match against Batista. During a triple threat match at Armageddon, Batista and Undertaker seemed to have taken out Edge with a spear and chokeslam respectively, but there were shenanigans afoot.
Two decoy Edge’s were laid out and the real Edge was lying in wait. It was revealed that the two lookalikes were Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder, dubbed the ‘Edgeheads’ and the newest family members. Over the following months, Chavo Guerrero and Bam Neeley would join the faction to assist Edge in his World Championship feuds and to make sure he was kept on top. The whole gimmick was a fantastic idea, one manipulative leader holding the control of a brand in his hand, knowing he will always be on top. It’s a shame that everyone forgets the whole faction and only really remember Edge and Vickie’s engagement and cheating angles. If it wasn’t for Ryder, Hawkins, Neeley and Chavo, Edge wouldn’t have been World Champion for as long as he was.
This one really pains me… a collection of three incredible male wrestlers and one female wrestler that dominated NXT for so long, promoted to the main WWE roster and then never seen except for a few pointless appearances. The roots were planted during 2016 when Sawyer Fulton teamed with Alexander Wolfe on a NXT live event show. These two men competed in the 2016 ‘Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic’ winning their first-round match against Bobby Roode and Tye Dillinger. Before the match, four hooded individuals appeared with only Fulton and Wolfe showing their faces.
After the match, the other two members were revealed to be veteran wrestler Eric Young and the frantic Nikki Cross. After they were eliminated from the tournament, Fulton suffered a torn pec and was kicked out by Young on TV, being replaced with the massive Killian Dain. This foursome would go on to win the NXT Tag Team Titles, and Nikki would be heavily involved in the NXT Women’s Title scene, however never successfully capturing the title. On the December 2017 episode of NXT, Young and Dain lost the titles to Fish and O’Reilly of the Undisputed Era, and Dain would compete in the six-man ladder match to crown the inaugural NXT North American Champion but was unsuccessful.
In April 2018, vignettes were aired of the trio, without Nikki, coming up to the Smackdown roster. They debuted on the June 19th episode attacking the Uso’s, before defeating the New Day at Extreme Rules. They were not seen on TV until April 2019 where they lost to The Miz in a 3-on-1 handicap match. They were not on TV for 10 months. A massive waste of a fantastic gimmick idea, and three incredibly talented wrestlers, who are definitely overlooked by fans of the main roster product. Nikki is smashing it on RAW, Dain is back in NXT and Wolfe is in NXT UK with Imperium, so they’re being used (at last) but sadly Young is still being overlooked.
4. The Original Nexus
Every single member of the first season of NXT appeared on the June 7th 2010 episode of RAW, attacking John Cena, CM Punk, Luke Gallows, Jerry Lawler, Matt Striker, Justin Roberts and timekeeper Mark Yeaton. As well as destroying the ringside area and the ring itself, Daniel Bryan spat in Cena’s face and strangled Roberts with his necktie, which led to his release from his contract four days later. They continued to attack various wrestlers and legends, including then General Manager, Bret Hart. Their main target was still John Cena, who they faced in a 6-on-1 handicap match, defeating him. Cena would assemble a team to face the Nexus in a 7-on-7 tag match at Summerslam, in which Team WWE would come out on top as Cena won the match for them.
At Night of Champions, Barrett would cash in his title opportunity, which he received for winning NXT, in the six-pack challenge for the WWE title, which he lost after being eliminated by Randy Orton. They would continue their program with Cena as he and Barrett went one on one at Hell in a Cell, with the stipulation being if Cena won, Nexus would be disbanded and if Barrett won, Cena would join Nexus. The right result occurred, with Barrett winning after help from new members Husky Harris and Michael McGillicutty which kind of made up for Barrett losing at Summerslam. Almost. Barrett used the stipulation from Hell in a Cell very wisely, with Cena being the guest referee for Barrett vs Orton at Survivor Series under the ruling that if Barrett won Cena would be relieved of his commitments to the Nexus. However, if Barrett lost, Cena would be fired.
Cena did cost Barrett the match and was fired from WWE, still appearing on TV attacking different members before defeating Barrett at TLC, by burying him with chairs. The greatest use of irony ever. The group could never get the momentum going after Summerslam, after Cena famously changed the result of the match, meaning he went over. He has admitted this was a bad move, and it was. The Nexus were so underrated in the way they went about their business, causing mayhem wherever they went and perfectly utilizing the ‘pack mentality’.
5. The Straight Edge Society
CM Punk brought his way of life into WWE, proclaiming himself to be better than everyone else as he abstained from substance abuse. He was shortly joined by Luke Gallows, Serena and Joey Mercury, who all had their heads shaved bald to show their loyalty and signified a new beginning, whilst CM Punk became the human version of Chewbacca. The group began their sermons’ and preaching of the better way of life after CM Punk defeated Jeff Hardy in a loser leaves WWE cage match, whilst making jabs at Hardy’s substance problems in the run up to this match. Punk proclaimed that Gallows, formerly known as Festus, was hooked on prescription pills which caused the mentally challenged gimmick. Punk did have one of the best spots in the Royal Rumble where he would spout his gospel between eliminations before being eliminated by Triple H. Punk would begin a feud with Rey Mysterio after Punk eliminated Rey in the Elimination Chamber match in 2010. After interfering in Rey’s daughter’s 9th birthday celebrations, Punk challenged him to match in which if Rey lost, he would join the Society.
At Wrestlemania XXVI, Rey won and a rematch was set up for Extreme Rules that if Punk lost, he would shave his head. Punk won after Mercury got involved, and a third match was set up for Over the Limit with both stipulations from the two previous meetings combined, which Rey won and shaved Punk bald. This began the downfall for the group as they entered into a feud with The Big Show. Show revealed Punk’s bald head, after Punk had been wearing a luchador mask to cover it. It all led up to a 3-on-1 handicap match at Summerslam, where Show easily dispatched the three members.
Following failed attacks on Show and Serena’s release, Punk would turn on Gallows hitting him with the GTS after losing to Show in a 2-on-1 handicap match. Punk defeated Gallows, and Gallows would be released from WWE, fully disbanding the group. Another group with amazing potential, led by one of the best talkers in the business, humiliated and fed to a monster.
There are more underrated stables out there, but these five groups had amazing potential, whether it was the gimmick or the competitors themselves. We hope that with Heyman and Bischoff having creative control, stables will be back in the spotlight, and dominating the landscape of WWE.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @George_Geal_. Thanks for reading!