For their latest DVD release, the WWE looks at the “Greatest Factions” in wrestling history. It steers clear of ranking or rating the twenty “greatest factions” that make up those profiled and merely offers us a short biographical piece on each faction followed by a match to highlight them in action.
This has some positive and negative points. We can at least avoid the usual daft and/or downright petty ranking lists that such an exercise can bring when the WWE is involved but there is little rhyme or reason as to the order the factions are profiled on the discs. The short bio segments help to give some flavour about why a team/faction was so good but will not teach most fans anything they didn’t already know and as such are of little great use to many. That said, there is a wide range of talking heads (the likes of CM Punk, Paul Heyman, AJ Lee, Natalya, Seth Rollins to name but a few) and they at least mostly seem to actually have been fans of the Factions they are talking about rather than reading from a WWE approved script.
Disc one stars with DX and has an entertaining Corporate Rumble to highlight them. Although the match is arguably overbooked nonsense in hindsight, it flies by in front of a hot crowd and is a nice reminder of the period. Sandwiching Right To Censor between the Heenan Family and The Fabulous Freebirds at least shows that someone in the WWE has a sense of humour, although RTC were entertaining in their own way. The Freebirds are highlighted by a match including The Von Erichs which is of course how it should be. Nexus’ contributions to the WWE are overstated ever so slightly in the next segment and its frustrating to hear CM Punk talk as if he didn’t know what was going on in their debut segment but this is soon forgotten as we get a look at the Dangerous Alliance, one of my personal favourites. Oozing star quality, WCW could have made so much more from them but as we know that’s a statement that can be used a lot of times for that promotion. The first disc ends with a look at the Hart Foundation and an exciting Flag Match from Raw.
DVD disc two starts with the nWo, although it is disappointing that their match is the ridiculous War Games 1998 match – even more so given the relatively recent release of the War Games collection. They are followed by the Brood, who seemingly had a lot of fans back in the day, and their match with the J.O.B. Squad is a sterling effort. The Million Dollar Corporation get their dues, although with their motley line up at times it’s not Ted DiBiase’s finest hour and not even turning Tatanka heel could make him interesting. The Nation of Domination and The Blue World Order get profiled next and whilst there possibly couldn’t be two more different factions they were both entertaining groups. The NOD Vs Triple H & The Oultlaws is a good match choice; Big Stevie Cool against Axl Rotten is less so. The disc rounds off with the Corporation and an 1999 Raw Corporate Gauntlet match which will features one of the most iconic images of the Attitude Era near the end.
Disc Three starts with Evolution, and the tale will be familiar to anyone who has seen the recent Triple H DVD. From there it’s the Oddities, who perhaps would have been more suited to a “any here’s a few more we haven’t mentioned” section rather than a full profile. Still, the WWE would probably kill for the kind of crowd reactions for some of their stars today that this bunch of mid-carders were getting on a weekly basis back in the day. The ECW Triple Threat were a pleasing inclusion, if only because I’m happy for anything that gives Chris Candido a bit of credit. He’s not in the match that pits Shane Douglas and Bam Bam Bigelow against Rob Van Dam and Sabu. It’s a bit of a mess of a match, as you’d expect, but is compelling in it’s own way. Legacy look pedestrian in comparison after that, before the Dungeon of Doom get a look in. Of course this being WWE they’re largely in there so we can poke fun at another daft WCW idea (which is strange on a best factions collection) and once again, the match highlighting them is a War Games match. Would it have really been that difficult to find something that hadn’t been released recently on another collection? The Straight Edge Society are our penultimate faction before we end with The Four Horseman, my personal pick for the greatest of all time. The match pitting Flair, Anderson and Blanchard against Windham, Luger and Sting is an exciting, ultra-heated affair which ends things on a very high note indeed.
This isn’t a set without its problems but generally the choice of factions themselves are as complete as you might expect given this is a WWE production. With no “ranking” to argue with you can just sit down and relive some of the greatest factions in some great matches in what is a very entertaining package. With a bit more care taken in the matches put on the set, this could have been even better.
– By Matthew Roberts | @IWFICON
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