One of the most fun components of pro wrestling growing up was the faction or stable. Evil managers generally assembled an all-star roster of top heels to organize for one sole purpose, destroy the top hero! Today I look back at the ten best stables in pro wrestling.
Some of the best memories of watching wrestling as a kid came from the stables. Whether it was Captain Lou Albano’s army of rotating villains challenging Bob Backlund, the Heenan Family’s obsession with Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan, or Dusty Rhodes getting jumped in a parking lot by the Four Horsemen, wrestling stables provided some of the best entertainment in the country.
I thought it would be fun to take a look back and countdown some of the best stables in pro wrestling. I compiled this list from a deep memory of old school wrestling, lots of tape watching in my later years, and of course my favorite old school wrestling tool, You Tube. Watch your back and lock the door, because wrestling’s greatest stables may be looking for you!
1 – The Four Horsemen – I checked out a lot of lists online before I finished this article just to see if I missed anyone. Surprisingly I only found a couple of lists that had the Horsemen at the top. To me, this was the greatest of all stables. Yes one could argue the N.W.O., but I think the longevity of the Horsemen makes it the best. For their time, there was nobody better. Personally, my favorite group was the original four of Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Ole Anderson, Arn Anderson, and J.J. Dillon. I don’t think anyone else comes close.
[adinserter block=”1″]2 – The n.W.o. – Looking over those lists online I found the N.W.O. appearing at the top of just about every list. In terms of money, I don’t think you could deny for a second the financial impact this group had on the entire industry. But if you look back, it was only for about a year where this group remained strong. There was too much turnover and not enough quality opponents to boost this faction at the top of the list in my opinion. I think if they kept the group limited to Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Sean Waltman, this faction could have had a longer shelf life and an even bigger impact. For more on the N.W.O., check out this blog.
3 – The Heenan Family – Growing up and watching the Heenan Family on WWE television as a kid was a real treat. Every week the Brain was on the hunt for the best in and out of the WWF to take out Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. Like the N.W.O., there was turnover but not nearly as much as the black and white. My favorite Heenan Family of course was the first with King Kong Bundy, Big John Studd, Ken Patera, and the Brain.
4 – Jimmy Hart’s First Family – Maybe it was a recent viewing of Memphis Heat that reminded me of how great this stable was, but I just recently fell back in love with this group through that movie and You Tube clips. Memphis was my favorite territory of all time during my tape trading days and I used to getting my hands on old tapes of Jimmy Hart’s First Family from the early 1980s. From Andy Kaufman, to Austin Idol, to Rick Rude, and more, they all tried their best to take out the King and they all failed in the end. If you want to lay your eyes on some classic interviews and angles, do a search for Jimmy Hart Memphis on You Tube and you’ll be entertained for hours.
5 – Kevin Sullivan’s Lunatic Stable – I couldn’t recall a name for his group (so if any of you old classic fans have one, please leave it in the comments), but the faction that Kevin Sullivan assembled in Florida to take on Dusty Rhodes, Blackjack Mulligan, Barry Windham, and the other heroes may be one of the most underrated of all time. This group was as evil as it gets, using a Satanic gimmick to intimidate their opponents and fans. The core of the group was Sullivan, Mark Lewin, and Bob Roop but others like Superstar Billy Graham and Jake Roberts passed through as well. This group of brawlers and maulers were so dark, that they still give people nightmares thanks to You Tube and DVD trading.
6 – Evolution – How could I leave off Evolution? It bothers me a little when I hear people speak of Evolution in the greatest of all time categories, but for their time period, they were fantastic. Ric Flair, Batista, Randy Orton, and Triple H may go down as the last great heel faction in pro wrestling history. They ran roughshod over the WWE for two years and made life for the WWE babyfaces a living hell. Those days are over but the impact that this group made into young fans of that time period is the same that the Four Horsemen did for me.
7 – The Dangerous Alliance – Once the Four Horsemen disbanded in WCW, Paul E. Dangerously stepped in and took advantage of the opening with the Dangerous Alliance. Dangerously, or Heyman as we know him, created a solid foundation featuring some of the best technical wrestlers in WCW during that time period. Steve Austin, Bobby Eaton, Arn Anderson, and Rick Rude went toe to toe with Lex Luger, Sting, and Ricky Steamboat in WCW during the early 1990s. Arn Anderson once called the group “one of the greatest gatherings of talent ever.”
8 – The Hart Foundation – It was only a year, but it seemed like more than the Hart Foundation led by Bret Hart dominated Monday Night RAW and held their own with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. The group comprised of Hart, Jim Neidhart, Davey Boy Smith, and Brian Pillman had it all from brawlers, to technicians, to high flyers, to psychological masters of the ring. No group since the Hart Foundation has been able to polarize two countries like the Hart Foundation did with Canada and America.
[adinserter block=”2″]9 – Devastation Inc. – General Skandor Akbar tried his best to make the lives of the Von Erich family miserable in Texas with Devastation Inc. The faction had numerous incarnations but my favorite was the group that featured Killer Khan, One Man Gang, Killer Brooks, and the Missing Link. In addition to those three, Mick Foley, Abdullah the Butcher, Killer Brooks, Steve Austin, and Hercules Hernandez are just some members of the Devastation Inc. alumni. Akbar also brought his stable into the Mid South collecting such greats as Steve Williams, King Kong Bundy, Ted DiBiase, and Leroy Brown along the way.
10- The Legion Of Doom – I am not going back to the WWE L.O.D., I am going back to Georgia Championship Wrestling and the first incarnation of the Legion of Doom. I remember seeing this group in magazines and being in awe of their size and viciousness. Paul Ellering assembled this masterpiece which included a young, raw Road Warriors, King Kong Bundy, Jake Roberts, The Spoiler, Matt Borne, the Iron Sheik, the Original Sheik, and Arn Anderson. It doesn’t get a whole lot better than that for the time period!
This article was originally published on December 14, 2011
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