If last month was the twilight of the factions, this month could be considered midnight of the factions. All of the setbacks and cracks in the bonds have settled into failures and questioning of the point of them being together. And the beneficiary of this changed landscape? Team Taz! In this nadir, just being solid was enough to push them to the top.
#1 - Team Taz
Last Month - #2
Gold Held - None recognized by anyone outside Team Taz
Member Quit: Daunte Martin
Member Debuted: HOOK
Strength - 3: Losing Daunte seemed a massive blow, but then they debuted HOOK. Amazing group of talent, but each needs to advance to the next level
Cohesion - 3: They have their roles for now, but trouble over who the real star is seems just over the horizon
Purpose - 3: They build assassins, but do they build champions?
Attainment - 3: Lots of wins, but no (real) gold
Ricky Starks - Star
Will Hobbs - Heater
Taz - Mentor
HOOK - SUPER Rookie
#2 - The Pinnacle
Last Month - #1
Gold Held: AAA Tag Championships
Strength - 4: Undeniably top echelon
Cohesion - 2: Wardlow's resentment seems on the point of boiling over, and Friedman doesn't seem to be doing anything as a leader to help ameliorate the situation.
Purpose - 4: The Pinnacle exist to dominate and gather all the gold. They've hit a major road block, but they haven't forgotten.
Attainment - 2: Been eating too many Ls and it all comes down to one man: CM Punk.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman - Captain, Star, mastermind
Shawn Spears - Loose Cannon
Wardlow - Heater
Tully Blanchard - Mentor
Cash Wheeler - Tag guy
Dax Harwood - Tag guy
#3 - Death Triangle
Last Week: #3
Gold Lost: AEW Tag Championships
Strength - 3: An amazing crew, but a man down. PAC has made it sound like he's not going to let being blinded hold him back, but it remains to be seen what that will mean.
Cohesion - 4: Haven't been seen together or mentioned each other much lately. Is their fabled bond straining?
Purpose - 2: Do they have an end goal or a game plan beyond mutual protection?
Attainment - 1: Lost their gold and in PAC's case possibly his sight. Rough month for the Triangle.
Penta EZM - Big Brother
Rey Fenix - Little Brother
PAC - Blood Brother
Alex Abrahantes - Buffoon
#3T - The Dark Order
Last Week: #6
Strength - 2: No contenders in any division
Cohesion - 4: They continue to have each other's back through everything
Purpose - 2: Other than helping one another, they have no clear mission
Attainment - 2: Winning more than losing, but no "statement wins"
Negative One - Mascot
Anna Jay - Friend
Evil Uno - Friend
Stu Grayson - Friend
Colt Cabana - Friend
John Silver - Friend
Alex Reynolds - Friend
Pres10 Vance - Friend
Alan Angels - Friend
#5 - The Elite
Last Week: Not Ranked
Team mates gone indefinitely: Omega & entourage (Nakazawa & Callis)
Team mates gained: Bobby Fish, Kyle O'Reilly, Britt Baker
Gold Lost: AEW World Championship, AAA Mega Championship
Gold Gained: AEW World Championship (Women's)
Strength - 4: No question an amazing collection of individuals
Cohesion - 1: Come on
Purpose - 1: No coherent raison d'etre to speak of
Attainment - 4: Still getting wins, in spite of everything
Adam Cole - Power Couple
Britt Baker: Power Couple
Matt Jackson - Tag guy
Nick Jackson - Tag guy
Bobby Fish - Tag guy
Kyle O'Reilly - YET ANOTHER Tag guy
Brandon Cutler - Stooge, mascot, mook
#5T The Nightmare Family
Last Week: Not Ranked
Gold Gained: TNT Championship
Strength - 4: Velvet brings home wins on Dark, but basically, it's all Cody
Cohesion - 1: See picture
Purpose - 1: It's one thing for a faction to be all about the star. But Cody doesn't even get anything out of the arrangement, either!
Attainment - 4: TNT Champ, third reign!
Cody Rhodes - Star, Captain
Brandi Rhodes - Better Half
Arn Anderson - Mentor
Lee Johnson - Protégé
Brock Anderson - Nepotism hire
Red Velvet - Spitfire
Dustin Rhodes - Big Bro
Of the factions not making cut-off, specifically noteworthy is the Inner Circle. It's been obvious from the start that this faction is to the advantage of Jericho and nobody else, especially not their resident tag specialists. Not only did Jericho not help Santana & Ortiz reach for tag gold, he teamed with every other member of the faction to compete with them.
This seemed so blatant to me, that I presumed that it was baked in, that these five men evidently shared a bond that over-rode considerations of advantage and disadvantage. Until Eddie Kingston proved that it was actually just that nobody had said it out loud before.
I find it ironic that after Max Friedman and Dan Lambert tried every weaselly subterfuge to try to bring down the Inner Circle, it was Eddie Kingston that finally lit the fuse of their destruction, simply by telling it like it is.