For the past couple months, each month I've said something along the lines "this is the lowest point yet for the factions of AEW." And yet the floor keeps falling. Normally, I carefully consider the wins and losses and titles of each faction, along with the attributes which contribute to success, such as cohesion and purpose. But I'm not bothering with any of that this month. Because the story over the past month—and especially since this past Wednesday—is not which faction stands by default atop the molehill of what's left, but which has fallen farthest, fastest.
Not only has a majority of the gold fallen into the hands of lone wolf competitors, (or, at most, trios,) and the spotlight has thus turned to individualist feuds and stories... But in the last few weeks no less than four—arguably five—factions have fallen apart completely, and more with a whimper than a bang! So this month, for one month only, the Power Rankings will be supplanted by Un-Power Rankings—Impotence Rankings, if you will!
I say "for one month only" not because I'm so sure that factions will be king again in AEW by next month—at this point I no longer question if they could possibly fall any further—but because if they are not, the AEW factions Power Ranking will be going on hiatus until that glorious day that the power of the faction is the driving force of AEW storytelling once again...
There are a few walking-wounded factions still functioning in AEW, and with my premise being ranking from least-worst to worst, I will cover them first, but in brief:
America's Top Team
What's still going sort of right? Lambert's goofy army is shockingly the only team in AEW still having some success, gaining the TNT title, and bringing Paige VanZant officially in to shake up AEW's Women's division
Caveats: I just don't have any use for these twazzers, not one of the four of em. Pure bias, I concede it—by objective standards they are a strong, successful faction, but I just don't care
What's still going sort of right? On paper, still an amazingly complementary mix of talents
Caveats: Funny how you never see them all together anymore. The fans' love of only one of the four (and the least experienced one, to boot!) seems destined to tear them apart. Then again, they've already outlived several factions that seemed a more stable mix!
What's still going sort of right? Besides Scorpio Sky, Dr. Baker is the only champion left with factional support
Caveats: But will that gold survive the cage on Wednesday? And would the faction then survive without that gold? I wouldn't bet on it!
What's still going sort of right? Still a fantastic, classic fan-favorite faction. Great Men's division star, great Women's division star, great Tag division team, great rookie—and now they've added an amazingly popular new signing for the mascot role-hausen
Caveats: The CHAOS alliance seems to have fallen by the wayside, and since their amazing victories over the SuperKliq a couple months ago, they seem to just be treading water
What's still going sort of right? These guys are certainly as awesome as ever, and that's saying something!
Caveats: I can't help but admire Abrahantes's commitment to a bit, but he just looks silly. He has always been silly, but it used to be the sort of silly that made anyone standing next to him seem cool by comparison. Now it's the sort that makes you see that the people standing next to him are maybe a little over the top, also...
What's still going sort of right? Still a funny, fun group with undying loyalty to one another
Caveats: Just a funny, fun group with only loyalty going for them. Their claim to fame was their alliance with the World Champion, but with Hangman now distancing himself from them, what's left?
Andrade Family Office
What's still going sort of right? Andrade would be a great star to build a faction around
Caveats: Matt Hardy seems like a classic case of addition by subtraction. But with him, the faction at least had some rationale: tag teams wanting the mentorship of a tag legend. Now it's just henchman Andrade happens to have
What's still going sort of right? Still jobbing along, doing "the Factory" things
Caveats: Still jobbing along, doing "the Factory" things
The Hall of Shame:
#0 | Regal-gun
What Went Wrong? Two of the biggest stars in the world tease building a faction together, but it could never work because of egos, right? But then add a common mentor that they both respect so much it overrides the ego issue, and you have the nucleus of the most dominant faction AEW has yet seen. But so far we've gotten only a new OP tag team and manager...
Caveats: This "faction" had the least fall, as it was only a dream of a faction and not (thus far? ever?) an actual, working faction
#–1 | The Wingmen
What Went Wrong? Who knows? Their bruiser rejoined an old tag team partner on Dynamite. Did it mean that his tag partner is joining his faction? Or that he's leaving? Nobody on commentary thought it was worth addressing....
Caveats: Nobody but me ever thought the Wingmen had potential in the first place
#–2 | The Elite
What Went Wrong? I guess the Undisputed Elite are still technically a faction, but if your singles star is feuding with the ONE guy that the Young Bucks refuse to back him up against.... then are you? Really?
Caveats: Technically still a faction, sort of
#–3 | The Nightmare Family
What Went Wrong? Revolved around one man, remove the one man and nothing is left!
Caveats: They were already kind of a mess
#–4 | The Inner Circle
What Went Wrong? This one is crazy: pure Shakespeare. Jericho had guys who were loyal to a fault, but when they gave the smallest hint of wanting to get something out of the relationship for themselves, he immediately turned on them
Caveats: Jericho still has a faction, and even if he gave it a new name, he could just as easily have called it "the Inner Circle, but Whiter." But that's just part of the downfall: he's replaced genuine friends and allies with transparently grasping toadies
#–5 | The Pinnacle!!
What Went Wrong? The most sudden and thorough collapse of all time. Wardlow's betrayal was huge, but a heater could be replaced. But then FTR fired Tully, apparently headed over to the fan-favorite tunnel. So, what's left?
Caveats: Shawn Spears? No. The Pinnacle is clearly done