One of the keys of success in professional wrestling is "if you're struggling to win your match, just get a mate to help you out" and some of the greatest to lace up boots have adhered to that strategy.
This fortnight we are going to rank the greatest factions in wrestling history using the following criteria
Cagematch ratings with the threshold for being 50 or more votes
Titles won by members of a faction
Domination of the company that the faction wrestle in
Quality of the members of the group
So lets see who were the best factions of all time.
#1- The Four Horsemen
This is the obvious pick for the number one spot. Even if you take the legacy argument out of this and the fact that they would end up influencing the heel faction dominating the company booking trope that has been the norm for the last 36 years since their formation, The Four Horsemen numbers wise take dominate the metrics of what makes the best faction ever.
Top 10 Cagematch Rated Stables with more than 50 votes
Four Horseman 9.77
Los Ingobernables de Japon 9.73
Hart Foundation 9.55
The Shield 9.55
British Strong Style 9.44
The Elite 9.35
D-Generation X 9.34
New World Order 9.34
The first incarnation of the Horseman are first on the Cagematch list, their 31 titles are the most in a major American promotion, the 3 Hall of Famers that would come from the Horseman (Flair, Sting, Benoit) puts them third on that list. The 120 days from 20/4/88 to 10/9/88 that the third incarnation of the Horseman (Flair, Anderson, Blanchard, Windham) would all hold a belt would be the second longest amount of time that a faction would hold the top two singles belts and the tag belts in a promotion behind The Undisputed Era.
The only time this much havoc had been wreaked by this few a number of people, the Horseman dominated the 1980's in Jim Crockett Promotions and forever are the standard bearer for factions in professional wrestling.
#2- New World Order
The formation of the nWo would give a skyrocket to WCW's ratings which would see the company take the lead in The Monday Night War, a lead that which would last 83 weeks. While the numbers in the group would become bloated and WCW's usage of the nWo name seeing the creative team of the company coming up with six different versions of the faction with a spinoff in the Latino World Order, the first incarnation of the nWo changed the game of pro wrestling with Hulk Hogan's heel turn in forming the group one of the most memorable moments in wrestling history. The group would also run in New Japan with Masa Chono, Scott Norton and Great Muta winning the IWGP Heavyweight Title while wearing the black and white colours of the nWo, three of seven to hold a major world title while a member of the New World Order.
Major Titles won by factions (amount of wrestlers/team winning belts in parenthesis)
World Titles IC/US Titles Tag Titles
1- Four Horseman 14 (1) 5 (5) 4 (3)
2- New World Order 12 (7) 1 14 (7)
3- Bullet Club 7 (6) 7 (6) 13 (5)
4- Chaos 6 (2) 7 (3) 5 (4)
5- D-Generation X 5 (2) 4 (3) 10 (2)
6-Evolution 5 (2) 2 (2) 2 (1)
7- Los Ingobernables 4 (2) 6 (1) 3 (2)
8- Heenan Family 4 (1) 2 (2) 2 (2)
9- Super Generation Army 4 (2) 0 5 (3)
10- CTU 4 (3)* 0 4 (2)
Nine wrestlers that have been members of the various versions New World Order are in the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame (Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Great Muta, Konnan, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Sting) with Ted Dibiase and Dusty Rhodes in management roles in the first version of the faction.
The nWo would be one of six factions to hold the two main singles titles and the tag team titles of a promotion at the same time, coming sixth on this list with Hogan holding the World Title, Curt Henning as US Champion and The Outsiders as tag champs at the same time for 28 days
While the end days of the nWo were a perfect example of how to rehash a golden goose to the point of exhaustion, the early days were an example of how to book an invasion angle which would lead to unforgettable television.
It may be a mystery as to why Evolution are so high on this list but when you look at the numbers, there is a clear line in the sand to separate Evolution from others on this list.
A sixth place in the Cagematch ratings alongside title success with five world titles won by two different people, Evolution would hold the major titles on the RAW brand simultaneously for 64 days. The group would also hold a title for 452 of the 572 days they were a quartet until Randy Orton was kicked out of the group for the cardinal sin of winning the World Heavyweight Title instead of Triple H.
Factions that have held a major companies main two singles and tag title at the same time
Undisputed Era- 126 days
Four Horseman- 120 days
Evolution- 64 days
Main Event Mafia- 45 days
New World Order- 28 days
Corporation- 21 days
On paper Evolution was just a chance for Triple H to replicate The Four Horseman but when put into practice they delivered the numbers to put them high on our list and would also live up to its name nurturing two future stars in Randy Orton and Batista.
#4- D-Generation X
The faction that saw in the start of the Attitude Era would be dominated by two wrestlers in Triple H and Shawn Michaels with both winning World Championships in their time as the groups leader and both ending up in the Observer Hall of Fame.
DX's success would be in its depth with the stable winning the WWF Tag Titles on 10 occasions, only second to The New World Order's 14 Tag Title reigns in America with DX being the only group of our Top Ten with a member that won a Women's Title (Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley)
The second incarnation of DX which lasted from March 30, 1998 to March 28, 1999 would see a member hold gold for 290 of the 363 days. D-Generation X would also have a member headline four WrestleManias with only The Horsemen headlining their companies biggest PPV of the year more times in America (five at Starrcade)
The legacy of this group was not just their influence on the Attitude Era but also on pop culture with the crotch chop which would be seen in the Academy Award winning film Slumdog Millionaire and used in celebrations by sports stars like Fidel Edwards and Pete Weber and even used in a Super Mario game. DX's footprint in WWE's resurgence in 97/98 makes them one of the greatest groups ever.
#5- The Elite
The Elite's success is not limited to one company with Omega and co winning titles in twelve different companies in five countries. The group's leader Kenny Omega would win three major world titles (AEW, IWGP, AAA Mega) and then the IMPACT World belt with Cody winning the ROH and NWA World Title.
The Young Bucks would win tag belts in six promotions including AEW, NJPW and AAA with the Bucks winning the IWGP Junior Heavyweight belts seven times which is still a record.
The Elite would hold belts for 371 of the 770 days that the both the AEW World Title and tag belts have existed and in NJPW they held gold for 803 out of 1096 days until their departure for AEW.
Percentage of time an incarnation of a faction held a championship
Four Horsemen (Flair/Blanchard/Andersons) 516/530 days 97%
NWO (1st incarnation- July 96 to Apr 98) 597/659 days 90%
Evolution (Triple H/Flair/Batista/Orton) 452/572 days 79%
D-Generation X (March 98-March 99) 290/363 days 79%
Elite (NJPW) 817/1096 days 74%
Bullet Club (Styles era) 639/639 days 100%
Chaos (Okada leadership) 1677/2141 days 78%
Los Ingobernables de Japon 1520/2010 days 73%
CTU 886/1096 days 80%
What started as a subgroup of The Bullet Club would become the driving force of the first company to contest WWE as the most significant company in America and for that their legacy can never be touched and they deserve their spot in the top echelons of factions.
#6- Bullet Club
#8- Los Ingobernables de Japon
The three factions that have dominated New Japan Pro Wrestling are tough to separate but statistically you have to separate the three factions from those the other side of the Pacific Ocean. For one NJPW have more titles especially in the singles ranks and differing titles than American companies like the NEVER 6-man titles and the emphasis that NJPW have on the Junior Heavyweight Titles.
Titles won by Japanese based Factions
Bullet Club Chaos Los Ingobernables
IWGP Heavy 7 6 4
IC Title 4 6 6
US Title 3 1 0
Heavy Tag Title 13 5 3
Jun Heavy Title 6 6 5
Jun Heavy Tag 10 15 1
Openweight 3 13 3
6-Man Tag 8 2 4
Also, the longevity and tenure of the three groups is superior to the majority of American groups with Chaos having been a group for 12 years with two different leaders and Bullet Club having been part of wrestling since 2013 and none of those groups have never had a break-up unlike the American groups on our list.
Bullet Club would have 3 Hall of famers in their group (Omega, Styles, Gedo) the same number as Chaos (Okada, Nakamura, Gedo) while L.I.J yet to have any of their members inducted in the HOF.
The Prince Devitt and AJ Styles eras of Bullet Club would see the faction hold a title throughout the entirety of their leadership. Compare that to Nakamura's tenure as Chaos leader (62%) and Okada's (78%) while Los Ingobernables would hold a title for 1520 of the 2070 days of the group's tenure in NJPW so far (73%) while Jay White's run as leader was not as successful (63%) EVIL's tenure as leader has seen him and his Bullet Club colleagues hold gold throughout it's run so far.
There is an argument to say that NJPW's faction warfare era would be the inspiration for the emergence of factions in All Elite Wrestling. The sight of Hardy Family Office might not be a glowing endorsement of that booking philosophy but if you're enjoying the idea of factions of AEW, thank the world of NJPW for the past decade for what you see now.
Some people would associate the letters CTU with the workplace in 24 where Jack Bauer would yell at colleagues whilst they were just trying to do their jobs but fans of NJPW in the 00's would associate CTU with the group that Jushin Liger led that would dominate the New Japan Junior Heavyweight ranks from 2004 to 2007.
CTU would win Junior Heavyweight singles (Minoru/Black Tiger IV) and tag gold (Gedo and Jado) in NJPW and Pro Wrestling NOAH junior gold (Liger) plus the NWA junior belt (Black Tiger) and CMLL's Lightweight Title (Romero). Their domination of the Junior Heavyweight division in the mid 00's would see the faction hold gold for 886 days of its 1096 days existence.
CTU's legacy would be seen a decade later with the faction warfare that would dominate New Japan in the past decade with one of CTU's junior members Prince Devitt becoming the leader of the companies' best group according to this list. But while the current batch of factions have members competing for Junior Heavyweight championships, CTU's main focus was on dominating the division, which ended up upgrading the prestige of the junior ranks.
#10- The Heenan Family
In a world where the heel divide of the WWE locker room were employing the services of managers left, right and centre, the guy who had the most success would be Bobby Heenan. The Brain would be manager of IC Champions Mr. Perfect and Rick Rude and Tag Team Champions The Colossal Connection (Andre/Haku) and The Brain Busters (Anderson/Blanchard) and would manage members of The Heenan Family in the main event of two WrestleManias.
Bobby would gain success in the AWA before moving to New York with his main star Nick Bockwinkel winning the AWA World Title four times and the Memphis territories' main title. Wrestlers under The Brain's tutelage would also win Georgia Championship Wrestling's main title (Masked Superstar and Karl Kox).
Wrestling Observer Hall of Famers in a Faction
1- New Order Order 9
2- Heenan Family 6
3- Corporation- 4
3- Super Generation Army 4
5- Four Horsemen 3
6- Bullet Club 3
6- Chaos 3
6- Dangerous Alliance 3
9- Evolution 2
9- D-Generation X 2
9- Heenan Family 2
Six members of The Heenan Family would go into the Observer Hall of Fame (Bockwinkel, Andre, Ray Stevens, Stan Hansen, Harley Race and Bobby himself) putting them second on the Hall of Famers list. But while Heenan dominated the AWA, it would be in the second half of Bobby's time as a manager in WWE that he saw success with Rick Rude's IC Title win over The Ultimate Warrior being the first title that The Heenan Family would win in the company, just under 5 years after Heenan's debut in WWE.
From that time on, The Heenan Family would only have 179 days without a belt in their faction until May 28, 1991 when Bobby would retire to become a broadcast journalist,