Watch any amount of WWE programming it won’t be too long before someone waxes poetically about the “good ole days” of the Attitude Era. Maybe that time in wrestling doesn’t hold up as well as we remember, but it was the last time the WWE really impacted culture. We remember how big each star felt and how important each wrestler mattered. Perhaps the biggest difference between then and now has to be factions. Groups or teams of wrestlers that centered around just one or two main names but highlighted lesser known talent. It’s what NJPW is doing so well, it’s how WWE made names into stars, and what could help them save their lackluster 2017.
Take a trip to Japan and it may seem like the country’s wrestling scene never left the 90s faction wars. Chaos is the babyface team, complete with the NJPW champion and wonderful goofballs like Toru Yano. Whereas The Bullet Club are a foreigner focused heel stable directly taken from the NWO and mid-90s NJPW invasion stories. Almost every wrestler has a stable or faction they belong to. It provides ample storylines, it sets up midcard matches well, and every faction fights every other. No one is spared a match and even when common wrestling sense should say otherwise, New Japan usually finds a way to justify matches you might not otherwise see.
Come back to the WWE and look at the disarray their talent continues to be in. No division or wrestler is spared the embarrassing booking or the lack of push. When talent like Finn Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura are struggling to put together meaningful matches and stories then something is amiss. With an absolutely loaded roster it would behoove the WWE to put everyone of those knowable faces on TV. Sliding large chunks of the roster into factions to protect the top names and put a weekly emphasis on the mid-card ranks would benefit everyone. It could also mean that PPVs rely less on individual talent effort and more on story. Now every PPV would have compelling storylines pulling the audience in. Like with the attitude era the wrestling becomes apart of the show and not the only bright spot in an otherwise dark and endless night.
It’s sad to watch so many wrestlers I enjoy be put through months of poor planning and poor booking. Sami Zayn is floundering, Balor is lost among the mid-card, and Nakamura seems bored. So many talented men and women who look lost and adrift each week. Maybe grouping these talented people up, letting them be creative, and giving them a chance to showcase their talent is what’s best for business. It worked for The Shield, it worked for The New Day, and maybe it’ll work for the rest the of the WWE.