A Friend in Need: Looking At Alliances in WWE and How They Help the Stars – by Mike Sanchez

The wrestling business can be a fickle mistress, one minute you’re the toast of the town, the most popular person on the roster, and the next you’re out of the main event, sitting in the locker room dreading the words we hear so often from those who’ve been there before; ‘Creative has nothing for you’. It’s a sad fact that not every wrestler can be top of the bill at once. Every person in WWE may want to be champion of their respective division, but it may not happen. True, hard work, determination and a sprinkling of luck may get some to the very top, but for others, they can sometimes ascend the mountain only to slip back down at a rapid pace and see others take their spot.

Recently in WWE, there have been alliances either forming or going from strength to strength. There have always been stables in wrestling and that’s unlikely to change, but sometimes stars are paired up or form allegiances to get ahead. This may take the form of a tag team, a temporary arrangement between parties to even the odds against and opponent who has people in their corner or it may be the creation of a faction or stable like I’ve mentioned. If we begin with stables, the most successful usually last a long time, are recognizable to the fans and carry an aura that is more than the sum of their parts. The Shield were a great example of a stable who achieved more when together rather than alone. Even though it’s unlikely we’ll see them reunite (again), there are some very strong stables in WWE right now that boost their members when they unite rather than stand alone.

The New Day typify this in how they’re multi-time Tag Team Champions and have yet to even show a hint of a fracture between their members. It’s been teased a couple of times, but their strength lies in their unity. It was inevitable that one of the group would take the next step, but since Kofi Kingston became World Heavyweight Champion, his New Day brothers have always had his back. The same could be said for the Undisputed Era in NXT. They’re a team of talented guys with perhaps Adam Cole as the standout among them, but again their numbers and strength as a team has seen them capture gold in the company. I think the Undisputed Era have molded themselves like the New Day in that they’re better as a stable than individuals and by keeping them together, WWE can put them on the main roster as a group and have them make maximum impact on their competitors. Think about it; is there another four-man faction who could take them on?

Perhaps some stars don’t arrive in WWE already in a stable and need to form an alliance to help boost themselves up the card. Recently two tag teams have aligned themselves with a singles star to form an alliance or a stable. The OC have re-joined with their old pal AJ Styles in a move that has seen them revitalized in the company. I’m not saying Gallows and Anderson weren’t being used properly, but their partnership with the incredible Styles has seen them go from a tag team who struggled to cement their place at the top of the tree to a dangerous group who look more and more formidable with each week that passes. I really like how WWE has given the entire group the heel persona; they deliberately gang up on wrestlers and cheap shot others to help further their cause. Styles may be out of the Heavyweight title picture for now, but the OC are making waves nonetheless without carrying any gold around their waists.

Speaking of the WWE Heavyweight Title, a return for Randy Orton has seen him installed as the #1 contender for the belt at Clash of Champions, going up against Kofi Kingston. Orton is a very capable standalone character in that he’s rarely a chickenshit heel, more of an opportunist who strikes hard when he can. He was part of arguably one of the most successful stables in WWE when he was the young apprentice in Evolution alongside Triple H, Ric Flair and Batista. It was from Evolution that the Randy Orton we see today emerged. He dabbled with Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr when they formed Legacy, although Orton was now leading the pack rather than following. His new mini-faction has seen him team up with The Revival. This is a really positive move by WWE as The Revival are a good, solid tag team who should have been more successful since their main roster debut. Like Gallows and Anderson, hopefully their alliance with Orton will take the group to the next level. Like the OC, they too overwhelm their opponents although their feud seems to have a clear destination when a likely six man tag match with the New Day seems inevitable.

I’m not alone in saying that WWE needs to create more stables in the company, so perhaps these alliances are a way towards that. Even now we’re seeing some lone stars who have been floating around the periphery of the cards being paired up to try and create something new. This past week on Raw saw a Tag Team Turmoil tournament that saw Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode win to get a shot at the Raw Tag Titles. Is this just filler for the upcoming PPV or is there something more meaningful going on? With the push behind the OC and other tag teams of late, I hope this Ziggler/Roode pairing can elevate both guys – even if it goes some way to repaying Ziggler for his fantastic selling for Goldberg at SummerSlam. The guy is a selling machine and has had some seriously bad luck over the years. It would be nice if WWE replayed him in some way. Perhaps this alliance will be the one that reaps the most reward at Clash of Champions? Who knows? That being said, another guy who seemed to be overlooked in recent months, Braun Strowman, has been catapulted into the main event scene by pairing with Seth Rollins and capturing the Raw Tag Titles. Strowman has made no secret of his desire to be Universal Champion, so maybe his partnership with Rollins has an ulterior motive? Only time will tell.

So what do you think of the alliances in WWE? Is Randy Orton in it for the long haul with the Revival? Can Ziggler and Roode be a potent partnership? Will WWE bring the Undisputed Era up to the main roster as a unit to continue their dominance? I’d love to hear your thoughts. As always, thanks for reading.