Last night on WWE's Tribute To The Troops, we saw a dream scenario play out when The Club, New Day and The Shield all came together in one scene to debate who was the most powerful faction in the WWE.
While The Club have the WWE champion, AJ Styles, it's hard to take the other two members seriously considering their lackluster win record since arrriving in the WWE (sorry, we're not counting New Japan stats). The New Day certainly have a record to back up their claim, but is holding the longest tag team reign enough to make them the greatest? The Shield have had the most impact of any trio in recent memory, one that has spawned three world championship caliber solo careers. All of these trios are great, but are any of them "all-time great"?
There are many different kinds of trios in wrestling history, but to be an all-time great, one must achieve the highest level of impact, influence and success.
With that in mind, here are our top 5 trios in wrestling history.
5. The Wyatt Family
If the Wyatt Family had contained Randy Orton from the get go, there's no telling where this group would be ranked right now. Yet, even with Bray, Luke Harper and Eric Rowan, the group has left an unmistakable mark on WWE history with the impact they've had since arriving in 2012. It was a tough choice to already include them as a top 5, especially considering how little Eric Rowan was able to accomplish on his own, With The Viper by their side and Bray Wyatt only beginning to scratch the surface of solo accomplishments, I feel confident that history will remember The Wyatts as an all time great.
4. The New Day
In making any top 5 list, you never want to lean to heavy on past teams or too heavy on current teams, but the fact are the facts. The WWE has put together some of history's greatest trios in the past 5 years. While other trios like Team Angle or Team Extreme garnered serious consideration, the New Day have done what many thought was impossible. They took a hokey gimmick and changed it into something ridiculous and amazing. By incorporating trumpets, unicorns and cereal, the New Day will forever be remembered as one of the quirkiest groups in wrestling history. Throw the longest tag team championship reign in WWE history on top of that and you have one of the all time greats.
3. The Fabulous Freebirds
Many younger fans likely wonder what the WWE commentators mean when they say a team like the Wyatts or the New Day are allowed to compete under "freebird" rules. Surely they grasp the concept, but likely not the origins.
Formed in 1979, Michael “P.S.” Hayes, Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy and Buddy “Jack” Roberts ushered in a new era. It was the first time three competitors had ever formed a tag team, thus when they won the NWA National Tag Team Titles in Georgia Championship Wrestling, “The Freebird Rule” was established. Under this stipulation, any two man combination of the group’s members could defend the tag team championships, not just the duo that won them.
The Freebirds had legendary feuds in Texas-based World Class Championship Wrestling with the Von Erich family. The group continued their success in the NWA/WCW years later where they won multiple championships and the short-lived 6 man tag team championship.
The Freebirds innovation rank number one on this list, as they were also one of the originals to usher in using theme songs for entrance music.
The most successful angle in professional wrestling lands one of the most successful trios at the number 2 spot. When Hulk Hogan made the unthinkable turn to the dark side at Bash at the Beach, 1996, every fan that had tuned out for the mid-90s was sucked right back in. After being revealed as the mystery 3rd partner of WCW "Outsiders" Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, Hulk Hogan told Mean Gene the following:
Well, the first thing you gotta realize, brother, is this right here is the future of wrestling! You can call this the New World Order of wrestling, brother!
And he was right. The NWO dominated the WCW for the next five years. Hulk Hogan had a strangle hold on the WCW championship and Hall and Nash were often tag team champions. Nary a Monday Nitro went by that the NWO wasn't closing out the show by spray painting the back of some poor WCW holdout.
The only thing keeping the NWO off the top of this list is that the group had ballooned to 6 people within months. At it's apex, there were double digit members of the NWO. Despite that, the influence of the 3 founding members can not be overstated. Nash, Hall and Hogan are legends.
1. The Shield
It may be a bit prematrue, but I'm ready to call it. The Shield will go down as the greatest trio to ever lace them up. Much like the NWO, The Shield made wrestling cool again. Unlike the NWO, however, The Shield didn't need to call in any reinforcements. They were a wrecking machine all on their own.
The group debuted on November 18, 2012, at the Survivor Series pay-per-view and was a dominant force in six-man tag team matches with an undefeated streak lasting from December 2012 to May 2013. They defeated teams containing the likes of Big Show, Chris Jericho, Daniel Bryan, John Cena, CM Punk, Kane, Randy Orton, Ryback, Mark Henry, Sheamus, The Wyatt Family and The Undertaker.
A crowning feud with a reformed 3 man version of Evolution in 2014 cemented their place in history, but also led to their disbandment the following night.
What sets The Shield apart is not just what they accomplished as a team, but what they have accomplished on their own. Their is no weak link in The Shield. No other trio on this list can boast 3 WWE World Champions. In the past year, The Shield have teased a reunion three times, and in each instance, the crowd has lost their minds.