WORDS BY ANT SIERRA
Crazy as it may sound, WWE seems to be in a golden age of stables right now with the rise of multiple factions. Groups such as The Undisputed Era and Legado del Fantasma have been quite a must-see on the black and gold brand. Meanwhile, the main roster features Retribution, and is rumored to be forming a stable around the newly turned Roman Reigns.
We've yet to see a stable stumble in terms of booking in NXT but given the main roster's track record, it's hard to be optimistic when it comes to a faction's success. Luckily, they have the best example of a well thought out stable right now: The Hurt Business. With the New Day going their separate ways, Bobby Lashley, MVP, Shelton Benjamin, and Cedric Alexander are poised to take over as the dominant stable in the main roster, and even serve as a template for others moving forward. With that said, let’s take a closer look on why the Hurt Business is the best template for a stable in WWE.
Stable members follow a certain archetype— a role they fulfill within the group so that they can cover the entire card from top to bottom. For the Hurt Business, it’s pretty much the same, however they’re more flexible in terms of which role each member can fit.
Now the same can be said about the Undisputed Era, however, The Hurt Business doesn’t have any one member to gravitate to. So for us fans, it gives the perception that everyone involved are equals; each one has his own strength to bring to the table, and above everything else, their talents compliment each other, hiding the flaws of others in the group.
With no one being overshadowed in the Hurt Business, there’s a great possibility that no one would be left out in terms of booking, and the unit would have a longer, more relevant tenure compared to factions with one clear cut star.
A Lucrative Business
The Hurt Business seems like they're playing tweeners right now— in fact, they’re playing the role to perfection. Honestly, it’s a great change of pace to see a stable portray both ends of the spectrum at the same time. This allows the group to interact with more superstars in the roster, giving them a wider range of options for possible stories, all at the same time. This elevates the presence of both the Hurt Business and the people they’re working with, which in a way minimizes the number of superstars in the roster who are being underused. Not all groups are able to do this, which often leads to repetitive stories and eventually irrelevance.
Using the Hurt Business as a platform helps in building the credibility of other wrestlers who are rarely seen on TV. Take their program with Retribution; without it, Mustafa Ali would still be portraying a random ally to Ricochet and Apollo Crews, rather than have a more prominent role in another faction, that admittedly has very little success before his inclusion. These sort of engagements invite a renewed interest to a storyline, and is made possible by Hurt Business’ flexibility as a group.
Foundation for the Future
MVP shooting down the idea of a Nation of Domination 2.0 is one of the best backstage calls in recent history. The time right now is different compared to the 1990’s, and considering how minority groups are poorly treated by some people in the United States, it wouldn’t help in empowering African-Americans if the stable that represents them in the WWE is presented in a negative light.
Minorities in pro-wrestling have always been portrayed as villainous regardless of ethnicity, and given the cultural impact of pro-wrestling especially in the United States— the characterization in a way helps in conditioning the perspective of some fans, more so for those who are still having a hard time in understanding the concept of kayfabe.
The Hurt Business is leading the way in helping to shift that perspective by being a positive representation of minority groups in pro-wrestling. There are few to none that actively do this especially within the company, making them the ideal foundation for other stables moving forward. The positive change in perception among fans can influence how minorities are represented in the WWE, and to an extent mainstream media, going back to the point we’ve mentioned before about WWE’s impact in pop culture.
These are just a few reasons why the Hurt Business is the perfect template for a stable in the WWE right now. They still have a lot of untapped potential, but seeing their performance now, it’s safe to say that they’re on an upward trajectory, en route to being one of the company’s most influential groups of all time.
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