On the most recent episode of AEW Dynamite, we saw the debut of the Death Triangle. A new group made up of PAC and the Lucha Brothers (Fenix & Pentagon Jr). This brings the number of groups active in AEW to at least eight as they join SCU, Best Friends & Orange Cassidy, The Elite, The Dark Order, The Nightmare Family, Inner Circle, and the Jurassic Express. As expected, this has already brought out some complaints that AEW has too many factions. On the contrary, we believe that you can never have too many factions.
As evidenced in companies like New Japan Pro Wrestling and Stardom it just makes everything easier. When it comes to booking matches you can have “random” tag matches, six-man tags etc. and by having factions involved those matches have instant meaning, not a whole lot but enough for matches to stand out. It also provides a natural reason for animosity to brew between people. Having factions allows more flexibility in booking and the more the merrier for AEW.
Being in a faction gives characters an instant identity. It can help fans understand whether you’re a heel or a face, your position on the card etc. For example, someone joining the Inner Circle is a high-level heel in the company or someone joining the Jurassic Express is likely to be a fun mid-card babyface. One of AEW’s flaws has been a failure to introduce characters and by having factions they can alleviate this issue somewhat.
Makes The Promotion Accessible
Similar to places like Stardom having factions makes it easier as a new fan to get into a promotion. Those taking pins in faction matches are ower down the card than the rest, those who get the wins are at the top of the card and those who aren’t involved in the finish are closer to the midcard/ upper midcard. As mentioned before it also makes it easier to see who the faces and heels of a promotion are. Factions offer a promotion the opportunity to establish a clear totem pole and that helps newer fans ease into watching a promotion.
At the end of the day, AEW is a business and factions sell merch. People who are fans of the Death Triangle are more likely to buy merchandise specific to that faction, the same goes for Inner Circle and The Elite. Fans will almost always take the opportunity to represent their favorite factions and it’d be silly for AEW not to capitalize on this. Having more factions allows AEW to play to more fans as some people will gravitate to heels and others may gravitate to fun babyfaces
The greatest thing about factions is the potential storylines that promotions can tell with them. Who could forget Seth Rollins turning on The Shield, Marty Scurll shocking the world after Adam Cole was ejected from the Bullet Club or even something like Kenny Omega taking over as leader of the BC after laying out AJ Styles? Factions adding and/or gaining members is a really strong storytelling tool and one that Stardom has utilized in recent months to become as hot as they’ve been in a while. When AEW does use this storytelling mechanism you can guarantee it’ll be memorable and lead to a fantastic feud.
American fans may not be used to an oversaturation of factions in their wrestling but anyone that has watched Stardom or even NJPW can see the benefits provided by faction based booking. AEW adopting it is a very smart move from the young company and one that can pa dividends going forward