We Are The Nation!

NOD1When we look back to the past, namely the Attitude Era, one thing stands out above all others: the bevy of factions that were around during that time frame. DX, The Ministry of Darkness, Los Baricuas, Disciples ofApocalypse… Everywhere you turned, there was a group vying for some sort of control or title in the WWF/E. But there was one that held more of a focus than the rest, that had longevity and is still remembered by most fans. The Nation of Domination.

For those of you who don’t remember, The Nation underwent a number of transformations, and each one led to different members in the faction. The very first iteration of them, though, wasn’t even on WWF TV. It was in the Memphis based territory, USWA, led by future WWF Nation members PG-13. The faction was much like how the future WWF version would be, a spin on the Nation of Islam, with many of the members changing their names to more Islamic sounding ones.  The faction would never really take off there, due to the fact USWA was in a location to where those kinds of political ideologies do not resonate well, as well as the fact that almost all of the members were white.

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The Nation’s first WWF incarnation followed the same sort of formula as the USWA one, with Faarooq at the helm. Faarooq up to this point had a horrendous gladiator gimmick that was very characteristic of the early 90s era cartoonish style. After a brutal attack on Ahmed Johnson, he would drop the gimmick and be joined by Clarence Mason and three other nameless “members”. Those three would quickly be replaced by PG-13, Savio Vega, Crush, and D-Lo Brown. Their initial feud against Johnson and later The Legion of Doom would take quite a bit of their time, and Faarooq would help get the group over with his angry tirades each week.  But dissention in the group would cause Faarooq to fire everyone but D-Lo Brown after King of the Ring 97.

With the resultant “firings”, Faarooq decided to refocus the group. He would bring in Kama Mustafa and a newly heel Ahmed Johnson, who due to his injury issues would quickly be replaced by Rocky Maivia. this would be the start of the “Gang Warfare” period of WWF, as Vega would form Los Baricuas and Crush form Disciples of Apocalypse. The three factions would have a moderate feud with each other, before the storyline fizzled out at the Ground Zero PPV.  During this time, Rocky Maivia made one of the most important gimmick transitions in wrestling history, and became The Rock.  While the rest of The Nation fought Johnson, LOD, and Ken Shamrock, The Rock would be focused on gaining the Intercontinental Title from Stone Cold Steve Austin.  He would be embroiled in a controversial decision at Survivor Series 97, but would win the title the following night on Raw due to Austin forfeiting the match. This would see Rock begin a feud with Ken Shamrock over the IC Title, one that would see The Nation gain a new member in Mark Henry and stretch into the next iteration of The Nation.

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After winning the IC Title, The Rock started butting heads with Faarooq, who was still leader of the group. The Rock would oust Faarooq as leader on the March 30th edition of Raw, and they would begin feuding over the IC Title. With The Rock at the helm, changes began to run through The Nation, starting with the removal of the “of Domination” portion of their name. The other members would also start gaining more individualized notions and show more creativity. Kama would become The Godfather, D-Lo would start his wonky head movements, Henry would become the enforcer of the group, and the faction would gain new music.  While they feuded with Shamrock and Faarooq, Owen Hart would turn heel and join the Nation, sharing leadership roles with The Rock. This would lead into The Nation’s infamous feud with DX, with HHH and Rock feuding over the IC Title and D-Lo and X-Pac feuding over the European titles. The feud would last the better part of the year, but with The Rock’s rising popularity, it was only a matter of time before The Nation dissolved.  The Godfather and D-Lo would go on to have moderate midcard success, The Rock would become one of the biggest names in WWF/E history, Henry would become Sexual Chocolate and then The World’s Strongest Man, as well as one of WWE’s longest tenured veterans, and we all know what happened with Owen.  But the key here is that almost every member was elevated in some sort of fashion. So why is this relevant today?

As you can see above, Xavier Woods recently brought up the idea of using The Nation to fight Rusev. While it may seem like a daft idea to bring back a stable to just take on one person, just look at how it could improve just about every part of WWE. Stables such as this are proven launching points for careers. The original Nation helped create 2 main event level talents and a slew of other midcard guys.  And with them banding together, you can guarantee that they will have some screen time each week.  But who would benefit from this the most?

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Mark Henry: 

Mark is needed for a revived Nation to work. As the only original member in active competition right now, he would need to spearhead the group to give them legitimacy. Plus, with him having been in the main event scene multiple times, it could be an easy inroads for him to go to the WWEWHC again.  Plus, with all of his years in WWE, he can be a fantastic mentor for some of the other members of the faction.

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Kofi Kingston: 

Let’s face facts: Kofi is stuck in a face midcard rut 6 1/2 years long. Sure, he still gets the kids popping for his “Boom” shtick, but at this point most fans have tuned him out. His matches are formulaic at best, and of late, he has been a glorified jobber. But as we saw when he was facing Orton years ago, when he puts his edgy side on, he could be a force to be reckoned with. Under Henry’s tutelage, he could reach new heights and possibly break that glass ceiling we have wanted him to for so long.

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Xavier Woods: 

Xavier is a fun guy to watch, and could bring some levity to the group with his nerdy side, but with him being the newest guy in the WWE in this group, he would most likely be in the Tag Team department of it most of the time. Which is still a step up over barely being on TV!  Honestly, while I like Xavier, he’s the guy that I don’t see progressing as far as the others, the D-Lo of the group. He has a good tool set, but needs the group more than they need him.

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Titus O’Neil: 

Every group needs an enforcer, and who could be better than Titus? He’s big, he’s agile, and he can easily hold his own on the stick. Ever since The Primetime Players split, Titus has seemed to be in limbo yet again. Joining a faction such as this could give him that final bit of a push he needs to get into the midcard and be able to show his true value to the fans.

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R-Truth: 

And no, I’m not talking crazy, Little Jimmy seeing, voices in his head, shucking and jiving R-Truth. I’m talking about the nasty, ruthless R-Truth we saw paired with The Miz. The one that was desperate and had nothing to lose. The one who was angry and berated the fans with his theme. In the more militant style of The Nation, he could become a pivotal talker, able to give off the angry, hate filled promos necessary to get massive heat on them like in the AE. Truth has been in this business a long time as well, so he can lend his knowledge and credibility to the younger stars in the faction. And who knows, maybe we will get some classic Ron Killings in this!

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Dolph Ziggler: 

Wait, what? That’s right, enough is enough and it’s time for a change! I can see Ziggler becoming the Owen Hart and The Rock of the faction, helping lead with Henry and bringing about some changes. Let’s face it, Owen and Dolph have had similar career paths. The only difference is that Dolph has reached the mountain top. But after years of misuse, Dolph could easily just turn into the antisocial one and join The Nation to get payback on those who he perceives has held him down. And like The Rock, he has the charisma and mic work that he could easily end up outshining the group once he has been in it awhile and end up causing dissention in the ranks. Couple that with his fantastic ring work, and this could very well be the vehicle that propels him into the main event scene permanently.