An incredible thing happened in the past 12 months of pro wrestling.
Where there was once only a handful of true ‘stables’ (3+ members of a named faction, with a clear babyface/heel designation), there stands a lifeblood of both WWE and independent wrestling promotions.
When speaking of stables, of course the New Day and Bullet Club immediately come to mind…not to be outdone by the likes of Viking War Party, House of Truth, The Dollhouse, The Crew, The Elite, Los Ingobernables, Valifornia, and recently disbanded League of Nations and Social Outcasts. One might also consider the Reigns-Usos partnership yet another stable, name to be determined.
Perhaps the greatest utility of the stable concept is its ability to truly reinvent storylines and characters. While the tag team concept offers a sound means for alternative rivalries, it falls victim to the reality of a belt being the one and only true goal. In contrast, a stable can serve as much needed career lifelines for mid-card talent on the chopping block.
Additionally, a stable willfully combines stark contrasts in wrestling style, weight class and personalities toward in-ring, jambalaya gold. Arguably no one does this better than Lucha Underground, where a never-ending sense of organized chaos keeps a dynamic trios concept intact. A constant influx of unique characters (Joey Ryan, Rey Mysterio, etc.) ensures Lucha Underground’s stables keep rolling at full speed (even with injuries).
Third, the stable allows increased fan interaction with a third individual that transcends traditional manager/valet roles. While the latter adds copious amounts of personality, a stable requires an active third athlete to engage with competing talent and fans. Perhaps no one mastered this craft better than WWE’s Xavier Woods, who employed a rarely used freebird rule to create arguably the most popular fan interaction gimmick on the roster.
Finally, disbanding a stable creates a most unlikely, untapped rivalry…in a fatal 3-way, winner take all event. Reshuffle the deck for new stables, and the fun continues.
Note that of the stables up top, several contain female athletes. Perhaps while other promotions remained steadfastly committed to tag teams, others – Shine Wrestling, for example – used the stable to forge the foundation for championship belt rivalries.
Thus and as the stable concept continues to evolve, it’s only logical female athletes remain front and center. Mirroring Lucha Underground, intergender matches serve as a terrific venue to showcase stables, an eclectic environment to transcend simplified gender discrepancies (i.e. women can only fight women, implied intergender ‘rules’ of engagement). It stands to reason other promotions will follow Lucha Underground in endorsing an intergender or otherwise stable-based title.