From time immemorial, when it comes to pro-wrestling, there are a few constants: faces, heels, titles and teams. While to even the most passing pro-wrestling fan, the concept of the tag team isn't foreign, there came a time when a duo wasn't enough to get things done and thus the faction was born. Names like The Four Horsemen, The Fabulous Freebirds, the nWo, and D-Generation X are synonymous with not only some of wrestling's more exciting storylines but with the best the business has to offer in terms of talent. Keeping in line with educating viewers with the occasional history lesson/compilation release, the WWE offers up seven hours of matches mixed between brief "history" lessons and interviews chronicling 20 of the most noteworthy (at least by WWE standards) factions in wrestling history in the aptly titled "Greatest Wrestling Factions."
Unlike more comprehensive releases, "Greatest Wrestling Factions" takes a few minutes to introduce the faction before having former and current superstars share their recollections and thoughts before serving up a match meant to highlight said faction in their glory. It shouldn't be shocking that the vast majority of the factions are WWE creations with only four coming from the WCW era, two from ECW and one from WCCW. That said, looking over the 13 remaining WWE creations and the pedigree is quite varied from the iconic Heenan Family all the way to the more recent Straight Edge Society. What is greatly appreciated is the variety of the source of matches chosen; sure you get the obvious WCW vs. nWo Hollywood vs. nWo Wolfpac at Fall Brawl '98; but on the flipside, you get quite a few RAW Main Events and even a rare Shotgun match (yes, it features the most questionable inclusion, The Oddities, but from a bigger perspective shows just how comprehensive WWE programming was in the late ‘90s).
Ultimately, "Greatest Wrestling Factions," doesn't do that much in offering a comprehensive history lesson behind the factions chosen, just enough context to give an outsider a basic understanding of where things fit in the grand scheme. The sheer variety of the matches offered makes this worth checking out as there truly is something for everyone: a classic Four Horsemen vs. Barry Windham, Lex Luger, and Sting all the way to The Brood vs. The JOB Squad. The matches themselves do generally fall by and large in the average to above average quality, but the ultimate goal of showing how diverse the wrestling faction concept has been in the past 30 years as well as how a synthesis of great singles talent into a cohesive unit can give a truly legendary feeling to a match when great opposing forces collide. The end result is a fine initial offering that hopefully the WWE follows up with individual highlight sets like they've already done for some of the factions contained within.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is more than serviceable for the main bridging segments, with archival material varying in quality depending on its age.
The Dolby Digital English 5.1 audio is never utilized to full effect during the documentary portion, with the entire feature firmly rooted in a stereo soundscape. Archival footage is on par, if not bit flat and tinny at times. English SDH subtitles are included.
Neither a comprehensive history lesson nor an exhaustive top-tier match compilation, "Greatest Wrestling Factions" serves as a great overview of 20 very diverse wrestling factions with just enough context so the big picture becomes more clear. Some of the inclusions are controversial, but enough are logical enough that the collection is worth checking out. Rent It.