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There is strength in numbers in all things, and Professional Wrestling is no different. Someone who wants to get to, or stay on, the top of the game is best served to seek allies. Some wrestlers can rely on their family; others band together by virtue of similar character or common interests. Still others band together for one purpose, and one purpose only -- to watch each others' backs, and better their own positions in the company. These wrestling mutual-aid societies are called power stables. While a staple of wrestling, it can occur elsewhere.

Like in all fictional groups. the members of a Power Stable have a tendency to fit certain archetypes. Generally speaking, each stable will play host to at least three of the following core character types:

  • The Centerpiece: The leader of the gang. He considers himself the best in the world and will disagree violently with anybody who suggests otherwise. The stable's first and foremost priority is to keep the world championship belt around the waist of the Centerpiece; it is their crown jewel, serving as a powerful backstage bargaining platform as well as a display of the stable's power.
  • The Heir Apparent: All but the most arrogant Centerpieces know that they won't be around forever, and plan for this eventuality. The Heir Apparent represents that plan in action. He is the Centerpiece's number-one disciple, being trained and groomed for the day that the Centerpiece will retire and he will thus take over the stable's legacy. Ironically, he's also usually the reason that the stable doesn't stay together long enough to have a legacy for him to take over; most Heirs eventually find themselves ascending through the ranks faster than the Centerpiece likes and thus cause the breakup of the stable, either by him turning on the stable or the stable turning on him. As long as the stable's together, though, the Heir Apparent will often find himself in contention for either the promotion's secondary singles title or the tag team championship, whichever is considered more prestigious. Also related to The Dragon and The Starscream tropes.
  • The Enforcer: The Enforcer is the stable's "field general", so to speak. He is the team's strategist, planning such things as match run-ins, backstage attacks and the like in order to maximize the stable's effectiveness. He's usually a cagey veteran, and always the only person that the Centerpiece truly trusts. He will often seek whichever championship the Heir Apparent doesn't go after, in order to further solidify the stable's power base.
  • The Muscle: The Muscle is the physical power of the team. He is big, bad, and dangerous to know; however, whether it's because of mental slowness or just general lack of drive, he just doesn't seem to do much on his own. With the right guidance, though, he is truly a force to be reckoned with, with the stable being more-than-willing to provide that guidance for the benefit of his strength. As befitting his nature, he most often finds himself teaming with another member of the stable, usually the Heir Apparent or the Enforcer.

In addition, the stable may include some of the following characters:

  • The Point Man: This guy is usually found only in larger stables, although it's not unheard of for a smaller stable to have one of these instead of an Heir Apparent. The Point Man is pretty much what his name would indicate - he's the guy "on point", who the stable leader sends out to soften up the opponents. Frequently a charisma-deficient midcarder or a lower midcarder who's a good worker that just doesn't have what it takes to advance into the upper echelon of wresting. Therefore, being associated with the stable and having some of its heat rub off on him is his best bet. Unlike the Heir Apparent, the Point Man is usually fairly loyal to the stable and its leader, although he can be goaded into a Heel Face Turn if his stablemates lose respect for him and throw him into danger while they run away.
  • The Manager: The team's resident Evil Genius, the Manager is the "big picture guy". He's always plotting, always scheming and always pulling strings to put his guys on top. While he deals mostly with the backstage politics and is not a wrestler himself, he's not afraid to get physically involved to help his team, whether it be a trip here, a well-placed attack with a foreign object there or what have you.
  • The Hanger-On: Much like The Chick of the Five-Man Band or The Dark Chick of the Five-Bad Band, he's the stable member with the least fixed role and the hardest to pin down. He's usually somebody's buddy and may not even be a wrestler; if he is, he's usually not in the same echelon with the rest of the stable, and it shows. However, he (or she - this role is frequently filled by a female character) does something that the stable finds useful, and so his fortunes rise with the team's. His role may be anything from the Tagalong Kid to The Sixth Ranger. Often, he will act radically different from the rest of the stable to lend flavor to the group. The more Hanger-Ons a stable has, the less likely any individual Hanger-On is to be a major contributor to the stable's success. This can also lead to a character getting a role that could be described as "Hanger-On Elite".

Note that most Power Stables are heels; it's not impossible for faces to form a stable, of course, but generally faces don't seek power to the degree that heels do; thus most face stables tend to be either gimmick stables or families. If they do form a Power Stable, it's generally because the promotion is so heavily factionalized that grouping together is the only way to level the playing field, or because the stable itself has existed for so long that it's actually built up a legacy of greatness, rather than backbiting or infighting (see: the later incarnations of the Four Horsemen).

Compare Five-Man Band, Five-Bad Band, Power Trio.

Examples of Power Stable include:


NWA/WCW

  • The Ur Example would be the original Four Horsemen:
    • The Centerpiece: Ric Flair
    • The Heir Apparent: Tully Blanchard
    • The Enforcer: Arn Anderson, the Trope Namer for this role
    • The Muscle: Ole Anderson
    • The Manager: J.J. Dillon
  • The Dangerous Alliance
    • The Centerpiece: Rick Rude
    • The Heir Apparent: "Stunning" Steve Austin
    • The Enforcer: Arn Anderson
    • The Muscle: Larry Zybysko & Bobby Eaton
    • The Hanger-On: Madusa
    • The Manager: Paul E. Dangerously

The nWo got derailed when a good dozen Hanger-Ons got added to the stable although many of them could arguably be cast in one of the other roles as well.

  • Raven's Flock
    • The Centerpiece: Raven
    • The Enforcer: Sick Boy at first. When Kidman started getting popular, he was promoted to Enforcer and Sick Boy was demoted to Hanger On.
    • The Muscle: Initially Hammer, replaced by Reese
    • The Hanger On: Riggs, Lodi, Stevie Richards, Kidman at first
    • The Heir Apparent: Originally Saturn, when he left the group the spot was vacant for a bit, then Horace (who had Starscreamish tendencies) joined and got the spot. Towards the very end, Horace got demoted and Kanyon joined and got the spot.
  • Misfits In Action
    • The Centerpiece: Hugh Morrus (General Rection)
    • The Heir Apparent: Lash LeRoux (Corporal Cajun)
    • The Enforcer: Chavo Guererro Jr. (Lieutenant Loco)
    • The Muscle: Van Hammer (Major Stash), The Wall (Sergeant A-WOL)
    • The Hanger-On: Tylene Buck (Major Gunns)
  • The First Family (WCW 2000)
    • The Centerpiece: Hugh Morrus
    • The Heir Apparent: Jerry Flynn
    • The Enforcer: Brian Knobbs
    • The Muscle: The Barbarian
    • The Manager: Jimmy Hart

WWF/WWE

  • The New Hart Foundation:
    • The Centerpiece: Bret Hart
    • The Heir Apparent: Owen Hart
    • The Enforcer: Davey Boy Smith
    • The Muscle: Jim Neidhart
    • The Hanger-On: Brian Pillman
  • D Generation X: (The DX Army)
    • The Centerpiece: Triple H
    • The Heir Apparent: X-Pac
    • The Enforcer(s): The New Age Outlaws
    • The Muscle: Chyna
  • The Nation of Domination:
    • The Centerpiece: Faarooq
    • The Heir Apparent: D'Lo Brown
    • The Enforcer: Savio Vega
    • The Muscle: Crush
    • The Hanger On: PG-13 (they were pretty much only there to rap The Nation's theme song; the one time Faarooq ordered them to wrestle, it was treated as an act of betrayal, and they got squashed)
    • The Manager: Clarence Mason
  • The Nation of Domination (Gang Warz)
    • The Centerpiece: Faarooq
    • The Heir Apparent: Rocky Maivia
    • The Heir Apparent: D'Lo Brown
    • The Enforcer: Kama Mustafa
    • The Muscle: Mark Henry
  • The Nation:
    • The Centerpiece: The Rock
    • The Heir Apparent: D'Lo Brown
    • The Enforcer: Kama Mustafa / The Godfather
    • The Muscle: Mark Henry
    • The Hanger-On: Owen Hart
  • The Corporate Ministry
    • The Centerpiece: The Undertaker
    • The Heir Apparent: Triple H
    • The Enforcer: The Big Bossman, Chyna
    • The Muscle: Viscera & Mideon
    • The Hangers-On: The Mean Street Posse
    • The Managers: Vince and Shane McMahon
  • The Radicalz
    • The Centerpiece: Chris Benoit
    • The Heir Apparent: Eddie Guerrero
    • The Enforcer: Dean Malenko
    • The Muscle: Perry Saturn
    • The Hanger-On: Terri Runnels (2001 version)
  • The Un-Americans
    • The Centerpiece: Lance Storm
    • The Heir Apparent: Christian
    • The Enforcer: William Regal
    • The Muscle: Test
  • The Cabinet:
    • The Centerpiece: John Bradshaw Layfield
    • The Heir Apparent: "Chief of Staff" Orlando Jordan
    • The Muscle: "Secretaries of Defense" The Basham Brothers
    • The Manager: "Fixer" Jillian Hall
    • The Hanger-On: "Publicist" Amy Weber
  • La Familia:
    • The Centerpiece: Edge
    • The Heirs Apparent: Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder (they think they are, anyway, though Edge tends to treat them more as Muscle or Hangers-On)
    • The Enforcer: Chavo Guerrero
    • The Muscle: Bam Neely
    • The Manager: Vickie Guerrero
  • The Union
    • The Centerpiece: Mankind
    • The Enforcer: The Big Show
    • The Muscle: Ken Shamrock
    • The Heir Apparent: Test
  • Right To Censor**
    • The Centerpiece: Steven Richards
    • The Manager: Ivory
    • The Heir Apparent: Val Venis
    • The Enforcer: The Goodfather
    • The Muscle: Bull Buchanan
  • The Nexus
    • The Centerpiece: Wade Barrett
    • The Heir Apparent/The Enforcer: Daniel Bryan David Otunga
    • The Point Man: Justin Gabriel
    • The Muscle: Skip Sheffield & Heath Slater, Michael Tarver, John Cena (unwillingly)
    • The Hanger-On: Darren Young, Michael McGillicutty & Husky Harris
  • The New Nexus
    • The Centerpiece: CM Punk
    • The Enforcer: David Otunga
    • The Muscle: Michael McGillicutty, Husky Harris, Mason Ryan
  • The Corre
    • The Centerpiece: Wade Barrett
    • The Heir Apparent: Justin Gabriel
    • The Enforcer: Heath Slater
    • The Muscle: Ezekiel Jackson

ECW

  • The Triple Threat:
    • The Centerpiece: Shane Douglas
    • The Heir Apparent: Chris Benoit, Chris Candido
    • The Enforcer: Dean Malenko, Lance Storm
    • The Muscle: Brian Lee, Bam Bam Bigelow
    • The Manager: Francine, Rick Rude, Tammy Sytch
  • Raven's Nest:
    • The Centerpiece: Raven
    • The Enforcer: Cactus Jack, The Dudley Family
    • The Muscle: Brian Lee, The Bruise Brothers
    • The Point Man: Stevie Richards
    • The Manager: Beulah Mc Gillicutty, Kimona Wanaleia
  • The Dudley Family:
    • The Centerpiece: Dudley Dudley, Bubba Ray Dudley & D-Von Dudley
    • The Muscle: Big Dick Dudley
    • The Hanger-On: Lil' Snot Dudley, Dances With Dudley, Chubby Dudley
    • The Manager: Sign Guy Dudley & "Studley Dudley" Joel Gertner

TNA

  • Planet Jarrett:
    • The Centerpiece: Jeff Jarrett
    • The Enforcers: America's Most Wanted, Scott Steiner
    • The Muscles: Monty Brown, Abyss, Rhino
    • The Hangers-On: Team Canada, Gail Kim, Jackie Gayda
    • The Managers: Scott D'Amore, James Mitchell
  • Team Canada
    • The Centerpiece: Petey Williams
    • The Enforcer: Bobby Roode
    • The Muscle: A-1
    • The Point Man: Eric Young (played with during the final months of the stable's existence)
    • The Manager: Scott D'Amore
    • The Hangers-On: Tyson Dux (only appeared during World X Cups), Johnny Devine
  • Christian's Coalition / The Angle Alliance:
    • The Centerpiece: Christian Cage (Coalition) / Kurt Angle (Alliance)
    • The Heir Apparent: AJ Styles
    • The Enforcer: Tomko (usually), Robert Roode (in the on- phases of his on-again, off-again role with the stable)
    • The Muscle: Tomko (whenever Roode worked with the stable)
    • The Manager: Karen Angle (Alliance only)
  • The TNA Frontline:
    • The Centerpiece: Samoa Joe, AJ Styles
    • The Heirs Apparent: Jay Lethal, Consequences Creed
    • The Enforcers: Rhyno, Team 3-D
    • The Muscle: The Motor City Machineguns, O.D.B.
    • The Hanger-On: Eric Young
  • Immortal
    • The Centerpiece: Jeff Hardy (before rehab exile), Bully Ray
    • The Enforcer: Gunner (ascended from Muscle)
    • The Muscle: Abyss, Murphy, Rob Terry, Matt Hardy
    • The Managers: Hulk Hogan & Eric Bischoff
    • The Hanger-On: Jeff Jarrett
  • Fourtune
    • The Centerpiece: AJ Styles
    • The Heir Apparent: Kazarian
    • The Enforcers: Beer Money
    • The Muscle: Matt Morgan
    • The Manager: Ric Flair
    • The Point Man: Douglas Williams
    • The Hanger-On: Desmond Wolfe, Alex Shelley

Toryumon/Dragon Gate

  • Crazy Max
    • The Centerpiece: CIMA
    • The Heir Apparent: SUWA
    • The Muscle: Don Fuji
    • The Enforcer: TARU
    • The Hanger-On: Stalker Ichikawa

Notes

  1. From left to right: Intercontinental Champion Randy Orton, Tag Team Champion Ric Flair, World Heavyweight Champion Triple H and the other Tag team Champion Batista
  2. All of it.
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