Some of wrestling’s best stories have come from dominant stables. From Evolution to the Shield, and most recently The Undisputed Era, WWE has thrived on being able to tell compelling stories about a group of superstars terrorizing the entire roster. Having a group of hate-able villains to battle with makes it easy to build rising stars who can eventually give the heels their comeuppance. NXT fans were so ready to see Adam Cole lose his title that Tommaso Ciampa, once the most hated heel in WWE, became the brand’s top face overnight. Velveteen Dream’s character saw a similar trajectory working opposite Cole before legal issues forced WWE to remove him from television.
Seth Rollins and his disciples were looking like the next powerful heel stable until an injury to Rezar of the AOP canceled those plans. Fortunately for WWE, Zelina Vega and her business associates Andrade, Angel Garza and Austin Theory can take the mantle as Raw’s next unstoppable group.
Since Wrestlemania, the group has run roughshod over Raw on Monday nights. Between the four superstars, fans have grown accustomed to seeing Vega’s faction appear several times throughout the show — and prior to running into WWE Champion Drew McIntyre, the group was looking like a force to be reckoned with.
The group’s credibility starts with its biggest star, Andrade. Since being drafted to Raw in 2019, WWE has been building the 30-year old as one of the brand’s top heels, culminating in a victory over Rey Mysterio for the United States Championship. The company continues to show faith in the Mexican superstar, with McIntyre continually reminding the audience that it was Andrade who took away his NXT Championship back in 2017. Andrade is the perfect leader for this stable, playing the heel who can win any match on his own, but prefers to take advantage of the numbers game and win with illicit help from Vega and his stable-mates. Andrade already has experience leading a stable, Los Ingobernables, from his time in CMLL.
Garza also has plenty of potential and will likely step into the US Championship picture when Andrade moves into the upper card. He had a lukewarm reception in his main roster debut, which can likely be attributed to his sudden appearance as Andrade’s replacement during his wellness suspension and initial feud with a flailing Humberto Carrillo. But, has since hit his stride on the main roster, and his emotional Cruiserweight Championship win in NXT proved that he can connect with the audience. Theory was another last-minute replacement for Andrade, who suffered a rib injury just prior to Wrestlemania which led to Vega (really Paul Heyman) bringing in the 22-year old as her third associate, and the young NXT call up has not looked out of place in the group.
The key to this trio reaching their ceiling is Vega. Her consistent presence at ringside makes the trio look more formidable and Vega’s promo skill makes it easy to get invested in what the group is doing. Samoa Joe pointed out the advantage she offered last week, making a point to contrast the effectiveness of Garza and Bobby Lashley based on their respective managers.
This past Monday night the group was shown infighting, with Andrade and Garza both having a problem with Theory. While this could lead to a breakup of the group, it seems unlikely that Garza or Andrade will continue without Vega as their manager. The dissent within the group could be WWE’s way of removing Theory from a group he was never planned to be a part of. Without Theory, Vega could be open to taking on others in need of direction, similar to how she was first paired up with Andrade.
Adding Carrillo could make the perfect addition whether or not Theory remains in the stable. Like the NXT version of Andrade, Carrillo has been struggling to get over as a smiling babyface despite good ring work. Allowing Vega to take Carrillo under her wing would both play to her strengths and cover Carrillo’s weaknesses. If WWE really wanted to create a dominant stable, Vega could even grab a bigger fish and add the newly formed team of Ricochet and Cedric Alexander to the group.
The athletic pair have just started their run as a babyface tag team but already seem lost in the shuffle, splitting a pair of matches with the relatively unknown team of Shane Thorne and Brendan Vink before playing second fiddle to R-Truth this past week. It would be easy to buy a storyline where the two former champions get frustrated and turn to Vega for focus, turning them into a no-nonsense team that can challenge for the tag titles while Andrade and Garza focus on the singles championships.
It’s unclear how much WWE wants to commit to a large heel stable on Raw, but with Vega, Andrade, Garza, and (possibly) Theory already forming a formidable group, the building blocks are in place to create a villainous group that can dominate the main roster like Undisputed Era currently dominates NXT.
Zelina Vega, Andrade, Angel Garza, and Austin Theory have the potential to become Raw's next top stable.