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The League of Nations (professional wrestling)

The League of Nations[7] was a villainous professional wrestling stable in WWE, which was composed of Irish leader Sheamus, Mexican Alberto Del Rio, Bulgarian Rusev, and Englishman King Barrett.[5]

The League of Nations
The League of Nations WWE logo.jpg
The League of Nations logo
Stable
Members Sheamus (leader)[1]
Alberto Del Rio[2]
Rusev[3]
King Barrett[4]
Name(s) The League of Nations
Combined
weight
1,055 lb (479 kg)[2][4][3][1]
Debut November 30, 2015[5]
Disbanded April 25 & April 28, 2016[6]
Years active 2015–2016
Promotions WWE

The concept of the group came from the idea that all members were born outside of the United States and come together to proudly represent their respective nations while also displaying anti-American sentiments.[5] The faction primarily feuded with Roman Reigns and was poorly received by critics.

Contents

HistoryEdit

At Survivor Series on November 22, 2015, Sheamus won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship when he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract on Roman Reigns to win the title after Reigns had just beaten Dean Ambrose in the finals of a tournament to crown a champion following Seth Rollins vacating the championship belt due to a legitimate injury.[8] This led to a rematch between Sheamus and Reigns for the championship at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs and in the build-up to the match, Reigns repeatedly confronted Sheamus, who defended the title on the November 30 episode of Raw, but the championship match was interrupted by Alberto Del Rio (the then United States Champion), King Barrett and Rusev, and after the match, Sheamus announced that the four wrestlers, all born outside the United States, had formed "The League of Nations"; in the group's debut match that same night, they teamed with then WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) to defeat Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and The Usos in a 7-on-4 handicap match.[5] On the December 3 episode of SmackDown, the entire League of Nations lost to Roman Reigns via count-out in the 4-on-1 handicap main event match.[9] On the December 7 episode of Raw, the League Of Nations were involved in a 16-man fatal four-way elimination tag team match against The Wyatt Family, The ECW Originals (The Dudley Boyz, Tommy Dreamer and Rhyno) and the team of Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and The Usos; the match culminated in Reigns pinning Sheamus.[10]

 
The League of Nations in April 2016

While maintaining a group rivalry with Reigns and his allies, individual members of The League of Nations also feuded individually with other wrestlers during this period, as Jack Swagger started a feud over Del Rio's United States Championship, while Rusev clashed with Ryback, who had interrupted the return of Rusev's valet Lana on Raw.[11] Both of these rivalries culminated in matches at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs on December 13, where all of the League members successful in their separate singles matches, with Del Rio and Sheamus both retaining their championships (the latter needing help from his cohorts).[12][13][14] Sheamus' WWE World Heavyweight Championship run came to an abrupt end the following night on Raw when he lost the championship back to Reigns, ending his reign at 22 days.[15] On the January 4, 2016 episode of Raw, Sheamus failed to regain the title from Reigns with Mr. McMahon as special guest referee.[16] On the January 11, 2016 episode of Raw, Del Rio dropped the United States Championship to Kalisto,[17][18] only to regain it the following day at the tapings for SmackDown after interference by Barrett.[19] On January 24 at the Royal Rumble event, Del Rio once again lost the championship to Kalisto,[20] as well as rematch, which was contested in a two-out-of-three-falls match, on February 21 at Fastlane, which was unsuccessful.[21]

Also at Fastlane, then WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day began mocking The League of Nations, calling them the "league of booty".[21] They then continued to mock The League of Nations in various segments and skits while simultaneously feuding with other teams.[22] At Roadblock on March 12, Sheamus and Barrett challenged Big E and Kingston for the WWE Tag Team Championship, but were unsuccessful.[23] The following night on Raw, Del Rio and Rusev was defeated by Big E and Woods in another title match, prompting all four members of The League to attack The New Day after the match.[24] The League of Nations then challenged The New Day to a match at WrestleMania 32 on April 3, where they defeated The New Day, but after the match they were confronted and attacked by Mick Foley, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels.[25]

On the 4 April episode of Raw, Barrett and Sheamus faced The New Day in another tag team title match, in a losing effort and after the match, The League of Nations blamed Barrett for being the "weak link" and attacked him, ejecting him from the group, before the rest of the team was attacked by the Wyatt Family.[26] The feud was suspended within a month due to Bray Wyatt suffering an injury, which led to Del Rio commenting that The League of Nations might separate soon as a result.[27] On the April 28 episode of SmackDown, The League of Nations competed in a six-man tag match against Cesaro, Kalisto and Sami Zayn, but Del Rio and Rusev walked out during the match and Sheamus, who did the same, confronted Del Rio and Rusev during a brawl, and disbanded The League of Nations.[6] Del Rio also confirmed in an interview that the group was finished.[28]

As of the factions dissolution both Barrett and Del Rio departed from the company the same year. Rusev would go on to win his second WWE United States Championship whereas Sheamus proceeded to feud and later join forces with Cesaro, going on to win the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship twice.

ReceptionEdit

Critics panned WWE's handling of The League of Nations, as Wrestling Observer writer Steve Khan wrote on the League's purpose for existence in December 2015, stating that "You can rightfully complain about the League of Nations losing to one guy on their second night as a team, but we all know they don't really matter. They exist to get Roman Reigns over".[9] In March 2016, Pro Wrestling Dot Net writer Haydn Gleed criticized how WWE wasted the four men's combined potential and still never explained in storyline why The League of Nations had formed, while noting that they had become "bad guns for hire who never accomplish their task(s)" instead of a "credible threat".[29] Also in that month, Pro Wrestling Torch writer Greg Parks said that for the members of the League, "somehow, most of them are less over (and certainly less interesting) than when the group was created".[30]

In a September 2016 interview, Sheamus said: "The whole League of Nations thing wasn't everyones cup of tea for those of us involved, it didn't do any of us any favours".[31] In an interview shortly after his departure from the company, Barrett himself said that the group were ultimately just foils for Roman Reigns.[32] According to journalist Dave Meltzer, the faction "wasn't a success" and, along with his pairing with Zeb Colter, caused Alberto Del Rio's stock to drop and halted his high-profile feud with John Cena.[33] Upset with his spot in the company, Del Rio requested his release and it was granted in September.[34]

In wrestlingEdit

 
Del Rio as United States Champion in January 2016

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit

ReferencesEdit

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  3. ^ a b "Rusev". WWE. Retrieved June 6, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "King Barrett". WWE. Retrieved June 6, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d Caldwell, James. "11/30 WWE Raw Results". PWTorch.com. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Martin, Adam (April 26, 2016). "League of Nations dissolute". Wrestleview. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 
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