Similar to the WWE’s attempt at reviving their tag-team division, the company made a concerted effort to infuse more stables into their product as well. Curiously, this infusion took place immediately following last November’s Survivor Series, an annual event where a core portion of the matches consist of four-to-five man teams competing in an elimination format. However, last year’s event was centered around a tournament to crown a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion to give the WWE the benefit of the doubt. One of those newly-formed stables turned out to be the League of Nations comprised of Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Rusev, and King Barrett.
In addition to the League of Nations, we also had the Wyatt Family, The New Day and the Social Outcasts. At the time, all four factions were portrayed as heels. Much has changed since November of 2015. The Social Outcasts (Heath Slater, Curtis Axel, Adam Rose, Bo Dallas) remain a comedy heel group primarily made up of enhancement talent. The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods) have since turned babyface as their tag team championship reign continues. The Wyatt Family has been decimated by injury, and now the League of Nations appears headed for a change as well.
On the April 4 episode of Monday Night RAW, the League of Nations disposed of King Barrett after Sheamus referred to him as the group’s weakest link. Few were surprised by the double-cross due to the impending expiration of his contract this June. Barrett will not be re-signing with the company when his current deal runs out. However, it appears there’s more to the story than just the exclusion of the faction’s English representative. According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, that attack was the first step in the eventual and complete disbanding of the League of Nations altogether.
The report does not indicate what the WWE has planned for Sheamus, Del Rio, or Rusev individually, so we’re only left to speculate. But the League of Nations as we know it appear to be a short-lived stable destined to become a footnote. The League was formed a week after Survivor Series, with Sheamus as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Del Rio was also the United States Champion, and with Rusev and Barrett providing extra muscle, the group was booked as a main event stable feuding with Roman Reigns among others. However, it became apparent that Sheamus was a transitional champion designed to help Reigns get over as the company’s top babyface. And while Reigns ascended to the main event at WrestleMania, the League of Nations slid down the ladder, culminating in a feud with The New Day.
What was originally booked as a four-on-three handicap match for WrestleMania ended up being an even six-man tag match between the tag team champions and the League of Nations. Barrett served as an interfering ringside cheerleader in Dallas, though Sheamus, Del Rio, and Rusev were victorious. Their win (and subsequent boasting) was the catalyst for returning legends Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, and Steve Austin to save the day and create that special WrestleMania moment.
It had appeared that WWE was set to pit the League of Nations against the Wyatt Family for another six-man match at Payback. This was scheduled to be the beginning of the Wyatt face-turn, but with Bray injuring his calf in Milan, that match may have to be scrapped altogether. No word yet on if officials will move forward with Erick Rowan and Braun Strowman by themselves, but their originally-scheduled opponents for Payback also appear to be headed for alternative plans.
Of the three remaining members of the League of Nations, only Rusev has yet to perform as a babyface. Clearly, Sheamus excels more as a heel, and Del Rio’s run as a good guy was a short-lived, failed experiment. Keep an eye out for the end of days for the League in the coming weeks.
[Image via WWE]