In case you didn’t watch Friday Night Smackdown! two nights ago (or read the spoilers), a new faction has formed on WWE‘s “blue brand”. During a match between Brodus Clay and Heath Slater (a match seen many, many times already), Clay was about to pick up another easy victory with the Ah, Funk It! However, before the running splash could connect, two men hit the ring and began assaulting Clay. The two turned out to be Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal.
After double-teaming for a minute or two, Slater joined in on the assault, and a double-team turned into a triple-team from the three heels. McIntyre proceeded to drop Clay with the Future Shock before Mahal applied the camel clutch. Meanwhile, Slater seemed to be directing traffic during the assault. After it was over, the three men raised their arms in victory before leaving the ring, with Clay still there.
As it turns out, this is the beginning of a new faction for the three, and they already have a name. Since Friday night, the group has revealed their name via Twitter, referring to themselves as “The Encore”. At this time, it’s’ unknown exactly the reason behind the name, or why these three have decided to team up, but it will likely be revealed over the next few weeks on Smackdown!
While I’m no fan of these guys (except McIntyre, who is criminally underrated), it’s obvious WWE is planning on keeping Slater and Mahal around for a while. Neither of them have done anything of note in many months, and quite frankly, neither has McIntyre. WWE has a problem with a lot of directionless guys on the undercard, including these three, and it often leads fans to wonder why factions or tag teams aren’t formed. Apparently, WWE has at least realized this is the case with these three, and have now put them together.
Personally, I think this is a great idea. Like I said, I’m no fan of Slater or Mahal (who is still very green, despite several years in developmental prior to his call-up to the main roster), but if these two are going to be kept around, WWE might as well do something with them. And McIntyre has been directionless for quite some time, going from “The Chosen One” to just another face on the roster in just about a year. It makes sense to put the three heels together, especially when you consider how sorely lacking factions are in WWE.
Looking at the roster, I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two more guys were added, with Curt Hawkins being at the top of the list. As long as they keep the group relatively small (four to five guys at the most), this could actually work quite well. Groups run into problems when there are too many members (see: The Alliance, the nWo, Nexus) but, when kept small, it makes things easier to keep track of, and prevents members of the group from being lost in the shuffle.
I am curious to see where WWE goes with this.