What do you get when you take 4 of the biggest names from WCW and pair them up with arguably one of the best wrestlers in WWE history? You get one of the best factions TNA has ever produced. You get the Main Event Mafia.
The Main Event Mafia (MEM….do you get the title now?) was a faction comprised of Sting, Kurt Angle, Kevin Nash, Booker T and Scott Steiner, and would later be joined by Samoa Joe.
The seeds for the Main Event Mafia were planted in 2008 when AJ Styles was being beat down by a group made up of Booker T, Team 3D, and Tomko. Kurt Angle came to the ring at the behest of wife Karen Angle, but instead of helping AJ, Angle joined in on the beating.
Booker T began a feud with Samoa Joe. At their match at Victory Rode, Samoa Joe went crazy and attacked security, referees, and Booker T. Sting came to the ring and tried to stop Joe’s attack, but Joe would flip Sting the bird and continue his beat down.
Over the next couple of months, Sting helped Booker T and Kurt Angle in feuds against Samoa Joe and AJ Styles respectively. Sting later admitted to attacking Joe and Styles because they were “not respecting the veterans”.
Sting challenged Samoa Joe for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. In the match, Kevin Nash turned on his friend Joe, hitting him with a baseball bat while the referee wasn’t looking. Nash later stated that he turned on Joe because of the disrespect he showed Nash and Hall some years back.
On October 23rd, the Main Event Mafia was officially created. Originally, they offered Team 3D a spot in the group, but were attacked by Bubba and D-Von. Scott Steiner would return from an injury and join the group the next week.
Sting was holding the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Booker T would then introduce the TNA Legends Championship, making himself the first winner. Booker would drop that title to AJ Styles, however he and Scott Steiner would go on to win the TNA Tag Team Championships. Kevin Nash would eventually recapture the Legends Championship, bringing it back to Main Event Mafia.
At 2009 Slammiversary, the TNA World Heavyweight Championship would be defended in a King of the Mountain match involving Angle, Joe, Mick Foley and Jeff Jarrett. Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle would climb the ladder at the same time, but Joe unhooked the title, and handed it to Angle, thus turning heel and joining the Main Event Mafia.
The following night, Sting called out all of the members of Main Event Mafia. Sting had a problem with Kurt bringing in Samoa Joe, saying that the Main Event Mafia was started “because of punks” like Joe. Sting also had a problem with Matt Morgan, whom Sting defeated at Slammiversary, in a match where if Morgan won, he would become a member of the group.
Sting insulted and went against the Main Event Mafia, turning face in the process. Sting eventually handed Kevin Nash a bat and told him to chose between him and the Mafia. Nash went to hit Sting, but Sting had a second baseball bat and took out all the members with it, before being beaten down by the entire group himself.
Another faction in TNA at the time was World Elite. World Elite consisted of members Eric Young, Brutus Magnus, Kiyoshi, Sheik Abdul Bashir, Doug Williams and Rob Terry. Main Event Mafia joined forces with World Elite to form Elite Mafia. At the Hard Justice pay per view, with Kevin Nash regaining the Legends title from Mick Foley, and Samoa Joe capturing the X Division title, all of TNA’s male championships were on members of the Main Event Mafia.
Kurt Angle went up against AJ Styles at the No Surrender PPV, which would start the decline of the Main Event Mafia. Angle would lose the TNA World Heavyweight Championship in a five-way dance. Following the PPV, on an episode of Impact, the Elite Mafia broke up following a brawl within the super faction.
The groups losing ways continued as Samoa Joe would lose the TNA X Division title to Amazing Red. On October 18th, 2009 at Bound for Glory, Nash lost the Legends Championship to Eric Young in a three-way dance. Steiner and Booker T also lost the TNA Tag titles to Doug Williams and Brutus Magnus. Kurt Angle defeated Matt Morgan at the PPV, but would shake his rivals hand after the match.
Booker T and Scott Steiner lost their titles in a “Full Metal Mayhem” match which included Team 3D, Beer Money, and the new Champions The British Invasion (Magnus and Williams). After the match, Booker T would be taken out on a stretcher, writing him off of TV as this was his last appearance for the company.
The following night on Impact, Kurt Angle would admit that he was wrong about the younger talent such as Matt Morgan, and turned face and left Main Event Mafia, with Kevin Nash going with him.
After disbanding, Scott Steiner would be the only one claiming to be apart of Main Event Mafia in his feud with Bobby Lashley. His feud with Lashley would come to an end, and so would his career in TNA, thus completely getting rid of the Main Event Mafia.
TNA attempted to bring back the Main Event Mafia a couple of times. The first time was in 2011 to feud with Immortal, which was a group made by Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan, who were the kayfabe directors of TNA. The group contained wrestlers such as Abyss, Bully Ray, Jeff Hardy, Gunner and Jeff Jarrett.
Scott Steiner would return to TNA in the end of January and aligned himself with Angle. Booker T and Kevin Nash, however, made surprise appearances in WWE at the Royal Rumble, which forced TNA to alter their plans and abandon the story line.
The second time was in 2013, when Sting announced the return of the Main Event Mafia to face off with Aces & Eights. Kurt Angle was then the second member announced to the New Main Event Mafia.
Former Main Event Mafia member Samoa Joe was announced as the third member, and Magnus was made the fourth. Later in the month, MMA fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson would join the group.
As I was writing this, I was going back watching old segments including the Main Event Mafia. I know I said it earlier, but I loved this faction. I believe it got the best mic work of Kevin Nash’s career and helped establish Samoa Joe and AJ Styles at the time.
Is it the greatest faction in wrestling history? Not at all. But at this time, TNA was almost dead….multiple times actually. They were paying big money to bring in big names but just weren’t seeing any return on investment. The Main Event Mafia may not have been the only TNA didn’t die, but it damn sure helped.
A group of legends, all with previous World Championship reigns going up against the young future wrestlers is a great story and one that can work when having the right workers, as we saw with the Main Event Mafia.
Featured photo source: dailymotion.com
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