The League of Nations in WWE were a short-lived yet fondly remembered team in WWE that could have helped launch all four of it’s members into the main event. However, their purpose was simply to lose to Roman Reigns, and they soon became one of the biggest failures in the WWE.
The League of Nations helped Sheamus to win the WWE Championship, but outside of that were seen as losers. This is despite winning a huge WrestleMania match against The New Day, although people only remember the four men getting beaten up after the match.
They disbanded soon after WrestleMania 32, and remain to this day one of the biggest wastes of potential in WWE history.
The League Of Nations
The League of Nations were a short-lived faction in WWE during late 2015/ early 2016. It was a four man team that had the potential to be one of the top teams in WWE and had the star power to rival the likes of The Shield and the New Day.
As a foursome, they seemed formidable. The group featured two former world champions, a multi-time Intercontinental Champion and the best United States Champion WWE have had in years.
With three Europeans and one Mexican, they were one of the most multicultural teams in the company and could have been a huge hit worldwide, were they given the chance. If WWE had pushed all four members well, they could have created four top heels to help carry the WWE over the next few years.
The four men in WWE’s League of Nations were;
- Sheamus – Former WWE and World Heavyweight Champion and one of Ireland’s greatest ever wrestlers
- Alberto Del Rio – Now disgraced Mexican wrestler who was the first Mexican-born superstar to win the WWE Championship
- Bad-News Barrett – The English bare-knuckle boxer was destined for WWE Championship glory but injuries took him away from that. Still won multiple championships and was a fan favourite for years.
- Rusev – The Bulgarian Brute lost the United States Championship to John Cena at Wrestlemania 31
As a four-man group, they boasted more championships that most teams ever could in WWE.
They were all set up to be the most dominant in WWE for years but had their legs cut out from under them upon the day they formed. This was due to the reason why they were formed, and that was for one man Roman Reigns.
They were formed to put over Roman Reigns
The beginnings of WWE’s League of Nations came as far back as WWE Money in the Bank 2015. Sheamus won the Money in the Bank contract at the event, entitling him to a match any time he likes, within a year, for the WWE Championship.
After Seth Rollins was forced to vacate the WWE Championship prior to Survivor Series 2015, a tournament was set up to decide the new champ. Sheamus lost in the first round to Cesaro on Monday Night Raw, with the final match for the title being at Survivor Series 2015.
This wound up being Rollins former Shield partners – Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns. They wrestled in a short match at the event, which saw Roman Reigns win his first WWE Champion of many during his long career.
However, soon after his win, Sheamus cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and forced an impromptu match upon the new Champion. He won the match and became the WWE Champion for the first time in years. Reigns was left embarrassed but did not stop his pursuit of gold.
Sheamus defended the title in a rematch on the November 30 episode of Raw, with Reigns hoping to regain the championship he unfairly lost. He looked like the match was his when he laid in to the Irishman with all his might.
However, as he was about to win the bout, Roman Reigns was attacked by King Barrett, Alberto Del Rio (who soon split from Zeb Colter and their disastrous “MexAmerica” gimmick) and Rusev, three of WWE’s most fearsome heels and top International stars. Sheamus would later announce the group as being called “The League of Nations”.
The name derived from the first worldwide intergovernmental organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. That League of Nations was formed in 1920 and was considered a rousing failure.
The WWE’s edition was equally a failure. They existed solely to get Roman Reigns over, with even Sheamus admitting “The whole League of Nations thing wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea for those of us involved, it didn’t do any of us any favours.”
The group lost to Roman Reigns at every conceivable possibility. This was during the peak Reigns-hate, and Vince McMahon was doing anything he could to get this new top star cheered.
This included having him defeated the League of Nations in a 4-on-1 handicap match, and even Vince McMahon coming out of retirement to referee Roman Reigns vs Sheamus for the WWE Championship on Raw.
WWE pulled out all the stops – including burying 4 of their top heels – to try and get the fans to cheer for someone they really, really didn’t want to.
It worked for a night, although how much of that was simply seeing a WWE title change on free TV is debatable. The group were an abject failure in both getting themselves or Reigns over.
It ended with Reigns taking Sheamus’ title off of him but the group would have one more moment to make fans remember them by – but not for the right reasons.
Their Sole Wrestlemania Moment Saw Them Being Beaten Up By Legends
The group moved on to a feud with The New Day for Wrestlemania 32. The trio of Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E had quickly became the most popular act in WWE and a match with them would be a huge thing for the four men.
And it was. And the League of Nations actually beat The New Day at Wrestlemania, oddly in a 4-on-3 handicap match, which would have been a huge victory for them.
Except nobody cared. Nobody remembered it and the whole thing was completely irrelevant, due to what happened after the match. Wade Barrett, under the gimmick of “King Barrett”, grabbed a microphone and professed to the crowd that “no three men” could challenge them.
An unfair challenge seeing as there were four of them, but no matter. They were soon interrupted by three WWE legends – Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
The Hall of Famers completely embarrassed the League of Nations, hitting all their finishing moves and danced with the New Day on top of their rotting corpses.
Once again, they were simply a vehicle to get someone else over. In this case it was a reason to get Steve Austin and friends onto Wrestlemania, and they were the victims.
The team disbanded a few weeks later and are a long-forgotten memory in the history of WWE, archived in the vault of “biggest wasted potentials” alongside the likes of Cesaro and Owen Hart.
Of the four men in the League of Nations, only Sheamus still wrestles in WWE. Wade Barrett has retired from wrestling and now works on commentary for the WWE, Rusev wrestles fro AEW as “Miro”, while Alberto Del Rio has been blackballed by every major American promotion, for crimes such as sexual assault and kidnapping.
Should the League of Nations in WWE have beaten Roman Reigns? Let us know in the comments below!
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.