I’ve been meaning to write this article for a while and after reading about Craig’s pick for worst stable in history I feel the time is right for me to highlight a group who may not have achieved the popularity of DX, The Four Horsemen or the nWo but certainly rank as my favourite stable of all time – The Brood.
I bet that plenty of long term WWE fans had forgotten about this group while newer fans probably have no idea who they were. This is understandable given that two of the three members went on to achieve genuine superstardom with more memorable moments and matches than you can shake a stick at.
For those unfamiliar with The Brood the group existed in a low-mid card position from the autumn of 1998 to the summer of 1999 and comprised of Gangrel, Edge and Christian. The entire existence of The Brood can be extended to a full year if you include the New Brood, comprising Gangrel and The Hardy Boyz.
For me there was just so much to like about The Brood. For starters even people that hated them would have to admit that to this day you will not find a better entrance in wrestling. The arena lights would cut out, a ring of fire would appear on the stage, that bad ass music and red strobe light would start before the unholy trio would rise up through the fire. This entrance wasn’t just for special occasions like Wrestlemania; they would come out like this every week. It truly was awesome.
To compliment the amazing entrance the guys really did look and act the part, they were just so cool. They had the feel of being like The Lost Boys, only darker. Gangrel was the leader with his fangs and goblet of red liquid he would spit into the crowd. Christian would crawl and slide around the ring dressed exactly like Gangrel, but would not speak or display any emotion, he genuinely looked heartless. Edge was the most popular member, primarily because he was the best looking, but he also had this brooding inner rage vibe that made him captivating to watch. Just about everything WWE was doing at this time was cool because they did such a good job of tapping into popular culture. The Brood didn’t need to wear South Park t-shirts though, there was just something really cool about these guys.
I think the reason The Brood crossed the line from weird into cool was the fact that they weren’t mysterious in the sense that we knew nothing about them. That would be totally counter productive, who cares about strangers? Granted we knew very little about them but we did receive nuggets of information to encourage us to read between the lines at what might be going on with them. I wanted to know more, I found them totally intriguing.
Edge debuted first as a tortured soul who would hang around in the rafters and make his entrance through the crowd. His debut was quickly followed by Gangrel’s, which is when the Edge character really found some depth. There was some kind of pre existing relationship between these two guys, there was some kind of beef that we didn’t know about. To really spice things up Christian then made his debut as a follower of Gangrel, much to Edge’s dismay. This is where this storyline bordered on being too mysterious for its own good. Thankfully it was soon revealed that Christian was Edge’s younger brother. That was all the information we received, it was up to the audience to piece everything together and try to make sense of it. Shortly after Christian’s debut Edge also began following Gangrel and The Brood was formed. Why did Edge join Gangrel and Christian? How did Christian come to follow Gangrel? What was the beef between Gangrel and Edge? Were they part of a cult? Did Gangrel hold something over them? Questions we will only ever be able to make up answers to in our own heads. I have no idea if this level of mystery was deliberate in order to build interest or just laziness by the writers, either way it worked.
The other big selling point of The Brood’s act was the blood bath, I had never seen anything like it in wrestling before nor have I since. Usually occurring at the end of their matches or during promos the lights would cut out, their music would play and the lights would strobe. When the music stopped and the lights came back on someone would be stood at ringside covered from head to toe in blood. They also got up to some other weird stuff such as abducting Rocco Rock and tying him up in a crucifix position and helping The Undertaker hang The Bossman from a cage at Wrestlemania 15.
I was drawn to The Brood because of their gimmick and stuck with them because they were young and obviously very talented (although you could make an exception for Gangrel). However, in the ring they didn’t really do much if I’m totally honest. They did achieve more than the aforementioned Million Dollar Corporation however; Christian captured the Light Heavyweight Championship at Judgment Day 1998. Other than that we would frequently see a combination of the three wrestle in tag matches. Initially Edge and Gangrel but later it was mainly Edge and Christian that would do the honours. Neither combo realistically challenged for the titles. On PPV we would quite often see them in 6 man action and on occasion one of the group could be spotted in a singles match.
This leads me to the one thing that annoyed me about The Brood, and this isn’t a knock on them by the way. They never really had a prolonged feud of any significance. The main standout in their run as a group is probably their association and subsequent battles with The Ministry of Darkness. For the most part they just kicked about as a cool but kind of weird group of guys that would wrestle in predominantly good matches towards the start of each show.
I did love The Brood; I credit them for getting me back into wrestling. In fact I have their logo tattooed on my wrist. It’s just a shame that The Brood name and gimmick tends to get forgotten, albeit forgotten for the right reasons. At No Mercy 1999 The New Brood took on their predecessors and rivals from the original group in a breathtaking and career defining tag team ladder match. At the end of the match the Brood name was all but forgotten about because everybody was talking about The Hardy Boyz and Edge & Christian.