The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns) stormed onto the professional wrestling scene with something to prove.
In their early vignettes, these three members demanded respect and change. They stood up for talented stars held back by industry standards, demolishing WWE‘s top talent along the way.
They debuted in 2012 at the Survivor Series PPV, interfering in the WWE Championship match by powerbombing Ryback through the announcer’s table, thus allowing then-heel CM Punk to pin John Cena and retain his title.
Over the next few months, The Shield decimated anyone and anything in their path. They attacked talent such as The Miz, Randy Orton, WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No (Kane and Daniel Bryan), The Undertaker and The Rock, building a laundry list of contenders who were no match for their teamwork.
The trio of budding superstars aligned themselves with Punk and manager Paul Heyman as management tried their best to get the crowd against them.
After breaking off on their own, they won their Wrestlemania debut against Big Show, Sheamus and Orton. They followed that up with beating then-WWE Champion Cena and Team Hell No via pinfall in April. Their rise wasn’t over, as Ambrose obtained the United States title and the other two members of the faction won the Tag Team belts at the Extreme Rules PPV in May.
Since then, the focus has been on Bryan’s rise toward the championship, with The Shield fighting sparingly on pre-shows and occasionally in contests used to display the other talents’ skill sets. After months of building the trio as world-beaters, they’ve been delegated to the mid-card.
Some of their most recent television time makes sense, while a good chunk of it doesn’t.
A week before SummerSlam, Rob Van Dam and Mark Henry were left in the ring following a battle royal to become the No. 1 contender for Ambrose’s championship. As two older stars who are well past their glory days, it made sense for The Shield to intimidate the two wrestlers. Big Show made the save and all of a sudden, Ambrose was fighting RVD at the PPV’s pre-show and Henry/Show were set up in a program with Rollins/Reigns.
Just one week later, though, The Shield has aligned themselves with the Corporation (Orton, Triple H, Vince McMahon and Stephanie McMahon), doing their dirty work on Monday Night Raw by disposing of Dolph Ziggler and Show in separate 3-on-1 handicap matches, then beating up Bryan on his way to the ring to close the show.
So now we’re supposed to believe after nearly a year of fighting for “injustice” and beating the elders down, they would all of a sudden align themselves with a group of veterans? I get the logic, as WWE is desperate to get them over as heels and have to be willing to go outside of the storyline’s path to do so, but this is a critical error in their development.
Van Dam has received Bryan-like cheers recently. Show and Henry really have the crowd on their side as well. WWE also needed to write off Cena as he’s dealing with a triceps tear. There were multiple other avenues the writers could have taken to get The Shield over, but this is simply another case of them dropping the ball on a talented group of young stars.