When Seth Rollins attacked Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose in June, effectively ending The Shield, it seemed unlikely that all three former members would immediately succeed as singles stars.
Less than three months later, however, Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose all continue to soar to the top of the WWE ladder as singles competitors, and sooner or later, each will become WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
During its nearly 20-month span in the WWE, The Shield consistently provided some of the most entertaining moments in the company. For almost all of 2013, the group produced the best in-ring action of anyone, aside from maybe Daniel Bryan. Earlier this year, the unit turned face, allowing the trio to display new sides of their personalities, as well as different move sets.
Following the breakup, Reigns has been thrust into a marquee storyline against Triple H, Randy Orton and The Authority. Meanwhile, Rollins and Ambrose have engaged in one of the best rivalries in the company.
At SummerSlam, Reign defeated Orton in perhaps the best match of the event. Similarly, Rollins and Ambrose had an exciting, albeit chaotic, lumberjack match. The following night on Raw, the two again locked up, and put on perhaps the best television match of the year thus far in the WWE.
Each possesses tremendous individual assets — Reigns has the look of a top star, Rollins has perhaps the best in-ring talent in the WWE, and Ambrose is stellar in playing his character and with his work on the microphone.
All of the former Shield members have been repeatedly likened to past WWE superstars.
For Reigns, the comparison is most often Batista. Reigns, only 29, has already reached stardom at a much younger age that the animal, and also possesses superior athleticism. Moreover, while Reigns does not have a bodybuilder physique, he has the look that attracts many of the female fans. He also has great wrestling bloodlines, as he’s related to The Rock, Yokozuna, Rikishi and several other notable past and present stars.
Rollins has been compared to CM Punk or Jeff Hardy. While the CM Punk comparison is appropriate only in regards to their similar looks, the comparison to Hardy has some merit. Both individuals wrestle with reckless abandon, as they seem to constantly up the ante when it comes to taking high risks. Rollins, however, could ultimately enjoy the more successful career, as he is better-rounded in other aspects of his in-ring work, and thus far has avoided the personal issues that plagued Hardy.
Ambrose, at times, has appeared to be the reincarnation of the late Brian Pillman. Pillman is best known for his “loose cannon” persona from the mid-90s, and Ambrose certainly shows many of those same traits in his “lunatic fringe” character. A major difference, though, was that Pillman was hindered by recurring health issues by the time he fully developed his character. In contrast, Ambrose has proven to be one of the better workers in the company, especially during his stint as a singles competitor.
For months, it has been apparent that WWE officials have viewed Reigns as a future main-event player. His journey to the top will likely culminate with the championship at next year’s WrestleMania, if not sooner.
Rollins and Ambrose have shown enough in their performances recently to be considered future world champions as well.
As great as the Shield was, Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose have proven to be even better as singles competitors. At this rate, each man will eventually stand on top of the professional wrestling mountain, hoisting the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.