Nearly a year ago, I posted this Great Debate article detailing my three step program to create the next great heel stable in the WWE. I had noted that for me, it was the missing element in the WWE product at the time. It’s amazing how quickly things can change. Come November of 2012, The Shield would make their impactful debut, costing Ryback his WWE Championship match at the Survivor Series PPV. Since then, the group has taken apart every major WWE superstar or legend that has crossed their paths. And taking a look at their rise to prominence and current status in the WWE, it’s hard to picture anyone being able to take them down.
Collectively, they are arguably, the most dominant force the WWE has ever seen. Though with some groups (like TNA’s Aces & Eights), the sum is often greater than it’s parts. For the first time since Evolution’s run in 2002-2005, we’re witnessing the rise of at least two future world champions. It’s hard to say who’ll strike out as a major star first, but taking a look at their rap sheets, we can get some form of idea:
Ambrose is one of the most unique individuals the WWE has ever seen. He’s earned himself a massive cult following and it’s without question due to his undeniable ring presence. He’s subtly stepped forward as the group’s primary mouthpiece and de facto leader due to his ability to command the attention of the audience through his work in promos and his captivating mannerisms. Ambrose is an old school, no bullshit type of character. He walks into an arena and commands your respect. And it’s now something that the group itself has grown to symbolize.
Being the youngest, quickest and most agile member of the group, Rollins has shined the most when it comes to the work in the ring. He usually brings the attack from every direction and seems completely set on putting his entire body on the line without fear or hesitation. It’s a trait that makes him the most fun to watch in big time match ups, but also makes him one of the more unpredictable performers in the WWE. His experience on the indies has also earned him a strong reputation and he’s got the greatest upside of any member of the group.
Reigns is the group’s intimidating muscle and he’s played the role to absolute perfection. When up against much larger opponents such as Kane or Big Show, it’s Reigns who becomes the anchor of the group and his assisted powerbomb and spear finishers have a higher success rate than any other maneuver you could name right now. In promos, he’s straight to the point and soft spoken, but once the bell rings, he becomes a man possessed. He’s always aware of his surroundings and often saves his comrades whenever they are on the losing end of a match.
Presence, unpredictability and intimidation are words to describe Ambrose, Rollins & Reigns respectively and that’s why when put together, these words damn near become their motto. They are three completely different superstars with one common purpose, to make an impact and bring about their own unique brand of “justice”. Say what you want about their tactics and motivation, but looking at their progress over the last six months, it’s hard to argue against their effectiveness…
November 2012 – At the WWE’s 26th annual Survivor Series, Ryback was laying waste to John Cena & CM Punk and it seemed as if he was going to walk out of the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN, the new WWE Champion. The Shield changed the course of WWE history when they interrupted the human wrecking ball’s plans and triple powerbombed him through the announce table.
December 2012 – The Shield revealed themselves as a minor terrorist unit that took aim at the many wrongs of the WWE. They would ambush the WWE’s most prominent superstars and take no prisoners to carry out their mission statement. They would wear battle armor similar to that of riot police and arrive from different corners of the audience at any given moment. Cutting their promos in undisclosed locations, the group would express their intentions via hand-held camera and then walk off leaving the WWE locker room unaware of just who would feel the group’s wrath by the end of the evening. At the TLC PPV, the group would face their first test when they were set to face Ryback & Team Hell No (Kane and Daniel Bryan) in a tables, ladders and chairs match. It was an all out war that was highlighted by Seth Rollins being tossed off a ladder by Ryback and taking a nasty fall through a stack of tables. And though they were battered and bruised, they would emerge victorious in one of the greatest in-ring debuts anyone had ever seen.
January 2013 – After costing Ryback another victory in a TLC match and assaulting the likes of The Miz, Randy Orton, Tommy Dreamer, Ricardo Rodriguez and Sin Cara (whom has since been put on the injury list), the group was secretly hired by Paul Heyman to help CM Punk retain his WWE Championship against The Rock at the Royal Rumble. Adding the great one and Heyman’s other associate, Brad Maddox to their list of victims in the process.
February 2013 – The Shield assaulted John Cena leading both Ryback and Sheamus to run in and try to make the save. With three of the WWE’s top superstars on the same page, it looked as if the hounds of justice would finally get their comeuppance. At the Elimination Chamber PPV, the trio made relatively easy work of Team Cena and with another victory over Ryback, Sheamus & Chris Jericho on the following RAW, they now stood tall as the most feared unit in the WWE.
March 2013 – The Shield would engage in multiple attacks on Randy Orton, Big Show & Sheamus, effectively setting up a six man tag match for Wrestlemania XXIX.
April 2013 – In the biggest match of their career thus far, the group would defeat Orton, Show & Sheamus in their first ever Wrestlemania match and it was easily, one of the best openers in mania history. In the weeks that followed, they would enter a mini feud with The Undertaker that resulted in yet another six man tag that saw two legendary pairings (Team Hell No and The Brothers Of Destruction) combine as the ultimate trio with Kane as the conduit. Four days later on Smackdown, Dean Ambrose would face The Undertaker in a singles match. Ambrose would tap out to the phenom’s Hell’s Gate submission, but that didn’t stop he and his allies from making their grandest statement to date.
Following this attack, they would spend this past Monday’s Raw boasting about adding the WWE’s greatest and most unbeatable superstar to their growing legacy. John Cena would team with Team Hell No to challenge the trio and after a terrific match, they would like everyone else, fall victim to the WWE’s now elite force.
Perhaps at this point, I think it’s safe to say that we’re witnessing history. At 8-0, they’ve beaten the likes of John Cena, Randy Orton, The Undertaker, Kane, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, Big Show & Chris Jericho. That’s 8 former world champions who’ve held a collective 50 world titles between them! Call me crazy, but that kind of resume pretty much ensures you a job as a future main event talent. Where they go from here is a question no one has the answer to. And the same could be said when questioning if anyone will be able to stop them.
Feel free to express your opinions on what is IMO, the best WWE stable of the last 8 years in the comments section below. Or you can always hit me up on twitter (@g9zwrestling) to chat there!
Thanks for reading,