On November 18, 2012, the trio of Seth Rollins, a standout from the independent circuit having impressed in the likes of Ring Of Honor as Tyler Black and was at the time the inaugural NXT Champion, Dean Ambrose, a man who made his name as a tough as nails brawler in Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) as Jon Moxley, and Roman Reigns, a member of the legendary Anoa’i family, made their impactful debut at Survivor Series, interfering in the main event and laying out Ryback and making a huge statement that they were a force to be reckoned with.
5 Years of The Shield
The group were shrouded in mystery often found backstage warning us all to “Believe in The Shield” eventually revealing themselves as “Hounds Of Justice” that were here to dole out their brand of justice. The group stood out from everybody else on the roster with their unique entrance through the crowd and S.W.A.T team gear.
The team made their in ring debut at TLC 2012 against an all star team of Ryback and the hugely popular Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan & Kane) who were then Tag Team champions. In this match The Shield showed why they were going to be an unstoppable force for years to come as the group had no weakness, it had the wild mouthpiece in Ambrose who got in opponents head, the chaotic nature of Rollins whose sole aim was to hurt his opponents no matter what it took and finally the calm cool powerhouse that was Roman Reigns, they went to war with two monsters and a goat and emerged victorious in their debut match.
Chaos ensued whenever The Shield entered an arena as they laid out superstar after superstar including legends such as The Rock, Mick Foley and Ric Flair. For months it appeared as if they had an alliance with then WWE Champion CM Punk but after the Royal Rumble it was revealed that Paul Heyman was putting the group up to it so his client would remain champion.
All time great John Cena became the next target of The Shield for the “decade of injustice” he had put upon the fans of WWE, going after such a high profile target proved beyond any doubt that The Shield feared nobody. Ryback and Sheamus backed up Cena setting up a huge clash between the six men for Elimination Chamber in 2013. Again The Shield emerged victorious against three big names in the WWE with both Cena and Sheamus being former world champions. This set The Shield firmly on the road to WrestleMania where another trio of former world champions awaited them.
At WrestleMania, Sheamus found a new partner in multiple time world champion Randy Orton and due to Mark Henry occupying Ryback they formed an uneasy alliance with the worlds largest athlete The Big Show to combat the destructive force of The Shield. In their WrestleMania debut The Shield showed they were unfazed by the pressure of this big stage as they preyed upon their opponents inability to work together to get another big win. After WrestleMania, The Shield continued to combat legendary superstars as they hit their signature Triple Powerbomb on The Undertaker after defeating him and Team Hell No putting taker out of action for months.
At Extreme Rules 2012, The Shield captured gold as Dean Ambrose captured the United States Championship, while Rollins and Reigns captured the Tag Team Championships Ambrose would hold the title for a record 351 days and Rollins and Reigns would dominate the tag division for months until they faced the Rhodes brothers (Cody Rhodes & Goldust) who scored a rare win over The Shield at Battleground and then dethroned the tag champions in a No DQ match on the October 14th edition of Raw. The Shield then sided with The Authority in their fight against Daniel Bryan, with Ambrose now the only title holder his cockiness came to the fore as he started losing more and more matches causing cracks to show in the union of the Hounds Of Justice. The dissension continued to the point that The Shield lost a handicap match against CM Punk at TLC as they cost themselves the match.
During the Royal Rumble match in 2014 Reigns eliminated Rollins and Ambrose in a match where Reigns showed true breakout potential finishing second and setting a new record for eliminations in a single match. The Wyatt Family presented themselves as the next challengers for The Shield leading to a huge clash between the two sides at Elimination Chamber which the Wyatt Family won after Ambrose went missing halfway through the match after brawling to the back with Bray Wyatt. In a rematch on RAW The Shield again lost to the Wyatt’s with Rollins leaving this time and claiming to be sick of holding the team together.
Having been a heel unit their whole time on the main roster, The Shield regained their mojo after turning on The Authority so they could once again dole out their own version of justice and rebel against the injustices of The Authority. At WrestleMania XX, The Shield proved that they were back to their best by decisively defeating Kane and The New Age Outlaws (Billy Gunn & Road Dogg), having sided against The Authority Triple H turned his wrath towards the Hounds Of Justice as he reformed the legendary faction from the early 2000’s Evolution to take on The Shield. At Extreme Rules, the two sides went to war and The Shield emerged victorious, and at Payback, Evolution challenged The Shield once more to a No DQ elimination match to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt which side was better.
At Payback, The Shield shocked everyone as they showed just why they had been so prominent since their debut and why they were so dominant as Rollins’ insanity coupled with Ambrose’s wild nature and Reigns’ natural ability led them to a clean sweep win over Evolution. The very next night on the June 2nd edition of RAW, Triple H once again confronted The Shield with his “Plan B” which in a moment that shocked everybody watching and sent a shock-wave throughout wrestling saw Seth Rollins stab his brothers in the back siding with the Authority and ending The Shield.
Dean Ambrose and Rollins would have a blood feud for most of 2014 with every match seeing the two men kill each other, at the same time Reigns moved to the main event scene to take his rightful place as the new face of the WWE. The three members of The Shield have all gone on to have considerable individual success with Dean Ambrose being a grand slam champion, Rollins being the first man ever to hold the US and WWE titles at the same time while Reigns has won multiple world titles main eventing 3 WrestleManias in the process and being only the second person to ever defeat The Undertaker at WrestleMania.
The Shield will go down in history as one of the best factions of all time with each member going on to greatness and Hall Of Fame worthy careers they will be remembered in the same sentence as the likes of The Four Horsemen, D-Generation X, Evolution and The Hart Foundation. Their numerous wars will go down as all time classics and anyone who watched their rise to greatness will never forget just how great The Shield was.
As we gear up for the return of The Shield at Survivor Series as they take on another great faction in The New Day, wrestling fans can look forward to seeing The Shield putting on more classic matches as well as solidifying their legacy as one of the all time greats.