After months of speculation, it seems that the official last ride of The Shield will come tonight live on the WWE Network. Since storming the scene all the way back in 2012, The Shield have been at the center of the WWE as the gatekeepers and new main dogs of the company. Yet, one finally leaves the company this month as Dean Ambrose’s contract finally expires and he officially becomes a free agent. While WWE can continuously speculate if Dean’s brothers can convince him to stay, one thing seems legitimate which is that this truly is The Shield’s Final Chapter… for now. And before tonight’s Network special airs, it’s a good time to look back at the impact that The Shield left on the company when the three of them did the magic of professional wrestling together.
The Debut (Survivor Series, 11/18/12)
The debut of The Shield is unlike many before and to this day, as it was three men being placed into the center of the WWE Championship main event at one of the biggest PPVs of the year, Survivor Series. CM Punk would be defending his WWE Championship against the unstoppable Ryback and the multi-time world champion John Cena in a Triple Threat match in the main event of Survivor Series 2012. As it seemed Punk would be on his way to losing, The Shield would leave their mark. Three guys wearing black turtlenecks and cargo pants beating the life of Ryback, the most dominant force in the company at the time. All three men would use the pack mentality of giving their opponents no room to breathe as the beat the life out of their opponent. They would hit the first ever Triple Powerbomb on Ryback through the announce table on the outside as they were booed out of the building. You can see Michael Cole in the background pointing at the three men as he introduced each as he realized who they were, including that they all came from NXT. While they would allow Punk to retain his championship, the bigger story going into the weeks following would be what these men stood for and why they were here. Which would be answered very quickly. To bring justice.
The Hounds’ First Match (TLC, 12/16/12)
After weeks of laying down attacks, explaining that they work for no one but each other, and informing everyone that it was simply time to “Believe in The Shield”, it was time for them to put their money where their mouths were as they would compete in their first match at TLC. They would go to take on Ryback, Daniel Bryan, and Kane with TLC rules. As “Sierra, Hotel, India, Echo, Lima, Delta. SHIELD” played through the arena that night, people still were not sure how to feel about these three new faces. All match long it would look that The Shield could possibly become afterthoughts as Bryan or Ryback or Kane would do something to one of the members that would prove to be enough, but the brothers in arms seemed to have each other’s backs all throughout which made them forever remembered. As many may remember the big fall through the table below of Seth Rollins, it would not matter as his two brothers in Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose would pick up the victory with the mega double powerbomb from the top rope through the table on Daniel Bryan for their first win ever. And what makes it even crazier is the idea that we may be seeing their last for a long time tonight.
All of The Shield Dawn Gold (Extreme Rules, 5/19/13)
The unbeatable Shield would continue their incredible run as a trio as they would remain undefeated, beating a multitude of “super teams” created to stop the “Hounds of Justice”, which would result in the three getting a shot at championship gold finally. Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins would team up to take on Team Hell No for the WWE Tag Team Championships and Dean Ambrose would compete in singles action to take on Kofi Kingston for the United States Championship. Ambrose would be the first one up in The Shield’s road to obtaining the gold of the WWE, as he would defeat Kofi Kingston early on in the night to become the United States Champion for his first and only time. The boys would go out there to celebrate with their brother as they remained prepared to follow their own with a win for themselves. While Daniel Bryan would once again do all he could against The Shield, it would not be enough as the Tornado Tag stipulation of the match would hurt the soon to be WWE Champion as Reigns and Rollins would ultimately team up to take Bryan out. Rollins would hit a sick knee to the head of Bryan as Reigns had him cradled up in the Torture Rack, resulting in Bryan falling to the mat and Reigns pinning him for the three count, giving the three men all championship gold to end the night. If the fans didn’t believe in them before, they certainly did after this performance.
The Shield vs The Rhodes Dynasty (Battleground, 10/6/13 – Raw, 10/14/13)
For much of 2013, The Shield terrorized and ruled over the WWE roster as they were the enforcers of The Authority led by Triple H as well as carrying gold through the summer. From continuously taking down Daniel Bryan, to bringing justice and defending their championships, it seemed there was no stopping The Shield. Enter the Rhodes Family. While the timing of this may never be better than this weekend, The Shield was put in the way of the reinstatement of Cody Rhodes who had been fired weeks prior after losing to his former mentor and Goldust who had not been a part of the WWE in a true capacity for years at this point. The Rhodes Family was tasked to defeat the reigning tag team champions in The Shield to be reinstated and keep their father Dusty Rhodes’ job down in NXT. This one had everything you could ask for in terms of action, emotion, intensity, and everything in between. While this may not be the brightest moment for The Shield as a unit, it was one of their most important as it remains one of their best matches as a unit to this day in terms of the storytelling involved. When Dusty would hit the Bionic Elbow on Ambrose to Goldust taking out Reigns who would go after Dusty, to the pure emotion on Cody’s face as he would catch Rollins for the Cross Rhodes to win their job back, it was certainly one of the great moments in wrestling and The Shield’s run.
On Raw just a week later, The Shield would finally lose some gold that was part of their puzzle as The Rhodes would get the upper hand once again on The Shield, this time with help from Big Show, to gain the WWE Tag Team Championships, which would lead to the first real cracks in The Shield.
A Brotherhood Battles A Family (Elimination Chamber, 2/23/14 – Raw, 3/3/14)
Before finally meeting at the Elimination Chamber in 2014, The Shield and The Wyatt Family were seemingly never crossing each other’s paths while each being a key part of the system for months. When the collision course led to these two teams butting heads, as a fan, you knew there would be magic. The Shield and the Wyatt Family would finally go to war in a match that would meet and even be better than expectations. The dissension in The Shield that began to show, mostly between Reigns and Ambrose, would allow the Wyatt Family to have the advantage going into this one. But when the bell rang, both teams showed why they were dominant forces as there were bodies being thrown everywhere in the hopes of obtaining the victory. Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt would fight into the crowd and disappear, however only Bray would return from the brawl. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan would end Seth Rollins impressive night by planting him through the announce table, which would allow the three to go after Roman Reigns with the rest out of question. As Reigns would fight back, it would not be enough as he would hit Harper with a Spear, but Bray would be able to pick up the pieces, hitting Sister Abigail and putting an end to this first time ever matchup.
These two teams would not be finished with each other, as they would go at it one more time on Raw. This is when the cracks in The Shield would begin to show more and more as in a losing effort, Seth Rollins would storm out on his team after weeks of frustration saying that he no longer could be the glue that held it all together, as it looked that The Shield may be over.
Taking on Evolution (Raw, 4/7/14 – Payback, 6/1/14)
The Shield would finally turn their back on the Authority as they saw the injustice that they had brought to Daniel Bryan the night after WrestleMania when it looked as though Triple H would take the WWE World Heavyweight Championship away immediately. Batista, Randy Orton, and Kane would beat down Bryan, leading to Triple H having an opportunity to pick up the scraps. When the referee would finally ring the bell, The Shield’s music hit as the three would make their way to the ring and faceoff with Batista, Orton, and Kane. Triple H would try to stop the six men from fighting each other, but eventually, when he would turn around, Reigns was there to meet him with a Spear. This would lead to Evolution reuniting in the following week as they became the new victim of the Authority. After weeks of destruction between the two, the two legendary factions would go head to head at Extreme Rules for the first time. Doing so, The Shield would come out of that one victorious, leaving the mark as the dominant trio in the company after months of probable dissension.
Evolution could not accept defeat however, as they would face The Shield once again at Payback, but this time No Holds Barred. Despite the even better effort by Evolution, the young hounds would prove to be too much once again, sweeping Evolution with a second straight victory as the brothers looked stronger than ever.
There’s Always a Plan B (6/2/14)
The following night after another victory over Evolution, The Shield were standing tall, but Triple H would refuse to accept the idea that he would lose this battle, saying he had a plan B if it wasn’t Evolution beating them. Then the ultimate swerve would occur, as Triple H, with a sledgehammer in hand, as well as Randy Orton made their way to the ring. Everyone in the crowd that night expected a third man to come out as plan B, but instead, Seth Rollins would turn his back on his brothers, hitting Reigns in the back with a steel chair. The priceless look on Dean Ambrose’s face would say it all, as Rollins would take him out as well and mark the end of The Shield’s remarkable run together.
Every Member is WWE Champion (Money in the Bank, 6/19/2016)
Just over two years after the end of The Shield, Seth Rollins would face the WWE Champion Roman Reigns for the championship following his return from knee surgery in pursuit of his WWE Championship that he never lost. The story here would be the fact that Roman could never beat Seth to this point, which would remain true as Rollins would become the new WWE Champion this night as he would plant Reigns with a Pedigree, getting the three count. Then, after winning Money in the Bank earlier in the night, Ambrose would cash in on his former brother, finishing him with Dirty Deeds, winning the WWE Championship and finally getting his payback on his former brother. Every single member of The Shield would be WWE Champion on the same night.
Reuniting the Brothers (10/9/17)
When Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins finally made amends and eventually beat The Bar for the tag team championships, it seemed as though The Shield reunion was much closer than anyone would have thought already. On October 9th, the rumors would finally become a reality when the hounds would reunite as a unit for the first time in over three years to take down The Miz and company. All three were completely changed men from the last time they teamed together, but when the three would hit the ultimate Shield fist bump in the middle of the ring that night, it truly brought back memories of their original run that would be remembered forever. This reunion would be short-lived due to Dean Ambrose’s eventual injury and Roman Reigns illness that postponed their reunion match, however in this time they did get to have matches against the likes of The New Day, which was incredibly cool to see. Roman and Seth would help each other out, but for the most part, go their separate ways with their brother sidelined.
Saving a Brother (Raw, 8/20/19)
One night after finally winning the Universal Championship, Roman Reigns would face Finn Balor in his first defense. And while successful, the Money in the Bank winner, Braun Strowman, would look to take out Reigns and become the new champion after his long chase for the championship. As the briefcase was to be cashed in, The Shield’s music hit as the brothers in arms would come to help their brother Roman Reigns, taking out Strowman and not allowing him to cash-in on the beaten down Reigns. Out of nowhere, The Shield were back together to protect Reigns and stop justice all over again. Considering no one truly expected it, it was yet another special moment including them.
The Final Chapter (Fastlane, 3/10/19 – WWE Live, Tonight)
As Dean Ambrose’s departure came closer and closer, the boys wanted to be together one last time following Reigns’ battle with leukemia and simply not knowing when they would be able to ride again. One final match for the trio was given to the fans at WWE Fastlane in March of this year, as they took down the team of Bobby Lashley, Drew McIntyre, and Baron Corbin. This would not only be Roman’s first match back but more than likely the last big Triple Powerbomb and victory for The Shield as they would embrace inside the ring with all love knowing that their time together was truly coming to an end.
Despite the “One Last Ride”, WWE announced earlier this week that “The Shield’s Final Chapter”, the last time they would team up with Ambrose’s departure coming and them being separated in the Superstar Shake-Up this past week. would be shown at 9:30 pm EST tonight on the WWE Network in a special Live Event match to be shown to the fans. While anything can happen, it sure seems that this will be the proper send-off for Dean Ambrose that he has earned in his time with the company, and will certainly be a treat to see him do it with his brothers one last time.