The Shield was special. It’s rare that one group of new talent ultimately becomes three main eventers. It’s even rarer that they all become world champions. However, all being world champion on the same night, let alone within the same hour? That’s one-of-a-kind type stuff. On June 19, 2016, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose all held the WWE Championship at Money in the Bank. It is one of the craziest and most memorable nights in WWE history. Not only did it feel special but when the night was complete, the final piece of the puzzle was put together to solidify the greatness of The Shield. Let’s take a look back at that very night, how it came together, and what the legacies of all three men are — together and solo.
“The Ambrose Asylum” Brings Together All Three Men
Just six nights before Seth Rollins would attempt to take back the WWE Championship that he never lost due to his knee injury, all three members of The Shield met in the middle of the ring on Monday Night Raw as part of the “Ambrose Asylum” talk show. It was a special moment, as this was the first time these three had been together in the same ring for some time. Rollins was determined to prove to Roman Reigns that he could not lose to him and that he would reclaim what he lost. Reigns continuously laughed off the fact and when both went on Dean Ambrose’s show, it was a moment of tension between Rollins and his former allies. As we had seen for months prior, Reigns and Ambrose remained on the same page for a lot of the time and tagged on occasion.
This was a bold strategy for Rollins, seeing both men still had a problem with him and that was likely not changing. Rollins had no problem going at them either, but that would result in chaos by the end of it. Ambrose played mediator well between the two, sending the conversation back and forth but that would not last for long. As he aimed to conclude his show, he added that maybe, just maybe he could be the man to walk out as champion at Money in the Bank if he were to win the briefcase. Rollins would push Ambrose into Reigns, resulting in a brawl. Reigns would put Rollins down with a Superman Punch and out of nowhere, Ambrose would strike his friend Reigns with a Dirty Deeds DDT. He stood tall that night and as we have learned, it was only the beginning.
Dean Ambrose wins Money in the Bank
Let’s fast forward to that special PPV, which took place just days after the memorable in-ring encounter of all three men.
It all started in the Money in the Bank ladder match as Dean Ambrose outlasted some of the best WWE had to offer to climb to the top and bring down the briefcase. Alberto Del Rio, Cesaro, Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn made up the other competitors in the match and every single one had a shot at winning it. Owens, for many at the time, was the favorite and he was the final man on the ladder before Ambrose. The crowd erupted when it was clear that no one was going to be able to stop the “Lunatic Fringe” from climbing and winning. Ambrose’s reaction was priceless when he won, as it wasn’t a sense of “this is my moment” but rather “it’s about time.”
Little did everyone know that this was only the beginning of his night, as what he said on Raw those six days before about cashing in, was going to hold true to the main event.
Roman Reigns (c) vs. Seth Rollins — Rollins Proves That Reigns Cannot Defeat Him
Onto the main event. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns, to this day, has only been done this one time with a championship on the line. These two men battled for 26 minutes and had the crowd in the palm of their hands from beginning to end. Every time Rollins looked as though he was going to win, the crowd chanted loudly thinking it was over. It was the final minutes of this match that really stole the show. Reigns looked to Spear Rollins through the barricade, but it was all for naught as “The Architect” moved out of the way. This led to the referee checking to see if Reigns could continue in the match, but Rollins went on the attack. As referee Mike Chioda was in the corner trying to speak to the doctor, Reigns reversed the Pedigree by rushing Rollins into Chioda, leaving him down and out.
Reigns would hit a thunderous Spear this time and the slow count of the injured Chioda would result in a two count. “The Big Dog” went for another Spear but was amazingly caught by a Pedigree for a beautiful near fall. Rollins got Reigns to his feet once more, hit another Pedigree, and won the WWE Championship. This would make two-thirds of The Shield holding the title on the night as Rollins celebrated another world title win and it looked as though his time of reclaiming would really work out in his favor. As we’d learn soon after this, it was a short run as history would be made.
Ambrose Cashes In To Become WWE Champion
Seth Rollins was celebrating his victory and the fans were behind him. After all, this was the culmination of his return from injury that finally saw him win the gold he never lost. But those cheers for him and happiness on his face changed when the music of Dean Ambrose hit. Rollins acted prepared for the moment, but Ambrose would surprise him from behind by smashing Rollins in the face with the Money in the Bank briefcase. He’d hand it over to the referee. Once the bell rang, Rollins was clearly lost and had nothing left. Groggy on his feet, Ambrose took advantage by hitting a Dirty Deeds on the champion and would pin him for three in the middle of the ring. For Ambrose, this was a moment of vindication that he long had wanted when it came to his rivalry with Rollins.
Being WWE Champion was great, but being able to take it from the man who turned his back on him two years prior was that much more special. Just like that, in one night, every member of The Shield held the WWE Championship. Every moment throughout the night felt special, historic even. The bringing down of the briefcase, the first title change, all the way to the final moment where it was Ambrose, not Rollins or Reigns standing tall. It was special and the highlight of The Shield’s time as a unit and against each other. It’s one of the times in WWE history where everything went right and could even be considered perfect.
The WWE Championship and The Shield Connected From The Beginning
When it comes to The Shield and their beginnings with each becoming world champion, there seemingly were only two members of the group involved every step of the way. Before even getting into their time as singles chasing the titles, it would be wrong to not bring up how their very first night in the company saw them interfere in a WWE Championship match. When the “Hounds of Justice” were released into WWE, it was in aid of CM Punk securing the WWE Championship at Survivor Series in 2012. Who would have thought they would be connected with that title and each other so much moving forward?
Dating back to Money in the Bank 2014, it was a night where two would vie for the briefcase while the other would be in the ladder match to crown the next WWE Champion. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, feuding after Rollins had turned his back on the group, both entered the Money in the Bank ladder match that night with a goal of progressing their future. Ambrose, more than anything, wanted to make sure Rollins did not win. But in the end with the help of The Authority, Rollins grabbed the briefcase as he stood tall over a broken down Ambrose on the mat. Reigns failed to capture the WWE Championship as well.
Fast forward to WrestleMania 31. Roman Reigns, fresh off his Royal Rumble win, would face Brock Lesnar in the main event for the WWE Championship. A brutal encounter ensued between the two, as this felt to be the crowning moment for “The Big Dog.” As we all know now, this was instead the “Heist of the Century.” Rollins ran down to the ring and cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase, becoming the first member of The Shield to win the world title and did so by pinning Reigns. There’s a sense of continuity here that’s unlike anything WWE rarely does anymore. Later in 2015, Rollins was set to face Reigns for the WWE Championship at Survivor Series, but Rollins’ knee injury resulted in that match being scrapped and instead saw a tournament to crown the new WWE Champion. In the finals, the world saw Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose for the first time ever. These two had remained friends despite The Shield break up and this was simply best vs. best. Reigns got the better of Ambrose to win his first WWE Championship in his career. All of these major wins for each man coming with their former stablemates being on the other end. Incredible.
And finally, the Money in the Bank 2016 PPV that is being discussed here. Reigns walked in as champion, Rollins defeated him for the championship, and Ambrose ended the night as the champion over both of them by cashing in. What all started with the Money in the Bank two years prior came to a conclusion with the briefcase, title, and same three men involved once again. It’s long-term storytelling at its absolute finest. The beauty of what makes the legacy of The Shield so special.
The Legacy of The Shield
The Shield has a legacy like no other group before them. They came into WWE as an unproven, young trio who took the company by storm. Ambrose, Reigns, and Rollins shocked the world time and time again together, never having a true leader but being a unit that always felt special whether it was together or facing off. The idea that this group cannot be discussed on WWE television any longer is heartbreaking as a fan, but also something one can appreciate. Ambrose had his “I made it” moment on this day five years ago. From there, he was set for life. But he pushed himself to be better and that’s why Jon Moxley lives while Dean Ambrose may never be seen again. But even with him not in WWE any longer, these three will forever be connected. Every win, title, moment. Connected.
They changed WWE and pro wrestling forever. The Shield gave WWE three workhorses who ultimately went down to two while the other opposed them like no one was able to do in 20 years. This group goes down not only as one of the greatest in WWE history but professional wrestling history. It’s rare any stable, faction, or group can say that they all became world champions, let alone multi-time world champions afterward. These three men, from the moment they showed up, were stars. Their legacies are forever linked. The Shield is an all-time group that somehow managed to see the members be better apart than together. One day, they will be together once again on television and it will be special. Until then, we remember this special night five years ago and how they changed the business forever.
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