As incredible of a mark as the Shield made, there will come a day when a faction is comparable to them or even thought of as better. Can Fish, O’Reilly, and Cole achieve this? It’s really up to them. They made a huge splash at the recent NXT TakeOver Brooklyn, and I loved the buildup of it all during the event: with Fish and O’Reilly coming out after the NXT tag title match and then attacking both teams, champs and challengers included – only to come out again with Cole after the NXT Championship match. The potential to dominant like the Shield and take it a step further is there, but each talent and NXT Creative need to work together to build this faction into something great. So many elements at play here.
In a word, yes. I only had but one gripe with the events of TakeOver, and that was that we had already seen the debuts of Fish and O’Reilly in the weeks leading up to TakeOver. But seeing how the events of that Saturday in Brooklyn unfolded, it was unique and it worked. And it left me thinking that wow, could these guys be that next big power faction? That is, until I took a step back. Keep in mind who Fish and O’Reilly attacked first (not exactly first, but the first act of the evening). That group is Sanity, and honestly I had seen them as an heir apparent to the mantle of dominant faction. So now, we go from one dominant faction to two. And things got really really interesting. One of these days perhaps WWE will remember that we like factions at times. Nexxus did well. Shield. DX. New World Order. And with their full-on arrival at NXT, Fish, O’Reilly and Cole give NXT the best two factions in all of WWE right now. I mean, what other choices do you have? The Miztourage? The Singh Brothers and Jinder Mahal? The main roster faction selection is limited (and I may have overlooked someone, but I think the point is clear).
As to whether the new trio, or Sanity, would rival or even surpass The Shield? Time will tell. I am sure WWE is hoping for a similar level of success out of one or both groups. They should be so lucky.
I’m not going to say they’re the next Shield. The three have successfully accomplished what many have already done; using an almost invasion angle to get over. We’ve seen Fish, O’Reilly, and Cole gain popularity in ROH, but this is whole different game with a billion dollar company. On NXT, they might find success and could possibly hold all the gold at once. In six months, that scenario seems plausible. But once they hit the main roster, I don’t see all three entering the main event picture like the Shield. Fish and O’Reilly can team together and they might find success thanks to the rosters being divided. I’m not sure if Adam Cole could be a big star on the main roster. Sometimes, staying in NXT leads to better storylines. Just look at how Drew McIntyre has become the top face of NXT. He’d probably amount to little if he had directly rejoined the main roster.