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Time to Split?


The timing of a group breakup is always interesting in wrestling: too soon and you short-circuit fan interest and the momentum of the group; too late and the group becomes stale. Break up too soon and a push given to former group members is hard to sustain because fan interest didn’t ascend to the point where people would be genuinely interested in each group member. Break up too late and the staleness of a group can seep into the pushes of the former group members, as fans tire of seeing certain people and become disinterested in them. A year ago, the WWE struck gold with the creation of the Shield, a group of three young stars who could all easily reach Main Event stardom and hold World Titles, but now they are teasing that the inevitable split will come sooner rather than later.

Team Cena vs The ShieldThe creation of the group was smartly executed. You had two Indy vets and a rookie with a strong bloodline for this unique line of work. Ambrose came in the all-around skilled guy with the sadistic streak, edgy personality and manic temperament. Seth Rollins came in as the wrestler with alarming versatility (could match you hold for hold, kick for kick, aerial move for aerial move, etc.) and a unique ability to work any style necessary. Roman Reigns came in as the highly-touted rookie with the right attitude and potential to be a huge star. With that unique combination, eventually it became no surprise that the Shield did as well as they did–although people were surprised that the WWE would let them be as good as they were and beat certain teams and people. This was a talent-rich group that was distinctly united for a common goal and to support each other in every endeavor. They were set up for success with their unique identity, accentuated by their three-man promos, their crowd entrance (which makes you think about mid-90’s Edge), and the combat gear that doubled as their ring attire.

Rhodes vs the ShieldRecently, they’ve teased a break-up of the WWE’s most successful and dominant group in recent memory, with signs that everyone in the group may not subscribe to the All-For-One, One-for-All mentality that defined them. The split itself is not surprising–the inception of a group is really the start of the countdown to the breakup–the real question is about the timing: Would it be smart to split up the Shield anytime soon? It may be too early to break the group up and send Ambrose out on a single’s career and the Reigns/Rollins into the tag division (or conversely into respective single’s careers). Their chemistry is distinct and few other groups have been this cohesive and worked together as well as this group. While teasing the split serves to put the seed of discord and dissension into the minds of fans, splitting them up wouldn’t be what’s best for business. They work very well as the security force that bolsters the Authority presiding over the WWE, there’s more to be done with this group, and they continue to impress and innovate in the multi-man matches. They’re unique ability to create good 6-man tag matches is the lone reason that 6-man tags have become somewhat routine as some commenters alluded to earlier this week.  You always know that the 6-man tag is coming once they start an ambush, but these three make the matches watchable, instead of an excuse to showcase 6 wrestlers at one time. Even as a trio, these 3 guys wrestle well together, complementing each other’s respective styles.

Roman Reigns Interview on The Shield, Singles Career and MoreOne of the best things about the Shield is the fact that they’re always striving to do better, which can only be good for the fans. When each member speaks in interviews, to a man they always emphasize finding ways to improve, superceding past accomplishments, and doing something that the WWE has not seen. They’ve achieved a lot as a group as all three of them held gold for quite a few months, but it’s conceivable that there may be more for them to achieve before they break off. (For example, they can put over another tag team and a single’s star, and the frustration of no one having a title/losing can cause them to implode.) Drawing out the tension may create a situation that gives rise to three distinct stars as soon as they split up. With the way that announcers have mentioned the star potential of these three and the group identity as a legitimate coalition of three individuals, that would be the best outcome of the breakup.

Breaking them up anytime soon-in the next 4-8 weeks-wouldn’t be smart. Arrange and time the split, so that when the Shield disbands, we have three guys ready to bolster the midcard, tag scene, Main Event or whatever landscape they’re sent into after the split. That would be best for all parties involved, fans, wrestlers, and creative alike.

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  • Trey Doss

    i say have each member in more single matches with no other shield member out there so that fans can have more of a chance to see them fight alone when the split comes

    • Edynol

      I was thinking the same thing. lol. Especially Reigns. He just looks like a champion. And I think he has decent mic skills. Not the best by any means, but he’s still young. He just doesn’t get many lines. But in the few times he has spoken, I found at least to be believable, which is the most important thing. You gotta be believable, wit, humor, fluidity, etc. can be worked on.

      Also, he has a way about him. You know he’s a big guy, he knows he’s a big guy, and he isn’t afraid to show it, but he doesn’t really move like a generic big guy like Ryback, Kane, etc. He quick, adaptive, knows how to counter a lot of moves and doesn’t look sloppy or sluggish doing it. And most importantly, he can take a bump really well. He isn’t afraid to get knocked down, but he doesn’t oversell it or anything. He reminds me a lot of the Undertaker in his style.

      • Trey Doss

        sidenote is it just me or does roman reigns look like chris hemsworth aka thor

        • Reverend Scurvy

          It’s you.

        • xXwindsofchangeXx

          Maybe if Thor were black-haired and Samoan… but if you mean he’s built like Thor, yeah, I could sorta see that.

      • xXwindsofchangeXx

        I wouldn’t call Kane a ‘generic big guy’… he was actually freakishly athletic for his size when he came into the WWE. And at 46, he still wrestles and moves way better than most of the big guys that have come through WWE. But Reigns is so fast and agile that you’d almost forget that he’s 265 pounds… right up until he hits somebody. You definitely see his football background in the way he uses that Spear. I’d say he’s got the best one I’ve seen in WWE since Rhyno left… maybe a bit better because Reigns didn’t give up a whole lot of size to Rhyno (about 270 or so in his prime) and moves way quicker.

        I don’t know about the ‘Taker comparison, but I see Lashley meets Rhyno with a dash of early-career Brock Lesnar’s athleticism and in-ring intensity. But Reigns (despite his lack of experience compared to the two former indy stars in Ambrose and Rollins) wrestles like he knows what he’s built best to do, and that’s what I think impresses me about him most.

        • Edynol

          Yeah Kane was maybe a bad example, but despite Kane being more quick then most big men, he wasn’t the quickest and still relied more on his size than athleticism. I mean, he could really get up and go when he wanted to, don’t get me wrong, just he chose to rely more on his size and strength.

          And my comparison with Taker isn’t so much his move set as it is his bearing. It’s hard to explain, but it’s like…You know Taker is a big guy, but when you watch him in the ring, you aren’t thinking about a big guy wrestling, you’re thinking about a powerful guy wrestling. Like with Cena or Lex Luger.

        • Abudadein

          Everyone was talking about Luke Harper’s clothesline last week, but I think Reigns has the hardest hitting clothesline in the WWE. Jeezuz, it has all the power of JBL’s…and then some.

  • Heelsean

    It’s a hard one because I like the stable but you can’t keep them together forever, there has to be a time when they split. With that being said, I don’t want to see any of them become jobbers and I fear it might happen to one of them. Rollins in the best wrestler, but Ambrose is all round a better performer than him. Reigns is the interesting one, he’s definitely got better in the ring but on the mic he’s poor, if they did split, I could see Reigns being put with Heyman because Reigns has the strength/look of a champion and Heyman would help his mic work.

  • TheHotDogKing1

    I think The Shield find themselves in the heap of the storyline, and it could not come at a worst time if they split. I think they should play the tension angle, but a split would be too soon…plus, who goes face? Reigns?

    • xXwindsofchangeXx

      Maybe nobody goes face for the time being. That can happen. I’m strongly reminded in this scenario of the fracture of the Corre after they kicked Ezekiel Jackson out of the group. Wade got a little bit big for his britches and started using the other two guys (Slater and Gabriel) exclusively to help him instead of there being a mutual respect and cooperation like there had been initially. Slater and Gabriel left Barrett, operated as a heel team for probably about a month or two, and then Slater turned on Gabriel and Gabriel, being the high-flyer with the most casual-friendly look and wrestling style, was turned face.

      So if we’re following that pattern, the first guy to turn face will probably be Seth Rollins. He’s the ‘little guy’ of the group that comes off the top rope a lot. I’ve heard him compared to CM Punk circa 2007 and it sorta makes sense. Hell, they’re almost the EXACT same size (Both billed at 6’1-2″, 217-218 or so) and, when Rollins doesn’t have the blond streak in his hair, they look like they could be related.

  • xXwindsofchangeXx

    I would say that if the Wyatt Family weren’t on the verge of a big push themselves that it wouldn’t be time to break up the Shield. I’ve always thought that the roster was a tad bit crowded for two three-man stables. More importantly, I think the midcard needs more bodies sooner rather than later. I think one calendar year (which will be this coming Survivor Series) is a pretty good length of time for a stable of all rookies. And I don’t think we’re seeing a situation where none of them would do well without the group. Dean Ambrose is a prodigy on the mic for still being in the early half of his career. Seth Rollins wrestles an exciting style, and Reigns, even though he lacks the mic skills of the other two, has the look, the athleticism, and an intensity in the ring befitting of a future world champion. The roster would be much, much deeper in the midcard (which is where depth is really needed) with these three individuals present instead of being The Shield.

  • KingBack

    The problem with splitting them is that I strongly doubt that there are room for them on the card.
    I would like to see them do one more Wrestlemania together and maybe against The Wyatt Family to see who is the best stable – maybe the loser can be forced to break up their stable?

    • Edynol

      I was thinking this as well. I posted on a forum that they should do a storyline where the Shield fails to get the job done on a few occasions, perhaps go on a losing streak, then out come the Wyatts and beat them up followed by HHH who says something like, “I need people who can get the job done yadda yadda yadda”. Then maybe at Mania they have one last match where the losers have to disban or two of them get upset and jump the one who got pinned or something.

  • Brandon Wise

    Man, as I much as I would love to see The Shield stay together like the Fabulous Freebirds, Four Horsemen, etc..the split is necessary. Can you imagine how good the matches would be? Potential modern day classics! Ultimately, it depends on the timing and booking being fully committed to it.

  • Victor

    WWE should keep building up tension between them, first, Ambrose and Reigns, then maybe between Ambrose and Rollins or Rollins and Reigns, keep doing this until Royal Rumble, and the tension increase when someone eliminates other from the battle royal, and have a conclusion on Elimination Chamber or even Wrestlemania..

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