I like the Shield. It’s hard to dislike the Shield. They were given the ball and they ran with it and really did become the most over and arguably the best faction in the history of pro wrestling – and that’s all of pro wrestling. Their ring work speaks for itself, their promo work is fantastic. I, like most of you, am very high on the Shield. I can tell, however, from my interaction with some fans, that there are much bigger fans than me. I am OK with admitting that, especially now, because in the face of the chair shot heard around the world last night, I can look at this swerve more objectively than a die-hard fan and say: it makes very little sense.
Let’s start with the Shield’s turn to facedom. The Shield was somewhat involved with the Authority at the beginning of this year. We got our first taste of the Shield being fan favorites when they had their altercation with the Wyatt family. Stirring this pot a little more was Triple H trying to dissuade the Shield from pursuing this any further and Roman Reigns stepping up to him and saying, “with all due respect Hunter, we are not asking you.” Fast forward a few weeks, they came to Jerry Lawler’s aid against Kane and we ended up with a Kane & New Age Outlaws match at Wrestlemania (in which we saw the Shield destroy them). The following night on Wrestlemania, they came to Daniel Bryan’s aid and stood up against Triple H, Randy Orton, and Batista, making them white hot.
What would follow is a grueling two month feud including constant battles and beat downs on television in conjunction with brutal drag-em-out battles in the ring at two consecutive PPV events. These two factions hated each other and tried to completely destroy each other in order to win and to rid WWE of the other.
Just about 24 hours removed from another battle, in which the Shield was completely victorious and stood stronger than ever, why did Seth Rollins turn? Booking-wise, I can see an argument for it. The Shield has already done everything it could possibly do. You can add more accolades to their ledger, but after dominating Evolution, a faction of seasoned veterans, all with multiple championships between them (I believe they counted 31), all having headlined Wrestlemania(s) and worked with the best of the best, the Shield obliterated them and that’s the cherry on top of their work as a team. Show business mantra, you leave the audience wanting more. You quit while you’re ahead. It’s cliché, but it’s accurate. It’s time for Dean, Seth, and Roman to move onto bigger and better things.
Kayfabe-wise, however, this abandons all reason. 24 hours prior to Raw, Seth Rollins was diving off of a stage into Evolution and trying to wipe them out – as he was doing for months. When Raw started, Triple H had no idea Batista was going to quit. Some time between 8:15 and 10:50 PM, Triple H and Randy Orton somehow made Seth Rollins an offer? Maybe he came to them, but why would he? Was he tired of fighting and decided he’d be more valuable and make more money being part of Camp Triple H? It seems like a slender thread at best. They have a week to come up with something (more) creative. The pacing of it just seems very odd. After trying to almost kill each other, what could have changed his mind to (re)align with Triple H, especially after detaching from him in the first place to start this whole feud? If you were to win a war with someone – you wouldn’t offer to join them after proving their inferiority – as well you wouldn’t accept an offer to join them.
We touched on this topic of a possible Shield member betraying the others on last week’s Doing the Job. We arrived at the conclusion, however, that the only way a turn would make sense is if it stemmed from dissension from within. The example we offered was if one of the members were eliminated and the other two ended up winning – alla Owen Hart in Survivor Series 1993. He would then (of his own volition) turn on the Shield and be welcomed with open arms into Evolution. It was the only way that the story would make any real sense – juxtaposed to a full scale assault on the opposition for months, only to join them. The fact that the Shield clean swept them at Payback neutralizes that theory.
As a mark, of course I don’t want to lose the Shield. I wanted them go push on righting wrongs and triumphing over evil. As a fan of good story-telling, I don’t see a coherent way to convincingly explain this turn of events. The only story that makes any sense is that Seth Rollins approached Evolution when an opening presented itself – counting on his stock being high after taking Evolution down not once, but twice. That hearkens back to the question of why he would have left the protective wing of the Authority to begin with only a few months ago to begin with. While one might say, “it is one thing being part of the Authority, but a totally larger opportunity to be part of Evolution,” that might have been true once upon a time, but we just established the Shield is superior and leaving the winning team to join the losing team is a step down from where Rollins already is. On the Network’s Raw post show, they theorized that Triple H, perhaps, offered Rollins a seven-figure check and that he needs to do what is right for himself or his family… I’ll just leave that one there for reference, just in case that’s what they go with.
Even though story-wise it’s mind-boggling, execution-wise it was extremely compelling and will probably lead to quite a rating next week. I’m sure my co-hosts will have their opinions as well. How about you? Email us!