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The Shield's 10 Biggest Moments In WWE

Ahead of Roman's return next week, here's a brief history of the modern era's defining group...

Is it just me, or is it a little bit silly how much everybody loves The Shield?

Look, I'm not being a 'hater'; I'm a Shield fan as much as anyone*, but the half-decade of mania surrounding Rollambreigns is quite startling in its intensity.

[*Maybe not literally anyone; I'm looking at you, Tumblr.]

I think I know why, though. I know why we love The Shield and their wet hair, and I know why we pray at their black, kevlar altar. It's because they're really cool, isn't it? They're so cool. They're attractive and muscular, and they work as a cohesive unit with their own distinct strengths and abilities. They come through the crowd, which is the entrance we'd all give ourselves if we were badass wrestler-folk. They look like a really sexy SWAT team.

But I'm going to pretend that we have a collective sense of substance, even though we obviously don't and are absolute suckers for anything even slightly cool. I'm going to imagine that we actually love The Shield because they have one of the most compelling overarching storylines in WWE history.

The story of Dean, Seth, and Roman is a wonderful one, featuring camaraderie, dominance, betrayal, revenge, forgiveness, and so on. Okay, yes, it also has plenty of moments where the boys do really cool stuff, or just hang out and look very awesome.

Let's look back on five wonderful years of The Shield, and let's try not to get too wrapped up in the surface-level rad-ness of the trio, okay? Let's try to scratch the surface just a little.

Stop retweeting super cool Shield gifs immediately. This is important.

10. The Debut


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Why It Was Cool: Two of developmental's most exciting guys and Roman Reigns hopped the barricade during the Survivor Series 2012 main event. They were dressed entirely in black and seemed like a cohesive unit. They isolated Ryback and delivered the first ever Shieldbomb (as Michael Cole now seems to be calling it) through the announce table. This helped CM Punk win. CM Punk was cool, ergo these guys were also now cool.

Why It Was Important: Many watching fans would have had no idea who these guys were at the time - no idea that Seth Rollins was a former ROH World Champion, or that Dean Ambrose had recently teased an intriguing worked-shoot feud with Mick Foley online. Despite this, everything about the way WWE presented The Shield (and the way they presented themselves) made it obvious that all three were earmarked for stardom.


9. Holding The Gold


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Why It Was Cool: At Extreme Rules 2013, Ambrose defeated Kofi Kingston in just over five minutes to win the US Championship. Later in the show, Reigns and Rollins beat Kane and Daniel Bryan to win the tag titles. Champions are cool, and all members of a stable holding gold simultaneously is also cool. Also, despite being heels, none of The Shield interfered in the match they weren't involved in. Bad guys who happen to also be good at wrestling are so righteous and totes dreamy.

Why It Was Important: When a group holds simultaneous championships in WWE, you know they're going to be a big deal. It happened with Evolution a decade prior, and the two young members (Orton and Batista) are now surefire future Hall of Famers.

8. Warring With The Wyatts


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Why It Was Cool: Elimination Chamber 2014 saw a match between The Shield and The Wyatt Family that can only be described as 'balls to the wall'. Our guys lost, but losing can still be cool if it's done in a rad manner. Being divided and conquered is absolutely one such way. Wyatt took Dean into the crowd and returned without him, Seth was slammed through the announce table, and Roman bravely resisted before finally falling. Everyone was like "Wow, I think I'm gonna really like this Reigns guy. He's so resilient and brave." Haha.

Why It Was Important: This was the event where everyone realised that The Shield could really go. Yes, Roman may have improved considerably after the breakup of the trio, but tag matches allow for guys to cover each other's weaknesses while showing off their strengths - and that's exactly what happened. We also saw the separation of the three members into distinct roles: Ambrose as the deranged leader, Rollins as the unflinching daredevil, and Reigns as the enforcer.

7. Turning Face


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Why It Was Cool: Heels are cool, but it's always cooler when a molten hot bad guy turns face, allowing the fans to cheer them without any reservations at all. That's exactly what happened when The Shield had enough of The Authority telling them what to do in March 2014. They celebrated by utterly squashing Kane and the New Age Outlaws at WrestleMania XXX, and even entered wearing skull-themed facemasks. As if they weren't badass enough...

Why It Was Important: Turning face really helped maximise the popularity of The Shield (and, I imagine, sell a boatload of merchandise) - but it also sowed the seeds for what was to come. Defeating the old guard at 'Mania was symbolic in its rapidness; here were three guys being put over strong.


6. Defeating Evolution (Twice)


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Why It Was Cool: When The Shield defeated the reformed Evolution (minus Ric Flair) at Extreme Rules and Payback 2014, they perhaps reached peak coolness. That second victory in particular - an elimination match which saw all three members survive - ended with the trio posing above the prone body of Triple H. The audacity. (Also, both matches were good, and putting on good matches is always cool.)

Why It Was Important: This was the high water mark before everything came crashing down, and makes for poignant viewing in hindsight. Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns enjoyed their ultimate moment of collective triumph at Payback - and it would last less than a day. The best swerves happen when you least expect it, and this victory played a huge role in veiling WWE's intentions.

5. The Break-Up


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Why It Was Cool: Rollins, you heartless snake! I hate you! We all hate you! How could you do this? To your brothers!? You were so great together! Nobody could beat you, and you threw it all away - to align with Triple H!? I feel sick. This is horrible. This is disastrous. Also, this is so awesome and I can't wait to see what happens next.

Why It Was Important: Everybody thought it would be Ambrose. From the moment The Shield started to really gain momentum, talk of a split started to arise. However, all the clues pointed to Dean turning on the others and striking out on his own - from the end of his record-setting US Championship reign to his generally unhinged demeanour. It was a wonderful piece of misdirection from WWE, and proof that subtlety can still exist in their storytelling when they really want it to.

4. Money In The Bank 2016


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Why It Was Cool: All three members of The Shield held the WWE Championship in one night! First Rollins beat Roman (clean!) to win the belt, reversing his Spear with a sweet jumping Pedigree - and then hitting a normal Pedigree to make certain, because Reigns is very tough. Smart strategy there; I'm surprised more haven't tried it on the Big Dog. Then, Ambrose gained the ultimate revenge for Seth's betrayal, cashing in the MITB title shot he earned earlier in the show. Bonus irony points due to Rollins' cash-in antics at the previous year's WrestleMania.

Why It Was Important: After two years of (usually) staying out of each other's way, this brought all three members of The Shield back into the same storyline. In their time apart, Reigns had become WWE's golden boy, Rollins had become the actual golden boy, and Ambrose was in danger of being the group's whipping boy. He finally won big here, and also gained cathartic revenge on the man who betrayed him.


3. The Shield Triple Threat


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Why It Was Cool: All three members of The Shield in a triple threat!? This was the match we'd been asking for for ages! Yes, the build was a little shaky due to Roman's wellness policy violation, and subsequent suspension - but he was back in time for Battleground 2016. To make things even more exciting, the WWE Championship was on the line.

Why It Was Important: I'll be honest, this is the weakest moment on the list in my opinion, and perhaps the only aspect of The Shield saga that I don't enjoy at all. It's still an important moment in their history, for sure, but WWE's decision to overshadow the trio's climactic three-way clash with brand warfare was flat out dumb. Nobody cared about Stephanie and Foley vs. Shane and Bryan. We wanted to see the guys put on a storytelling masterclass, with over two years of buildup to draw upon. Realistically, this could (and should) have headlined WrestleMania. Instead, it fell pretty flat. Ugh.

2. Survivor Series 2016


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Why Was It Cool: So it turns out The Shield are too cool to respect traditional things like arbitrary Survivor Series allegiances. This was proven in 2016 when they forgot themselves for a moment, briefly reforming to slam AJ Styles through the announce table. Extra cool points: this would have really annoyed Shane McMahon, as it jeopardised Team SmackDown's chances of winning the match - and it's always nice to see his cockiness become anger.

Why Was It Important: Despite murmurings of a Shield reunion from the moment they broke up, this was the moment WWE made us realise that it was actually going to happen - just not quite yet. Still, all three guys were now babyface (if you count Reigns as a face despite the constant booing), meaning that something could be right around the corner. We held our collective breath, until...

1. The Reunion


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Why It Was Cool: 'The boys are back in town! / The boys are back in town!' Bawwwm bawwwwwwm.

Why It Was Important: The Shield's recent reformation has opened the door on the next chapter of their multi-year epic. If we count their rise and face turn as Act I, Rollins' betrayal and their individual pursuits as Act II, and this as Act III - and if we follow standard fictional convention - that means major stuff is going to go down soon! At the time of writing, nothing untoward has happened yet - but my money's on a second betrayal, this time by Dean Ambrose. Whatever happens, it seems as though the story of Shield is in good hands. WWE care about this one, and when they care, good things tend to occur.

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Jack G. King

Written by Jack G. King

Head of News at Cultaholic.com | [email protected]