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Opinion

Chris King: What If Dean Ambrose Was The Authority’s Apprentice?

Seth Rollins was the crown jewel of The Authority’s Shield pursuit, but could WWE have been building to Dean Ambrose in the titular role?

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WWE Dean Ambrose The Shield

Seth Rollins was the crown jewel of The Authority’s Shield pursuit, but could WWE have been building to Dean Ambrose in the titular role?

In 2014, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns known as ‘The Shield’ were sitting atop the mountain in the land of WWE. After impressive victories; first at WrestleMania 30 where they crushed Corporate Kane and ‘The New Age Outlaws’, (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn) and back-to-back clean sweeps against one of the most dominant factions in company history ‘Evolution’ (Triple H, Batista, and Randy Orton). On June 2, 2014-edition of Monday Night Raw; HHH comes down the ramp alongside Orton and drops the bombshell of a PLAN B, We all know how this song goes… The Shield imploded, but it begs the intriguing question of what if ‘The Lunatic Fringe’ was chosen? Below I will reveal the shocking truth straight from ‘The Kingslayer’ Seth Rollins himself about the never before heard story about The Shield’s debut and split.

The Marvelous History Of The Shield-And The Cracks From Within

On E&C’s Pod of Awesomeness With Edge and Christian, Seth Rollins gives an inside look into the original plans for the Shield’s debut and the inevitable break-up.

“We were supposed to debut at the Hell In A Cell like a month before Survivor Series. We were all at the PPV excited, didn’t really know what was going on, nobody was really talking to us and we were there, and we were ready to do something but we didn’t know what was gonna happen or anything like that. And then no one approached us all day and nothing happened, and I think that was like, Brad Maddox – the thing with Brad Maddox, where he was a bad referee, a heel referee, or something like that happened at the PPV. And I remember us all being like, ‘Why the hell, why are we here? What’s going on?’ And then the next Monday or Tuesday, we’re back down in Tampa doing man in the middle drills on a Tuesday afternoon, like, depressed as all hell. I thought this was gonna be it!”

After consecutive weeks of brutal onslaughts of ‘Team Hell No’ (Kane and Daniel Bryan) and Ryback; The Shield competed in their initial match at 2012 TLC pay-per-view in a TLC Match, against the three men they had been annihilating. Some of the highlights of this insane car-crash contest are; a triple-powerbomb to Ryback, Ambrose, and Reigns executed a double-suplex from the top of a table, crashing down to the mat that received a long two-count. This was a spectacular match!

The Hounds of Justice would make their WrestleMania debut at Mania 29; they would face the team of Big Show, Randy Orton, and Sheamus, and while the start was slow it quickly, morphed into another swift form of justice for The Shield. Keeping their stellar undefeated streak alive. A few weeks later after their impressive Mania win; The Shield would receive a massive nod of approval by WWE when on April 22, 2013-edition of Raw, when they would face the trio of Team Hell No and The Legendary Undertaker! I can’t even break down this outstanding contest…GO WATCH THIS MATCH!! It was at this moment that the shield solidified themselves as the top dogs of WWE.

On May 19, 2013, at Extreme Rules; it would mark a historic night for The Shield, with Ambrose winning the United States Championship and Reigns and Rollins taking the Raw Tag Team Championships from Team Hell No. On October 14, 2013 edition of Raw; after The Rhodes Brothers (Cody Rhodes and Goldust) regained their jobs after defeating The Shield at Battleground, they would defeat Rollins and Reigns in a no disqualification match to capture the Raw Tag Team Championships.

At 2013 SummerSlam main event; Cena then-WWE World Heavyweight Champion was defending his title against the Indy darling Daniel Bryan, Bryan won the match with a running knee to win the WWE title. It was short-lived though; as Mr. Money in the Bank Orton cashed-in after HHH, (Special Guest Referee) dropped Bryan with a Pedigree and made the cover to steal the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. During this time ‘The Authority’ would be born; consisting of HHH, Randy Orton, Stephanie McMahon, and Corporate Kane. The Hounds of Justice would transition into the role of guard dogs for Orton, and the ultimate obstacle for the ultimate underdog Bryan.

Ambrose, on the other hand, would successfully retain his US title against Dolph Ziggler on October 16, 2013- edition of Main Event. At Hell in a Cell, Rollins and Reigns would be unsuccessful in regaining the tag team titles, in a triple-threat tag team match with The Usos and The Rhodes brothers.

Dissension Within The Shield

Ambrose would begin to boast about being the only member of the group who still had a championship. Which created an immense amount of tension between his shield-mates. In November of 2013, The Shield would enter into a program with CM Punk. Punk was certain that sicking the hounds on him was a ploy by HHH. This would lead to a 3-on-1 Handicap Match at TLC with The Shield vs. Punk. There would be multiple misunderstandings during the contest; which Punk shoving Rollins into Ambrose and sends him flying. The finish happens after Punk sidesteps a spear and Ambrose gets struck instead.

While Rollins was discussing the rushed implosion of the beloved faction, he shares that all three members were unprepared to split. There was one specific underlining reason why they felt this way.

“Well hadn’t had a run as babyfaces at the time, we had just done the heel stuff and we came off this program with Punk, where it was like Punk against The Shield. And I remember we did this three-on-one handicap match at TLC in December, and we lost to him, I think, in the three-on-one, and they were ready to split us up then”. “I remember that was the plan, we were gonna break up and Ambrose was gonna turn, and it was just gonna be, almost, thrown away. I remember we went to Hunter, or Vince, or somebody – we talked to somebody that makes decisions, and we were like, ‘We can’t do this, we’re not ready for this right now. It’s not the right time and we’ve got so much more to offer. It’s not the right time! We need to pull back on this a little bit.’

Fast forward to 2014 Royal Rumble, as all three members participated in the match, Ambrose attempted to eliminate Reigns however Ambrose and Reigns were both eliminated. The Shield had begun the process into the mercenaries for The Authority. In the weeks heading to 2014 Elimination Chamber; The Shield was involved in a qualifying match against Cena, Bryan, and Sheamus on January 27, 2014-edition of Raw. ‘The Wyatt Family’ (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erik Rowan) interfered and cost Reigns, Ambrose and Rollins their spot in the Elimination Chamber World Heavyweight Championship Match. The Shield was irate, going against HHH’s advice two of the hottest factions that came from NXT were on a collision course for war.

The main reason why I mentioned all three members of The Shield as their own individuals; all men have egos and theirs was beginning to destroy The Shield from within. Rollins/Reigns/Ambrose all felt they could potentially become and deserved to be the new world heavyweight champion. On February 23, 2014, at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family STOLE THE WHOLE DAMN SHOW! This was everything and more that fans had been clamoring for since both factions came up to the main roster.

The numbers game were not enough for the hounds of justice to prevail; in the middle of the match, Ambrose and Wyatt brawled throughout the arena, which left Reigns and Rollins to clash with Harper and Rowan. Rollins ate a Massive Double Chokeslam through an announce table, and Wyatt hit the ‘Sister Abigail’ on Reigns for the win. In the coming weeks; both factions would battle two more times, the first occurred on Smackdown, witnessed Rollins walking out on his shield-mates after a misunderstanding which allowed The Wyatt’s to pick up another impressive victory.

Rollins brings up that the long-awaited feud with The Wyatt Family was not planned during their impressive two-year run.

“From there, we moved in to a bit of a babyface run. We worked with The Wyatt family in February. So we did The Rumble and, whatever, and then we did The Wyatt Family in February, which, they squeezed in because they thought they were gonna break us up”.

Are We Done or Are We Just Done?

Those were the words Rollins uttered on The Shield Summit that took place on March 7, 2014 edition of Smackdown. More than ever; we saw all the animosity and dissension within the shield-mates, obviously they squashed their issues and remained a cohesive unit.

On March 17, 2014 edition of Raw, Corporate Kane proclaimed to the WWE Universe that there was an unknown accomplice to last week’s Yes Movement Occupy segment. Kane says that certain individual is Memphis, TN’s own Jerry Lawyer and forces him to enter the ring. It felt like an all too familiar scene as The Shield’s music hit; they stormed the ring and backed Lawyer up in the corner. Then everything changed, Rollins told him “I have a good feeling about tonight because The Shield always does what’s best for business.” Then all three turned simultaneously; and proceeded to maul through Kane, ended him with a triple powerbomb.

We Work For Ourselves

On the Post-Mania-30-Raw: Triple H forced the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion Bryan to defend his title against him in the main event. The Shield failed to prevent Bryan from retaining the championship, probably because they were too busy kicking Kane and The New Age Outlaws’ asses! Before the match could start the hounds of justice came out, and The Director of Operations Kane revealed that Triple H was the culprit behind recent attacks on The Shield.

Which set The Shield and Evolution on a collision course for Extreme Rules in a massive six-man tag team match. The Shield would dominate and outsmart the vets, with a clean sweep.

On May 5, 2014-edition of Raw; Evolution opened up the show to announce that Ambrose would defend his United States Championship that he’s held for an impressive 351 days, in a 20-Man Battle Royal. On top of that; The Shield would also take on The Wyatt Family again in the main event.  Utilizing the element of surprise; Evolution music blasts through the arena and the veterans come to pick the bones, which allows the Wyatt’s to get the win. Orton, Triple H, and Batista all hit their finishers and mocked the shield fistbump.

At Payback The Shield vs. Evolution put on another epic encounter with plenty of non-stop actions as well as allowing Evolution to dissect and dismantle their foes. Rollins hit an insane cross-body splash from up in the stands! The result was academic with the hounds of justice getting a unified victory.

At the storybook goes; on June 2, 2014, Rollins was the chosen betrayer of the dominant group, and align with the nefarious HHH and The Authority. A moment that shook the WWE Universe to its core; but one must contemplate what amazing opportunities the Lunatic Fringe would have received, had WWE carried on with the initial plans for The Shield. Who knows we may never have been witnessed the rebirth and resurgence of Jon Moxley!


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Opinion

AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns

With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

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With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.

With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.

1. Johnny Gargano

Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?

WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen  the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.

2. James Storm

This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.

Watch your Money and your Alcohol.

Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”

3. Big Cass



Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.

Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.

4. Bronson Reed



The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.

Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?

5. Bray Wyatt

And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.

To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.

– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!


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Opinion

King’s Greatest Hits Of Jeff Hardy

As he battles his demons, Chris King looks at some more positive moments in Jeff Hardy’s career!

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Jeff Hardy WWE Smackdown

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the disturbing news that former WWE superstar and recent AEW signee Jeff Hardy, was arrested again for multiple charges including a DUI.  Hardy has had a hard and tragic road of recovery throughout the years in multiple wrestling promotions.

Not too long ago, Hardy walked out on WWE after they were rumored to have offered the former world champion to go to treatment for his substance abuse issues. Hardy refused and said that he was better but, as we saw the demons are still lurking and got the best of him again.

I have seen some nasty comments and even some distasteful memes about the AEW superstar and felt compelled to go against the grain. Instead of kicking a man when he’s down, I’m going to put together a greatest hits for the “Charismatic Enigma.”

Jeff Hardy & The TLC Match

Everyone can say that Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon helped innovate the iconic ladder match and you are right, but Jeff Hardy and his death-defying stunts changed the concept of the match forever. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian and their iconic TLC match should have their wing in the Hall of Fame. The risks all six superstars took for the adoration of the crowd could have ended all of their illustrious careers. In the words of Vince McMahon, It’s such good shit!

Jeff Hardy Earns The Undertaker’s Respect

On the July 1st, 2002 episode of Monday Night Raw, Hardy delivered the performance of a lifetime nearly winning the WWE Undisputed Championship from The Undertaker in an incredible ladder match. The young up-and-comer was faced with his greatest task yet, challenging for the most prestigious title in sports entertainment. Hardy showed that without a shadow of a doubt he deserved to be in the main event scene, but came within minutes of defeating Taker. At the time of the match, Hardy was still finding his footing as a singles competitor and earned the respect of the champion and legend.

Swanton Bomb From The Heavens

When I think of the daredevil Jeff Hardy, I can’t help but think of this one crazy-as-hell stunt. At WWE One Night Stand 2008, Hardy faced off against the juggernaut Umaga in a falls count anywhere match. This match was so insane as both superstars fought into the parking lot. Hardy is one of the craziest and bravest superstars, hit a Swanton Bomb off a damn stage truck onto Umaga. It’s one of the wildest things you’ll ever see.

Hardy Wins The WWE Championship 

In 2008, Hardy finally made his way to the main event title picture alongside partner Triple H. HHH was Hardy’s mentor in some sort of way which led to the daredevil achieving his lifelong dream of becoming WWE champion. At the 2008 Armageddon pay-per-view, Hardy would face HHH and longtime rival Edge in a triple-threat match for the title. In what was a great match between all three superstars, Hardy delivered a Swanton Bomb to Edge to win the illustrious championship.

Straight Edge Problems For Hardy

The following year, Hardy found himself in the way of young-up-and-comer CM Punk who is looking to make an example out of him. Punk had won the Money in the Bank briefcase for the second year in a row and took advantage of Hardy to win the world title. What started as mutual respect between both superstars changed drastically, when Punk started throwing jabs at Hardy for his drug and substance abuse real-life issues. Punk would form his infamous stable known as the Straight Edge Society. This is a very underrated feud and you should go back and watch it in its entirety. The promos are gold.

The Hardy Boyz Return To WWE

Both Matt and Jeff Hardy found success in multiple other wrestling promotions including Ring of Honor, and TNA during their time away from WWE. Both brothers were struggling with their vices and made poor life choices but straightened up their act over the years. In 2017, the Hardy Boyz would face longtime rivals The Young Bucks in ROH. The following night the adored tag team would make their incredible return to WWE at WrestleMania 33. Matt and Jeff would be named the final team in the Fatal 4-way ladder match for the Raw Tag Team Championships. The pop these two received was insane and very much deserved. They would go on to win the match and win the titles to capitalize on their momentum.

Jeffery Nero Hardy Makes AEW Debut

From 2017-to 2022 Jeff Hardy would find himself pigeonholed in the mid-card title picture. He would have feuds with a plethora of superstars including Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. Orton and Hardy had a nasty Hell in a Cell match back in 2018. Earlier this year, Hardy was seen running around after the 24/7 Championship, which was disappointing to see. After being genuinely unhappy in WWE, Hardy would make his AEW debut on the March 9th episode of AEW Dynamite. Hardy would come to the aid of his brother and longtime partner.

This week news broke that Hardy had been arrested for multiple charges including a DUI. While it’s easy to beat a man while he’s down, how about we uplift and try to encourage him to get the help he needs.

As a longtime wrestling fan, I have the utmost respect for Hardy and wish him the best of luck in his battle with addiction.


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