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!