The Shield is one of the most successful factions to grace the WWE in the past decade. All three members have gone on to great things inside and outside of the company, with, as of 2022, being the face of their brand or company. Roman Reigns is now the face of WWE and Smackdown, Seth Rollins is a key player and arguably one of the most popular wrestlers on Monday Night RAW while the former Dean Ambrose, Jon Moxley, is the face of the second biggest wrestling organization in the United States, AEW. All three are champions, but how did three relatively unknown wrestlers go on to have such a hold on the wrestling industry 10 years later?
The Shield: The Hounds Of Justice
November 18th, 2012, the main event of Survivor Series is underway with CM Punk defending his WWE Championship against John Cena and Ryback. Midway through the match, three men clad in black riot gear would make their arrival delivering a triple powerbomb to Ryback through the announce table. Those three men? Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns.
The three men who would fully reignite my love for professional wrestling and go down as my personal favorite faction of all time. I know there are a lot of other factions who’ve accomplished more or had a longer run but for me, The Shield is my personal favorite faction of all time. The trio would explain their debut and attack as a ‘decade of injustice’ against John Cena, stating the reason for the group; their fight against what they believed was justice.
Their initial run went 561 days, debuting November 18th, 2012, and disbanding after the famous betrayal of Seth Rollins, which occurred June 2nd, 2014, the Monday after their awesome six-man tag no holds barred match against Evolution at Payback. Between those dates, the trio went on to have incredible showings against Evolution, The Wyatt Family, Kane & New Age Outlaws, Team Hell No & Ryback, as well as multiple other combinations of superstars.
This trio went on to hold gold, Dean Ambrose won the United States Championship holding it for 351 days, a record for the title whilst under the WWE banner. Seth and Roman would win the WWE Tag Team Championships, all at Extreme Rules with Ambrose defeating Kofi Kingston and the other two defeating Team Hell No.
The trio dressed in mercenary gear would eventually become just that, joining The Authority under Triple H doing his bidding. They would defend the ‘Face of the WWE’, Randy Orton, whilst also attacking members of the roster who spoke up against Triple H’s regime and reign of dominance over WWE.
This era in the trio’s history would give us one of the most heartwarming stories in recent memory as they would engage in battle with the Rhodes Family; Cody, Dusty and Dustin aka Goldust. With the active duo, Cody and Goldust, being fired, they would have to defeat Seth and Roman to regain their jobs. Which they did, at Battleground 2013, giving us the best Cross Rhodes to date, as well as 67-year-old Dusty hitting a Bionic Elbow on Ambrose at ringside. The Rhodes’ family would again get the upper hand as they would defeat Seth and Roman for the Tag Team Championships, with an assist from Big Show.
With the trio turning face and rebelling against The Authority, we saw the plan of Vince going forward; make Roman Reigns the new face of WWE. He would clean sweep a Survivor Series match and would break the record for most eliminations in a single Royal Rumble match with 12, including both other members of The Shield. After a very brief face run, we got the split. Seth Rollins would stab his friends in the back and re-join The Authority under Triple H’s wing, an abrupt end to the trio’s run but the best thing for them in their singles career.
The Split, Moving On and The Reunion
After the split, they would all hold the top prize in WWE, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns would win the Royal Rumble, while Seth and Dean Ambrose won the Money in the Bank briefcase in consecutive years. They all enjoyed top level success, all holding the WWE Championship in one night after Seth defeated Roman for the title at Money in the Bank, before Ambrose cashed in his briefcase that he won earlier in the night.
The trio would reunite in 2017 and have on/off reunions all the way until Ambrose’s WWE contract expired, an event which would be given its own PPV; The Shield’s Final Chapter where the trio would say goodbye to their brother with a win over Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre. Between 2017 and 2019, they would team on and off against various combinations of heels, winning various titles as well as actually feuding with each other.
When Roman would take a hiatus from WWE to battle his second bout of leukemia, Ambrose would turn on Rollins blaming The Shield for making him weak, he would defeat Seth for the Intercontinental Championship but lost it after 29 days to Bobby Lashley. They would obviously reunite heading into Ambrose’s contract expiring and his departure from WWE.
Their success continues to this day; Seth Rollins is holding the United States Championship in an incredible tweener run, Roman Reigns is the face of WWE, currently in a streak of not being pinned for 800+ days as well as being the Undisputed Universal Heavyweight Champion. And Dean Ambrose? Well he’s back as Jon Moxley, while being the face of AEW, currently in his third reign as their World Heavyweight Champion and seemingly being the glue holding the company together in a slightly rocky patch.
Why Does The Shield Mean So Much To Wrestling Fans?
So, what is it about the trio that I love so much?
Firstly, Seth Rollins is one of my all-time favorite wrestlers so that is a bit of a push to them. But they have everything I like in a faction. A great look, the trio all wear matching/similar gear which is a big plus for me, they have a great move set, singular and as duos and a trio. Each member had their own unique presentation, making each of them irreplaceable whilst also complimenting one another; Roman was the muscle, Dean was the lunatic and Seth was the tactician.
The most important part is how they made me feel and also how they made other fans excited for what was to come. They just had an aura, something that held over the fans, any time they were together after their split, you could just feel it. In my opinion, this trio is the greatest faction that I have ever seen and it’s formation created three main eventers and three of the greatest wrestlers of my generation.