This is half-factual, half-hypothesizing. I suppose, as any scientific hypothesis would work, I am taking what I have seen thus far from The Shield, and trying to explain it, or put it together in a coherent framework. That involves some evidence on the part of what WWE has put in front of us to witness, and some imagination in how I believe it all fits.
Upon explicating my thoughts on this to myself, I stumbled upon what I believe to be the best metaphor to describe Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns: they are a holy trinity of mind, body, and soul.
Would love to hear your take on the group and/or my ideas, as well. And we're off!
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What WWE has really impressed me with, so far, is how they have managed to put all three of these guys over in the same way, and at the same level - i.e., we are really led to believe The Shield has no leader, has no "greater", but that these three men are equal in the eyes of one another, and the audience.
That is not an easy thing to do, but it is the most essential part of their identity. Without all three of them working together in such perfect harmony, they would not be as dangerous. We are really led to believe that The Shield are greater than the sum of their parts (and we can all take a moment to praise JBL for his consistent work selling these guys at TLC).
Having said all that, however, I think it is still important, and also in function with their identity, to say that while none of these men are greater than the other, that they do still revolve around a center; that there is still a gravitational force. That gravitational source, to me, is the soul
of the group, Dean Ambrose; which leaves Rollins and Reigns as, still essential, but periphery "organs": the mind
and the body
is a high-flyer of sorts. He receives the biggest bumps of the group (not by choice, of course) - being pushed through a table, almost slamming through another, and being thrown off a table by Kane. But, besides Rollins receiving big bumps, he has also shown a willingness to put himself through great pain - as evidenced by his attempt to put Ryback through a table at TLC by jumping off a ladder.
As we might expect with someone who is the mind
, he does not seem to mind physical pain and is willing to take it, if it means getting a message across.
When we were first introduced to Rollins, he was explaining to us, step-by-step, on an intellectual basis, why it was that The Shield exists
. First there were the wrestlers, who answered to the GMs, who answered to Vince and the Board, who answered to the WWE Universe: a chain of reasoning that leads one to believe decisions are made on the basis of popularity, as opposed to true talent.
Notice his tone when he speaks, and his body language. He never speaks any louder than a reasonable level, and he more-or-less stays in one position while speaking - he is far less animated than Ambrose, who is constantly twitching around, leaning forward, raising his eyebrows, etcetera.
When the video first begins, Rollins is laughing subtly at Michael Cole's question, suggesting Rollins finds it funny that other people don't "get it." He is far less upset about the whole thing, however, than Ambrose appears to be. His disappointment is reflected as a calm, intellectual chuckle to himself as opposed to Ambrose, who shakes his head vigorously and buries it in his chest.
As the mind, Rollins understands The Shield's goals through his head. And the way he speaks, behaves, and reasons reflect that. When he first begins his brief monologue, Rollins mentions "seeing" things clearly, through his eyes. His eyes. Not how he feels about injustice, but that he is witnessing it, through his eyes, and into his brain. And when he speaks, he does not ramble passionately; he states things logically.
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Contrast all of what Ambrose and Rollins so far represent, of course, with Roman Reigns. As the body
of The Shield, Reigns is your stereotypical enforcer. But, oh boy, he's so much more awesome than that.
, in line with his character, is not someone I will ramble too much about because he does not require that much dissection. He is the big man of the group; the protector; he is, himself, a shield for the mind and the soul, acting as its strongest physical line of defense. What you see is exactly what you get.
While Ambrose is the most animated, and Rollins much less so, Reigns is always almost perfectly still
. In every video, this is true; and, when he speaks, he speaks tersely, with little emotion.
The only time we really see passion from Reigns is during his "war cry" (which is fantastic, by the way) right before their powerbomb. His passion comes out largely through physical altercation, whereas Rollins' comes out more through speaking - even if both are typically more subdued than Ambrose, whose passion comes out everywhere and always, in different directions and in different amounts.
What I like most about Reigns thus far, is that he has emerged as every bit an equal to his counterparts, when most internet fans were much more hyped over Ambrose and Rollins. Reigns, as a sort of underdog, has managed to shine through just as brightly.
Besides the fact WWE has maneuvered around his alleged lack of mic skills by giving him calm, terse things to say in a total bad ass kind of way; the reason Reigns has emerged, in my eyes, as an equal and essential part of The Shield, is that he is better than any recent big man I can remember. And I offer three perfect moments to show you that from The Shield's TLC match with Ryback and Team Hell No.
In the first, he shakes his head, "No!"
, and gives a sort of crying face just as Kane and Daniel Bryan Irish whip him into a ladder. The whole sequence is sold so well and made Reigns look like he was actually afraid. I think it was a great spot and made him look human.
The other was this all-around fantastic part of the match, where all three members of The Shield could barely stand on their feet
, including Reigns. I found it absolutely awesome that a big man like Reigns would completely sell out for his physical exhaustion like that, because he should be exhausted after the "war" he went through.
The third is the final moment of the match, when he pins Daniel Bryan. Take a look at his face
, begging for this to finally be the end.
Both parts of the match really sold the "war" aspect of the bout, and made it so believable that The Shield are both willing and able to do whatever it takes to get the job done.
Which brings us to a man who will one day, I believe, prove to be even more willing-and-able than the others, because he's insane!
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Who is the king of selling in the WWE? Dolph Ziggler, I'd like you to meet someone. His name is Dean Ambrose. And I rest my case
is definitely the most anticipated of the group. Wrestling fans all over tEh inteRWebZ were marking out for Ambrose long before he entered the company - and upon waiting months for his debut, they finally received it.
Thus far, it has lived up to expectations.
Ambrose is the psychological leader
of The Shield. Whereas Rollins "gets it" on an intellectual level, and is more prone to explaining things through logic, Ambrose "gets it" in his heart and will describe The Shield's motivations in more moral terms. Ambrose most often uses words like "honor"
, and "principles."
As a feeling
person, the former indy star wears his emotions on his sleeve and is, thus, the most eccentric of the group. What makes him so great is that he takes every opportunity possible to get that message across to you - sometimes with subtlety (raised eyebrows from 0:07 to 0:09
), other times hitting you across the face with it
Much like Rollins is the mind
, and therefore puts his body
through the aforementioned bumps - showing, therefore, less regard for it - Ambrose is the soul
because he, too, shows little regard for his physical shell.
Think about who of the group has taken the most bumps. Rollins has taken the biggest
ones, as mentioned above, but Ambrose consistently receives the most damage. This is WWE utilizing his amazing selling to its potential.
At TLC he took a Chokeslam through a chair and a Shell Shocked - both of which would have presumably ended the bout. But upon pin-saving efforts from his teammates, the match continued, and it never took too much time for Ambrose to be back on his feet. He took so much abuse, but kept coming back for more: building him up as a man who can withstand much physical pain or one who completely disregards it.
As the soul
of The Shield, Ambrose is the metaphorical center of the group. This is reflected in the amount of face time he gets on television (the most), the amount of mic time he gets (also the most), the amount of damage he takes (the most), and also the amount of in-ring time he gets (the most). It is also reflected in their handheld promos - where he is in the center - and their matches.
When the TLC match began, who was exchanging chops with Ryback in the middle of the ring while Rollins and Reigns were outside of it? Dean Ambrose. Later in the match, who was consistently in the middle of the ring delivering a DDT to Kane, receiving finishers from Kane and Ryback, receiving that well-executed jumping clothesline bump from Kane, and generally in the middle of the step-by-step action? Dean Ambrose.
When The Shield interrupted Ric Flair's return, it was Ambrose who went toe-to-toe with Flair
in the middle of the ring, knocking him to the mat and proclaiming, "Stay down, Ric!", with his finger in Flair's face. The other two Shield members worked outside the ring.
While Rollins and Reigns have been on the receiving or giving end of the large bumps, respectively; Ambrose is the one who tells most of the match story in the middle of the ring - allowing his eccentricities to be given their proper place, center-stage.
When their TLC match is finally over, and Ryback is still somehow on his feet, so somehow is Dean Ambrose, and he gives us the final line
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The End of The Shield
Ambrose is the crazy, impassioned soul of The Shield. He's the center of it, the energy behind it, the emotion that makes it all work. Combine that with the body (Reigns) and the mind (Rollins), and you get a sort of divine trinity that is being booked thus far as unbreakable.
But their union is so strong because they each compliment one another so well. So how does that union eventually break?
Well, it will go one of three ways, in my opinion; all of which revolve around the center of the group, Dean Ambrose:
Dean will be the first to leave, prompted by a disgust with where the group is heading, or by some recent action of Rollins and Reigns. He will talk about how The Shield lost its way.
If it's a face turn, he may talk about how Rollins/Reigns let the power go to their heads (though a face turn would make little sense for him). If a heel turn, he will mention how they have become soft in their execution of The Shield's goals. Perhaps Rollins/Reigns help out a face wrestler, despite Dean's admonition.
Ambrose will be the last one to leave. One at a time, Reigns and Rollins grow increasingly disillusioned with The Shield's purpose and quit the group.
Reigns is the first to leave, believing himself capable of handling his own business. Rollins is next to go, shortly thereafter, citing intellectual disagreement with Ambrose over what The Shield is really accomplishing; or perhaps Rollins forms a friendship with a face wrestler outside of The Shield, and one day prevents Ambrose from attacking him.
This leaves Ambrose all alone. The Shield still exists, but it is only Ambrose that is left to carry on the mission that was truly his all along.
The last option, and my personal favorite, leaves us with a similar resolution as #2: Ambrose is left all alone to carry on The Shield's mission, since it was, after all, his emotional love-child from the start - but how we get to that point is a little different.
Instead of Reigns and Rollins leaving separately, Ambrose goes progressively bonkers. Week-by-week, The Shield continue to attack certain wrestlers, but Ambrose's thirst for justice takes him to ever-greater heights of violence. He begins to seriously injure wrestlers and/or otherwise attempt to end their careers.
Backstage, Ambrose constantly harps on the two men that they need to step things up a notch, that in order to achieve their purpose they must be more aggressive, more merciless, more willing to do anything and everything. They must be "ever vigilant."
The two eventually turn on him when he has a chair around some popular face wrestler's neck and is going to break it by jumping off the turnbuckle. Reigns and Rollins get in his way and tell him they won't let him do it, turning them face in the process. Ambrose goes nuts and attacks them. That's key. They don't attack Ambrose. He descends the turnbuckles and decides himself to deliver the first blow.
He puts up a great fight and looks positively insane, but the other two use the numbers game to eventually get the better of him, putting him through an announce table with a double powerbomb and, looking very emotional and distraught, they proceed into the ring to help the face wrestler to his feet, and assist him up the ramp.
The camera zooms on Ambrose who slowly begins to crawl towards the ring, looking "like a man possessed", as the cliché goes.
Reigns and Rollins, citing The Shield's corruption at the hands of the maniacal man, continue in the next few weeks with a new mission of their own: stop Dean Ambrose. Rollins explains the new mission to everyone, while Reigns acts as enforcer. This leaves Ambrose as the outcast; the loner; the "lone wolf"; the shadowy figure in the dark; the violent, misunderstood misfit who acts as his own messiah; etcetera.
It continues the metaphor, with the soul long outliving the body and the mind; and it also adds to the soon-to-be legend of the madman, Dean Ambrose: "I am
Regardless of what happens, I have not been so excited to watch WWE television in a long time. I truly believe, much like CM Punk's infamous worked shoot in July of 2011, that huge things are in store for The Shield, and that they are, like Punk, harbingers of an edgier, more daring product.
Hopefully, The Shield stick around for a bit and don't break up anytime soon because they are three very talented guys who work extremely well together. They all exude that "it factor" that WWE allegedly craves; and, together, they are a believable, powerful force.
2013 will be a good year for WWE. You just have to "Believe in The Shield!"