Tale of the tape: Ryback & Team Hell No vs. The Shield
We know The Shield claims to stand for “justice,” but the bigger consideration Sunday will be whether they can keep pace with three of WWE’s hottest competitors, bell–to–bell.
Until Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns step into the ring for their first officially sanctioned WWE match — a Six-Man Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match against Ryback & WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No —the WWE Universe can only guess how the mysterious invaders will fare against top-level WWE Superstars. (HOW TO WATCH WWE TLC | MATCH PREVIEW)
To help you get ready for Sunday’s big match and prepare for the potential variables at play, click through this “tale of the tape” to see how the two teams’ stack up in a side-by-side comparison.
Precious little information can be gathered about The Shield, as competitors, from their seemingly random attacks. But, one detail that appears bankable is Roman Reigns is the group’s powerhouse. It is off the shoulders of the former Georgia Tech defensive tackle that Ryback, Randy Orton and other Superstars have been launched onto the canvas and through tables. Fiercely intense, laconic and the least experienced members of their respective teams, Reigns and Ryback are analogous Superstars in the context of Sunday's TLC Match.
Weight: 291 lbs.
Hometown: Sin City
Signature moves: Shell Shocked, Boulder Holder, “Meathook” clothesline
Accomplishments: Undefeated for nearly seven months; brought WWE Champion CM Punk to the brink of defeat inside Hell in a Cell; nearly won the WWE Title against Punk and John Cena at Survivor Series
Strengths: Physical power; fearlessness; intensity; massive appetite for competition
Weaknesses: Loner tendencies; inexperience; mat grappling; untested endurance
Weight: 265 lbs.
Hometown: Pensacola, Fla.
Signature moves: Powerbomb, leaping clothesline, belly–to–back suplex into a sidewalk slam
Accomplishments: Disrupted the WWE Title Match at Survivor Series; first-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference defensive tackle (2006)
Strengths: Sports-entertainment bloodline; mystique; boldness
Weaknesses: Inexperience; hubris
If Roman Reigns and Ryback bring unbridled power and brawn to the table, Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins represent the component of finesse. Their parallels go even further than that, as the trajectories of both men’s paths to WWE aren’t all that dissimilar. (Both men entered via NXT, albeit different iterations of the WWE Developmental brand, and both men’s names appear in the title histories of certain non-WWE independent promotions.) With tables, ladders and chairs strewn around ringside Sunday, it is unlikely Bryan or Rollins will have much opportunity to showcase his technical prowess or dizzying mat wrestling skills. As their team’s respective highfliers, however, it might be a different story altogether …
Weight: 210 lbs.
Hometown: Aberdeen, Wash.
Signature moves: “No!” Lock, Cattle Mutilation, missile dropkick
Accomplishments: World Heavyweight Champion; WWE Tag Team Champion; United States Champion; 2011 SmackDown Money in the Bank winner
Strengths: Mastery of several wrestling styles; striking ability; deep knowledge of holds and reversals; overall physical fitness
Weaknesses: Short temper; hot-and-cold relationship with tag partner Kane; the word “Yes!”
Weight: 209 lbs.
Hometown: Davenport, Iowa
Signature moves: “Avada Kedavra” thrust kick, “Black Out” stomp kick
Accomplishments: First NXT Champion; FCW Jack Brisco 15 Champion; FCW Florida Heavyweight Champion; FCW Tag Team Champion
Strengths: Aerial attacks; kicks; devil-may-care attitude (when he hits); endurance
Weaknesses: Inexperience; devil-may-care attitude (when he misses)
Rounding out both teams are perhaps the match’s most unpredictable competitors, the volatile Kane and the seemingly unhinged Dean Ambrose. Though Kane’s tumultuous personal history is well-documented, far less is known about Ambrose. Just a taste of his tenure in NXT predecessor Florida Championship Wrestling, however, is more than enough to convince any non-believer that the scraggly-haired Ambrose is capable of eerily vicious outbursts.
Weight: 323 lbs.
Signature moves: Chokeslam, flying clothesline, enzuigiri
Accomplishments: WWE Champion; World Heavyweight Champion; WWE Tag Team Champion; ECW Champion; Intercontinental Champion; World Tag Team Champion; WCW Tag Team Champion; Hardcore Champion; 2010 SmackDown Money in the Bank winner
Strengths: Wealth of experience (including in TLC matches); size and strength; remorselessness
Weaknesses: Short temper; the date “May 19”
Weight: 225 lbs.
Signature moves: Kneelift, Crossface Chicken Wing
Accomplishments: Took William Regal out of commission in FCW
Strengths: Submission holds; stubbornness; brawling ability; ruthlessness; strategic; methodical
Weaknesses: Inexperience; lack of power maneuvers; hotheadedness
Never in WWE history has a trio of Superstars made its official debut under such bright lights or extreme circumstances as The Shield will do this Sunday. Not only is the group’s first match happening on pay-per-view, but it will also come against the No. 1 contender to WWE Champion CM Punk and the WWE Tag Team Champions. Oh, and it will also be contested in an unorthodox — and highly dangerous — match format.
Since jumping onto the scene at Survivor Series, The Shield has looked awfully comfortable laying Ryback to waste through wooden tables. But most WWE fans haven’t seen any member of triumvirate so much as lock up with an opponent, let alone test WWE’s premier warriors in a TLC Match. The number of x-factors heading into WWE TLC is considerable, as is the curiosity surrounding this matchup.
Will The Shield be able to back up their contentious words and weeks of sneak attacks? Or, facing Ryback, Kane and Bryan without the benefit of a surprise, will The Shield rust before the WWE Universe’s very eyes? To find out, make sure to catch WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs live on pay-per-view this Sunday, Dec. 16, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. (HOW TO WATCH)