As surprising as it may be today, one of the members of The Shield was at one point close to being wished well in his future endeavors by WWE.
Last year, rumors circulated that all three members of the group - Dean Ambrose, Roman Reignsand Seth Rollins - had developed a degree of backstage heat that could hinder their progress in WWE. Like so many young wrestlers before them who were fast-tracked to WWE stardom, the trio was accused of developing egos and forgetting proper professional wrestling locker room etiquette.
Former WWE creative writer Court Bauer claimed on Live Audio Wrestling in July that various employees in the sports-entertainment organization had complained to him about the group “taking themselves and their gimmick too seriously.” The group, which debuted eight months prior at theSurvivor Series, was actually close to not coming into existence at all due to a similar mindset. Rob Naylor, who worked as a creative assistant for WWE’s NXT division from 2011 through 2013, recently revealed that a member of the group was on the bubble to be wished well in his future endeavors a few months prior to the angle coming to fruition due to management’s negative perception of the individual’s real-life character.
Outside of the ring, Rollins is considered an independent thinker who challenges the status quo, Ambrose can be taken the wrong way and Reigns has a history of personal issues (he was arrested in Florida on June 20, 2010 and charged with disorderly conduct and public intoxication). Naylor, however, does not believe there’s anything for Shield supporters to worry about.
“I can see why they were perceived that way. I saw Ambrose act kinda foolishly politically on occasion, but he had a ‘live by his own rules’ kind of mindset. He’s a rare renegade in a business that has become very saccharine and milquetoast, in my opinion. He’s a cavalier,” Naylor said in an interview.
“Rollins’ issues were simply that he didn’t always listen precisely to his coaches. He’d be told not to do a move… and then do it. He later would tell the younger talent to just bide your time and listen to what you are told, as once you get the spot you deserve, you’ll then have the opportunity for more in-ring latitude, so to speak.
“I know that while Rollins was in FCW and NXT, people felt at times he had ‘behavioral issues’. That was never the case in my estimation. Every coach on the staff was just as hungry at one time, so that was overblown. But he was on the bubble to be let go months prior to the Shield angle, based on the perception of some from the office.”
Thankfully, for all concerned, such drastic measures were avoided, and certainly the proof that this was the correct decision has been borne out in The Shield being a top-level attraction for WWE. The fact that they have also been endorsed by John Cena at recent live events indicates that the roster is equally grateful to have The Shield ready and willing to carry some of the load.