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The Shield def. Randy Orton, Big Show & Sheamus

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Whether the WWE Universe believes in The Shield’s vision of justice, there’s no denying the notorious trio made a lasting impression when it counted most, at The Showcase of the Immortals Sunday night. Facing a trifecta of former World Champions, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns defeated Big Show, Sheamus & Randy Orton in the official opening bout of WrestleMania 29.

Judging by the bout’s wild aftermath, in which Big Show knocked out both of his tag team partners, the loss was much more than simply a passing setback from WWE’s newest super-team, whose partnership — despite having been built on a rocky foundation — appeared to be strengthening in recent weeks.

View photos of the team turmoil | Shield reflects on 'Mania moment

Before the opening bell, The Shield made their trademark entrance through the WWE Universe, carving a path through the packed MetLife Stadium floor and its thousands of passionate WWE Universe members. As soon as the contest officially began, however, Sheamus wasted no time bringing the fight to Reigns, with the two sluggers exchanging huge strikes.

The Celtic Warrior and WWE’s Apex Predator displayed sound teamwork, making quick tags and double-teaming Rollins. Once The World’s Largest Athlete tagged into the bout, he ripped off Ambrose’s black  protective vest and brought down giant-sized chops on his bare chest.

With speed as their advantage, though, The Shield contingent managed to take control. Rapid-fire tags enabled the trio to employ their “pack of dogs” strategy of working over the 7-footer. Despite their precision strikes, Big Show created separation, regained his vertical position and tagged in Sheamus. At that point, Rollins became the next Shield soldier to lose his vest, as The Celtic Warrior tore it off  and battered Rollins’ upper body with 10 tree-trunk forearm blasts.

The action ratcheted up further as all the match combatants brawled at ringside, crescendoing with a reckless suicide dive by Rollins that did nearly as much damage to its executor as it did its intended target, Orton. A Triple Powerbomb on Sheamus then appeared imminent, but it was broken up by a massive spear from Big Show, whose lengthy wingspan enabled him to take out all three members of The Shield at once.

After a slow recovery, Sheamus crept toward his corner but his outstretched hand  — which was  slated for a tag to an anxious Big Show — was intercepted by The Viper who tagged Sheamus’ head. Disgruntled, Big Show stood by on the apron and watched while Orton took care of the opposition, which included RKO’ing Rollins, who soared off the top rope. Orton, paying attention to the downed Ambrose, was then caught by surprise with a Reigns spear and pinned by Ambrose.

After the pinfall, a visibly disappointed Big Show blamed Orton, screaming “You blew it!” Then, in the blink of an eye, he delivered KO Punches to Sheamus and Orton. Although Big Show’s pair of hellish strikes has almost assuredly caused Orton to regret taking on the unfamiliar role of peacemaker, one must wonder what fallout will come for three of the most successful Superstars in WWE.

With the victory, meanwhile, “The Hounds of Justice” not only extended their impressive streak as a unit, but also instilled even deeper distrust among three of their most persistent foes. Emboldened by a hugely successful debut at The Birthplace of the Immortals, where will the nefarious Shield go from here?