Why hasn't The Shield been beaten yet?
If you don’t believe in The Shield by now, there’s either some very impressive denial going on or you just haven’t been paying attention. Since debuting at Survivor Series 2012 and vowing to enforce “justice” throughout WWE by any means necessary, the trio of Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns has backed up its promise with brutal, unrelenting force. Whether their merciless beatdowns of The Undertaker, WWE Champion John Cena and everyone in between have truly been an exacting of justice is somewhat up for debate, but the fact is the WWE Universe doesn’t need to believe in The Shield’s cause to believe in their abilities.
With a unique combination of fearlessness, innovation and take-no-prisoners physical prowess, The Shield has yet to suffer a defeat in which all three of its members are involved. And as the troika of NXT alums prepares to hit the six-month mark of their cruel crusade, WWE.com takes a look at just what gives the "Hounds of Justice" their bite.
They'll target anyone
Quick, name WWE Superstars who Ambrose, Rollins & Reignshaven’ttargeted yet. Give up? There aren’t many. By our calculations, you can count them on one hand and it’s likely that number will decrease in the months to come. When The Nexus debuted, they did so with a symbolic dismemberment of a wrestling ring, but Ambrose, Rollins & Reigns didn’t bother with metaphors. They simply found the biggest, baddest guy they could get their hands on and plowed him through a table.
That Superstar was Ryback, but since then The Shield’s conquests have expanded to include John Cena, The Rock, Randy Orton and both Brothers of Destruction. Part of the group’s effectiveness is that they haven’t been discriminating in plying their craft. No one is immune and no one is safe. (One of the few big-name targets to remain unscathed? Triple H, and only because he had some unexpected help.) Of course, selecting their victims is only half the battle; once The Shield makes their move, they actually have to back it up. Happily for them …
They work cohesively
It’s been a long time since WWE has seen a faction that works as seamlessly together as The Shield does. Whether it’s a random act of unkindness to an unsuspecting Superstar or an officially sanctioned match, Ambrose, Rollins & Reigns are so in tune at this point that almost no verbal communication is necessary. They trust each other implicitly and wholeheartedly to put the group in the best position to accomplish its goals.
During their attack of The Undertaker last week on SmackDown, The Deadman — already winded from battling Ambrose, who sapped Undertaker of his energy and set up the carnage to follow — had Rollins set up for a chokeslam off the guardrail, but in so doing he’d exposed his blind side to attack. Before he could hoist Rollins skyward, Reigns cut the unsuspecting Phenom down with a spear and Rollins simply leaped over the carnage, having played his part to perfection and set The Last Outlaw up for annihilation in the process. Sometimes victory — however you define it — is a simple matter of Xs and Os, and The Shield know that better than anyone.
They hail from diverse backgrounds
There’s a reason The Shield consistently put its members in certain situations to maximize their talent: Ambrose, Rollins & Reigns are the products of several backgrounds and not just one. Ambrose’s formative years on the independent scene have particularly become the stuff spoken of in hushed whispers; his sinister reputation so preceded him that NXT officials actually didn’t allow him to compete for a time. Rollins is cut from a similar cloth, but Reigns’ sports-entertainment pedigree initially came from his lineage and not his training. Still, while he was a latecomer to the squared circle, Reigns built himself up into an enforcer all the same through a football career at Georgia Tech.
So to summarize, when one faces The Shield, one does not face a squad of professional wrestlers a la D-Generation X. One faces two hardscrabble maniacs who went through hell to make their daily bread, and a man who was a hop, skip and a jump away from becoming a professional football player. That’s a lot to prepare for, and a trio has yet to emerge who has successfully cracked the code.
They’ll exploit all avenues to get what they want
While The Shield’s belief in their credo is unwavering, they haven’t been afraid in the slightest to be flexible with how they go about achieving it. They may or may not have taken a bribe from Paul Heyman to get their hands on the scheming Brad Maddox, and backstage attacks have become something of the norm to soften up foes before a match.
Of course, their in-ring strategy has been similarly multifaceted as well. During their debut match against Ryback & Team Hell No at WWE Tables, Ladders & Chairs, The Shield’s game plan was simple: put Kane through the barrier, drop Ryback off a ladder and overpower the less-immense Daniel Bryan to capture the victory. At WrestleMania 29, the trio banked heavily on the idea that internal tension would doom Randy Orton, Sheamus & Big Show, and simply kept the bout going long enough for their uneasy opponents to implode. Rest assured, if there is a path — any path — to achieving their goals, The Shield will exploit it. They’re in it for justice, not honor, after all.
One will sacrifice for the good of the group
Part of being a cohesive unit is to put the unit itself above individual ambition, and The Shield have uniformly taken individual hits for the sake of the cause. Rollins was the first Shield member to receive a singles contest — against Big Show — and he willingly suffered a disqualification loss in his WWE debut (typically that’s one night you want to win) so The Shield could make an example of the giant. Same for Ambrose, who lost to The Undertaker but in the process left him vulnerable to attack from Rollins & Reigns.
They’ll display similar disregard for personal well-being in their matches as well: If there’s some ludicrous risk to be taken, there’s a strong chance Rollins will take it (in the process of putting Ryback through a table at WWE TLC, the former NXT Champion took a nasty spill through the lumber as well). Ambrose’s affinity for absorbing punishment gives Rollins & Reigns a chance to recover; Reigns’ power is often the final stroke of a Shield victory, and Rollins’ ability to get under someone’s skin (see his fearless baiting of The Undertaker) can drive an opponent into a mindless froth.
What makes The Shield so dangerous, really, beyond all this, is the fact that they have no qualms with the means and methods they’ve employed. They are committed to their mission with feverish intensity and unwavering devotion, and there is no man they fear enough to abandon that calling. Beyond the maneuvers, the mind games and the creepy videotaped messages, the scariest and most effective thing about The Shield is that they, above all others, believe in themselves.