CLEVELAND — Now that they’re gone, it’s fair to ask: What is The Shield’s legacy? Is it of three brothers in black who made their name dishing out their own variation of justice? Is it of three individuals who became each other’s own worst enemies the second they tasted success outside of the team? Or is it of three Superstars who rose from humble beginnings to historical levels of dominance by way of brute force, limitless talent and boundless ambition and left WWE a better place than it was before they got there?

In the wake of the trio’s final ride at WWE Fastlane, six years and three months after they first stormed the ringside area, it’s looking like the answer might be all three. With Dean Ambrose on his way out of WWE, Seth Rollins headed to WrestleMania to challenge Universal Champion Brock Lesnar, and Roman Reigns looking to find his way after the fight of his life, the Fastlane match wasn’t so much a nostalgia trip as it was a reminder of everything that made The Shield special together before they moved on to bigger things and greener pastures as individuals.

The Shield emerge for battle one last time: WWE Fastlane 2019 (WWE Network Exclusive)

Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns reunite for a final match together against Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre & Bobby Lashley at WWE Fastlane 2019: Courtesy of WWE Network.

Which isn’t to say it was the greatest hits and a 1-2-3. The Shield’s opponents — Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley & Baron Corbin — possess the same level of raw talent as Ambrose, Rollins & Reigns at any stage of their tenue, and their impressive recent stint as a trio gave them as good odds as any to upset the once-dominant faction of The Shield. Corbin was particularly tough in this match, going toe-to-toe with Reigns in The Big Dog’s in-ring return and nearly handing the former Universal Champion a pinfall with an End of Days that was narrowly broken up by Rollins and Ambrose.

Roman Reigns unleashes his fury against The Shield's foes: WWE Fastlane 2019 (WWE Network Exclusive)

With Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins in his corner, The Big Dog goes on the hunt against Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre & Bobby Lashley: Courtesy of WWE Network.

But despite the stiffness of the challenge, any hope the lingering tensions between The Hounds of Justice would doom them on the way out proved unfounded, and the match quickly turned into a highlight reel of The Shield of old. The passionate charge to start the match. Seth Rollins jumping off the concourse to down McIntyre & Lashley when the fight spilled out into the audience. And, of course, a pitch-perfect Triple Powerbomb that sent McIntyre crashing through one of the three commentary tables at ringside. In the end, however, it was Corbin, with his partners out of the picture, who found himself subjected to that oldest and greatest hallmark of The Shield: the numbers game. Surrounded by Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns, The Lone Wolf was subjected to a superkick, Superman Punch, Dirty Deeds and the last Triple Powerbomb The Shield will ever perform before Reigns covered him for the three-count.

And so ended the tenure of The Shield, by just about any measure the most dominant faction in WWE history, easily among the most successful and already one of the most influential. In an industry that builds itself on the strength of moments, perhaps the best, most lingering testament to Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns is that they gave us one every time they strapped on the black, or picked up a camera, or surrounded a ring. And when called upon to do it one last time, they did it again. We should all be so lucky to be remembered this way.

CLEVELAND — Now that they’re gone, it’s fair to ask: What is The Shield’s legacy? Is it of three brothers in black who made their name dishing out their own variation of justice? Is it of three individuals who became each other’s own worst enemies the second they tasted success outside of the team? Or is it of three Superstars who rose from humble beginnings to historical levels of dominance by way of brute force, limitless talent and boundless ambition and left WWE a better place than it was before they got there?

In the wake of the trio’s final ride at WWE Fastlane, six years and three months after they first stormed the ringside area, it’s looking like the answer might be all three. With Dean Ambrose on his way out of WWE, Seth Rollins headed to WrestleMania to challenge Universal Champion Brock Lesnar, and Roman Reigns looking to find his way after the fight of his life, the Fastlane match wasn’t so much a nostalgia trip as it was a reminder of everything that made The Shield special together before they moved on to bigger things and greener pastures as individuals.

The Shield emerge for battle one last time: WWE Fastlane 2019 (WWE Network Exclusive)

Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns reunite for a final match together against Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre & Bobby Lashley at WWE Fastlane 2019: Courtesy of WWE Network.

Which isn’t to say it was the greatest hits and a 1-2-3. The Shield’s opponents — Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley & Baron Corbin — possess the same level of raw talent as Ambrose, Rollins & Reigns at any stage of their tenue, and their impressive recent stint as a trio gave them as good odds as any to upset the once-dominant faction of The Shield. Corbin was particularly tough in this match, going toe-to-toe with Reigns in The Big Dog’s in-ring return and nearly handing the former Universal Champion a pinfall with an End of Days that was narrowly broken up by Rollins and Ambrose.

Roman Reigns unleashes his fury against The Shield's foes: WWE Fastlane 2019 (WWE Network Exclusive)

With Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins in his corner, The Big Dog goes on the hunt against Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre & Bobby Lashley: Courtesy of WWE Network.

But despite the stiffness of the challenge, any hope the lingering tensions between The Hounds of Justice would doom them on the way out proved unfounded, and the match quickly turned into a highlight reel of The Shield of old. The passionate charge to start the match. Seth Rollins jumping off the concourse to down McIntyre & Lashley when the fight spilled out into the audience. And, of course, a pitch-perfect Triple Powerbomb that sent McIntyre crashing through one of the three commentary tables at ringside. In the end, however, it was Corbin, with his partners out of the picture, who found himself subjected to that oldest and greatest hallmark of The Shield: the numbers game. Surrounded by Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns, The Lone Wolf was subjected to a superkick, Superman Punch, Dirty Deeds and the last Triple Powerbomb The Shield will ever perform before Reigns covered him for the three-count.

And so ended the tenure of The Shield, by just about any measure the most dominant faction in WWE history, easily among the most successful and already one of the most influential. In an industry that builds itself on the strength of moments, perhaps the best, most lingering testament to Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns is that they gave us one every time they strapped on the black, or picked up a camera, or surrounded a ring. And when called upon to do it one last time, they did it again. We should all be so lucky to be remembered this way.