The Shield def. Evolution (No Holds Barred Elimination Match)

CHICAGO — Funny thing about the future — it has a way of becoming the past.

A decade ago, Triple H, Batista and Randy Orton — alongside Ric Flair — embodied the past, present and future of sports-entertainment all at once. They adopted the name Evolution for that very reason, which at the time was bad ass, but, in the wake of the events in Chicago, feels like a cosmic joke.

Check out wild photos from this insane brawl

At Payback, Evolution was the very thing that caught up with the collective of former World Champions, and it came in the form of three younger men in flak jackets and combat boots. In a No Holds Barred Elimination Match, The Shield beat the once unstoppable faction, sweeping their side completely in a lopsided three-to-zero victory that clearly illustrated which side adapted and which would perish.

Natural selection is never a pretty thing and that was certainly true here. When a match spills into the audience within the first minute of action, you know you’re in for a barnburner. And that’s what the rowdy Second City faithful got as WWE cameras struggled to keep up with three separate brawls in separate pockets of the arena — Reigns and Batista at the top of the entrance ramp, Ambrose and Orton at ringside and Rollins and Triple H slugging it out within an eyelash of fans.

See an amazing gallery of The Shield in the locker room before their big bouts

Eventually the six Superstars took a second to breathe with each side manning their positions on opposite sides of the ring. There was a brief moment of strategic gamesmanship here — you could almost compare it to chess if chess was played by whipping the pieces at your opponent as hard you possibly can.

 

The Shield def. Evolution (No Holds Barred Elimination Match)

The advantage was The Shield’s at this point. Evolution may have been the better team to a man — more championships, more experience, more accomplishments — but The Shield was the better team, period. And the way they cut off Triple H in their respective corner and took turns teeing off on him (including Rollins busting out the late Eddie Guerrero’s Three Amigos triple suplex on him) highlighted that.

But then the fight got ugly and Evolution showed what made them Evolution. Batista massacred Ambrose on the outside of the ring, pinballing him off the barricades with utter disdain. Somewhere in the Allstate Arena, Triple H knocked Rollins out cold with a piece of television equipment. With his partners both compromised, Reigns was left at the mercy of Evolution. Here was veteran wisdom on full display: they singled out The Shield’s strongest member, and then took him out with his own maneuver — a Triple Powerbomb through the Spanish announce table.

Watch the moments that made Evolution famous

Ambrose and Rollins valiantly threw themselves back into the fight, but they would be neutralized again when Evolution unloaded on them with steel chairs at the top of the entrance ramp. A Pedigree from Triple H to Rollins on a chair on the concrete floor all but nullified The Architect.

Back in the ring, Reigns found himself alone with Evolution once again — certainly no accident. At this point, Batista, Orton and Triple H made it clear that they weren’t just looking for victory — they were going to make a statement. Like three medieval sadists, they stripped Reigns off his flak jacket and shirt, laid him across the steel ring steps like a human sacrifice and took turns tearing up his back with kendo sticks.

Relive WWE's most insane kendo stick attacks

Reigns mustered a comeback by nailing Orton with a Superman Punch from the steps, but Evolution managed to put him down again. The numbers game — a term so often applied to The Shield — was continually used to describe Evolution in this bout.

 

The Shield def. Evolution (No Holds Barred Elimination Match)

When the fight made it to the top of the entrance ramp once again, Orton hit Ambrose with his draping DDT on the concrete floor. With that, all hope seemed to be lost for The Shield. And then Seth Rollins did it again. Materializing from out of thin air, The Mechanic flung himself from the top of the Payback entrance ramp set — in an act of mayhem reminiscent of his crowd dive at Extreme Rules — and took out all three members of Evolution at once.

Bang. That was the shot of adrenaline The Hounds of Justice needed.

What are the most insane dives in sports-entertainment history?

From there, all six Superstars crawled — literally crawled — back to the ring where guys started dropping like teenagers in a "Friday the 13th" flick. Batista was the first to go after allowing Rollins to escape a Batista Bomb and getting speared into next week by Reigns. Rollins was almost next after an RKO from Orton, but Reigns once again saved his partner. The Viper went after that, taken out by Dirty Deeds from Ambrose onto a steel chair.

Batista and Orton didn’t leave quietly, however. Orton slipped the sledgehammer to The Game, which Triple H used to turn out Ambrose’s lights. When he looked to do the same to Reigns, he turned his attention away from Rollins, who came off the top rope with a knee to The Game’s head. A second later, Reigns erupted out of the corner with another spear to pin Triple H and see The Shield score a clean sweep on Evolution.

And that was it. The takeaway? Experience can top a lot of things, but it can’t top hunger. And the growl of empty, insatiable bellies is what drove Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose to eat a buffet of former World Champions alive at Payback in Chicago. More than that? Be careful when choosing the name of your faction. It may come back to haunt you.

 

The Shield def. Evolution (No Holds Barred Elimination Match)

CHICAGO — Funny thing about the future — it has a way of becoming the past.

A decade ago, Triple H, Batista and Randy Orton — alongside Ric Flair — embodied the past, present and future of sports-entertainment all at once. They adopted the name Evolution for that very reason, which at the time was bad ass, but, in the wake of the events in Chicago, feels like a cosmic joke.

Check out wild photos from this insane brawl

At Payback, Evolution was the very thing that caught up with the collective of former World Champions, and it came in the form of three younger men in flak jackets and combat boots. In a No Holds Barred Elimination Match, The Shield beat the once unstoppable faction, sweeping their side completely in a lopsided three-to-zero victory that clearly illustrated which side adapted and which would perish.

Natural selection is never a pretty thing and that was certainly true here. When a match spills into the audience within the first minute of action, you know you’re in for a barnburner. And that’s what the rowdy Second City faithful got as WWE cameras struggled to keep up with three separate brawls in separate pockets of the arena — Reigns and Batista at the top of the entrance ramp, Ambrose and Orton at ringside and Rollins and Triple H slugging it out within an eyelash of fans.

See an amazing gallery of The Shield in the locker room before their big bouts

Eventually the six Superstars took a second to breathe with each side manning their positions on opposite sides of the ring. There was a brief moment of strategic gamesmanship here — you could almost compare it to chess if chess was played by whipping the pieces at your opponent as hard you possibly can.

 

The Shield def. Evolution (No Holds Barred Elimination Match)

The advantage was The Shield’s at this point. Evolution may have been the better team to a man — more championships, more experience, more accomplishments — but The Shield was the better team, period. And the way they cut off Triple H in their respective corner and took turns teeing off on him (including Rollins busting out the late Eddie Guerrero’s Three Amigos triple suplex on him) highlighted that.

But then the fight got ugly and Evolution showed what made them Evolution. Batista massacred Ambrose on the outside of the ring, pinballing him off the barricades with utter disdain. Somewhere in the Allstate Arena, Triple H knocked Rollins out cold with a piece of television equipment. With his partners both compromised, Reigns was left at the mercy of Evolution. Here was veteran wisdom on full display: they singled out The Shield’s strongest member, and then took him out with his own maneuver — a Triple Powerbomb through the Spanish announce table.

Watch the moments that made Evolution famous

Ambrose and Rollins valiantly threw themselves back into the fight, but they would be neutralized again when Evolution unloaded on them with steel chairs at the top of the entrance ramp. A Pedigree from Triple H to Rollins on a chair on the concrete floor all but nullified The Architect.

Back in the ring, Reigns found himself alone with Evolution once again — certainly no accident. At this point, Batista, Orton and Triple H made it clear that they weren’t just looking for victory — they were going to make a statement. Like three medieval sadists, they stripped Reigns off his flak jacket and shirt, laid him across the steel ring steps like a human sacrifice and took turns tearing up his back with kendo sticks.

Relive WWE's most insane kendo stick attacks

Reigns mustered a comeback by nailing Orton with a Superman Punch from the steps, but Evolution managed to put him down again. The numbers game — a term so often applied to The Shield — was continually used to describe Evolution in this bout.

 

The Shield def. Evolution (No Holds Barred Elimination Match)

When the fight made it to the top of the entrance ramp once again, Orton hit Ambrose with his draping DDT on the concrete floor. With that, all hope seemed to be lost for The Shield. And then Seth Rollins did it again. Materializing from out of thin air, The Mechanic flung himself from the top of the Payback entrance ramp set — in an act of mayhem reminiscent of his crowd dive at Extreme Rules — and took out all three members of Evolution at once.

Bang. That was the shot of adrenaline The Hounds of Justice needed.

What are the most insane dives in sports-entertainment history?

From there, all six Superstars crawled — literally crawled — back to the ring where guys started dropping like teenagers in a "Friday the 13th" flick. Batista was the first to go after allowing Rollins to escape a Batista Bomb and getting speared into next week by Reigns. Rollins was almost next after an RKO from Orton, but Reigns once again saved his partner. The Viper went after that, taken out by Dirty Deeds from Ambrose onto a steel chair.

Batista and Orton didn’t leave quietly, however. Orton slipped the sledgehammer to The Game, which Triple H used to turn out Ambrose’s lights. When he looked to do the same to Reigns, he turned his attention away from Rollins, who came off the top rope with a knee to The Game’s head. A second later, Reigns erupted out of the corner with another spear to pin Triple H and see The Shield score a clean sweep on Evolution.

And that was it. The takeaway? Experience can top a lot of things, but it can’t top hunger. And the growl of empty, insatiable bellies is what drove Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose to eat a buffet of former World Champions alive at Payback in Chicago. More than that? Be careful when choosing the name of your faction. It may come back to haunt you.