I think it’s pretty much the understatement of the decade to say that that The Shield has been one of, if not THE best factions / gimmicks the WWE has delivered to us for quite some time. Fan approval is certainly unanimous towards the characters, whether as an ice-cold gang of bad guys or as the recently turned face trio they’ve evolved into. Without doubt, the strength and consistency of their sustained push has helped cement the trio of Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose into the upper portion of the card, a luxury not often afforded to other talent due to the stop-start nature of the pushes which most other talent receives. Also, I for one am glad that a rushed break-up, seemingly on the way in the lead up to Wrestlemania was scrapped. I’ll admit though, I was slightly underwhelmed at their selected opposition at the annual supershow in the form of Kane and The New Age Outlaws but whilst not a truly memorable contribution, it did at least keep things ticking over nicely for “The Hounds of Justice” and gave them another WrestleMania win after last year’s victory over the much stronger trio of Sheamus, Orton & The Big Show.
Whether a triple threat match between the trio was ever originally planned for WrestleMania after the rise in popularity of Roman Reigns following his awesome showings at both The Survivor Series and Royal Rumble is now of no consequence. As a result of keeping the group together rather than hastily forcing a separation, WWE now find themselves with a brilliantly marketable brand of three kick-ass characters which appeals to the older fans amongst us who still long for a grittier product almost as much as John Cena appeals to the 8-14 year old demographic.
But where do they go from here? The decision to re-form Evolution in the wake of Batista’s disastrous return has definitely softened the impact of him flopping as company flag bearer and has also given The Shield a ready made dream team for opposition in the coming months and should certainly not be rushed into a conclusion too soon. Indeed, if played correctly this storyline has months of running in its legs and now, with the re-introduction of Ric Flair to the fold I’m hoping the inevitable pay-off of “Naitch” once again joining forces with his former stable mates is also not rushed.
Flair could play Ambrose & co like a fiddle, aligning himself with them in some capacity or other before finally doing the dirty on them amidst a massive beatdown, leading to nuclear crowd heat and ultimately any number of match combinations between the two warring factions. A three match 1-on-1 series, straight tag matches, handicap battles, further 6-man’s…the match possibilities are almost inexhaustible. There also begs the question as to whether Flair’s involvement could be the extra bit of psychological advantage Triple H and his boys need to overturn their new foes. Which brings me onto my main point; allow me this little fantasy booking indulgence if you will….
To combat a 4-on-3 mis-match, could it be that The Shield are actually in league with another superstar? Someone who has been waiting in the wings for his opportune time to strike. This development would just cap off this growing dispute perfectly and would be an awesome way to introduce a “new” character onto WWE screens, building to arguably the biggest debut appearance ever in a WWE ring. I don’t know if anyone has noticed slight similarities between The Shield and another much-heralded longtime fan favourite, but when thinking about it the likenesses are striking; The moody backstage vignettes, the black attire, storming the ring through the crowd, the anti-establishment, take no prisoners mentality….What if The Hounds of Justice were actually the watchdogs for another enigmatic superstar? Much like Cerberus, the three headed dog guarded the entrance to the underworld for his master Hades; Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose should be the eyes and ears and muscle for their guiding light…
The man called Sting.
Think about it, what better way to introduce this bonafide legend to a new audience of fans, unfamiliar with his legacy and to re-vamp the character many longtime fans know and love for his contribution to the business. Sting and Flair’s rivalry is legendary. The nWo’s importance to the overall success and profitability of WCW cannot be overstated. However it is this feud which undoubtedly defines WCW better than any other. From 1988 right through to the company’s close in 2001 these perennial rivals repeatedly crossed swords. From the time limit draw they wrestled to open up the first ever Clash of the Champions TV special to Sting’s first World Title victory over Flair at the underrated Great American Bash 1990 pay per view to that final match on the last-ever WCW Monday Nitro; these men were without question the two names most synonymous with the much missed Atlanta based group.
So why not use this ready-made history to introduce Sting to WWE audiences. And maybe even build to a Sting vs Triple H match at next year’s WrestleMania.
Just a thought. See you at the Matches.
– By Dave Green
Do you agree with Dave? What would you book as The Shield’s next big feud? How would you introduce Sting into the WWE Universe? Share your thoughts in the comments below!