Sometimes a WWE superstar can make a statement that reveals more about a subject than was intended by those who scripted the scene. Such an moment occurred on Monday night when Dean Ambrose stated that he—along with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns—were neither The Nexus nor The NWO.
Within the scope of this storyline, Ambrose’s comment was designed to indicate that The Shield are planning to carve a new path in the wrestling industry that has never been seen before.
However, the pronouncement also reveals where the group’s future lies.
Singling out two of the most famous mass factions as examples of what they are not is a strong indication against a future outpouring of NXT talent joining The Shield.
Considering that there have only been three successful types of faction in recent wrestling history—namely a mass faction with many members, a short-term alliance between two or more former champions and the classic four-piece group of main eventer with manager, midcarder and tag-team—then the chances are that The Shield will be adopting the classic four-piece set up.
Examples of the four-piece are notable throughout wrestling history. The Four Horsemen are possibly the greatest of all the examples, and the second forming of DX and Evolution also show this methodology has worked throughout the ages.
Obviously, The Shield are currently only a three, but this does not prevent them from following the design of a four-piece group as members are able to hold dual roles if necessary. It could also fall into the classic set-up if CM Punk does become leader of the faction in coming weeks.
What follows is a breakdown of the key elements in this type of faction, why this is so successful and how The Shield—with or without CM Punk—may be able to emulate others’ success.