The Shield can steal the show at TLC by dominating Ryback and Team Hell No, proving they are more than nWo wannabes.
With CM Punk out of the December pay-per-view, they can showcase their wrestling skills while continuing to run roughshod over the WWE.
Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns—collectively The Shield—have been hanging around WWE television since Survivor Series.
Their run-in during the match between John Cena, Ryback and Punk was an unexpected twist ending to the WWE title bout.
Since that time the trio have been popping up on either Raw or SmackDown. When they've arrived, they’ve beaten down somebody who, in their eyes, committed an injustice.
“We’re not renegades. We’re not mercenaries. We’re not The Nexus. We’re about principles. We’re about honor. Where honor no longer exists, we’re going to step in. We’re a shield from injustice.” — Dean Ambrose, from WWE.com
The Shield has some similarities to the nWo.
Like the famous WCW faction, they disdain authority, taking matter into their own hands.
They show up unpredictably, much to the delight of the fans that erupt in excitement. Look no further than this past Monday on Raw. The mere sight of the trio in the crowd drove fans to their feet.
Even their most recent backstage promo was like those done by the nWo:
But that’s where it stops, as The Shield are more than nWo knockoffs.
With the spotlight removed from Punk defending against Ryback, the trio from NXT will get a chance to shine. Instead of running interference, they’ll get to smash bodies in the ring and possibly take out two former world champions.
The WWE is clearly behind, pushing these men.
In his blog on jrsbarbq.com, Jim Ross commented on The Shield:
@TheDeanAmbrose, @WWERollins and @RomanReigns are hungry and motivated. They all fully realize that they are at the right place at the right time and opportunities such as they have been facilitated don't come along often. I still believe that if they continue to up their aggression and deliver at "game time" that these three will make a huge impact in WWE as time goes on.
On Twitter last week Ross also wrote:
Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns are all talented guys. The TLC pay-per-view gives them a chance to show what they can do.
This isn’t the first time members of The Shield have faced off against WWE superstars. Rollins wrestled Bryan in Ring of Honor in 2009. Ambrose faced him in Dragon Gate USA in 2010 and at WWE shows in Florida in 2011.
According to WWE.com, Rollins was the very first NXT Champion, being crowned in August of this year. Reigns is the son of Sika, WWE Hall of Famer in The Wild Samoans. Ambrose was known for his violence on the independent scene.
While Ryback needs to come out of TLC looking strong, so do The Shield.
With their first non-NXT bout in a high-profile and violent match, The Shield can be more than just a bunch of thugs. They can be dominant wrestlers, able to back up their words with action.
If this match is handled correctly, then the Monday following TLC the only thing on fans' minds will be The Shield.