WWE champion CM Punk’s legitimate injury on last week’s episode of Raw threw the WWE Universe into confusion. The Straight Edge Superstar was deemed unable to fulfill his commitments and defend his championship against Ryback at the Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view.
In response to this occurrence, WWE chairman Vince McMahon announced via WWE.com—and later reiterated on SmackDown—that the new main event for the pay-per-view would be Ryback teaming up with Team Hell No to face the newly established faction known as The Shield.
On the surface, this is an exciting matchup. The Shield have run roughshod over many of the WWE’s biggest names in recent weeks, especially the three men facing them at Tables, Ladders & Chairs, so this is the chance for those wronged to get their retribution.
The only problem is that The Shield have never had a match on mainstream WWE television.
Some fans will have seen them perform well on the new-look NXT. That is one of the reasons for there being so much excitement around the group, but potential and reassurances from other fans will not be enough to convince less dedicated members of the WWE Universe to separate with the money needed to buy the event.
At the same time, there will be a certain amount of attention simply because this will be the first time that WWE fans have had the chance to see The Shield fight on the big stage.
As a result, a number of fans will pay for the event simply to see their mainstream debut, so the WWE cannot let any of the members of the The Shield have an actual match to show off their skills.
This dilemma leaves the WWE in a very difficult situation. However, if managed properly, Tables, Ladders & Chairs could be one of the biggest selling B-level pay-per-views of the year.
There are several options available to the WWE which could see The Shield wrestle without actually being in a match. The obvious two are continued attacks on high-profile figures and a brawl at the end of Raw. That said, all the members will need to show more actual wrestling moves in these circumstances.
So far the only truly noticeable attacks have been run-of-the-mill punches and kicks, the showpiece three-man powerbomb, a spear by Roman Reigns and a one-off Enziguri landed by Seth Rollins on Daniel Bryan. In all honesty, this really isn’t enough to convince someone who is undecided that they can produce a good match when it counts.
One good option for The Shield members to employ would be to do a backstage segment where they have a weakened wrestler at their mercy. All three members could then take it in turns to show off two or three of their best moves to the watching audience to prove that they really can wrestle.
Of course, the decision of whether to buy Tables, Ladders & Chairs will not depend solely on this match. Both the World heavyweight title clash between Big Show and Sheamus and the Money in the Bank ladder match featuring Dolph Ziggler and John Cena will have a big effect on whether people choose to buy the show.
However, there can be little doubt that this six-man tag match will be the one that determines whether Tables, Ladders & Chairs is a surprisingly big success or an event that performs poorly (due to the lack of a WWE championship match).
To ensure a success, the WWE must sell the protagonists of this thrown-together main event to the audience and convince everyone that The Shield really are the most exciting thing about wrestling at the moment.