Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, better known collectively as The Shield, have scored their first WWE victory. They defeated Ryback and Team Hell No, Daniel Bryan and Kane, at the year's final pay-per-view, TLC.
The Shield won after a violent and incredible match worthy of Match of the Year honors. Roman Reigns powerbombed Daniel Bryan through a table to secure a victory while Kane was buried beneath a shattered barricade at ringside and Ryback was crawling back to the ring after sending Seth Rollins through a table from the top of a ladder near the entranceway.
Ryback was originally scheduled to face CM Punk in a WWE Championship match but, after Punk was pulled due to injury, he joined Team Hell No to face The Shield. The debuting trio has been running wild since making their first appearance at Survivor Series.
By defeating two established superstars (Bryan and Kane) as well as the company's most prominent rising star (Ryback), it's clear The Shield is here to stay. It's no surprise because their gimmick definitely has staying power.
At every turn, they have said their job is to ensure any potential injustices are righted. What makes that such a promising premise is the inherent vagueness. Since they don't have a defined storyline angle, there's no obvious end point.
Their arrival has brought some much-needed buzz to the WWE, and that continued at TLC. It's mostly because Ambrose and Rollins already had a dedicated fanbase throughout the Internet wrestling community. So their debuts have been eagerly anticipated.
How would you grade The Shield after one month?
The only question heading into TLC was how they would perform in a normal match, as opposed to the run-in tactics they have used over the past month. It's still too early to make a definitive judgment, of course, but they can hold their own.
Now that they have further established themselves, the only question left is where will they strike next? Only time will tell.
As for the losing team, the impact will be minimal. Ryback's monster push in recent months ensures he will remain in the main-event picture moving forward, although The Rock's return will make things a little more complicated.
Team Hell No will re-assume to their role as tag champions. They have done a nice job in helping the division matter again after an extended period of dormancy, which is easier said than done.
All told, there's always conversations after PPVs about how certain losses will impact superstars. In this case, it was more about establishing The Shield than anything else, and that means Ryback and Team Hell No should move forward without missing a beat.
It's not a surprising result, but it's a successful one.