The Shield showed up at WWE TLC with exactly zero TV or pay-per-view matches under its belt, but it can leave Brooklyn knowing that it absolutely stole the show tonight.
There was a boatload of pressure upon the shoulders of Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins entering the pay-per-view, and they delivered a more impressive performance than even their biggest supporters likely thought they would.
The trio’s six-man TLC match against Team Hell No and Ryback was arguably the most entertaining TLC match since Edge and Christian, the Dudley Boyz and the Hardy Boyz revolutionized the bout more than a decade ago.
It was chock full of crazy spots and memorable bumps, and it showed that every single member of The Shield has something to offer, and perhaps more importantly, has a bright future in the WWE.
Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose all performed incredibly well tonight and did so on the grand stage of a WWE PPV against three of the most over babyfaces currently in the WWE.
It’s hard to make any bold predictions about The Shield’s future this early on, but if tonight was any indication, the group seems to be headed for success.
A big reason why that’s true is the fact that The Shield competed in a main event-caliber PPV match for the first time ever and walked out of it with the “W.”
Entering the match, there was a lot of speculation that The Shield might lose and that it would instantly kill the group’s momentum and greatly hinder its progress in the process.
But, we learned tonight that the WWE learned from the mistake it made with The Nexus.
Back in 2010, The Nexus was taking over the WWE when the rebellious faction competed in its first-ever match against Team WWE in the main event of SummerSlam.
The expectation was that The Nexus would undoubtedly win that match because if it didn’t, the faction’s credibility would immediately be destroyed. Unfortunately, the group did lose, and what we all expected to happen did.
The Nexus' momentum was killed, the group never fully recovered and shortly thereafter, it was disbanded.
Going into WWE TLC tonight, the WWE had a choice: Make the same mistake with The Shield that it made with The Nexus, or learn from its mistake and use that to its advantage.
Thankfully, the latter happened.
The Shield beat a trio of very popular and respected babyfaces, and it did so in a very impressive showing with a TLC match that should rank among the best matches of all of 2012.
Instantly, The Shield has been legitimized—not only as a group, but as individuals as well.
Since the trio of young upstarts worked together to defeat three of the WWE’s top faces, it will be—unlike The Nexus—taken seriously as a major threat to anyone and everyone in the WWE.
Because Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose performed really well in the biggest match of their lives, each member of The Shield will also be viewed as more than just a main roster “rookie.”
All three stars bring something to the table, and when the pressure was at its highest level, none of them were fazed by it whatsoever. They walked into WWE TLC technically as “rookies,” but they left looking like veterans.
Only time will tell, but it certainly looks like three stars were made tonight.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!