Admittedly, this year's TLC pay-per-view was better than expected. With the original card, the level of unpredictability was very minimal.
Until the Shield changed the nature of the event.
The Ryback vs. CM Punk match was a virtual shoe-in for Punk to retain the title and head to a Royal Rumble showdown against the Rock. However, once again, it would be at the expense of Ryback's already-diminishing momentum with it being a one-on-one match.
The CM Punk injury was unquestionably a "blessing in disguise." Not only did it give CM Punk a one-way trip to the Royal Rumble (barring some turbulence approaching on the January 14, 2013 potential Raw match against Ryback).
But the main question is: What is next for the Shield?
Well, they truly made their presence known at the TLC PPV. In one of the most intense matches of the year, compared to the likes of Cena/Lesnar at Extreme Rules, the Shield officially stamped their merit in the WWE as an intimidating force.
With one of the top four biggest PPVs on deck—Royal Rumble—the Shield is expected to have a marquee spot on the card.
Seemingly, the best option would be to pit them against three other people whom they have attacked over the past few weeks—John Cena, Randy Orton and the Miz. The seed has already been planted, and it would make for good TV.
With the exception of (maybe) the Miz, neither Cena or Orton should win the Royal Rumble. They don't need that kind of victory to be involved in the world title picture. Because of that, a good way to still keep them involved in a top spot at the event would be a match against the Shield.
After the Royal Rumble, all three babyfaces could go their separate ways, and it could even spawn a Randy Orton heel turn due to dissension without the team during the match, leading to another victory by the Shield.
What do you think of this idea? Civilly comment below.
Chris Featherstone is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, as well as a writer for WrestlingInc.com. He hosts a wrestling talk show, Pancakes and Powerslams, which airs live every Tuesday at 11pm ET on Blog Talk Radio.
Continue to show your support by following on Twitter and Facebook.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!