If you know anything about the inner workings of pro wrestling, you won't be told anything new in this article. If you are just a casual fan who still believes in "good guys" vs. "bad guys," then sit down, because you might learn something.
The Shield, consisting of Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins, made an immediate impact last night by defeating the team of Daniel Bryan, Kane and Ryback in the semi-main event of TLC. The Shield's pay-per-view debut was extremely important, because the stable has been the focus of television for the past couple weeks and has shown promise.
Dean Ambrose, in particular, showed a great amount of charisma in his promos and helped turn the Shield from a possible midcard act into a credible upper-card threat. With their victory last night, the Shield are well on their way getting entrenched in the semi-main-event slot and bolstering a somewhat lacking WWE roster.
The match itself was also one of the most well-booked matches in a long time, putting the new heel stable over without making them look weak or hurting the rise of Ryback. Over the past ten years or so, I've been asked at least three dozen times what I mean when I say the "psychology" of a match. The perfect definition was what happened last night in the six-man tag.
If you go back and watch the replay (something I highly recommend if you didn't order the show live), the psychology of the match was that the Shield was going to divide and conquer. Sure, pro wrestling is a predetermined sport, but it really helps to have a story in a match and have each competitor devise a strategy. Last night, the Shield had a wolf-pack mentality that let them triple-team a member of the babyface squad and eliminate him from the match, allowing the heels to pick off the opposing team one by one.
It sounds simple, but it takes a good match layout and good workers to pull of a match-long story like that one. For example, Roman Reigns speared Kane through the timekeeper's position during one spot, and instead of each guy pairing off with another, the Shield regrouped and attacked as a pack. That sounds inconsequential, but by consistently having the Shield attack as a group, WWE establishes them as a team instead of three guys who wear the same ring gear.
On top of all this great booking, it was an absolutely fantastic match. It almost seemed like all six guys decided they wanted to steal the show and went out there to do just that. The match honestly seemed to belong back in 2001 when horrific bumps and ladder matches were par for the course.
Of course, that is the ultimate compliment for guys like the Shield who grew up watching Edge and Christian battle the Hardys and Dudleys in legendary TLC matches on the biggest stages. Obviously, the Shield were extremely motivated to put on a great show, and they did just that.
Now, almost as important as their pay-per-view debut is how WWE follows up on their success tonight on Raw. As long as Vince McMahon and WWE allow the Shield to continue doing what they've been doing, we may be looking at two or three future main-event talents.