WWE Royal Rumble 2013: How Will the Shield Factor into WWE Title Bout?

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WWE Royal Rumble 2013: How Will the Shield Factor into WWE Title Bout?
Photo courtesy of WWE.com.

Since its debut back at Survivor Series last year, The Shield has become an extremely formidable stable. Clad fully in black, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins claim that they fight injustice within WWE.

They declare that they are “The Shield of Justice.”

To date, their actions have included attacking Ryback on numerous occasions—citing his sudden rise to the top of WWE as an injustice. They have also taken out Randy Orton, Brodus Clay and The Celtic Warrior, Sheamus, for the apparent injustice of defeating inexperienced contract-seeker Brad Maddox.

Kane, Daniel Bryan, The Miz and Ric Flair have also all been targeted by the trio, but The Shield’s interference has almost always been to the benefit of either Maddox or reigning WWE champion CM Punk. This past Monday on Raw, The Shield focused its attention on The Rock, leaving him spitting up blood after its signature Assisted Powerbomb.

The Shield's actions have been under investigation in recent weeks as the stable has assisted Punk in retaining the title on more occasions than can be ignored. Its favoring of Maddox is also a cause for suspicion, as—despite Punk and his manager Paul Heyman’s shunning of Maddox—the young renegade referee did assist Punk in retaining his title back at Hell in a Cell.

Despite the investigation, there remains no known connection between The Shield and the WWE champion. On this past Friday’s episode of SmackDown, Punk called out The Shield, asking the trio not to interfere in his match at the Royal Rumble due to Vince McMahon’s stipulation that Punk would be stripped of the title if The Shield should aid him.

The stable simply backed away without answering or attacking.

The Shield is not currently slated for any matches tonight in Arizona, but its actions over the past weeks suggest that its presence will be felt. Indeed, its involvement in the buildup to the WWE championship match hints not only that it will likely have a significant role, but that the very reason behind its conception from WWE Creative may be realized tonight.

It is impossible to know how exactly The Shield will contribute. Will it predictably target the Rock and the injustice of his unearned title match at the expense of Punk’s title reign? Could it ambush the champion due to the injustices that have allowed his year-plus title reign to endure?

Perhaps The Shield will simply make a statement at the expense of both The Rock and Punk, but whatever ends up occurring, we also cannot overlook Heyman’s promise to make Maddox famous.

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