Ever since their debut at Survivor Series, it was unclear what the motives behind The Shield's many attacks were. Monday's events shed some light on that as it was revealed that Paul Heyman and CM Punk had been paying them off, but signs point to there being more behind their actions than just the almighty dollar.
Financial gain certainly explains why The Shield helped Punk at Survivor Series and Royal Rumble as well as on various other occasions, but it many attacks are still unaccounted for. The Shield has taken out a wide array of superstars including Team Hell No, Sheamus, Randy Orton and, most recently, John Cena.
None of them are immediate threats to Punk like The Rock is currently and Ryback was at Survivor Series. I highly doubt that money has anything to do with those attacks, so The Shield is probably a lot more complex than the video on Raw suggested. That video, of course, implicated Heyman as he had The Shield attack Brad Maddox due to the fact that Maddox wasn't as effective as a hired gun.
The WWE can go in a number of different directions when it comes to The Shield right now, but I like the idea of them being mercenaries. They did the dirty work for Punk and Heyman and they can bought by anyone for the right price. At the same time, perhaps they are trying to stop injustice in the WWE as they have said on many occasions.
It can be explained that The Shield initially came to the WWE due to Heyman dangling a carrot in front of them, but once they finally got their foot in the door, they saw just how unjust the company really was. With that in mind, they carried out attacks under the order of Heyman and Punk, but they exacted vigilante justice on the likes of Team Hell No, Sheamus, Orton and Cena as well when they saw fit.
Rather than making The Shield a cookie-cutter heel group, I'm very hopeful that the WWE continues to add layers to it. One of the best things about The Shield was not knowing the precise reasoning behind its attacks. Some of that has been explained, but The Shield is still mysterious in a lot of ways and that should continue to be the case.
We'll probably learn a lot more about The Shield in the coming weeks with Elimination Chamber coming up. Since Cena is the No. 1 contender for the WWE Championship, he has to wait around until the feud between Punk and The Rock ends. The Shield attacked him on Raw, meaning that a Cena vs. Shield feud would be quite logical.
There is currently only one Chamber match in place, which will either be for the World Heavyweight Championship or for the No. 1 contendership of that title. The Elimination Chamber pay-per-view came into existence in 2010 and it has featured two Chamber matches every year since then. That fact leads me to believe that a second Chamber match will be added pitting The Shield against Cena, Ryback and a third partner.
Is there more to The Shield than monetary motivation?
Conventional wisdom suggests that the third partner would be Sheamus since he and Ryback rushed to Cena's aid on Monday, but Sheamus will almost certainly be involved in the world title Chamber match. That leaves a spot open and I can see Brad Maddox taking it. After being attacked by The Shield it's likely that Maddox will turn face and he'll be out for revenge as well.
Having a match against Cena, Ryback and Maddox would make things personal for The Shield rather than the group taking orders from someone else. I don't have a problem with the explanation for the link between The Shield and Punk, but I'll be upset if the WWE leaves it at that. The Shield needs to be a separate entity in order to succeed moving forward.
Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns all have a ton of potential to be major stars in the WWE, so it's incredibly important for the WWE to be careful with this storyline. Making them Heyman's stooges isn't the way to go, but if that is only part of their agenda, then I definitely support it.
The best way to establish The Shield as an independent force is to involve the group in the Punk vs. Undertaker feud if it comes to fruition as many are anticipating. Having The Shield take out a legend like The Undertaker would be huge. At the same time, I'd like to see The Shield break free of Punk by attacking him too.
That wouldn't necessarily make The Shield or Punk face, but it would show that The Shield is willing to destroy anyone in order to reach its ultimate goal, whatever that may be. It seems like we learned a lot about The Shield on Monday, but there are plenty of questions that remain unanswered, and that's a good thing.