What kind of crazy world is it when WWE heels win cleanly?
Who would have guessed that the three top faces in WWE would lose to three rookies in a fair fight?
Over the past few years, the WWE machine built up strong babyfaces, delivered cowardly heels and then had those heels get destroyed. Rinse and repeat.
During that time, we witnessed the birth of Super Cena, Super Sheamus and Super Ryback. No one was their equal.
TV and pay-per-view became predictable. A heel may cheat to win, but he didn't gain anything from it. Above all, the babyface had to look strong.
Then something unpredictable started to happen, a heel group was actually looking dangerous. The Shield arrived.
Before the three burst onto the scene, it had been a lousy time for stables.
Only one member of The Nexus mattered, The Legacy and La Familia were a mess, JBL’s Cabinet and The New Breed were forgettable, and The Spirit Squad and 3MB were/are jobbers.
We haven't seen a group pushed so effectively since Evolution.
WWE is doing something right with their new talent: they haven't been squashed.
It seems like such a simple thing to do, but WWE far too often rushes into giving fans the payoff quickly.
The Nexus were run off in one week by the locker room, Team Hell No was rushed into holding the tag titles and Brock Lesnar lost his first match back.
Money was thrown away.
The Shield debuted months ago, but the WWE is still making the fans wait until they gets theirs. They've only become stronger during that time.
At TLC, The Shield beat Ryback and the tag team champions. It was their first real test as a group, and unlike The Nexus, they passed. At the Elimination Chamber they then defeated WWE's all-star team of babyfaces.
The Shield proved they can hold their own.
It's bizarre logic within WWE. Usually a Cena, Ryback or Sheamus alone is enough to take down any group. Just ask The Corre.
Maybe times are changing. Along with Mark Henry, maybe WWE realizes that every heel doesn't need to be a coward.
Besides their in-ring credibility, what The Shield also does is deliver a coolness factor that WWE has been desperately lacking for years. On a show filled with Zack Ryder, Matt Striker, Brodus Clay, Tensai, Hornswoggle and The Great Khali, they stand out.
There is an aura of mystery around them and their motives. When will they attack? Is someone else behind them? What is their ultimate goal?
They've been thrust into a top spot as a trio of rookies, and fans are buying it. Once the group dissolves, it will only help them in their singles careers.
Compare that to guys like Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler and Cody Rhodes who spent years in the mid-card often seemingly going nowhere. When talent is ready, it just makes sense to put them in the spotlight.
You'd have to think their future is brighter than say Bo Dallas, who may find himself on the same career trajectory as a Cody Rhodes.
So far, I'm pleased to say I was wrong. The Shield is still interesting. I would have guessed that by now Ryback would have defeated them in a 3-on-1 handicap match.
Sure, there has been a few stumbles along the way. The group seemed stuck in a holding pattern before the Royal Rumble, and at times their moral code seems inconsistent.
But The Shield has also been involved in one of the most shocking WWE moments in years: they were involved in a months long storyline that was paid off.
WWE cleared up what was going on between Paul Heyman and Brad Maddox. Unlike many storylines that go on for months, we were given a satisfying resolution. Hopefully this is the beginning of a new trend.
WWE has a long history of knocking a talent back to earth after they become hot: Wade Barrett, Sheamus, Ryback, Mark Henry, Zack Ryder and countless others. The Shield has avoided this so far, and it's working.
It's still too early to look at the long term success of the group, but despite recent history, WWE has created compelling television with three unknowns.
Maybe the WWE machine isn't broken.