The Shield will face a trio of superstars at the Elimination Chamber, their toughest foes to date. But given their reputation for being tough and unstoppable, what happens if they lose?
Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns are feared for their run-ins and beatings. But come Sunday, if they lose, one of two things will happen. Either they lose and find a way to come out strong, or they lose clean and lose their momentum.
If the latter happens, it could spell the end of sword of justice.
This Sunday at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, The Shield will be facing John Cena, Sheamus and Ryback. The match came about after Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns accepted a challenge from the trio of WWE superstars. Cena had challenged the rouges from NXT after they ambushed him on Raw on Jan. 28.
By accepting the challenge, The Shield has placed themselves on unknown ground—unknown at least to mainstream WWE fans. That unknown factor is the confines of the regular tag team match.
Up unto this point, The Shield has had only one match: A brutal six-man skirmish at TLC that also involved Ryback and Team Hell No. It was a free-for-all, with no real rules, no structure and no need for tags, like in a traditional tag bout. It favored The Shield, as there was no real difference between it and what they did on a normal basis.
No surprise, Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns brutalized their opponents and won the match.
Can The Shield afford to lose cleanly at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view?
But at the Elimination Chamber, it will be a traditional match, following normal tag team rules. Unless they want to be disqualified, The Shield cannot utilize their wolf pack mentality.
So what happens if they lose?
The Shield cannot afford a clean loss. To come out the other side of this bout on the losing end and still be seen as a threat; they must lose by disqualification or count out. To still be feared they must beat the stuffing out of Cena, Sheamus and Ryback to the point where the ref must stop the match to avoid an injury.
To put a real twist on things, perhaps they lose the bout because of outside interference on their behalf.
Something has to be done to soften the blow if the trio from NXT does fall at the pay-per-view. Groups like the nWo and The Four Horsemen were able to survive big losses because they were able to keep an image of strength.
If The Shield loses cleanly on Sunday, their image could be damaged. If all it takes to rein them in is a rulebook, then how fearful can they be? They thrive on fear and the unknown. They thrive on mob mentality.
If that's taken away, all that's left are a bunch of guys about to get lost in the shuffle of the WWE roster.