The Shield has only been on WWE TV for roughly eight months, but the impact that the trio has made during that span has been absolutely huge.
Very rare does a debuting faction affect the WWE in a major way almost instantly. The Shield, however, has done that and more.
Since debuting at Survivor Series 2012, the trio of former NXT studs has made quite the splash on the main roster, becoming a big factor in many of the WWE's biggest storylines.
In a very short span, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose have managed to do what it takes most superstars years to accomplish: change the WWE.
Well, let's take a look at seven different ways that The Shield has already changed the WWE.
One overlooked aspect of the impact The Shield has made on the WWE is the fact that the trio has breathed new life into the six-man tag team match.
For years, the six-man tag team match was nothing more than a sparingly used bout that usually paired three random faces together to take on three random heels—all of which were involved in separate feuds.
The Shield has changed that, though.
Once an underwhelming part of the WWE, the six-man tag team match has become one of the company’s biggest highlights. That’s all because of The Shield, too.
The trio has already proven to be so good at these six-man tag team matches that they’ve now evolved into one of the most entertaining parts of WWE TV. No one was exactly begging to see six-man tag team matches just a year ago, but now, plenty of fans are.
Why? Because of the success of The Shield.
Two of The Shield’s three members, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, came to the WWE after having made quite the names for themselves on the independent wrestling scene.
They were two indy studs just a few short years ago, and now, they’ve become two of the most must-see superstars in the top wrestling promotion in the world.
Ambrose and Rollins have already had a ton of success in the WWE, and now, a company that used to shy away from former indy sensations seems to be gravitating toward them.
The WWE has already scooped up some of the top indy stars in the country over the last couple of months, including Samuray Del Sol, who has reportedly signed with the WWE, according to a tweet by The Resistance Pro (h/t Marc Middleton of WrestlingInc.com), and Sami Callihan (confirmed signing).
The company has also been linked to a number of other top indy superstars as of late, and you have to think that its interest in big-named indy wrestlers has a lot to do with the success of former indy studs like Ambrose and Rollins.
The bottom line is that indy superstars are turning into studs at the WWE level now, and after seeing all the success that The Shield has had, so far, the WWE is obviously trying to keep that trend going.
The Shield is clearly making its presence felt in the WWE, right now, but its members might very well make a bigger impact down the road.
Clearly, WWE officials are high on all three members of The Shield, and being that they’re achieving so much as main roster rookies, that bodes very well for their futures.
There’s certainly no guarantee that Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose will all have a ton of success once The Shield is over and done with. But it’s safe to assume that at least one—if not two or all three of them—will be a major player in the WWE for years to come.
Quite simply, the WWE has struck gold with this group, and as a result, the company now has three guys who could all serve as building blocks for the future.
It’s a very reasonable assumption to think that Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose can all be World title material one day, and they’re all still in their mid-to-late 20s, which gives them ample time to get to that level.
The Shield’s members have already earned their places in the history books, but one day down the road, they just might add to their legacy by evolving into the top stars that they all have the potential to become.
Perhaps, the most noticeable impact The Shield has had on the WWE is it directly improving the quality of the matches we see on WWE TV each and every week.
Anyone who has watched any of the trio’s matches can clearly see that Rollins, Ambrose, and (to a lesser extent), Reigns can really go and are more than able to deliver the goods in the ring on a weekly basis.
The Shield has had countless tag team and six-man tag team matches that were either really good or straight-up phenomenal, and in singles action, they’ve performed really well, too.
Rollins’ match against Daniel Bryan on Raw a few weeks ago is one of the top five matches of 2013, so far, and in a limited sample, Ambrose has proven to be a great in-ring performer in his singles bouts as well.
It’s really hard for a main roster rookie to instantly become one of the best in-ring performers in the company. But as a trio, The Shield has managed to do that, and as individuals, Rollins and Ambrose have as well.
These guys have delivered a number of unforgettable TV and pay-per-view matches already, and they’re only getting started, so expect their matches to only get better as they move forward in the WWE.
Team Hell No did a great job putting the spotlight back on the WWE Tag Team Championship, but The Shield has done even more to help restore the prestige to those titles.
Because of how well the trio has been booked, everything that The Shield does seems like it really matters. Everything that The Shield does seems like it’s a very big deal.
That’s why The Shield winning the tag team titles has made those belts seem more important than they have at any point in recent memory.
Admittedly, the WWE needs to build up more credible tag teams to combat Rollins and Reigns. But regardless, the simple fact that The Shields holds those belts makes them more important.
The Shield is—aside from Daniel Bryan—arguably the most entertaining aspect of WWE programming right now, and as such, the trio can do a lot of good for the prestige of the WWE Tag Team Championship.
The tag team titles don’t mean what they once did. But The Shield will certainly change that.
Over the last few years, the WWE has gone through a number of phases where its programming was, quite simply, not that entertaining.
But The Shield has brought that entertainment back to the WWE.
Thanks to some great booking on the part of the creative team, The Shield has gone over massively with the crowd, and as a result, the trio has been incredibly entertaining since the day it first debuted nearly eights months ago.
Whether it’s the group’s matches, promos or attacks, The Shield always brings that air of excitement and unpredictability with it, and that’s exactly what the WWE needs.
Far too often, the WWE sort of just coasts by without really putting any effort into its storylines. But it’s clearly put a lot of effort into The Shield, and it shows.
The Shield is an exhilarating trio to watch, and for a group that has been around for a considerably shorter amount of time than the WWE’s most established acts, that’s really saying a lot.
It takes very compelling TV to entertain wrestling fans these days. Luckily for The Shield, it’s been more than compelling since day one.
The last time that the WWE had a memorable stable was back in 2010 when The Nexus started off hot, but faded into oblivion by the end of the year.
The Shield, however, has brought the stable back to the WWE.
It’s no secret that stables, when done right, are great for pro wrestling. They usually lead to entertaining storylines. They result in great matches and feuds. Perhaps, most importantly, though, they create new stars.
The Shield is doing all three right now, and as a result, it’s made the stable relevant again in the WWE for the first time in roughly three years.
Stables are a necessary part of pro wrestling (unless it’s Aces & Eights or the Main Event Mafia), and The Shield has managed to become one of the best-booked ones in recent memory. In turn, that’s brought a fan favorite (the stable) back to relevance in the WWE.
Fans have spent years begging for factions to return, but more importantly, to matter again.
Thanks to The Shield, it’s finally happened.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!