For the first six or seven months after its debut, The Shield was pushed harder than anyone else in the WWE.
The trio of former NXT studs went on a lengthy winning streak and defeated most of the top names in pro wrestling today, including the likes of John Cena, Randy Orton, Sheamus, Chris Jericho, Daniel Bryan, Kane and Ryback.
But the days of Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins being the most dominant performers in the WWE are now a thing of the past.
What was once the hot thing in the WWE is undoubtedly losing its way.
Over the course of the last couple of months, The Shield has gone from dominating its opponents and beating them in clean fashion to losing far too much in both singles and tag team matches.
The Shield’s downward spiral started when the trio suffered its first defeat after losing via DQ to, unsurprisingly, a Cena-led squad on Raw back in May. That was really the first sign of The Shield having any kinks in its armor, and those kinks have more than been exposed since then.
Ever since that match, the previously dominant Shield has been anything but.
The group has ventured out to compete in more singles matches recently, but virtually none of those singles bouts have been won handily by a member of The Shield. Other than Ambrose’s United States Championship win over Kofi Kingston at Extreme Rules (and his subsequent title defense), The Shield has been remarkably unsuccessful in singles bouts.
They’ve either lost their singles matches cleanly (like Rollins tapping out to Daniel Bryan to end their spectacular match), or other members of The Shield have run in to cause a DQ finish and prevent a clean loss from occurring (like Rollins and Reigns did for Ambrose against Kane).
Regardless of what the exact situation has been, the result has been the same: The Shield isn’t looking nearly as strong as it once did.
Perhaps the biggest blows to the group came when it lost its first two matches (in clean fashion, that is) in a two-week span.
The first loss came at the hands of Orton, Bryan and Kane, who defeated The Shield when Bryan made Rollins tap out on the June 14th edition of SmackDown. The second loss—and the bigger blow of the two—came when The Shield lost to Christian and The Usos exactly two weeks later.
The Shield’s loss to Team Hell No and Orton wasn’t as damaging, because Bryan, Kane and Orton are among the most over and most pushed stars in the company right now. Their loss to Christian and the Usos, however, was highly questionable, as the Usos don’t have a whole lot of credibility as either a tag team or as singles performers.
What The Shield’s loss to The Usos and Christian clearly did was knock The Shield down a peg, sending the group to the midcard for what is essentially the first time in their careers.
Things seem to be sort of stagnating for The Shield right now. They are certainly far from being jobbers, but they’re also far from where they were just a month or two ago. That became pretty clear on this week’s Raw when the Wyatt Family debuted and instantly targeted Kane.
It wasn’t all that long ago that The Shield was reportedly penciled in for a match against Kane and The Undertaker at SummerSlam. But now it’s rumored that match might be the Wyatt Family vs. Kane and Taker instead, according to Marc Middleton of WrestlingInc.com.
As if The Shield hasn’t been losing enough momentum in recent weeks, it’s very apparent that the trio will now face some serious competition from the WWE’s newest heel trio in the Wyatt Family.
It’s going to be awfully hard for the WWE to find enough quality babyfaces to allow both the Wyatt Family and The Shield to feud at the top of the card, and judging by the recent massive push of the Wyatt Family (before it even debuted), it’s looking like Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan may be surpassing The Shield on the WWE’s pecking order.
That’s just the latest problem for The Shield.
First, the trio lost. Then, it lost again. Then, it lost one more time. Then, it became a midcard act by developing a rivalry with The Usos.
Especially when you consider Ambrose is venturing off on his own as a singles star (he is the U.S. champion and a Money in the Bank contender, after all), the cracks in the foundation of The Shield are undoubtedly beginning to show.
While it may not collapse next week or even next month, all implications are that The Shield is beginning to slowly crumble.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!