The Shield’s legacy during their relatively short run in WWE has been strength through numbers.
The path that took them to the U.S. Heavyweight and the WWE Tag Team championship titles was lined with the bodies of superstars who tried in vain but eventually fell victim to their dominance.
However, come SummerSlam this Sunday, the dominance that has been showing some cracks lately will finally crash down around them. And while Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins still will be a formidable force, the domination puzzle they once laid before the rest of the WWE roster finally will be solved.
The Shield will, in fact, turn out to be human.
Thus far, Ambrose is the only Shield member committed to appearing at SummerSlam. He defends his U.S. title against Rob Van Dam in the pay-per-view kickoff telecast.
But you just know in your heart of hearts that a PPV as major as SummerSlam is not going to let WWE’s top tag team—not to mention one of its most intriguing draws—lay low. Reigns and Rollins will be recruited into a match, and their opponents will be Mark Henry and The Big Show.
If all that comes to pass, as I expect it will, then the odds are very good that The Shield will come away from Staples Center without the forceful mystique they once garnered.
And without their titles, too.
SummerSlam will be the climax to a storyline that we have seen coming for several weeks now.
Once upon a time, The Shield never cleanly lost a match. When their music hit and they descended through the crowd to the ring, the poor hapless soul or souls better start getting their personal affairs in order.
Now, we have seen them lose on television. We have seen them back down when their in-ring prey finally started baring their teeth.
Most recently, The Shield was set to pounce on Van Dam and Henry following RVD’s victory in the contender’s match for Ambrose’s title. But when Big Show—a former frequent target—showed up, the Hounds of Justice tucked their tails between their legs and ran.
Where they once engaged in fight, they now seem more susceptible to flight.
I fully anticipate RVD to take the U.S. title away from Ambrose. Ambrose has held the title for a couple of months, but his run has been less than memorable. He still can pull a crowd, but WWE is not going to waste all the hoopla and money it has heaped on Van Dam’s return on a loss in a PPV pre-show.
That will set the table for Reigns and Rollins later in the broadcast. Since The Shield won all their titles on the same PPV, it would be in the best interest of their teamwork—and Henry and Show’s storyline—to lose them all on the same PPV.
That will not spell doom for The Shield, however. Nor will it isolate them from any more pushes in the near-future.
It just means a time to regroup and reassess their directions.
The Shield has had a very good run as a team in WWE in the past year. They certainly have brought interest back to the concept of wrestling stables, even if they did not do much for the gold they wore around their waists.
One thing about dominance. It is born with a vengeance, and it dies with a vengeance. But it also rises from the ashes with an even greater vengeance.
The Shield may emerge from SummerSlam dormant. But they are far from being done.
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.