After WrestleMania, it didn't look like The Shield had any clear direction going into the summer. Sure, the trio captured the United States and Tag titles at Payback, but there weren't any obvious challengers.
For months, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns laid waste to the cream of the WWE crop. The three new members of the roster had devastated John Cena, Ryback, Big Show, Sheamus, Randy Orton, Kane and Daniel Bryan. At the beginning of the summer, they even destroyed The Undertaker.
But then things went cold. The Shield members were being left off pay-per-views. When they did make the card, it was as the YouTube Kickoff show act. Was there heat on the team backstage? Had they been passed over for a new heel trio in the Wyatt Family?
Shield fans like myself had grown concerned that the talented performers were in line for what has become a tradition de-push by WWE when young stars become too popular too quickly for their liking.
The tag titles became stagnant. Ambrose, the U.S. Champion, was without challengers.
During the last two weeks, though, the team has a new-found direction, and it couldn't be more perfect. Triple H has drafted The Shield as his own personal security goon unit. They've been involved in the last two weeks' main event segments and appear set to play a major role in the WWE's lead storyline.
Sure, there are some grumblings within the Internet Wrestling Community. I've read commenters upset that The Shield has lost its independent streak by joining up with Triple H.
But let me be clear here.
The Shield is not to Triple H what the Spirit Squad was to Vince McMahon. Not even close.
First, The Shield arrived with mysterious intentions. They spoke vaguely about injustice and fighting the machine. Don't forget, though, that it was later revealed to be a cover for their role as Paul Heyman's hired guns to protect CM Punk and the WWE title.
The faction has its values, but it can be bought. The most important value, of course, is power.
This is why they wanted the belts. This is why they went after the biggest names in the company. This is a natural transition to their role within Triple H's new corporation stable.
Beyond the week-to-week role on television, this is also the ideal position for all three men in regard to their future career prospects. With Punk and Bryan rising up the card, Dolph Ziggler recently in the World Heavyweight title picture and the Wyatt Family debuting, the sub-main event scene was filling quickly with new stars.
Much of an individual's success in WWE comes down to longevity. WWE wants to test and see if your act has long-term staying power. The trials and career detours Punk, Bryan, Ziggler and others took to finally get a chance at the top of the card took years.
Remember, The Shield debuted less than a year ago. They've only been on national television since Survivor Series last year.
In this role with Triple H, nobody expects them to target the top belts. They are content playing their roles as enforcers and midcard champions at the moment.
The Shield was also beginning to pick up babyface pops. By routinely having great matches and projecting interesting characters, fans began to cheer for the heel stable.
And we all know that WWE doesn't like it when fans don't behave as they desire. Rather than go with the wave of support, they more frequently pull back on the performer.
Paired with the despicable Triple H, the opportunistic and vicious Orton against the massively over Bryan, The Shield are the perfect bad guys, attacking like a pack of wolves and keeping down the ultimate underdog.
In time, Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns will each define their roles within the stables more clearly. I'd like to see them incorporated into more backstage segments with Triple H and Orton. I'd like to see more interaction between the men involved in a way that further defines Ambrose as the next generation main event star, Rollins as the uber-talented athlete and Reigns as the ruthless muscle.
Eventually, any one of these men will be positioned to break away from the stable and feud with Orton and/or Triple H, thus making them a main event-caliber star overnight. It assures them long term viability and relevance within the WWE Universe.
The future for The Shield is bright, and its involvement in this new storyline with Triple H makes it burn that much brighter.