The Shield's Current WWE Role Sets Them Up for a Big Future
It may be Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton who headline Hell in a Cell, but The Shield is made up of ever-present figures lurking at the outer rim of the spotlight.
It's this position that will propel Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose into a true headlining role in the future, the audience's perception of them strengthened by a long line of violent images.
WWE's current major storyline is crowded at times.
Triple H is asserting his power of the roster. Stephanie McMahon is by his side, pushing Big Show to his breaking point, humiliating the Rhodes family and emasculating Raw general manager, Brad Maddox.
Add the two men battling for the WWE Championship and this multipronged angle feels like a Woody Allen film with its ensemble cast.
Fans of the The Shield may worry that their favorite trio of black-clad mercenaries will get overshadowed, becoming the faceless thugs that populate comic books while the superheroes and supervillains take center stage.
Fear not, The Shield will eventually emerge from the shadows.
For now, they are blessed to be on the periphery of so many of WWE's biggest stories. Triple H's answer to Jabba the Hutt's pit monster, The Shield have been asked to be the means for the COO to punish insurgents.
It was The Shield who Triple H asked to prevent Cody Rhodes and Goldust from regaining employment with WWE. Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose served as Bryan's tormentors, beating him into lifelessness to end Raw week after week.
This follows The Shield's debut where the team inserted themselves into the CM Punk vs. Ryback rivalry in late 2012.
While so many of WWE's villains are left off camera for long stretches or asked to revert to cartoonish antics such as Antonio Cesaro's yodeling, The Shield have spent the majority of their tenure with WWE mauling heroes in merciless fashion.
WWE is building up a store of violent images of The Shield. The audience's subconscious is already brimming with the sight of Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose pouncing on everyone from Bryan to Dolph Ziggler.
Even though The Shield lost to Rhodes and Goldust at Battleground, being the vehicle that the brothers rode to that emotional victory won't be forgotten.
"The Hounds of Justice" have been stockpiling ill will from the audience by ambushing and outnumbering the company's fan favorites. One hears The Shield's entrance music and can't help but feel anger over past injustices or long for someone to push these predators back.
The Shield's list of travesties committed exceeds that of Alberto Del Rio, Damien Sandow and Orton.
Their constant presence as the gators Triple H feeds his enemies will give them an abundance of opportunities to add to that list. Expect Triple H to have The Shield assist him in taking Big Show down, to make Bryan suffer should he win the WWE Championship.
The narrative tributaries WWE can follow from here offer a number of ways to turn The Shield from attack dogs to alpha males.
What if The Shield tire of being puppets, paid or not? What if the three members rebel against Triple H and become entrenched in a feud with the COO himself?
Perhaps they become enamored with their own power and believe themselves better than the man issuing them orders. Or else, Triple H gives up on Orton being able to stop Bryan from living out his WWE Championship fantasies and recruits either Rollins, Reigns or Ambrose to take his place.
This is where circling around the main event scene will most benefit The Shield.
Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose have a better shot of being called into a lead role in the near future than someone like Wade Barrett who has seniority on them but is rarely seen on TV.
Each man in the group is so close to the marquee stories that it will take little effort to fully slide one or more of them into the limelight. WWE has three villains at the ready who have been destructive and despicable, even if they haven't been indestructible.
WWE has set itself up to have The Shield emerge from the background to the foreground, from somewhat anonymous goons to archenemies.
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