It's no secret that Roman Reigns now appears on the fast track to the top of the WWE. It can be argued that Reigns' dominant performance at Survivor Series was the lone highlight of that abysmal pay-per-view.
With The Shield booked against CM Punk at TLC, Reigns may be presented with yet another valuable stepping stone en route to WrestleMania.
The logical finish at TLC is for The Shield to go over Punk. Nobody would fault Punk for being unable to defeat all three members of WWE's hottest stable over the calendar year.
Punk has been booked in this match as punishment by the Authority, and losing could begin a long babyface chase that leads to a Triple H-Punk showdown at Wrestlemania.
If and when Punk takes a loss, Roman Reigns is the no-brainier candidate to score the winning pinfall. Reigns was already spotlighted as the sole survivor last month, so a pin over a top WWE Superstar would be the next step forward.
Reigns will be presented with yet another platform to continue his ascension at the Royal Rumble. While Reigns will be a long shot to win the Rumble, he'll be perfect for the Diesel or Kane spot, eliminating more entrants than anybody.
Royal Rumble will be pivotal in Reigns' road to WrestleMania, as it will present him with the chance to eliminate fellow Shield members Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns.
A standout Royal Rumble performance will be a perfect jumping-off point to a two-on-one match against Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins at WrestleMaina. This would be similar to how Randy Orton was booked against Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase at WrestleMania XXVI ahead of his babyface turn in 2010.
Which Shield Member will be the first to capture a major championship?
WWE has an opportunity to take its time and cultivate a potentially money-making babyface run with Roman Reigns.
Reigns has been the most-protected member of The Shield since its inception. He has rarely, if ever, taken a pinfall and serves as the focal point of The Shield's triple power bomb finisher.
Reigns will have no problem building off The Shield's success as a stable if their inevitable split is properly timed to lead to a WrestleMania match.