Shield Explodes: Booking the Hounds Strong After WrestleMania XXX

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Shield Explodes: Booking the Hounds Strong After WrestleMania XXX
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The Shield has been an anomaly over the last year and a half. Somehow, someway, the WWE Creative staff has managed not to ruin three of their most talented performers, produce excellent matches and develop a trio of distinct characters that could carry the company into the future. The Shield's current storyline appears to have Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns on a collision course at WrestleMania. Here's how you prime all three of them for a successful future in the WWE.

Dean Ambrose

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Considered by many across the Internet Wrestling Community to be the biggest slam dunk for a future star of the group, Ambrose has actually taken a back seat during the last few months. As the initial leader and mouth piece of the group, Ambrose was the singles act and has carried the U.S. Title since Extreme Rules last year. Since then, though, all of the buzz has been about Reigns and Rollins has been the charismatic focal point of the break up.

To this, I say no worries. Ambrose is a special kind of talent. And while "the cream always rises" is the greatest myth professed among hopeful smarks in the IWC, Ambrose, I truly believe, will prove to be a main event player. Ambrose brings back memories of Roddy Piper and Brian Pillman. He possesses something different than most anyone in the WWE: an authentic sense of danger. 

All that said, I believe Ambrose will drop the U.S. Title in the triple threat match at WrestleMania to Reigns. The belt has meant very little to Ambrose's character considering he's rarely defended the strap. I'd run a rematch of the triple threat at Extreme Rules for the belt, make it a ladder match, and give Reigns the second win to reaffirm his position before allowing the Shield to disperse. 

And while it may sound strange, the best way to keep Ambrose strong following the loss at Extreme Rules would be to take him off television. Ambrose's appeal doesn't necessitate lengthy matches or TV time. He's a loose cannon. Have Ambrose wander slowly up the ramp after the match and later check in backstage as he's throwing stuff in his gym bag. He blows off a reporter and while walking out, he runs into Vince McMahon. He reaches out and shakes Vince's hand, thanks him and says it's been good. Tosses his bag over his shoulder and walks into the parking lot. 

Seth Rollins

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The 'Architect of The Shield' has taken on a much larger role in the last few weeks. Rollins has stepped beyond his spot as workhorse, bump machine for the group. By far the best in-ring worker of the trio, Rollins has displayed a variety of talents in the ring but has elevated his game as a well-rounded performer in the last few months. 

Anyone who followed Rollins' work in a prior life as Tyler Black in Ring of Honor knows that he is a natural babyface worker. His move is best utilized as a fiery, resilient high-flyer with great technical skills to boot.

The biggest issue here is that performers with this make up don't usually make it far in McMahon country. On the current roster, I could have used that exact description to describe Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston, Christian, Tyson Kidd and Fandango. That doesn't count guys like Evan Bourne, both of the Colons now playing Los Matadores, Justin Gabriel or Zack Ryder. 

In the ashes of The Shield, though, comes opportunity, as a number of other tag teams are falling apart. The Real Americans are headed for Splittsville. The New Age Outlaws are quickly moving back to retirement. It's not clear how much longer the Rhodes Brothers will remain together. With The Usos, the Wyatt Family and an assortment of jobber/comedy teams left in the division (Los Matadores, 3MB, Rybaxel), it creates an opportunity for Rollins to "architect" another championship caliber team.

Over a few weeks, Rollins can make regular trips to NXT, dropping hints on Twitter that he's got his eyes on the tag team titles and is scouting for a new partner. Before long, Rollins debuts his new team, paired with indie darling and NXT megastar Sami Zayn

I don't believe for a minute that Zayn is queued up for a significant push upon arrival on the main roster. No matter what Triple H has said about the Zayn-Cesaro encounter on NXT ArRIVAL, Zayn falls into the same category as Rollins, Ziggler, Kofi and the others mentioned above. Zayn and Rollins would have unbelievable matches against the likes of the Wyatt Family and the Usos, getting a chance to showcase two super talents in the division while introducing Zayn to a larger audience. 

Roman Reigns

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He has the size, the look and has been given the signature moves needed to be a major breakout star in the WWE. The problem right now is that Reigns is far too green in the ring to be able to carry a main event level singles match. Reigns needs a good long run in the midcard against the company's top workers to develop his style and be ready for the big push. 

As stated previously, Reign should win the U.S. Title at WrestleMania and then retain at Extreme Rules. I'd avoid putting the mic in front of him for too long at any point because he doesn't have the chops on the mic to not look poor next to more seasoned talkers like Rollins and especially Ambrose. He needs to retain his edge and avoid being positioned as Samoan Sheamus with a big grin on his face all the time, laughing about challengers and loving fights. 

The fans love Reigns right now because he hits the big power moves for The Shield. However, a big part of his fanfare is that he's hitting that spear and Superman punch on the heels of 10-15 minutes of great work by Rollins and Ambrose to set the stage for a roaring finale. Once Reigns has the belt, is on his own and puts up a few less-than Shield quality singles matches, the crowd will sour quickly. 

To ward off this concern, I'd first keep Reigns out of the ring in singles matches on television. Put him in multi-man TV main events and semi-main event until he and Big E. Langston square off in a face vs. face midcard title unification bout with both the U.S. and Intercontinental Titles on the line. All this feud needs is a few nose-to-nose staredowns between the two powerhouses and the crowd will eat it up. 

Come time for the match, though, Reigns turns heel, aligning himself with Triple H and (in this scenario) WWE World Heavyweight Champion Batista, beginning to assemble a new Evolution stable. As for the other guy in the stable, shift Sandow away from the gimmicky genius character and just let him be a condescending S.O.B. With Reigns slotted as Batista's right-hand man and Triple H hailing him the future of the industry and heir apparent, he'll draw molten heat and can pull off the bad guy cool swagger of Batista. 

As a heel, it opens up a lot of opportunity for Reigns regarding competition. The names mentioned in the Rollins section would all be available to challenge for the belt. Matches with Ziggler, Kofi and Cody would all give Reigns the time and experience he needs to really grow as an in-ring performer. He has vastly improved since The Shield first debuted, and added experience with talented workers will make him that much better. Can you imagine Dolph selling a spear? How about him dodging a Trouble in Paradise and tearing Kofi in half? Cody misses on the Disaster Kick and turns into a Superman punch. All of these spots would go a long way in elevating Reigns. 

Then comes the big feud we're waiting for: Ambrose returns. With Reigns comfortable in his heel character, standing in the middle of the ring and gloating about his victories, a leather-jacket clad Ambrose jumps the barricade and tackles Reigns, maniacally throwing fists and elbows. He kicks Reigns out of the ring and throws the belt at him as he backs up the ramp. Ambrose grabs the mic from off the ground and just says, "Miss me?" The roof would blow off the building.

Run this feud through the fall and you have two main event ready stars. Add in Rollins and Zayn tearing up the tag division and the show gets deeper with an exciting midcard for the first time in 10 years. 

Believe in The Shield. 

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