From its inception in November of 2012, The Shield has been an act that, heel or babyface, the audience always reacted favorably for.
The entrance through the crowd, the edgy theme music and the intimidating appearance make for an appealing package. The Shield is cool, and anytime a performer or group is perceived as being cool, fans will latch on with little hesitation.
That Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns have backed up the presentation with consistently great ring work has only helped them gain the respect of the audience.
Since turning prior to WrestleMania XXX, their popularity has increased exponentially. The manner in which they destroy the competition is now ferociously applauded and, in some cases, even greeted with chants of "This is awesome."
Now, with a reunited supergroup such as Evolution standing between it and justice, the group is as hot and as popular as ever.
It is incredibly rare that WWE has three legitimate main event acts as popular as it does right now.
John Cena has been the standard-bearer for the company for a decade. Daniel Bryan rode a wave of momentum into WrestleMania XXX and enjoyed a coronation fit for a king at the Showcase of the Immortals. The Shield has been on the receiving end of thunderous ovations thanks to its anti-hero nature and the fact that some fans simply like to watch bad guys get beat up.
With three completely different acts achieving the level of popularity they have, WWE now has the opportunity to promote house shows, television broadcasts and live specials with three marquee matches.
It can promote three legitimate main event matches, all of which have the same anticipation and excitement surrounding them thanks to the popularity of the stars involved.
Recently, and unfortunately, Bryan's father unexpectedly passed away, leaving the company without its WWE World Heavyweight champion.
In the past, had John Cena or Randy Orton missed television to deal with personal tragedy or a major injury, the company would have to scramble to find something or someone to try—and fail—to replace them.
That was not the case this year, as The Shield's feud with Evolution and Cena's program with the Wyatt Family stepped in and earned some increased spotlight as a result of Bryan's absence.
Now, fans can look forward to three matches at Extreme Rules that have all been portrayed as main event-worthy.
That kind of booking makes for a much stronger card.
Why WWE would still be so tempted to split The Shield up in hopes that Roman Reigns will become the biggest star in the industry is a question there is seemingly no valid answer for.
At May 4's Extreme Rules, The Shield will take on Evolution in a six-man tag team war. If the company does not remember what can happen to a talent that is split away from a hugely successful faction before he is ready, one needs to look no further than Evolution's Randy Orton.
In 2004, he was split from Triple H, Batista and Ric Flair and pushed as the top babyface in the company. Fans never quite took to the young performer, instead throwing their support behind Batista, who would eventually go on to become World Heavyweight champion by beating Triple H at WrestleMania 21.
Wrestling fans will not be told who to cheer, and while they are rabid in their support for Reigns right now, who is to say they will not ultimately choose to support the more dynamic Seth Rollins or the unpredictable Dean Ambrose should the group split?
In today's wrestling business, there is no guarantee that Reigns will strike a nerve with fans and achieve the success so many think he is capable of.
So why split up a group that is a proven commodity, as over now as the top two babyfaces in the industry and capable of driving in ratings, attendance and merchandise sales if handled correctly?
In a day and age when heroes, anti-heroes and vigilante characters are hot thanks to the integration of comic books into pop culture, The Shield has the potential to be something truly special for WWE.
At this point, leaving the group be and reaping the rewards would be the best business decision Vince McMahon, Triple H and the rest of the creative team could make.
Anything else would be the equivalent of throwing money away.
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