Following Daniel Bryan’s neck injury and surgery, it is now up to Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins to carry WWE’s flagship show.
OK, so you could argue that the company still has John Cena to fall back on. But really, Cena has been so burdened by injuries and various ailments over the past year that Vince McMahon can’t count on his biggest star right now.
It’s not much better on the heel side.
Triple H is a part-timer who only gets into the ring once in a while. Batista has his movie obligations to schedule around. Sure, there’s Randy Orton, but he’s still struggling to recover from his disastrous WWE World Heavyweight Championship reign earlier in the year.
So, honestly, it mostly rests on The Shield to stop Raw from slipping in quality in Bryan’s absence.
Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns have, along with Bryan, been churning out the best matches in the company over the last 18 months.
These days, not a pay-per-view passes that doesn’t have Shield involved with the best match on the card. It seems impossible for them to have to a bad performance. No doubt, their rematch against Batista, Triple H and Orton at Payback on June 1 will steal the show, too.
Are the trio the best in-ring stable North America has ever seen? Well, if they’re not No. 1, they’re certainly close. Reigns, in particular, has turned into the best big man in the business right now. It’s amazing how far he has come.
Creatively, the three are flourishing too.
As the gutsy anti-authority rebels, Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose are arguably the best babyface characters on the show.
Their mic and promo work is refreshingly free of the terrible sophomoric humor that has tainted Cena and Sheamus’ interviews for years. And on the rare occasions they do participate in comedy—like in their interviews with Renee Young—it is genuinely amusing.
Nor have they been stuck in any lame cartoonish angles like the recent Kane/Bryan/Brie debacle. WWE has taken Shield's characters very seriously and treated them as credible main eventers.
The trio has a coolness and charm about them that most other faces in the company are lacking; they have an appeal to the young male fanbase that WWE can capitalize hugely on.
Recent Raw viewing figures back this up: Ambrose, Reigns and Rollins and their segments are regularly becoming the highest-rated part of the show. (Numbers from F4Wonline via WrestlingInc.)
Their face turn has been a resounding success; Audiences want to see them, maybe even more so now that Bryan is—temporarily, at least—out of the picture.