After defeating Evolution at Extreme Rules, The Shield once again proved their superiority at Payback Sunday by winning a no holds barred elimination match.
WrestleZone.com describes the finish in what was a clean sweep:
Reigns spears HHH and he is eliminated. All 3 members of the Shield prevail. #Wrestlezone— WrestleZone.com (@WRESTLEZONEcom) June 2, 2014
Batista was eliminated via a spear from Roman Reigns and Randy Orton was later eliminated via the dirty deeds on a steal chair by Dean Ambrose.
Justin Roberts snapped a photo of the winners:
One of the signature moments of this lengthy battle came when Seth Rollins executed a suicide dive off of the video screen. WWE captured a Vine of the intense action:
Hall of Famer Booker T was certainly impressed:
But look on the bright side Evolution fans, the Internet was fired up about Batista's attire as Raj Sharan of ESPN Denver noted:
Lol, #Bluetista was the number one trend worldwide tonight. We did it!— Raj Sharan (@Raj_Sharan) June 2, 2014
No stable has been more dominant than The Shield since debuting at Survivor Series 2012, and it can certainly be argued that the Hounds of Justice have already established themselves as one of the best three-man units in the history of professional wrestling.
That notion was bolstered when The Shield defeated the triumvirate of Triple H, Orton and Batista at Extreme Rules and it is even truer now that Reigns, Ambrose and Rollins have taken down three of the biggest Superstars WWE has ever seen for a second time.
Although Evolution and The Shield have been on fairly equal footing in terms of their week-to-week interaction, The Shield clearly had the upper hand after winning at Extreme Rules. Most expected The Shield to come out on top once again at Payback with Evolution potentially on the verge of dissolving in the near future, and that hunch ultimately came to fruition.
Now that Evolution has seemingly lost this feud to The Shield, it could very well spell the end of the group's reunion. As for The Shield, this victory elevates them to an even higher level as they continue too steal the show on a nightly basis.
Although the match at Extreme Rules certainly had a chaotic, hardcore element to it, the added stipulation of no holds barred added even more excitement to the Payback clash. Although it played into The Shield's hands, Triple H did a nice job of making it look as though it would favor Evolution leading up to the pay-per-view.
Triple H has thrived in that particular environment throughout his career, and he reminded The Shield of that during the go-home edition of Raw. As seen in this photo courtesy of WWE's Instagram account, The Game didn't hesitate to resort to using a sledgehammer during the official contract signing:
Since Evolution stood tall leading up to Payback, fans probably felt as though they were clued in to the match's result. It doesn't always hold true to form with the team getting the upper hand on Raw losing at the pay-per-view, but this time it did.
Many were confident that The Shield would come out on top, including Seth Rollins, according to The Shield's Twitter account:
Perhaps the biggest thing that necessitated The Shield winning this feud is the status of Batista. One can only assume Batista will be departing soon in order to help promote his upcoming movie Guardians of the Galaxy, so a third match between the two groups may not be in the cards.
With that in mind, a third encounter may never happen. WWE could decide to rekindle the rivalry at Battleground or SummerSlam if Batista is back in the fold with another six-man tag or maybe even three singles matches, but that is no longer a must now that The Shield has won twice.
Another possibility is for Shield and Evolution members to be involved in a Money In the Bank ladder match. It would technically be every man for himself, but it would allow the feud to continue without actually doing another three-on-three match.
Now that The Shield has more momentum than ever, it will be interesting to see how the group is handled moving forward. The Shield seemed to be on the road to breaking up during the winter, but on the heels of Payback they are now arguably the strongest they ever have been.
Does this loss spell the end of Evolution?
There is nothing to suggest that a split is imminent, but that could change with Money In the Bank of the horizon. If Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns all compete as individuals in an effort to capture the briefcase, that could very well cause some friction.
The Shield had some problems when Reigns dominated the Royal Rumble match, so there are definitely some underlying issues that could resurface.
No stable can last forever, so the Hounds of Justice are bound to break up eventually. Based on how the team performed at Payback, however, that may not happen any time soon.
There is still plenty for The Shield to accomplish as a group, and there is definitely a lot for them to do as individuals as well.
The Shield continued their unprecedented string of incredible performances by stealing the show once again at Payback. Regardless of what capacity they are utilized in by WWE in the immediate future, they will continue to be an instrumental part of WWE programming for a long time to come.
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