How the Shield Losing at Payback Could Set Up Roman Reigns vs. Triple H

Erik BeastonFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2014


This past February, Triple H confronted The Shield in an attempt to get them to back down from the Wyatt Family. He ordered the Hounds of Justice around as if they were his children, or worse, his property.

It was then that Roman Reigns stepped forward and proceeded to not only talk back to his boss, but also defy his orders. The image of Reigns standing face-to-face with Triple H captured the attention of WWE fans and left them wondering if it was a tease at a future match between The Game and the powerhouse of The Shield.

According to various reports, including one by, Reigns vs. Triple H is on the books for SummerSlam.

The Shield's program with Evolution has laid the groundwork for the program, if that remains the direction WWE is headed in for the biggest event of the summer.

Thus far, Reigns has been treated like the star of The Shield, dismantling Batista before pinning him back at Extreme Rules and becoming the target of Evolution's focused attack. He is clearly the Hound of Justice that his rivals consider the most threatening, and the fans know it.

Every time that Reigns explodes into the ring following a hot tag from Rollins or Ambrose, plants an opponent with the Superman Punch and delivers the bone-crushing spear, the crowd gets louder and louder. 

His actual arsenal may be somewhat limited, but much like a young John Cena, when he hits that signature offense, the crowd comes unglued. Add to that a look that screams "Superstar" and a presence that commands attention, and you have a performer capable of starring for the company for years to come.

For that reason, his star-making bout against Triple H this August should not be a hastily-booked affair with the feel of "any other match." It is a bout that could affect, both positively and negatively, the future of the industry.

The No Holds Barred Elimination rules attached to Sunday's match between The Shield and Evolution perfectly sets up a scenario in which Reigns stars, but Triple H gets the last laugh. All of it could lead to a continued conflict between the two of them and, eventually, the signing of a match for SummerSlam in two months.

Ambrose and Rollins can be eliminated throughout the course of the bout, preferably following weapon use to help preserve their heat. That would leave Reigns to battle all three members of Evolution by himself. After leveling and eliminating Batista and Orton, he would fall victim to a sledgehammer shot and Pedigree from Triple H.

Evolution would win and the fans would have a reason to become immediately invested in a program between Reigns and the COO. The next two months could be used to craft a compelling story between them that intrigues the audience and convinces them to either subscribe to WWE Network—treading water at this point in its young existence—or pay their hard-earned money to see.

In today's WWE, where dream matches are essentially nonexistent thanks to a lack of major stars, the company has taken to focusing on the elevation of young talent. The Shield, the Wyatt Family and Cesaro are a few examples of stars thriving in WWE's youth movement.

Reigns has the potential to lead that group, and a quality match and feud with Triple H will only expedite that process. To maximize the meaning of it all, the company must take its time and hit every note correctly. Anything less will be recognized as a major missed opportunity.

Something the company absolutely cannot afford at this point.