In light of Seth Rollins' turning heel on Raw, ostensibly to join Evolution, WWE fans have been left wondering exactly what will happen with The Shield. Back in the winter, when the expectation was that Roman Reigns would turn babyface to leave a heel Shield group, the belief was that Mason Ryan would take his place. The Shield is now down a member, indeed, but the group is babyface, Ryan is gone from the company, and Reigns, the "muscle" of the group, is no longer the member who needs replacing.
It's entirely possible that Rollins won't be replaced, at least not for a while. Doing something like that fits a heel group better than a babyface group, especially early on where it would cloud the personal issue between Rollins and his former partners. Reigns and Ambrose could also, after the inevitable feud with Rollins and Randy Orton, go their separate ways while remaining allies.
But that's not what we're here to talk about. Let's take a look at who the best potential replacements for Rollins would be if they were to go that route:
Sami Zayn is the name I've seen the thrown around most so far. The main reason seems to be that hey, The Shield started arguably the two best guys in developmental being joined by the big prospect in Reigns, so why not replace Rollins with the current best guy in developmental?
I'm not sure I agree with that. Even though The Shield is a babyface group now, does Zayn really fit in with them? At all? If you picture him in The Shield's riot gear, does he look right? I don't doubt that he could pull it off, because he's certainly talented enough to adjust, but it would be a huge change. Having said that, I do wonder if he ever gets called up in his current form as long as Daniel Bryan is around, as they have a very similar appeal (lovable, hard-working, genuine, bearded nice guy who was a standout indie worker) to fans.
+ Would be a great fit in the ring.
+ He'd be immediately get a push commensurate with his level of talent.
- He could be a terrible fit persona/personality-wise.
- Has such a unique likability that he should probably debut on the main roster as a singles wrestler.
Justin Gabriel would, in some ways, be the best fit. He can be a straight-up replacement for Rollins, as another high-flying, scruffy, pretty boy type. Yes, he's been on the main roster for years as opposed to being a completely fresh face from developmental, but he's been hidden on Superstars for much of that time. He doesn't do jobs for bigger stars on Raw and SmackDown regularly, so he's not "ruined" the way that a Zack Ryder type is.
+ In-ring style compliments The Shield well. At least physically, he can do much of what Rollins did, even if Rollins is more talented overall.
+ His look fits in well, especially now that The Shield has turned into a group of somewhat unconventional heart throbs.
- Arguably too similar to Rollins. Similar enough to fit in, but not different enough to avoid unfavorable comparisons.
- Being on the main roster likely works against him even if most of the fan base isn't especially familiar with him.
Evan Bourne has been off WWE programming for close to two and a half years. After being suspended for 60 days in January 2012 for his second violation of the Talent Wellness Program, taking him out of action for about a year, he returned for one match at a NXT live event and hasn't been seen since. If WWE has any plans to bring him back, he would be a solid fit. If the fans remember him (two and a half years is eons in wrestling), he'd already be over, so he'd need to be built up less.
+ Great, athletic wrestler who got over with live crowds even when he had pretty much no push to speak of.
+ Similar strengths to Gabriel without the weakness of being around so long without a push.
- It's entirely possible WWE is just waiting for his contract to expire.
- Had two wellness violations so close together (the second one came two and a half months after the first one) that putting him in a key spot might be unwise.
- Like Gabriel, arguably too similar to Rollins.
Fergal "Prince" Devitt is not in WWE, but with him leaving NJPW amidst rumors that he's on his way to WWE (because realistically, he had a plum spot and he wouldn't just give it up for no reason), he would be an interesting choice to consider.
+ Like the others, he'd be a good match in the ring.
+ Has showed a lot of personality in Japan.
+ It's a spot worthy of him skipping developmental (more or less, he still needs to adjust to the ring size and camera positions), which is expected since he left a well-paying gig.
- He's new to American-style wrestling.
- He's not in the WWE yet, and even if he's in the pre-signing evaluation stage, he could be delayed, or maybe not even hired due to any number of issues, medical or otherwise.
So, who do you think would be the best replacement for Rollins? Or should they not even bother? Let us know in the comments.