Seth Rollins did the unthinkable on the June 2 edition of Monday Night Raw when he turned his back on Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns. The man referred to as the architect of The Shield took matters into his own hands and decided to deconstruct his creation by attacking both men with a steel chair in the middle of the ring.
Now, Seth is riding high as WWE's newest heel. Endorsed by Triple H and seemingly with the whole world at his feet, Seth is in quite the enviable position in the company. However, his newfound alliance with Randy Orton may be short-lived since both men simply cannot coexist as allies.
Rollins' betrayal of his Shield brethren stands out as perhaps the single most shocking moment that WWE fans have seen in quite some time. The Hounds of Justice had been one of the most dominant factions in WWE history and perhaps even the most dominant to have ever worked for Vince McMahon.
For nearly two years, Seth, Dean and Roman gave everything they had to become the best in the company. They took on every challenge placed before them with intense confidence and supreme swagger, the kind that only veteran Superstars truly possess.
The members of The Shield had it. And they showed it every time they were on camera.
They just never seemed to grow stale or get bored at all. In an industry whose performers spend such a substantial amount of time on the road in the same ongoing storylines, it never appeared that The Shield was losing heart. The WWE was what the trio wanted, they worked hard to get to the top and they became must-see television for fans all over the world.
But the WWE faithful knew that, eventually, the members of The Shield would have to go their separate ways. The reason for that is because their faction was likely just the vehicle created for them to further develop their talents, to firmly become solidified stars in WWE. And once that goal was met, the need for that vehicle disappeared.
Now The Shield as a trio is no more. And while it's unknown what will happen with Ambrose and Reigns, the fact is that it's probably not a very strong possibility that WWE would want to replace Seth in the group. Roman and Dean's paths remain somewhat unclear. But the same cannot be said for Seth.
Rollins now seems to be on an upward trajectory in the company. He has received a vote of confidence from Triple H, and thanks to that, his star is now burning a little brighter than before. Seth Rollins could very well become a pet project for The Game, and the truth is that's a storyline that could potentially take him further than any fan can even imagine.
And the only thing that would be standing in his way is Randy Orton.
Right now, The Viper is playing nice with Seth. The two men have a connection in Triple H and apparently cooperating because of it. While it's unclear if Seth will actually be introduced as a member of Evolution, the fact is that he and Randy are on the same page.
At least, they are for now.
But at some point, that could change. After all, Randy Orton has not had to share the spotlight with anyone since he turned heel at SummerSlam in 2013. Batista is the only exception to that, and he's once again left the company. Considering that, it appeared as though Randy would be heading back to singles competition, once again establishing himself as The Apex Predator.
The question is, how long will his character be able to tolerate a younger, more athletic Superstar being placed at his side by his longtime mentor? How long will Randy accept Seth as the future top star that Hunter likely believes him to be before Orton decides he's heard enough?
It could be said that when Randy and Batista came up together in the original Evolution that they were on the same playing field. They were both inexperienced next to Ric Flair and Triple H and they were both headed down paths made to get them to top spots in the company.
The likelihood of Randy doing anything to upset that partnership in the beginning was nonexistent.
Will Randy Orton and Seth Rollins be able to coexist as allies in WWE?
But now Randy is the veteran, a 12-time WWE and World champion. And in addition to all the accolades he has amassed in his 14-year career, he is also the face of WWE.
The Game recently spent a lot of time talking Orton up, promoting his as the one true star in the company. Not only did Hunter sing his praises, but so did Stephanie McMahon. Orton was presented as the face of WWE, and that is exactly how he carried himself.
So how comfortable will he be now having to share that spotlight that has been his since last year? Will it bother him to hear Hunter talking about Seth's future the way he used to talk about his?
By the same token, Seth is accustomed to having soldiers by his side. Dean and Roman worked together and supported Seth without question. Can the same ever apply to Randy Orton?
The truth is that they may be cooperating now, but eventually, their individual heel personalities will clash. Antagonists can only work together as long as it's mutually beneficial for them. And once that is no longer the case, then one man will turn on the other.
It's in a heel's nature to be manipulative, greedy and self-serving. It's who they are. And that is definitely the case for both Randy and Seth. Eventually, that shared philosophy will become an issue for them working together, because when one man wants too much, the other one will lash out.
The angle involving Seth's heel turn and subsequent alliance with Randy Orton is working right now for everyone involved. And it could very well work for a long time. But there will come a day when either Seth or Randy decides that it's time to move on, and when that happens, it could be as brutal as The Shield's split was on Raw.