After nearly three months of wreaking havoc on the WWE roster, The Shield will face their stiffest test yet as they will take on John Cena, Ryback and Sheamus in a six-man tag team match at Elimination Chamber. The odds seem to be stacked against Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, but there is one potential result that would be beneficial to everyone involved.
My initial hope was that this match would take place within the confines of the Elimination Chamber, but it has only been announced as a typical six-man tag thus far. That can obviously change over the course of the next week, but it seems as though the WWE is going to stick with a more traditional match. That will likely put a cap on things in terms of excitement, but it will give the writers more booking freedom as well.
Although the match makes sense due to the fact that The Shield have targeted Cena, Ryback and Sheamus in recent weeks, the WWE has put itself in a difficult situation. Both sides need a victory in this match or, at the very least, can't afford to lose cleanly. The creative team has to tread carefully since young stables like The Shield tend to be fragile if handled recklessly, but there are ways to work around a decisive ending and preserve The Shield's momentum.
On one hand, The Shield shouldn't lose cleanly to the face team. Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns have wrestled in one official match thus far and it was a winning effort against Ryback and Team Hell No at TLC. Aside from that, they have beaten down numerous superstars and have been made to look strong for their entire tenure. It's important to remember that the same was true for Nexus until it lost to a Cena-led team at SummerSlam 2010. The group was never the same after that and lost much of its luster.
Cena, Ryback and Sheamus, on the other hand, could use a victory as well. Since they are arguably the three top faces on the roster currently, I suppose they can afford to lose. Due to the fact that Cena is set to challenge for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania, though, I can't see him putting The Shield over. Also, Ryback has lost at every pay-per-view since Hell in a Cell. As much as The Shield needs a win, Ryback may need one even more.
With all of that in mind, I would book The Shield to lose this match by disqualification. Making it an Elimination Chamber match would have made things more intriguing, but a regular match gives the WWE an opportunity to manipulate things a little bit more. Having either team go over clean would severely hurt the other team, so I simply don't view that as a realistic option.
A DQ is logical because Cena, Ryback and Sheamus would get their win and it would fit The Shield's modus operandi perfectly. The Shield have never cared about whether they win or lose. That's why they have only competed in one match. The Shield are only worried about wreaking havoc and leaving destruction in their wake, so I would love to see the match degenerate into a hardcore brawl.
Some fans might argue that it would be a cheap ending, but that's not really a big deal since it isn't the featured bout on the card. The Rock vs. CM Punk will main event the show while Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show and the SmackDown Elimination Chamber match are important as well. Because of that, the WWE can afford to go through with a messy result. The main goal should be preserving momentum with WrestleMania upcoming, and a disqualification would accomplish that.
There would be no shame in going through with a well-wrestled, 15-minute match that makes both sides look equal. The Shield could then take the action outside the ring, use chairs and just create total chaos. When a heel gets disqualified it is often because they are afraid of their opponent, but The Shield are just the opposite. They want to inflict as much pain as possible regardless of what the official decision is.
Another potential option would be someone assisting The Shield in picking up the victory, but there aren't a ton of options. I suppose Brock Lesnar is a possibility since he is back alongside Paul Heyman, who paid off The Shield, but I can't imagine what his motivation would be. Perhaps the WWE could pull off a swerve and have Brad Maddox help The Shield despite the fact that he was attacked by the group on Raw. I doubt the WWE would allow Maddox to get one over on Cena, Ryback and Sheamus, though.
Besides, having somebody help The Shield would actually make the trio look weak, even if they ultimately win the match. The Shield have not needed assistance from anyone, and I don't want it to start now.
Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns are mercenaries who handle their own business. I prefer to think of The Shield as a group without allegiances, and adding someone else into the mix would ruin that.
The general thought may be that a loss at Elimination Chamber will cripple The Shield, but that isn't necessarily the case. As long as The Shield ends the match on its own terms, the result is insignificant. That is why a disqualification loss is actually the most logical and realistic way to protect The Shield.