Although rumors were floating about that WWE had been planning to break up The Shield the way they did on this past Monday night's (June 2, 2014) episode of Raw since after the Extreme Rules pay-per-view (PPV), a new report from the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (subscription required but recommended) says that is not the case.
In fact, it was apparently a "last minute decision".
Those with knowledge of the situation said that the two key angles on Raw were both last minute decisions. Rollins' turn on Ambrose and Reigns was decided upon on Sunday afternoon. There was a brief tease in the post-game show after Payback, that wasn't subtle, but didn't exactly make people expect the turn either.
There were plans for Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose to break up even before -- or possibly at --WrestleMania 30 but those were obviously scrapped and the trio was turned babyface in favor of a quick squash match against the New Age Outlaws. And while it seemed as though their momentum was briefly halted, Triple H brought back Evolution for a short program before Batista "quit" to go on hiatus to promote Guardians of the Galaxy.
With no clear direction and the current main event scene an absolute mess thanks to WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan's pesky neck injury, it was clear something needed to be done to shake up the card.
Well, business picked up -- in a big, big way -- when they made the call and followed through with it.
Now, instead of an uncertain creative direction with a fractured Evolution having lost two consecutive PPV matches against the ridiculously strong Shield, there's more interest in the product than there has been for some time, at least dating back to pre-WrestleMania.
Sure, that was just a couple months back but WWE has taken hit (less than expected subscribers for the WWE Network) after hit (a worse than expected TV rights deal with NBCUniversal) after hit (a stock crash that cost Vince McMahon somewhere around $800 million) after hit (the aforementioned Bryan injury) after hit (decreasing ratings for Raw and SmackDown) since its annual springtime extravaganza and the company needed a shot in the arm.
If our traffic is any indicator, turning Rollins -- combined with the way they did it -- was exactly that.
It is troubling to think they will be booking this on the fly but they didn't miss on much while writing for The Shield during their historic run as a team. Here's to hoping they don't miss now that they've been broken up.