The Shield made their main roster debut all the way back on Nov. 18, 2012, at the WWE Survivor Series pay-per-view (PPV) in Indianapolis, interfering in the night's main event WWE title match putting Ryback through a table allowing CM Punk to retain his championship.
It was an awesome way to introduce Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns.
It could have been a disaster.
That's if the creative powers that be had been allowed to go through with the original plan for the group, as detailed by Reigns in a recent interview with Elvis Duran:
"Yeah, we debuted at Survivor Series. The coolest part of that is we were supposed to have like shields. It was really, for lack of a better word, it was really lame. They had like literal riot shields, big fiberglass riot shields with the word "shield" written up it. Like, everybody will know who we are, geez. But we just pictured trying to get in the ring with these things. For years now, you go into the ring a certain way and you're not usually carrying a huge plastic shield. So we just had this terrifying nightmare of not being able to get under the bottom rope, like slide in and we're like stuck. We can't get in and there's like, Ryback standing over us and we've completely blown the whole debut. So immediately Vince was like, 'what are you guys, wussies? You need that?' We're like, 'no'. He's like, 'all right, good, leave 'em.' And then we just ran in there and we beat the dog piss out of Ryback and put him through the table."
Three badasses in black putting people through tables with a menacing look? Perfect. Three guys in riot gear complete with goofy shields?
Let's all collectively thank Vince McMahon for putting the kibosh on what sounds like a monumentally stupid idea, one that would have drastically altered our initial perception of a group that has come to be one of the best things WWE has produced in years.