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WWE just played one of its two final Shield cards

With the announcement of a triple threat match at Battleground next month, WWE has taken one of its two remaining Shield moves off the chessboard. Why is Vince in such a rush to do this right now?

As we watched RAW wind to a close last night, we saw Shane McMahon step out onto the ramp and make the Shield triple threat match we've all looked forward to ever since that fateful Monday, two years ago, when Seth rocked his boys with that steel chair. I should be over the moon to see this clash, because these are three good friends who will no doubt try to leave the worldwide fan community with a memory to last a lifetime. But, when I've stopped and really thought of the proper stage for the fight between all members of one of the most successful factions in WWE history, what I've never concluded is...

"Man, can you imagine if they did this at THE Battleground Pay Per View?"

In 2016, the WWE Network is really what moves the internal needle for the company, so the "big three" or even the "big four" aren't exactly what they used to be, though a 19-hour Wrestlemania card would beg to differ. Battleground is a show they need to sell, and how are they supposed to do it, as it's been nothing more than an advertisement for its much older August brother since its inception? The answer is to burn away one of, if not the most lucrative match currently available on the main roster, in July, rather than stretching the story an extra month.

Pitting Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins against one another on television last night was certainly a nice treat for the audience, but it's easily a match that could have happened at Battleground. Ambrose could have served as special referee, with his allegiances in question and the audience left wondering if he has a preferred opponent for SummerSlam. Perhaps I'm a romantic, but I still like to think those WWE events that have been with us since the 1980s still have more relevance than the throwaway B-shows. That rarely feels like the case anymore, particularly when you consider that the worst PPV of the year may have been Wrestlemania, from lineup through finished product. That might be too harsh, but Mania was not a good show.

Vince has exactly two cards left in the deck with The Shield, and although each member might be a king or an ace on his own, the trio can make for a nearly unbeatable hand. The match between the three is enormous, no question about it, and it's a near-dream match for fans of all ages. The final card is the reunion bout, where The Shield comes together as babyfaces, against a strong heel unit, and that six-man tag tears the roof off of whatever stadium it takes place inside. For example, salivate over the thought of a reunited Shield squaring off with The Club, especially if Balor is associated with the latter. Bad Luck Fale? Maybe the expectations drop just a scosche.

It's difficult to fathom why WWE felt forced to do this triple threat so quickly, when SummerSlam is two months away. Even with the Draft coming up on July 19, because of the way the Money in the Bank main event was structured, both Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns technically have rematch clauses, as former champions. That would mean even if the trio is split between shows, it would be easy to write them into one match together in Brooklyn. Although I don't want to see any inter-brand matches until at least Wrestlemania (dear god leave Bragging Rights in the hell from whence it came), this could be the lone exception that helps differentiate SummerSlam from the rest of this year's schedule.

Dean Ambrose's cash-in was a fantastic moment, a tremendous piece of fan service for those that stuck by him while he was booked to oblivion since mid-March. I'm talking about those folks that still cared when angles were about potted plants and jackets, and the ones who still carried the flag when he was placed in the worst cage match concept this side of Al Snow and the Bossman. Not only was he booked in an Asylum Match, he was given credit for helping to invent it. The crowd loved his victory on Sunday, and it definitely put us all in the car, headed towards the intersection of The Guy, The Man, and The Dude. And, the way each played his respective role last night generally worked, so no qualms with what those three gentlemen are doing in front of cameras and live crowds.

The issue is in the incessant need to spend every dollar in your pocket. That's the WWE mentality these days. It's almost like this company is the adolescent who never saves his allowance. That money isn't going anywhere. If you put it in a bank, it will accrue interest. Or, you can go blow it on a magazine in a grocery store. Battleground isn't necessarily a dingy copy of Maxim, but it's definitely not a Willie Mays rookie card.

If there's an argument to be made for doing the match at Battleground - or at least doing some special things there - it's this: SummerSlam is a "made guy," for lack of a better analogy. It sells itself. That show will be packed to the rafters because it's SummerSlam, not due to anything that's booked on the card. For the July show, a decision such as the triple threat makes that event important. I understand the thought process that would lead to that line of belief, but it pales in comparison to ensuring that the biggest stuff, the most important stuff, takes place on the biggest, most important nights.

To really make Battleground special, simply write well enough that it doesn't require one of your biggest swings to maintain the interest level. This all goes back to taking care of the midcard, so that WWE can then pluck one of those guys at any point and plug them into a key match in July. As a result, the "holy sh**" card can be preserved for August. Have a bench. Sadly, the brand split means each reserve unit will be thinner, making it more of a challenge to book based on timing.

Maybe what's planned for SummerSlam is even bigger, and I'll be eating my words soon enough. Perhaps we're going to get Rollins/Styles and something massive with Lesnar and who knows what else? It's certainly possible. I know that card will be loaded, though it now can't have the first ever Shield three way. The triple threat is a money match, if promoted correctly and allowed to gestate. A known quantity mitigates risk, and when house show business is down and ratings are on a downward trajectory, caution, forethought, and patience can be invaluable as assets. If this choice makes Battleground a gigantic success, that's good, but if it takes some of the shine from SummerSlam, that's a major negative.

I admit as I've looked at the alternate reasoning in favor of Battleground, it makes more sense than I anticipated when I began this piece. I can somewhat justify it now, but I still love my super duper PPV lineups.

We're all excited to witness Reigns vs. Rollins vs. Ambrose. That Hounds of Justice expansion pack is a hell of a value. I just wish we were preparing to crack open one of those last few cards in two months, rather than four weeks.

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