With Jon Moxley fully entrenched as a top guy in AEW, and Roman Reigns locked into the same spot in WWE, we’ll probably never see The Shield wrestle as a unit again. Based on Moxley’s past creative frustrations with WWE, it seems unlikely that the character Dean Ambrose will return to our television screens.
Nonetheless, The Shield stands out as one of the most successful groups in WWE history. They were unknown names to most of the WWE audience when they debuted at Survivor Series 2012 by interfering in a triple threat match between CM Punk, Ryback, and John Cena. One month later they delivered a match of the year candidate at TLC 2012, and one month after that they were triple powerbombing The Rock through a table at Royal Rumble 2013. It was obvious right away that The Shield was kind of a big deal.
In an interview with Metro.co.uk, Jon Moxley was asked if he thinks WWE can ever recapture The Shield’s success in today’s product. He pointed out that the emergence of NXT changes the equation compared to his days in the more obscure FCW, but the most important ingredient remains the same:
“Anything could work. I mean, it’s different because you’re a known commodity on NXT now, whereas when we came in we were complete nobodies. So, there’s a benefit to that. On the one hand, nobody knows who you are, but on the other hand, you have a completely fresh slate, you’re a complete mystery. You can come right in and starting whooping whoever’s ass you want!”
“The Shield might be the last big act that came from that old way of doing things before NXT really. You can do anything with anybody if you commit to them...The problem is – it doesn’t matter if they’re on NXT, if people know who they are or they don’t. If somebody’s getting over, you’re giving them the opportunity to get over, you’ve gotta actually follow through on pushing a guy or girl. It doesn’t really matter where they came from! That could definitely happen again, it’s just they gotta follow through with it all the way!”
It turns out that the secret to recreating the magic of The Shield is quite simple; a consistent, sustained push right out of the gate is the key. This might sound obvious to many pro wrestling fans, but it’s been almost nine years since The Shield debuted. WWE’s track record of committing to a serious push for young talent since then is atrocious. That was quite evident in this year’s men’s Royal Rumble match, which featured the oldest group of 30 wrestlers in the history of that match.
It also helps, of course, to correctly identify three wrestlers as talented as Moxley, Rollins, and Reigns.
Do you think WWE will ever come close to reproducing the aura of The Shield?