Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins were The Shield, AKA, the Hounds of Justice. They debuted at Survivor Series 2012 in order to help CM Punk retain his WWE Championship and right the wrong they felt he’d been dealt. That was their whole thing. They were all about fighting injustice within the WWE locker room. Their first promo in the company is something that 16-year-old me would’ve been over the moon about. I especially liked how the name for the new stable came about organically. Ambrose is expressive with his eyes, so the realization registered when he said, “we’re a shield for injustice.”
Ambrose is one of the best in the company at working with writing to make it seem better than it really is. The only people on his level are the likes of Daniel Bryan, Bray Wyatt, Dolph Ziggler, John Cena, Kane, (I guess), Triple H, and Brock Lesnar, but Brock’s matches write themselves and Paul Heyman does the rest.
Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose are standing head and shoulders above everyone else when it comes to their microphone work, and it was on display from the beginning. Roman Reigns was all presence. He was the scary mamma jamma in the background who looked like, at any moment, he could randomly decide to rip your head clean off your body and s—t down your throat.
Vivid, I know. Take it up with Roman Reigns.
Their first match in WWE came at the 2012 Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Pay-per-view, in the form of a brutal affair I already covered in my Team Hell No! article. It was the Hounds of Justice in a six-man tag team TLC match versus Daniel Bryan, Kane, and Ryback. This was the match that made me sit up and finally start paying attention to the Shield. They had been in NXT before TLC 2012, but with that one match, they guaranteed they’d never get sent back down.
All three members of the Shield are here to stay. The faction separated and they all immediately got over on their own. Reigns, too. It was only recently that things started to fall apart for Roman, with the 2015 Royal Rumble being the culmination. On the flip side, the Rumble was also the culmination of all of Seth’s hard work. He tore down the house with John Cena and Brock Lesnar in that Triple Threat. It was the kind of performance that people will not soon forget.
The same can be said for all of the six-man tag matches that the Shield had at the beginning of their time in the WWE. Eventually, Reigns and Rollins won the tag belts, and Ambrose won the United States Championship. The six-man matches went by the wayside while this happened, as they had no choice but to defend their belts on Pay-per-views.
I recently went through that time frame and watched the numerous title defenses they had, and while they were great, it was the six-man matches most show stopping in their awesomeness. The Hounds of Justice went up against such teams during this time as the previously mentioned Ryback, Kane, and Daniel Bryan, as well as Ryback, John Cena, and Sheamus, and in a couple of my favorite matches ever, the Shield took on Evolution. For any of you who don’t know who Evolution is, they are three legends in the form of Triple H, Randy Orton, and Batista. They used to have Ric Flair in the mix, too, but they kept it to Trips, Randy, and Blue-tista – I mean, Batista. Sorry.
NOTE: I will explain Blue-tista when it comes time for me cover the Shield vs. Evolution feud.
The feud was incredibly appropriate. There was a time when Evolution was the most dominant faction in WWE. The Shield was the next stage in…well…Evolution. They dominated as handily as the three legends ever did, but they did it while straddling that line between heel and face. Evolution, in contrast, was always heel. It was practically impossible to turn them face while Triple H was doing his smarmy, unbeatable Champion routine. Well, impossible for “the Game”. All Randy and Batista had to do was turn on the Cerebral Assassin and suddenly people loved them. That’s how much people hated Triple H. I speak from experience. I remember being on the edge of my seat, many a time, hoping someone would dethrone that arrogant bastard.
If everything shakes out the way it could in the coming months, Roman Reigns could pick up where HHH left off. He’s not going to lose to Daniel Bryan at Fastlane, or to Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 31. He is Vince McMahon’s choice, and people can bitch about that all they want, but it’s not going to change. Plus, shouldn’t Vince be allowed to pick the face of his own company? If he thinks it’s Roman, who is anyone to tell him differently?
I’m off topic, but I didn’t have much of anything new to say about the TLC match the Shield had against Team Hell No! and Ryback. Thankfully, this is just the start of the series, and that’s the only six-man tag match of theirs that I’ve really covered. That’s what this is for. I’m going to take you guys through every six-man PPV match the Shield had, in an attempt to illustrate how Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins took a match concept that hadn’t led to an actual exciting match in God knows how long, turned it on its head, and had arena after arena chanting, “This is awesome!”
Next time on Believe In The Shield, the Hounds of Justice take on Ryback, Sheamus, and John Cena in a six-man tag team match at Elimination Chamber 2013.