Last we left off, John Cena, Sheamus, and Ryback took a big loss to the Shield at Elimination Chamber 2013, the final Pay-per-view leading into WrestleMania 29. Just like last time, two out of three members moved on to different things, while Sheamus stayed on and continued the feud with the Hounds. It wasn’t only him that Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins took issue with, though. On the March 15th episode of SmackDown, the Shield came out and challenged both Sheamus and Randy Orton to a six-man tag team match at WrestleMania. Neither man has ever been afraid of a fight, so they happily accepted.
They still needed a third member. So, they went to Ryback. After losing twice to the Shield, he was down from the beginning. Then, later on in that March 15th SmackDown, the Shield came down and attacked the Big Guy during his match with Mark Henry, sending him crashing through the announcer’s table, by way of one of their patented Triple Power Bombs. The World’s Strongest Man then took him back into the ring and delivered three of his devastating World’s Strongest Slams. Their path was set from that point on: Mark Henry vs. Ryback at WrestleMania 29.
That meant that Orton and Sheamus needed a new partner for their match with Shield. Days later, on the March 18th episode of Raw, Sheamus and Orton were about to be assaulted by the Hounds, but Big Show stepped into the ring, forcing all three of them to retreat. The Viper and the pail Irishman had their third man.
WrestleMania 29 took place on April 7th, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The attendance was north of eighty thousand, coming in for a total of 80,676. The opening match for those in attendance was a dark match between the Miz and Wade Barrett, which saw Miz win the Intercontinental Championship from Barrett. The opening match for everybody watching at home was the six-man. Let’s put that in perspective. Their debut WrestleMania match was the Pay-per-view opener at 29, and now, two-years later, all three will be high up on the card. I have no idea where Rollins is going to end up, but Ambrose will probably be defending the IC Championship, or maybe chasing it, and we all know where Reigns is going.
This was where they proved themselves. Everyone knew they were good, but would they be able to perform the same way on the Grandest Stage of Them All? It’s a whole other ballgame when you’re at the Showcase of the Immortals. Attendance alone is infinitely higher. Think about it. How would you do in a ring if you had eighty thousand people staring at you, expecting you to not suck?
The Hounds of Justice obviously did not suck. This started things off the right way. It was ten solid minutes of action. Sheamus and Reigns started off the match, going back and forth, Eventually Dean Ambrose was tagged in. In one of the most vulnerable moments of the Shield’s entire run, Sheamus removed Ambrose’s protective vest and unloaded on the chest of the Lunatic Fringe. He did the same thing to Seth Rollins, showing the WWE Universe that both men are in fact human. The Shield had not really been manhandled like that, until they got into a ring with Sheamus. Not even Ryback or Kane got that much in on the Hounds. Although, Ryback did get to toss Rollins off a huge ladder and through a bunch of tables, so there’s that.
The finish was interesting, placing an emphasis on the solidarity and teamwork of the Shield. Sheamus, Orton, and Big Show are all World Champions and great individual competitors, but their egos were too much for them. Sheamus was desperately fighting back to his corner in an effort to tag in Show, but once he got close enough, Randy reached forward and stole the moment, tagging himself in.
Big Show then stood there, clearly nonplussed, as the Shield took apart Orton and Sheamus in only a few minutes. Reigns put the final touches on the match with a big spear to Orton, and then Ambrose pinned him for the one, two, three…
The list of great competitors that the Shield has beaten is only growing at this point, three PPV matches in.
The list reads, John Cena, Ryback, Sheamus, Daniel Bryan, Kane, Randy Orton, and Big Show.
Can you imagine the confidence that the people in charge had in Reigns, Rollins, and Ambrose in such a short amount of time? In the business of Professional Wrestling, wins and losses mean a hell of a lot more than just a stat for the record books. If it’s done the right way, a wrestler can see his star quickly rise. If it’s done the wrong way, a wrestler could see himself get buried. So far, every six-man tag match has been done the right way. The Shield fought for all their wins, fostering the image of a team that’s impossible to beat, rather than one that’s gotten constantly lucky against a bunch of mismatched opponents.
Coming up next time, the Shield win gold at Extreme Rules 2013 when Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins challenge Team Hell No! for their Tag Team Championships, and Ambrose takes on Kofi Kingston for his United States Championship. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to cover that, or if I’d skip to the next six-man tag match they had, but I realized it’s too important for that. Winning gold like that made them even more dangerous.
Now, there’s no way anybody could call them a fluke. No, they’re no such thing. They’re Champions.