In a time where the WWE's booking is often heavily criticized, one current storyline stands out as being perhaps the most superbly booked idea in wrestling today. I'm talking of course, about the Shield. Since the Shield's surprising debut at Survivor Series, the WWE has nailed every single major match, moment and segment concerning the faction. The Shield has supplied a heavy dose of stability for the WWE, at a time when stability is a vanishing resource.
The man who is rapidly looking like the Shields top prospect is Dean Ambrose. Ambrose has been around for a while, his debut was speculated to be long before he was a part of the Shield, as he wrestled house show matches in early 2012 and was involved in a pseudo-feud with Mick Foley. Ambrose is a solid in-ring performer, who works an unorthodox style and is blessed with good size. His ability strikingly resembles that of the recently retired Edge, and the WWE would love for the 27 year old to turn into the next "Rated R Superstar."
Ambrose's true value, as is becoming more and more apparent, is his microphone ability. He is clearly the most dominant member of the Shield when it comes to cutting promos, and the WWE has shown that they are committed to making Ambrose the main man of the Shield, hence the reason why he was chosen to capture the United States Championship. Too many times does it seem like the WWE will give the wrong guy the title, someone that may not have been as ready or fully developed as another candidate. Thankfully, they didn't screw around and gave it to the most deserving man in Dean Ambrose.
Arguably the most talented member of the Shield when considering pure wrestling ability, Seth Rollins has made waves of his own as a competitor. The former Tyler Black was a very popular independent wrestler and former Ring of Honor world champion. Unlike a lot of WWE call-ups, there was no question of Rollins' wrestling ability, as when Rollins is on his game few in the world are better between the ropes. His matches so far in the WWE have been of the highest quality, and amazingly enough, Rollins' repertoire has so far been handicapped in the WWE, we have only really seen about 25% of what Seth Rollins can really do in a wrestling ring. I think that Rollins has gotten kind of a bad rap for his microphone abilities, probably because he isn't Dean Ambrose. He hasn't really gotten the chance to shine on his own during a promo, but his promos with ROH, especially his work during his feud with Jimmy Jacobs, were more than adequate.
The biggest question mark when the Shield debuted was Roman Reigns. The big Samoan lacked the independent pedigree of Ambrose and Rollins, however he made up for it in other ways, mainly being related to The Rock, Rikishi, and roughly 2,000 other Samoan wrestlers. He is definitely not as polished in the ring or on the microphone as Ambrose and Rollins, but he plays his role well. He is the aggressive enforcer, someone that can stand toe-to-toe with the Shield's bigger enemies, such as Kane and Ryback. Reigns has good genes and a very legitimate athletic background, I think he can only improve over time as he expands his repertoire and his character.
The only real issue I find with the Shield is that they have really lacked a major feud to work with. They burst on to the scene as kind of an unbiased group that attacked anyone and everyone. The WWE has yet to really set them up with any specific opponents, it just seems like all of their matches are against well-known veterans who have nothing currently going on. Their match at Wrestlemania was less about the Shield and more about the awkward false face turn of the Big Show to set up an admittedly horrendous feud between Show and Randy Orton. The Shield right now are one of the most over properties the WWE has, they really need to capitalize on their popularity by setting them up with something major instead of throwing them into matches with a grab-bag of veterans.
Something that fans are reaching for is for the Shield to add another member, preferably a veteran star to be revealed as the leader of the Shield. Potential candidates have ranged from Ryback, to John Cena, to Randy Orton, to Batista. In my opinion, I really hope that the Shield stay a three man group. The WWE has properly utilized all three of the members of the Shield, a rare feat by today's creative standards, and the addition of a fourth member, particularly a leader, could soil that success.
The Shield also work well because they are three fresh faces, really one of the first successes from FCW/NXT. In a time where we always seem to witness the same matches week after week, the Shield stands out as unique competitors that don't really wrestle all that often. That keeps them fresh and the storyline hot. Think about it, the Shield have been around for 6 months and we still have not really seen that much of them or know a lot about them. By keeping them from overexposure and extending the storyline of their first impact (really nothing has changed with their motivation for their actions since their debut), the WWE has kept the Shield interesting and fresh for an unusually long period, while also using very little creative material to get them over. The longer the Shield stick around the better they are going to become, because the WWE has remained stagnant on advancing their groups character so far, so when the change happens, it will be much more anticipated.
Eventually the Shield will break up though; no group stays around forever and the Shield will more than likely be done within the next two years. The future still is bright however, Ambrose and Rollins are 27 and Reigns is only 28. Ambrose is easily destined to become a future world champion, anything short of that would be a disappointment in my opinion. Rollins could eventually be a main-event wrestler, depending how the WWE utilizes him post-Shield. Reigns is a wild-card as he is still very unrefined. The potential for a future world champion is there, but it will all come down to how quickly he improves his skills. The future is always in question, but right now I think we can all be thankful for the Shields presence in the WWE.