The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions of WrestlingInc. or its staff.
About a year ago I wrote an article about The Shield and why they were the best thing in WWE that was currently going on. Over the past year, a lot has changed with The Shield, but one thing has remained the same: The Shield still rules.
As expected, The Shield has added a lot more depth to their characters and have even made a successful face turn, and are set to main event a PPV against a major opponent in Evolution. The Shield have entrenched themselves as one of WWE's most equitable assets, and have consistently had matches that are amongst the best on their respective cards. With all that being said however, it has become apparent that The Shield are destined to be broken up soon, probably within the next few months. In fact, it appeared that they were ready to break up in time for a match at Wrestlemania, before WWE put the brakes on that one for whatever reason. With The Shield's days as a group numbered, it is interesting to see how WWE will go forward with each guy as an individual. I thought it would be fun to break down each members prospective chances as a solo wrestler.
A year ago I hypothesized that Ambrose was the member of The Shield with the brightest potential, and that he was for sure a future world champion. While those predictions could end up being true, the series of events over the last year or so have changed my opinion on Ambrose. I can no longer say that Ambrose has the most potential of the three members of The Shield, in fact, right now, he might actually be at the bottom of that totem pole.
This has nothing to do with Ambrose though; it has to do with the other two members of The Shield stepping up their games and possibly usurping Ambrose. Ambrose was given the United States Championship, and although WWE has recognized his lengthy title reign, he hasn't really defended it many times, and it has basically became a non-factor when it comes to evaluating Ambrose.
Ambrose in the ring is still very good. He is not quite as naturally athletic as his teammates, but he is still very refined and has a wide arsenal of moves. He still reminds me quite a bit of Edge, as Ambrose has a similar build to the former world champion and he wrestles with a certain flair of unorthodoxy that is relatively unique to wrestlers today.
On the microphone, Ambrose is still the best speaker of The Shield. Ambrose hasn't really gotten a ton of microphone time, but when he does, he is excellent at getting his point across and increasing anticipation of the current storylines.
Ambrose still has the potential to be a big time main event level wrestler for WWE, but when The Shield eventually breaks up, only one of the three members is going to get the push to go right into the main event scene. A year ago, I would have bet the house on Ambrose being the one to receive that push, but now, I don't find it to be nearly as likely.
Rollins, far and away right now, is the best pure wrestler in The Shield. Inside the ring, Rollins can really do it all. He can fly around the ring, he can brawl, he can exchange holds, and he even has a few power moves in his repertoire. In addition, Rollins is an excellent seller and has a great understanding of the pace of a WWE match, something that a lot of guys who came from the independents like Rollins did; have a hard time adjusting too. Rollins has been the biggest contributor to the fact that The Shield has often had the best matches on the card.
Rollins, probably because he is the best wrestler of the bunch, has been the main Shield member that is going into one on one matches with elite talents. CM Punk, John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Rollins has wrestled them all. The fact that WWE has chosen Rollins to wrestle those guys and not Ambrose and Reigns is potentially telling for his future.
On the microphone, Rollins is not as polished as Ambrose, but, combined with his in-ring skills, his mic skills are passable enough to get him into the main event picture. Similar to Ambrose, Rollins just really hasn't gotten that much screen time to work on the microphone. In addition, most of the mic time that is attributed to The Shield is devoted towards Ambrose.
Rollins doesn't have the mic skills of Ambrose or the physique of Roman Reigns, but he is the best in-ring performer of the trio, and with WWE starting to move towards a more in-ring based product with elite workers like Daniel Bryan and Cesaro getting big pushes, Rollins might just end up beating the odds to become a world champion faster than either of his compatriots.
Reigns was very much the wild card when The Shield first started. He didn't have the extensive wrestling background of Rollins or Ambrose, and his work in NXT was limited. When he first debuted, we didn't really know if he was going to be the next Triple H or the next Nathan Jones. Thankfully, he has shown to be much closer to the former than the latter.
Reigns is still pretty far behind the other two when it comes to in-ring skills and his mic skills leave a lot to be desired, but he has made a strong leap in the right direction since his debut. He does a good job of doing only the moves in the ring that he is comfortable utilizing, while steadily adding more and more stuff into his arsenal as the months have gone by. His mic skills have not really gotten any attention at all, mainly because his role right now only requires him to stand around and look menacing. If he is ever going to be the main eventer that many hope he will be, we are going to need to see a big improvement in that department.
Reigns is pretty much the opposite of Rollins when it comes to working with top talent in one-on-one matches; he has only participated in nine singles matches since he came up from developmental. Reigns has still not really shown that he can carry himself in a one-on-one match the way that Ambrose and Rollins has. However, Reigns has made a lot of improvements over the last year and his impressive pedigree and athleticism will likely allow him to continue to make great strides as a professional wrestler.
Rumor has it that The Shield are going to break up, launching a feud between just Triple H and Roman Reigns, which would obviously give him the advantage of being the main event player coming out of The Shield. Reigns getting the rub from Triple H is a big of a sign as you are going to get from WWE that this guy is going to be a future world champion.
One thing that The Shield members have greatly benefited from is that being a singular group has made it much easier to keep them all relevant. One storyline is enough to encompass all three members, and keep them in the spotlight. When they eventually break up, it will be much harder to get three different guys with different agendas into the spotlight at once, so that will become their next big challenge in their respective careers. Who will be given the chance to seize the spotlight? That is something that we are just going to have to wait and find out later down the road.