Before last night's The Shield: Final Chapter (full results here) special got started, Michael Cole sat down with Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and WWE Universal Champion Seth Rollins to talk about their run as The Shield.
Debuting in 2012 at Survivor Series, The Shield interrupted the main event of CM Punk vs. John Cena vs. Ryback for the WWE Championship. Cole asked the trio if they knew at the time they'd become one of the great factions ever in pro wrestling.
"I think we had a whole bunch of stuff on our minds, but I think that's what made us so great is we didn't jump ahead of ourselves," Reigns said. "We broke it down and had a lot of little goals to accomplish and it built to the bigger stuff. I know I wasn't thinking that, I was just trying to make that night work and not try to mess up that night."
"I think we never put a ceiling on what we could accomplish, or what we could be," Ambrose added. "When we first stepped in here, it was a different environment, a different locker room, a different company than it is now. Opportunities were harder to come by for three guys sitting down there in Tampa. When we walked in those doors our chances for success were a lot slimmer than they might be for somebody right now.
"When we walked through the curtain for the first time in WWE and we came out at Survivor Series, failure was not an option. [We had a] chip on our shoulder when we watches these guys on Monday Night Raw and we're sitting down in the warehouse in Tampa, and we're like, 'Screw those guys.'"
The group then talked about why they worked, despite being three very different individuals. Ambrose made analogy to being a band, and all playing different instruments to compliment each other.
"I think that's what helps make it work, we're not going to step on each other's toes," Ambrose said. "We don't have two guitarists, we have a bass player, singer, and a drum player."
While there was no official leader to the group, the question was asked about who actually led the faction. Reigns felt like it rotated and each guy stepped up when it was needed.
"We all stepped up in different times," Reigns said. "I think we all have very distinct opinions and we voice them. I would say [Dean] was the voice early on, he did a lot of talking for us early on. I think throughout the process and evolution of this group we've all took this lead singer role here and there. Even though we are individual Superstars, nobody can pass the ball like us."
Cole then brought up the topic of individual egos, and as time went by, did things change within the group? He had to point to Rollins turning on the group in 2014 and Rollins sheepishly acknowledged an opportunity came to him that he couldn't pass up.
"Oh, maybe, yeah," Rollins responded. "I saw an opportunity and took it. It broke my heart, I mean it really did. If you're going to go, you got to go all in, right? I can't just dip my toe in the water. If I'm going to dive, just go all the way in. It sure made some enemies for a couple of years, I don't know—half the fan base still hasn't forgiven me for that one, man."
The final question in the interview brought up the future of each Superstars, Cole used the term "pillars" as he noted Rollins is the current WWE Universal Champion and Reigns is now the cornerstone of SmackDown. Before he could finish, an agitated Ambrose interrupted him about others trying to steer the narrative about what he's going to do next.
"Let me stop you right there, because I already know what your final question is going to be, okay?" Ambrose said. "I don't appreciate people putting words in my mouth. I don't appreciate people trying to tell the story of my life to fit their narrative, okay?
"Eight years ago, I walked into this casino. Now I'm cashing in my chips and I'm walking away from the table. I won the game. What I do with the rest of my life from here on out is my business. I answer to no one. This time the 'Million Dollar Man' didn't get what he wanted. Because I can't be bought. So if you excuse us, it's time for us to go do what I want The Shield to be remembered for and that's kicking serious ass."
You can check out their full comments in the video above.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.