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Posted in: Chair Shots
Chair Shots: Ain't Nothin' Like the Real Thing Baby! (or Don't Mess With The Shield)
By TripleR
Jan 6, 2014 - 9:48:12 AM

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Welcome back everyone to the column that’s about to get hit with a polar vortex of wintery temperatures- Chair Shots! Well, I took a couple of weeks off to pack some stuff and paint some rooms as I get ready to move into my new house, but I’ve still kept up with all things wrestling related. One story that came out in the past week was a horrible, horrible rumour that when Roman Reigns splits from The Shield that the WWE is considering replacing him with one Mason Ryan. You remember Mason Ryan right? You don’t? Oh wait, you do but you’re just trying to block him from your memory. I get that, perfectly understandable. Dear readers, this is a horrible idea on so many levels, but I’ve got to ask, why mess with a good thing?

Yes, all indications are that the slow burn to the disintegration of The Shield has begun. There have been subtle (and not so subtle) hints that Roman Reigns will be breaking off from the group and potentially turning face. Quite frankly it was inevitable. The WWE can’t help themselves in terms of splitting up tag teams, or in this case, a trio. Splitting up teams come with their own built in storyline. There really isn’t much work needed by the writers to do it; you cause some dissention, team members argue, and eventually a fight breaks out. Personally I’d love to see The Shield stay together. I think there is more for them to accomplish as a team, and I think that all three of them continue to benefit from working as a unit in terms of their growth in the WWE. But the odds of that happening are about as strong as Dolph Ziggler winning a World Championship again. So when The Shield break up, let them break up for good. There’s no need to replace them with a subpar substitute. The Shield should always and forever be Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose; three men who made an impact in one short year that some wrestlers never make in a lifetime.

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Very few teams in the history of professional wrestling have replaced members and continued to be as good as they originally were. Now that isn’t to say that it has never happened. You have to look no further than The Midnight Express to see that the Stan Lane replacement of Dennis Condrey propelled The Midnight Express to being a much better team. Lane was a better in-ring worker, and there was no question a better speaker. Sure the Condrey/Eaton combination kicked off tag team rivalries that go down in history as some of the best ever, but Lane and Eaton had something incredibly special. But let’s face the facts, this isn’t always the case.

The Fabulous Freebirds are a perfect example of replacing a member that just didn’t click like the original. Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts were the quintessential trio of their time. They had the smooth talker in Hayes, the scrappy in-ring fighter in Roberts, and the muscle in Gordy. Their legendary feuds with The Road Warriors and the Von Erichs are like no other. But as years went on, Buddy Roberts and Terry Gordy left the group and for all intents and purposes The Freebirds had disbanded, and that’s how it should have remained. However in 1989, WCW revived The Freebirds, pairing Michael Hayes with Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin. Eventually Gordy joined them for a bit, but the dynamic of the group wasn’t the same. Having two very similar characters in Hayes and Garvin together changed what made The Freebirds great. WCW even tried adding a masked Freebird (Brad Armstrong), known as Badstreet to the mix, but never again was that original spark achieved.

One group that has seen more variations than I can count is The Four Horsemen. Over the years there have been over a dozen members of the Horsemen, but to me there was never a better variation than three of the original members (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, and Tully Blanchard) and a man that joined them two years after their formation, Barry Windham. Yes, Ole Anderson was in the original group, but once Windham joined the quartet The Horsemen became a fully rounded quarter. Flair, like Hayes was the charismatic leader, Arn and Tully were the scrappy in-ring technicians, and Windham was the muscle. This was the version of the group that sung like no other, and I was able to see this group at the Great American Bash ’88 in Baltimore. Over the years there were countless replacements in the group- Sting, Sid Vicious, Curt Hennig, Paul Roman, Brian Pillman, Chris Benoit, etc., but none ever captured the imaginations and hatred of wrestling fans like Ric, Arn, Tully and Barry.

It’s quite understandable why wrestling companies choose to do it though. When groups capture wrestling fans like The Shield has, it’s very hard to let that go. But in the minds of the Creative staff, splitting them up is what’s “best for business”. Quite frankly, bringing back old groups is kind of an easy way to do things. The WWE, and every other wrestling company in the world, know that if they put a popular team or group back together they’re going to get a pop out of it. That’s why every couple of years we see a DX reunion on WWE programming. But there comes a point where wrestling fans see through all that and realize they aren’t getting what they paid for. Bob Holly and Bart Gunn will NEVER be The Midnight Express. Replacing Shawn Michaels with Al Snow doesn’t make you The Rockers. It makes you get booed out of the building after only a few appearances.

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So please WWE, once you break up The Shield, let them stay broken up. Don’t replace Reigns with a low grade Batista wannabe in Mason Ryan. Don’t try to capture lightning in a bottle twice, because quite frankly it won’t happen. I don’t know how you did it, but somehow you managed to not screw up The Shield in their time in the WWE. Yes, they started losing, but that was inevitable, but even in losses they remained relevant, strong and engaging. The recipe is perfect, no need to add anymore ingredients. Like I said before, if it were me they’d stay together for a while, but if you have to break them up, let’s have a Reigns vs. Rollins vs. Ambrose match at Wrestlemania. That would be something I’d like to see. Until then, let the slow burn continue. You’re doing it the right way. We’re enjoying it. Don’t screw it up. And lastly……Believe in The Shield!

Until next time,
Trip Out!

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