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Posted in: Doctor's Orders
Doctor's Orders: I Believe in The Shield vs. Evolution
By The Doc
Apr 15, 2014 - 9:37:35 PM

The Snowman is a genius

The WrestleMania Era: The Book of Sports Entertainment afforded me the recent opportunity to be interviewed by The Examiner’s David Voigt about “The Magic of WrestleMania.” To read that interview, click here.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Are you happy that the WWE went forward with The Shield vs. Evolution now or would you have preferred that they wait a month or two?

I want to start by once again sending my condolences to the Ultimate Warrior’s family. As I sat on my couch watching Raw last night, I found myself thankful that Warrior and WWE mended the fence before last week’s tragedy. Because of this year’s WrestleMania festivities and all that they entailed, we were treated to three Ultimate appearances in three nights and, because Warrior and WWE made peace to allow those appearances to happen, we will now be treated to a fitting tribute to one of the finest careers in modern wrestling history. RIP Warrior.

The WWE had a PPV to begin building with Extreme Rules just three weeks away, so last night’s Raw had to be about more than just nostalgia. After Evolution’s music hit to mark the official reunion of the post-Attitude Era’s most dominant and historically significant faction, I think it is safe to say that Raw accomplished exactly what it needed to in hyping the May 4th event from New Jersey’s Izod Center.

One of the main things that I hope for in a post-Mania PPV is something fresh. I put a lot energy and hype in WrestleMania. While I am certainly not opposed to numerous rematches from “The Show of Shows,” my preference is to see a book opened on a new rivalry mixed in with the next chapters of the Mania sagas. Extreme Rules 2012, for instance, did well to produce several gimmicked Mania follow-ups, but also featured Brock Lesnar returning to the WWE for a match with John Cena. Backlash 2007 and 2008 were particular favorites of mine, as they allowed several of their respective year’s most notable Mania performers to mix it up in Fatal Fourways, in addition to one big rematch (and, in 2008’s case, a fresh extension of a Mania situation in HBK vs. Batista). As of now, Extreme Rules 2014 has the makings of a nice assortment of matches, beginning with a gem of a 6-man tag team battle in the making between this generation’s best faction to date against the last generation’s top stable.

Evolution vs. The Shield is, dare I say, a dream feud for the modern era. I define a dream match/feud as something that a fan literally does not deem possible becoming reality. 2014 marks the first year that Triple H, Batista, and Randy Orton have all been heels since they went their separate ways in 2004. The Animal, in particular, was not a star that I expected back in wrestling this year (or any other) given his advancing age and other interests. Not to mention that, ten weeks ago at the Royal Rumble, The Hounds of Justice were still very much upper crust antagonists rather than the heroic counterpart characters they’ve recently adopted. So, the stars have had to align to make this presumed 6-man tag a possibility…and I, for one, am damn sure happy that they did. A lot of things have gone right in the last two months and I will count the events that made possible Shield vs. Evolution among them. I consider the greatest pro wrestling factions in history to be The Fabulous Freebirds, The Four Horsemen, The Dangerous Alliance, The New World Order (original), The Hart Foundation (1997), Degeneration X, and Evolution. We never got to see any of those iconic groups clash at a time when it could have been argued that they were at or near the level of their respective peaks. The Shield may not be on that level, yet the possibility exists that they could be. Based more on where I think that they will end up in historical context more so than where they are presently, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose vs. Trips, Orton, and Batista is absolutely a must-see affair with short-term appeal and long-term implications. We could one day sit back and reflect fondly, “Hey, do you remember that time that The Shield faced Evolution?”

In the eyes of many, The Shield has been one of the greatest factions ever assembled. While I believe that statement to be a bit premature, based on wins and losses and the overall consistency of their push, they have undoubtedly been the most successful group on WWE TV since Evolution. A trio like Randy Orton’s Legacy (also involving Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase, Jr.) was involved in more substantial storylines, but The Shield holds an intangible edge over their peers in the last decade if for no other reason than the fact that all three members are presumed by many to become huge singles stars whereas Dibiase completely flopped and Rhodes has amounted to little more than a standard mid-carder. The Shield has been a cut above. I believe in The Shield. I also believe that they have plenty more to prove and that a match at Extreme Rules with Evolution will be their proving ground. As of this writing, they have been thoroughly enjoyable additions to the roster in the last 18 months and they have offered a modern blueprint for both 6-man tag team matches and how to debut and cultivate three fresh talents in a meaningful way. However, legacies are forged not in the mid-card, but the main-event – especially in today’s WWE. We have already learned a lot about how the WWE views The Shield merely by bringing Evolution back, but I suspect we will learn more than ever at Extreme Rules.

The Shield was one of the biggest post-Mania stories coming out of Raw last week, prompting me to title my 4/8/14 column with a “future is now” theme. Their solidification as top level babyface headliners by getting involved with the hottest angle in the company shined a spotlight on them that they never received as imposing upper mid-card heels who mixed it up with main-event babyfaces. Essentially, they went from squashing Attitude Era holdovers at WrestleMania in impressive fashion to being poised to be the main attraction for Extreme Rules. My assumption is that the presumed 6-man tag match will be the main-event come May 4th. That is quite a step up for Rollins, Reigns, and Ambrose. To date, they have not closed a PPV. It is one of the most fascinating underlying stories available to a fan like myself that has seen it all (numerous times) to witness the potential dawning of a new era. So, to The Shield, I say, “Here’s your chance, boys. Go take advantage of it.” Make no mistake about it, ladies and gentlemen, if we are sitting here two weeks after WrestleMania 31 talking about Reigns as WWE Champion and huge nights for Rollins and Ambrose, as well, I will point us back to the events at and leading up to Extreme Rules 2014.

If at the top of my list for the next PPV was a desire to see something fresh, then #2 – well complimenting #1 – was for the WWE to move way, at least temporarily, from the Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H/Orton/Batista saga that in some way, shape, or form dominated Raw for the vast majority of the last eight months.

Daniel Bryan’s first title defense appears to be against his old buddy, Kane. I’m intrigued by it, to be honest. I know that we saw them wrestle numerous times on the Road to WrestleMania, but the advantage to the WWE drawing a clear line of distinction between Corporate Kane and Big Red Monster Kane is that we have not really seen Bryan complete his story stemming from Team Hell No with the version of the Devil’s Favorite Demon that earned all the nicknames and accolades. To my recollection, the last match between Bryan and that Kane was Summerslam 2012, the aftermath of which led to their unlikely, Tag Team Championship pairing. To maximize the effectiveness of what will essentially be a placeholder angle until Bryan moves back into bigger title defenses against Evolution members (or whoever else), I would like to the next two weeks be treated as a two part storyline – part 1 would see the acknowledgement by both Kane and Bryan that they have unfinished business from their past and part 2 would see the prototypical “scary Kane” elements that we have seen ad nauseum over the last 15 (going on 20) years to reestablish Kane as a serious threat to the title after becoming little more than a whipping boy for The Authority’s foes in 2014. It would take the combination of both parts to get any considerable heat on the feud. There is plenty of history from which they can draw to make this a worthwhile aside for Bryan, but if they half ass the plot when an interesting arc exists for them to exploit, I will be disappointed. Personally, I’d have to rewind the clock back two years to find the last Kane singles match that was worth a second viewing. He had a nice year in 2012, but his matches just have not been compelling since. It is high time that he put on a really good performance. He could not have picked a better opponent than Bryan.

The third of the triple main-event at Extreme Rules will be a Steel Cage match between John Cena and Bray Wyatt. I’m very engaged in that feud and I think that the match will be very good. Psychologically, there is no more stimulating a storyline in the WWE right now. Evolution vs. The Shield and Daniel Bryan vs. Kane are both black and white tales, whereas Cena vs. Wyatt provides a more colorful palate. Before commenting further on it, I want to sit back and watch how it plays out for another week. Combine the trifecta of headlining stories to a tournament for the Intercontinental Championship and you can very well consider to me a satisfied viewer of Raw who is amped up for the next PPV.


Join us on “The Doc and Super Chrisss Show” on Wednesday at 5PM on LOP Radio. We will give our Raw Win/Fail of the Week and discuss the early makings of the card for Extreme Rules, including the big 6-man tag team match between Evolution and The Shield.

Popular Wrestling Internet Radio with LordsofPain on BlogTalkRadio


Also, if you're in Queens or thereabouts on April 26th, check out WWO: Rebirth at the Elk's Lodge on Queens Blvd. Former WWE star Justin Credible battles Jason Knight in a No DQ match. Damien Demento and the O.G. Dudleys, Chief Dudley and Dance with Dudley, will also make appearances. Long-time LOP reader, Kevin Kruger, will make his announcing debut. Visit www.wwoprowrestling.org for more information.

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