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Posted in: Column of the Month
LOP Columns Forum September 2017 Columnist of the Month - Sir Sam's Court: What's Next For The Shield? by SirSam
By LOP Columns Forum
Oct 18, 2017 - 4:06:29 PM

Note From Steven Bell: Each month in the Columns section of LOP Forums, we hold a competition to determine who was the best of the previous month. In other words, the Columnist of the Month. The winner earns the right to present you, the Lords of Pain main page audience, with an example of their work, laying the foundation for what will hopefully, eventually be a permanent spot on the LOP Columns roster.

As with August, we had a fresh face winning the award for September. SirSam has only been writing in the Columns Forum for a relatively brief time but has already established himself as a must-read writer. It was only a matter of time before he showed up here and I'm glad to say that it happened sooner rather than later. You'll be seeing more of this guy in the future, I've no doubt.

If you would like to write for Lords of Pain, maybe take your shot at knocking this dude off his high horse, the path to doing so starts with the Columns Forum. You can visit it and begin your own journey by clicking the image below.

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What's Next For The Shield?

Much to delight of most of the audience the greatest stable of modern WWE has reformed and are all set for their return to the ring at TLC this weekend but the problems with getting what you want is that it always begs the questions: what’s next? While it will no doubt be a chaotic, fun match the question everyone wants answered is what is the long term plan for The Hounds of Justice?

In the three years since they originally split each of the members have gone on their own journey, developing and changing as characters, bumping into each other from time to time with varying results. It all means that this time The Shield does not come in with a clean slate but instead with a whole lot of baggage from past grudges, triumphs and failures that could define their run together this time.

So what’s next for The Shield and what is the verdict on their potential future movements?

Reign Together and Mutually Separate

Now they are back together it make sense that they will stay that way for a while but after a few outings together they may just want to move onto other things separately. These are three professional men and sometimes it is alright to simply hand in your resignation, give 4 weeks notice and move on to your next endeavour, right? Reigns could chase after the Universal Title and fulfill his seeming destiny at Wrestlemania 34, Dean could go back to fighting The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship, that could last until Wrestlemania 35 and Seth can drop to 205 Live and take the Cruiserweight strap.

Judge’s Verdict: Not likely.

Yeah, even in a slightly less absurd situation this isn’t going to happen. Story is built on conflict and when this ends it is going up in flames.

Seth Rollins Turns on his Brothers... Again

Can a cheetah truly change his spots? Can you really trust a man that has once stabbed you in the back? These are the questions Dean Ambrose and Roman Rollins have both had to answer when they started fighting alongside Seth Rollins again. While they have come to trust him could it have all been a ruse and deep down Seth’s true character is a man who will always take the path of least resistance?

The problem with this option is that Seth’s whole character arc since turning on The Shield, getting cast out by The Authority and ultimately reuniting back with his lost brother to win the tag titles has been about him learning that to be truly savoured success needs to be earnt the right way, not with shortcuts. Look at the contrast between his first night with the WWE title which he stole in the ‘heist of the century’ and his first night with the Tag Team titles next to Dean Ambrose: no self-righteous defending himself, no fleeing the ring, just standing next to his brother with joy on his face knowing he is the rightful owner of the belt on his shoulder.

Judge’s Verdict: No.

To toss all of Rollins character development to the curb would not only be to the complete destruction of Seth Rollins as a face but also fly in the face of the long character arc he has been on since The Shield split in 2014. Seth is still an ambitious man and that ambition may play a part in their eventual separation but this time it won’t be with a chair to the back of his brothers.

Dean Betrays The Shield

For many this has been the obvious move since Dean and Seth started to bump shoulders again before Summer Slam and it makes sense beyond just the fact that we have never had the chance to see Dean Ambrose as the dirty scoundrel we know he could be.

To understand the character of Dean Ambrose is to understand a man who values people and experience over status and titles; the former are nice but he is a man that bleeds for his brothers and expects to be treated the same in return.

This has always made Dean the most invested in the brotherhood of The Shield and was the reason he was most hurt by its splintering. Even throughout his three year feud with Rollins he still maintained a love of his brother but was so hurt by the way he was treated he needed to take from Seth what his brother took from him.

If Dean saw the same splinters and temptations that split up the group last time it stands to reason that he might be a little more proactive in ensuring his stablemates pull a repeat performance of 2014. He would be able to justify it in his mind that he was protecting the brotherhood that is more important to him than any title or accolade the WWE might want to put in front of him or his brothers.

Judge’s Verdict: The fun predictable path.

For this to happen Dean would have to turn on Rollins as attacking Reigns would just make him more popular. The best way to do it would be for Dean to cost Rollins his shot at the WWE title at The Royal Rumble, it is the title that Seth never properly lost but also the title that poisoned him so much when he chased and held it. This gives Ambrose the high ground in his mind as he tries to save Rollins from himself and sets up a mouth watering Wrestlemania match between the pair. It also leaves Reigns free to chase after Brock Lesnar and the Universal Title as it seems he is destined to do.

Roman Leaves Them

In the leadup to Wrestlemania 32 and over the last summer Roman Reigns managed to clearly define his character for the first time since the split from The Shield. Once the silent enforcer of the stable, in his run across from The Undertaker he claimed ownership of the position as the ultimate authority in the WWE, a law unto himself, much in the way the Taker did in the past.

His change was emphasised most with the lengths he took to protect his position against Braun Strowman, even driving his rival into a wall after losing a match to him. These extreme actions were justified in his mind because he will not stand for someone else assuming or posturing to his position.

This kind of character declaring that the ring is “my yard now” are not the words of a man who thinks he needs friends to help him succeed.

Even on their entrance at Raw this week it was apparent how far his character has drifted from the rest of his Shield brothers; as Dean and Seth celebrated their reunion together Roman tried to start a fight with Kurt Angle who was taking ‘his’ spotlight and holding ‘his’ ring.

Right now this mercenary knows he needs his brothers against the mutual threats they face but as soon as a bigger beast presents itself it would make sense for him to go after the spotlight he knows is rightfully his, forcibly jettisoning his current partners on the way. This would of course make Rollins and Ambrose already huge popularity sky rocket as the remaining Hounds of Justice chase after and try to take down the most hated man in the WWE.

Judge’s Verdict: Far too interesting to happen.

For me this is the most interesting option the WWE has on offer: it would stay completely true to the character Roman Reigns has defined, lean into the crowd reaction Reigns already gets and would also give a giant boost to the popularity to Dean and Seth.

If I could have my way the feud would culminate in the fabled Shield Triple Threat Wrestlemania Main Event with Seth & Dean fighting together to neutralize Roman before frantically working to try and get a pin on each other before Reigns is back in the fray (in a similar way to how Reigns & Ambrose fought Lesnar in 2015). Sadly though when it comes to Roman Reigns the WWE will probably never lean all the way into his darker tendencies of his character.

Complete Disintegration

We nearly saw this in 2013 when the trio butted heads before the Royal Rumble and again before the Elimination Chamber. A complete implosion of The Shield could happen where no one in particular throws the first punch but an escalation of tension and opportunity sees all three simultaneously disintegrate their alliance.

These are three men who have all stood at the pinnacle of the WWE, they have all held the World Championship belt and at some point no doubt want to do it again. When they were coming up they were able to cheer each other on and celebrate each other’s mutual success but now they have tasted what it is like to be champion and may not be so happy if one of their brothers get the opportunity before them.

It could end with them being the final three in the Royal Rumble or all three could end up locked in the Elimination Chamber together having eliminated all their competition. In this situation it is no one man’s fault but simply an unfortunate coincidence of circumstance. Together they are the three biggest stars of their generation so at some point there may be no left to fight except for other than each other.

Judge’s Verdict: An intriguing and realistic option.

A Shield Triple Threat at Wrestlemania is something of a holy grail for us fans. They are the three leaders of their generation and their shared history only makes the story even better. Not seeing them face off at Mania would be the equivalent of depriving us of this generation's Hart v Michaels or Rock v Austin. This is the easiest and most direct route to getting all three in the Main Event at the show of shows and alongside Dean turning on Rollins is the most realistic option on the table.

But over to you Lords of Pain what do you think is next for The Shield and how do you want it to go down? C’mon impress me main page.

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