Just like that. In one easy reunion, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose are finally cool again. And they have a purpose. This is where those three belong. Last Monday on Raw, the Shield officially reunited in spectacular fashion by beating up and powerbombing Braun Strowman through the announce table…while wearing matching shirts no less! They match! Yes, matching gear is the promise ring of professional wrestling. It means they’re gonna be together forever until something better comes along.
Of course, hindsight is always 20/20. When Seth turned on his fellow hounds of justice, I thought it was a good time to do it. They had seemingly done all that they could as a faction and one of them had to turn heel. Seth Rollins had a great run as the Authority’s posterboy, but the face turn really sanded down his edges. Granted, it’s difficult to make it as a face in this decimated post-Attitude landscape, but Rollins had already done too well establishing himself as a villain. Between the injuries (to himself and others), The Architect seemed like he was about to collapse under his own weight and wouldn’t be able to build himself back up again. He lost a lot of momentum after the first knee injury, and with all that new found sympathy, didn’t have much choice than to return as a face. Even with all the athletic talent in the world, Rollins now more than ever needed this Shield reunion.
While Seth had most success outside of the Shield, Dean Ambrose arguably had the least. The Lunatic Fringe never allowed himself to be fully enveloped by that wild, unpredictable persona and always came off as a Brian Pillman knockoff. In the ring, he performs recklessly and chaotic; true to form. But outside the ring, it didn’t come across as genuine. It felt fed to him. He never really owned the character.. And this was never more evident than when he was a guest on the Stone Cold Podcast. Usually these interviews are fun, lighthearted conversations that come across as respectful banter between two pros in the business. But Dean’s felt more like a high schooler talking to his guidance counselor. Ambrose’s apathy and overall negative vibe made Austin a little more aggressive with a guest than usual, which led to Austin pretty much burying Ambrose by telling him that now that he was in the top spot he’s been resting on his laurels. Dean took offense and it was just an awkward interview that exposed him to be less of a loose cannon and more of an angsty teen. But his style does fit well in the Shield, and really, that was when he was most believable as a badass.
And then there’s poor Roman. Poor, poor Roman. The man that Vince McMahon had such high hopes for and wanted to groom as the next face of the company to the point that it was obnoxious. As the powerhouse of the Shield, he was always an intimidating force. Then they split up and he was forced to talk. It was all downhill from there… or at least it was WWE forcibly pushing him up a hill with the weight of the WWE Universe on his back. With all due respect, he did improve exponentially in his last feud with Cena, but the Shield is a group whose actions speak louder than their words. It was hard to like Reigns while he was getting his very obvious push, but suddenly, he just looks like he’s back in his element with the other two.
Reigns can lean on Ambrose and Rollins as a mouthpiece and they can all perform at a high level in the ring. Each have their strengths and weaknesses and they mesh together perfectly. Clearly I don’t expect this reunion to last forever. All good things must come to an end and they might just be working up to a “traditional” Survivor Series match. As long as it lasts longer than the Evolution reunion, I’ll be happy. Evolution, who basically only reunited to face the Shield and was scrapped after they broke up/Batista became a movie star. Let’s hope the Hounds of Justice can capture that same magic once again. And hey, maybe we’ll get to see a nice 3-on-3 dream match between The Shield and New Day. Call it a nostalgia act all you want, but there are few things in this world I appreciate more than some good, manufactured nostalgia.
Nathan Burke is a standup comedian based in Boston and can be found on Twitter @IamNathanBurke