Craig Wilson, Brian Damage & Jamie Lithgow
For months now the WWE have been teasing at dissension within the ranks of The Shield, culminating in Reigns inadvertently spearing Dean Ambrose at TLC this past weekend, allowing CM Punk to grab the pinfall and the win.
It’s inevitable that The Shield will break up with all three having more than enough talent to make it big in the WWE if they are the one that the company chooses to be on the receiving end of a push. In this latest ‘Crossfire‘ Craig, Brian and Jamie discuss which Shield member they think will be the breakout star.
Craig – Roman Reigns
As bad as the recent Survivor Series was, one thing was very obvious: Roman Reigns will be the breakout star of The Shield. When the group debuted on our screens at last year’s Survivor Series the consensus amongst the IWC was split pretty much 50/50 between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose as to who would be the one to fly highest upon the inevitable break-up of the stable.
After all, in Rollins there was the guy that had been a darling of the indy scene and based on the success of both Punk and Bryan – who had similar background – there was the belief he’d flourish when thrust into singles action. Then again, in Ambrose there was the guy that had drawn comparisons to ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper due to his skills on the mic.
This left Reigns very much in the shadow of his two comrades. Sure, he had the size and look that the WWE traditionally likes but with him in the enforcer role within the group, it was surely the other two that’s star would shine the brightest.
Whilst it was Reigns’ spear that was causing the most damage to those that stood in their way, it was Ambrose that the WWE trusted with a singles title run and it was Rollins that grabbed the headlines with his bump at TLC 2012.
The tide has begun to shift in recent months as the company teased dissension in the ranks of The Shield as they became more and more associated with Triple H and Randy Orton. At Survivor Series last month; in the traditional 5 v 5 tag match pitting The Shield, Antonio Cesaro & Jack Swagger against Cody Rhodes, Goldust, The Usos and Rey Mystero; it was Reigns who reigned supreme eliminating 4 of his opponents en route to being his team’s sole survivor.
It’s not without the realms of possibility to see him as a contender to win January’s Royal Rumble and earn a title shot for Wrestlemania. However, it’s probably more likely that he’ll have a Rumble performance akin to Kane or Diesel in previous years. i.e. not the victor but eliminating the most superstars during the match and continuing his ascension to the upper echelons of the card.
The Rumble would also provide him with the perfect opportunity to continue to separate himself from his Shield colleagues. Perhaps by eliminating them from the proceedings, a booking decision not too dissimilar from how Randy Orton broke away from his Legacy cohorts Ted DiBiase jr. and Cody Rhodes back in 2010.
One thing is for sure, the powers at be are clearly behind Reigns. He’s been the one that has been booked the strongest – rarely being on the receiving end of a pinfall loss – and has been a focal point of the group’s Triple Powerbomb manoeuvre.
Brian – Dean Ambrose
Before I talk about Dean Ambrose, I want to reiterate…I am AGAINST the Shield splitting up….
With that out of the way, if or rather when the trio splits up…there is no question that Dean Ambrose is the future star of the group. He may not be the work horse that Seth Rollins is (although he is extremely solid) and he may not be the powerhouse that Roman Reigns is, but he is the most well rounded of the three and that to me gives him a chance at longevity.
Ambrose simply “gets it,” from his work rate, to his promos, right down to his mannerisms and facial expressions in and out of the ring. There is a reason why Ambrose was selected as the singles star of the group and Rollins/Reigns were portrayed as the tag team. The other two are great within the unit, but I’ve heard it from several different fans that “There’s just something about Dean Ambrose” that gets you pumped up.
He’s quirky and his character can be taken in several different directions. While Seth Rollins can work a 5 star match….he needs a hook, a gimmick or something to elevate himself further. Roman Reigns seems to be the chosen one of the group, but his mic skills are lacking and there is just so many spears and power moves one can do in a match. Dean Ambrose has the look and the style that can be used for the long haul as a major main event player.
Jamie – Seth Rollins
Like Brian, I am also not too keen on a Shield break up, just yet. However, WWE have just started to drop hints of dissension within the ranks so we may just have to face reality and accept that we may be watching the dying days of the best wrestling stable for years.
Over the last year we’ve been hearing, and occasionally seeing, that Dean Ambrose has “it”. I’m not going to argue that point, he has detestable heel written all over him. Roman Reigns is also starting to emerge from the shadows with his impressive power moves. I’m also not going to debate the fact that these two will almost certainly be first out of the traps, no doubt leaving Seth Rollins to find his feet in the mid-card. However, I am going to debate that of the three I think Seth Rollins is more equipped for a sustained run at the top, if/when he gets his opportunity.
Firstly, Rollins is a tremendous worker. The amount of great matches The Shield have been involved in is no coincidence. Reigns – and Ambrose when it’s a six man – play their part, but just watch how long Rollins spends in the ring next time you watch The Shield. He is the work horse of the group. With this, and his association with Ring of Honour, comes a tremendous amount of respect from older fans. These attributes alone should keep him afloat in WWE post-Shield, just as they have for Antonio Cesaro.
However, keeping afloat is hardly reaching for the stars. Thankfully Rollins has more to offer than just a strong work ethic and indie rep. I will happily admit that as a heel he is a little vanilla, although one could see that as a blank canvas. However, as a babyface he has “it”. He captured the ROH and NXT Titles as a babyface. I know I know, ROH and NXT are a far cry from WWE, but you don’t achieve such feets without having that little spark.
If he gets a chance as a babyface, and if he avoids any atrocious gimmicks, you may be looking at the man who can fill the gap in the market vacated by Jeff Hardy. The NXT version of Rollins had a manic style and underdog personality, which is how WWE should use him. I mean this guy takes a beating like no other, yet can hit his signature moves from nowhere…. not unlike Hardy. He’s also no stranger to ridiculous bumps (see last year’s TLC event)…. not unlike Hardy. He also wears black, has funky hair, likes heavy music and, granted i’m not the best judge, isn’t too bad looking…. like Jeff Hardy.
Long story short, chicks – especially the kind that tend to watch wrestling – would dig a babyface Rollins. Impactful power men have their limitations, and often a finite shelf life (see Goldberg and Diesel). While heels, no matter how good, are just passed around the top babyfaces these days until they have no choice but to turn face (see CM Punk). The short term outlook for Rollins isn’t as rosy as his team mates, but long term he has the potential to be money in the bank.
All ‘Crossfire’ posts can be found here.