Reigns: ‘The Shield’ paved way for new era in WWE
For all the talk of the new era taking over the main roster, Roman Reigns argues that The Shield paved the way for this revolution of sorts in the WWE.
“It’s not talked about too often because of NXT and how big that product became and just the wave of new talent from NXT. It really shined through. But something a lot of people missed was The Shield is actually kind of the beginning of the new era,” he told INQUIRER in an exclusive interview. “We kind of paved the road and took the bumps and made this process a lot smoother for those guys as well.”
Reigns, together with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, burst into the scene on November 2012 and took off, with all three capturing world championships and dominating the main event scene until now.
Their entry is considered as the first wave of callups from the re-formatted NXT, with Reigns saying that the trio endured the growing pains for the newcomers to the main roster.
“We had to deal with the older guys who had been here, rooted in, and had the system their way. And we came in and did a good job of leading those in the new generation. People could say what they want, but no matter what, the three members of The Shield will lead the way,” he said.
“The Big Dog” wouldn’t deny that he truly enjoyed his time with the stable, learning a lot from his partners who, in their own way, were veterans from the independent scene.
“I absolutely learned a lot from them. A smart man, a good competitor, and a great performer is going to continue to learn because if you know everything, you better retire. I think there’s a whole lot of stuff that I took from them, and anytime you’re around with people, influenced and bond with them, you’re going to build those characteristics and you’re going to learn from them,” he said.
But all good things must come to the end, and the trio disbanded on June 2014 when Rollins turned his back on his brothers.
Though they may have gone on their different ways, Reigns believes it’s all for the better.
“I think that was bound to happen. We were all alpha males, we’re all those type of guys who want to be at the top, at the tip of the mountain. So I think it’s inevitable that we’re going to split, but you’ve seen how we all do,” he said. “In regards, we’re very similar, all three of us. But you can see the differences, the routes we did to get there. I’m very proud of all three of us on what we accomplished. It’s tough to come from a faction or group that is so successful and had such strong meaning to fans, and for us to break away from that and make our own identities and our own characters and have our own moments, I think that shows how strong individual competitors we really are.”
What was a dream match to some became reality at Battleground last July, when all three former members of The Shield faced off for the WWE World Championship. Ambrose would trump over the competition as the company proceeded with the brand split.
Reigns said that it’s hard to grasp the gravity of that situation, saying, “That was four years almost in the making.”
“It’s hard to know if the match is exactly what you wanted it to be, if it lived up to what you thought it might be. It’s such a hard scenario, but I think all three of us went out there and had a pretty good performance,” he said. “If we did it again, it would probably be different and maybe a different story, but I enjoyed the fact that we, as The Shield, the former three members are main eventing pay-per-views. We’re holding that down every single day of the week. There’s no part time here. For me, I think that was just the first of many. I think they’re going to be different and unique in all of the other ones were able to do, God-willing that were able to do.”
The third-generation Samoan wrestler, though, could only smile as he looked back on what was the beginning of their mercurial rise in the WWE.
“I think those guys have a deep love and respect for what The Shield did for us and what it represents,” he said. “For me, there are times I miss it, the six-man matches were having, the tag team matches, it seemed like were doing it every night with the new cast on the other side, but it’s really good every single time.
For me, that’s a good place to learn and grow and push myself to be ready for the spot I’m in right now. As The Shield, we felt like we dominated the main event and we’re still doing that. We’re very proud of that.”
Reigns, though, isn’t closing the possibility of The Shield reuniting in the future, especially with all three members being babyfaces (good guys) in their own shows.
“I would never say never. I think we’re all very happy with where we’re at. It’s going to take something drastic, something huge in the WWE to bring The Shield back. I think nothing’s impossible in the WWE. As we always say, stay tuned.”
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