The Hounds of Justicenote From left to right: Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins.
"We're not renegades. We're not mercenaries. We're not The Nexus. If you're lookin' for the nWo, go buy the DVD. We're about principles. We're about honor. Where honor no longer exists, we're going to step in. We're a shield from injustice... we are The Shield."
The Shield (nicknamed The Hounds of Justice) was a professional wrestling stable in WWE, founded by Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins. The black-clad group debuted in November 2012 at the Survivor Series pay-per-view during the CM Punk vs. John Cena vs. Ryback Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship. The trio made an immediate impact as they attacked Ryback and put him through the announcer table, using their triple powerbomb maneuver to incapacitate him. Since then, The Shield has been running rampant in WWE, destroying anyone who gets in their way. As part of their gimmick, their goal was to "bringing justice" to WWE, even if it meant attacking fan-favorite wrestlers for no apparent reason.By August 19, 2013 Raw, they were clearly the hired goons of The Authority, the new group of Vince and Stephanie McMahon, Triple H, Randy Orton, Kane, and Brad Maddox. The group began to distance itself from the Authority in 2014, ultimately pulling a face turn and finally breaking away from the Authority the night after WrestleMania XXX. As a result of said distancing, the Authority re-formed Evolution to deal with the Shield & the two factions feuded until the night after Payback, when Rollins turned on Ambrose and Reigns. Reigns and Ambrose, whilst still remaining allies, went their separate ways the following week.At one point during the time the stable was active, each member held a WWE title: Ambrose was WWE United States Champion (and holds the record for longest reign of any United States champion since WWE acquired the title from WCW), and Reigns and Rollins were WWE Tag Team Champions together under the banner of the Shield. Rollins also held the NXT Championship early on in the Shield's run.Not to be confused with the FX cop drama, the Marvel Comicsagency or the Archie Comicssuperhero.
The Shield strongly resembles the old times of the Japanese stable Crazy MAX; a triad of guys in black military outfits who come through the crowd to wreak havoc with an undefined but styled aura of invincibility, composed by a cocky leader, an energetic eccentric and a silent brute.
A heel faction containing some of the best workers in the company combining brutal tactics with complete unison between the members and a sense of righteous purpose which some fans actually agree with, subsequently becoming super popular in spite of their villainous status as a result. They eventually come to serve as the enforcers for somebody's power trip/conspiracy, only to eventually turn against said outfit and make their purpose true as a face faction. Moreover, this doesn't seem to have ever been the original plan. Now who are we talking about, the Shield or TNA's Fortune stable?
Animal Motif: The Shield were frequently paralleled to a pack of wolves during their gang attacks, which eventually escalated to them being nicknamed the Hounds of Justice & referring to the WWE ring as their "yard". Their entrance video & merchandise, whilst still retaining the overall theme of a mercenary group, added similar elements - for example, the opening of their entrance video changed from spelling out "SHIELD" as the NATO Military Alphabet was spelt out in their theme song, to the glowing eyes of three rabid dogs.
The Artifact: Reigns still utilizes the military attire and (remixed) theme song of The Shield, following the group's dissolution.
Badass: A trio of young wrestlers fresh off of NXT invade the WWE and win their first six PPV tag-team matches. All but one of those matches involve some combination of the following wrestlers: Ryback, John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Kane, Randy Orton, Sheamus, and The Big Show. Seven wrestlers with a combined 36 world championship reigns (WWE or World Heavyweight) amongst them at the time... and each combination of them lost to a team of rookies. Oh yeah, and they also hold clean victories in 6-Man Tag matches against Team Hell No and The Undertaker, as well as Team Hell No and then-reigning WWE Champion John Cena (who was pinned by Roman Reigns after a Spear). All of that is the very definition of Badass.
Badass Creed: "Where honor no longer exists, we're going to step in. We're a shield from injustice... we are The Shield."
Beat Them at Their Own Game: Ironically, the teams that are most effective against The Shield are the ones who turn their tactics against them. Their first defeat as a team comes when the numbers game (their favorite tactic) is turned against them. The second defeat comes from the numbers game turning on them again, with one of their members being beaten down, and the distraction allowing for the pin on the partner. For added insult, the Finishing Move that scored the win was the Spear, the same move Reigns loves to ambush distracted people with.
Big Damn Heroes: At the April 7, 2014 post-WrestleMania episode of RAW, the Shield arrive to put the hurt on Triple H and the Authority, preventing Daniel Bryan from getting screwed out of the title again.
Blatant Lies: Their claims about standing for justice became sketchier and sketchier since their debut, were belied by an incident where it was revealed that they assaulted Brad Maddox (and generally did everything they did which benefited CM Punk) on Paul Heyman's orders, and finally became completely meaningless when they became Triple H's personal security and actively helped screw Daniel Bryan at every turn.
Decided it would be a great idea to target Mark Henry. He was not happy.
They also decided to interrupt The Undertaker, of all people, at one point.
When their crusade against CM Punk and Daniel Bryan was rudely interrupted by The Wyatt Family, none of the three Shield members showed the slightest hesitation to get up in the Wyatt's faces and challenge them. Keep in mind that the Wyatt Family is a creepy cult of backwoods hillbillies with an Ax-Crazy leader, and the mere sight of them is enough to give most badasses pause. Say what you will about them, but Rollins, Ambrose, and Reigns aren't afraid to stand up to anyone.
Cool Versus Awesome: The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family. A team of mercenaries consisting of an unstoppable force, an unhinged maniac, and a strategically-minded acrobat competing against a charismatic cult leader and his two monsters? It's a big deal, to say the least.
Their feud with Evolution, pitting three of the WWE's rising stars versus three of the mostestablishedveterans in the industry.
Depending on your point of view, they may have been this to Ryback, who turned heel after fighting and losing to them one time too many.
Played straight with Daniel Bryan, who went off the deep end thanks to their Breaking Speeches, in addition to losing the tag titles.
However, on the June 14, 2013 episode of SmackDown, Bryan made Rollins tap out to the No Lock, marking the first time the Shield has lost a six-man tag team match ever.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: You'd think these guys sat around reading Sun Tzu's Art of War in their spare time or something. They've established a pattern of focusing all of their attention on one target and never stopping their assault until they know he can't get up. And if they must separate, they leave their biggest and most powerful guy (Reigns) to make sure no one reaches their feet while Ambrose and Rollins knock around whoever's still standing. As a result, they almost always have a numerical advantage against whoever they're fighting. Additionally, if a guy starts fighting back, Ambrose or Rollins almost always gets the opponent in a position where his hands are away from his body. Once the torso is left open, CUE SPEAR.
On the June 9, 2014 episode of Raw, Reigns and Ambrose lay down a beating on 3MB, but Heath Slater manages to take only a few licks and escape up the ramp (a common heel tactic during a brawl). Ambrose continues to pummel Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre, and while Slater strolls up the ramp (all while still facing the ring, due to Ambrose's distraction), Roman Reigns goes through the crowd, around the tech area, and up the side of the stage, meeting an unknowing Slater at the top of the ramp and flanking him with a Spear. Not only is this an actual military tactic, it also resembled a defensive football player blitzing a quarterback from the outside. Reigns' gridiron background and mercenary attire might not be just for show.
A Day in the Limelight: Roman Reigns had this in Survivor Series 2013, when he eliminated four of a five-man team. Seth Rollins also got one in the final Smackdown of 2013 where he managed to push John Cena to the limits in singles competition. He lost, sure, but it he definitely left an impression.
Reigns got another one at the Royal Rumble 2014, where he made his Rumble debut in a big way, staying in for over 30 minutes and breaking Kane's 13 year record by throwing out 12 people.
This has occurred for each of the members of The Shield: Ambrose served as this sometime after the faction's debut (he was the first opponent The Undertaker faced in singles competition on Smackdown since his part-timer status), Reigns got his from Survivor Series until the Wyatt feud, and Rollins had his following the group's Heel-Face Turn.
Determinator: All of them. It takes a lot to put the Shield down, and according to them, nothing short of a nuclear blast can keep them down.
Early-Bird Cameo: Ambrose makes a quick cameo in CM Punk's DVD Best In The World, backstage and talking with Punk. Rollins and Reigns (then called Leakee) appeared in a promo about John Cena at Elimination Chamber 2012.
Enemy Mine: Inverted, then played straight on the November 11, 2013 episode of Monday Night Raw. After interfering in the main event, the Wyatt Family finds itself in the ring with the teams of Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins and CM Punk/Daniel Bryan. CM Punk shoves Rollins into Luke Harper, who in turn pushes Rollins away, damn near out of the ring. Rollins takes exception, and boom. Two heel teams going at it, despite a common enemy... until they realize that they should go after Punk and Bryan instead of fighting one another.
Subverted during the feud between The Shield and The Wyatts, as The Shield has been collateral damage to some of the Family's sporadic actions. For reasons they attacked the team of John Cena, Sheamus, and Daniel Bryan during a 6-man tag match with the Shield where all 3 winning members qualified for the Elimination Chamber WWE World Heavyweight Title match, giving the face team the DQ win and thus disqualifying The Shield from a chance at the title through no fault of The Shield. This pissed the group off to such an extent that they went directly against Triple H's orders to pick a fight with the Family.
Dean Ambrose proved in the 2014 Royal Rumble that he's a heel amongst heels when he tried to get a cheap elimination on Reigns. His teammates were quick to call him out on it, and Reigns was quick to toss Ambrose (along with Rollins) out of the ring. This is despite the fact that the Royal Rumble is always played up as "Every man for himself," even amongst friends and/or stablemates.note This was more about him abandoning the gameplan of eliminating everyone else before they had it out between themselves.
On a February 2014 episode of Monday Night Raw, Roman Reigns defeated Mark Henry 100% cleanly in about 3 minutes flat. As Rollins congratulated Reigns after the match, Ambrose attacked a vulnerable Henry (signs point to Ambrose being jealous that, for all intents and purposes, Reigns is a better wrestler than he is). In response to Dean losing his cool (as if that doesn't happen often), Reigns and Rollins gave Ambrose a "What the hell, dude?" look from inside the ring.note Although a sharp-eared viewer may have noticed Reigns saying, in an amused tone that matched his smile, "That's weak"; so it was less a moral condemnation and more disappointment at Ambrose's posturing.
On the March 17th, 2014 episode of RAW they were called in by Kane to attack Jerry Lawler under false pretenses that he was in cahoots with Daniel Bryan's YESMovement because it took place in Lawler's hometown. Coupled with the fact that Jerry had suffered a heart attack, as well as it was obvious to anyone that he was innocent, The Shield decided not to attack Lawler because it would not be in the name of JUSTICE.
Evil Versus Evil: Teased at one point with an in-ring confrontation with The Wyatt Family that stopped before it went anywhere. Now out in full force as the Family's decision to target John Cena had the side effect of screwing the Shield out of a championship opportunity, resulting in the Shield challenging the Family to a match set to happen at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view.
Exact Words: Their first interview has Michael Cole asking them if they are working for CM Punk. Ambrose says no, they aren't, which is completely true: they're not working for Punk, they're working for Paul Heyman on Punk's behalf.
Expy: The group's "holding a hand-cam on themselves at arm's length" promos are almost identical in appearance to scenes of his taken from The Dark Knight. Ironic, considering that Ambrose has been compared to Heath Ledger's The Joker.
The stable itself has drawn some very obvious comparisons to other stables, including:
The Nexus, who, coincidentally, also made their debut in a match involving John Cena and CM Punk. That's only the tip of the iceberg. Both debuts involved Ryan Reeves in some way. As Skip Sheffield, he was one of the eight members of the Nexus involved in the attack on the WWE Raw set, while as Ryback, he was the main target of the Shield's first attack.) Even more ironic is the fact that both stables had a former ROHWorld Heavyweight Champion as a member. In the Nexus's case, Daniel Bryan (although he was gone in a week), while in the Shield's case, Seth Rollins, known in ROH as Tyler Black. All of this, of course, wasn't lost on Ambrose, who promptly rebuked those comparisons.
The Nexus splinter group, The Corre. Both stables focus(ed) on unity over solidarity, the whole being greater than the sum of the parts, and teamwork above all else. Although, they seem to be more of a foil, as they've lasted much longer and established a much greater presence than the Corre ever did due to no member being entirely hypocritical about these claims.
Averted initially. The Shield is one of the best examples of a pro wrestling team's whole being greater than the sum of its parts. They've defeated two teams consisting of (1) Ryback, Kane, and Daniel Bryan, and (2) Randy Orton, Big Show, and Sheamus. However, when one of their members faces a main-eventer one-on-one, it tends not to be a competitive affair. JBL, on commentary, strongly supports the claim that no three superstars put together, no matter how good individually, can defeat The Shield if The Shield's opponents don't have experience teaming with one another. In short, each of the members individually is not main-event caliber. Together, as a unit, this no longer applied, and they ARE main-event caliber as a trio, with many in-universe even referring to them as possibly the greatest three-man tandem in the history of WWE.
Played straight as time went on, with all three men becoming legitimate main eventers in their own right
Freudian Trio: Played with. Ambrose is the Id. Simply put, he's nuts. Rollins plays with the reasoned Superego role, but he's usually the one that breaks up conflicts between the volatile Ambrose and the much more reserved Roman Reigns.
Genre Savvy: There are quite a few similarities between The Shield and someotherPower Stables that have appeared on RAW over the years. Ambrose quickly goes out of his way to rebuff the comparisons.
Vickie Guerrero books them into another 11 on 3 match. What's the Shield to do? Instead of defiantly facing all eleven opponents, they seek out opponent after opponent and put them out of action (they Triple Powerbombed Jack Swagger, took out 3MB, took out Brad Maddox and threw Fandango through two tables), cutting the numbers down so it becomes a 5 on 3 match. Then they beat the hell out of the remaining five.
On the May 19, 2014 Raw, Triple H proclaimed that no one other than "official personnel" were to be at ringside during a match between Seth Rollins and Batista. However, at the last minute, he appointed himself as the official guest ring announcer, and Randy Orton as the official guest timekeeper. Apparently prepared for this, The Shield were implied to have bullied Raw general manager Brad Maddox into making Reigns and Ambrose official guest ring announcers for the match (all that was said is that Maddox had something to do with the decision, and that he was "in the trainer's room" during the match).
The Heart: Seth Rollins has operated as this recently. When the relationship between Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns became strained over the course of their late 2013 feud with their former unwitting client CM Punk, one could argue that he was the one keeping The Shield together. Eventually it reached a breaking point…for Seth, causing him to Rage Quit during a match against the Wyatt Family, which he amazingly used to bring the two back on the same page.
Ultimately deconstructed, as Rollins pointed out that one of the reasons he turned on them was being tired of being the one that made them get along.
Heel-Face Turn: Early 2014 has them moving in this direction as they have turned against Kane and The Authority.
Everyone who's just stood there while The Shield enters. It takes them a good minute or so to get to the ring going through the crowd. No one thinks of grabbing a weapon, or, you know, RUNNING? They're not coming down the aisle, hit the locker room! Where all your damn friends are!
Ryback defied this at one point, leaving the ring during The Shield's entrance, only to re-enter with a chair when they got there. Granted, he was also a heel and would eventually break in the chair on Cena's back, which would make this something of a double subversion.
Averted by Randy Orton on the August 5, 2013 episode of Monday Night Raw. After the team of Orton, Daniel Bryan, and John Cena defeated The Shield by disqualification, Orton struck with an RKO to Bryan first, and then Cena (each unprovoked). He procured his Money in the Bank briefcase, and a referee, from ringside, and appeared ready to cash in his contract on then-WWE Champion John Cena... until The Shield made their way back towards the ring. Orton, who was on the apron, decided that discretion is the better part of valor, and left Bryan and Cena to the Hounds (he retained his Money in the Bank contract since his cash-in match had not officially started).
John Cena once rallied the entire locker room to come out on the Shield to let them know they weren't going to let them continue to get away with their attacks. This probably would have spelled the end of the trio, if it weren't for the fact that they never did this again.
Fridge Brilliance: Of course not. Not long after this event, the Shield were brought on as the muscle for The Authority, and Cena (probably the only person in the locker room that would have had the pull to try this again) went down with an injury. Everyone was too scared of getting fired to mount up any resistance against them.
Averted in their face incarnation, as they're every bit as pragmatic as before.
JBL's explanations for the Shield's targets of "injustice," such as Randy Orton, tend to be rather skewed. For example, Orton was targeted for "destroying" Brad Maddox's hopes of a WWE contract, even though Maddox asked for the match and knew the level of opposition he'd face would be a crap-shoot at best.
The logic that The Shield itself runs on in general is pretty dubious at best. When they debuted and appeared to be hired stooges for CM Punk and Paul Heyman, their attacks on whoever Punk was feuding with at the time made sense. Since that connection was dropped and they've gone off on their own, what they consider "injustices" would seem to be what most reasonable viewers would call "people living their lives and going about their business."
The Juggernaut: They are this as a collective. They've been forced into retreat once or twice when the numbers were even, but they've never been laid out in the middle of a ring and they STILL (and this is going on six months now) haven't lost a match as a team on PPV, having taken on and defeated pretty much all of WWE's main event faces at some point or another during that time span.
On the second-to-last part, they've been recently out-Juggernauted by The Wyatt Family on both PPV and RAW.
Knight Templar: Their crusade against injustice, which apparently means mostly going after fan favorite wrestlers, who clearly haven't committed any outright injustices. However, they have assaulted fellow heels at least three times— dismantling 3MB on one occasion (saving Triple H, a babyface at the time, from a three-on-one against 3MB; in hindsight, this seems to be an oddly prophetic occurrence), giving Brad Maddox the beat-down of his life after he called The Shield out to the ring, with no backup of his own, and brawling with The Wyatt Family after the latter interrupted a tag match with CM Punk and Daniel Bryan.
The Leader: Although The Shield do not have a clear-cut leader, Dean Ambrose appears to be the Big Bad of the group— Type II/III.
As of the December 9, 2013 episode of Monday Night Raw, Ambrose is veering into Bad Boss territory. His ego (and the fact that he's the only championship-holder in the group) is causing him to verbally demean (if only indirectly) Reigns and Rollins. His claims that he's the best of the three members of The Shield have garnered looks of frustration from Reigns and Rollins, but the group remains a solid, cohesive unit.
The waters have muddied even further going into 2014, where it now seems that Ambrose and Rollins defer to Reigns, if anything. And, at least on commentary, Reigns is pushed as the overall strongest member.
Ultimately, the Shield could be said to be a team of leaders: all three are part Headstrong and Charismatic, with Ambrose also being part Mastermind and Reigns also part Levelheaded while Rollins possesses traits of all four leadership styles. To prove this point, all three members have stood in the center of their Fists of Excellence pose, and when it comes to non-to-semi-kayfabe interviews, each man frequently points to all three of them as being leaders, potential top guys, the best workers in the company, etc.
Now that Seth Rollins has turned heel he claims that he was the leader and mastermind behind the Shield and that without him they are nothing. He also claims that he was the only one capable of making Dean and Roman get along and work together.
Military Alphabet: Their entrance theme begins with radio chatter spelling out "Shield" in the NATO Military Alphabet.
Motive Decay: After they won their titles (Reigns/Rollins as Tag Team Champions, and Ambrose as United States Champion), they started preaching about "justice" less and less. After a year, they'd basically abandoned all pretense and simply just beat the crap out of whoever they don't like.
Subverted following their face turn, they have now begun taking Triple H and the Authority to the task for their flagrant abuses of power throughout the past year.
Thanks to The Shield attacking Daniel Bryan and Kane, the two actually started to get along. In addition, Daniel Bryan took amassive level in badass - enough to get the attention of John Cena, who named him number one contender for the WWE Championship... Bryan would then go on to defeat John Cena for the WWE Championship!
In the 2014 Royal Rumble, all three members managed to get in the ring at the same time, with the assumed plan that they would save themselves for last, with no strong feelings against whomever won. And with the three of them together, that plan was practically guaranteed. Unfortunately, Ambrose is kind of a dick (and also mentally unstable), and he tried to eliminate Reigns far sooner. Not only did this screw the entire team out of winning (especially since Reigns eliminated the two other members in retaliation), it also easily planted the biggest seed of discord amongst the group. Dean Ambrose may very well have brought about the end of The Shield himself.
For a while things were looking very much on their way there, what with the tension between Reigns and Ambrose boiling over with each passing week even during their budding war of Cool Versus Awesome with The Wyatt Family. But then Seth Rollins became increasingly tired of pulling them together and walked out on them in the middle of the second of two six-man tags between the trios, forcing them to confront him so he could air his frustrations and physically get everything out of the three's system. The result: what didn't kill the Shield only made them stronger than ever…with their justice redirected towards those who tried to use them blatantly with no proper cause but for power.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: This is pretty much their hat. Not only do they do it often, they're actually better at it than your average "Pack of wolves" heel group who just jumps unsuspecting wrestlers from behind and uses its numbers advantage to serve up the beatdown. See Dangerously Genre Savvy above.
No Sneak Attacks: Almost every time The Shield shows up to kick some ass, there's a clear warning of their arrival (see Oh Crap below). This leads to the commentators pleading with the soon-to-be victims to just run (or at least grab a weapon— see Honor Before Reason above) when the music blasts trough the arena speakers.
Oh Crap: You've just finished a match, your music is playing, you're feeling pretty good about yourself.....SIERRA. HOTEL. INDIA. ECHO. LIMA. DELTA. SHIELD. Cue three guys in combat vests handing you your ass.
They were hired by Paul Heyman to aid Punk, and when Punk's title reign was over, they pretty much went back to doing whatever they damn well pleased.
After the group broke up, Rollins said that he had never considered Reigns and Ambrose "brothers". He said they were "business partners" and that they'd taken him as far as they could, so when Triple H made him an offer, he made a business decision and took it.
Pseudo Crisis: Vince and Stephanie are in the ring and the Shield interrupts them as the show goes to commercial! What will The Shield do to the McMahons? What awesome storyline will start? And...nothing happens. The McMahons "leave the ring without incident."
The Psycho Rangers: Any group that goes against them turns into this. They portray their opponents as being potentially the three strongest guys they could find (three former world champions in Randy Orton, Sheamus, and The Big Show, for example), but they don't have the Shield's united front and usually fall due to their own infighting. Either that, or the fact that The Shield is simply a better trio than any possible three-man combination in WWE, despite not being its three best wrestlers. It's an interesting example of the good guys being the Psycho Rangers instead of the bad guys.
This might explain why Christian and the Usos were able to defeat them in their first match with them; the Usos are twin brothers and Christian is one of the tag team greats, giving them the united front most of their opponents lack.
This dynamic seems to have reversed in their feud with The Wyatt Family. Rowan and Harper are fanatically devoted to Bray Wyatt, while Ambrose and Reigns of the Shield have been somewhat at each other's throats with Rollins trying his best to act as mediator.
Actually lampshaded this trope in the buildup to their match with a re-formed Evolution, noting that, the threeremainingmembers' egos notwithstanding, their paths had completely separated since the days of their original formation. Trips had become more of a backstage presence and was just recently getting back into ring competition, Batista had dabbled in Hollywood a la early-career Dwayne Johnson, and Randy had hit something of a rough patch as far as his record was concerned. Because of this, The Shield contended that Evolution couldn't beat them. They were right.
Quirky Miniboss Squad: The group was often accused of being this for CM Punk, thanks to their penchant of coming to his aid during title matches or lie detector tests. As it turned out, they sort of were... but without Punk's knowledge, as they had been hired by Paul Heyman, with Heyman being the one giving them orders. As of the Sept. 23, 2013 episode of Monday Night Raw, The Hounds serve as such for Triple H (and, by extension, Randy Orton) after Hunter and Randy turned heel. The Shield themselves turned against The Authority after Kane tried to attack Rollins when they didn't do as he wanted.
Rage Quit: A team-wide version - if a member (or members) of the team is getting knocked around and looks to be losing the match, the others who aren't participating will often attack, resulting in a DQ win for the opponent, rather than letting their teammate(s) submit or get pinned clean. And then it's usually at that point that the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown starts.
On the March 3, 2014 episode of Raw, Seth Rollins grows frustrated with Reigns and Ambrose's constant bickering and miscommunication, and walks out on them during a match with The Wyatt Family, leaving Reigns and Ambrose to get hammered.
Red Baron: Michael Cole has dubbed the group "The Hounds of Justice," which WWE later ran with in their merchandising (see the page image above). He's also dubbed Seth Rollins "The Architect," Roman Reigns "The Powerhouse," and Dean Ambrose "The Lunatic Fringe."
The Rival: The fans got to enjoy a long feud between the Shield and The Wyatt Family, and even when the feud proper was over, this matchup was revisited several more times, usually with very entertaining results.
The "WWE Universe," as the Shield does not believe the decisions of the company should be made based on popularity contests; the Shield was formed to ensure the WWE Universe would not always get what it wanted.
While they varied their targets during the first month or so of inception, they very obviously had a special dislike for Ryback, and screwed him out of WWE Title wins at least three times in as many months. Their dislike of him essentially stemmed from him joining the main roster and being pushed to the top so quickly while they had been forced to keep toiling away in developmental. (And, actually, a good part of the IWC sort of agrees.)
They developed a huge rivalry with Cody Rhodes and Goldust in late 2013. As of November 2013, the team of Cody Rhodes and Goldust is the only team to defeat Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins twice. To a lesser degree, they also built a rivalry with Team Hell No.
Signature Move: Their triple-assist powerbomb. And if there happens to be a table around, rest assured the victim's going straight through it.
Sore Loser: As shown on April 26, 2013 on Smack Down, if one of the group was to lose, the rest would attack the winner together. See also Rage Quit above.
Subverted at times, as the same thing happens when one of the group wins.
Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Downplayed, but still very apparent. Whether or not you believe Seth Rollins is the only reason that the team hasn't imploded (due to Reigns' and Ambrose's constant bickering), when they need to send a message or actually get into physical confrontations (with rival wrestlers/stables), they work as a unit better than (arguably) any three-man team in WWE history. They pretty much pretend that nothing's wrong amongst the three of them, and you'd never know that's false if you only watched certain instances of The Shield's interaction with one another.
Went from "Downplayed" to "Up to Eleven" in less than a week. Following Seth Rollins' Rage Quit on the March 3, 2014 episode of Raw, Rollins called for a "Summit of The Shield" on SmackDown four days later. After some angry verbal jousting between himself and Ambrose, Dean lost his cool (shocker) and shoved Rollins... twice. Then Roman Reigns pushed Ambrose in response. Then Rollins slapped Ambrose. Then Ambrose slugged Rollins in the mouth.
Three-Bad Band: They tend to serve the Big Bads and Dragons, with no telling who serves those roles within the Shield itself, but each member otherwise fits neatly into a particular role:
The Brute: Roman Reigns. He is by far the largest and most muscular. He also talks the least (but when he does, it's usually REALLY LOUD), and he does the most heavy lifting on the trio.
The Dark Chick: Dean Ambrose, the CloudcuckoolanderAx-CrazyWild Card. Whereas Reigns and Rollins are often collected, Ambrose seems to be perpetually on the verge of snapping and acts erratic and just flat-out strange. He's by far the most, ah, "colorful" member of the group.
The Evil Genius: Seth Rollins. The Architect, he claims credit for knowing how to control Ambrose and Reigns and harness their abilities.
Three-Man Band: What the Shield Three-Bad Band shifts into following its post-Heel-Face Turn. They seem to be operating more independently, so there isn't an outside party to fill in as The Leader or The Lancer, but which member is which depends on your view of them and what point in time you're talking about, as it's very fluid and they often swap the roles. However, they again fit into the leftover roles pretty well:
The Chick: Rollins, due to being The Heart and most sensible of the team as well as getting assigned the traditionally Chick role as the weak member targeted by evil-doers looking to make a statement against the Shield.
Three-Token Band: Latino Seth Rollins, Samoan Roman Reigns, and Caucasian Dean Ambrose.
True Companions: Played wonderfully straight throughout the end of 2013 and into 2014. There was so much tension between Ambrose and Reigns that just about any other team/stable in WWE history would have long since imploded on itself— it seemed painfully obvious that WWE's creative team was setting up a team-wide split (possibly to turn Roman Reigns face and give him a push). However, thanks to the fact that Seth Rollins is apparently the chessmaster of the group (see Batman Gambit above), they actually became stronger. Also see Teeth-Clenched Teamwork above.
Since Rollins' betrayal he's claimed that while Reigns and Ambrose looked at the Shield as a brotherhood and he himself played to that image, the truth is he considered them nothing more than business partners. Oddly enough, Seth Rollins may have just started setting himself up as the new Ultimate Opportunist by deconstructing this very trope.
The Unfettered: Subverted. Ever since their alliance with Triple H, this has been toned down for the stable (not to say that they follow his orders without question). And Ambrose, while plenty crazy, seems to try to keep some semblance of focus for the sake of the team. (Operative word being "try.") There's no telling how far off the deep end Ambrose would go without Seth Rollins to pull him back occasionally. This was actually lampshaded by Rollins after he turned on them.
In a traditional five-on-five Survivor Series tag-team elimination match, Reigns and Rollins found themselves at a five-on-two disadvantage (much different than what The Hounds are used to) towards the end of the bout. Two Spears from Roman Reigns take out Jimmy Uso and Cody Rhodes. Rollins' curb stomp ("The Blackout") then eliminates Jey Uso. After Rey Mysterio pins Rollins, Reigns is alone against Rey and Goldust. Two Spears later, Roman Reigns has pinned both men, giving him four of the five eliminations for his team (tying a record for Survivor Series 5-on-5 matches).
There was very minimal cheatingnote and none from Reigns— Rollins attacked Mysterio after being eliminated, no fluke pins in their favor, and no ref bumps: just two teammates who, together, combined to be greater than the sum of their talents. Their teamwork and level of skill was so good that their cohesion as a group negated the fact that they were outnumbered five to twoand the heels!
At the 2014 Elimination Chamber in a six-man tag match, the Wyatts actually turned the numbers game on The Shield by managing to take on and take out the members individually, Bray Wyatt brawling off with Ambrose to parts unknown (he wasn't seen again) while Luke Harper and Erick Rowan double-powerbombed Seth Rollins through the commentators' table... cue Roman Reigns fighting off the Wyatt Family single-handedly up until he tried to Spear Bray Wyatt, upon which Harper dove in the way and took the Spear, allowing Wyatt to make a comeback and finish Reigns off too.
Villainous Friendship: Type I. Even given the fact that Ambrose is liable to fly off the handle at any moment (even towards his own teammates), the three of them clearly have each others' backs and even go on off-camera field trips to the zoo.
Vitriolic Best Buds: Downplayed between Reigns and Ambrose, since the tension is glaringly obvious. Calling the two "best buds" would probably be a lie. At some point, Ambrose's admittedly impressive (if not just long) reign as United States Champion massively inflated his ego, to the point that he declared himself the best individual wrestler in The Shield. This is despite the fact that Roman Reigns damn near squashed Mark Henry on the February 17, 2014 edition of Raw, when Ambrose got dominated by the World's Strongest Man the week before. Reigns also has a (tied) Survivor-Series record, and a standalone Royal-Rumble record, to his name (see Unstoppable Rage/Villainous Valour above).
The only thing Ambrose really had going for him was his status as United States Champion— a title he defended a grand total of 16 times in 351 days before losing it on the May 5, 2014 episode of Monday Night Raw. That's an average of about once every 22 days; most champions are expected to defend their titles every other week at the very least... plus the fact that 9 of those 16 matches ended in DQ or count-out.
After the team nearly experienced a meltdown in late 2013/early 2014, Ambrose's ego seems to have cooled down significantly, however, as has the tension within The Shield. Even through Rollins' betrayal, Dean and Roman don't seem to be missing a beat.
Wham Line: Triple H: "There's always a Plan B." Cue Rollins beating the hell out of Reigns and Ambrose.
What Happened to the Fringe?: During the course of the Shield vs. The Wyatt Family, Bray Wyatt and Dean Ambrose got into a brawl that spilled over into the crowd. While Rollins' fate was obvious after Rowan and Harper appeared to double Spinebuster him through a table Ambrose was never seen again, leaving people (his fellow Shield members included) to ask this question. It's implied that he chose not to come to Reigns's aid while the latter was trying to fight off the family 3-on-1, but this hasn't been confirmed.
Though considering their subsequent Heel-Face Turn against The Authority, and Seth Rollins' above-mentioned Batman Gambit, it looks like any animosity that could be stirred up from that moment is gone... for now.
In fact, Ambrose has stated on a couple of occasions that Wyatt took him out of play somehow during their off-screen fight (he explained how off-screen the night after it happened, then contrasted his incident from Rollins' Rage Quit during the confrontation Batman Gambit by describing the difference as "I fought off, you walked off.") Considering Rollins was the man who pulled the trigger on the inevitable betrayal button, Ambrose's case becomes more credible by the day.
Probably the closest is Evolution - the night after defeating them at Extreme Rules, the Shield issued a challenge for a rematch just to prove the first victory wasn't a fluke.
The Wyatt Family also has a case. Their match against one another at Elimination Chamber 2014 is considered one of the best for both stables, and The Shield is a meager 1-3 against The Wyatts.
Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: They always have a reason to explain how whatever they did was justified if pressed, even if it comes to acting as the mercenaries they say they are not or screwing someone out of envy.