It’s no secret to anybody who watches WWE programming, on even an infrequent basis at the very least, that Roman Reigns is currently being groomed ready to become the heir to the WWE throne for when John Cena eventually relinquishes his spot at the top. It seems that the time when Roman Reigns takes that top spot may end up being sooner rather than later, however, after competing for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the previous 2 Pay-Per-Views, in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Money In The Bank match at the Money In The Bank PPV and Fatal-4 Way at the Battleground PPV respectively. Ever since The Shield was destroyed by Seth Rollins attacking Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose with a chair on the June 2nd 2014 edition of RAW, Roman Reigns has been battling in the ‘Main Event’ portion of the card. Reigns looks to continue doing so in his upcoming match against Randy Orton at SummerSlam, whilst being made to look virtually invincible by WWE along the way. All of this begs one question, however – was The Shield nothing more than a way to groom Roman Reigns for his inevitable rise to the top of the card?
Whilst wrestling arguably runs in Roman Reigns’ blood as a member of the Anoa’i family, which includes former WWE mega-star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and former WWE Tag Team Champions Jimmy & Jey Uso, Reigns didn’t forge a career for himself on the “Indies” like his former Shield brethren did, instead coming from a college football background, and not transitioning into the world of professional wrestling until signing a WWE developmental contract in 2010. To compare that to his former Shield brethren, both Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose spent 7 years building a name for themselves on the independent scene before signing with WWE in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
With that in mind, by partnering Roman Reigns with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, it opened Roman Reigns up to a plethora of experience which he could take on board. A whole 14 years of experience, to be precise, which would prove invaluable to Roman Reigns’ future as it provided him information to grow himself with. That’s not counting the combined years of experience that the WWE personnel backstage would be able to provide Reigns with to polish himself. However, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins would arguably provide Reigns with the most experience by having the three of them spend all of their time on the WWE main roster with each other. At the time of forming The Shield, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins had among the most combined wrestling experience of anybody else in WWE’s developmental system of NXT at the time, and as such it only made sense to partner Roman Reigns with the 2 of them to prepare Reigns for the future.
During the 2 years which The Shield were together, taking out pretty much the whole of WWE Roster from The Undertaker, to The Rock, to CM Punk, Roman Reigns was always shielded in matches, only coming in on a ‘hot tag’. Or that’s how it seemed, anyway. By allowing Reigns to get the ‘hot tag’, especially during The Shield’s baby-face run before splitting, it accustomed the WWE Universe as they are known to cheer for Roman Reigns, which is what WWE would want for its next mega star. Having Reigns execute high power and athletic moves, such as the ‘Superman Punch’ and spear, furthered the intended reaction, and furthered Roman Reign’s stock within WWE.
Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose were also able to cover Roman Reigns’ not-so-good qualities. Seth Rollins brought a huge arsenal of moves to cover the fact that Reigns has a rather limited move set. Reigns’ move-set is seemingly limited to his ‘4 moves of doom’ in the form of his apron drop-kick, Samoan drop, Superman Punch and Spear. Those 4 moves, with some unimpressive filler moves in between, form the basis of any Roman Reigns solo match. Seth Rollins, however, used his large arsenal of moves to cover this, as by going through his move set and tagging Ambrose in along the way, it allowed Reigns to hit his moves as a finisher to the match, and The Shield to pick up the win and Roman to pick up the experience without doing much.
Dean Ambrose is a master of the microphone, and by having him be the mouthpiece of The Shield, it hid the fact that Reigns isn’t all too good at cutting a live promo, arguably one of the most important factors when it comes to professional wrestling. By having Reigns only say a sentence or two during promos, it didn’t make Reigns seem isolated from the rest of The Shield by not speaking in promos, whilst also allowing Reigns to pick up on some tips from Ambrose when it comes to cutting a promo which he could put to use in the future to improve his own promo skills.
Time will tell whether grooming Reigns in The Shield so that he’s ready for the main event spot was worthwhile, and whether or not any of Rollins or Ambrose’s experienced rubbed off on him as I believe was planned.