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Before WWE Payback, Remember The Shield

The main event of Sunday’s WWE Payback event will showcase three of the brightest stars in the company in recent years (and Randy Orton).

Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns have achieved different levels of success as singles stars, but as The Shield, they ran wild as a unit for nearly two years, raising the bar for WWE’s in-ring product, and nearly always having the best match on the card on most nights.

Before they face off on Sunday, let’s relive their best matches as a faction.

Honorable Mention: The Shield vs. Evolution, Payback, June 1, 2014

5. The Shield vs. Team Hell No and John Cena, Raw, April 29, 2013

This match took place at a time when the company was going through its annual post-WrestleMania slump. While the storyline quality tends to fade in the months after the biggest show of the year, there was no dropoff in the in-ring in 2013, as The Shield had week after week of excellent performances in the main event slot of Raw.

4. The Shield vs. Team Hell No and Ryback, TLC,  December 16, 2012

After debuting the month before, there were high hopes for the WWE newcomers in their first pay-per-view bout. Ambrose and Rollins had a track record of great work in developmental and on the indies, but the WWE audience at large hadn’t seen that, and there were real questions as to how the pair and Reigns would gel as a unit. Those questions were answered here.

3. The Shield vs. Team Hell No and Randy Orton, Smackdown, June 14, 2013

I recall hearing and reading at the time of this match that there was some backstage heat on The Shield, with the rumor being that they had gotten big heads after their meteoric rise to the main event. Perhaps in response to that, the decision was made to hand the team their first loss as a unit, and in a match on free television. Frankly, I think they had every right to act and think of themselves as the best guys in the company, because they certainly were.

2. The Shield vs. Evolution, Extreme Rules, May 4, 2014

Batista won the 2014 Royal Rumble, and was slotted to main event WrestleMania, and likely win the WWE title from Randy Orton. The Yes Movement derailed those plans, and Batista ended up turning heel and briefly reforming Evolution with Orton and Triple H. Batista’s loss was a big win for WWE fans, though, as we were treated to this match as a result.

1. The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family, Elimination Chamber, February 23, 2014

This was my favorite WWE match of the last few years. After The Wyatt Family debuted, it was clear that they were on a collision course with The Shield. When the decision was made to break up Rollins, Ambrose, and Reigns, it was clear that this program had to be done first(the eventual split would be postponed until after a feud with Evolution). I can’t decide if my favorite part was the series of dives, or Ambrose attacking like a wild man just as the match started.

About Ethan Renner

Ethan Renner
Ethan is a regular online contributor to the Baltimore Sun, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Orlando Sentinel websites. His hobbies include binge-watching Gilmore Girls, and binge-watching Gilmore Girls. He lives in Baltimore, but has never seen The Wire. You can follow him on Twitter @EthanRenner.

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