Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - Reuniting the Shield was the ONLY Way to SAVE Roman Reigns as a Babyface
By Mr. Tito
Oct 10, 2017 - 11:42:03 PM

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OH HAPPY DAY, the SHIELD is back... After about a year of repeatedly suggesting it in my columns exclusively here /, the WWE finally pulled the trigger. Sure, the post SummerSlam 2017 episodes of RAW have been mostly under 3 million and that probably sparked it... WHO CARES? The fact is that Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, & Roman Reigns are FINALLY back together AND are acting as a BABYFACE team. Everybody wins... Don't like Reigns? Fine, but you can cheer for Rollins/Ambrose. Go back to 2012-2014 for many of the awesome 6 man tags that Rollins, Ambrose, and Reigns gave us... It was awesome.

Let's go back to June 2nd, 2014 for when Seth Rollins turned heel on his fellow Shield members Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose. My argument during mid 2004 was that (a) the Shield were getting over strongly as babyfaces and (b) 2014's WWE roster was thin on Main Event level babyfaces also when (c) 2014's WWE roster was full of heels. With John Cena actually beginning to take a few RAW episodes off here and there for early acting gigs, I sensed that his time was near. The Shield were RED HOT after defeating Evolution (Triple H, Batista, Randy Orton) during back-to-back Pay Per Views and could have gone on to great things collectively. And then, Seth Rollins joins the Authority on RAW following the Shield's 2nd 6-man tag match against Evolution on Pay Per View.

From my early morning June 3rd, 2014 Mr. Tito Strikes Back column posted at 12:27am, immediately following that 6/2/2014 RAW and I took TONS of heat for saying this:

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Bad decision after bad decision has been made for the last 13 years... You have this hot stable in the Shield which are getting genuine babyface pops and what do you do right after they achieve a huge victory last night as a group? Oh, you break them up... Seth Rollins turned on his fellow Shield members to presumably join Evolution or the Authority. Whatever. I'm here to tell you that it's a BAD decision and WWE deserves the FINGER OF SHAME for this awful decision.

What, are we short on heels, WWE? I'm sorry, but with Orton, Batista (who quit tonight), Cesaro, Brock Lesnar, Wyatt Family (all 3 members), Jack Swagger, Alberto Del Rio, Wade Barrett, and Rusev... Where's the room? Aside from being a warm body for Roman Reigns to defeat at the next Pay Per View, what is there for Seth Rollins to accomplish? I know that I'll read 2-3 columns here and elsewhere that will argue up and down that the Seth Rollins heel turn was a "great thing". Yeah, being the 3rd banana behind to glory hogs in Triple H and Randy Orton will really benefit your career. Again, just look at all of the heels that I mentioned above. WWE is crowded with heels right now. What they need are babyfaces.

Shield was getting over as heels and their RAW segments were proving to draw viewers. At a time where Daniel Bryan was enduring a Kane feud and John Cena was busy with the Wyatts, the Shield took the spotlight and succeeded. They were turning into a franchise and were just early into their babyface run to really prove how well the group could draw. But not now... BAD DECISION #29498483 under the current WWE Management was just made. Now, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose will prove to be stepping stones for Roman Reigns. I wouldn't doubt that HHH convinces Dean Ambrose to also turn. That's dangerous because Roman Reigns hasn't proven himself as a singles competitor yet and without the Shield gimmick to get him over.

In the end, this this turn will probably catapult Roman Reigns, but I don't think he's ready yet for the spotlight by himself and the Shield had plenty more mileage to. They just turned babyface for Christ's sake. BAD decision, in my opinion.

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So what happened following June 2nd, 2014? Well, the WWE has repeatedly tried to make Roman Reigns an instant main eventer. In addition to his early 2014 victory over CM Punk, Reigns has also scored huge wins over Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Triple H, the Undertaker, and just recently John Cena. Reigns is also a 3 time World Champion. Seth Rollins, meanwhile, stole Reigns's big World Title win at Wrestlemania 31 via the Money in the Bank cash in... For the rest of the summer, Seth Rollins wasn't allowed to beat anybody and feuded with Corporate Kane until shredding his ACL. Upon his return, Rollins had bad luck in injuring Finn Balor and Sting while getting "screwed" out of the WWE Universal Title by Triple H. Rollins waited about 3 months to really challenge Triple H after that... Confused as a babyface since. And then you had Dean Ambrose who had an awful losing record in Pay Per Views since that June 2014 break-up. It wasn't until 2016 when a chance Money in the Bank cash-in to beat his former Shield members allowed him to break the mold. He had a good Main Event run with AJ Styles/John Cena but was lost after that.

The timing to #ReuniteTheShield is JUST RIGHT because (a) Seth Rollins was struggling as a babyface, (b) WWE creative was strugging on how to use Dean Ambrose on the RAW roster, and (c) Roman Reigns was actually receiving boos despite being pushed as a #1 babyface.

Oh, and consecutive weeks of being UNDER 3 million average viewers for Monday Night RAW. Ouch.

Between June 2014 when the Shield broke up through now, RAW has lost over 1 million viewers. Statistically speaking, I actually ran numbers on both Roman as WWE Champion and also Seth Rollins. When both were champions during 2015-2016, they were statistically significant in terms of losing ratings while champs. Roman, I believe, had the potential to reduce RAW's ratings by a full 1.0 rating point if he remained champ from what I tested. That's remarkable.

Now that we have over 3 years of hindsight behind our backs... Let me suggest this about the timeframe between June 2nd, 2014 through October 9th, 2017.

When the Shield broke-up during 2014, all three guys lost their IDENTITY. They fought together, had each others back, wore the same outfits, and had the same theme music. Each had their role in the Shield. Ambrose was diabolical and the more psychological member of the group. Rollins was more aerial and flashy while giving the group personality on the microphone. Roman Reigns, meanwhile, was the muscle and enforcer of the group. Mind you, too, that Dean Ambrose had the best singles wrestler career out of the 3 as he held the United States title while Reigns/Rollins were a tag team. Granted, that US Title reign didn't mean that much, but the point stood that Ambrose was marketed more as a guy who could venture into singles territory while Rollins/Reigns were tag wrestlers. The WWE attempted to break that mold with the CM Punk feud in which all 3 fought Punk in singles matches. Rollins and Ambrose failed but during early January 2014, Roman beat CM Punk in a singles match. However, that match didn't impress as Roman just seemed clueless and was waiting for Punk to carry him (Punk may have checked out by that point).

Roman Reigns, in my opinion, was the most affected by the Shield break up. Sure, Seth Rollins turned heel but he kept the mic work going that he did for most of 2013 and early 2014. Reigns, however, was thrust into the Main Event scene. Suddenly, he had to mostly work singles matches and also cut promos. For much of 2012-2014, Roman relied on Rollins and Ambrose to talk and Roman would chime in with "and you can believe that!". Much of their matches involved Ambrose or Rollins taking the beating and Reigns getting the hot tag to his spears or set up for their Powerbomb spot. In fact, Reigns role as the muscle for the Shield, not talking, and working mostly tag matches DID NOT prepare him for the Main Event.

Then during June 2014, Roman Reigns was suddenly challenging for the WWE Title for the next 2 Pay Per Views. Soon, he'd be in a high profile singles match with Randy Orton at SummerSlam 2014. He was NOT ready! The funny thing is that unlike Rollins and Ambrose, Roman actually kept the Shield theme music and retained the attire. While the WWE is trying to market him as the new #1 babyface main eventer, his character is glinging onto the Shield image for dear life and refusing to change any of it. Roman looks like his 2012-2014 character yet he's pushed like John Cena in his "Super Cena" mode. Huh? Just confusing, especially when Roman doesn't have the charisma, in-ring ability, and personality to fill John Cena's shoes. "Roman Reigns" is a product of the WWE Board Room trying to use television and marketing to present Roman as that #1 guy instead of listening to the butts in the seats... Which, by the way, there have been fewer butts in seats to cheer Roman Reigns on as he repeatedly defeats Braun Strowman on the houseshow circuit. Oops.

Roman is receiving boos anywhere he goes and it's a FACT that television viewership and live attendance is down. Cannot deny the data in place.

But... The Shield. Already on the evening of October 10th, 2017, the Shield reunion from the 10/9/17 RAW has ALMOST 4 million views on Seriously! We're just 24 hours from when that happened and WWE's clip of their official reunion is crushing it right now.

With the Shield, it's an identity for the 3 wrestlers (Reigns, Rollins, Ambrose) in need of an identity. Roman isn't a #1 babyface but surrounded by 2 wrestlers whom groups of fans like, he can get cheers from Rollins and Ambrose's fans. When they come out together and beat up the heels, the fans can cheer for them collectively. Don't like Roman? OK, you have Dean or Seth to cheer. The Shield is a BRAND that identifies with those 3 wrestlers and something that will sell well on t-shirts. I bet that the Shield t-shirt that you happened to see all 3 members wear later on RAW will be a hot seller. For months now, I keep hearing about how Bullet Club shirts are everywhere... Wait until the Shield reunion tour gets rolling across the United States.

Let me BOLDLY compare Roman Reigns to Hulk Hogan...

Longtime WCW fans HATED Hulk Hogan from his 1994-1996 babyface stuff and furthermore as WCW fans, we didn't like the "New York style" that Hogan brought to WCW. With Hogan, he brought many of his former WWE buddies to take spots on the WCW roster. Part of the success of Hogan's heel turn was that WCW fans wanted to boo Hulk Hogan anyway... HOWEVER, Hulk Hogan was surrounded by two major superstars with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. Thus, if you disliked Hulk Hogan, well, you had Scott Hall and Kevin Nash to cheer! Hogan could get on the mic and you'd tolerate that because Scott Hall would do his usual routine or Kevin Nash would crush it on the mic. You hated Hogan but damn, Hall & Nash were so cool that you tolerated the Hulkster. The "heat" you had with Hogan was reduced because his stable mates were damn cool.

Same way with the Shield... Don't like the overpushed Roman Reigns, but you'd certainly watch a 6-man match with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose as his partner. How about about Miz "getting his" on RAW? Wasn't that fun to see all 3 members beating serious ass on RAW? And then sticking it to Braun Strowman? I LOVE that triple team powerbomb and they've delivered greats through announcing tables with that move.

As someone who has BEGGED the WWE to #ReuniteTheShield for the past year now because it made so much sense for all 3 members to do so (they needed identities)... I firmly stand 100% behind the Shield. I'll even tolerate Roman's MEGA PUSH if he's still a member of the Shield. Because now, he has a purpose... He doesn't have to do it alone now and he'll have reduced pressure to succeed. That, or he'll work extra hard to overcome Rollins and Ambrose and that's good as well.

I'm SO HAPPY with the WWE right now... You did the RIGHT MOVE and will salvage the rest of 2017 because of this booking change. KEEP THEM TOGETHER and I'm talking years... You need babyfaces... Well, what happens when the SHIELD comes to town? You could market an entire Houseshow with the full Shield team on the marketing materials. Put the Shield logo on anything that will hold it. Cups, shirts, you name it...

Now, if the WWE can simply assemble good HEEL teams to challenge the Shield...


Or how about this with the Shield? How about putting them in the MAIN EVENT segment?

Really on the Cruiserweight Division getting Main Event spots? I understand that Enzo Amore is getting good attention, but he's not the best in the ring... He's personality driven and in my opinion, the WWE is foolish for EVER letting him wrestle on RAW. Want to see Enzo Amore "get his" from the other Cruiserweights? Well, you'll have to tune into 205 Live and see it! Only $9.99 per month to see it!

WWE should have headlined this RAW with Braun Strowman vs. Matt Hardy. Braun has pulled good numbers in the 3rd hour at times and ending the show on the Shield high note would have been best.

And THEN to have Enzo Amore LOSE the Cruiserweight Title already to Kalisto, a guy who has repeatedly failed to become the "next Rey Mysterio" despite the many attempts by WWE. Baffling!

Let me give some advice for Enzo... As Champion, he needs to become the next Honky Tonk Man. Pure cheap wins to retain the title and it builds momentum for when he finally loses that title. Secondly, Amore needs another "Big Cass", but of a different model and purpose. Enzo needs a big, tall walking stiff to be his bodyguard of sorts and help him CHEAT TO WIN every match. Enzo can talk the smack and then hide behind the hoss.

Enzo is drawing numbers when he's drawing the mic as I've found from studying his clips on YouTube. But as a personality...



In addition to pro wrestling, I'm a BIG fan of television shows particularly the 1 hour drama variety. With Netflix, Hulu, and HBO, they just keep feeding me great shows to binge through in completion in a few weeks or months. After years of avoiding this show while watching many others, I just completed Game of Thrones. Holy cow was that good! It was legitimately like watching a major budget movie on each show with some of the most effective storytelling ever.

But where I think Game of Thrones shines is from their HEELS. Early on, you Joffrey who is just pure evil and then soon to follow, Ramsay Bolton follows in his sickness. Queen Cersei Lannister, holy cow, she's evil. Then, you have members of other houses who can also get down and dirty.

Then, you look at a show like Breaking Bad. Walter White acts like a heel often but some of the drug dealers he encounters are quite dangerous. I loved the show Dallas and it was led by JR Ewing who wasn't afraid to destroy anyone personally or financially. Dexter had multiple "super villains" who were disgusting. How about that first season of Heroes with the villain who would slice open people's heads? Terrifying! I loved the show OZ on HBO who had many, many villains who made lives miserable in Emerald City. How about that villain in Marvel's Jessica Jones? Best Marvel villain yet on screen!

However, what is the common thread with each of those heels? They were loved...

Right now, the Corporate WWE upholds the PG rating and is completely afraid to show us a diabolical heel. Sure, it was cool to see someone like Braun Strowman to pick up an ambulance or Owens/Styles beating the piss out of McMahon family members, but we need more than that. We need someone who is pure evil and not afraid to torment babyfaces. We don't quite have that in the WWE and haven't had that since, well, Vince McMahon.

For the shows mentioned above, they didn't lose sponsors because a heel did something evil. If you watch Game of Thrones, it has violence and abuse towards women... But nobody complains. Breaking Bad was all about the meth drug business and yet sponsors weren't walking out the door. JR Ewing was sleeping with everybody, blackmailing anyone, and bending law or ethics in any way he saw fit. And he didn't care, just like the sponsors who didn't care. They were happy for MORE eyeballs on the screen.

WWE has heels and many of them... But nobody of the diabolical nature that can draw natural heat.

Funny thing is that most of the television shows listed above were funded and put together by other corporations. They weren't afraid to get nasty or disturbing with their bad guys. Why is WWE so different?

The most disturbing heel that WWE has had lately was Stephanie McMahon but she never "got hers" with the exception of the Roman Reigns spear at Wrestlemania 32... Most of the time, because she was a McMahon, she just overwhelmed the roster on the microphone and nobody could get payback. As great of a heel that JR Ewing was on Dallas, he always "got his" every once in a while. Has to be give and take... That's what makes pro wrestling successful is the give and take battle between good & evil.

The best we can do is Bray Wyatt hyping the debut of the real Sister Abigail? Really?

Heels have been lacking since the early 2000s when Vince and Triple H were in their primes... Been downhill ever since.


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