Each week, we break down the world of professional wrestling and examine two of the polar opposite ends of the spectrum: one thing that was by far the worst thing (Cheap Heat) and the best thing (Cheap Pop) to happen over the past 7 days in sports entertainment. So, what went down this week that we loved and hated about the business?
Wow, what a week it has been. Last weekend, I had more or less decided my pop topic was the outstanding NXT Takeover event, but then BOOM! Monday Night Raw happened, and The Shield imploded.
I would be surprised if anyone, hand on their heart, can say they figured this would happen when it did, let alone that Seth would be the one to do it. Just hours after the Payback event, I was reading a review of the The Shield vs Evolution match by a very respected wrestling journalist, and he was convinced that after such a performance there was no way The Shield were going to split up any time soon—talk about famous last words.
While The Shield breaking up certainly has low points—and we will get to them—we can not disregard the potential and positives this could have both for these young mens' careers and our viewing pleasure.
Firstly, we knew a break up would happen. The question was never if they break up, but when they break up. The potential of all three men was clear early on, and it grew stronger and stronger over time. Initially, the attention was mostly on Ambrose and Reigns, but Rollins has come into his own in a huge way these past few months. His exciting explosive moveset never fails to disappoint.
Everyone had their favourite member, and each of these them has individually been touted by the WWE Universe as a future WWE World Heavyweight champion, but this was unlikely to happen whilst they were still a cohesive unit. The Shield were not like DX or Evolution. Those were factions with a leader and the members served to aid and protect their leaders championship goals. Sure, they could pursue the low/midcard and tag team titles, but pursuing the big one was not expected of them. The Shield had no real leader; they were equals much like The Corre—only successful.
As a result of their unity they were (more often than not) in six-man tag team matches or tag team matches. The opportunities to really make a mark as solo stars was not always there—even Ambrose's lengthy US title reign got marred by a lack of title defenses. Too often, the belt went undefended on PPV due to his involvement in a Team Shield match. A change had to happen to allow them the opportunity to work more single matches.
Now that this change has happened, the pursuit for a WWE World Heavyweight title reign by any one of these three men could be in the not too distant future.
Aside from the exciting prospect of their potential champion accolades, this business is far from over. This is an intriguing swerve in a headlining story. Is Rollins just aligned to The Authority? Is he a fully adapted member of Evolution? Why did he do it? Is the Shield actually finished? Or can the name still be attributed to the team of Ambrose and Reigns?
It is rare for a Raw to end with so many burning questions, but all I do know is, I can not wait for next week!
No, this not a typo. As I always say in this column, with the good must come the bad. It just so happens that this week's pop happens to double as this week's heat.
For all the merits of Seth's betrayal, we must still mourn our loss. The Shield's implosion as a trio marks the end of the most successful fan favourite factions of the past 2 years. They were responsible for some hugely entertaining tag matches, extremely exciting 6 man tag team matches and of course, the double triple power bomb! Let's face it, we all know a wrestling fan that can find fault with everything and everyone, but I am struggling to recall seeing a divulge of negative comments towards The Shield. Whether face or heels, they could do little wrong. That is a rarity.
But did we really want them to split? Not really, even though it had to happen and has opened up a whole new set of avenues in the process. I will still miss seeing the in-ring camaraderie of the trio. Faction wrestling is exciting and while the future of The Shield as a duo is still to be played out, 2 is a tag-team, not a faction. It will never be quite the same.
Ric Flair once said the most successful wrestlers are those "the men want to be" and "the women want to marry" (He did also add he was being polite when he said marry). I think it is safe to say that The Shield had these bases covered. While these traits will continue to apply to all of them as individuals, there is still no denying there was something very special about them as a team—a team that will be sorely missed.
So there you have it, my two choices for the week. What do YOU think are the Cheap Pop and Cheap Heat this week in professional wrestling? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!