For every great WWE character or idea, there’s a backstory full of horrible “what could have beens.” Stone Cold Steve Austin had names like Ice Dagger and Chilly McFreeze pitched at him. Vince McMahon wanted Mankind to be “Mason The Mutilator.” Somebody wanted to dress Ricky Steamboat up as a literal dragon and have him breathe fire after he’d already been around for 20 years. Wait, that one actually went through …
Anyway, I think I speak for everyone with a brain and a functioning set of eyeballs when I say The Shield is one of the coolest things to hit pro wrestling in years. As bad-ass, loosely-SWAT-related mercenaries, the team of Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins has been a regular, praised fixture in the Best and Worst of Raw column and they’ve been tearing it up in the ring since their debut in November of 2012. They succeed by being tough, compelling competitors with interesting characters. Who knew?
Not WWE, apparently, because their original idea for the team (per an interview with Roman Reigns on the Road To WrestleMania 30 podcast) involved shields. No, like giant, real shields. Made of plastic.
“Yeah, we debuted at Survivor Series — the coolest part of that is we were supposed to have like shields. It was really… for lack of a better word… it was really lame. We had like, literal riot shields. Fiberglass riot shields with the word ‘SHIELD’ written up it. We were like … ‘everyone will know who we are, jeez.’ We just pictured trying to get into the ring with these things. Like, for years now … you go into the ring a certain way, and you’re not usually carrying a huge, plastic shield.
So, we just had this terrifying nightmare of not being able to, like, slide in and we’re like stuck. We can’t get in and we’re looking up and there’s Ryback standing over us, and we’ve completely blown the whole debut. So, immediately, Vince was like, ‘what, are you guys wussies? You need that?’ We’re like ‘no.’ And he’s like, ‘good, leave them,’ and we just ran in there and we beat the dog piss out of Ryback and put him through the table.”
I guess this isn’t a surprise coming from the company that turned “Sister Abigail” into “Bray Wyatt’s sister, Abigail.” Here’s the full podcast if you’d like to take a listen, and/or get your “baby gurl” Roman Reigns voice fix.
Not gonna lie, kinda want to see them bring shields to the ring at WrestleMania now.