What would have happened if The Shield had never been formed?
Imagine Seth Rollins as NXT Champion for 1000 days...
Let's presume for a second that CM Punk defeated John Cena and Ryback in a three-way dance at Survivor Series on November 18th, 2012, without the assistance of Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose. Moreover, let's presume that The Shield trio never debuted as a trio in WWE.
In considering all of this not happening, what would have become of Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose's WWE careers? Also, what would have been the fate of a WWE Universe if these three competitors would not have been undefeated for six months?
A WWE Universe without a Seth Rollins cash-in, Roman Reigns "go-away" heat or Dean Ambrose's lunatic sliding-into-upper mid card behaviour is a different place indeed. Let's consider it...
Foremost, there's the idea that it's an absolute given that Roman Reigns would've been called up anyway. Imagine Reigns debuting one night later as a new "Paul Heyman Guy" to chase after Champion Punk.
Imagine Punk having a re-match against Ryback (by virtue of say, Punk pinning Cena but NOT Ryback) and Reigns hitting Punk with a Superman Punch and then wiping out Ryback with a spear through the dasher boards.
The idea of Reigns getting such a huge heel push to start alongside Paul Heyman and with CM Punk as a dramatic foil on promos would've likely aided him in having the kind of character that would connect with the fans in a much better way than he has at present.
Couple that with the idea of Heyman eventually bringing back Brock Lesnar and suggesting a "Two-Man Power Trip" style stable that would eventually dissolve and lead into the Lesnar and Reigns' Wrestlemania 31 match.
As for Dean Ambrose, there's the idea of him debuting in November 2013 after a year of him chasing down Mick Foley (a brilliant angle that was sadly dropped) and potentially crippling a series of legends in his first year to build up his match with the Hardcore Legend.
Playing off his epic series in NXT with William Regal, he could have gotten Regal to hang up his tights, then work his way through a series of guys he'd call "washed up has-beens like that hardcore fraud Mick Foley" including David Otunga, Scott 2 Hotty, Christian, the Dudley Boyz, Michael Hayes, and maybe even someone like Shane McMahon.
Ambrose then billing himself as a "Legend Killer" would, of course, raise the ire of Randy Orton, who could've been called into service at say, Wrestlemania 31 to wrestle Ambrose after he had beaten Foley in a hardcore match at Survivor Series in 2014.
Positioning Ambrose as an unbeatable heel who then would lose to Orton at Mania, but then go on to likely become a tough babyface with 18 months of main event-level experience, would put him in a spot that's likely better than where he is right now.
Regarding Seth Rollins, imagine a WWE where Rollins actually stays in NXT and DOESN'T lose to Big E in December of 2012, but rather remains NXT champ for 983 days, finally losing the title to Finn Balor in Japan.
The idea of Seth Rollins gaining experience as the lead dog in NXT and defeating Big E, Bo Dallas, Neville, Sami Zayn AND Kevin Owens would be amazing, and entirely plausible. The pop for Balor beating Kevin Owens was amazing.
The pop for the NXT Champ who would've more than doubled CM Punk's WWE Championship reign losing, in Japan to Finn Balor, would've been incredible. NXT's growth as a brand being attached to the story of a super-athletic champion who outlasted challengers for nearly three full years could've been an amazing story to base NXT's development around.
Alternatively, the idea of Seth Rollins' swan song in NXT being a ‘loser leaves town’ match versus Shinsuke Nakamura in his debut during Wrestlemania weekend 2016, could have been an equally epic moment.
Rollins debuting on Raw the night after Wrestlemania with three amazing years under his belt, as well as leaving a wide-open championship scene in NXT, where Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, Nakamura, Bobby Roode, and more were potential contenders, would make the developmental territory more of a must-watch product than it is at present.
Imagine a current WWE product where there's a babyface Roman Reigns who is a brooding bad ass that plausibly defeated Brock Lesnar, Dean Ambrose as the "new era Legend Killer" and lunatic babyface, and Seth Rollins with a near 1000-day NXT title run and a position as a babyface, wrestling the likes of Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho with that level of renown, as opposed to what he has now.
Fascinating to consider, right?
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