Sierra. Hotel...yada, yada, yada. We all know the rest of it as for almost two years, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns came through the crowd and destroyed anyone dumb enough to stand in their yard. While The Hounds of Justice may have occasionally sparred with each other verbally, there was no one force, group, or entity that could stop them - not Super Cena, not The Brothers of Destruction, and not even Evolution. The only group badass enough to take them out was themselves, as Rollins would turn on his brothers and the dominant group was no more.
Now that each member of the group won championship gold, we can take a look back at the history of the group through these 15 facts! Enjoy Faces Of The WWE: 15 Staggering Facts About Reigns, Rollins And Ambrose!
15 Reigns Wasn't Punk's Chosen One
CM Punk simply had no idea what it was really like in the top spot of WWE. The spot he felt he should have been given all along. On top of that, he just couldn't wrap his head around the fact that nobody was getting to the number one spot while Vince McMahon still had it bad for John Cena. All that being said, he seemed to have been right about Roman Reigns. In Punk's podcast appearance with Colt Cabana, the former wrestler described one of the reasons he felt it was appropriate to leave. Punk believed that WWE kept booking him in matches with people he felt were inexperienced. While it's very clear he meant Ryback, it's unclear if he also meant The Chosen One, Roman Reigns. But one thing is for sure, he definitely didn't like a bunch of backstage agents telling him to make Roman look good in The Shield-Punk Three-On-One Handicapped match. More importantly, Punk didn't even think Reigns should be part of the group, suggesting Chris Hero for the part instead.
14 Ambrose Was Given a Shot at Punk
On the other hand, CM Punk at one point loved the business and before he turned tail and ran away from it, he certainly did understand who were the guys that should be taught and molded for the future. While he was on his monumental run as WWE Champion, Punk took a day off to head to WWE Developmental territory to speak with the kids there and have a match with Dean Ambrose. This act of kindness on Punk's part was reminiscent of the territory days, when the big megastar came to town to give the rub to one of the more talented young lions in the Indy fed. For 25 minutes, The 'future' Lunatic Fringe took on CM Punk who was gearing up for his run as the longest reigning WWE Champion of the modern era. The match would take place in the dilapidated gym that housed FCW as Punk gave his time and energy to Ambrose. Punk left WWE for a litany of reasons and the fact that certain guys weren't being used properly was one of them. Luckily, as of late. the company has been using Ambrose properly.
13 Rollins in TNA
We all know that TNA has made plenty of mistakes and questionable decisions during their run, and while this is one of those, they can't be blamed for not hiring the former Tyler Black to their roster. Although, if they had asked A.J. Styles, they probably should be held at fault for not signing one of the best Superstars of the past decade to their team. Seth Rollins was given a tryout, alongside Jeff Luxon, in a losing effort agains the Latin America Xchange. This was his only shot working for Dixie Carter. Yes, a company cannot hire, nor have the foresight to hire, every single young wrestler on their rise to greatness but not giving this kid another shot was a big blunder on their part. Not signing Rollins won't appear on any Top 15 Reasons TNA Went Out of Business List, but his name would have to certainly appear in the not signing key personnel entry.
12 Longest Running U.S. Champion in WWE
For almost a year and a half, over 500 days, 'The Total Package' Lex Luger was the longest reigning United States Champion. But since the title arrived in the WWE when WCW was purchased in 2001, the longest reigning United States Champion in WWE history is the current WWE Champion, Dean Ambrose. From May 2013 until a few days shy of a year in May of '14, during The Shield's rise to prominence, Ambrose was a dominant U.S. Champion. Clearly the strap doesn't mean what it used to, but the fact that The Lunatic Fringe was given the opportunity to wander around with it for 351 days makes him the longest reigning secondary champion in WWE other than the Intercontinental Championship reign of Honky Tonk Man at 454 days. While he probably won't hold the WWE Championship nearly as long, if he holds it even half the time, it will be a memorable run for The Lunatic Champ.
11 Rollins Was Rumored to Play The Game
It was supposed to be the grandest Grandaddy of Them All! AT&T Stadium in Dallas was the site of WrestleMania 32 and the plans all along were to make sure this 'Mania was bigger and better than any before. Unfortunately, thanks to an injury-ridden roster, many of the proposed big time matches went the way of the dinosaur and the card got shuffled and scuttled around to make things as exciting as possible. For several months last year, The Authority had been getting on their champion's case, pushing him to perform better and better. They pitted him in big time matches against the likes of Brock Lesnar and John Cena, all the while placing him in the crosshairs of the COO, Triple H himself. Perhaps, the initial plan for Rollins to lose the belt at Survivor Series would have been the catalyst for a full-fledged face turn and program with The Game, culminating in a big time battle at WrestleMania. Maybe one day we'll get to see it. After two-thirds of The Shield have already played The Game, so why not Rollins as well?
10 Ambrose is Hardcore
After watching the guy go through ladder matches over the last few years and, most recently, the Asylum match, it shouldn't come as a shock to the WWE Universe that Dean Ambrose is hardcore. But, what you might not realize is that this guy is certifiable. His level of hardcore violence would have fit right in with the old WAR King of the Deathmatch tournaments of the early nineties. While most of his contemporaries were cutting their teeth in more refined places like Ring of Honor or New Japan, The Lunatic Fringe was being...well, himself, working on the fringe for a wild wrestling promotion known as CZW - Combat Zone Wrestling. Ambrose has lost buckets of blood all over the East Coast for the ultraviolet promotion. Ambrose worked for CZW from 2009-2011 in matches where fans provided the weapons, as well as dog collar matches. To date, Ambrose is the only person to hold both the WWE and CZW Heavyweight Championships.
9 High Rated Debut
Shawn Michaels didn't do it. The Undertaker couldn't do it. Triple H, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Goldberg didn't do it either. Even Bret Hart, who members of The Shield have stated they look up to, couldn't achieve the ranking The Shield achieved in the very first match at the 2012 TLC Pay-Per-View against Team Hell No and Ryback. Having debuted a few weeks prior at the Survivor Series, Brooklyn, New York would be the place where the most dominant trio in WWE history would begin their dominance. The match itself was an instant classic and the WWE Universe learned quickly what a reckoning The Hounds of Justice were bringing to the main roster. The match showcased each member's strengths and saw many staples of offense that The Shield would utilize throughout their careers. Acclaimed wrestling journalist, Dave Meltzer would rate the match 4.5 out of 5 stars, one of the highest rated debuts in history.
8 Cashing in on the Fly
Over the course of 2014, Seth Rollings emerged as dichotomy - a smooth as silk in ring worker mixed with a smarmy, cowardly heel. He was Mr. Money in the Bank and screwed his former Shield-mate Dean Ambrose at every turn. Then, in 2015, WrestleMania came to Silicon Valley. The Architect constructed a seemingly fool-proof plan - wait until the Mayor of Suplex City and the leader of the Roman Empire basically punched themselves out, then rush to the ring mid-match and take one of them out to claim the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. A cash-in at 'Mania and a cash-in mid-match had never happened before. It all seemed so crazy and a WrestleMania-sized shocker when Rollins became the true hero to a lot of fans who simply didn't want to see Roman get the belt. It's staggering to think, but this monumental moment was only decided midway through the show by The Boss himself. On the fly, history was altered and a lot of fans agree it was changed for the better.
7 Ambrose vs. Foley
One is an endearing hardcore legend who has bled on almost every continent and won the fans over with his heart, desire, and willingness to put his life on the line for their entertainment. The other became an Indy darling for many of the same reasons, but without the endearing part. But once the scrappy Jon Moxley was signed to the WWE and became Dean Ambrose, a war of words was brewing between he and Mick Foley. Ambrose would call out Foley for how his insane antics in the ring forced Ambrose and fellow members of his generation to have to push the envelope even farther and destroy themselves in order to get over. It was a unique twist on Mick's classic "Anti-Hardcore" promos from ECW and gave Ambrose a reason as to why he spent years destroying himself in CZW. But what could have been a epic "old vs. new" hardcore brawl was thwarted when Foley was unable to pass WWE stringent medical tests, allowing his war of words with Ambrose to end abruptly and The Lunatic Fringe to begin his alliance with The Shield.
6 Reigns Admires and Listens to a Hart
Make no mistake about it, despite fans chanting that he can't wrestle, the brash Samoan, Roman Reigns can certainly hold his own in the ring and he's getting better every single day. Just look at Fastlane 2015 against Daniel Bryan, a fun melee brawl with Big Show (you read that correctly), and most recently his bouts with A.J. Styles, which should prove that he knows how to handle himself in the ring. But despite a sequoia-sized family tree of Wild Samoans, Islanders, Usos, and Rocks to look up to and emulate, The Guy has cited a member of another wrestling dynasty as his favorite. Reigns has stated before that Bret Hart was his idol growing up. Like many Superstars of today, The Big Dog believes The Hitman was the best. At a Wizard World Q&A in the fall of 2015, Reigns spoke highly of the Hall of Famer's ability to go out and work 30 minutes every night. Nowadays, he praises The Hitman for being a great mentor. Perhaps, constant conversation with Bret could eventually help Roman get over the wall the WWE Universe has built for him.
5 Reigns is Developmental's Chosen One
"Anyone but you, Roman" was more or less the WWE Universe's (and Bray Wyatt's) mantra as the leader of the Roman Empire ascended to the top of the card on the main roster. With a cadre of guys the fans would actually get behind as The Guy (Wyatt, Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, the other two guys in this article) the entire industry and its fans have consistently scratched their heads, thumbed their noses, and flat out poo-pooed the decision to have Reigns as the face of the company. But the decision to do so and see it through until the bitter end (which for fans might happily be now that he got suspended), is not just a hardheaded Vince decision. Despite his lineage, Reigns was not raised to be in the business, he aspired to be a football player. So his teachings and rise to the top are all points in the favor of what a homegrown FCW/NXT/Performance Center/WWE Superstar could look like. While the aforementioned guys and others have spent over a decade cutting their teeth in the Indies to learn their craft and get to the main roster, Reigns' only experience in the sport has been in the WWE. His Chosen One status has long been established since way back in his FCW days when a young Leakee was already being booked to be a monster and going over on more than one occasion on his Shield compatriots.
4 Losing Clean at Money in the Bank
The dominance of the Roman Empire had been established in FCW and confirmed on the main roster. During the CM Punk podcast with Colt Cabana, Punk explained that during their Three-On-One Handicapped match at TLC 2013, the brass had constantly reminded Punk to make Roman look really, really strong - even he had the foresight to try and convince the very same brass he abhors now that maybe three guys beating one isn't the best way to make Roman look really, really strong. Nevertheless, once he became a singles star, The Guy seldom took the "L" cleanly. Cash-ins, run-ins, and chicanery have been abound in all of The Big Dog's matches. That all changed at Money in the Bank 2016, when Seth Rollins returned from injury a conquering hero (while playing the heel), and defeated his former friend clean in the center of the ring. One o the first clean losses for Reigns since becoming The Guy in WWE.
3 ROH, NXT, and WWE Champion
Certain veterans of the sport have said that if you can get over in one territory, you should be able to get over anywhere. With fewer and fewer territories, that's a little hard to do nowadays, but it is still possible. Seth Rollins is proof of that, as he has gotten over in Ring of Honor, NXT, and now the WWE. In each company, The Architect has not only gotten over, but became World Champion. Rollins is the only person to hold the Ring of Honor, NXT, and WWE Championships, which is no small accomplishment. In fact, it's a huge deal. As Tyler Black, at ROH's eighth Anniversary Show at the Manhattan Center, he ended the eight month reign of Austin Aries, who at the time was the only two-time ROH Champion. Rollins also become the first ever NXT Champion, after defeating Jinder Mahal in a tournament final. It's very fitting that Rollins is the first official member of the NXT roster (sorry Daniel Bryan) that won the WWE Championship, when he cashed in Money in the Bank at WrestleMania.
2 Almost Fired
Despite being booked as a heel, all of these history making moments for Seth Rollins have helped make him one of the most popular and respected workers in the industry. His heel persona is one of a brash and arrogant jerk, who is brazen enough to think that he and he alone is the reason there's a butt in every seat. That kind of character has been done before and with Rollins' skill level, he's not too far off the mark, as plenty of people do come to see The Architect do his thing in the squared circle. But it was almost over before it started. Backstage in developmental, Rollins really was a brash, arrogant, jerk, who was frustrated that he wasn't getting called up to the main roster and getting impatient. It rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and Rollins was going to be sent his "Future Endeavored" gift bag. Enter, Joey Mercury, a guy who knows a thing or two about being fired by the WWE, albeit for much different reasons. Now a respected agent for the company, Mercury sat the young gun down and laid out a path for him that would ultimately calm Rollins down. Rollins stepped up after that and garnered some respect for and from his peers as they allowed him to put this incident in his rear view.
1 Mean Streets of Cincinnati
The current WWE Champion is surely enjoying life. Dean Ambrose's character pretty much allows him to do whatever and say whatever he wants as a PG rated child of Stone Cold, Terry Funk, The Joker, and Brian Pillman. You might even think that his character is based on Pillman, since the two hail from Cincinnati. But if it seems that The Lunatic Fringe is a street smart vagabond who got his education from the proverbial school of hard knocks, that's because he has. Born Jonathan Good, the future Dean Ambrose grew up in and out of public housing on Cincinnati's East End and had to be as scrappy as his character to survive, even resorting to seeking drugs for a time to get by. Thankfully, wrestling was there as an outlet and Ambrose would eventually find the sport whiling being taught the craft by Les Thatcher. Ambrose is now one of the most popular WWE Superstars of the New Era.