There are a lot of people who disparage professional wrestling, with their main talking point being that the entire spectacle is fake, and although most of it is indeed staged, that does not mean that the product is not entertaining. As a global business, professional wrestling is now a billion dollar industry, with numerous promotions all over the world, and of all of them, World Wrestling Entertainment sits atop the mountain in terms of overall popularity and marketability. Over the years, the WWE has been accused of not handling some of their talent well, as evidenced by several wrestlers choosing to leave the company, but those instances have not stopped the company from still being home to the majority of the world's best wrestlers.
Like every other promotion, the WWE has had a number of factions over the years, with the nWo, D-Generation X, and The Four Horsemen being some of the most iconic factions in history, and just over five years ago, another dominant faction debuted on WWE's main roster. The Shield, as we know, is comprised of Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns, all of whom have already achieved a great deal of success in the company, and when they first debuted, they made an immediate impact, in fact they were so dominant during their initial run, that some consider them to be the best faction of all time. Much to the delight of fans, The Shield finally reunited a few weeks ago, and although Reigns has missed some time, the trio has already demonstrated that they are still a force to be reckoned with. Now that The Shield is back, it seems like the perfect time to go in depth, and learn 20 things about the faction that even some of their die hard fans may not know.
20 Roman Wasn't Pitched During The Original Concept
In 2012, WWE signed Chris Hero to a developmental contract, and while with the company, he went by the name Kassius Ohno, a name that not many people will remember due to the fact that he was released just over a year later. (He returned to NXT last year under the same ring name, however.) Prior to signing with WWE, Ohno wrestled in numerous promotions, including IWA Mid-South, which is where he first met CM Punk. According to Punk, he was the one who initially came up with the concept for The Shield, which would have included Rollins and Ambrose, but in his pitch, he had Ohno as the third member instead of Reigns. It goes without saying that WWE did not like Ohno, and if they had listened to Punk, there is a good chance that The Shield might have not become so popular.
19 Ambrose & Rollins Were Both Turned Down By TNA
In the past, WCW was the WWE's biggest competitor in North America, a competitor who they ultimately defeated, and a few years ago, it could have been said that TNA was going to be the new WCW, but based on their current state of affairs, that no longer seems to be the case. One of TNA's biggest problems was the fact that they relied too much on past names instead of developing fresh new talent, a plan that really backfired, especially when they could have had both Rollins and Ambrose on their roster. In 2008, Ambrose wrestled in a tryout match for TNA, where he showed real potential, just not enough to warrant a contract, while Rollins, who was an enhancement talent for TNA in 2006, lost in a non-competitive match, and was subsequently not signed based on his performance.
18 Dean Originally Debuted In WWE In 2007
It was roughly five years ago that The Shield made their official debut at Survivor Series, but even though the faction debuted that night, Dean Ambrose had already stepped into a WWE ring five years earlier. At that point in his career, Ambrose was still wrestling for independent promotions, but WWE has never shied away from having an independent wrestler come in to work a match, as it also helps them to evaluate talent. When Ambrose was brought in for the match (under his usual indie ring name of Jon Moxley), he did so while sporting a pink hairdo, which really made him look like a lunatic. The match he worked took place on Sunday Night Heat, a show that no longer exists, where he faced off against Val Venis, and luckily for us, WWE disregarded that subpar performance when they signed him four years later.
17 Both Reigns & Ambrose Despise Twitter
Whether we like it or not, we currently live in a world dominated by social media, and businesses, athletes, and celebrities have all taken advantage of social media by using it to help promote themselves and their products. WWE is no different in this regard, as the company has a fairly big following online, and the promotion pretty much encourages all of its wrestlers to use things like Twitter and Instagram to promote themselves, their merchandise, and their storylines. Social media is not for everyone though, and as it turns out, both Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns hate to use it, as evidenced by the fact that Ambrose once had a Twitter account, which he deleted shortly after making it, and he has not made another since. Reigns on the other hand has over 1 million Twitter followers, but the problem is that he rarely tweets, and when he does, its standard things relating to his character, which suggests that someone else is in charge of managing his account.
16 Rollins Signed With WWE Because Of Evan Bourne
As you read earlier, TNA did indeed turn Seth Rollins down, but that rejection turned out to be very beneficial for him, as it allowed him to join Ring of Honor, where he had a lot of success. It is thanks to his success in ROH, that he got a lot of attention from major promotions, including TNA who apparently realized their mistake, but in the end, he chose to sign with WWE, partly thanks to a wrestler named Evan Bourne. For those who do not know, Bourne has been wrestling since 2000, and although he has spent time in both TNA/Impact Wrestling and WWE, he has been on the independent circuit for practically his entire career. He and Rollins were fairly close in ROH, which is why Bourne gave him advice regarding who he should sign with, and he told Rollins that signing with WWE would be better for him at that stage in his career. This turned out to be the right call.
15 Dean Has Evolve To Thank For His Success
Over the past couple of years, the WWE has done a good job of bringing in new talent from other promotions, and Dean Ambrose was one of those new signings, and he has one person to really thank for his career: Gabe Sapolsky. For those who do not know, Saplosky was Ring of Honor's original booker, and was responsible for finding talent such as Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, and Seth Rollins, and after getting fired from ROH, he continued to find talent after starting his own wrestling promotion called EVOLVE. Since its founding, EVOLVE has developed a good relationship with both WWE and NXT, and as it turns out, Ambrose was the first star that the promotion ever produced, and it is because of his standout performances with the promotion that he caught the eye of the WWE.
14 Reigns' Brother Also Wrestled In The WWE
The Runnels/Rhodes and Hart families are just some examples of wrestling families who have left their mark on the industry, and the Anoa'i family has been just as impactful, as it has produced performers like The Rock, Jimmy Snuka, Yokozuna, Rikishi, and the Usos. Roman Reigns (b. Leati Joseph Anoa'i Jr.) is also part of this impressive Samoan family, and we already know that he has accomplished quite a bit over the past five years, but what some people might not know is that his brother wrestled on WWE's main roster before he did. While with the WWE, Reigns' brother Matt went by the name Rosey, and in the four years (2002-06) that he was on the main roster, he managed to become Tag Team Champion with The Hurricane. Tragically, Rosey passed away this past April as a result of heart failure.
13 The Shield Actually Is The Most Successful Faction
Over the past five years, we have heard WWE announcers say that The Shield is the most dominant group in the history of the company, a statement that might be true, but only time will actually tell. Although the debate regarding their domination is still ongoing, there is one thing about the group that is absolutely true: the fact that The Shield is the most successful faction of all time. That sounds like a bold statement, but when you look at other great factions, it is hard to disagree. Take The Four Horsemen for example, the group is legendary, but only Ric Flair and Arn Anderson can actually be considered stars, and if you were to look at the nWo, Hogan and Kevin Nash were the only two to really find success in singles competition. With The Shield though, each member has won multiple singles titles individually, and more importantly, they have each won the WWE Championship.
12 Reigns & Lesnar Played For The Same NFL Team
Many of the people currently on the WWE roster have always dreamt of being professional wrestlers, and in some cases it is the only job they wanted to have growing up, but for some, wrestling was not their first and only choice. There have been several wrestlers over the decades who at one point in time attempted to play professional football, including Roman Reigns. When Reigns was in college, he played as a defensive tackle, and although he went undrafted in the 2007 NFL draft, he ended up being signed by the Minnesota Vikings in May, only for him to be cut later that same month. What is interesting is that Brock Lesnar, whom Reigns will likely be facing at this year's WrestleMania, was also once a member of the Vikings after signing with them in 2004, when he decided to pause his wrestling career. He was also later released within a month.
11 The Shield Has Been Neutralized Before
From the moment The Shield debuted, they have been a dominant force known for decimating their opponents by using the numbers game, a tactic that in most cases ends up getting neutralized. During their first run, there were several teams that tried to stop The Shield's dominance, including Evolution, but even the group of Triple H, Batista, and Randy Orton could not put down the trio. Just because they still have not been properly neutralized on the main roster, does not mean that it has never happened, because it did happen down in NXT. When Rollins defended the NXT Championship against Big E, Reigns and Ambrose were taken out of the equation when the entire NXT locker room teamed up on them, thus preventing them from interfering with the match, which Rollins ultimately lost. This basically means that The Shield can in fact be beaten, as long as everyone in the locker room is on the same page.
10 Their First Triple Threat Match Wasn't At Battleground
We all loved watching The Shield, but we all also knew that the group would eventually have to disband, but even though we knew what was coming, it was still shocking to see the whole thing unfold. When the split finally occurred, it became quite clear that fans wanted to experience a perfect form of closure, which in this case, needed to be a triple threat match between the trio, preferably with a major Championship on the line. We finally got that match at the Battleground pay-per-view last year, which saw Ambrose retain the WWE Championship. That may have been the first triple threat that we have seen between them on the main roster, but it is not the first time that the three have faced off against each other at the same time, because they also participated in a triple threat match while in FCW, where Reigns walked out as champion.
9 Roman Was Always THE Guy
It is fairly obvious that many fans still dislike Roman Reigns with a passion, and who can blame them considering that his promo skills are mediocre at best, while his moveset is basically just a spear and superman punch. It is pretty easy to tell that out of the three, Roman is the least talented member of The Shield, and yet for the past three years, he is the only one who has gotten major push after major push, all because Vince McMahon believes he is the new face of the company. Whether we like it or not, Roman is now THE guy, but according to CM Punk, he was considered to be THE guy long before The Shield even broke up. According to Punk, WWE made sure that Reigns was the only member to be properly protected, with bookings being made to make him look strong; and he even says that Reigns would have won the WWE title at WrestleMania 31 had the fans not been so against him.
8 Reigns Shares The Record For Most Survivor Series Eliminations
The WWE has done everything it can think of to make Roman look like the new face of the company, including victories over both John Cena at No Mercy, and The Undertaker at this year's WrestleMania. If we are to believe the WWE, Roman has pulled off a great deal more, because according to the company, Reigns is the only person to ever eliminate four members of the same team at Survivor Series. This is supposed to be a big deal, but the problem with it though, is the fact that he actually shares that record with someone else: Aja Kong. For those who do not know who she is, Kong is a well-known women's wrestler from Japan who briefly appeared in the WWE in 1995, and she happened to be the only member of her Survivor Series team left standing, which allowed her to eliminate four members of the other team on her own.
7 Seth Is VERY Good At Madden Games
It is true that professional wrestlers have to put a lot of time and effort into their job in order to succeed, but deep down they are ordinary people just like the rest of us, which means that they have other interests outside of work. Like many other Americans, Seth Rollins is a big football fan, which for him is a bit unfortunate because he is a fan of the lowly Chicago Bears, but he also plays video games whenever he has the time. Xavier Woods has his own video game channel on YouTube called UpUpDownDown, and at one point, he held a Madden tournament to see who the best virtual football player in the locker room was. Rollins dominated the competition, and went home with the inaugural trophy after defeating Jack Swagger in the finals, where he played as the Bears.
6 Dean Was Incredibly Hardcore On The Independent Scene
In the past, wrestling was far more violent. In fact the WWE had an entire division devoted to the hardcore style within the industry, a style that helped to produce several legends such as Terry Funk and Tommy Dreamer. Dean Ambrose has been with the WWE since 2011, and although the company no longer believes in having violent hardcore matches, it does not mean that Ambrose cannot be viewed as a hardcore icon. Prior to joining the WWE, Ambrose wrestled on the independent circuit as Jon Moxley, which included a stint with Combat Zone Wrestling, where he took part in extremely violent three-way matches, a three stages of insanity match, and a Death Match, which no else on the current roster can put on their resume. To give you an idea of just how hardcore Ambrose was, he was once cut in the head by an actual saw blade.
5 Roman Once Went By The Name Leakee
Charisma, the ability to give a good promo, and actual wrestling talent are what most wrestlers need in order to become stars with lengthy careers, but it also helps if you happen to have a good name. In most cases, wrestlers will likely undergo at least one name change, and the members of The Shield are no different, as Dean Ambrose once went by the name Jon Moxley, while Seth Rollins was once known as Tyler Black. Their previous names were decent, but when it comes to Roman, he had a rather unique and amusing name while in developmental: Leakee. You read that right, when he debuted in developmental, he was called Leakee, a babyface who started off with a three-match losing streak. Good thing his name was changed to Roman Reigns, because otherwise we would have a man named Leakee coming out to his entrance music.
4 Seth Is the Only Wrestler To Win The ROH, NXT & WWE Championships
Earlier on this list, the case was made that based on their individual and team accomplishments, The Shield is the most successful faction in WWE's history, but when you look at the three members individually, it is clear that Rollins is the most successful. At 31, Rollins still has plenty of years left in the ring, but he has already accomplished more than most wrestlers do in a 15-year career. Rollins has stood atop both NXT and WWE, becoming the first ever NXT Champion, and winning the WWE title at WrestleMania 31, but while he was an independent wrestler, he also managed to win the ROH World Championship. Those three titles are considered by many to be the most important championships in North America, and so far, Rollins is the only wrestler to ever win all of them.
3 Dean Was Meant To Debut Against Mick Foley
Earlier on this list, we talked about Ambrose's past as a Hardcore wrestler, but what was not mentioned was the fact that WWE almost used his background to set up a feud with another hardcore icon. Mick Foley deserves all the respect in the world for all the punishment he put his body through over the decades, and is rightfully enshrined in the Hall of Fame, and if he was cleared by WWE doctors, he would have feuded with Ambrose. The feud was originally supposed to be Ambrose's main roster debut, where he was supposed to blame Foley for young wrestlers getting injured in violent matches. When Foley failed his impact test though, WWE scrapped the idea, which is why Ambrose had to wait to make his debut with The Shield.
2 Seth Didn't Even Know About His Cash-In
As far as Shield members are concerned, Seth Rollins is by far the best in terms of actual wrestling talent, so it only made sense that he would be the first member of the trio to win the WWE Championship. None of us will forget the finish of WrestleMania 31's main event, which saw Rollins win the title after pinning Reigns after finally cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase. This was without a doubt a career defining moment for Rollins, especially since he had wrestled Randy Orton earlier that same night, but he was pretty shocked when he learned he would be cashing in that night. In most cases, wrestlers are told in advance when they are supposed to cash-in, but in Rollins' case, he did not know he was steasling the title until an hour and a half before the actual match, thanks to Vince changing his mind midway through the show.
1 There Is A Fourth Member
When we think of The Shield, we think of only Rollins, Ambrose, and Reigns, which makes sense seeing as they are the only official members of the group to ever appear on screen, but the truth is, The Shield is not really a trio. Joey Mercury has been wrestling since 1996, and while working for the WWE, he managed to become a three-time Tag team Champion before being transitioned into a backstage role. When The Shield was coming up, Mercury worked closely with every single member, so much so, that according to Rollins, they made him the honorary fourth member. As it turns out, the WWE agrees with Rollins, because in one of their "Where are they now?" segments, WWE actually named him as the group's fourth member, which pretty much makes the entire thing official.