As previously noted, WWE's Seth Rollins was a recent guest on E&C's Pods of Awesomeness, hosted by Christian and WWE Hall of Famer, Edge. During the discussion, Rollins went in-depth about his relationship with The Shield's Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns, from the very first time they appeared on WWE television until the decision was first made to break the faction up.
Rollins detailed the events that lead to The Shield's debut, explaining how it was all supposed to occur the month prior at the Hell In A Cell PPV. After arriving at the Hell In A Cell show and waiting around all day, The Shield was disappointed to realize that WWE had went with an ending to CM Punk's match that did not include them.
"What I think happened, it's a little fuzzy to me because it was behind the scenes, weird stuff going on, Punk was looking to help turn the roster around," Rollins said. "He saw the main roster, he saw that there were some hungry guys in NXT that, sort of, came up the same way he did, and he also saw that there was a lot of complacency on the main roster at the time with a lot of the guys. Especially some of the younger guys were just there, just happy to be there. Not trying to get better every week, and not trying to dish storylines, not pushing the envelope for themselves and for the company, and it was starting to hurt the product overall. So he wanted to get us in there, us being myself, and Ambrose, and I think, maybe, Kassius Ohno/Chris Hero, but I'm not sure. But the company loved Roman from the get go, and for all the right reasons.
"Whatever happened in those conversations, I don't know," Rollins continued. "Punk and Paul Heyman pitched for a security force to come up and help him. He was in the middle of a program with Ryback and Ryback was this world beater, and he was obviously trying to find ways to prolong this program with Ryback, and one of them was to have some guys who could take some bumps for him, speak for him a little bit. So he pitched this idea for a security force, and pitched the idea of myself and Ambrose, and I think Hero, and somehow Roman got thrown in there.
"We were supposed to debut at the Hell In A Cell, like a month before Survivor Series," Rollins explained. "We were all at the PPV excited, didn't really know what was going on, nobody was really talking to us and we were there, and we were ready to do something but we didn't know what was gonna happen or anything like that. And then no one approached us all day and nothing happened, and I think that was like, Brad Maddox - the thing with Brad Maddox, where he was a bad referee, a heel referee, or something like that happened at the PPV. And I remember us all being like, 'Why the hell, why are we here? What's going on?' And then the next Monday or Tuesday, we're back down in Tampa doing man in the middle drills on a Tuesday afternoon, like, depressed as all hell. I thought this was gonna be it!"
A similar opportunity presented itself at Survivor Series the following month, and Rollins, Ambrose, & Reigns jumped at the opportunity. This time, after a series of laughable props were disposed of, The Shield would finally be granted their moment in the spotlight.
"And then, again, it came up around Survivor Series time," Rollins said. "Sort of the same thing happened where we go to the PPV, and no ones talking to us, and no ones talking to us, and no ones talking to us, and finally, Michael Hayes is like, 'Anybody talk to ya?!' We're like, 'No!' 'Well, sh--, get over here then!' And then finally we had the conversation and they explain what's going on. They gave us these swat pants and these stupid turtlenecks. I don't know why turtlenecks, but that's what they gave us. And they gave us these shields, we had, like, riot shields and batons we were gonna use. And at first, 'What are we gonna- how are we gonna get in the ring with these giant full body shields? I don't understand.' And then eventually we walked out to do this rehearsal and Vince [McMahon], who was still helping out with rehearsals at the time, he was by the ring and he saw us walk out with these shields and these sticks, and he's like, 'Ugh, what the hell are those?! What are you gonna do with those?' And we're like, 'Yeah! What are we gonna do with these?' And we just threw the shields down. And [Vince] is like, 'You need sticks to beat a man up? You can't beat a man up with your bare fists? What kind of man are you then, huh?'...And so then we just go out in turtlenecks and swat pants, and we got out and we beat the living sh-- out of Ryback that first night."
Rollins recounted the daily occurrences that the members of The Shield shared while on the road together, essentially their entire lives. Once they began to actualize their goals of pushing the boundaries in WWE, Rollins explained that they wouldn't hesitate to leave the people behind that couldn't keep up with them.
"We were, from day one, in the beginning, before we were making any money, we would stay in the same hotel room," Rollins admitted. "We would just get all one room together, and we would get a mini van, and we would all just get one room a night, and we would all have beds, and one of us would rotate sleeping on the floor. We did that for, shoot, maybe the first year almost. We were like, 'We don't know, we're gonna save all our money.' And we did everything together, we traveled together, ate together, trained together, worked together, protected each other when the time was right, when we needed to backstage, in the ring, whatever. And, like you said, we were all on the same page. All of our goals was to the be the best. We wanted to change the whole thing, like, we wanted to change the intensity level, bring everybody up with us, and we didn't really give a d--n who. If someone couldn't keep up with what we wanted to do, screw 'em, we were gonna do it and they were gonna fall off, and we're gonna find somebody else that wants to keep up. It was just one of those things where, yeah, we got the opportunities, they were afforded to us, but we knocked them out of the park every single time."
Rollins also revealed that the initial breakup of The Shield was supposed to take place many months prior to the moment actually taking place on RAW. Once they convinced management to give them a longer run, then, and only then, were unforgettable matches made, like their feud against The Wyatt Family.
"[The break up] was not our idea and we were not ready for that," Seth said with a chuckle. "We hadn't had a run as babyfaces at the time, we had just done the heel stuff and we came off this program with Punk, where it was like Punk against The Shield. And I remember we did this three-on-one handicap match at TLC in December, and we lost to him, I think, in the three-on-one match, and they were ready to split us up then. Like, within the next month. I remember that was the plan, we were gonna break up and Ambrose was gonna turn, and it was just gonna be, almost, thrown away. I remember we went to Hunter, or Vince, or somebody - we talked to somebody that makes decisions, and we were like, 'We can't do this, we're not ready for this right now. It's not the right time and we've got so much more to offer. It's not the right time! We need to pull back on this a little bit.'
"From there, we moved in to a bit of a babyface run," Seth continued. "We worked with The Wyatt family in February. So we did The Rumble and, whatever, and then we did The Wyatt Family in February, which, they squeezed in because they thought they were gonna break us up. So there was a never a plan to work with The Wyatts, it was never gonna happen. And they're like, 'Well, I don't know if we're gonna break 'em up, we should get this match in.' And the electricity of the two factions that had been so beautifully built up over the last few years, coming together to go to war was - the electricity for that was insane. We had a hell of a six-man tag team match with them and we had a few of them after that, but the first one at Elimination Chamber was off the charts."
You can listen to the full interview below. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit E&C's Pods Of Awesomeness with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.