Monday, 21 September 2015

The Destruction Of The Shield

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 423 Minutes
Certificate: 15
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: March 9 2015

Just over a year ago, WWE fans witnessed the shocking break-up of The Shield, with many wondering why one of the most dominant factions in recent memory would be split up, as well as wondering how each member would fare in the future. This DVD includes a documentary on the three members of the group - Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns - and memorable matches involving the trio, as well as a number of bouts after the group dissolved.

The documentary was originally shown on the WWE Network, leading into SummerSlam 2014 where Ambrose would fight Rollins and where Reigns, in his major breakout match, would face Randy Orton. It shows how each man prepared for the biggest event of the summer, as well as delving into the pre-WWE backgrounds of all three (ranging from independents like ROH and CZW or American football in Reigns' case), the adventures of all three in FCW and on NXT, the coming-together of The Shield on WWE TV, their dominance from November 2012 to June 2014, and the ultimate destruction of the group (hence the title of this DVD).

The documentary covers virtually everything that you could expect, given the youth of the three profiled performers. We even get archive ROH and CZW footage for Rollins and Ambrose respectively during their independent days as Tyler Black and Jon Moxley, as well as some interesting stories on behind-the-scenes happenings involving the three men (particularly notable is Rollins' backstage conflicts which almost led to him not being promoted to the main roster). We get good coverage of The Shield's first year-and-a-half in WWE, and of their unexpected demise in June 2014. The feature does feel odd when the three ex-Shield members talk about their SummerSlam matches as if they were real, although it's understandable given that this was previously a pre-SummerSlam Network special. Otherwise, the documentary is very good considering that there isn't a huge amount of history to cover, and that equal time must be allocated between each of the profiled stars. It isn't must-see, but it is definitely worth watching. And even if you've previously seen this on the Network, there are several additional chapters to the main feature.

The match selection is also commendable, and each match is previewed by background comments from one Shield member. We get two really good Rollins-Ambrose matches from Florida Championship Wrestling, and a rare three-way involving the three men in FCW back when Reigns was known as Leakee. The last FCW match is a compelling fight between Ambrose and William Regal, but is tarnished by WWE's decision to include this bout with a black-and-white screen during scenes when Regal's ear is cut open. This is to comply with WWE's PG rating for this DVD, but it either should have been cut or released on a TV-14 compilation; FCW matches aren't on the WWE Network, so unless we get a future Ambrose DVD, we'll never get to see the full-colour transmission of this match. (It's also worth noting that this was the last ever FCW TV match which, when you watch it, feels like the developmental territory ended on a true low note, which is odd.)

We then see a fun NXT Title victory for Seth, making him the first NXT Champion, against Jinder Mahal and Roman Reign's NXT debut against CJ Parker. The match listing then jumps to The Shield's in-ring WWE debut, a superb TLC war against Ryback and Team Hell No from TLC 2012. With the possible exception of Kevin Owens defeating John Cena at Elimination Chamber 2015, this was the best main-stage debut for a new character or characters in the last decade in WWE. We don't get The Shield's WrestleMania bow (at XXIX), disappointingly, but we do get their first championship victories for the US Title and Tag Titles from Extreme Rules 2013, and a very exciting WWE Tag Team Title match with The Uso's from the Money In The Bank 2013 Kick-Off show.

The numbers increase for the Survivor Series 2013 elimination match that showcased Reigns, and the following six-man tag between The Shield and The Wyatt Family from Elimination Chamber 2014 is fantastic. The subsequent Shield-Evolution No Holds Barred bout from Payback 2014 is also engaging, if a little slow, as is the 2014 Money In The Bank Ladder Match, by which point The Shield has dissolved. We get the two SummerSlam 2014 matches that had been discussed (Rollins vs. Ambrose under Lumberjack rules, and Reigns vs. Orton), which is a nice touch, and two Raw matches pitting Rollins and Ambrose (Falls Count Anywhere) and Reigns respectively bring this compilation to a close. (There are also a few intriguing Blu-ray exclusive matches, so I'd suggest getting the Blu-ray over the DVD if you're trying to decide between the two.)

It is hoped, or has been proven since the end of this DVD's timeline (with Reigns winning the Royal Rumble and Rollins becoming WWE World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania 31), that the futures for all three men are brighter than their past and even their run in The Shield, so we are likely to see at least one of these performers profiled in another DVD in the future. Judging their careers up to the early post-Shield period, though, this DVD does as good a job as could be expected: the documentary is informative, insightful and entertaining, and the majority of the bonus matches are very good, with a few Match Of The Year contenders thrown in there.

If you didn't believe in The Shield, you will after watching this DVD.

Overall Rating: 8.5/10 - Excellent

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