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 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

Smart Marks 6.07.14: Cracked Shield
Posted by Dino Zee on 06.07.2014

Hello again, and welcome back to another installment of YOUR favorite place for Weekend Rasslin talk here at Smart Marks! I'm Dino, and as always, I'm the guide as we discuss anything from the world of WWE, TNA, Lucha, and more!

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Last week I discussed TNA Knockout Brittany, specifically how I feel that there is absolutely nothing about her that's worth mentioning. In a not surprising move, there were some out there who felt that she's probably on the cusp of something bigger, and that we need to give her more time. Oh, and of course, she's hot.

Remember: When judging women wrestlers, always consider whether they're hot or not, I guess. I also threw down the gauntlet of not buying into TNA's nonsense of Bully Ray putting Dixie through a table, no matter how many times he said it. Again, some of you disagreed, with reader Will1225 specifically calling out the New York shows as to when Dixie will indeed go through.

I'm still not buying it, but at the very least, I guess I *could* see it happening there. As usual, guess we'll be playing wait and see, the game of choice amongst pro wrestling fans.

Finally, we broke down our favorite versions of the Four Horsemen, along with our choice for favorite Horseman as well. Arn Anderson seemed to dominate that vote (he's my favorite as well), but I earned a 411 Achievement Badge when someone brought up Paul Roma. It ain't really a column until you can get a Roma mention, right?

This week, I'll be honest- I haven't seen too much wrestling. I'm even writing this Thursday afternoon, as I'm going to be travelling on Friday and won't have time to write when I normally would, so there's no Impact happenings to break down, either. So, with that in mind, I figured I'd switch up the usual format of quick hits on a few different topics, and focus completely on the one event that most everyone's been talking about this week: the closing segment of Monday Night Raw.

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Rare is it in wrestling that a heel turn can be done in a manner that satisfies most of the fans. Rarer still is the turn that isn't really seen coming from a mile away. Rarest of all, however, is the turn that happens in front of an audience expecting a turn that still surprises many.

Now, I'm sure that we're all super geniuses who all saw it coming here, but besides us, there were many people who did not see it coming. Sure, the idea that the Shield would be split soon has been going around since at least the Royal Rumble. Most figured they'd be split after the feud with the Wyatt Family.

Others guessed that after WrestleMania (if not AT Mania), we'd see it happen. When we made it past Mania, and the Shield moved onto the feud with Evolution, many (not all) assumed that the plans had been cancelled. Some were still looking for Roman Reigns to maybe break away, or even Dean Ambrose to turn, but in all, the "Shield is breaking up soon!" rumors were starting to sound like the usual guesses that we make each and every week until it comes true.

When Raw opened, we were treated to Evolution coming out, with Triple H saying that the war was not over, that the loss at Payback was not the final battle, and that he was going to bring The Shield to an end. When Batista took umbrage with this, declaring he didn't care about Evolution, and that he wanted what he was promised- a one on one WWE World Heavyweight Championship match. When Triple H pointed out that wasn't possible, Dave quit. Man, that wave he did… amazing. I was amongst the most butthurt of fans when he won the Rumble, but damn if he didn't win me back before leaving. Asshole Batista is the best. Anyways, he quits, walks out, and Triple H says something about still having a plan. Most people, I'd assume, were wondering if he had a new guy ready for Evolution. Maybe Cody Rhodes? Or my pick from a couple weeks back, Sheamus?

I have to be fair here and say "most people" because I, like a dummy, completely spoiled Raw before it aired. That's the fun side of living on the west coast. Right as I started up Raw, I saw something that gave away the ending. I was immediately super pissed at myself, because what the hell was I doing? But we'll get to this part later.

So while fans are most likely trying to guess what Trip's plan is, or who is going to join Evolution, the show continues on. A match between Roman Reigns and Randy Orton is set for the main event, and you just get the feeling that The Shield is looking to actually end this feud once and for all, while a desperate Triple H tries to save face. If I hadn't spoiled it, I'd have leaned towards the Sledgehammer being the great equalizer, letting Trips and Orton stand tall over a fallen Shield.

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The show itself, however, kept all of that on a pretty slow burn. We weren't hit with constant shots of Triple H scheming backstage. There weren't a lot of giveaway segments with the Shield huddlehugging backstage, or promising that nothing would ever take them down. They were basically not around until the end of the show, which I really thought helped things out.

Like I said, I spoiled the whole ending. So, once the butthurt wore off, I decided that I'd watch the show with an investigative eye, trying to see how many tips of the hat WWE would give the fans as to what was coming. And from my perspective, WWE did a great job in giving no real obvious hints. That made the usually unbearable 3 hour crawl somewhat fun. Would the next segment be the one where they made it super obvious what was to on the way? What about the one after that? Still, nothing that made me say "Oh yeah, that's pretty obvious." You usually don't see such a soft approach when such a big moment is coming, and from my perspective, it really added to the final result.

Eventually, it was time for the Reigns/Orton matchup. The Shield hit the ring first, and delivered what would be their final group promo, and boy was it amazing. Dean Ambrose spoke first, but it wasn't until Seth Rollins grabbed the mic, that I watched in amazement. One of Rollins' final lines was (forgive me, I'm paraphrasing) something along the lines of "They weren't brothers. They were just three men who happened to be standing on the same side of the ring." Knowing what I knew, I got a little giddy. THAT was the big tipoff I had been looking for the whole night, and it was so subtle, that I could see plenty of people missing it. He was talking about Evolution after all, not the Shield! Reigns then grabbed the mic, and as he spoke, Rollins left the ring. This was where we got a much bigger tipoff, as he grabbed two chairs (why not 3?), and placed one down in the corner (why not hand one over to Ambrose or Reigns), while holding the other has Triple H and Orton looked on.

And then, in an instant, Rollins dropped Reigns with a vicious chairshot. The look on Dean Ambrose's face was perfection. It wasn't "Oh, I'm mad at you, turncoat!" It wasn't "No, brother, why would you do that?" It was, quite literally, "Holy shit… what the hell just happened?" I can't remember Ambrose in his WWE run ever looking so helpless. And then Rollins laid into him with chairshot after chairshot after chairshot, all with Hunter and Orton still watching. There was no screaming at the crowd. There was no taunting. It was just one man absolutely destroying two of his "closest friends" with a steel chair. It was brutal, it was old school, and it was perfect. I tried to imagine what my reaction would have been had I not spoiled it, and I'm pretty sure I would have gone nuts at that first chairshot. I never had Rollins pegged as the one who'd break away. That's not an indictment of his ability, either. I just figured it'd either be the big guy (Reigns) or the crazy guy (Ambrose) that led to the inevitable split.

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As I said at the start, it's rare to have a turn you didn't see coming. If it were Reigns or Ambrose, I'd be brushing this off as no big deal. But it was Rollins. And it makes SO much sense when you break it down. You know I can be a stickler for sense every so often.

Reigns turning on the Shield would have most likely been fueled by him getting tired of "carrying" Ambrose and Reigns, which doesn't make the other two look so good. Ambrose turning would have most likely been done because he's crazy and only out for himself. This might have led to some good matches, but overall, no one would have really changed their thoughts on anyone. Rollins turning, though? The smallest guy? The so-called Architect, now destroying his very creation? All to join the enemy? It's fantastic. Now Rollins can talk about he was the one that did all the planning. He was the one who put the group together because he knew they all worked well together. And now he's the one that ended it, because the group needed to be put out of its misery.

On top of that, I'm sure there are plenty of Tyler Black fans ready to see Seth Rollins get a real push as a singles competitor. He'll get the chance to prove what he can do on his own. We all know he can wrestle- that's been on display since day 1. Lately he's shown an improving ability on the mic, and now we're going to see how well he does as the focal point of a major feud. Meanwhile, Reigns and Ambrose can continue to court the approval of the fans, who will be rooting them on heavily to stop this new version of Evolution.
That's the final part that is so great- Seth Rollins in Evolution allows the group to go from "Two old guys and Randy Orton" back to the idea of the group in the first place, with Trips as the past, Orton as the present, and Rollins as the not so distant future. With one swing of the chair, everything changed, and many things made complete sense.

Many of are sad to see The Shield go, which also speaks to how perfectly timed this turn was. We didn't cheer them just because they were fighting Evolution- we cheered them because for nearly 2 years, these three guys have run roughshod over everyone, doing it their way. Heel or Face, it was just the three of them taking care of business. We grew to love that. And Triple H, with the help of Seth Rollins, took it all away from us.

It was, in my opinion, an absolutely fantastic turn. Even spoiling it couldn't spoil the moment.

What'd you guys think of Seth Rollins' betrayal of The Shield? Where would you place it on a list of Best Turns? Did you even like it? Am I crazy for how much I dug it? You know what to do- hit me up in the comments!

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That will do it for me this week. Before I go, I wanted to ask YOU, the readers, about suggestions for next week. We've been devoting the third Mark to "favorites" these last few weeks. Suplexes, submissions, flying moves, Horsemen… there's still so many ways we can go with this, so I'm asking YOU to help me out! Hit me up in the comments (or email if you're feeling antiquated) and tell me what FAVORITES you'd like to see addressed in the coming weeks!

Until then, Enjoy your WWE, your TNA, your Lucha, your Puro, and your Indies!

It's All Wrestling. It's All Stupid. We All Love It


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