The Cashbox: Shielding YOU From The Shield


I'm a walking contradiction. I'll admit it, own it, and ultimately shout it from the rooftops. The members of the internet wrestling community irk me to no end at times, with their holier-than-thou attitude and arrogance, but if it weren't for this very loyal bunch of crazies, I honestly don't know if I'd be watching pro wrestling today. At least, not to the point I do now.

Take the debut of Dean Ambrose, for example. I honestly think Justin LaBar single-handedly spearheaded a campaign – a movement – that would be impossible to create in any other world, but ours. It was his prophecies about Ambrose MONTHS ago that made his debut just a couple weeks ago mean even more than it ever had a right to mean.

But only in the "bubble" we call the IWC.

Casual fans saw a group of three nobodies show up at Survivor Series and attack Ryback. Casual fans couldn't pick Dean Ambrose out of a police line-up. Casual fans look at "The Shield" and wonder how they might affect Punk and Rybacks' program even further. They certainly aren't watching the group to see if Dean Ambrose gets a fair shake at superstardom. Not yet, anyway.

Sometimes, I feel the need to step in and be the voice of reason. Not to someone like Justin LaBar – he's done his job and manufactured an interesting story that only we care enough about to follow – but to all of us who have bought into said story and have over-inflated expectations as a result.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves here when it comes to The Shield's future, or the specific future of Dean Ambrose. It's still way too early to tell whether either will be given a chance to prosper in WWE for any long period of time.

I wouldn't be surprised if Vince McMahon has seen very little, or even none of Ambrose's past work. Kevin Kelly agreed with that statement on this week's edition of VOW.

What if Ambrose and the entire Shield concept is nothing more than a counterpoint to Ryback's recent losses to Punk? He's already had two and I'm sure most would agree he's walking into another one at TLC. Maybe Ambrose and company will be fed to Ryback quickly to keep him looking as strong as possible in the aftermath.

If there's a more prominent leader behind the group, to be revealed sometime in the near future, then the benefits that would provide Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns are even more unclear. That would delay their potential compared to the group staying centered around just the three of them, but it could ultimately be the best thing for them. Orton and Batista gained from Hunter and Flair, Cody Rhodes gained from Orton and Legacy, but Wade Barrett is an argument to be made for the other side of the coin. Nexus might have been handled wrong altogether, but there's no denying that Barrett's solo career benefited some by leading the group.

These questions need answered before I'm ready to buy into Ambrose, Rollins, Reigns, or The Shield as a whole. I'm glad they are around, I like the story and their reason for existence, but I'm not going to hold my breath on their potential for success just yet. I don't suggest you do, either.

I would assume you could officially add Dean Ambrose to the "internet darling" list by now. And although being on that list has recently worked out for guys like Punk, Daniel Bryan and very soon, Dolph Ziggler, it could have the reverse affect on Ambrose.

If it does, I know who I would blame if I were him. Ahem, ahem, LaBar, ahem, ahem.

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