Today wrestling fans, we’re going to take a slightly different look at the new WWE DVD and Blu-ray release in store next week – “Destruction of The Shield”.
In order to review Destruction of The Shield, we’re going to break it down (yes, wrong faction – I know) into six alphabetic sections. So let’s kick it off with our first letter….
S is for… STORY.
The story of The Shield could well be the story of how three future WWE main event Superstars came to be. Therefore down the road, “The Destruction of The Shield” could prove to be an incredibly important story, of course it was first told on the WWE Network and then here we have the extended version on Home Video (DVD & Blu-ray).
The story which we are presented here on the Home Video version is 23.39% (i.e. 13 minutes, 9 seconds) longer than the version available on the WWE Network. If you missed it, we have a full in-depth analysis of how the documentary has been extended on the Destruction of The Shield DVD and Blu-ray version – check it out here.
The addition of topics such as: the Evolution feud and The Shield’s first WrestleMania and the early Rollins/Ambrose rivalry really give the story of The Shield much more depth. The addition of these discussion points also mean that the vast majority of The Shield’s big programs as well as their pre-Shield days are covered in the now extended documentary.
I’m sure pretty much everyone has seen this documentary already, so I won’t get too in-depth with the discussion about it, but the documentary is certainly one of the better ones which we have seen. The Destruction of The Shield covers each of The Shield members’ respective career histories (both inside WWE and en-route to WWE) and then the feature looks at the collective history of the Shield faction, from their debut at Survivor Series through to their split in June 2014. While telling these stories the main crux of the piece is their individual journeys to their matches at SummerSlam last year.
As we have seen with the more recent WWE productions, there is much more of a willingness by the company to go outside their own bubble, which is nice here as it allows for a brief overview of Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose and their careers before WWE with the use of ROH, CZW and Evolve/DragonGate USA footage, as well as a few interviews from Seth’s friends, Gabe Sapolski and Les Thatcher.
H is for… HISTORIC MATCHES.
The Destruction of The Shield is packed with 22 matches (including the Blu-ray exclusives) spanning the period of 2011 to the fall of 2014. Many of these matches hold their own little piece of history, not only historic for The Shield but others historic for other reasons. We’re not going to look at each and every match; we will be looking at a handful of highlights.
FCW 15 Championship Match: Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose (FCW; 8/11/11)
Not only is this the first FCW match ever featured on a WWE DVD, this match was also the first one-on-one meeting between Rollins and Ambrose. While Seth Rollins (f.k.a. Tyler Black) and Dean Ambrose (f.k.a. Jon Moxley) began carving their legacy on the independent circuit around the same time, their paths didn’t actually cross until this night in Tampa, FL for the FCW 15 Title. In case you’re not familiar with FCW, here’s a little back story on the FCW Jack Brisco 15 Championship – the title (actually a medal) was created in honor of Jack Brisco and was contended almost exclusively in fifteen minute Iron Man matches. This was a really great little wrestling match, the more recent Ambrose/Rollins we have seen have been more ‘street fight-esque’ in their approach (rightly so given their hatred) but here it was nice to see the two go one-on-one in a straight up wrestling match. It is also cool to see that across the complete set we have both of the extended rematches.
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins vs. Leakee (FCW, 2/5/12)
Another historic match is the Shield three-way match; the first ever meeting between all The Shield members. I am positive that one day this match will main event a huge pay-per-view (providing it isn’t thrown out for free on an episode of RAW!). This was a fun triple threat match. My only complaint was that I felt that Regal’s commentary does hurt the match a little. At the time Regal was in the midst of a feud with Ambrose and his persistence in trying to ‘get over’ the feud took away from the match a little as it really distracted Byron Saxton (who was trying to do the play-by-play).
Dean Ambrose vs. William Regal (FCW, 7/15/12)
Speaking of William Regal, our next historic match sees “The Lunatic Fringe” take on Mr. Regal on the very last episode of Florida Championship Wrestling TV. The promotion was shut down when WWE withdrew from it before beginning the new incarnation of NXT at Full Sail. The match between Regal and Ambrose had been built up for months and months, with their initial match taking place just over 13 months earlier, and what better way is there to make a big match feel even bigger….? Of course put “Good ‘ol J.R.” Jim Ross on commentary with “The ‘merican Dream” Dusty Rhodes. The match is a solid back and forth with Regal working over Ambrose’s arm and Ambrose working over the head and ear of Regal.
However, get ready to be OUTRAGED….. in order to retain the TV-PG rating for the set when William Regal is bleeding from the ear, the match switches to black and white! This isn’t something which I recall seeing on a complete match on a WWE DVD before, typically this is used within features, but not the bonus matches. (To go with the match there is a cool extra reliving the story of their feud, this can be found under the deleted scenes)
NXT Championship Match: Seth Rollins vs. Jinder Mahal (NXT, 8/29/12)
NXT has in many ways become the crown jewel of the WWE Network, and this match crowned the centerpiece champion NXT brand. The “Gold Rush Tournament” was an 8-man single elimination tournament which came down to Seth Rollins and Jinder Mahal (who in terms of in ring work was at the zenith of his WWE career at the time). Without a doubt this was the best match of Jinder Mahal’s entire WWE run. Mahal dominated a large portion of the match, while the baby face in peril (Seth) sold and sold a back injury, before he managed to eke out a quick win to become the very first NXT Champion. The match also had some cool touches to make it feel more “big time” such as: Howard Finkle providing the ring introductions and the entire NXT roster watching the contest from the entrance stage.
TLC Match: The Shield vs. Daniel Bryan, Kane & Ryback (TLC, 12/16/12)
Something else which added to the mystique of The Shield was the fact that the trio had their first official match on a PPV as they took on Daniel Bryan, Kane & Ryback in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match. As far as debut matches go, I’m not too sure there has been a debut match for any superstar which turned out to be good as this particular outing. From the opening bell this one was an all out brawl, shunning the more traditional TLC match traits. In essence this match was much more of a tables, ladders and chairs street fight and provided The Shield with a helluva debut!
US Championship Match: Kofi Kingston vs. Dean Ambrose / Tag Team Championship Match: Daniel Bryan & Kane vs. Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns (Extreme Rules, 5/19/13)
It was also nice to see The Shield’s first championship wins at Extreme Rules 2013 as Dean Ambrose took on Kofi Kingston for the U.S. title and Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns battled Daniel Bryan and Kane for the Tag Team Championship. Both matches were really good and great stepping stones for The Shield, while the outcomes were somewhat predictable the matches still retained a degree of excitement created by the near falls and high octane action – plus it’s really nice when the crowd are heavily invested in the match.
No DQ Elimination Match: The Shield vs. Evolution (Payback, 6/1/14)
The final outing for The Shield faction was their rematch vs. Evolution, and how appropriate for a group that made their debut in an incredible six-man match, what better way than to go out with another six-man tag? Well, that’s exactly what we got here – another brutal affair, with a dash of storytelling. In preparation for their individual singles runs, the match made The Shield look like legit stars; they fought against adversity and came back to win the bout with a clean shutout of the Evolution trio.
Lumberjack Match: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins (SummerSlam, 8/17/14)
The set then moves on to look at the Shield trio after Seth Rollins turned on Ambrose and Reigns, with the Money in the Bank Ladder Match and of course the SummerSlam matches — what would the “Journey to SummerSlam” be without a little coverage of the destination? Much like The Shield revived the six-man tag, they did exactly the same for the Lumberjack match on this particular night in LA – who truly expected a surprising, original, fast paced brawl under the Lumberjack gimmick – for that reason alone this match is historic.
Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton (SummerSlam, 8/17/14)
This match was put over as the biggest win of the career of Roman Reigns (at that point) and as singles superstar, it was hard to not agree. Reigns vs. Orton was a marquee match of the 27th annual SummerSlam event. To me that match feel a little short when comparing it to the Lumberjack match, however it was still an important win on the road to Roman Reigns as a WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Sure it might have been nice if WWE would have squeezed a few rarer television matches on the set rather than quite so many PPV matches, but all the matches selected more than warrant inclusion in order to tell the story of The Shield. Maybe down the road when we get individual Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose DVDs we can have a bunch of rare and forgotten Shield TV matches.
I is for… INNOVATION.
This DVD/Blu-ray set is the very first of its kind. The Destruction of The Shield will be the first time that a WWE Network original feature has been released on Home Video. Additionally, rightly or wrongly it looks like Network content will be made available as DVD projects down the road. We already have confirmed that “The Monday Night War, Vol. 1: Shots Fired” set will feature episodes from the WWE Network series, plus the upcoming Daniel Bryan set will feature his “Journey to WrestleMania” special (as we confirmed earlier this week).
For me personally, as a both a DVD collector and a Network subscriber, the only way in which these “Network DVDs” can be made viable is by adding value to them – such as: extended features, bonus matches, stories, outtakes, alternate commentaries etc. I feel that this “Network DVD” works because of the added value. Now, we are going to discuss the extras.
E is for… EXTRAS.
Following on from the point about innovation, the extras then became a big part of this DVD/Blu-ray set. Here on The Destruction of the Shield we don’t just have the extended documentary (which is a real plus for the set), nor do we have only the 22 bonus matches, but also each match has its own introduction by one of The Shield brethren.
Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns alternate (depending on their impact to said matches) to provide a unique story or memory for each of matches on the set. These segments add a really nice touch to the DVD, showing that WWE has gone that little bit further on the production – which is always nice to see. In total the combined length of all these extra interviews (including those on the Blu-ray) is just under 36 minutes with the average length of each being around 90 seconds. In addition to these we also have two deleted scenes, one discussing the rivalry between Dean Ambrose and William Regal in FCW and the other by Roman Reigns discussing his original name in FCW – Leakee.
L is for… LEGACY.
It’s likely no coincidence that this DVD/Blu-ray was timed to be released during WrestleMania season – especially as a third of the trio will more than likely be headlining the showcase of the immortals in just over six weeks (–yes we’re only 6 weeks from WRESTLEMANIA…. BABY!!!).
Although the Shield were only an onscreen faction for 19 months, I believe their impact and indeed legacy will be felt in WWE for many years to come. For the first time in what feels like forever WWE booked a faction where all the members were protected and thus WWE created three main event prospects.
Not only was their legacy felt in how they were booked, but also in the matches which they revived. For many years the six-man tag team match always felt like an afterthought and an almost lazy way to book angles together into a TV main event. Not since the days of the Freebirds vs. Von Erich rivalry in World Class Championship Wrestling has a six-man tag team match held as much prestige. This is no more than evident with the matches shown here on the DVD and the dozens… and dozens of other PPV and TV matches from The Shield’s run.
D is for… DVD.
While the WWE Network is really awesome and great to have, it’s still really nice to have that piece of physical media in your hand whether it is DVD or Blu-ray. The DVD/Blu-ray offers you the ability to just sit back and enjoy the very best of The Shield without having to hunt around (and you’d have to watch that TV-PG video over) on the Network. Additionally, as discussed you are getting many matches which aren’t actually on the Network (the FCW & NXT matches), bonus documentary footage and the introductory interview extras – all of which aren’t on the WWE Network …plus for us “collectors” it’s really nice to have another piece to add to the ol’ DVD shelf. 😉
In case you hadn’t already got it, if you add together: Story, Historic Matches, Innovation, Extras, Legacy and DVD – you end up with S.H.I.E.L.D. (See what we did there?)
On its own the documentary is one of the better ones WWE has put together, plus the slate of matches chosen compliment the documentary very well. A reservation some folks might just have in 2015 with the advent and availability of the Network is the fact that most of the documentary and many of the matches are readily available. However, as I discussed earlier, WWE has done a good job here of adding value to the set and for my money enough to be able to justify picking up the DVD/Blu-ray. The extended documentary is great, the lead in stories to the matches also add a nice touch and the coup de grace has to be the rare FCW and NXT matches. I personally have absolutely no reservations in recommending that you most definitely pickup this DVD/Blu-ray when it is released.
“Destruction of The Shield” will hit stores in the United States on Tuesday and will follow in early March for fans in the UK, Europe and Australia.