A clean sweep.

Seth Rollins pinned Batista. Dean Ambrose pinned Randy Orton. Roman Reigns pinned Triple H.

WWE did right by three of their brightest up-and-coming stars at “WWE Payback” on Sunday night. It was a breath of fresh air that was more than welcome.

All logic pointed towards Evolution winning the ‘No Holds Barred’ Elimination match against The Shield, even though they had nothing to gain from such a victory. They lost their six-man tag team match at “WWE Extreme Rules” back on May 4 at the Izod Center, so it was almost safe to assume that they’d exact their revenge less than one month later at the following special event.

That’s how professional wrestling works, right? You split victories until the ultimate payoff where the hero or heroes triumph in the end. The Shield won the opener, so you’d figure Evolution would come right back and even the series at 1-1.

Nope. That didn’t happen at all.

The faction with a combined 31 World Championship reigns between them controlled the early portions of the bout, dividing and conquering all three Shield members through brute force, kendo stick shots and a massive powerbomb through the announce table. I don’t understand the booking behind the one side that dominated 85 percent of the match having all of its members lose in rapid succession, but maybe that’s why I’m on this side of the computer and not backstage at WWE events.

If you look at the Wrestling Rumors’ Staff Picks, you’ll notice that I went with Evolution and Triple H as the sole survivor. With a “WWE SummerSlam” match between the COO and Reigns as inevitable as the tides, I figured now would be as good a time as any to start planting the seeds towards such an encounter.


Perhaps Ambrose or Rollins would turn on their comrade, setting up a Shield split. Maybe Reigns would overcome 3-on-1 odds and defeat Evolution by himself. I expected Reigns to look like a million bucks at the end of the match and be the focal point of the main event.

He was, but Ambrose and Rollins got just as much time in the spotlight as he did.

WWE is completely aware that while Reigns may be the next “mega-star” for the company, there’s just as much money to be had in both Ambrose and Rollins as singles competitors as well. The last thing they can do is have Reigns overshadow his partners to the point where they become irrelevant, unimportant and afterthoughts.

Pinning both Orton and Batista in the main event of a pay-per-view will do the trick.


If The Shield weren’t “established” before the show began, they are now. No doubt about it.

To all of you readers who continue to crack jokes about Triple H and his knack for burying talent whenever he sees fit, you need to look back at what he’s done over the past few months and really start dissecting and analyzing your point of view. He got pinned cleanly in the opener of WrestleMania XXX against Daniel Bryan and he’s now lost two-straight Evolution vs. Shield matches.

Where’s the shovel? Where’s the internet memes?

Batista will now ride off into the sunset to do promotion for his Guardians of the Galaxy film. We may see him on “Monday Night Raw” later tonight, but he won’t be around for much longer if that’s the case. Major motion pictures don’t promote themselves. What happens with Orton remains to be seen. His stock is falling faster than WWE’s at the moment.

Too soon?

As for The Shield, their run as a group will be coming to an end sooner rather than later. A victory like this has set each of them up for far greater things on their own.

The Evolution vs. Shield saga is likely over. Now comes the real fun.


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