We’ve all known The Shield’s split was coming. And yet it still took everyone by shock.

The final segment of “Monday Night Raw” less than 24 hours ago saw Seth Rollins, the unsung hero of the heroes, take the plunge towards the dark side. It was epic, it was eye-opening and it made an enormous statement about WWE’s stock in all three members of the now-former faction.

“RAW” began with Batista quitting the faction and leaving to promote his upcoming Guardians of the Galaxies film, leaving an obvious hole in Evolution. Triple H noted how there was a bigger picture that would eventually result in Batista getting his WWE World Heavyweight Championship rematch, a picture Batista saw none of. As Randy Orton would confirm later in the night, Triple H and him got on the same page with a new plan, as the COO put it, “Plan B.”

Enter Rollins.

Many don’t see the logic in Rollins, who 24 hours before had been part of a clean sweep of Evolution, with each member of The Shield picking up a pinfall, switching to the other side. The losing side.

The answer? Exactly what Triple H mentioned before. The bigger picture. The promise of gold, of main eventing, of superstardom. That’s why Rollins joined the bad guys. The COO has the power to make that stuff happen, and being in opposition to that would make no sense even in the most kayfabe of ways for a guy who is hungry for more.

This turn was a result of the implications brought on by The Shield’s sweep of Evolution at “Payback.” Creatively, The Shield had run its course. No matter how popular the entity was, there simply was nothing more to do with them. As heels, they worked with some of the most over babyfaces in the company, ranging from John Cena to CM Punk to Daniel Bryan to Sheamus. As faces, they battled one of the biggest heels of all-time in Triple H, and one of the most respected factions as a whole.

Oh, and they also had that massive program with Bray Wyatt and Co. So unless they were to work with Adam Rose’s bunny, what else more was there for the group to do?

The sweep at “Payback” cemented all three guys as main event players, and provided the perfect ice on the cake for the legacy of The Shield. It was one of the best three-man groups wrestling ever saw, and will go down in wrestling history as perhaps one of the most well-booked factions for debuting stars.

But that’s in the past now. Rollins has turned his back. Who will gain the most from it?

My thought? Everyone involved.

The first beneficiary, obviously, is Rollins himself. Some, including myself, would argue Rollins is best suited as a babyface due to his arsenal and personality. But perhaps maybe that’s why some tutelage would be favorable for him. Evolution is one of the greatest heel factions of all-time, which will bring him not just instant heat, but credibility as well.

With Rollins in fold, Evolution returns to what it was at its roots: The past, the present and the future. It gains credibility by getting one of the most exciting superstars in the company today. He will get to work with one of the best in-ring workers of his generation in Randy Orton, who will also pass on his fantastic ring psychology. Pair that with arguably the greatest heel of all-time in Triple H, and Rollins has a plethora of open books he’ll be able to read nightly. He was perhaps the least ready for a singles run of the three, and putting him with these two will only help prepare him further.

The most interesting part for Rollins is what it does potentially mean for his future accolades. Much like what happened with Orton 10 years ago, Rollins may find himself on the end of title pushes sooner rather than later, or at the very least, as a result of being paired with Evolution. Whether that be a mid-card title or something higher, just as the case was with Orton. Sometimes, a singles accolade can come off even greater when there is support from bigger names around them.

After all, it’s what Rollins was promised (in storyline) by joining Evolution. The bigger picture. And now he’s part of that. Eventually, he will turn face again and utilize his style. But for now, it will work.

The natural thought for many was Dean Ambrose would eventually be the one to break away from The Shield and be the heel. I’ve noted in the past I believe Ambrose has the psychology and natural talent to be a Ric Flair-style villain in the future. But he didn’t need the rub from joining Evolution for that very reason. Leave no doubt about it, WWE recognizes his natural abilities, and knows he will flourish on his own.

In fact, I’d feel good about putting money on Ambrose being his own character (more likely heel than face) within just months, with no association with Evolution.

Then there’s the big man. Monday’s turn by Rollins begin the unravelling that will lead to Roman Reign’s rise to the top of the WWE ladder. It will be a slow climb for him, but he will begin to exercise his talents more freely. For the meantime, he will likely have Ambrose beside him, which will be a nice change in pace as the tag team dynamic the audience has been acclimated to has been either Reigns/Rollins or Ambrose/Rollins.

But make no mistake about it: Triple H ordering the Rollins turn is the first step in working towards the singles program between him and Reigns. He infiltrated what was supposed to be an uncrackable shield. He turned his brother against him. That makes it personal. And that gives us story progress towards the inevitable clash between them.

Yet maybe those who benefit most from the turn are the fans. In all likelihood, this will lead to a tag match at “Money in the Bank” between the team of Rollins/Orton and Ambrose/Reigns. We may get a program between Rollins and Ambrose at some point, or at the very least, a match. And one of the last times they did that, it worked out pretty well. Maybe, if we’re lucky, we’ll even get the three men squaring off together.

So thank you, Seth Rollins. Because as Triple H said, “the night is always darkest before the dawn.” And thanks to what the high-flyer did on “RAW,” the dawn is coming.

Thoughts about this piece or the subject? Send them to Jon Alba on Twitter.


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