The Shield is back. Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose have once again reunited and for many fans, this was a long time coming. From the moment that The Big Dog returned to WWE, the desire to see what would happen with Ambrose immediately became a top priority.
That’s due to the Lunatic Fringe’s heel turn in 2018 of course, which left The Hounds of Justice once again in disarray. Dean turned his back on Seth and it was a violent declaration of independence that left many disgusted with the entire situation. Dean betrayed his brothers on the same night that Roman left But Reigns is back and The Shield is once again on the hunt. So will this keep Dean from leaving the company?
Ambrose’s imminent departure has been weighing heavily over Monday Night Raw for quite some time. The fact that WWE was immediately forthright about Dean’s contract situation was unsettling, rather than refreshing. Fans are not accustomed to the company being that honest about any of the talent, so the move obviously set the rumor mills in motion.
Was it a work? WWE had never publicly announced someone’s decision to leave months before that person’s contract was set to expire. Some pro wrestling insiders believed that it was a prime example of WWE wanting to get out ahead of the story so they could control the narrative. It was less about wishing Dean well more than it was about devaluing him by revealing his actual status within the company.
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After all, why would AEW care about a guy that spent the last few months of his career losing on WWE TV? Isn’t that what was going to happen to Ambrose? Vince McMahon was making it known that there was no re-signing and by doing that, he essentially told the world that they were good with Dean’s decision to leave. Evidently, Ambrose didn’t have anything that WWE really wanted anymore.
But it was that bit of speculation alone that caused many fans to feel that something was indeed going on behind the scenes. There was rarely ever any negative buzz around Dean, if at all. He always seemed to be a stand-up guy that worked hard and did everything that was asked of him. How could WWE simply let go of a talent like that, especially considering how important he was to the company?
In the grand scheme of things, WWE didn’t really portray Ambrose as a Hall of Fame caliber performer. Yes, he was a workhorse and yes he was respected for it. But above that, Dean was a mid to upper card guy, not a main event powerhouse like Reigns. It could even be said that Ambrose wasn’t on Seth’s level either in terms of value, though that point continues to be heavily debated.
But despite how WWE viewed Dean Ambrose on an individual level, there was never any doubt as to the significance of his presence because of The Shield. Dean has a career defining pedigree thanks to his work with Roman and Seth. The trio came in on top and they remained there for the bulk of their run in WWE. The Shield was successful because of the chemistry between all three men, not just the potential star-power of Rollins and Reigns.
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Dean was an important piece of the puzzle and it would never have worked without him. He fit the group and more importantly, he found himself along the way. Dean’s identity within The Shield shaped him into the Superstar he would later become. But there is no denying that without his effort and indeed the effort of all three, The Shield would never have succeeded.
WWE surely recognizes that, just as they recognize how important it is it keep the group on the roster. The three men can work solo and do whatever the company needs, but when the time is right to reassemble, then that’s what happens. It would be impossible to do that if Dean Ambrose is no longer in the picture. So is something else happening that fans don’t know about?
The problem is, there’s really no way to know. Ambrose doesn’t do social media. He’s not online and if he ever is, he doesn’t say a word. He rarely ever gives interviews and most of the time, he’s only ever visible on WWE programming. His character is as protected as Bray Wyatt’s is and as The Undertaker’s used to be. But in Dean’s case, he just doesn’t care to connect.
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Dean Is not talking and neither is anyone else. The only word out of WWE right now is that Ambrose is moving on when his contract expires in late April. So perhaps nothing is going on behind the scenes. Maybe The Lunatic Fringe is truly on his way out and that’s how The Shield will finally end. But is that actually the case?
What are the chances that WWE has been directly dealing with Ambrose for months? Is there a possibility that this latest Shield reformation is happening in order to convince Dean to re-sign? Would another reunion even cause him to think twice about leaving at this point? Some fans believe that Dean should be a true main event star, just as his Shield brothers are. If he was, then there’s no way he would leave WWE. Right?
The fact is that WWE mishandled Dean from the moment he turned heel. His booking was atrocious and by the time Roman came back, there was nothing the company could do to salvage Dean’s villainous persona. It was a risk that did not pay off and now Ambrose wants out. While this situation is surely not that simplistic, it certainly seems that WWE could have fixed this a long time ago.
Is there a chance that it’s been fixed already and fans don’t know it yet? Or is this really the end for Dean Ambrose? Either way, The Shield is too important to WWE and the company has proven that on more than one occasion. This is not the first time that The Hounds of Justice came back together. Whether or not it will be the last, is anyone’s guess.
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Wrestling Rumors. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on iTunes,YouTube, iHeart Radio, boinkstudios.com and live every Friday at 12pm EST on Wrestling Rumors Facebook Live