In recent weeks, this image, featured below, has surfaced and is credited as being taken at a recent WWE House-Show event.
Reports and rumors are circulating, of course, but the current outlook for The Shield (which, by the way, has been very inconsistently planned and continuously changing throughout the past few months), seems to have once again changed.
Where as there seemed to be planning in the WWE that hinted towards The Shield splitting up and going in their separate directions, with Roman Reigns slated to be the “Big Superstar” to emerge from the three, now it looks as if The Shield’s split has once more been postponed, and they’re slated to, instead, stay together as a faction.
Not only that, but now it seems they’re being pitted towards teaming up with WWE’s favorite face, John “Super” Cena. Big news, right? Not exactly following with the continuity in the past, where Cena and others attempted to face-down and “destroy” The Shield… Now, what is arguably the most popular faction in WWE today, is slated to work together with their former rival and target, in what we can only assume will look like some sort of “rebellion” against The Authority angle.
But here’s my question for all of the Smarks out there; Is teaming with John Cena going to HELP The Shield get over as Faces? Or will Cena’s “Loved or Hated” persona just serve as a speed-bump on their road to “Baby Face” stardom? Let’s be honest about one thing: Love Cena or Hate Cena, the guy is a workhorse.
I, personally, don’t like Cena’s persona. I can’t stand it when he goes into full-blown “Yo Yo Yo, I think I’m Hood” mode, but as far as his Work-Ethic goes? As far as his self-conduct outside of the Ring, in Public goes? I have nothing but respect for John Cena. Say what you will about him, but the man works his ASS off, and has shown a dedication to the WWE that could rival even Vince McMahon’s dedication to it. He’s a hard worker, he’s a charity-supporter and he has granted more Make-A-Wish wishes than any other celebrity in history– A fact, by the way, that was pointed out and emphasized with great respect by The Ultimate Warrior, during his 2014 Hall of Fame induction speech!
But that doesn’t change the fact that John Cena is, in large part, despised by the “Mature Fans” of the WWE. Even Dave “Bootista” Bautista had said it in the past; “I can sort of see why anyone who isn’t a girl, or who’s over the age of 15 might hate you.” And this, in itself, has proven to be largely true. John Cena is one of incredibly-few Superstars who has frequently been “Boo’d out” of his own, Home Town when WWE has made appearances in Boston, MA., and while reactions for Cena are always at least partially “Mixed” reactions (Let’s Go, Cena!/Cena sucks!), he still, undeniably gets a bigger reaction in general than most any other Superstar on the Roster (with the recent exception of Daniel Bryan, of course.)
But what does this all mean for The Shield, who now seem geared into the position of working as Cena’s “allies” in the next few months? To be honest, as a Shield fan, myself, I don’t think it will really hurt them in any significant way. You may see some people griping that, “Oh wow. The Shield have been demoted to Cena’s bodyguards? Way to ruin the stable.”
But the the younger demographic, who like The Shield and like Cena, I think it will give The Shield a decent bolster for their merchandise sales. Ultimately, WWE’s goal is to try and endear Roman Reigns to the entire “Universe,” through all Demographics. It’s no secret, and has even been widely speculated that WWE’s hope is for the “Enforcer” of The Shield to one day be a possible replacement for Cena, once his WWE run has come to an end; with that in mind, it only makes sense that they would want to try and affiliate him as a “Hero” along side the current “Kid’s Hero” of the WWE.
But what about the rest of us? The “18 – 34” demographic? The “35 – 50” demographic? Well, that’s a little bit more “iffy,” isn’t it? I suppose it all depends on what the want to do with The Shield, and specifically, Reigns in the next coming year, and beyond… I for one can say that I don’t think they’ll try and pass Reigns off in another “gimmick” like Cena’s. (Though honestly I’ve never been sure how much of Cena’s behavior is a “gimmick,” and how much is just him truly being obnoxious.)
But for those of us who “hate” the “Super Cena” persona of John Cena, and are sick of WWE shoving him down our throats, mercilessly and relentlessly, what do we make of The Shield teaming with John Cena…?
Honestly, I can only say that it will depend largely on individual fans intelligence and tastes. While I dread the idea of seeing The Shield doing Cena’s “You can’t see me” gesture as some sort of “Photo-Op” moment for the fans, I can also understand what WWE’s trying to accomplish with this pairing of The Shield with John Cena. As explained above, they know that this is a necessary step towards getting them “Over” with the Younger Demographic, and in my opinion, we as “Smarks” need to realize what they’re doing with a certain “appreciation” for that fact.
While The Shield isn’t going to help Cena win over any new fans, that doesn’t mean that Cena can’t help The Shield win over new fans, though in truth, I think that it may be a bit of a “moot point,” at this stage in the game… Whether WWE wanted it to happen as soon as it did, or not, the fans decided months ago that they “Believe in The Shield,” and started to cheer for them more and more passionately, on a regular basis. It’s very much the same thing that’s now happening with The Wyatts.
They’re portrayed as “Villains,” to the best of WWE’s abilities, but The Fans have adamantly rallied behind them. And why is that? Several reasons, of course; not the least of which being that they’re EXCITING to watch!
They’re NEW! They’re CHARISMATIC! And they’re, in many ways, what the fans have been asking for, for years! A return to an “Attitude Era” feel of Wrestling. The era of wrestling where “Factions” ran the rosters, and “surprise beat-downs” or “faction wars” were featured as exciting, pivotal roles in the story lines that took place. This is, in part, why the “Nexus” Storyline was such a huge success in it’s own right, until the WWE decided to start assimilating them in with the rest of the roster.