Roman Reigns
Roman Reignscredit: wwe.com

Every so often, a legendary band reunites for its fans and that's exactly what's happened with The Shield in WWE. Everyone wanted to see The Hounds of Justice back together, and it was only a matter of time until they took the stage as a group again.

So far, though, this reunion tour has been less about The Shield's greatest hits and more about Roman Reigns' solo career. 

For fans of Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, this was surely not the anticipated result of The Shield's second run. This was supposed to be about all three men working together as they did before. They were at their strongest as a trio, and fans loved the idea of the three men coming back together.

This was supposed to be about The Shield taking care of business as they had done previously. This was supposed to be fun.

This is not the group fans remember, though. This is not Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns fighting for respect among their peers. That version of The Shield was given free rein over the roster and allowed to steamroll every Superstar they came into contact with.

That Shield was hungry and anxious to prove they not only belonged on the main roster but also deserved to be on top. They fought every match like it was their last and always left it all in the ring. They were the workhorses of WWE and earned every ounce of faith the company had in them.

Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns
Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reignscredit: wwe.com

The members of that Shield group wanted success and would not stop working until they achieved it.

However, this Shield is comprised of three former WWE champions. Each man has worked the main events of Raw, SmackDown and pay-per-view. All three are top guys and any of the trio could win the WWE or Universal Championship and the company could immediately build storylines around that titleholder.

The Superstars in this Shield group have done it all. They were successful without each other and have worked hard to keep that success. The only plausible reason for their run this time is to benefit The Big Dog.

This is about Reigns, not Rollins or Ambrose.

While Reigns' critics would love to point that out because of a hatred for him, the truth is WWE had no choice but to make this reunion happen. It's not that this is meant to hurt The Kingslayer or The Lunatic Fringe; this is more about helping the most hated babyface in WWE.

Reigns is the top babyface in Vince McMahon's company and there is evidently no changing that. WWE could have turned him years ago but that did not happen. Fans can believe he's an in-between character, capable of walking on either side of the fence. But that is not the reality of the situation.

The Shield reunites on Raw
The Shield reunites on Rawcredit: wwe.com

If Reigns was truly the man who didn't care about getting cheered or booed, then he would take every short cut he could to win a match. He would cheat during his matches and would lie in his promos. He would use his friends to get what he wants and would laugh at fans every time they called him on it.

However, none of that is happening. Reigns stands on two feet, fights with two hands and makes zero excuses when he loses. That is not what a heel does. So as long as WWE insists on booking him as a face, then every possible move will be made to get him over as a face. That includes putting him back with his extremely popular Shield brothers.

Understanding why WWE made this move does not make it any easier to swallow for fans. Reigns' haters surely saw this as a vehicle for The Big Dog, but there was also surely a hope it would work out for the best. The Shield was the most dominant faction in WWE history, and they were the three most popular protagonists toward the end of their run.

There was every reason to believe that was what The Shield fans were getting this time.

Of course, everything changes when Reigns is working within The Shield and WWE knew this. He may not be loved, but he is accepted. When he's on his own, though, it's a much different story and WWE knew that as well.

Fans may want to lay blame at Reigns' door for the way The Shield has been booked this time, but that distinction goes to WWE. If there's any reason to be upset, it's because of Rollins and Ambrose; they have stood still since The Hounds of Justice began hunting together again.

They're still in a prime spot so they're definitely not being buried. Their war with The Bar over the Raw Tag Team Championships has produced some Match of the Year candidates. It's obvious the company still believes in Rollins and Ambrose. Fans still pop for them.

Ambrose and Rollins do not have the tag belts, while Reigns is the Intercontinental champion. Success can't always be measured by championship gold, but this does go back to the notion The Shield is not the dominant faction it once was.

So what is the point of Rollins and Ambrose's association with Reigns right now unless it's to shine him up for the company? Reigns may never be the Hulk Hogan-level babyface WWE would surely love him to be, but he has likely swayed some fans to his side.

After all, how bad can Reigns be if he has The Shield glow about him?

Every time he watches the backs of his teammates, fans are reminded of how loyal Reigns is. Every time he fights alongside his Shield brothers, fans see how tough he is. How can anyone boo him when Rollins and Ambrose are standing on either side of him, bumping fists in the middle of the ring?

The purpose of this Shield faction cannot be denied and is vastly different than what it was before. This time the gimmick is background noise, used on the card when WWE needs it. The Shield is not about getting three hungry talents over this time; it's about bringing other stars along for the ride. 

Samoa Joe and The Bar laid out The Shield on the December 11 edition of Monday Night Raw. That never would have happened during The Shield's first run. For that matter, no one would have laid out any of the three at any time during the team's first run. 

But that's not so say this reunion was a waste of time; it's just not what it was before. The Shield now shines up heels as it does Reigns and there's nothing necessarily wrong with that. At some point, though, Rollins, the top guy, and Ambrose, the unpredictable loose cannon, will both break out.

WWE created three closers, three main event Superstars, and now two of them are playing backup to the lead of one guy.

The reunion tour continues, but it's not quite the same band it was before.

               

Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Bleacher Report. His podcast, Tom Clark's Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, iHeart Radio, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online at boinkstudios.com

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