When, just two matches into disc one of this three disc set looking at the fortunes of The Shield post their first break up, Dean Ambrose proclaims to the world that he’s not a WrestleMania kind of guy your jaw does kind of drop.
WWE performers are supposed to be indoctrinated into the “WrestleMania is king” viewpoint from birth. And whilst Ambrose is making the point that he’s more about the “wrestling” than the “spectacle” (again, a strange point of view to have in the WWE) and is actually putting over his Roadblock 2016 match with Triple H, it does lead to a promise that the interview segments on this collection may be a cut above the norm.
Alas, they’re not quite. Conducted separately with all three men and in a strange kayfabe/shoot hybrid style they’re informative up to a point but offer little new.
Still, it’s the matches that are the main selling point of this collection and there are 18 of them featuring the trio.
The presentation is split so that each man gets a disc to himself. So no surprises with Dean Ambrose opening things up on disc 1 and Roman Reigns “headlining” on disc 3. All seven matches on the opening Ambrose disc are for some form of title. A US Championship match with John Cena from a March 2015 Raw is the standard Cena television affair, whilst the Intercontinental Championship match from TLC 2015 against Kevin Owens is a much crisper affair, albeit perhaps a notch down from pre-match expectations. The aforementioned Roadblock match with Triple H, from a show which Ambrose (in a good way) likens to an old WCW Clash of the Champions special doesn’t really get going for my money; it’s not awful by any means but even at the time there was a complete lack of suspense over a winner that hurts the action. Much better is the traditional stunt fest that is Money In The Bank, and Ambrose’s 2016 win. Featuring the usual insane stunts it’s a worthy entry into the MITB canon.
A Battleground 2016 Triple Threat over the WWE Championship between all three members of The Shield is another slight disappointment, and again the feelings that the match came too soon hurts it even now. Done correctly, there was surely great mileage in the first ever three way between the two headlining a WrestleMania; but that would have meant changing plans for the more important members of the WWE Roster (and despite what you may think about Reigns, other names clearly take precedent over him, never mind the other two, promotionally). Matches with The Miz over the Intercontinental Title from Smackdown and the “reluctant” reunion between Ambrose and Seth Rollins that led to their Tag Team title reign (with a match at No Mercy 2017 against The Bar showcasing this) show that it was a little downhill for Ambrose after his World Title run and before his injury. Perhaps Ambrose always remains destined to be in the shadows compared to his Shield team-mates. This disc won’t change anybody’s mind about that, but it offers up some good matches and a fair precis of his 2015-2017.
The Seth Rollins disc opts for less matches, but better quality ones. His Money In The Bank 2016 win over Roman Reigns is perhaps the weakest of the bouts but is still very good. Coming from a time when Rollins was only just back from his knee injury he was clearly working his way back into full swing. By the time we get to WrestleMania 33 and his Unsanctioned Match with WWE he’s clearly back to firing on all cylinders in a very good slice of the WrestleMania sports entertainment. The Shield reunion match with The New Day from Survivor Series 2017 was a highlight of a show packed with highlights, though how to take Rollins’ in his link saying that it was a good opportunity to put the promotion’s other standout trio in their place is open to question. The two 2018 matches that round off the disc are excellent. The famous Gauntlet match from Raw is an incredible effort from Rollins in particular and possibly the night that turned his 2018 around to a certain degree. And whilst an Intercontinental Match at WrestleMania 34 might be seen as a comedown, the triple threat match with The Miz and Finn Balor was the match of the night; nothing that followed it could, well, quite follow it.
Roman Reigns is the feature on disc three. Those of you who take the “Reigns in boring and over-pushed” line should probably look away now; though considering the amount of good-to-great matches he’s had over the past three years the line-up on here is a little underwhelming. The World Title tournament final between him and Dean Ambrose from Survivor Series 2015 is a good effort, but never quite gets going, whilst a spirited TV match against Sheamus from December of that year is decent but feels incongruous on a set like this. A pair of WrestleMania matches against Triple H (32) and The Undertaker (33) struggle to battle against fan apathy, though the obvious question of why anyone who seemingly hates the WWE and Reigns so much would spend hundreds of dollars to go to a show they know he will have one of THE prominent roles on springs to mind yet again. The No Mercy 2017 “Dream Match” with John Cena is anything but; rushed in execution in terms of build-up and making no difference to either man by the following Monday night. That the same could be said about the pedestrian Steel Cage match against Brock Lesnar from the Greatest Royal Rumble. It’s almost as if some wag has decided to extend the questionable booking of Reigns on WWE TV to questionable match choice on a DVD set.
Whilst relatively low on interesting interviews, the matches largely carry this entertaining set. The highlights are generally found on the Seth Rollins disc but there’s also enough elsewhere to carry this into thumbs up territory…even with the strange matches choices at times and especially on the Roman Reigns disc.
Format reviewed: DVD
Photos courtesy of Fetch and WWE.
Thank you to our partners, WWEDVD.co.uk and Fetch for providing our review copy of Shield – Justice for All, which is out on DVD 9 July 2018. You can buy your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk now by clicking here