If only because the WWE have got around to releasing a DVD/Blu Ray on an act that didn’t peak a decade ago, this new Shield set should be applauded. But is it worth your pounds and pennies?
The documentary portion has partially been available on the WWE Network, comprising as it does the “Road to SummerSlam” special that preceded the biggest event of the summer in 2014. It’s a curious mix of real life and kayfabe that purports to follow all three men on the road to what were then the biggest singles matches of their careers in the WWE, (a lumberjack match between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns’ bout against Randy Orton) via a look back at their history as a trio and what brought them to the WWE in the first place.
The segments on each man’s pre-WWE career are perhaps the highlights of the documentary. Ring of Honor and Combat Zone Wrestling clips are refreshing from the usually insular WWE and the range of talking heads, which includes RoH booker Gabe Sapolsky and Les Thatcher, are also a cut above the usual names and faces we see on every other WWE release. It doesn’t go into great depth, but you do get a sense of the long paths tat brought Rollins and Ambrose to the big dance. Of course the comparison to Reigns in that sense do him no favours, and everyone concerned seems to be at pains to point out how hard he has worked to make it, but the clips of him with his baby daughter show that he’s a human being like everyone else. And anyway, would any of his detractors have turned down the opportunity to bypass the indies and go straight into WWE Developmental?
There are candid comments from all concerned regarding their time in Florida Championship Wrestling and NXT, with Triple H adding gravitas as he talks about butting heads with Rollins in his time in NXT. As this is part-Kayfabe piece, Rollins boasts that he knew he was better than most of the main roster fit in with his heel character but although confidence in one’s abilities is by no means a bad thing both he and Ambrose come across as slightly conceited at times, even if often you realise that they have valid points.
Their WWE run is naturally a main focus of the documentary and it takes us through the many highs the trio had. That they were/are one of the WWE’s success stories of the past five years or so is without question and this shows you why. From there we get to the break-up, as Rollins turns on his friends. Again this is treated “in character” by the three men when interviewed which jars within the context of the “real-life” parts of the documentary. And that’s really the draw back of what is otherwise a very interesting look at all three men. The history of the three men’s journeys to the main stage is somewhat lessened by the kayfabe build up to SummerSlam. It’s as if the producers didn’t really know what they wanted the documentary to be. That said, there is more than enough interesting material to easily make this a thumbs up.
There are 18 accompanying matches, plus four Blu-Ray only exclusives, all of which are preceded by comments by Shield members. It’s fun to see the trio of Iron Man matches that Rollins and Ambrose had in FCW (although you will need the Blu-Ray to see the middle, 20 minute time limit one) and they are proof positive, if anyone should have needed it, that both were more than ready to step up to the main roster. A three way match between all three (with Reigns under his “Leakee” moniker – which he admits was a mis-step) is interesting if only to note that booking wise, Reigns always seemed to be the one considered to have the most upside. Ambrose’s match with William Regal (whose feud is referenced greatly in the main feature) is a great watch too before the pre-WWE matches finish with Rollins becoming the first ever NXT champion and Roman Reigns “debuting”.
There are extensive matches from their WWE run, starting from their official first match against Ryback and Team Hell No from TLC 2012. The absolute top picks are probably the Wyatt’s match from Elimination Chamber 2014 and their utter destruction of Evolution from Payback 2014. We also see them pick up their first WWE gold in matches from Extreme Rules 2013, the two SummerSlam matches the main feature builds up to before finishing with a couple of Raw encounters, including a riotous Falls Count Anywhere match between Ambrose and Rollins. The Blu-Ray adds Dean Ambrose versus The Undertaker from Smackdown and Roman Reigns trail of destruction in the 2014 Royal Rumble.
The documentary is interesting, but something of a missed opportunity given it’s flip-flopping from keeping kayfabe to offering genuine insights into all three men. What I cannot complain about are the extras. There is hardly a duff bout in the whole set and it’s particularly interesting to see the Florida Championship Wrestling matches which are, as of yet, not available on the Network. Although one would hope that this release is only the start of the Shield’s journey, it’s a fantastic look at the story so far. Highly recommended.
Thank you to our partners, WWEDVD.co.uk and Fetch.fm for providing our review copy of The Destruction of The Shield. The Destruction of The Shield is available DVD & Blu-Ray from Monday, March 9th 2014 in the UK. You can pre-order your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk now by clicking here.