Why did The Shield break up in 2014?

The Shield, despite being considered as one of the greatest factions in WWE history, had a relatively short tenure together. They debuted at Survivor Series 2012, with Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins as members of the group.

In nearly 20 months together, The Shield went on to become one of the most popular groups in WWE history and produced three future world champions. They broke up on June 2nd, 2014 when Seth Rollins betrayed them and joined The Authority.

But behind the scenes, what was the actual reason for the breakup?

The Shield had just picked up back-to-back wins over a reunited Evolution (without Ric Flair) at Extreme Rules and Payback. WWE decided it was the perfect time to send The Shield their own way.

This meant establishing the three men as singles stars, with the focus given to Seth Rollins immediately and Roman Reigns in the long run. While Dean Ambrose wasn’t always pushed the same way as the other two, he reached World Championship success in mid-2016. Ambrose was a featured top star until he departed from WWE in 2019.

Interestingly, The Shield’s breakup didn’t go down too well at first with some of the main people involved.

In an interview on the Edge & Christian Podcast in 2019, Seth Rollins admitted that the decision for him to turn heel made no sense at the time and it almost caused him to walk out of WWE

“When they said it was gonna be me that pulled the trigger. I was almost like, ‘No, I’ve been a babyface in NXT — Ambrose is the heel. It’s not the other way around.’ It didn’t make any sense. I don’t know how to do this.” (H/T Givemesport)

In an interview with Huffington Post soon after the conclusion of his WWE run, Batista didn’t think that The Shield were ready to break up while praising Dean Ambrose as the most talented member of the group:

“I guess there comes a point where you have to send them their separate ways but – and it’s just my opinion – I don’t think they were ready. I don’t think they’re ready to fly solo. I realise where they’re going and that WWE will push Roman Reigns straight to the top. However for me, Dean Ambrose is by far the most talented in that group.”

Ultimately, the gamble paid off in the long run as WWE went on to establish the three men as World Championship caliber performers.

The Shield’s subsequent reunions and conclusion

Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose began a storyline in 2017. Seth had turned face the previous year and was trying to make amends with his former Shield brother. While he was consistently rejected by Dean Ambrose, it eventually culminated in a RAW Tag Team title win for both men at SummerSlam 2017.

The Shield were originally scheduled to reunite at TLC, but an illness forced Roman Reigns to pull out and he was replaced by Kurt Angle. The trio reunited when Reigns returned, but were put to a halt when Dean Ambrose suffered a tricep injury that would keep him out for most of 2018.

They had a run together briefly that year and it ended in late October 2018 when Roman Reigns vacated the Universal Championship after announcing his bout with leukemia. That very night on RAW, Dean Ambrose turned on Seth Rollins.

It was announced in January 2019 that Dean Ambrose wouldn’t be renewing his contract with WWE. The Shield had one last reunion before he left. Roman Reigns returned and wrestled together for the final time in a special called The Shield’s Final Chapter.

In Dean Ambrose’s last match in WWE, The Shield defeated Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley, and Drew McIntyre. He would go on to enjoy World Championship success in AEW, finding a career resurgence.

Both Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins would also completely break away from any kind of association with The Shield in subsequent years.

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