You’ve heard of The Shield – The three hounds of justice who turned up in their polo-necks, that they quickly traded in for black tactical gear, and wrought havoc upon a middling era of WWE. You’ve heard of how The Shield broke up, how Seth Rollins betrayed his brothers for a slice of the Authority’s pie and all three men went off and became the three biggest stars in the company. This isn’t either of those stories, The Shield – Justice For All is the story of how those three men found each other and became The Shield again. Told over three discs, one for Dean Ambrose, one for Seth Rollins and one for Roman Reigns, we get to see in each man’s words and actions, how they went from three disparate entities back to being the top team in WWE. But is it any good?
So, if you’ve bought a WWE DVD before, you probably know how this format works: there’ll be brief talking head/interview segments weaved in-between choice matches, tieing everything up together in one neat thematic package. For this first disc, as we focus on Dean Ambrose, there’s an interesting story told as it shows Dean’s progression from injured loner whose desire to team with anyone is broken by Seth’s betrayal through to learning again to trust and specifically, to trust Seth. Along the way, we get encounters with Triple H, Kevin Owens, of course, his Shield brethren. But this isn’t a disc about the in-ring action, what it really highlights is how good Ambrose is on the mic, especially when clearly without a script. The most compelling thing about Dean Ambrose is Dean Ambrose and he cooly and charismatically recaps not only the story but the development of the ‘Unstable’ character and how he tried to make himself unique, especially with the (mostly unacknowledged) seeming favouritism towards his two former stablemates. This is, matches aside, probably the most interesting of the three DVDs as while it doesn’t show us particularly anything new, it certainly does make me miss Dean even more. Get well and come back soon please, Dean.
Seth’s section is interestingly, considering he has possibly the most storied history of the three men, probably the lightest of interview segments but then that is because they’ve given up around half of it to the classic Gauntlet match from pre-Elimination Chamber 2018 where Rollins put on a record-breaking 1hr and 3minute long performance, the longest time anyone has spent in a single match on WWE TV. Equally, Seth’s story, especially of coming back from injury has been well-covered in multiple documentaries and specials produced for the Network and for DVD already so is possibly just the least in need for re-telling. That said, between the aforementioned Gauntlet match, The Shield vs The New Day from 2017’s Survivor Series and WrestleMania 34‘s Intercontinental Title Three-Way Dance between Rollins, Finn Balor and The Miz, it is possibly the highest quality disc in terms of in-ring action of the three. In many ways, this represents so far the members of the Shield well with Dean’s disc being the most accomplished storyteller and Seth’s being the strongest in-ring performer. If nothing else, this disc becomes worth it for that Gauntlet match, or at least the three-fifths of it presented. Especially as it seems unlikely that they’ll release a DVD of that one particular episode of RAW.
Then we come to Roman’s DVD which once again appropriately is the disc loaded with the most ‘big’ matches with WWE Championship matches, Universal Championship matches, WrestleMania main events with The Undertaker but it has neither the thrilling in-ring action of Seth Rollins’ disc nor the captivating storytelling of Ambrose’s. That said, there’s still a lot to enjoy here, especially some underrated ‘moments’ like Reigns vs Sheamus, a match that utilises one of WWE’s most consistent emergency trump cards to help get a positive reaction for Reigns – Vincent Kennedy McMahon. It does showcase what is unique about Reigns, he may not be as impressive on the mic or in the ring on a technical level as his brothers, but he does bring with him that same thing that John Cena had, that The Rock had, that Stone Cold, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan had, the ability to make whatever match he’s involved in feel like it’s more important simply because he’s in it. Overall, it’s not the strongest end to the trilogy but it certainly feels like the most apt.
Even with three discs and around nine hours of content here, this still doesn’t feel like the complete story of what went down here and to an extent, that’s a shame but really, considering how much we do get, it almost seems pedantic to complain about what we didn’t get considering how much we did. That said, beyond a few in-between match clips, there isn’t much we haven’t seen or heard here before. This is definitely one for Shield fans and a must for Shield completists and actually, even for the casual fan, this is a pretty thorough playlist of modern highlights for the three men. If you like The Shield, it’s definitely worth your hard-earned money. You can believe that.
WWE: The Shield – Justice For All Is Available on DVD now.