The next stages of The Shield's WWE career will include capturing the tag team titles.
Recently ousted as Paul Heyman-financed mercenaries, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins will eventually become part of WWE proper, no longer relegated to the fringes.
The story of The Shield helping to preserve CM Punk's title reign served as their point of entry into WWE. Now that those former NXT wrestlers are here, tag team gold could be next.
Pursuit of the tag titles is the easiest and most obvious way to keep The Shield relevant. It needs no inventive storyline, just the standard narrative of challenger and champion. It also allows them to quantify their dominance with something tangible.
The Shield did Heyman's dirty work. Now it's time for them to pursue their own goals.
They seem too unruly and unstable to stay under the control of Heyman or any other would-be mastermind. They're like a wolf pack you can coax and coerce, but only for so long.
It's too early for a single member to step out individually to seek a title. A tag team title run, especially if they invoke the Freebird Rule, keeps Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose in the spotlight.
Who better to end Team Hell No's title reign and possibly split that team up than The Shield? Kane and Daniel Bryan already have history with The Shield. Thanks to their match at TLC 2012, WWE knows that those teams can put on a great match together.
The Shield has been built up as merciless thugs.
Carrying the tag belts only adds to the motivation and the stakes associated with defeating them.
If Ryback and a partner of his choosing wins a match over The Shield, it can certainly tell a story of revenge. Having those men yank the tag belts from The Shield makes the victory that much sweeter.
Alternatively, a team like The Usos can be skyrocketed courtesy of the momentum of knocking off The Shield as champs.
Besides, it's tradition for stables to claim WWE gold during their peak.
The Nation of Domination had members D'Lo Brown and The Rock win the European and Intercontinental titles, respectively. Road Dogg and Billy Gunn won the tag team titles several times over for D-Generation X. Evolution won the tag team titles twice thanks to Ric Flair and Batista.
Even David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty of New Nexus won the tag titles once.
WWE brought in The Shield as a component of the Punk vs. Ryback storyline. Now it's time for The Shield to write their own story.
To show off the in-ring skills of Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose and to keep this gang's momentum going, The Shield's next target should be the WWE tag team titles.