For the hundreds of thousands who have tired of John Cena's PG shtick, it's CM Punk that makes WWE television watchable, but he's hurt, tired, frustrated and out of action.
The Second City Saint will be out anywhere from one to three months, or maybe even longer, and the WWE are in need of a new top heel.
Injury and absence in the world of wrestling is bittersweet; it's a tremendous loss, but with that loss there is opportunity for someone new to make an impact.
Many huge stars got golden opportunities due to another person's absence—Christian for instance got a solid main event program because Edge's career abruptly ended.
Now WWE finds itself without a top heel, but that's where The Shield comes in.
Some would argue that as the new world heavyweight champion, it should be Dolph Ziggler who is elevated to No. 1 heel—at the very least it'd validate his Twitter handle.
For whatever reason though, the WWE have chosen The Hounds of Justice over The Show Off. While Ziggler is losing to Jack Swagger or using 1000 distractions to score a victory, The Shield are battling (and beating) The Undertaker.
With The Phenom working basically whenever he wants, it's hard to know how long their program will continue. However, just being placed opposite the legendary Undertaker immediately propels The Shield to the top heel hierarchy.
Yes, Ryback may be challenging Cena for the WWE championship, but even that rivalry is happening under the watchful eye of The Shield.
This is largely a good thing; Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns are three very talented fresh faces. The three of them complement each other very well; Reigns brings the power, Rollins has the speed and agility, and Ambrose has an enigmatic charisma.
The problem is that they aren't designed to be the focal point of the show, and if they are made to be it could hinder their potential.
The Shield is a faction that could last as late as Survivor Series; they should operate in the background and bring chaos to the WWE until the company is in shambles and can handle no more.
Such a program could culminate with various big stars forging a united front to disband the group of anarchists—it could be a huge draw and be everything the Nexus angle should have been.
However, should The Shield be thrust into the spotlight as they are now, their reign of justice could suffer a much less momentous end. They are heels in the PG era—if they're in the top spot they’re going to have to lose, and soon.
WWE was booking them cleverly before; they were put in matches infrequently and were able to come into and dissolve out of storylines easily. Elevating them into the top heel spot could do to them what Ryback's main event babyface push did to him last October.
This isn't a guarantee of course. It's possible that WWE can find a way to have Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns be top heels and not oversaturate or hotshot them.
With several huge wins under their belts, The Shield have already outdone The Nexus.
However, having them in the spot they've recently slid into is risking the very lucrative payoff at the end of the NXT trio's run as The Shield, and robbing the fans of what could be a landmark program.
With Ryback floundering, we can only hope that CM Punk returns to carry the torch before The Shield suffer a devastating loss.
Follow Daniel on Twitter @dvanboom
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