Cesaro and Sheamus defeated Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose to retain the Raw Tag Team Championships on Monday night in a move that should serve as a vehicle to break the Shield members up in the near future.
Sheamus initially drew a disqualification, which meant he and Cesaro still kept the tag titles even in defeat. However, Raw general manager Kurt Angle restarted the match and made it a no-disqualification bout.
Shortly thereafter, Samoa Joe interfered and attacked the challengers. Roman Reigns arrived to help his fellow Shield members, but Sheamus delivered a Brogue Kick to Ambrose, which allowed Cesaro to get the pin.
Sheamus wasted little time celebrating the win:
Rollins and Ambrose failed in their attempt to become tag champs for the second time together, which suggests there may not be long-term plans in place for them as a team.
Even though The Shield appears stronger than ever with Reigns holding the Intercontinental Championship, the upcoming road to WrestleMania could make it difficult to keep the group intact for much longer.
The prevailing thought for several months has been that Reigns is bound to face Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania, and if that is the case, then it would leave Rollins and Ambrose without their running mate.
There is no question that a Shield reunion came at the right time in terms of piquing fan interest and also because of the fact that WWE was entering a lull period on its pay-per-view calendar leading into the holidays.
Since Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose have developed into such huge stars individually, though, there is more value in allowing them to be singles competitors at WrestleMania than there is in putting them together.
Also, after beating The New Day at Survivor Series, there isn't another three-man team that stands out as a true threat to The Shield.
Although the argument could be made to allow Rollins and Ambrose to remain a tag team through WrestleMania, Raw is lacking in terms of tag team depth currently, and they've already faced Cesaro and Sheamus on multiple occasions.
At this point, the best use of Rollins and Ambrose at WrestleMania is a grudge match against each other, and Monday's result could go a long way toward making that happen.
The Royal Rumble is also quickly approaching, which will allow for some tension to develop between Rollins and Ambrose should one choose to eliminate the other.
That could set the stage for an explosive situation at the Raw-branded Elimination Chamber pay-per-view should Rollins and Ambrose face a team such as Cesaro and Sheamus, the returning Revival or perhaps even The Authors of Pain following a call-up from NXT.
Having Ambrose turn on Rollins in much the same way Rollins turned his back on The Shield a few years ago would be a huge moment, and it would represent the change in attitude Ambrose has needed for a long time.
Rollins and Ambrose have feuded in the past and had several great matches, but the dynamic would be different with Ambrose as the heel and Rollins as the face.
If given enough time on The Grandest Stage of Them All, Rollins and Ambrose have the potential to steal the show because of their chemistry and the history between them.
The Shield reunion has been a fun ride, and it still has a bit of steam left, but a Rollins vs. Ambrose rivalry building up to WrestleMania is well worth a second breakup of one of the most dominant stables in WWE history.
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