The Shield are considered one of the greatest factions in WWE history – but who is the best member in the group? The original trio became huge stars off the back of an explosive debut, attacking John Cena and Ryback to ruin the Survivor Series 2012 main event. Each man has gone on to become world champion, and briefly added two more surprising members into their ranks – albeit on a one-time basis.
In this article, we’ll look at all five men who have joined the Shield and rank them from best to worst. Let us know if you agree with our ranking down in the comments below.
Triple H joined The Shield for one night only when Roman Reigns was out of action due to illness. The current Universal Champion came down with mumps before TLC 2017 and was replaced by Kurt Angle in the first Shield match for three years (more on that later). That match went down fine and the company were happy to wait out a Reigns return to continue with the group.
However, after the TLC event, the trio was set for a WWE live event in Glasgow, Scotland. The show was marketed around seeing The Shield back in the UK for the first time since they broke up in 2014. With Kurt Angle not available to retain his place in the Shield, WWE provided a more than adequate replacement – Triple H.
The Game wrestled with the Shield once, dressing in full tactical gear to blend in with his new teammates. He had previously feuded with, and caused the break up of, The Shield in 2014, but was announced by Seth Rollins for joining them on a one-time basis. Little footage is available of the match so we can only rank him at the bottom of this list. This was also one of Triple H’s last matches.
For a one-night only event, Kurt Angle made the most about being the third man in The Shield.
Three years after the group disbanded when Seth Rollins laid a steel chair into the backs of his brothers, the trio finally rekindled their friendship and banded to together to face a common enemy – five random wrestlers. The trio reunited to take on the rag-tag quintet of Braun Strowman, The Miz, Kane, Cesaro and Sheamus. A real mish-mash of “why do these guys want to beat up The Shield?”.
However, it didn’t really matter because fans were just happy to see the OG trio back. Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns hadn’t teamed together since that fateful day in 2014 and it was finally time to reunite the legendary faction.
Then, disaster struck. The roster came down with a case of mumps, with Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt two of the biggest casualties. Wyatt’s match with Finn Balor was cancelled and Roman Reigns had to be removed from The Shield reunion. The whole pay per view had been built upon the big return for faction, so what to do.
Enter Kurt Angle. The WWE Hall of Famer had returned to the company earlier that year but had yet to step into the ring. He was due to wrestle his debut at Wrestlemania, teaming with Ronda Rousey against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, but decided to push his big return forward to TLC 2017 to placate the disappointed fans.
He performed well in the match, considering his body and the fact he hadn’t wrestled in a year. He did have the iconic moment where he stepped out into the crowd for the first time behind Rollins and Ambrose, a goofy smile on his face as he stood clad in Shield garb. It was a hilarious moment and enough to rank him above Triple H, even without taking the match into account.
Out of the Shield members in the WWE, it’s fair to say that Dean Ambrose has the weakest resume of the three. Despite being just as popular (even more so) than his two teammates, he was never given the same opportunities as Seth Rollins or Dean Ambrose.
At first, he was position as the leader of the Shield. In the early days, WWE made use of his mic skills to have him do the bulk of the promos for the group. Eventually, Rollins would take over as the leader before Reigns was positioned as head of the group, relegating Ambrose to the third man. He did hold the US Title during his time with the group but barely defended. It was an afterthought.
He rarely got a sustained push from Vince McMahon, winning only one WWE Championship and being relegated to the undercard, or even the pre-show at Wrestlemania, on multiple occasions. Due to he penchant for a cool one-liner, he was soon designated as “the comedy guy”. Whenever somebody needed something wacky doing, like spraying somebody with ketchup or mustard, or dressing up as The Mountie, he was your guy.
He eventually got tired of being creatively unfulfilled in the company and left in 2019. Dean Ambrose final match in the WWE was during a special show paying tribute to the legendary group, even though he was only paid $500 to appear at the show in his honour.
He now wrestles in AEW as Jon Moxley and is a three-time AEW Champion.
Many expected Seth Rollins to be the forgotten third member of the Shield, but they couldn’t have been more wrong.
He was the high-flyer of the group, which many thought would add a ceiling for him in WWE. Vince McMahon always preferred big men in the main events, with very few exceptions like Rey Mysterio and Jeff Hardy breaking the mould. Many thought he would be the babyface coming out of the split, with Ambrose seemingly poised to go crazy and break the group up himself.
However, it’s Rollins who turned heel and broke up The Shield. He joined up with Triple H’s Authority and soon won the Money in the Bank, cashing in on the main event of Wrestlemania to spoil Reigns star making moment. He also had multiple feuds with Reigns and Ambrose, seemingly having their numbers whenever they were placed in singles competition together.
He is a multi-time world champion, a former Royal Rumble winner and the second biggest star to come out of the group after Roman Reigns.
The Powerhouse of the Shield has to go down as the most successful member of the group. In the faction he was also the silent, brooding type, the one to take the hot tag, clean the ring and win the match with the spear.
Once leaving, he had a lot of time to sort himself out. For years, Roman Reigns was booed out of the building as fans did not want to see him as a solo act. They didn’t want a “Cena 2.0” on top again, which is what Vince McMahon wanted to book him as.
Despite this, he eventually drew the fans to his side and won multiple world titles. He since turned heel and now leads The Bloodline as the “Tribal Chief”, holding both the WWE and Universal Championships at the same time. He has held the Universal title for nearly three years in one of the most legendary reigns in history.