Written By: Mark Armstrong
Running Time: 530 Minutes
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: July 9 2018
(Thanks to Fetch Publicity for arranging this review.)
The newest WWE DVD is a three-disc release on The Shield, the second in just over three years. Of course, this is designed to capitalise on the faction’s reunion in late 2017, as well as potentially helping to promote Dean Ambrose’s return from a long injury lay-off, which shouldn’t be too far away. That being said, I wasn’t sure if fans were calling for another Shield DVD at this point, and after checking this release out, my initial thoughts haven’t really changed.
One thing which does distinguish this from the previous Shield set (Destruction Of The Shield) is how each disc is dedicated to one specific member, despite the occasional crossover between the three men. Disc one focuses on Dean Ambrose, and as is the case for all three, nothing from the stable’s original run is included. Instead, the spotlight begins in 2015, and in Dean’s case, it starts with a hidden gem as he becomes the first man to answer what would be a hugely popular United States Championship Open Challenge for John Cena. Dean capturing his first Intercontinental Title in a cracking collision against Kevin Owens from TLC 2015 is followed by his challenge of the WWE Championship against Triple H from the Roadblock special held before WrestleMania 32, one of Dean’s best WWE efforts, even if it was slightly overrated at the time.
Moving on, Ambrose would have a career-making summer in 2016, as he would win the Money In The Bank Ladder match from that year’s MITB PPV (the next bout featured here), and he would cash in to become WWE Champion at the expense of Seth Rollins’ expense. This sets up the all-Shield three-way from Battleground 2016, which is a strong main event, though you still feel two years on that this should have been saved for a WrestleMania; imagine if this were the bout to headline, say, Mania 35. After he lost the WWE Title, Dean’s profile entered a bit of a slump, but he still found himself winning gold: his IC Title snatch from The Miz in a memorable SmackDown clash to kick off 2017 is next, and disc one closes with he and Seth defending the Raw Tag Team belts against The Bar from No Mercy, a match that stands out for Cesaro losing his front teeth in an extremely painful manner.
Disc two belongs to Seth Rollins, but let’s not forget that The Man has already had a DVD of his own (Building The Architect, which you can read a review of by clicking here). By not spotlighting his 2015, there is an attempt to avoid replicating content, which makes it odd that the first match on Seth’s disc is his MITB 2016 bout with Roman Reigns, which had been released on BTA. From there, we see his divisive WrestleMania 33 showdown against Triple H, before we get what is actually the only match on the whole DVD which sees the Hounds Of Justice in full regalia, as they battle The New Day at Survivor Series in a superb six-man war.
By early 2018, the reunion of The Shield had been curtailed, as had a short-lived partnership/rivalry between Rollins and Jason Jordan. Funnily enough, this lit a fire under the man who aims to Burn It Down every night, and he has been WWE’s best wrestler of the year so far. Two pieces of evidence close out the second disc: Seth’s contributions to the memorable Gauntlet bout from the February 19 Raw see him compete for over an hour against Reigns, John Cena and Elias, and the opening three-way against The Miz and Finn Balor from WrestleMania 34 opens the main card on a high note, and sees Rollins leave with his first IC crown.
The last disc is based on Roman Reigns (and how strange is it that The Big Dog still hasn’t had a full DVD of his own?). It opens with his first two WWE Title wins against Dean Ambrose and Sheamus from late 2015; in the latter case, fans (in Philadelphia, no less) go wild for Reigns winning the top prize, and even chanted “You deserve it!” during his post-match celebration. That is a reminder for the anti-Roman brigade that under the right circumstances, fans can and will accept Roman as a top babyface, even in a hardcore smark city (and this came one week after his Tater Tots promo which, along with the Sufferin’ Succotash line from earlier in the year, are still occasionally and unfairly used to bash the man, despite both clearly being scripted from him).
Reigns has been one of WWE’s most consistent in-ring performers during his run at the top of the company, but in part due to lacklustre crowd reactions and partly because of his opponents, the remaining matches here aren’t necessarily a snapshot of his best work. They are major matches against top stars, though: his WrestleMania main events against Triple H and The Undertaker are followed by his underrated No Mercy scrap with John Cena, all of which helped to position him as The Guy, despite the hostility that would accompany each result (especially the Mania 33 win over Taker). The DVD ends somewhat anticlimactically with his Greatest Royal Rumble battle inside a cage against Brock Lesnar, which does have a good finish, but leaves the Lesnar-Roman issue unresolved. The ideal conclusion to this set would have been Reigns dethroning Lesnar for the Universal crown at WrestleMania 34, had the result gone his way that night (and had Lesnar not bludgeoned Roman in said bout, which would have prevented this being a TV-PG DVD). I should mention that we get occasional comments from all three prior to certain bouts on this release.
Overall, I’m sort of leaning towards a slight thumbs-up for this DVD. The action is of a high standard throughout, and though it dips during disc three, that is more based on the selection of matches, because Roman has had great bouts against a large percentage of the roster over the last four years. My biggest issue remains: do we really need this DVD? Besides the entry from Greatest Royal Rumble, every PPV bout has obviously already been released, and though external factors cut short the Shield reunion, the fact that we only get one match from their revival (and only one Dean/Seth tag bout, which is even stranger) makes you wonder whether this was really necessary. I would have liked to see a few unreleased TV matches from their 2012-2014 run to pad things out and adhere more to the theme, but it wasn’t to be the case. It’s still worth checking out for the plethora of thrilling matches on offer, but I can’t say that this is on the highly recommended list.
Overall Rating: 7/10 – Respectable