For Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, known to the WWE Universe as The Shield, it's been a big 13 months. Since debuting in the WWE back in November of last year, they've looked like world-beaters, having great matches with some of the biggest names in wrestling and winning both the WWE Tag Team Championship and the United States Championship. It's made for a lot of compelling sports entertainment.
Monday night was another big night for the trio. Every year the WWE hands out awards called the Slammys. These are awards decided by the fans, and this year the fans loved The Shield. The final result was four awards, including one for best maneuver handed out to Reigns for his version of the spear. While the action in the ring may be scripted, the award itself was a surprise.
"The spear speaks for itself, but it's nice to be on the same page as the fans," says Reigns. "It was flattering."
When it comes to personality, each member of the Shield is his own man: Dean Ambrose carries himself like a slightly saner but no less creepy version of Heath Ledger's Joker; Seth Rollins is the trash-talking friend of every bully you've ever met; and Reigns is the mostly silent but completely terrifying monster of the group.
It makes for an interesting dynamic, one that's been missing in pro wrestling for a while: a faction where the members actually care about each other. Instead of working together to protect one person, as was the case with the Four Horsemen and Evolution, The Shield are more like three kings working together as equals with a common goal.
It's good for the fans, but it's also good for the members of the group. For Reigns, it's been a chance to learn from Ambrose and Rollins about how they think in the ring and why they do the moves they do when they do them. For Ambrose and Rollins, it's a chance to help turn someone's raw talent into something great.
"It's like they're watching a baby lion," Reigns says. "He has no experience, but he knows what to do. He's gonna live, and he's gonna be king."
Reigns is all about reaching his full potential as a WWE superstar, and not strictly for egocentric reasons. As a member of the Anoa'i family, he's related to some of the biggest names in wrestling history, including The Rock and Yokozuna.
"It's a responsibility; I'm from such a prestigious lineage," says Reigns. "Multiple WWE Hall of Famers are in my bloodline. It's one thing to reach par, but I'm trying to hit hole-in-ones every single night."
Sunday night at the Toyota Center is the latest chance for Reigns and the rest of the Shield to sink a hole-in-one and steal the show. Houston is hosting the Tables, Ladders, and Chairs pay-per-view, the first time a WWE PPV has taken place in the city since 2010, and the Shield find themselves in a three-on-one handicap match against the mega-popular CM Punk.
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"It's going to be a great show. Lots of possibilities for rage and riot to go down. It could get out of hand."
We ended our conversation where we started, with his spear. It's a brutally simply move, and in the last year he's ended plenty of matches with it. Still, there had to be someone he hasn't speared yet, and his answer is sure to warm the heart of anyone who has ever wanted to take a shot at his or her boss.
"Maybe [WWE Executive Vice President of Talent and Live Events and former WWE champion] Triple H," says Reigns after thinking it over for a moment. "That would be pretty cool."
WWE's Tables, Ladders, and Chairs takes place Sunday night at the Toyota Center. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.