On television, The Shield’s much-anticipated reunion finally happened, but due to circumstances outside WWE’s control, was completely muffed. Immediately after reforming, Roman Reigns came down with the mumps (seriously). Now that he’s back, just last week, Dean Ambrose was put on the shelf with surgery to fix some nagging tricep issues — according to WWE, he could miss up to nine months. So while The Shield technically still exists, it is unfortunately on hold right now.
Which makes this issue of BOOM! Studios’ WWE all the more relevant. We’re at the point in the book where the three former Shield members are facing off in a triple threat match for the WWE Championship at Battleground, but much of this issue is a flashback to the original formation of the Hounds of Justice. The result is a nostalgic trip down memory lane, even if some of the pieces are definitely different than you remember.
As usual, writer Dennis Hopeless nails the little details, taking things that happened or appeared on WWE television and weaving them into a more intricate backstory than was ever shown on Raw or SmackDown. Anyone who’s seen any behind the scenes footage or interviews about the formation of The Shield will appreciate little nods to the stable’s real-life history, such as when Seth Rollins has to convince partners Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose that the Shield motif is the way to go as their foot in the door in WWE. Ambrose introduces the badass mouth guards/paintball masks that in real life The Shield used during their entrance at WrestleMania XXX.
Unfortunately, to get nit picky for a moment, some of the inaccuracies relating to WWE’s storied past that we’ve seen in the last couple issues creep their way in here. When we get to The Shield’s debut at the 2012 Survivor Series, everything is mostly as it happened. CM Punk is nowhere to be seen, but anyone could have predicted that. What’s strange is that Ryback, the man The Shield targeted in their debut invasion, is replaced with a generic create-a-wrestler who could pass as the lovechild of Roman Reigns and Tyler Reks. Roman later remarks that they "tore a top dude to pieces"…who the hell is he?!
Of course that’s not the point, however, and is just a minor detail. The overall story here is great, and going by just the comic book arc, adds some emotional anchor to the story that’s playing out. The Shield is, along with the rise of Daniel Bryan (a story I’d love to see this series tackle one day), easily the most impactful, long-lasting stories WWE has told in this decade, and one that will be talked about in documentaries and retrospectives for generations to come. It’s a joy to relive it in comic book form, especially with a writer as obviously passionate about the project as Dennis Hopeless and an artist as impressive as Serg Acuna.