From the NAI Archive - June 2, 2015 - A Tale of Two Trios - Dissecting the Success of the Shield and the Failure of the (Wyatt) Family

It is a well-known fact that DC Matthews, and really the NAIborhood in general, loves the concept of a stable.  Travel back through the Twitter and article histories and you’ll see countless discussions about who should team with who, what the angle should be, etc.

Over the last few years, the concept of a “stable” has shifted.  Gone are the days of the Horsemen and the nWo.  In today’s WWE, you’ve got two types of stables.

The Authority: A group of individuals focused solely on the protection of their star, with some occasional dips into promoting their own “best for business” agenda.
A trio:  3 guys uniting for a single cause.  Not 4.  5 is right out.  It has to be 3.

While there have been many famous triads in wrestling history (New Day is, hopefully, turning some curious fans onto the success of the Fabulous Freebirds), this recent trend can be traced back to two major groups - The Shield and The Wyatt Family.  These two trios had countless battles, mainly against each other, and seemed to dominate pro wrestling for a brief period.

Yet, looking back on it, this is a tale of two trios.  While The Shield is lauded, praised and seems destined for Hall of Fame greatness, the Wyatts are mainly an example of “what might have been.”  Why is that?  Why did one trio succeed while the other faltered, when both seemed poised to take over the world?  As with any good question, there’s multiple answers here, so let’s take a look back and see what happened.


Both these groups had almost an identical amount of time as a stable, though some might make the argument (and I hope they’re right) that the Wyatts’ aren’t done wreaking familial havoc.

The Shield made their debut in November of 2012 and famously (and, oddly enough, on the exact day of this writing) broke up on June 2nd of 2014.  That’s a little over 18 months.

The Wyatt’s didn’t debut on WWE programming until July of 2013, though they lasted longer as a unit, going until their odd dissolution in December of 2014.  Again, just about a year and a half.

Despite the similarities, in objective hindsight, it appears that the Shield broke up at the exact right moment.  Nobody seemed to question their direction leading up to the split, and while people were excited for what it meant for the futures of Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns, it was still a very emotional split.

Not so for the Wyatts.  All 3 talents seemed to be languishing near the end of their run, and when they did “break up”, if we can even call it that, it seemed appropriate.  We were expecting Bray to become a mega-star, Harper to take over the mid-card and . . . Well, we weren’t sure what to do with Rowan, even if he did become a Rubik’s cube solving genius.

Obviously, time can’t be a deciding factor in this.  Let’s move on.


There was a while there, right before I got back into the wrestling world, where The Shield had a vice grip on the championship scene that harkens back to the days of the Horsemen, or to use a more recent reference, the Two Man Power Trip.  Ambrose wore the US title for just about an entire year - In fact, he’s the longest reigning United States title holder since the belt became a WWE product. (The longest reigning US champion was Lex Luger, and as someone who watched a lot of that title reign during my WCW PPV quest, let me tell you - it seemed a whole lot longer than 523 days.)

Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns only held the tag titles for 148 days, winning them on the same day Ambrose won the US title (quite the coronation for The Shield, no?).  So for just about 6 months, these guys ran the roost in WWE.

The Wyatts?  Again, not so much.  Erick Rowan and Luke Harper held the NXT Tag Team titles, which is lovely, I suppose, but neither them nor Bray Wyatt held any other titles during their Family run.  Well, I suppose Harper won the IC title right in the very last weeks of the Family, but that’s dodgy at best.

Hmm, we’re getting warmer here.  Let’s just cut to the chase, shall we?


It was obvious, wasn’t it?  The Shield was one of the best stables in history because they were booked like one of the best stables in history.   From the very beginning, the brothers had a pseudo-alliance with one CM Punk, one of the top guys in the company.  They took on some of WWE’s best talents and won, took on Evolution and won, then dominated the title scene.  Even their break-up was booked as one of the most dramatic moments in WWE history.  These guys were meant to be main eventers, which explains, crazily enough, why they all are.

The Wyatt’s never had those moments.  Sure, Bray had his main event feuds, but as we all seem to repeatedly lament, he never had the success we would hope he had.  Evidently, he is not someone WWE feels comfortable building around, and while I may vehemently disagree with them on that opinion, I have to grudgingly go along with their decision.  They have plenty of main event guys, so it makes some sense.

But what about Harper and Rowan?

I’m not sharing government secrets here, folks.  The tag team division has SUCKED over the last year +.  Sure, New Day and KiddAro are amazing, and we seem to be seeing a resurgence of the Prime Time Players, but how in the blue hell did Luke and Erick not win the tag team titles on MULTIPLE occasions over the last 18 months?  What was the point of feuding with the Usos for PPVs on end and LOSING each time?  These guys could have been, in some ways, the Road Warriors of the division, in all the ways The Ascension can’t.  They’re bigger, stronger and arguably more talented (especially “Hawk” Harper) than anybody else.  Nobody should have been able to touch these two.

Thankfully, because the break up wasn’t so prevalent, Rowan and Harper have been able to sidle back together without much of a fuss.  I’m all for the tag division continuing to grow, but these two need to be a major piece of the tandem puzzle.  If they don’t win the tag titles on this go-round, then I don’t know what to do any more. They’ll push my #PromotingPositivity to the breaking point if these guys don’t start running roughshod, and pronto.


What do YOU think?  Why did The Shield succeed while the Wyatts did not?  Be Heard.
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