LaBar: Who WWE should add to The Shield
One of the toughest creative aspects of professional wrestling is how to debut someone.
You can have the best character in the world, but the packaging, presentation and timing needs to align. Right now, WWE has an opening for what is an instant credibility position in a top storyline.
Seth Rollins left The Shield to join Evolution. Evolution has three members, and The Shield is down to two. It's clear this feud between the two factions is going to continue through the summer. This means The Shield needs a third guy to even the odds.
I've read social media all week as people discuss whether The Shield gets a third member, and who they would like it to be. WWE.com even had an article this weekend with six potential names that could fill the spot.
NXT Champion Adrian Neville, Big E, Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes, John Morrison and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan were the six names listed in the article. I think it would be fair to say none of these six are a remote possibility. None of them make sense, and WWE wouldn't spoil the shock of whoever will be the third man by putting it as a possibility in an article on the company website.
The third man needs to be someone never seen on the main roster. This is part of what worked for the original three members of The Shield. All three came from NXT. They had no past failed gimmicks, no matches or anything else on the main roster to be judged by.
NXT can be seen by more people now with the WWE Network, but for the most part the two are still treated as separate brands/companies. There is some crossover with main roster guys making appearances on NXT, but with separate storylines and titles.
The only guy who isn't in NXT who would be the perfect big surprise is CM Punk. Not just because it would be a major return given how he left, but there are a lot of little factors and pieces of history which make sense. I talk about these in the latest video for CineSport which you can view above.
Assuming it wouldn't be CM Punk, there is one guy who makes the perfect fit:
He is an NXT talent who is completely fresh to the main roster, but not without years of experience which would allow him to step into this major position with confidence.
The 30-year-old Pittsburgh native has been wrestling for more than a decade. For a while, he was on the same path as CM Punk; the two worked with each other on the independent scene and teamed together in a dark match loss for WWE in 2006.
Graves would fit the mold of replacing Rollins with his style in the ring, but isn't too similar that he would be labeled “Seth Rollins 2.0.”
The rumor is WWE has been planning Rollins to defect from The Shield to Evolution for about a month. Graves hasn't appeared on NXT television in the past month. He didn't even appear in the battle royal at the beginning of May, which you're always looking to fill the ring with as many bodies and credible characters as possible.
If Graves is planning to join The Shield, it would make total sense for him to be taken off NXT television. Having Graves disappear for weeks before making his main roster debut would give the shock value WWE wants.
Graves and Rollins also feuded with each other in NXT. However, I don't know if WWE would or should address this since it contradicts my earlier point about keeping separation between the two brands and their storylines.
A fresh face from NXT is what we need. Graves' character and personality would fit the third man role well.
Let's be happy Bo Dallas already made his main roster debut. Would hate to think about the possibility of Bo Dallas telling us to BO-Lieve in The Shield.