WWE – The Shield – Justice For All (Cert 15)
3 Discs DVD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 525 minutes approx.
In late 2017, the WWE’s latest attempt to get fan to cheer Roman Reigns was to reunite The Shield, the group with whom he debuted in 2012 alongside Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. Unfortunately, an injury to Ambrose saw The Shield reunion quickly derailed and the fans went back to booing Roman.
The WWE are still tenaciously trying to win those fans back hence this latest DVD release presented to us under the pretence of being a second retrospective of The Shield, only this time dedicating one disc to each member. The timeline is post-Shield, picking up where the previous Shield DVD set ended, so at least they are consistent with the narrative.
Ambrose is up first, talking to a camera he found on the floor (as you do) since the others aren’t there, and suggests they get on with it. This becomes a running gag throughout the presentation with the other two tucked away at the very end of their segments.
The interview takes place in what appears to an outdoor location so Ambrose is hidden behind a beanie and sunglasses and sporting a thick beard. He’s still out with his injury but should be back soon with reports that he has been training at the WWE Performance Centre so watch this space.
Dean briefly discusses the way The Shield rose up in the ranks in 2012 then to the premature break up in 2014 but this story begins with his feud with Kevin Owens then is challenge to John Cena’s US title on RAW in 2015. We look at what Dean considers his big “Wrestlemania match”, a title bout against Triple H at the 2016 Roadblock event then move on to his 2016 Money In The Bank ladder match victory.
His set closes with the long overdue Shield Triple Threat match from Battleground 2016 when Dean was WWE Champion and then a TV match as part of his never-ending feud over the IC Title against The Miz.
Seth Rollins is next, his interview being held inside a darkened studio suggesting either Ambrose couldn’t find the entrance or got the wrong address. Seth offers a brief look at his hunger to be a major player in WWE dating back to the FCW/NXT days then we are up and running with his big return from his ill-timed knee injury that prevented the Seth vs. Roman WWE Title match at Survivor Series 2015.
That match eventually took place at the same event Ambrose won the MITB briefcase so we all know how that turned out. Still booked as a heel Seth got all the cheers whilst then champ Roman didn’t, yet this was Dean’s night when he cashed in his briefcase on Seth, yielding the biggest pop of the night.
Next is Seth’s feud with Triple H that climaxed at Wrestlemania 33 followed swiftly by the eventual reunion with Ambrose after months of teases, which saw them become RAW Tag champions over The Bar, Sheamus and Cesaro. Rounding of Seth’s segment is his amazing 65-minute performance in the RAW gauntlet match against Roman, Cena and Elias and his IC title win at WM 34.
Disc three is all about the Big Dog. Roman comes across as a quietly spoken and humble guy in his interview but doesn’t really show any personality. He seems unfazed by his top guy position in WWE and the attendant negative reactions which he addresses in both a shoot and kayfabe manner.
He acknowledges the Philly crowd’s hostility when he won the 2015 Royal Rumble but then said they were on his side by the time he defeated Sheamus for the WWE title on RAW in December that year. However that might just be because the fans hated the idea of Sheamus as champion more than Roman as champ. In an exclusive post match clip, Reigns cuts a promo telling the fans their boos at the Rumble made him work harder to gain their acceptance, which was met with a mixed reaction.
That would be the last time Reigns receives a positive reaction in this set as every match post 2015 sees him booed out of the building, from his WM 32 match against Triple H (receiving his third obligatory verbal BJ here, per WWE doctrine), his “retiring” of the Undertaker at WM 33 and the “Wrestlemania Worthy” match against Cena (complete with flubbed RAW promo in the lead in package).
A cynical ploy to get fans onside, they show Cena praising Roman in an interview putting him over the future and legit top guy but given how fans also boo Cena, you can guess how that worked out.
This collection ends with the infamous cage match at the risibly titled Greatest Royal Rumble sausage fest from Saudi Arabia against Brock Lesnar with the deliberately botched finish they appear to have legit botched when Lesnar was declared the winner by hitting the ground first when Roman clearly landed first after a spear through the cage wall. A fitting metaphor to reflect the perpetual war between Vince and the fans over Roman’s push.
Whilst some of the matches are top quality the majority are PPV bouts already available on prior releases so the only fresh material per se are the featured TV matches. The sparse interviews are revealing but not frequent enough to justify this as a priority purchase, limiting its appeal to diehard Shield and/or fans of the three individuals only.
If you are hard of hearing like me you will find this release a little frustrating as all three men are softly spoken, with Ambrose being a bit of a garbler, and the lack of subtitles doesn’t help.
Justice For All won’t invite any nostalgia for The Shield by focusing on the post-split runs of the three members so quite why this title exists at this juncture, I’m not entirely sure. Wait for the next Shield retrospective in a few years time when Vince thinks Roman needs another popularity boost!
German Language Subtitles
Rating – ***
Man In Black