(05/04) Evolution (Triple H, Bautista & Randy Orton) vs. the Shield (Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns)

Izod Center (East Rutherford, New Jersey)

The Shield and the newly reunited Evolution work a trios match at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view that is up there with the best six-man tags in the promotion’s recent history. That is of course heavy praise – and probably a bit divisive of a comment as well – given the seemingly never ending supply of quality six-man tags the Shield have produced during their nearly one and half year run in the WWE.

What set this match apart from other Shield six-man tags for me was the nearly flawless structure. The Shield came out hot and dominated the first several minutes with Evolution (although mainly Triple H) bumping all around the ring for them. I thought that element was missing from the February PPV Wyatt Family vs. Shield match. That match lacked a fired-up opening baby face segment and just sort of settled into a more mundane Shield control segment. This match started hotter and carried the momentum because of Triple H bumping all around the ring and the Shield bringing their high-octane offense to the table (with Rollins leading the charge).

Evolution eventually cuts them off and we are treated to a sustained control segment by the heels. All three members of Evolution were solid in their roles, tagging in and out whole running through their usual offense. These guys individually do not have the greatest control offense, but in a six-man the importance of that is far lessened with the ability to hit a couple of moves, tag out, and keep things constantly fresh, which they do to a tee.

The match breaks down as all Shield matches inevitably do. The Shield have this part of the match down to a science and this occasion was no different. They run through their usual high spots – the Reigns’ running kick (which was a punch this time), Superman punches, dives from Rollins, and Ambrose’s high-energy stuff. All six guys really laid the clotheslines in throughout this match as well, adding an additional element of violence and heat to the bout.

Breaking from the Shield routine just a bit, Orton, Triple H, Ambrose, and Rollins head into the crowd for some late-match brawling while Bautista and Reigns are laid out in the ring. I was skeptical when they headed over the barricade because my memory of Triple H and Orton crowd-brawling segments is not exactly positive. A lot of times there isn’t a noticeable game plan beyond “let’s hold each other as we walk through the fans” but this time there was a clear end result and high spot they were building to, with solid spots along the way to keep things moving. Triple takes a bump over the guardrail in the stands (which the cameras miss) and Ambrose tumbles down the steps to keep things moving. This all builds to a balcony dive from Rollins that – thanks in part to WWE production – felt like it came out of nowhere rather than the ECW/indie style balcony dive that is telegraphed and built to. The entire thing was really well done.

Back in the ring, Bautista and Orton come to. That is maybe my one qualm with this match – those two should have been given something else to do rather than lying prone in the ring for several minutes during the brawl. Ultimately it doesn’t matter much because the cameras rarely showed the ring during the brawl, but as soon as the camera cuts back I couldn’t help but reminded that they were lying prone for an awfully long time. Reigns spears Baustista and picks up the pin, with Big Dave taking his second PPV loss in as many months.

All-in-all, this was another excellent six-man tag in a year filled with them. It was also perhaps the finest Shield six-man during their run thanks to airtight structure and great execution.

Trios | Must Watch | Quality

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