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For a company that most recognize from the climactic scene in the Oscar-nominated “The Wrestler,” Ring of Honor has developed a hardcore fanbase by cultivating a unique mat style and an impressive rolodex of in-ring talent. Bryan and Noble aren’t the only two competitors to come from the scrappy Pennsylvania-based organization. Since ROH’s inception in 2002, several of its stars have found their way to the WWE roster. Most have won major championship gold, and others are waiting in the wings down in Florida at NXT. Even one of NXT’s top trainers, Sara Amato, was a major star in Ring of Honor.

Over the past 10 years, as more and more Ring of Honor alumni have found their way to the broad spotlight of Raw and SmackDown, there has been a noticeable shift in the wrestling style and type of stars that have risen to the top of WWE. But how did one company that never even aired on basic cable change sports-entertainment? We spoke with many of the men responsible to find out.

*SETH ROLLINS – The Shield wasn’t Rollins’ first stable. He joined Ring of Honor in 2007 as a member of The Age of Fall, won the Tag Team Championships twice and held the World Title for seven months just before arriving in WWE.

WWE.COM: How did Ring of Honor start?

SETH ROLLINS: When Ring of Honor first started, I was a teenager. The Internet had just kind of blown up as far as online videos and stuff like that. They were my first exposure to indie wrestling and I fell in love with the athleticism. There were guys like Daniel Bryan, Low Ki, AJ Styles, The Amazing Red, these were guys who were doing stuff I had never seen anywhere in professional wrestling. It was blowing my mind.

WWE.COM: Were you trying to recreate ECW with Ring of Honor, or was it going to be its own thing?

ROLLINS: There were so many similarities. With Gabe running the ship, it was the same sort of vibe, clamoring for something new. But the cool thing about it was Gabe went in the complete opposite direction. ECW was blood and guts and craziness, but Ring of Honor was pure wrestling, respect, athleticism and a code of honor — and the fans were just as passionate about it. A spiritual successor to ECW is a perfect way to put it, because it had that same underground, guttural vibe to it that ECW did when it first started.

WWE.COM: How did you end up in Ring of Honor?

ROLLINS: I sought out their training facility and moved out to Pennsylvania, but I had no idea how much money I needed to live out there on my own [laughs]. I was like, “Oh jeez, I’m 18 and I don’t know what I’m doing.” So I had to go home. I just couldn’t do it. I did the tryout class and I passed. It was a grueling two-hour workout that I was put us through – hundreds of squats, sprints and mile-runs. They were trying to get us to puke and quit. It was pretty brutal. I remember it was the week of Sept. 11, 2004, and it was so hot. I thought I was going to die, but I got through it. [The trainer] said we had a lot of potential so that got me all fired up. Ring of Honor was the place I still aspired to work, because I idolized what was going on there. I had done MTV’s Wrestling Society X with Jimmy Jacobs. He told Ring of Honor founder Gabe Sapolsky about me and Gabe brought me to the Ring of Honor sister company in Florida [Full Impact Pro]. I wrestled Jay Briscoe in a singles match and Gabe took me outside and he said, “I love ya and I want to bring you in to Ring of Honor, so I want to offer you a three-year deal.” I was 21-years-old and as soon as he left I did the air-fist pump. I was just psyched out of my mind. Read the rest of this entry »

6 Man Tag Team Match

Big E and Dean Ambrose start off the match. Big E takes advantage and tags in Kofi. Kofi hits an arm drag and Ambrose tags in Rollins. Rollins gets taken down by Kofi and is thrown into the corner from a monkey flip. Rollins takes control and brings Kofi into his corner. Ambrose is tagged and beats down Kofi, and then tags in Reigns. Reigns does the same and tags in Rollins. Rollins puts Kofi in a headlock  and Kofi fights back. Rollins knocks him back down and tags in Ambrose. Ambrose hits a forearm to the face and brings him back into their corner. Rollins is tagged in and keeps up the offense. Rollins goes for a splash but misses. Kofi tags in Mysterio and Rey begins his comeback.

Rey is put on Rollins shoulders and Reigns makes the tag. Reigns clotheslines Rey off of Rollins shoulders and Rey is down as we head to commercial. We return with Reigns taking control over Mysterio. Reigns puts Mysterio in a headlock but Rey fights out. Rey gets taken down again and Ambrose is tagged in to keep the offense for the Shield going. Ambrose hits a clothesline and keeps Rey grounded away from his corner. Rey is put in a tree of woe but dodges a shoulder block and tags in Big E. Reigns is tagged in and Big E begins to clean house. Big E hits the splash and both Shield members break up the pin. Chaos ensues and Big E is taken down with a superman punch. Reigns sets up the spear and Ambrose tags himself in and hits the headlock driver for the 3 count.

After the match, Reigns and Ambrose argue but Rollins tells them to relax. The Wyatts hit the titantron and Bray begins to cut a promo. Bray says that The Shield keep moving forward, but it is to a moment where they will be taken down by the Wyatts. Luke Harper says that they haven’t realized that Bray Wyatt has always been their king. Rowan then says run and the camera cuts and goes to commercial.

The Shield response to Wyatt Family

The Shield are on the titantron. Dean says that everything the Bray says isn’t going to work on them. Seth Rollins says that what Bray thinks is all just a figment of his own imagination, and that none of what he says is real. Reigns then says to look around them, as its the Shields yard and play time is over at the Elimination Chamber. Bray screams to bring it

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Video:: The Shield’s response to Wyatt Family

They’ve never been stronger. There’s no dissension in the ranks, no confusion as to the nature of their mission. Everything is going according to plan. Reassurances like this are all the WWE Universe has heard from The Shield over the last few months. Even while the group seems to teeter on the edge of an internal blowup, even when Roman Reigns tosses his teammates in the Royal Rumble Match and even as Dean Ambrose touts himself as “The Baddest Man in The Shield,” the song has been the same: We are united.

For their sake, that had better be true, because at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, they’ll have to deal with The Wyatt Family.

The stories of WWE’s two three-man wrecking crews couldn’t be more opposite at this point. The Shield members, little more than a year removed from being ambitious, talented rookies, have each become stars in their own right. Ambrose is the longest-reigning titleholder in WWE, having clutched the U.S. Championship since last May. Rollins has made believers out of anyone who crosses his path. And Roman Reigns not only set a new Royal Rumble Match record for the most eliminations in a single melee, but he also came within a Hound’s hair of beating Batista to main event WrestleMania XXX.

With that success, though, comes the threat of inflating egos, and dissent — however quiet, and however much they’d deny it — has found its way into the Hounds’ doghouse. A miscue here, a minor spat there, and The Shield seems just a little bit more vulnerable than they’d care to admit. Even if they’re the odds-on favorite in every Six-Man Tag Team Match they enter, the men in black’s greatest threat has seemingly reared its head from within.

Which brings us to The Wyatts. Only on the scene six months, the depraved cultists have methodically massacred Superstars of all shapes and sizes. Kane was nearly sent to oblivion, Kofi Kingston destroyed, The Miz all but sacrificed and Daniel Bryan brutally dispatched after he dared to defy the Family by joining it (only to turn on them when the opportunity presented itself). Most recently, they cost John Cena the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, proving their ambitions know no bounds. There’s also no confusion as to the pecking order: Erick Rowan & Luke Harper act as a hive mind, marching under the orders of Bray Wyatt himself. No titles, no records to muddy the waters. There is Bray’s word, and everyone else is the enemy.

Now, the enemy is The Shield. The match was demanded by The Hounds of Justice after The Wyatts cost them a chance to compete for the WWE World Heavyweight Title inside the Elimination Chamber. The Wyatts likely see it as an opportunity to dismantle another dominant force. Given their record of late, it’s not out of the question.

The Shield, meanwhile, likely see it as the final piece of their plan: Take out the faction many in the WWE Universe predicted would cross their paths. Despite The Wyatts’ ascendancy, The Shield still, ostensibly, runs the roost in WWE. For the first time, they are the veterans, not the newcomers. Victory is within their grasp. All they have to do now is believe.

The Shield

Previous Rank: #2 || Current Rank: #2

Though questions swirled after Dean Ambrose’s Royal Rumble Match actions, The Shield seemingly got back on the same page with a dominant win Friday night on SmackDown. What’s more, the black-clad trio looks galvanized after The Wyatt Family’s Raw interference cost them a chance at qualifying for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber Match. With a match against Bray and his followers now imminent, will The Shield remain united?

In Ring Segment

We’ve got The Shield in the ring. Ambrose says he doesn’t apologize for trying to throw Reigns out of the Rumble. Reigns says he doesn’t either. Reigns and Ambrose go face to face before Rollins gets them back on track. Seth Rollins calls out the Wyatt Family and blames them for screwing them out of the elimination chamber. Rollisn compliments Ambrose and Reigns and tries keeping them together. Ambrose says that if they can’t get into the Chamber, they’ll wipe the Wyatt Family off the face of the earth. Vickie Guerrero comes out and is about to announce the match until Triple H interrupts. Triple H tells The Shield to let it go. Reigns gets face to face with Triple H. Reigns says that they’re not asking Hunter for the match. “Roman”‘ chant breaks out and Triple H gives them the match.

6man Tag Team Match

Sheamus and Rollins start us off. Reigns tags in nearly immediately. Reigns gets the best of Sheamus in the corner, slamming away. Sheamus fights back and slams Reigns to the ground. Soccer kick to the back of Reigns. Clothesline from Sheamus. Ambrose comes in and Sheamus clubs him in the chest ten times. Shield regroups as Sheamus does the Yes chant. He then tags in Bryan! Bryan and Rollins go at it and Bryan locks him in the surfboard stretch. Mysterio comes in and kicks Rollins in the head. Mysterio goes for a headscissors takedown, however Ambrose slams him on his face. Reigns in now and is beating down Mysterio. Rollins back in and locks in a chinlock on Rey. Rollins sits Rey, backwards on the ropes, and goes for a back suplex. Rey fights out. Mysterio with a huracanrana to Rollins. Daniel Bryan gets the tag and he goes off on Reigns. Huge dropkick followed by the repeated kicks to the chest of Reigns. Bryans holds the top rope down and Reigns goes flying over. Suicide dive onto Reigns, suicide dive onto Ambrose! Irish Curse to Rollins, however Reigns hits the superman punch to Sheamus. Bryan with a dropkick and the Yes Lock to Reigns but Ambrose breaks it up. Sheamus gets his elbow slammed into the post but hits the Brogue Kick to Ambrose. Mysterio gets the tag and jumps at Reigns off the ropes, hitting Reigns with a seated senton.

Mysterio sets up for the 619 and knocks Ambrose off the apron. Bryan dives with a flying knee to Rollins off the apron. Mysterio sets up for the 619 to Reigns again but Reigns catches him with the spear for the win!

cr: pwmania.com

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Video:: The Shield Segment
Video:: 6man Tag Team Match

Another set of candids from Royal Rumble 2014 has been added on our gallery. Thanks to our good friend JENNIFER for donating the photos. Enjoy!

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Gallery:: Home > Candids > Live Shows > 2014 > Royal Rumble 2014 (Jennifer)