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The Shield def. CM Punk & The New Age Outlaws

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Many in the WWE Universe assumed the anti-authority (and anti-Authority) CM Punk was tempting fate when he teamed with Triple H’s former stablemates The New Age Outlaws to take on The Shield last week. Now, after Raw, he knows why. Despite a strong – if unsuccessful – show of solidarity among the unlikely allies on SmackDown last week, the DX veterans showed their true colors and left Punk to the mercy of The Hounds of Justice.

Initially, before the betrayal, it looked as though the three rebels’ campaign would amount to a win when the Outlaws – yep, they still got it – set the table for a fired-up Punk to seal the deal. Roman Reigns lived up to his heavy-artillery reputation by knocking Punk down a peg or two with an astonishing dropkick outside the ring, though the former WWE Champion battled through the numbers game to set up The Shield for defeat. When the war-torn Punk went for the tag, though, The Outlaws saddled up and abandoned The Straight Edge Superstar to a spear from Reigns that all but cut him in two.

Debbie Wiseman Jan 14, 2014

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The Shield def. CM Punk & The New Age Outlaws

Before Friday night’s massive main event commenced, Roman Reigns stood in the middle of the ring and declared himself “The New Best in the World” after he pinned CM Punk on Old School Raw. Coming to SmackDown for the first time in nearly 14 years, The New Age Outlaws teamed with The Second City Saint, hoping to humble Reigns and his black-clad cohorts.

But you know what they say about the best laid plans, and The Shield ultimately prevailed over the fan-favorites after Reigns drilled Billy Gunn with a devastating Spear, sending a bold-faced message to the WWE Universe that the black-clad trio is as strong as ever.

Debbie Wiseman Jan 12, 2014

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The Shield appeared on ‘Piper’s Pit’

As the WWE Universe knows, just when you think you know the answers, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper changes the questions. Even The Shield, despite their insistence otherwise, isn’t immune from Hot Rod’s mind games, as the WWE Hall of Famer stirred The Hounds of Justice into a froth by bringing up their recent string of losses to CM Punk on “Piper’s Pit”. Even Roman Reigns – the one Hound yet to fight Punk one-on-one – wasn’t in the mood to take Piper’s guff, and the WWE Hall of Famer’s line of questioning seemed to set him up for a very immediate beating. That is, until Punk himself – with The New Age Outlaws in tow – sprinted to Piper’s aid and sent The Shield scrambling.

Roman Reigns def. CM Punk

Believe this: There is, as it turns out, one member of The Shield who can defeat CM Punk, and his name is Roman Reigns. After weeks of torment at the hands of Punk, The Hounds of Justice’s resident Doberman backed up his group’s fierce rhetoric and feasted upon The Best in the World …  although the favor was certainly repaid at the end of the night.

Even with The New Age Outlaws backing him up at ringside, Punk was forced into an uphill battle by Reigns, who slowly wore him down over the course of the match. Reigns’ repeated targeting of Punk’s banged-up ribs kept The Second City Saint in neutral for a long time, though Punk found separation by countering Regins’ Superman punch with a kick to the head that brought  the match back to an even level. The two Superstars threw signature maneuvers back and forth until Ambrose provided a timely distraction and Reigns pounced with a spear that finally put Punk down for the win.

The Shield was hardly out of the woods yet, though, as none other than Jake “The Snake” Roberts made his way to the ring and – with an assist from Punk and The Outlaws – unleashed his trademark pet serpent all over a beaten Ambrose while Rollins & Reigns made their escape. Now that’s old-school.

Debbie Wiseman Jan 12, 2014

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In the first SmackDown of 2014, The Best in the World CM Punk and the high-octane Usos reigned supreme over a Shield trio who couldn’t seem to get on the same page. Plus, WWE Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes & Goldust withstood the formidable challenge of The Wyatt Family and Bray Wyatt himself delivered a creepy message about Daniel Bryan joining the fold.

At the opening of SmackDown, United States Champion Dean Ambrose addressed recent speculation about possible dissention in the ranks of The Hounds of Justice – informing CM Punk, in particular, that he couldn’t divide and conquer them. Roman Reigns added that there was no weak link to divide and Seth Rollins said that any setbacks they had were temporary, since in the end, they would do what they do best – come together and dominate.

Ambrose then joined the SmackDown announce team as his cohorts battled The Usos. However, when it looked as if Jimmy & Jey might close the door on their black-clad adversaries, Ambrose intervened – bringing an abrupt end to the match by disqualification.

The Shield’s post-match attack would be thwarted when The Straight Edge Superstar emerged to even the odds and helped to send the Hounds packing. SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero would then create a huge SmackDown main event showdown on the WWE App: Ambrose, Reigns & Rollins vs. Punk & the Samoan warriors!

CM Punk & The Usos def. The Shield

With an absence of teamwork and apparent communication problems between The Shield in the final moments of a huge SmackDown main event, The Usos helped CM Punk take down Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. This cleared the way for The Best in the World to overcome Dean Ambrose with the GTS for the victory.

Debbie Wiseman Jan 4, 2014

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The Shield confronted CM Punk

There’s something to be said for finishing a year off as strong as you started it. And for CM Punk, who began 2013 as WWE Champion with The Brahma Bull himself in his sights, nothing would do for a curtain call than calling out the biggest, baddest dogs in the yard: The Shield. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns – light years beyond the wild newcomers they were 12 months ago – were, of course, all too eager to take out the proverbial thorn in their collective paws. So much so, in fact, that the three Hounds of Justice nearly got into it with each other over who was the unit’s strongest link and therefore worthiest to face Punk. Thanks to a timely appearance by Raw GM Brad Maddox, though, The Shield’s tumult was quelled and Seth Rollins was selected as the lucky Superstar who would battle The Best in the World.

CM Punk def. Seth Rollins

The heightened expectation of being CM Punk’s handpicked opponent certainly didn’t slow Seth Rollins down in the former Tag Team Champion’s first one-on-one tilt against The Straight Edge Superstar. If anything, getting a crack at The Shield’s personal Kryptonite energized the wild man into one of his strongest efforts yet. And yet, even with bragging rights on the line, it wasn’t enough to stop the surging Punk from handing The Shield another humiliation.

Punk played fast and loose with Rollins while Ambrose and Reigns prowled the outside, improvising submission holds with the ropes as leverage and attempting a Go to Sleep only seconds into the contest. Rollins took control by throwing Punk into the turnbuckle, but his arms – to borrow a phrase – proved too short to box with God. Capitalizing on Ambrose’s distraction of the referee, Punk kicked out of Rollins’ strongest moves, sent the strategist flying into his fellow Shield-mates and finally reversed a springboard strike into a match-ending Go to Sleep.

Debbie Wiseman Jan 1, 2014