|photo courtesy: bleacherreport.com|
Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, The Shield, will do battle with Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper, the Wyatt Family, in a match that fans have eagerly anticipated since the two groups came to blows back on the November 11 episode of Raw.
The build to the match has been masterfully crafted as neither group has laid a hand on the other. Instead, the creative team has opted to build anticipation and excitement for the match via intense staredowns and outstanding promos.
Wyatt, in particular, has done some of the best work of his young career in pre-taped promos aired before or after The Shield's matches in recent weeks.
Given the amount of hype surrounding this match, the importance of its finish will be amplified. It can make or break the entire bout, not to mention the booking of everyone involved for weeks and months afterward.
With a few different options at its disposal, the creative team has the opportunity to be a bit choosy with which finishes it takes into consideration.
First and foremost...
The Wyatt Family must win.
With the seeds for a Bray Wyatt versus John Cena match at WrestleMania XXX planted at last month's Royal Rumble when Wyatt interfered in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between Cena and Randy Orton, it is imperative that the Wyatt Family gains momentum heading into the match.
A loss would set them back significantly and further create doubt that Wyatt has any real shot at defeating Cena at the biggest event of the year.
With that out of the way, here are a look at the best possible finishes for the match.
Wyatts win clean
A clean win for the Wyatt Family over The Shield would be huge for the cult-like trio. It would reestablish them as a threat to the entire WWE, especially following losses to Daniel Bryan and CM Punk to end 2013.
If Wyatt is destined to square off against Cena at WrestleMania, as was hinted at back at Royal Rumble, a clean pinfall victory over someone such as Roman Reigns, who has been booked so dominantly over the last five months, would give him every bit of momentum needed as he embarks on the road to the biggest show (and biggest match) of his blossoming career.
That finish is unlikely, however, because it would destroy everything creative has done to elevate Reigns to the level he is currently at.
Without him being part of the finish, it loses significant impact.
Shield dissension directly fuels Wyatt victory
Most expect that the mounting problems within The Shield will lead to the Wyatt Family's victory on February 23. How it does so remains the question.
One scenario sees the Wyatt Family capitalize on an inadvertent spear from Reigns to Ambrose or a betrayal by Ambrose to pick up the win.
While that would serve the purpose by giving the Wyatts the victory, it would do so in a backhanded fashion.
Rather than portraying the trio as competitors capable of winning the match on their own, they would look like guys who have to directly benefit from dysfunction among their opponents to capture a win.
It's not exactly how one would want one of the potentially more important elements of this year's WrestleMania to look heading into the big show.
Shield dissension indirectly fuels Wyatt victory
The best of the potential finishes for the big six-man tag bout still delivers the storyline aspects of the one prior but does so in a way that allows the victors to look stronger.
Rather than having the Wyatts score a win immediately following the Shield's actual split, this scenario sees the same sort of miscommunication spot between Reigns and Ambrose but does not set up the finish right away.
Instead, Seth Rollins attempts to get his teammates back on the same page before himself falling victim to Wyatt's Sister Abigail and eating the pinfall.
The Wyatt Family wins the match in impressive fashion, the tension between Ambrose and Reigns reaches a boiling point and Rollins, who had done everything in his power to be the glue that held the group together, now has a reason of his own to be fed up with the infighting.
It serves three different purposes without either of the impending feuds for WrestleMania suffering because of it.
That is the very definition of a successful booking decision.