Sure, it was an eventful Raw. Batista quit WWE again, Stephanie McMahon gave WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan an ultimatum again, Damien Sandow made us wonder whose corn flakes he peed in again.
But who cares? Let's talk about that ending.
At the height of their dominance, the Shield split up. And it was Seth Rollins, the last guy we expected, who drove in the wedge. Brutalizing both Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose with a chair before being embraced by Triple H and Randy Orton, Rollins appears to have joined Evolution in Batista's stead.
Let's get the most immediate, most obvious benefit out of the way: This was a shocker.
Like Brock Lesnar beating the Undertaker at WrestleMania, Rollins' betrayal came out of nowhere. And like the end of the streak, it said very clearly that nothing in WWE is sacred. That invigorates the company's TV product going forward because such moments have been few and far between for years. Fans are now that much less likely to rest easy, feeling they have it all figured out. (Well, except maybe when it comes to John Cena.)
At first I felt WWE could have drawn out the story, maybe with Triple H announcing a Shield member had defected and watching the trio implode from there. Sure, that might have made Rollins' turn easier to digest. But would we really want that? Do "Game of Thrones" fans really want to see every heartbreaking death coming? As someone who dropped my remote in dismay at the climax of Sunday's episode, I still say no.
The other big beneficiary of Rollins' turn, of course, is Rollins. He was the talk of the Internet last night, which he didn't get a whole lot of opportunities to be as a third of the Shield. And by ripping apart the group at its most beloved, at a point where everyone wanted more from them, he's instantly the hottest bad guy in WWE. (Maybe he and Triple H really do have something in common.)
Lacking Reigns' presence and Ambrose's intangibles, Rollins has been overlooked despite stealing the show in the ring. And because that's his biggest asset, he's also the most malleable of the three. Evolution Rollins could be entirely different from Shield Rollins. (The blonde hair would be a good place to start the makeover.)
Ambrose, for instance, despite being the most naturally heelish Shield member, just wouldn't have fit in with Orton and Triple H. And Reigns defecting wouldn't have benefited anyone. He's already presented as the Shield's alpha dog, so he'd have summarily destroyed Ambrose and Rollins, and then gone on to play out Batista's 2005 departure from the group. He doesn't need the rub to become a top guy in WWE, he just needs the ring skills.
Rollins is just the guy to bring them out. Obviously he and Reigns are friends, and now, the more experienced Rollins can impart his knowledge from the other side of the ring. Keep in the back of your mind, too, that Rollins is one of Bryan's best opponents. He also had a terrific singles match with Cena that didn't get enough praise. So now those matches are back on the table.
Yes, the end of the Shield as we know it is going to take time to stomach. But with the right explanation — the group's past tensions sprinkled generously with the Authority's money — as well as booking that helps all three guys, Rollins' betrayal can be the beginning of new heights for them all.