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    Tuesday, November 21, 2017

    #ThemeSongTuesday: Believe in the Shield

    Sierra. Hotel. India. Echo. Lima. Delta. SHIELD.

    It's been five years since The Shield made their main roster debut and initially ran roughshod over the WWE. I don't need to recap what they've done in the time since. We all know how successful they've been both as a trio and as singles wrestlers. Now that they've reunited—for the time being, at least—it seems like as great a time as ever to bunker down and listen to the theme that established them as badasses in the WWE.

    Before WWE's music team remixed this song into this generation's equivalent of John Cena's theme—a.k.a. the theme that will most likely be played at the end of every pay-per-view—"Special Op" was a theme that instantly popped the crowd. It's one of Jim Johnston's last few themes before CFO$ officially took over as the guys who produced WWE entrance music. On a production level, it takes elements from radio signals and walkie-talkie communications to give it a battle-like feel—basically giving it the same texture via sound as the Shield's tactical gear does for them visually. You hear this the most in the opening hook where Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns spell out their team name.

    The song itself is midtempo, with very hard riffs coming together to give it an intimidating feel. The drums come hard, while the guitars are plucked with the same precision that the Shield would put into their assaults. This is exactly the type of song you'd imagine to hear when a pack of hounds surrounds its prey—or when a gang gets ready for an epic beatdown. The pace doesn't get too fast, but it doesn't sound like it's plodding either. It's just right.

    The reason I bring this up is to contrast "Special Ops" with its successor, "The Truth Reigns," which is Roman Reigns' solo theme.

    The remix that Reigns uses is essentially the same theme, with a few tweaks. Obviously The Shield's radio comms are gone. Then, the tempo is slowed down just a tiny bit relative to "Special Ops." It makes sense. Reigns walks with a more deliberate pace than The Shield ever did as a trio. Before Roman Reigns flubbed his promos with shit like "Sufferin' succotash, son!" he was the brooding man of few words among the trio, so this change made sense.

    Another difference is in the riffs and chords. A lot of the high notes were traded in for lower notes, while you hear more bass drums. Yes, the hi-hat and snare drums are still audible in the main loop, but the rest of the track is so bass-heavy compared to "Special Ops." There's also still a bit of plucking that goes on, though the guitarist doesn't shred in the interlude as much as he did in the original Shield theme.

    Overall, those are small changes that not a lot of people initially recognized, and for good reason. WWE wanted us to keep thinking of The Shield when we saw Roman Reigns, even though his character had evolved beyond that, as he should have. Hearing the remix was an awful reminder of The Shield's far-too-early breakup in 2014 and the fact that Roman didn't really get a chance to establish his own identity the way Seth and Dean did post-split.

    But now that The Shield are back together—at least until they break off into their own individual WrestleMania feuds early next year—we can enjoy the feeling of going nuts again when we hear the OG Shield theme. Now that I think about it, it's pretty fitting that they had their first major match as a reunited trio at the same PPV they debuted in five years ago. All these years later, we still believe in the Shield.

    Photo from Rolling Stone


    Stan Sy (@_StanSyis the Editor at Large of Smark Henry, and is also a radio DJ on Wave 89.1, an events host, a freelance writer, and one of the hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He also used to be one of the hosts and writers of The Wrestling Gods on FOX. He enjoys watching WWE, NXT, Lucha Underground, and the occasional New Japan match. You can also catch him every month attempting to keep order in a fancy suit as PWR's General Manager. You can ask him questions about wrestling, Survivor (yes, the reality show), or whatever you like on his Curiouscat account.
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    Item Reviewed: #ThemeSongTuesday: Believe in the Shield Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Stan Sy
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