They debuted on November 18, 2012, disrupting the Triple Threat main event for the WWE title at Survivor Series.  They powerbombed Ryback through the announce table, allowing CM Punk to pin John Cena and retain his WWE title.  They entered through the crowd, which was a trademark of the group, and wore all-black outfits with protective vests.

On the November 26 episode of Raw, they would announce themselves as the Shield-- made up of Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns-- and vowed to rally against what they felt to be an injustice.  While the stable denied that they were working for either CM Punk or his manager Paul Heyman, they would attack Punks adversaries on numerous occasions.  They went as far as to attack Randy Orton for attacking Brad Maddox-- the referee who helped Punk defeat Ryback during their Hell in a Cell match for the WWE title.

This led to their debut match at TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs in a TLC against Ryback and Team Hell No (Kane and Daniel Bryan).  The Shield came out victorious.

In early 2013, they would debut in NXT (though Rollins was the reigning NXT champion).  Rollins defended his title against Corey Graves, but, as Graves was about to win, Reigns and Ambrose attacked him to cause a disqualification-- Rollins retained the belt.  On the January 9 NXT episode (taped the same day as the episode that debuted the Shield), Rollins faced Big E Langston in a No Disqualification Match.  Thanks to the rest of the NXT roster holding off Reigns and Ambrose, Langston succeeded in winning the title from Rollins.

On the January 7 Raw, they once again aided Punk by attacking Ryback during TLC match for the WWE title, resulting in Punk retaining the belt.  On the Raw before the 2013 Royal Rumble, the Shield triple-powerbombed the Rock through the announce table, leading Vince McMahon to declare that any interference from the Shield would lead to Punk being stripped of his WWE Championship.  During Royal Rumble, a blackout occurred and the Rock was found slammed through the announce when the lights were turned back on.  Punk got the pin, but McMahon came out and restarted the match-- which allowed the Rock to win the belt.  Through video evidence, McMahon was able to prove that Heyman had hired both Maddox and the Shield to help Punk remain champion.

The Raw after Royal Rumble the faction would attack Cena and then Ryback and Sheamus who came out to help Cena.  After Maddox admitted he was the person to give McMahon the video evidence, the Shield attacked but escaped when Cena, Ryback, and Sheamus ran in to save Maddox.  The group claimed that actions were due to a "decade of injustice" caused by Cena creating an environment where no wrestler would face consequences for his actions, and whose mentality had spread to stars such as Ryback and Sheamus.  This set up a Six-Man Tag Team match at Elimination Chamber, which the Shield  won.

This led to Wrestlemania 29, where they challenged Orton and Sheamus to find a partner to face them.  Big Show volunteered, but Orton and Sheamus didn't trust him and chose Ryback instead.  However, when Mark Henry distracted Ryback that allowed the stable to attack him, Ryback was placed into a match with Henry.  Orton and Sheamus would accept Show as their partner, but their lack of trust led to a Shield victory at Wrestlemania 29.

Their undefeated streak as a team ended when they were disqualified in an Elimination match against Cena and Team Hell No.  After Kane and Bryan were disqualified, Cena pinned Rollins and Reigns was disqualified.  Ambrose would then be disqualified when he and Rollins attacked Cena.

At Extreme Rules, Ambrose defeated Kofi Kingston for the WWE United States Championship.  Later in the night, Reigns and Rollins defeated Team Hell No for WWE Tag Team Championship.  After several successful defenses of their titles, the Shield began to work for Chief Operating Officer Triple H.  They would aid WWE champ and "face of the WWE" Randy Orton against top contender, Daniel Bryan.  They would also attack Big Show and Dolph Ziggler for speaking out against The Authority.  At Night of Champions, all members of the Shield were successful in defending their titles.  At WWE Battleground, a fired Cody Rhodes and Goldust were able to beat Reigns and Rollins in a non-title match to regain their jobs with WWE.  On October 14 on Raw, the Rhodes brothers were successful in winning the tag titles from Reigns and Rollins in a No Disqualification match-- thanks to interference from Big Show.

The first signs of dissension began showing as Ambrose began boasting about being the only member with a title.  Ambrose began getting pinned during matches that including all members of the Shield.  At TLC, a spear aimed for Punk by Reigns landed on Ambrose and Punk won the Handicap match. By 2014, the Shield turned face and were getting serious push for great things.  Reigns eliminated more men in the history of Royal Rumble-- breaking Kane's record--  before being the last man eliminated by the winner Batista.

At Elimination Chamber, the faction defeated the Wyatt Family in a Six-man tag match.  At Wrestlemania XXX, they would face Authority members Kane and the New Age Outlaws, winning another big match.  This led to feud with the returning Evolution.  At Extreme Rules, the Shield defeated Evolution.  In the rematch at Payback, the match was a No Holds Barred match and the Shield prevailed again.

As they were celebrating the victory the following night, after Batista quit, Triple H announced he had a Plan B.  That plan was Rollins who attacked both Ambrose and Reigns with a chair, leading to the end of the Shield.  Ambrose continued as a singles competitor, hell bent on getting revenge on Rollins.  Reigns set his sights on the WWE World Heavyweight title, losing a Fatal-4-Way match against the defending champ Cena, Orton, and Kane-- Cena would retain the title.