Prior to the Shield making their debut in 2012, the original plans would have seen them assisting CM Punk. Eventually that plan changed, but it seems WWE initially did not even plan on debuting Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose at all.
CM Punk spoke on Renee Paquette’s Oral Sessions, where he revealed that WWE originally desired Big Show and Daniel Bryan to partner up and form a heel faction with Punk. He rejected the idea as the two Superstars were far too popular. Which is why he went with Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns in the end.
“They were like we want to have some guys with you to protect you so you can be a chickensh*t heel, I was like ‘great’ and he said ‘Daniel Bryan and Big Show’”
Punk also suggested that WWE use “guys that nobody has seen before instead of guys who have already had this on-screen history who, for better or for worse, had already been beat by everybody probably even me at that point.”
h/t to Ringside News for the transcription.