In 2012, Leakee became a main eventer in singles competition, and he pinned Florida Heavyweight Champion Leo Kruger during a tag team match on the January 8 episode of FCW television. On the February 5 episode of FCW television, he defeated Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins in a triple threat match to become the number one contender to the FCW Florida Heavyweight Championship. He failed to win the championship when he lost to champion Kruger the following week. Leakee later won the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship with Mike Dalton, before dropping it to CJ Parker and Jason Jordan.
When WWE rebranded FCW as NXT Wrestling, Anoa'i, with the new ring name of Roman Reigns, made his WWE NXT debut on the October 31, 2012, episode, defeating CJ Parker.
The Shield then quietly ended their association with Punk while beginning a feud with John Cena, Ryback, and Sheamus that led to a six-man tag match on February 17 at Elimination Chamber, which The Shield won. The Shield had their first Raw match the following night, where they defeated Ryback, Sheamus, and Chris Jericho. Sheamus then formed an alliance with Randy Orton and Big Show to face The Shield at WrestleMania 29, but The Shield emerged victorious in their first WrestleMania match. The following night on Raw, The Shield attempted to attack The Undertaker but were stopped by Team Hell No. This set up a six-man tag team match on the April 22 episode of Raw, which The Shield won. On the May 13 episode of Raw, The Shield's undefeated streak in televised six-man tag team matches ended in a disqualification loss in an elimination match against Cena, Kane and Bryan.
On May 19 at Extreme Rules, Rollins and Reigns defeated Team Hell No in a tag team tornado match to win the WWE Tag Team Championship. They made their first televised title defense on the May 27 episode of Raw, defeating Team Hell No in a rematch. On the June 14 episode of SmackDown, The Shield's unpinned/unsubmitted streak in televised six-man tag team matches came to an end at the hands of Team Hell No and Randy Orton, when Daniel Bryan submitted Rollins. Rollins and Reigns defeated Bryan and Orton at Payback to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship. Further successful title defenses followed against The Usos on July 14 during the Money in the Bank pre-show and The Prime Time Players (Darren Young and Titus O'Neil) at Night of Champions. On the September 23 episode of Raw, Reigns was pinned for the first time while on the main roster courtesy of The Usos when The Shield participated in and lost an eleven-on-three handicap elimination match.
Reigns in November 2013.
In August, The Shield began working for chief operating officerTriple H and The Authority. At Battleground, a fired Cody RhodesandGoldust earned their jobs back by beating Rollins and Reigns in a non-title match. On the October 14 episode of Raw, Rollins and Reigns lost the WWE Tag Team Championship to Cody Rhodes and Goldust in a No Disqualification match, following interference from Big Show. At Hell in a Cell, Rollins and Reigns failed to regain the tag team title in a triple threat match. Tension began to appear within The Shield, especially between Reigns and Ambrose, as Ambrose was the only member left with a championship. At Survivor Series, Reigns was the sole survivor for his team in the traditional five-on-five elimination tag team match after eliminating four opponents. After losing to Punk in a handicap match at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, Reigns defeated Punk in a singles match after a distraction from Ambrose on January 6, 2014, making him the only member of The Shield to have beaten Punk. At the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, Reigns entered the Rumble match at #15, and set the record for most eliminations in a single Rumble with 12. He eliminated both his Shield teammates, and was the runner-up in the match after being eliminated by Batista. The next night on Raw, The Shield competed in a six-man tag team match against Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, and John Cena, with all three members of the winning team qualifying to enter in the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The Shield lost the match via disqualification after The Wyatt Family interfered and attacked Cena, Bryan, and Sheamus. The Shield wanted revenge and a six-man tag for The Shield against The Wyatt Family at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view was arranged, in which The Shield lost. Despite more tension, The Shield reconciled in March.
In March, The Shield began feuding with Kane, which turned all members of The Shield into faces (fan favorite characters) in the process. Over the next few weeks, The Shield continued exchanging assaults with Kane, who was joined by the New Age Outlaws, leading to a match between the two teams at WrestleMania XXX, which The Shield won. The feud with Kane also prompted The Shield to sever ties with Triple H, who reformed Evolution to counter them. The Shield defeated Evolution at both Extreme Rules and Payback. When Batista left Evolution in June, Triple H initiated his "Plan B"; this involved Rollins turning on The Shield and aligning himself with Triple H.
Ambrose and Reigns subsequently quietly disbanded, with both men using new entrance music. On the June 16 episode of Raw, Reigns goaded Vickie Guerrero into adding him to the battle royal to qualify for a spot in the Money in the Bank ladder match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Money in the Bank. Reigns would win the battle royal to qualify for the match at Money in the Bank, but failed to win the title as John Cena won the match. At Battleground, Reigns took place in the fatal four-way match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in which Cena won to retain the championship. The following night on Raw, Triple H was going to announce Randy Orton as the number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but Reigns would attack Orton, leading Triple H to change his mind and making Brock Lesnar the number one contender instead. On the 28 edition of Raw, Reigns was scheduled to have a match with Kane, but Orton attacked Reigns and RKO'd him through the announcing table after being told earlier by Triple H that Reigns had cost Orton his chance at the title, starting a feud between the two which led to a match at SummerSlam, where Reigns won. On the August 18 edition of Raw, the team of Reigns, Sheamus and Rob Van Dam won against the team of Ryback, Curtis Axel and Randy Orton.