Welcome to the Heel Report, a weekly breakdown of the best heels in professional wrestling right now. Each week the heels will be ranked out of ten and then those numbers will go on to form the rolling chart that continues each week. This is a place to evaluate and praise the ‘baddies’ of wrestling in their efforts to make us boo them mercilessly so let’s show them some love and get on with the report!
The Casual Raw Review:
This week is only a couple of points because honestly not much happened on the show to be remarked upon.
The main take-away was that she is starting to see why I am such a big Kevin Owens fan, she thought he was funny, but also that she was happy for him to get beaten up because he is such a jerk…I’d say that was a job well done on the part of KO.
On the other hand she wasn’t happy to see Big Show attacked and actually felt sorry for him and liked it when he was able to fight off the Social Outcasts. I guess that is what happens when you aren’t used to and bored of the multiple turns of the World’s Most Emotionally Unstable Athlete, and Kane.
She took a ‘piss break’ during the divas match, although I think that was a timing thing and not a diss against her own gender, especially because she inquired where the divas match was when coming back. This is a constant question I get, even during NXT when they are half the matches that make up the card, women; always wanting more.
I have nothing to report about the end of Raw apart from that she thought Stroman was ugly and had a dumb name. It really was a weirdly nothing ending to Raw this week, especially so soon to Wrestlemania!
Weekly Top Ten:
10: The Decay
TNA made a slight step towards equality this week when they put Rosemary in a six-person tag match with Beer Money and Eddie Edwards, but there still is a long way to go before they reach the level of commitment that Lucha Underground has shown. Still it is good to see progress in a fake sport where anyone should really be able to beat anyone if they are booked right, now if only the WWE would get on board as well.
9: League of Nations
They may have lost twice this week but at least they are getting a good amount of TV time and their bond as a group continues to develop. I have a feeling that they will be walking out of Wrestlemania with the tag team titles and I for one am all for this. There could be some real heel potential in having a four-man group with the titles where every member is pretty different in style since it would be almost impossible for a standard two-man team to truly prepare for a match. As long as the WWE highlight this and keep them as a strong unit then they could actually find a nice place on the roster for the foreseeable future.
8: Bobby Lashley
While I am not the biggest Lashley fan, his last two weeks on Impact have been pretty decent in terms of the start of a new heel run. First he speared nearly half the roster and now he has decimated the TNA announce team, or at least one half of it. Maybe this will lead to a short program with the Pope before moving onto better things, either way I hope they keep him as a kick-ass heel as it was the role that the guy was born to play since he doesn’t seem to have the raw charisma to go down the face path just yet, a bit like another guy who could really use a heel turn in the near future…
7: Summer Rae
Each week Summer gets better in her matches on Superstars or Main Event, she especially makes a great foil for Natalya, and this week was no different. There was begging and hiding behind the ropes, as well as a little hair pulling and smack-talk. Sure the whole thing ended in a loss, but this woman manages to get a lot done in her matches and at least I end the whole thing entertained. It’s a shame that Summer doesn’t seem to be involved in Wrestlemania in any capacity, but there is certainly room for her to be shoe-horned into the token divas match that will no doubt be taking place.
6: Mike Bennett & Maria
The Miracle got himself involved in the main event of Impact this week and could possibly act as a good distraction for EC3 while Hardy battles Galloway for the title from here on out. The only problem with this is that, like with Galloway, both men involved are relatively new talent in TNA and still could use feuds with more established members of the roster. Sure EC3 is arguably the most successful young TNA talent to come into the company without any previous standing in another company, but I still wouldn’t like to see him lose a feud, and Bennett needs to be put over in a big way. This is weird to say but why aren’t there more established names in TNA to put these younger guys over? Is it because all the established guys have the sense to leave a sinking ship before it goes down? Bobby Roode and Eric Young certainly did.
5: Matt Hardy
While I don’t mean to condemn TNA before it has gone, it is telling that the company is in dire straits when they are putting on matches that have the standing of a big PPV match on weekly television. There have been so many title matches over the past few months that they really have started to lose all meaning, to the point where I almost feel bad for Galloway because his win barely felt like anything special despite it being such a big deal for the man himself.
Matt Hardy has been a fine heel champion and it seems strange to take the belt off him so quickly, then again you could level the same charges against Lucha Underground, but there it is more understandable because the man who beat him was his long-standing rival and he really had to struggle to get the belt. Admittedly this struggle could have been stretched over a whole season but stull there is more weight behind it, plus Lucha Underground never had PPVs to wait for, although in many ways neither does Impact now, so who knows what to think.
While this match was longer than their three-minute encounter the last time the Dirtiest Diva in the Game and Natalya faced off, it still didn’t get to even approach their match at Roadblock. Although like with many issues, this isn’t only a problem for women, but for every wrestler who competes on Raw. Honestly, I am not one of those people who are convinced that Raw shouldn’t be three hours, but I do believe that they should fill that extra hour up with quality wrestling.
The Female Flair once again saw off Natalya on Raw and had a nice, if insincere chat with her opponents at Wrestlemania on Smackdown. At this point I really can’t see Charlotte walking away with the title on the grandest stage, and by all accounts it is time for her and the belt to part ways. What I am hoping for, whether it be Banks or Becky who wins, is an exchange in titles for a belt more befitting the division, as well as a debut of a certain woman who loves to give hugs the next night on Raw. That would all be awesome, especially given Charlotte’s Horsewomen speech this week as someone was suspiciously absent from the conversation.
3: The Dudley Boys
Those damn Dudleys are starting to get vicious and it is working, however there is some sense that they are just screaming into the wind since they seem no nearer the tag team titles despite what looks like a multi-team tag match at Wrestlemania materialising. It somewhat aggravates me that there has been little to no talk about why such a match would be needed on the PPV, they could at least make it for the number one contendership for the titles.
Overall you have to wonder where the WWE’s priorities lie when conveying what to say to their commentators since very rarely do we the audience get informed about the greater landscape of the various divisions and what a win in any given match will mean going forward. Of course the main reason for this is that there is no real meaning most of the time and no real direction, but even so they could at least try to pretend that there is. It has been done that way before, plans started where the end is nowhere in sight, sure that doesn’t always work out too well, but it’s better than not even trying at all to make out like there is some goal in the matches they put on.
2: Chris Jericho
Y2J definitely got the best of Styles this week, distracting the Phenomenal One twice on both Smackdown and Raw to lose to Kevin Owens. At the same time the unimaginative revenge of AJ in trying to distract Jericho in the exact same way didn’t fool the wily veteran and he was still able to pull out the victory against his old dance partner Fandango.
I have a slight gripe over this whole ‘AJ Styles’ chant thing because it seems like a really forced way to get the crowd to cheer for him, and it doesn’t seem to be working. It reminds me of Fandango’s own brush with relative fame when the crowd was Fandangoing everywhere, the movement was organic and came out of nowhere and then the WWE tried to force it down our throats and the momentum swiftly went away. I’m really hoping that the same won’t be true with the support of Styles since he certainly deserves the spotlight. A cynical part of me thinks that Vince is doing it on purpose to try to shift the ‘forced down our throats’ moniker onto someone he sees as more expendable, I don’t think he understands how these things work anymore.
1: Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens will not be stopped on the road to KO-mania! There really is something to be said for the WWE not letting the guy lose unless they have to, even after several months. Owens is damn lucky to not have fallen victim to the fifty-fifty booking malaise that effects almost every performer that comes up from NXT looking to make a name for themselves.
There certainly is an argument for saying that it is a shame that he is now confirmed to be in a multi-man ladder match at Mania rather than a one-on-one affair, but personally I think that it is a great excuse to see him walk in as champ and walk out the same way, or otherwise without the belt, but without being pinned on the grand stage. I’m definitely rooting for a win at Mania and then a full feud with Zayn in the months that follow, after all everyone knows the best matches between mid-card rivals come at the PPV after Wrestlemania anyway.
As for this week, Owens earned his place at the top of the chart mostly by just relentlessly making fun of AJ Styles’ hair, as well as his usual shtick of insulting commentators and generally bad-mouthing everyone around him as he puts himself over. I liked the fake-out triple threat match angle, although it certainly felt a bit rushed, then again it is better than the ‘who stole the IC title now’ angle of last year that led to the multi-man match for the title. Part of me thinks they should just make the match an annual thing so that whoever gets the belt knows that it is coming. This could make for better booking in years to come, although it would probably make more sense if there was actually something to gain for the champion, like a world title shot or something, but then again that might be a little too close to Option C for the WWE’s liking.
Rolling Chart – Week Ten
1st Place: Kevin Owens (75) (-)
2nd Place: The New Day (49) (-)
3rd Place: Charlotte (45) (+1)
4th Place: Matt Hardy (42) (+1)
5th Place: The Wyatt Family (42) (-2)
6th Place: The Dudley Boyz (34) (+1)
7th Place: Chris Jericho (29) (+3)
8th Place: HHH (27) (-2)
9th Place: Team BAD (23) (-1)
10th Place: The Social Outcasts (21) (-1)
The Wright View
On the Rise:
AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens
Not only were these matches on Raw and Smackdown pretty decent outings for both men, with the right man winning, that being the current IC champion, but who honestly thought a few years ago that these two men would be facing off in a WWE ring?
If in 2013 you had said that we would see Styles vs. Steen in a WWE ring in a couple of years, people would have called you delusional, citing how both men would never be picked up by the company, let alone giving the opportunity to get past NXT and onto the main roster. It just goes to show that no matter how much archaic and chaotic thinking there is that goes on backstage there is still a change happening in the way that the company does business and at this point anything is possible.
This guy’s promos on Raw and Smackdown were just plain weird, he sounded almost bratty in his insistence that he would be doing everything on the Authority’s dime because he felt like it. Honestly it almost felt like a shot by Vince McMahon against his view of ‘Millennials’ and how we are all lazy, good-for-nothings who just sap the life out of those more successful than us, rather than taking charge of our lives ourselves. Whether that may or may not be true it was strange to hear that from Reigns and while I get that possibly in some ways it was meant to be cool, I just don’t think it is working, as per usual.
That’s all for this week. I was disappointed with Raw since it didn’t feel like we were less than two weeks away from Wrestlemania, and although most of the card has now been set it still all feels a little slap-dash and arbitrary. I’m sure the actual PPV will be a decent show but at this point it seems like the event is trading off of its name alone and not the promise of the culmination of a myriad of interspersed rivalries and storylines that have been building for the past year…then again it hasn’t been like that for a long time, if ever really, so maybe it is just wishful thinking. Either way, for now this is James Wright signing off.
Agree with the rankings? Disagree? Who was your favourite heel of the week? Whatever the case, leave comment down below and come back next week for another dose of heel-ly goodness and for now this is James Wright signing off.
Tags: Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens, Matt Hardy, Summer Rae, The Dudley Boyz