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!
No Casual Fan View this week, my gf has her dissertation in for next week and I’m not going near that due to sheer fear for my own personal safety. Her only comment was that wrestlers look sexier in jeans than in wrestling trunks after seeing Jericho. So there you go, your weekly dose of riveting insight!
Weekly Top Ten:
10: Alexa Bliss
The women’s division in NXT is constantly changing, and with Emma now back on the main roster and Eva Marie disappeared from both (at least for now), Alexa Bliss seems poised to take a key heel role going forward. She certainly stepped up her game this week, first by dropping her backup of Blake and Murphy to look like a more legitimate threat, and second by using chokes and generally being more brutal and douchy than usual.
9: Al Snow
Old man yells at clouds; the wrestling version. Snow has beef with how new guys are coming into the industry without getting the piss beaten out of them by bitter old jerks and he seeks to do something about it. This is a good enough angle to give to guys like Grado, but I’m not sure it’s something I want to see continue past that, still it was entertaining enough for this week.
8: Bobby Lashley
The Destroyer doesn’t need to earn a number one contenders shot, he just attacks the champ after a match and now will probably get a match for the title in the next couple of weeks. There is a general appeal in having Lashley come out and decimate people out of nowhere, but if played right I reckon he could have Brock Lesnar mystique, always could have really, and he is not there yet. Maybe going up against the champ is the right way to help build this, but so far Lashley’s career has been one long story about a guy who could have been so much more, but perhaps his own lack of focus has gotten in the way.
The new Knockouts champion managed to retain her title against a game Madison Rayne. I am still not completely sold on Jade as the KO champion, but it is nice to see someone new with the belt and there is always time for her to truly impress. Overall though I fear for the Knockouts division as while it has much of the same talent it had when it was thriving, the focus seems to be all wrong and it all looks like an even crappier version of the already flawed Divas Revolution of the WWE. For some reason TNA is completely lacking in focus and talent for the three divisions that made their name, and frankly at some point I imagine that it will come back to bite them on the arse.
6: Maria & Mike Bennett
The Miracle and his wife manager continue to make an Impact in TNA, both together and separately. Maria’s bid to be the leader of the Knockouts division is interesting, even if it is mostly pointless, and Bennett’s rivalry with EC3 seems to be just beginning and acts as a nice distraction for the former champion that doesn’t have people questioning why he is not going for the title right now. I mostly expect Bennett to get the losing end of this rivalry overall, but it might help make Bennett a legitimate main event player as the new landscape of TNA develops.
5: Baron Corbin
The Lone Wolf won three matches this week, so it looks like he is doing pretty well for himself since coming up from NXT. Corbin’s size and overall demeanour put him in good stead for Vince McMahon to actually get behind him in a big way compared to some of the other talent that have come up over the past couple of years.
Now while I don’t necessarily think that Corbin deserves such a big push next to someone like Tyler Breeze, it is good to see at least someone from NXT not have to scrape and claw and get lucky to finally get over on the main roster. Hopefully if he can do well it can perhaps lead to other guys getting an easier time of things once they make the transition, it’s just a shame that Dolph ZIggler always seems to be the one chosen to help these guys get over, like his time has already passed him by.
4: Matt Hardy Brand
I go back and forth on what to call the Matt Hardy collective who all work in unison to make sure that the former champ is still relevant on Impact television. This week I have gone with the ‘Brand’ and a big part of their success this week was Reby Sky coming in with a hammer to help Matt get one over on his brother. He managed to beat his more popular sibling in the main event tag match to decide the stipulation for their match next week over who gets to use the Hardy name.
Personally I really like the concept of two wrestlers fighting over a name or brand as those things really are important in wrestling today and with the Hardys it adds a new dimension to their rivalry that had not existed before. The only problem I have is with Matt Hardy thinking that an I Quit match is a good idea when it comes to his brother, even via kayfabe logic you have to know that a nut job like Jeff Hardy isn’t going to quit, he is second only to Cena in his douche-face, no-selling, I’m always on top even if I lose every match and I never give up attitude. This has disaster written all over it for Matt and the Hardy Brand, unless TNA pulls a shocker of course.
3: Maryse & Miz
I was confused by the double Miz TV this week, it really does seem like Smackdown only exists as filler that the WWE presume no one watches, so that when there is a match or a segment that someone watching backstage likes, they then insist that it is repeated on Raw. Then again it was just another excuse to see the devastating bombshell that is Maryse, so I’m all for it.
The French in her promos is a classic heel move to turn the crowd against her, and her seemingly sincere adoration of her husband makes the whole thing sickly and off-putting. The two work so well together that I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the only chance Miz has to get another shot at the World title. I’m not saying he is going to win the thing or anything, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw him across the ring from Roman Reigns in a few months at one of the minor PPVS. Don’t kid yourself when it comes to Roman this time, short of a miracle Vince is going to keep the title on his boy until the fans start to begrudgingly accept him as the standard bearer for the company, much like he did with Cena during the first few years…Depressing.
2: Kevin Owens
Something that isn’t depressing is the continued antics of Kevin Owens on WWE programming. The main hook of this, as especially seen in his Main Event match with Dolph ZIggler, is that he is now the Headlock Master, even if sometimes he is using a Rear Chinlock instead. Grabbing an opponent and slowing a match down is a classic heel move to antagonise the audience, but in the case of KO it is also combined with the entertaining banter that he usually chats and so it serves to both get him over and generate heat.
Owens is in an interesting place right now, I’d compare it to where Dean Ambrose was after the Shield broke up. This was when he was feuding with Seth Rollins and the two would occasionally get to have main event matches, even on PPV, when the title wasn’t on the line. Owens seems like a guy who is a main eventer on occasion when they need him, but overall he is still to be seen as just an upper-mid-card guy. It seems insanely hard to be a legitimate, and more importantly consistent, main eventer in the WWE these days, and for over the last decade really. Instead it seems like the WWE has ‘the guy’ and everyone else is just filler until they are the guy that works with the guy to help keep them over, despite not really needing to do so. Hopefully things will change at some point; a cast of important characters plays much better than a show based completely around one, at least to the modern day audience, especially in an environment where any character can disappear from our screens at any time, just look at Game of Thrones.
1: Chris Jericho
It may seem shocking for me to pick Jericho over Owens due to the general pattern on this chart, but it is hard to ignore the fact that Jericho had the same fun attention to heel details as Owens this week, with the added bonus of actually winning his match on Raw with Sami Zayn.
Jericho seems not long for the roster and is rumoured to be leaving in May. I hope that before he goes he lets Dean Ambrose get a good win over him at Payback so that he can build up a little more credit after losing to Lesnar in such unspectacular fashion. Apart from anything else Ambrose needs to occasionally win a match on PPV, and also, perhaps more importantly, not lose a match due to his own stupidity. So many times he will be in control, do something crazy, and then end up losing. He is like Charlie in Always Sunny trying to be the wild card, it is just a mess.
Despite what happened with Styles at Mania I still believe that Jericho is overall interested in putting younger talent over so you have to believe that he will be giving Dean a win at Payback. Then again the WWE loves to screw with the fans, especially now, and of course apparently Ambrose is so over that he doesn’t even need to win matches. I hate that mentality. If someone is that over then make them your champion and see how they do, don’t pick the guy before he is the guy and then make him deliver the same promo every week where he tells you that he is the guy and keep him protected because he is clearly not good enough to be the actual guy, just make the guy the guy who is clearly already the frickin’ guy, and that guy is clearly Dean Ambrose, you stupid idiots!
Rolling Chart – Week Fourteen
1st Place: Kevin Owens (101) (-)
2nd Place: Charlotte (65) (-)
3rd Place: Matt Hardy (61) (-)
4th Place: Chris Jericho (59) (-)
5th Place: The New Day (49) (-)
6th Place: The Wyatt Family (43) (-)
8th Place: The Dudley Boyz (42) (-)
7th Place: HHH (39) (-)
9th Place: Team BAD (23) (-)
10th Place: The Miz & Maryse (23) (New Entry)
That’s all for this week, I hope that this time next week we will not have had another of the same Roman Reigns promos where he says nothing but that same (already tired) catchphrase about being the guy that someone thinks is so clever and then repeats what his opponent says since he has nothing worth saying himself. On the other side of things before I go, how good is Shinsuke Nakamura huh? Sure his match with Zayn at Takeover was a great wrestling affair, but did you see his NXT debut with Tye Dillinger? It was incredibly entertaining! He made what should have been a simple squash match into a match really worth watching, obviously Dillinger is also responsible, as well as the people in the back, but Nakamura seems to bring it out of them, and I’m definitely interested in seeing if the same standards can be held up going forward, if so, bring him up to the main roster as soon as possible!
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: Bobby Lashley, Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens, Maryse, Matt Hardy