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!
Weekly Top Ten:
10: Alberto Del Rio
This week was ridiculous for title changes and heel action and as such it was massively difficult to get onto the chart. Del Rio was prominently featured on both Raw and Smackdown, both teaming and feuding with Kevin Owens and yet he only managed to snatch up last place. Like last week I will emphasise quality heel antics over general career achievements so title winners won’t necessarily be placed higher than non-title winners, you have been warned!
9: The Tribunal
Wearing a jacket that says France and praising Donald Trump is pretty much the best way to get a crowd to hate you, both in America and England, so it’s no wonder Al Snow and his misfits ended up on the chart. The new team managed to get a win in their first PPV match, which is pretty good after having been let go from NXT, then again the same is true of EC3 so maybe we have a new eco-system in place. Instead of TNA taking selfish veterans from WWE now though, they are able to get (relatively) young hopefuls from NXT who don’t think they can do any better and give it their all, so hopefully this will work a lot better, just so long as TNA can keep itself afloat.
I’m still confused as to whether the Bromans are supposed to be a joke team or not since they have won the tag titles before and came damn close at Slammiversary once again. I don’t know if TNA even knows what they want from the team at this point. Either way it was a decent match that saw Decay come out on top after a few miscues that legitimately made it seem like their number was up already. With almost all the tag teams of TNA either deserting or injured it is hard to see who will take the titles away from the group now outside of an outside hire, we will just have to wait and see.
7: The Revival
While one tag team retained at a PPV, another became the first ever two time champs in NXT. There are two ways to look at this; either you see this team as the absolute best and their sheer quality demanded that they should be made champions for a second time when there are lots of other teams in NXT who haven’t had their shot with the belts yet. Or alternatively you could see it as a statement that they are not going up for the brand split but potentially American Alpha are since they are basically already a fully put together tag team. There was a nice amount of cheating mixed with technical wrestling in the match with the Alphas and they definitely earned the belts, it’s just curious that they should get them back so soon after losing them in the first place.
6: The Club
These guys rack up the points by being featured on two fronts both in the tag division and in the developing Cena-Styles rivalry. Things point towards Gallows and Anderson taking away the tag team titles from the New Day, but I’m not sure if Styles will be so lucky at Money in the Bank. I know that usually in these rivalries the new guy gets the first win but then loses the next two because you know, you wouldn’t want them to get too big for their boots, but this time it feels different. This different feeling probably is due to the open talk about AJ being an independent guy and his general insistence that he is better than Cena. Right now that is all talk, but if he were to actually beat Cena then surely that would add a lot more to the idea that this is true and I can’t see the WWE ever actually letting that happen. Poor AJ Styles, it looks like he won’t be ‘the guy’ for at least a little while longer.
5: Samoa Joe
NXT doesn’t really have the same problems with insecurity that the WWE do and hence whereas one former TNA star can’t even win a match against their top guys, in NXT another is retaining the main title in a cage match on a network special.
Now sure Finn Balor isn’t exactly a WWE guy, but when someone makes their name in Japan and Europe and then comes to WWE/NXT it is a vastly different thing from a guy with a long history in ROH or TNA, where a general American audience might have come across them already. The WWE is making leaps and bounds in terms of actually acknowledging history and outside companies (seriously hearing Cena say the words Ring of Honor was beyond surreal), but there is still a stigma that exists for coming in this way, even though obviously it should be a help to get in guys who are trained in performing on TV for an American audience. Luckily we have NXT, where the people in charge are smart enough to know that it is about catering to the loyal fans who buy the tickets rather than to casuals who might occasionally show up. Fuck everyone who subscribes to the whole “if you are loyal you will pay anyway philosophy”, it is short-term thinking, self-justifying bullshit.
4: Bobby Lashley
While one beast was able to retain their title relatively clean, another won the world title of their respective brand in similar dominating fashion. It was a brutal match between him and Drew Galloway and TNA made it feel like a legitimate big fight, which must have been hard considering all the disarray that looks like it has been happening with the company lately.
For the longest time I have been impressed by Lashley’s look but felt like he lacked a little in the charisma department. While I still have some reservations over his ability to act as a long term champion I will say that his charismatic heel side came out at the PPV and he was channelling something of the Rock while he messed with JB in their interview. Even with these reservations I am glad that TNA went through with what they had been building towards since in the past they have often favoured swerves rather than coherent storytelling, perhaps most memorably in the Storm-Roode feud that arguably derailed the Cowboy’s career permanently after that. While the story here seems to have been that Drew Galloway had no chance against Lashley and that he is the best guy in the company despite having somewhat split loyalties (a lot like Brock Lesnar), at least now that it has been paid off properly we can move onto something else.
3: Eli Drake
Wow, this guy knows how to squeeze the most out of every opportunity and minute of air time huh? The King of the Mountain title has forever been an afterthought and yet this guy has already started to make it mean something just by being entertaining enough to actually pay attention to.
The whole “Dummy” thing has already caught on in a big way and he has taken to it well since he knows how to say it in exactly the right tone. Seriously whether pushing the button or not he repeats the phrase in a very certain way and it makes it a lot easier for others to imitate, as could be heard with the Slammiversary crowd. I’m definitely glad that Drake was able to hold onto his newly won title, the only question now is who will take the place of Bram for the guy who is going to try to go up against him.
2: Kevin Owens
So many betrayals it is hard to go through everything. I will streamline things to say that Kevin Owens trying to mess with Del Rio was great and that he is consistently the best thing in wrestling today and the more time he is given the better. This sheer amount of time already given is what enabled him to get this far up the chart on this busy a week, I especially like his sarcastic applauding of everything.
1: Maria & Co.
I had a lot of trouble when trying to divide up the points between Maria, her assistant and Sienna, so in the end I just put them all together and they ended up topping the chart. Factor in all of Maria’s scheming, Sienna’s KO title win and the assistant’s shrill voice and you have a winning combination.
I like the way that in this group there is one true wrestler being showcased and the other two are just side pieces in matches to act as entertainment and distraction. It means that there is much more going on and that the blonde can be used as a shield, if an ineffective one, while the other non-wrestler is made to be chased, their opponent often being blocked by the other less skilled wrestler of the group.
These three took the top spot while Bennett himself didn’t do much to earn his way onto the chart. Since TNA still hasn’t given this grouping a name or frank definition I am keeping it to this for now and this will be the name they enter under until further notice. At some point the company should really think about actually defining the group that they spend the most TV time with, but hey it’s TNA, so who knows what’s going on?!
Rolling Chart – Week Twenty-Two
1st Place: Kevin Owens (173) (-)
2nd Place: Chris Jericho (98) (-)
3rd Place: Charlotte (84) (-)
4th Place: The Miz & Maryse (67) (-)
5th Place: Maria & Co. (62) (+1)
6th Place: Matt Hardy (61) (-1)
7th Place: The New Day (49) (-)
8th Place: The Wyatt Family (43) (-)
9th Place: The Dudley Boyz (42) (-)
10th Place: HHH (39) (-)
That’s all for this week, sorry if the report has felt a little rushed but I have been really busy and having two PPVs to watch in the same week has not helped, hopefully things will be a little more together next week.
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: AJ Styles, Bobby Lashley, Kevin Owens, Maria, Sienna