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
From first to last, how the mighty have fallen. I have to admit I didn’t see the quick switch coming and now Kalisto is a two time US champion…for some reason. That’s not a diss on Kalisto, I just don’t really get title multiple changes like this, unless perhaps it were part of a bigger rivalry where part of the story was how closely matched the two competitors were. But that was certainly not the case here and you have to wonder what the loss could mean for Del Rio going forward.
How far Rusev has fallen since his last confrontation with the Rock. Back then there was a slight chance of a pairing between the two somewhere down the road, now that seems laughable. Still the Blustering Bulgarian continues on as the whipping boy of the now titleless League of Nations. When this group debuted I thought it had some promise, two champions and all, and now look, they are a stable of serious wrestlers who are nearly being booked like a comedy group, I expect them to be feuding with the Social Outcasts within a month.
Again the leaders of the last week have dropped far down the chart after the Rumble. Sure, Sheamus was in the final four, but he was an afterthought at best and his impact in the match itself was minimal. Considering that a few weeks ago this man was the WWE champion it should be shocking that he is already seemingly on the way out of the main event picture. As it stands it is just another example of WWE flip-flop booking, but hey, at least they gave AJ Styles a good debut, let’s see how long that lasts.
7: The Miz
The Miz proves once again that despite how irrelevant he should be, he is hard to ignore. In a week where everyone was focused on Roman Reigns and the Royal Rumble, Miz showed some nice aggression when attacking Ambrose on Miz TV, used his brains by avoiding Lesnar and the Wyatts in the Rumble rather than being fed to them, and then had a decent interaction with the Rock on Raw. All in all the Miz is doing pretty well for himself considering it was years ago that he won the WWE title and was actually relevant, and please let’s not even mention Maryse, that pairing will always boggle my mind.
6: The Social Outcasts
Curtis Axel finally got eliminated from the Royal Rumble, what the hell is he going to do now for a gimmick?! Speaking of new gimmicks; Adam Rose apparently is trying to get himself over by referring to other members of the group by non-fitting animal names. This is at best mildly amusing, mostly because Heath being called Red Dragon reminds me of Hannibal Lecter, I wonder if the WWE have realised the connection yet. However the real stand out of this group so far is Bo Dallas, who’s continued positive attitude to this group of misfits as being best friends is always funny, and frankly his rapping skills were better than Flo Rida’s, although that might have been just because that guy seemed to suck live.
5: The Wyatt Family
If there was a perfect time for Bray Wyatt to win the WWE championship it would have been now. His family was in full control of the Royal Rumble, even costing the Beast his place. But then of course he went against the Game, and nobody really wins in that situation. The good part of all this is it looks like we will be getting Bray vs. Brock at Mania, which is an unexpected and interesting matchup. Although of course Lesnar could simply be being fed the Wyatts in the lead up to Wrestlemania where he will actually face the Rock, because you know, breaking records is more important than telling a compelling story that can actually get younger talent over.
While I was fully behind Kevin Owens winning the title I would have been pretty happy to see Bray end up with the belt. What’s more it would have made sense; HHH dumps Roman to cost him the title and then eliminates himself because he has already gotten his revenge, then have the family come in again and destroy Ambrose for an easy heel victory. This would still lead to Bray vs. Brock at Mania, only it would be for the title, and in my opinion that is a much better place for the belt than in the HHH vs. Roman match.
4: Kevin Owens
The mark of a truly great heel is in being able to lose constantly and yet still look great doing it; Kevin Owens knows how to do this in spades, quickly forgotten limp aside. He had a fantastic Last Man Standing match with Dean Ambrose for the IC title and while what I feared occurred; that the toll of the match made his time in the Rumble match itself significantly shorter than it might have been had it been his only match that night, he was able to make a suitable impact for it to have been worth it.
As it stands Owens could continue his feud with Ambrose, renew his rivalry with Sami Zayn, or start a new one with AJ Styles, any of these options would yield great matches and be a guaranteed ticket to Wrestlemania. I think the WWE was actually smart in having Owens eliminate Styles as it’s hard to really get mad at this as he had already spent a long time in the match and as a relative newcomer himself from a similar background it didn’t seem like a snub to Styles on their part. Also his ‘welcome to the WWE!’ was a great touch and probably wouldn’t have felt right coming from anyone else.
3: Charlotte & Ric Flair
This father-daughter pairing is starting to become a great superstar-manager dynamic and is a nice reversal of the norm. I will say that the kiss on Becky Lynch was a bit much, but you hope that she consented to it beforehand and it certainly fit with the character of Ric Flair. Whatever the case things seem to be progressing from the mess that was the three-person team structure of the divas revolution when it was first introduced, cutting out the dead weight and leaving us with the three best divas on the main WWE roster to fight it out for the title.
Speaking of which, you have to believe that the WWE is building towards a triple threat match between the ladies, although the question is whether this will be at Fastlane, probably with Charlotte retaining by pinning Becky leading to Banks vs. Flair at Mania, or else will it be Banks and Charlotte first and then the triple threat on the grandest stage. Personally I think Lynch deserves her Wrestlemania moment, and unless they are planning on turning Sasha face then there needs to be some kind of goodie to root for in the big showdown…or does there, after all the WWE hasn’t had the best track record with this sort of thing.
2: The New Day
New Day be all up in the Attitude Era’s grill, interrupting both Chris Jericho and the Rock in one week and going toe to toe with them on the microphone. Personally in both cases I think that the group more than held their own and in many ways even outshined the veteran performers Much like Kevin Owens these three don’t need to win to look good and they can take a beating like no other, especially Xavier Woods, who seems glutton for punishment. Not that I can blame him, if I was a relatively new guy to the WWE and they asked me if I wanted to be put through a table by the Dudley Boyz or hit by a People’s Elbow from the Rock, I’m sure I would jump at the chance as well.
Despite their not needing to win to look good, win indeed they did, sending the Usos packing once again sans the tag team titles. I was surprised that only one member of the group got a Rumble outing, as did the Social Outcasts, but they made the most of it with the Kofi-Big E piggyback. This looked to be a sure-fire way of keeping Kofi in the Rumble for a substantial period of time before Jericho ruined the fun by eliminating him, popcorn flying everywhere. Extra points for Kofi this week for taking a soda from a fan while on the shoulders of Big E, little things like that are always great.
1: The Authority
I was debating how to do this; do I split up Vince McMahon from Stephanie and Hunter, or have HHH separate from the McMahons, or rank all three separately? But in the end I decided that a family that self-indulges together, stays together, and no televised family group has ever come close to being more self-indulgent than the McMahons this week. Not only putting the title back on the man who can’t ever get enough of trying to prove himself despite his continued accomplishments, but then having another long Authority promo to kick off Raw, rubbing it in the fans faces with far too realistic glee.
Admittedly if there was ever a time HHH could get away with taking the title away from an active talent since his ‘retirement’ it was now. Still it leaves a slight bad taste in the mouth considering nearly anyone else would have done more to put over the current roster and actually build to the future rather than living in the past. The irony of HHH doing so much to bring in and foster new talent in NXT while simultaneously putting himself over all of them once they get to the main roster is something of great literature and I do agree with Max Landis that the Game is like the Macbeth of wrestling. The only question is how much of this is character and how much is the man himself.
The difficulty now comes from what to do at Wrestlemania itself. Do you have Roman win at Fastlane and go on to take back the title from the Cerebral Assassin? I’m guessing if you are Vince McMahon this is your plan, but does he not get it by now? It’s not going to work, the win will be greeted with yet another shower of boos. Wyatt said it right when he spouted the phrase ‘anyone but you Roman, anyone but you.’ There is just something so forced at this point about everything to do with Reigns that it is going to take him a significant amount of time and probably a heel turn to truly reach any point where he can hold the title without any real fan backlash. Honestly at this point they would be better running with Ambrose like they did at the Rumble, although in that case I can imagine Hunter going over Wrestlemania XXIX style and that won’t serve to make the fans happy either. We are currently in a dark situation where the only man the Authority will let take the title away from the Game is the one guy who the fans really don’t want to see achieve it. I say, make a divas triple threat match and have Sasha Banks face HHH and win the WWE title at Mania; you want to make waves, you want the fans to be happy, you want to sell out the stadium in Texas? Book it.
Rolling Chart – Week 2
1st Place: The Wyatt Family (15) (+1)
2nd Place: The New Day (15) (+3)
3rd Place: Kevin Owens (14) (+1)
4th Place: Sheamus (11) (-1)
5th Place: Alberto Del Rio (11) (-4)
6th Place: The Authority (10) (New Entry)
7th Place: Social Outcasts (8) (+1)
8th Place: Charlotte (8) (New Entry)
9th Place: Ethan Carter III (5) (-3)
10th Place: Eric Young (4) (-3)
That’s all for this week, while the Rumble was far from terrible, it wasn’t all that it could have been, simply because it was yet another missed opportunity to take a chance on the current crop of talent rather than relying on the old standard or choosing to build someone who the fans aren’t behind rather than going with an organic favourite. The booking on Raw was also slightly annoying, what with the whole ‘anyone on the card can be considered for the main event at Fastlane’ and then it is just the two faces in the main event and a guy who wasn’t even on the show, well why even say it then?! Ah well, just like every week it is up to us fans to look for glimmers of greatness in a general landscape of ineptitude, almost all of which come from the very heels featured in this report.
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.