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 Viewer (aka forcing my girlfriend to watch Raw and then studying her reactions):
* The opening segment of Raw had her interested, although a lot of the time was spent discussing how much Vince looks like my dopey dog Max, who was 16 (real old for a whippet) and just looked confused all the time. She also generally thought that Shane was a douchebag due to his swagger and demeanour, that was until she saw the video package of all of his matches, where she decided that she liked him, so those things can actually be super effective.
* Every man on the show continues to be sexually objectified, whether she likes them or not.
* While the athletics of both Neville and Owens continued to impress, she was not impressed by his attack on Neville after the match and thought that he was a dick.
* When Sami Zayn came out she was very interested and commented on his good looks, when I told her that he used to wear a mask she said that it was a crime. It’s weird to think that a guy who always covered his face before could be such a heartthrob, then again he does look like a more in-shape Seth Rogan, and the ladies seem to like him.
* Going along the same theme she was really into Byron Saxton, not only for being hot, but also for his general commentary, she also said that she didn’t like the other two.
* She liked that they show audience reactions, which is interesting because I’ve always found it quite a distraction.
* There were a lot of times where she questioned the stakes in matches and how she was supposed to be invested in them when there didn’t seem to be any. Maybe this is why the Attitude Era was so popular; making every match mean something, no matter how arbitrary, draws the casual viewer in since they aren’t really interested in general wrestling ability and wins for the sake of wins.
* The three segments that got her the most interested were the backstage stuff: Ziggler getting put in a Handicap match, Ryback’s conversation with Kalisto, which she was really into as she said that while some of it went off point it was also relatable (also she thought Ryback was Big Show when he was standing next to Kalisto), and Vince & Stephanie talking, the question of whether Vince actually had things handled being compelling and actually made her more interested in the match. To me these stakes seem obvious and implied, much like Ryback’s future shot at the US title, but to the casual fan it seems like these segments really help to clarify why they should care about what happens in the ring and without them there is little interest, which really goes against the ROH style of doing things.
* She described Ambrose as “Delightfully Scruffy” and looked him up on the internet again. I asked her who she wanted to win at Roadblock and she said that while she was interested to see what he would do if he lost, she would prefer Ambrose to win since HHH looks too smug and she would like to see him annoyed by losing the title, which I think indicates the overall effectiveness of the program since that’s what they seemingly want to convey. Hopefully more next week, although I might have to get her to watch Roadblock as well and who knows how that will go over!
Weekly Top Ten:
10: Summer Rae
It might have been a bit under the radar but Summer Rae has been doing some good work as of late, both as a heel and in the ring in general. This week she actually lost two matches on Main Event and Superstars, but her scoring a rollup win on Raw is what is important. It might not lead to anything significant, but there is all the potential for her to be a challenger for the divas champion somewhere down the road.
In some ways the Divas champ did herself no favours by causing the triple threat match to happen at Wrestlemania when she assaulted Lynch and Banks on Smackdown. On the other hand, you could argue that she knows both women don’t exactly like each other and that if she can widen that divide over the coming weeks she might be able to truly turn them against each other and profit by having them fight amongst themselves for most of the match and then steal the win. Saying something along those lines might serve to make her look like a better heel overall because looking haughty and attacking people from behind can only get you so far.
8: Vince McMahon
Part of me thinks that Vince deserves to be rated higher, due to the personal nature of the levels he stooped to this week to get under his son’s skin. However, there were a lot of strong heels this week that were featured more on their respective shows so unfortunately the quality of what we got was somewhat overshadowed. While the Shane-Undertaker match at Mania is intriguing it is hard not to think that from a storyline perspective it would make more sense to either have surrogates or have Vince himself in there with Shane. Then again if that happened then it might become a match that is actually for control of the company because Vince may very well die performing at his age in Hell in a Cell and Shane would have to take over. A sick part of me believes that Vince would love this since I can only imagine that it would generate the type of mainstream interest in his product that he always has craved, he did once blow himself up in a limo after all.
Some may disagree with my putting Maria over Vince McMahon, but the woman was on point this week and not only had her own stuff going on, but was also involved with her husband, Mike Bennett as well. I’m quite surprised that TNA has seemingly decided to give more attention to her than Bennett, at least for now, but then again she does seem to be the more dislikeable of the pair so it certainly makes some sense. Her interactions with Gail Kim as the arrogant coward were great, but her best part of the night had to be after she put her husband’s foot on the ropes and then when questioned started screaming in a ridiculously shrill voice: “I didn’t do nothin’”, over and over again.
6: Chris Jericho
I might have been a bit pre-emptive placing Jericho in the charts a couple of weeks ago but finally the inevitable has happened; he snapped and went to town on AJ’s face with three Codebreakers on Raw after they failed to become tag team champions. The question now is whether the two will have a match at Roadblock or if they will wait until Wrestlemania. Roadblock is a strange event since it is basically a glorified house show and has both NXT and WWE matches on the card, also what with the event being in a few days you have to wonder if there will be any more matches added to the card or if it will just take place with the few it has and maybe one or two more impromptu bouts thrown in for fun. Hopefully, whatever the case it will have NXT style booking rather than WWE and we will see a good show before we reach the show of shows at Wrestlemania.
5: Mil Muertes
If this was a Lucha Underground only chart then Mil would be miles in front of everyone else. You have to love how they make the man of a thousand deaths a constant presence in the Temple; he’s backstage, he’s in the ring and he’s on his throne watching everything that takes place, you just can’t escape him. That’s what Puma and Pentagon found out this week when he laid them both out and issued a challenge to face both of them, but his night was not over there, he also returned to watch over the Gift of the Gods match between Cuerno and Phoenix.
There really is something to be said for the throne set up that allows the champion to stare down his challenger without looking weak or cowardly; he is above them and does not need to interact with them until he sees fit. Again I say that HHH’s character could really benefit from something like this and it would fit him to a tee, while I get that the WWE might not want to copy directly from what is arguably their fiercest competition right now, they could use a ‘VIP skybox’ or something like that, with HHH giving orders while sipping champagne and giving the iconic thumbs down when he wants the Wyatts/League of Nations to destroy his would-be challengers.
4: The Wyatt Family
The Wyatts exist in a weird vacuum in terms of WWE booking where one week they are presented as being barely a threat, all four men being taken out by one plucky baby face, or demolished by a team when the sides are equal. Then another week will go by and they will look like they are the hottest heels in the company and dominate everything they touch to the point where you are wondering why Bray hasn’t yet had a shot at the gold.
I can’t honestly see Wyatt challenging HHH any time soon but there is definitely some argument for him having won at the Rumble rather than the Game. After all it looked like he had everything pretty much sown up and it would have worked at least nearly as well as HHH holding the gold, especially in terms of the ‘anyone but you Roman’ angle. Plus I don’t doubt that Reigns would have gotten more support when being brutally beaten down by the Wyatts than the King of Kings. While his booking has been 50/50 at best because he is such a great character there will come a time when we’ll be asking why the hell hasn’t Bray been champion yet, and frankly I don’t think we will have any good answers bar just how crappy WWE booking has become over the past ten years.
3: The League of Nations
While the booking of the Wyatts has been spotty and all over the place it seems like they are actually focused when it comes to the League, at least now that Sheamus and Del Rio have dropped their respective titles. While as individuals they might have all fallen from a great height in some way or another, as a group they have room to flourish right now as HHH’s underlings.
The whole League vs. the New Day is being quite underplayed on actual WWE TV if it is indeed happening at Wrestlemania, and I can’t see why it wouldn’t. You have to wonder if that will involve a New Day face turn, or the gaining of another member to even up the odds since while a trombone is a great comedy prop, it might kind of be a handicap in an actual match. Personally I think that Big E beating Jericho reasonably clean in their tag titles match on Raw indicates that there may indeed be a face turn fast approaching, the fans pretty much all cheer them anyway, and they might not appear on this chart anymore within the next few weeks *tear*.
2: The New Day
Before the New Day potentially disappear they are here to make a run for the top of the Rolling chart once again through their various shenanigans. They managed to once again successfully defend their tag team titles against Y2AJ, and while the loss served their storyline, I am still puzzled as to why the WWE keeps the belts on them since they really don’t need them to practice their shtick and they have now beaten pretty much every team the WWE have to offer.
There is a little bit of worry over how the New Day would do as a face tag team since most of their entertainment comes from being so obnoxiously into themselves, with occasional deviations into insulting various aspects of American culture such as Country music. There was nothing better than the moment that Kofi said that regardless of his character and speaking from the heart he legitimately thought that Country music sucked, he could never get away with saying any of that as a face. Still there is every chance that they will adapt well to their roles and keep their winning dynamic, or else they might just stay heels and turn slightly face for their match with the League, we’ll just have to wait and see.
1: Kevin Owens
I feel like at some point there will be a backlash for the amount of times that Owens has come out on top of this chart despite arguments for other heels doing more monumentally evil things in week. The thing is that Owens has mastered the nuances of heel-dom so that even if he loses all his matches and only appears for brief stints of time, he manages to do enough to justify his presence on the chart, if not his total dominance of it.
This week he hassled a bruised and battered Dean Ambrose on Smackdown and then went on to beat Neville on Raw, so a pretty successful week in general. But then there is what put him over the top and that is his actions after his win against the man that gravity forgot. Normally a heel attacks you because you humiliated them by beating them, or because they have a specific grudge against you, but not Owens, no instead he attacks you even when he has the victory over you in a match with no motivating factors, just because he is a dick.
Of course in actual fact this attack was a motivator for the returning Sami Zayn to come to the rescue, but in all honesty there is so much beef between the two that the more really wasn’t needed. With Sami appearing this week instead of after Roadblock I have to again ask the question of whether the match between the two will first happen in the WWE proper at Wrestlemania or if they will have a very short build to Roadblock and then have some type of specialty match at the Granddaddy of them all. Personally I would prefer to wait as I think a straight wrestling match is enough between the two if they are given the proper opportunity to build the bout for the big show, possibly with them continuing their rivalry afterwards and adding stipulations to those matches down the road. Whatever the case these two men could easily took what they did in ROH and NXT and turn it up to 11, with Zayn playing the plucky babyface who constantly tries to gain justice from the cowardly and overbearing heel. The only thing that could make this better, at least for me, is if at some point they have a ‘hide your face’ match, where each man is so sick of looking at each other that the loser has to don a permanent mask, with Zayn losing of course and being forced to become El Generico again, or else Owens can lose and we get some delicious irony in his donning of the mask…a man can dream can’t he?! (Also TM on that match concept since I can’t remember it being done before, at least in WWE, and it could work great in a bunch of different rivalries)
Rolling Chart – Week Eight
1st Place: Kevin Owens (59) (-)
2nd Place: The New Day (47) (-)
3rd Place: The Wyatt Family (42) (+1)
4th Place: Matt Hardy (36) (-1)
5th Place: Charlotte (30) (-)
6th Place: The Dudley Boyz (26) (-)
7th Place: The Social Outcasts (21) (-)
8th Place: HHH (17) (-)
9th Place: Team BAD (16) (-)
10th Place: Vince McMahon (15) (-)
That’s all for this week, I’ve expanded my viewing pattern to now include New Japan and ROH but so far I didn’t see enough actual heel action to justify anyone a place on the chart, so we will just have to see how that goes. I’ll also try to keep the opening segment of the report up for as long as I can since the longer she is exposed to the WWE the more she will be hooked, hahaha! Although at that point my girlfriend will no longer be a casual fan and so this experiment will cease to work, but I will endeavour to think of something; maybe exposing her to Lucha Underground or TNA and asking her to compare the different products. Right now she can’t tell the difference but after a few weeks of WWE programming I’m sure she’ll be able to tell from the differing production values alone.
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, Maria, Mil Muertes, the heel report, VInce McMahon