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: Stephanie McMahon
It’s weird, maybe it’s the inclusion of Shane McMahon, or maybe it’s the mandatory viewing of Raw with my girlfriend (she loves the family drama), but the formerly standard Authority opening 15 minute promo was actually a welcome addition to Raw this week. There is something fun about the sibling rivalry between the McMahons that makes me believe that a brand split with one running Raw and one running Smackdown would be what’s best for business.
9: The Vaudevillains
It’s good to see the Vaudevillains given some personality this week, especially since it is on the heel side of things, which makes sense considering they are being paired off against Enzo and Cass. I am still somewhat surprised that the two newly debuted teams are in the finals of the tag team tournament, even if the tournament itself hasn’t been showcased as any type of huge deal. It is certainly not a bad way to showcase the two new teams in giving them a PPV match against each other, hopefully with a decent amount of time, allowing both teams to get themselves over through their personalities and in-ring ability rather than having to worry about outside storylines and backstage politics.
8: Jack Evans & PJ Black
Part of a victorious trios team this week with Fenix, the two young upstart heels not only showcased their skills in the ring, but also their arrogance. While in WWE this overabundance of ego would have probably been used as an excuse for the team to lose their match. In Lucha Underground this over-confidence in ability and sheer amount of pride made them only try to outdo each other and their face partner, as well as fuel them onto victory despite a number of arguments, denied tags and showboating. The best part of this had to be when PJ Black refused to tag Fenix in, turning instead to his friend Jack Evans, who then proceeded to refuse to tag in, claiming that he needed to warm up first to avoid injury, leading to Black having to play the Jannetty role even as a heel.
7: Gallows & Anderson
It is good to see that these two guys are being given an important position on WWE programming from the get-go, while also not being too over-exposed. They are being presented as a slightly menacing and still unknown force with a vague reputation, which gives the sense that they are capable of anything. This mystique will probably soon wear off, but for now they are looking strong and could possibly build upon this further depending on how they are used this Sunday at Payback as well as going forward in the tag team division.
6: Maria & Mike Bennett
At this point I think it is fair to say that Maria is carrying the Miracle Mike Bennett as a heel performer. This is no real knock on Bennett, it’s just that TNA have been giving Maria lots of opportunities to showcase her ability to irritate, whereas the Miracle has mostly only been able to deliver generic upstart heel promos without much to back it up. Ideally after feuding with EC3, Bennett will come out looking strong and go onto challenge the world champion to legitimise his claims. The only problem with this is that Carter is in the veteran face role where coming off on the losing end of the feud doesn’t matter as you are already consistently over. Instead, he is a fresh and relatively new babyface who has still never been pinned or made to submit, so how is he supposed to come out of this without being on top or damaged?
5: The Decay
It’s a TNA-heavy week this week and it is no surprise, what with the Decay offering up Gail Kim as a human sacrifice on Impact. While there was lots of heel power in the abduction of the former Knockouts champion and the using of her to barter for a tag team title shot, there is something that sticks in my throat a bit about the whole situation.
There is a point where you can argue that anyone would have trouble fighting back when three crazy people take you hostage and tie you up. Still though the whole thing felt a little sexist, taking one of the best female wrestlers in TNA and showing them as helpless and only being able to be rescued when the tag team champions come to her aid. She could have at least struggled a bit more, or taken one of them down before being beaten into submission, preferably by Rosemary if TNA is touchy about male-on-female violence. Have her be whacked a few times with a kendo stick, which could also lead to a Kim vs. Rosemary feud, which would at least give the two something to do after Maria has moved on. Instead Gail just remained on her knees with her hands barely restrained like some helpless victim, it just seemed like it didn’t fit her character and I have no idea how it helped her as a performer in any way, especially since there are so many other ways the Decay could have gone about getting the title shot.
4: Al Snow
The new grizzled heel veteran character of Al Snow is rapidly growing on me, to the point where I have no complaints about his win over a new TNA talent this week. This is because it made sense; he is a cagey veteran and he used his in-ring experience to pull one over on his younger and much stronger opponent.
What’s more it was all old school, like disappearing under the ring and coming out the other side to gain a minor advantage, and the use of what looked like brass-knucks, which he then claimed was an open-palmed strike when questioned by the referee. The only problem with all this is the only end-game I can see is a match with Grado where he helps put him over, and frankly that is just not needed. Maybe Snow can take on a bigger role in the future, like mentoring Bram on how to be even more sadistic for example, but for now I am just happy to see these throwback heel tactics that remind me why I started watching wrestling in the first place.
3: Kevin Owens
It’s time for the weekly placement of Kevin Owens on the chart, third ain’t bad and I think his general profile was raised by that video package on Raw highlighting the existing friendship and rivalry between him and Sami Zayn. I wouldn’t be surprised if their match at Payback was positioned as the match before the ‘piss-break’ match, before the main event and stole the show entirely.
The Owens highlights for me this week were: 1. When after Jericho knocked popcorn out of some guy’s hands, Owens went to the other guy with popcorn and instead of knocking it, took it and started eating. 2. When he told the English fans that Canadians were the best and still got heat. 3. When he pinned Ambrose after Jericho had pushed him off the top post and proclaimed: “I beat you Ambrose! I beat you! *little voice* Chris helped a little, but I beat you!” On a side note I don’t think I have ever seen a wrestler ‘fan-boy’ so much as Owens tagging with Jericho, he was like a little kid trying to impress his childhood hero out there. It was endearing.
2: Miz & Maryse
Another week and the addition of his wife to his side has once again paid dividends for the Miz on the heel chart. If these two keep up their French-talking, French-kissing, take-twoing-on-promos ways then they could rocket up the chart in the near future. The best part of this for the Miz is that I honestly don’t think it depends on holding onto the Intercontinental championship in any way as I’m not sure he has won a match since he retained against Ryder and still every week he has been given a good amount of airtime and has looked a lot better than he did before Maryse made her debut.
Personally I hope that Cesaro does win as he really needs some kind of validation upon his return after coming up short in the fatal four-way for the number one contendership. The guy really does have everything it takes to be in the spot Roman Reigns is in right now, but the WWE continues to ruin his momentum one way or another through some strange perception that he has no personality. I’m not saying that Cesaro is the most captivating guy in all of professional wrestling, but I am pretty sure he has more charisma than Reigns and he also has more fan appeal, so what the heck is going on?!
1: Chris Jericho
Jericho continues to step things up leading up to his grand exit from the WWE for the one thousand and fourth time, this week taking it to Ambrose by first being instrumental in his loss in their tag match on Smackdown, and then delivering the Walls of Jericho to the Lunatic Fringe on the announce table on Raw.
I think Jericho has a thing about always leaving the fans wanting more because he seems to return in rather lacklustre fashion and then puts more effort in leading up to his departure each time, reminding you why you liked the guy in the first place and that he isn’t just some washed-up has-been who is coming back to hog some more of the limelight and take it away from new stars just because he feels like it.
The problem I have is that after watching Smackdown I now only want to see the teams of Ambrose & Zayn and Jericho & Owens, because even in the short time they were together they both seemed to have something about them that made me want to see more. I would be quite happy if Jericho somehow ended up staying and we got a side tag team rivalry between the two for a month to pad out their individual feuds. Personally, in regards to Jericho and Owens, I haven’t been as entertained or interested in a heel tag team since Aries and Roode got together as the Dirty Heels, which coincidently could actually happen now with Roode signing to NXT. We live in a fantastic age of wrestling…It’s just that the WWE doesn’t always seem to see things that way.
Rolling Chart – Week Fifteen
1st Place: Kevin Owens (109) (-)
2nd Place: Chris Jericho (69) (+2)
3rd Place: Charlotte (65) (-1)
4th Place: Matt Hardy (61) (-1)
5th Place: The New Day (49) (-)
6th Place: The Wyatt Family (43) (-)
8th Place: The Dudley Boyz (42) (-)
7th Place: HHH (39) (-)
9th Place: The Miz & Maryse (32) (+1)
10th Place: Maria & Mike Bennett (26) (New Entry)
The Wright View:
On the Rise
Mil vs. Matanza – This was a big man vs. big man match that actually meant something, it had the gravitas and expectation that big WWE matches have often been missing, especially in the past few years. These two monsters have both been built up as unstoppable forces so the thought of them going up against each other is intriguing and it is hard for any fan not to get caught up. While the match itself ended without a clear winner it was still an entertaining battle of the behemoths that can now lead onto something even bigger, as Dario screamed at the end to Catrina “War!”, indicating that the two are not done with each other yet. This meeting of two huge men was Vince McMahon’s wet dream and yet he doesn’t seemingly know how to do it himself properly, at least not any more. It isn’t just about the size of the two men involved, it is about how they have been consistently booked as monsters, how you as a fan can’t see either man losing, as well as the fact that we know they can both go in the ring and are invested in their storylines. It shouldn’t be that hard to book and if McMahon isn’t watching Lucha Underground already, he should be.
Chavlotte – This is a pretty simple one this week; Charlotte looked like a chav (English equivalent to trailer trash) wearing those leggings. This thinking almost certainly only applies to people from England so it doesn’t really matter but I already complained about everything else I wanted to this week. My theory is that she saw all the girls wearing them on the English tour and was like “they look stylish and comfortable, I will pick myself up a pair of black leggings”, the equivalent being something like daisy dukes. #LeggingsAren’tTrousers (On a side note though I liked her use of her father as a human shield this week on Raw, it was more a reversal of the trope of a chickenshit heel hiding behind a woman than it was her hiding behind a man, he was their purely to take any hit that was forthcoming, instead of being any kind of threat or deterrent against Natalya in his own right).
That is all for this week on what was a TNA and couples heavy chart. I’ll be back next week with more heel rankings and personal rants and opinions about what I think is right and wrong in the heel, and wrestling world in general. For now though, take it easy everybody.
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: al snow, Chris Jericho, Mike Bennett, miz, The Decay