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: Baron Corbin
It was actually worse than I thought and instead of simply beating Ziggler on his first PPV and it not amounting to anything, he lost on the pre-show and then was in a battle royal on Raw. The one upside is that he seems to still be involved with Ziggler, who is clearly more than accepting to have the guy toss him around at his own expense. I just wish the Show-Off had better things to do with his time.
9: Maria & Mike Bennett
The Miracle managed to give EC3 his first legitimate loss by pinfall, even if it was a little anticlimactic for my tastes. The main problem with TNA programming is that without PPVs everything seems just that little bit less special. I know this episode of Impact was supposed to be Sacrifice, but it is hard to see something on the same night with the same structure as being any different from the normal show. Maria continues to dominate the Knockouts division, at least in terms of mic work, and the two are set to be a big deal in TNA for some time to come as long as the company can stay afloat.
A guy in the right place at the right time was Bram, who is now your new King of the Mountain champion. The big red and gold belt has always been a problem for TNA and for some reason they have had no luck in figuring out how to successfully book it, whether it be as the Legends, Global or TV title. Whatever moniker it has gone by it has mainly functioned as a prop to give some midcard guy who isn’t going to be anywhere near the title anytime soon. Personally I wouldn’t mind if Bram lent into his gimmick more with the title and turned it into a hardcore-style championship, since the King of the Mountain mantel is completely redundant already.
7: Anderson & Gallows
The problem with being someone who writes about wrestling on the internet is that pro wrestling is so complex and varied (while also being seen as base and stupid) that you will often get caught giving the opposite opinion to something you have adamantly insisted upon before. This is because things in wrestling must be judged on a case by case basis, but to sound more momentous we often write things as sweeping generalised statements that will eventually get us into trouble. In this case it is in regards to Anderson & Gallows, at a time when everyone is saying that angles are always rushed these days I am not sure how to feel about the time they are taking with the Bullet Club. It seems clear that they are heading for at least something similar to develop, but are stalling for time or something. While I am still intrigued at this point as to whether Styles will turn heel, or if Balor will debut and take control of the group, or if there will be some kind of swerve with Orton, Rollins or lord forbid Reigns, it could get old fast. For now it is giving a nice spotlight to the new team, who also wrestled on Main Event this week for some reason, but maybe the WWE should actually consider putting the rush on this one rather than making it a whole drawn out thing.
6: Chris Jericho
I’ll admit it, I thought Jericho was not long for the WWE after Payback, but now it looks like he will be around until at least after Extreme Rules, no matter what his trolling twitter account says. The best thing about that is not only did he lose to Ambrose on Sunday, but now he can lose again in an even more brutal fashion that can actually look like it would take him out and finally the Lunatic Fringe can look like an effective maniac rather than, as Jericho would say, a stupid idiot. I’m still not exactly sure why the WWE has gone down the whole talk show route with these two rather than just citing Jericho’s actions towards Ambrose when unsuccessfully teaming up to feud with the Wyatts. Maybe they think we don’t have memories that go back that far, or maybe the guy in charge just doesn’t remember himself. Either way the whole thing is a bit contrived, but at least it puts Ambrose in a rivalry where he might actually come out on top for once.
5: The Decay
While Sacrifice might not have felt like a big deal to me, it certainly was an important show for the Decay. Rosemary managed to beat the former Knockouts champion Gail Kim in an impromptu match and the team of Crazy Steve and Abyss managed to win the tag team titles off of Beer Money, who are obviously over as a team now that Bobby Roode is NXT bound.
This departure couldn’t have come at a better time for Decay in terms of picking up the tag titles since they were already beginning to seem a little less threatening what with seemingly being obsessed with becoming champions and yet not holding the gold. I know they are still a relatively new team but so much of their focus was on the titles that their ruthlessness seemed wasted since they still weren’t able to get their hands on the gold properly. Say what you like about the miss-booking of the Wyatts but I think the WWE did at least that right, they managed to have a crazy cult leader character who up until recently appeared to have very little interest in the gold, it’s just a shame injuries have plagued the Wyatts just as much as their stop and start booking;.
4: The Vaudevillains
The Enzo injury was an unfortunate incident, but I am glad that the WWE were able to stop the match immediately rather than risking the safety of their performers any further. Of course this did mean that we didn’t really get a proper payoff to the number one contender tournament for the tag team titles, although apparently the Vaudevillains were going to win after an interruption from the Dudley Boyz so everything basically worked out okay.
Now that we know that Enzo is okay I hope the accident didn’t stop any momentum from either team and certainly no one should be penalised for the incident. The one possible positive to come out of this is that the Vaudevillains went from unknowns who would probably have turned into a joke heel team into a team who the audience could really grow to hate after they came out and mocked Enzo on Raw. Simon Gotch especially came across as a massive douche with how he said he turned Enzo into the realist guy in the emergency room, it was both corny and vicious, which is exactly what this team should be seen as.
3: Miz & Maryse
The Intercontinental champion managed to weather the storm of Cesaro at Payback, and it actually wasn’t all down to his wife Maryse. I really liked what they did with Owens being on commentary and Zayn coming out to get some revenge on him since not only did it add more fuel to their rivalry, but it also showed consistent booking in the Owens character. While he had to put things on hold to address his old rival he had reached a point in beating him where he felt like he had dealt with Sami he was able to move on to regain his former prize of the IC title.
Of course Owens was wrong and his business is still left unfinished, but now we have that rivalry plus the IC title again, which could be good for the belt, as well as keeping things fresh between the two so that the feud can continue at least for a few more months. The only thing is that adding Owens and Zayn into the mix makes me question how the Miz is going to keep his title, although of course it also opens up the possibility of the same happening again where he capitalises on the chaos of multiple men getting involved in his business. Whatever happens I am a fan of this booking, at least for now, because while it is the same type of multi-challenger structure that we have seen for the past two Wrestlemanias, it doesn’t feel anywhere near as arbitrary and all four men are definitely candidates for holding the gold. Frankly having a good six to eight months where these four men trade the belt in ultra-competitive matches wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world as while lengthy title reigns can help restore a title that is feeling cheap, it is better to have it involved in hot feuds to make it a truly valued prize.
I’ve seen a lot of hate for this rehash of the Montreal Screwjob and while I felt like it was a bit arbitrary and sensationalist, I didn’t really mind it. To me the only negative here is that we have yet another month of Charlotte vs. Natalya rather than pitting the women’s champion against another rival. There really does need to be more depth added to the division if they want to truly be taken seriously since having only a handful of women that can really put on decent matches is a big hindrance (Or at least only a handful that they are willing to book as believable challengers).
Another problem is that many women who could challenge Charlotte are also heels, or at least they are booked that way right now, to be fair the WWE have been so inconsistent that surely they could turn someone face tomorrow to have her go against the champ. I think Ric Flair being banned from ringside might be the best way to go right now, take the man out of the equation. However I also might suggest going the other way here, screw finding female challengers and just have Charlotte start offering out open challengers to anyone on the roster, possibly dodging certain people as a heel. I don’t know, I just don’t care enough about this rivalry at the moment, in all honesty Bailey can’t get to the main roster fast enough.
1: Kevin Owens
Sometimes I give Owens a high place on the chart when arguably his overall achievements for the week were outshined by someone else. While I still maintain that it is the little things that matter I don’t think there can be any denying that Owens had a great week in terms of his in-ring success as well.
He managed not only to get a clean win over his long term rival Sami Zayn, but also inserted himself back into the IC title picture. Not to mention he landed several hard shots towards Michael Cole’s commentary ability, which is always nice to hear. I’m surprised Owens has been able to keep up his persona of someone who can be taking sarcastic shots at you one minute and then trying to rip off your head the next. He plays a bully in the worst sense, not your tv-special bully who cowers at the first sign of a challenge, but a psychopath who targets you for seemingly no reason and would mercilessly beat you down out of some sense of affront if you ever said a word against him.
This character works so well in wrestling to make the crowd hate him, it’s no wonder that he is gradually being given more and more chances to speak, especially over the last few weeks with Shane McMahon. Despite all this I think it would be great to have a few more guest celebrities on for him to bully and brutalise to keep his edge sharp as nothing made him look more badass than when he power-bombed Machine Gun Kelly when he tried to shake his hand.
Rolling Chart – Week Sixteen
1st Place: Kevin Owens (119) (-)
2nd Place: Chris Jericho (75) (-)
3rd Place: Charlotte (74) (-)
4th Place: Matt Hardy (61) (-)
5th Place: The New Day (49) (-)
6th Place: The Wyatt Family (43) (-)
7th Place: The Dudley Boyz (42) (-)
8th Place: The Miz & Maryse (40) (+1)
9th Place: HHH (39) (-1)
10th Place: Maria & Mike Bennett (29) (-)
That’s all for this week, Payback wasn’t a bad PPV to any stretch of the imagination, although it had an obviously shaky start and an undesired finish, everything in-between was pretty decent, especially everything to do with Zayn and Owens. As an update; my girlfriend still watches Raw, and she saw Payback, but most of it is while doing coursework so she doesn’t take enough in to justify a full feature. I will say that when I asked her about what she knew about what matches were booked for Payback she could only remember Natalya vs. Charlotte, so women’s wrestling is clearly important to at least someone. Also she managed to see some of Smackdown and was a big fan of the team of Sami, Kalisto and Cesaro. See, while it seems easy to claim that the WWE doesn’t know how to book/there is no such thing as babyfaces anymore, that is just not true, it is just that the way the babyfaces on top are booked is rubbish because what being an underdog in the business has changed.
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: Baron Corbin, charlotte, Maria, Mike Bennett, The Vaudevillains