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:
The former Cheerleader Melissa has found a good place in Lucha Underground as the intimidating sister of Marty the Moth. While Marty is mostly a joke character, Mariposa has been presented as nothing but a threat since she was introduced as Sexy Star’s tormentor during the break between series one and two. This week the two had a ‘No Mas’ match, the LU version of an I Quit match, and tore the house down in the main event. While Mariposa eventually lost the match, both women came off looking great and there was a legit feeling of importance behind the final match for an Aztec Medallion, which should raise her position in the promotion going forward.
9: The Vaudevillains
Without as much promo time as many other tag teams it is hard for these two men to get truly over. At the moment I think that most of their heat is coming from what happened to Enzo and that can only be milked for so long before they need to move onto something else. Attacking the New Day this week was good, but I think they need to start actually interrupting their promos since that should really rile up the fans. Either way I am hoping the WWE give them the tag team titles at Extreme Rules, the New Day just don’t need them and haven’t for months now.
The new King of the Mountain champion managed to keep his belt in a division that is made up of relative unknowns and misfit tag team members. TNA’s talent woes should be a worry for fans, but there is a possibility that it will be the catalyst for change that the company needs to actually make some new stars. Then again, the angle shot by EC3 and Drew Galloway at Evolve makes me think that they are angling for a WWE return (despite the anti-WWE content of their promo) as I doubt the promotion would have run the angle without the WWE’s permission. Either that or they are just incredibly stupid for poking fun of their new relationship. I’m pretty sure it’s the former.
7: Samoa Joe
While current TNA is undergoing some major changes in its main event division, the former stars of TNA are making waves in NXT with the debut of Eric Young and the appearance of the new champion Samoa Joe. Joe came across as a badass this week and heeled it up just enough to get heat along with the usual support he garners. His confrontation and later match with Young was a great way to show how Joe is a fighting champion and set up the idea that he would take on all comers. Even further, given that this is NXT, suggesting that these challengers could come from anywhere and be anyone, which is frankly exciting. Joe is the first NXT champion who doesn’t really need to be built up in any way for the audience so they really can just throw him in there with anyone and expect him to hold his own. No offense to him, but could you have imagined Bo Dallas doing as well had Eric Young come out during his first appearance as champion, he would have been obliterated. It is a testament to how far NXT has come from being a developmental brand to being a major brand in and of itself, while still maintaining those developmental roots.
6: Bobby Lashley
When people question whether the WWE will ever be ready for a fully African American champion I point to this man. Had he not left the company it was almost a given that he was going to be the next big thing, personally endorsed by Vince McMahon when he personally took the ECW title off him.
While that may sound counter-intuitive I invite you to consider Austin, who had the same done to him. Since the creation of the Mr. McMahon character, Vince has always held the belief that he is the best heel in the business, so if he is going after you personally it is because he wants you to be the biggest babyface in the company. We also saw this with Roman Reigns (although not pulled off very well in the end). The point is that this man could have been a multiple world champion years ago, but he just seems too unfocused to ever truly actualise his greatness. He just might take the title off of Drew Galloway, but if he does then I hope he actually sticks around to have some meaningful feuds and a decent title run this time.
5: The Decay
The new tag team champions went through a transformation this week to go with their new positions in the tag team division in a backstage scene that is sure to be at the top of those with a spit fetish’s playlist.
As a result Crazy Steve found his voice, and a much creepier and sexualised reaction to Rosemary (I forget her name every time I try to write about her, not sure if that’s my problem or TNA’s), and Abyss got to take off his mask and realise how pretty he is. I can see the argument for why these are positive steps forward for the team, but I’m just not sure they needed them. Abyss is still masked up in terms of his face paint (and now has the same ‘runnage’ problems as all paint-wearing performers), and Steve was sort of crazier without a voice, at least that is how it seems. My hope for this is that they bring back Joseph Parks to feud with Decay, that would really make things confusing. Whatever my feelings on the gimmick in general they did manage to take out both James Storm and Jeff Hardy this week, so they are at least being pushed strong.
4: The Miz & Maryse
The Miz didn’t exactly have the best week in terms of wins and losses, but never let it be said that the man made his career on wins alone. In fact a heel Miz can go months without a win and still fulfil his role as annoying guy that everyone wants to shut up. Still as the IC champion these wins, and more importantly losses, start to mean something, and so now he finds himself in a fatal-4-way at Extreme Rules.
Just like with the Cesaro match at Payback I have no real idea who will come out as champion here since each man could really use the belt and could help bring some importance to the title. This time there is no real way to maintain everybody’s standing in the short term, however no matter who walks out with the title it is possible to give everyone a boost overall, not only by having a great match, but by keeping these men in the title picture and having a solid inter-flowing rivalry for the belt. It is something that all the divisions have lacked for many years; several challengers all vying for the title at once through various means, instead of just getting one guy to be miraculously interested in winning the belt before losing interest again for no real reason and repeating the process over and over again until the champion changes, and then beginning anew. That is nowhere near as compelling as getting a few solid guys and having them go at each other over and over again, perhaps occasionally adding in a couple of new guys, stakes or stipulations every now and again to keep things fresh. That’s why Cena’s US Open was largely ineffective, because while they were great matches that for the most part showcased upcoming talent, in the end they actually meant very little and so the title was still little more than a prop.
3: Maria & Mike Bennett
THE power couple in TNA continues to dominate as they were all over Impact this week from start to finish. It looks like the two came into the company at just the right time to capitalise on all the recent high profile departures and the general shifting landscape of the show. While Bennett was unsuccessful this week in becoming the number one contender for the TNA title, it is only a matter of time before he actually manages to face Drew Galloway, or whoever the champion is at the time, and I can’t imagine it will be too long before he himself holds the gold.
The new Queen of the Knockouts hasn’t been doing too bad for herself either, starting a rivalry with Jade just as she finished one with the former champion Gail Kim. You have to admire a heel who gets others to do their work for them. First she wanted the title off of Gail Kim, so she gave her shot to Jade so as to dethrone the champ. And now that Jade has refused to simply surrender the belt, she has her new hired muscle take her out. The only problem is that if Maria wants to be the Knockouts champion, she will have to actually step into the ring at some point.
2: Kevin Owens
While many might call this the Kevin Owens Report there has been developing a struggle over the number one spot for quite a few weeks now between him and Jericho, with Jericho winning out this week. This rivalry could go on indefinitely, although it will almost certainly end when Jericho buggers off again, unless he has somehow decided to stick around for a while to compete with his ‘good friend’. I really like the idea of Owens and Jericho becoming firmer kayfabe friends and you could easily add him and Ambrose into the IC title mix at some point to pad out the feuds. In fact having all six men gravitate around each other for the better part of a year wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen (the only better thing being any of these men rising up to dethrone the Roman Empire once and for all).
Owens continued to tout his head-locking abilities, as well as yelling at Byron and dissing Cole, while agreeing with the King and JBL, he knows where his bread is buttered. What’s more he continues to run afoul of Shane McMahon, the WWE need to be careful here not to turn Owens face in the process of trying to make Shane look good. Owens, in my opinion, is very similar to the Stone Cold heel character just before he blew up; someone with all the talent, but getting none of the respect. Someone with a natural connection to the fans, but not exactly your archetypical champion. Someone who demands to be given opportunities that he imagines he is not given and is willing to stick the middle finger up (this time metaphorically through words) to those in charge to register his disappointment. Could Owens actually become the face of the WWE? Only time will tell.
1: Chris Jericho
Finally we come to the man who gives us the gift of Jericho, drink it in! Now personally I am not the biggest Jericho fan, at least not in the last few years, but it is hard to deny that he does everything he can to make sure that the crowd hate him when he is being a heel. That will always earn you points here.
I was legitimately sacred for Colin Cassidy when he came out opposite Jericho this week. Cassidy’s promo abilities are not the best by any stretch of the imagination, in fact his monotone drone makes Reign’s shallow attempts to look like a smouldering badass seem actually legitimate. However the whole thing went down fine, although I am glad they didn’t actually have a match in the main event, way too much too soon for that one. I know that the WWE is trying to actually push new talent now, but first you could argue that it is too little (or indeed too much) too late, and second you have to push the right talent. To me the right talent are those people who have been around for a while but never really got all the opportunities they could have had Cena and other ‘big guys’ not been around to hog the spotlight. Instead Vince McMahon seems to think that pushing new talent means finding the biggest, greenest guy in the locker room and strapping a rocket to his back, and just look how that turned out for Roman.
I admit that if I was going to push someone without all that much experience, I too would hand him to Jericho or a similar old hand who has the experience and wouldn’t mind taking a loss or two to put the guy over. Then again, Jericho is a master of the promo and putting up anyone less talented against him is going to expose their flaws, let alone someone who legitimately seems to lack any charisma whatsoever. Whatever happened to extenuating someone’s strengths and hiding their flaws? Instead now Vince seems to think that he can just script a promo for a guy and they can get over that way, despite sounding like they are reading things off of a dinner menu when they are trying to sell the legitimacy of their conviction. The whole thing is just a little weak and I really hope it was just a one time deal, we don’t need another Ryback vs. Punk scenario on our hands.
Rolling Chart – Week Seventeen
1st Place: Kevin Owens (128) (-)
2nd Place: Chris Jericho (85) (-)
3rd Place: Charlotte (74) (-)
4th Place: Matt Hardy (61) (-)
5th Place: The New Day (49) (-)
6th Place: The Miz & Maryse (47) (+2)
7th Place: The Wyatt Family (43) (-1)
8th Place: The Dudley Boyz (42) (-1)
9th Place: HHH (39) (-)
10th Place: Maria & Mike Bennett (37) (-)
That’s all for this week, again Raw was pretty good with some good developments and if nothing else it is hard to argue that the WWE are not pushing their new faces, even if this is mostly because everyone else is on the injured list right now. I say that, but realistically there is nothing stopping them from making the main event scene all about Sheamus, Big Show and Kane really, so thank god they have not gone down that route…again. The only real gripe I have is that there is so much emphasis on Stephanie and Shane running Raw that no one seems to care about Smackdown, just like it doesn’t even matter. Now I know that it is mostly true that it doesn’t, but I don’t need to be told that by the very company that makes the damn thing. What’s more there is something that I really hate and needs to be amended, not just in the WWE but in all of professional wrestling, and that is the non-booking of main events before a show. Seriously, how are we expected to believe that a massive entertainment company like the WWE puts on a show for fans, let alone a television audience, and doesn’t have a main event locked in place? Now sure that event can change, but are you telling me that seriously these people walk out every week and whoever is in the ring or visits them backstage they just say “Oh, now you are the main event.” It is weird and makes no sense (even if that is how things are actually done backstage, it really shouldn’t be), it is just wrong!
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: Bobby Lashley, BRAM, Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens, The Miz