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: Laurel Van Ness
A douchey new knockout debuted in the Impact Zone on Thursday with a more annoying name gimmick than Eli Drake, strange that she was nowhere to be seen at Bound for Glory though.
9: The Miz & Maryse
Miz made things personal this week by getting in the face of his fellow Cleveland native’s parents when they were in their hometown. I’m not sure whether I want to see Ziggler win or lose at this point. If this was for the world title then sure fine, but if he wins all he gets is the IC title, which isn’t exactly an achievement for the multi-time champion. Instead it might be better if he actually does get his walking papers and has a new lease on life somewhere else.
8: Charlotte & Dana Brooke
With Brooke getting taken out before the match, Charlotte once again had to go it alone and again unlike on PPV, she was not able to withstand the will of Sasha Banks. I’m not really sure why this is happening again but it was a pretty decent match so it is hard to truly complain. The only thing I will say is that it feels like Raw are trying to force the stature of this rivalry by constantly pitting them against each other and giving them the main event at this point. It’s not that it possibly shouldn’t main event a Raw in the future, but right now it feels more like a statement than a deserved spot.
The Death-dealer champs finally lost their titles in a match that was…interesting. Also I think Jeff Hardy might be a bit racist, but then again I am only going off stereotypes that his new character seemed to embrace wholeheartedly (did you see the watermelon?!), so maybe it is supposed to be a statement against that sort of thing. I do enjoy the whole “delete” thing much more than when it started, but it is also pretty out of hand at this point. TNA like to say that this stuff is changing the way we view wrestling, but isn’t it just what WCW used to do and in hindsight looks terrible, cost unnecessary amounts and is something many now try to forget?
6: AJ Styles
Is AJ Styles the first real example of a guy in the modern era who has been allowed to get over on his own without having to be a massively neglected and overlooked underdog first? Apart from his loss to Jericho at Wrestlemania, Styles has looked pretty strong since his debut and even then he did generally win the rivalry so does that even really matter in the end? Now sure he didn’t beat Reigns for the title, but again at that time he was getting a shot way earlier than most guys in their WWE career, and it was against the apparent chosen one, while he was champion! It’s not like he was squashed or anything. Now maybe at the time he was turned it seemed weird, but it has also helped him to develop his WWE personality further and now if he became a face again I think he would stay over no matter what. The whole thing is just so unbelievable that I still think it might be some elaborate joke on the part of Vince McMahon.
5: Eli Drake
I have many general complaints about TNA, but one thing you can’t criticise is their ability to take a talent who in WWE would have probably gotten to midcard at best, not necessarily because of talent mind you, and make them a star. Everyone who watches TNA knows and is at least interested to see Eli Drake, even if they hate his guts (not in the Roman Reigns way for those who don’t, it’s because he is a dickhead heel, the crowd just chant his catchphrases no matter what). He definitely deserved to win the Bound for Gold elimination match and it will be interesting to see how he uses the opportunity. There is the ever-present problem for any heel of Lashley being champion, but who knows where this will lead…he might even be able to end up in NXT at some point. (I know I said that TNA was better at building stars, but once they are built up, as has been seen in Styles, they can now then translate that success to the WWE roster despite what age they might be.)
4: Jericho & Owens
Owens and Jericho are forced to share the spotlight this week, although had it not been Bound for Glory on Sunday they would have no doubt topped the chart together with their great heel antics on Raw. The two work so well together that I really do hope they hold off on any real split for quite a while. Teases like this week are fun in the replacing their team’s name order and then Jericho staring at Owens’ title, but the WWE have a lot of trouble holding back on anything these days so there is a good chance that they will be facing each other as early as Hell in a Cell. To be fair it has been said that this was the plan all along even when Finn Balor was going to be champion so I think it was always in the stars, still sucks though. The highlight of the week, bar things like “Ink it in man!” and everything to do with the List of Jericho (and the startling revelation that Jericho looks exactly like Jeremy Renner when he opens his eyes wide), was certainly when Woods made the joke about Owens not being able to jump over anything and then Owens jumping over him in the lamest fashion in their tag team match. Sure we all know that Owens can do a frickin’ awesome moonsault, but it is still fun to play with stuff like that.
3: Drew Galloway
While he didn’t actually compete at Bound for Glory, Galloway still managed to place high on the chart by being a big part of the Lethal Lockdown match on Impact this week. Also in not actually competing he saved himself from the almost inevitable loss to Aaron Rex in the Grand Championship tournament. I am still not sure if I am down with the rules and structure for these matches, but I suppose at least they are trying to vary the stuff they are doing. Then again it all seems very contrived, just like Gut Check, where they are trying to present something that is more true to life, but then it is structured in such a way as to where it is clearly a work. It’s not that I want these guys to really fight, far from it, it’s just that when you try to do things like this you are almost criticising the nature of professional wrestling, but then also completely using the general pro wrestling model to make up these matches. To me that means that you will probably displease people in both camps of ‘wrestling is great’/’wrestling should be more real’. I just can’t see this gimmick working for any real period of time, also the title itself has a weird name since it sounds fancier than the actual main title, surely that would be confusing to new viewers down the line.
2: Mike Bennett & Maria
It was a bad night for the pair from ROH, capped off with another couple coming in from another company to challenge their general place in TNA. Again it was their efforts on Impact that boosted their rankings to a large degree, but there was also more heel presence at BfG for both Mike and Maria. I am genuinely interested to see a feud between the Rhodes’ and the Bennetts, although I have to say I am not sure about Cody’s music, TNA seems a bit hit and miss when it comes to that type of stuff. There is a good amount of space here for a rivalry to develop and grow for quite a while since you could also add the pair of Moose and Allie at some point and have some crisscrossing. I am torn on whether or not the Miracle had a good year in TNA. He certainly kept his head above water, but then again his match against Moose didn’t feel like all that big a deal to me and in some ways it seems like he should have been in at least a title match at this point. Then again when you factor in his wife, who has become the focal point of the Knockouts division (for better or worse), then as a couple they have certainly had a pretty big year. Who knows, if you tried to calculate who brought in the most heel points for the chart however then I would say that Maria pips her husband to the post by at least a few.
1: Bobby Lashley
I mean it’s hard for anyone else to have come anywhere close. Not only did Lashley win Lethal Lockdown via making EC3 pass out to pick the stipulation of their title match, but then also won at Bound for Glory itself! I love how TNA are trying to make Lashley into Lesnar, going so far as to put him over even at the arguable cost of the company. In some regards you could say that TNA has gone even further than WWE, after all they didn’t let him beat their top face (at least not right off the bat), he never won all the titles and then discarded them, and he didn’t then retain the title at their biggest show. Frankly I am kind of surprised that in this time Lesnar wasn’t made US and IC champ to then discard them like Lashley did, I suppose it’s because WWE sees those titles as so low in stature that they weren’t even worthy of Lesnar to hold, even for a little while. Don’t get me wrong, Lashley is okay, but I still don’t buy into him like I buy into Lesnar. What’s more EC3 is super over and has done nothing but build momentum since debuting in TNA, he deserved a win here and to not get it makes me question TNA’s general aim for the future. Now sure if Cody or Aaron Rex were being positioned to be given a shot then I would kind of get it, but Rex just won the new Grand championship and Cody is clearly going after Bennett, which will most likely be the two biggest storylines that run besides the main title. As it is the only other guys bar EC3 himself who can vie for the title are all heels, and most of them have already been teased or have gotten a shot. I just don’t think Lashley has what it takes to carry the title picture on his own, not by a long way.
Rolling Chart – Week Thirty-Eight
1st Place: Kevin Owens (272) (-)
2nd Place: Chris Jericho (175) (-)
3rd Place: The Miz & Maryse (129) (-)
4th Place: Charlotte (126) (-)
5th Place: Maria & Mike Bennett (123) (-)
6th Place: Matt Hardy (101) (-)
7th Place: AJ Styles (92) (-)
8th Place: Bobby Lashley (84) (+1)
9th Place: Seth Rollins (81) (-1)
10th Place: The Club (74) (-)
That’s all for this week, all in all Bound for Glory was a pretty good show with most of the results being the right thing for the company, still not sure I agree with Lashley retaining though. The one thing, besides money, creative and viewership issues, that keeps the company back from being seen as real competition for the WWE is that they let certain performers (usually from WWE itself) become bigger than the show itself. As much as it is used as an annoying line at times to justify stupid decisions, the modern motto that “no one is bigger than the WWE” rings true as even Lesnar hasn’t been able to actually outright rule the company past how much they want him to be built up. What’s more WWE uses money as an incentive, I would argue that if WWE had Lesnar lose every one of his matches from now on he would actually do it, just so long as they didn’t make him look like a complete punk and paid him enough. Whereas with Lashley, he is just being made to look like he is too good for the company, and that is a dangerous game to play, although at this point you could also argue that they have nothing to lose.
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: charlotte, Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens, Maryse, The Miz