The Heel Report: 02.07.13: The Patriot Act
This is the Heel Report. A weekly chart spanning from Tuesday’s NXT to the Raw Super Show, ranking the heels in professional wrestling based on their actions, wins and losses.
Each Week there are ten places, with points out of ten awarded based on these positions. These points are then added to a rolling chart that will continue each week to show who is wrestling’s overall top heel.
This is a place where the heels of wrestling can be praised for all the hard work they do trying to get us all to hate them, so without further ado let’s get on with the report…
Weekly Top Ten
1st Place: C.M. Punk
Punk continues to prove that he has just as much heel appeal with or without the title around his waist. I’m loving his attempt at being called the ‘People’s Champion’ especially since he seems to be rallying against the audience more and more in his whiny heel rants. This time he talked about everyone’s ‘Fat little incriminating fingers’ being pointed at him and claiming that the Heyman-Shield video must have been ‘CGI’ which is a great piece of bullshit among the fairly valid points of if Vince McMahon wanted to frame someone he could easily do so ‘on his own show’. To top it all off he had a great TV match with Jericho, once again proving just who is the best in the world right now.
2nd Place: Jack Swagger
Sure I was expecting a face turn, or even just some new ring gear for Jack Swagger upon his return, but instead we get floppy hair and a new name for the Ankle Lock, i.e. The Patriot Act, which sounds terrible to me but whatever. Personally I think Swagger could have had a much better return but in terms of momentum at least he was ahead of pretty much everyone else on the chart with a new no-nonsense attitude and two TV wins that should at least put him in the running for a place in the Smackdown Elimination Chamber match. Although we all thought the main matches for Wrestlemania were set with Jericho, Swagger and Henry returning, things may still change, at least in the World title picture.
3rd Place: Aries & Roode
Next stop the tag team titles! As one great heel team dissolves another is firmly formed and look to take off in TNA in a big way. Roode and Aries could do great things as a tag team and be at least as entertaining as Team Hell No in terms of odd-couple antics, but also with a more heel spin. All I will say is that they’d better damn win the titles off of Chavo and Hernandez because that team has done nothing as champions and are just keeping the belts warm before a real team come along to take them…and since TNA have no real tag teams to speak of, and they won’t let Bad Influence back near the titles for some reason, Roode & Aries will make a serviceable alternative until TNA actually has a tag division to speak of once again.
4th Place: Dolph Ziggler
I don’t care if Ziggler tapped on Smackdown and wasn’t even featured on Raw, his performance on Saturday Morning Slam against Zack Ryder was a great example of a cocky heel being just that, and the fact that he won clean shows just how far ahead of Ryder he is right now. That might not sound all that great but there was a time where the two were neck-and-neck and even where Ryder was beating Ziggler on a regular basis, if you can believe that. Personally I would have loved to have seen Swagger come back as a face for the very reason of being able to earn a shot at the title in the Elimination Chamber, and having Ziggler cash in at the event, so that at Mania we got Ziggler vs. Swagger for the title, drawing off their time together under Vicky Guerrero and that whole rivalry where Ziggler showed himself to be better than Swagger on a weekly basis.
5th Place: Big Show
A juxtaposition between the writing styles on Raw and Smackdown as you have the nicely done segment on Smackdown where Del Rio tried to destroy the Big Show with a lead pipe in the parking lot, and a shoddy segment on Raw where Del Rio attacked Big Show in his hotel (perhaps you can already see my bias). The thing is that the Smackdown attack felt more real, the camera was shakey and very little actually happened as Big Show escaped relatively unscathed, but the sloppy brawl that ensued made you believe that it was happening, that the Big Show was struggling for his life and wanted to get out of the situation in any way possible, which he eventually did. Whereas on Raw everything was slick with the whole ‘live via satellite’ routine, spread over three scenes and ending with Del Rio laying out the Big Show. But it all just stank of being false and staged, as those ‘via satellite’ segments often do, and that whole spiel that Big Show rattled off about protecting Del Rio was pretty weak, and made Del Rio look weak until he finally got the upper hand. I am actually starting to like the rivalry between the two but the attack on Smackdown did a hell of a lot more to sell it to me than the one on Smackdown, which honestly wasn’t really needed to move the feud along anyway.
6th Place: Bad Influence
Daniels & Kazarian went full Scottish this week in an attempt to rile up the English fans in the Impact audience (do we still call it the ‘Impact Zone’ when it is not in Orlando?). You have to love the effort these guys go to, especially Daniels, to work the crowd, and I personally love their music, while it is simple it stays with you and is a hell of a lot better than most of TNA’s other offerings. The only problem now is that the team have very little to do, apart from be awesome of course.
7th Place: Antonio Cesaro
Cesaro finally got his at the hands of Ryback on Raw after running from the monster on several occasions during their matches. Still Cesaro was made to look pretty strong throughout and I would imagine that a US title match between the two is in the cards either for the Elimination Chamber or at Wrestlemania itself, a lot of it depends on when Ryback goes against the Shield on PPV, which will no doubt happen at some point soon.
8th Place: Garrett Bischoff & Wes Brisco
I’m grouping these guys together as recently they have never been seen apart, and in the vague hope that these will be the two men that Aces & 8s use to represent their presence in the tag team division. I could easily see the heel champion team of Aries & Roode turning face as they are paired up against this duo with the whole of Aces & 8s behind them, both men have prior dealings with the group and it would give some needed prominence to the once great tag team division. We all saw it coming for months but now Brisco & Bischoff finally turned on Kurt Angle and officially revealed themselves as members of the Aces & 8s. Now that most guys revealed have been those who were actually in the masks at the beginning you have to believe that D’Lo Brown will appear at some stage and personally that Bully Ray will still be the leader in a HHH-Stephanie style reveal in a couple of months, which actually would be pretty awesome and make some deal of sense.
9th Place: Mark Henry
The surprise pre-Wrestlemania returns keep coming as this week the World’s Strongest Man came back on Raw and destroyed Mysterio and Sin Cara. I have no idea how the WWE expects to set up a feud between the two masked wonders in what little time they have before Mania, so perhaps Henry will be the opponent for one or both of them instead. Personally I am curious to see where Henry goes from here, after all he wouldn’t have returned now unless the WWE had something juicy for the former world champion, but what could it be?
10th Place: The Shield
The Shield came damn close to finally getting their comeuppance this week, and surprise, surprise it came at the hands of John Cena. Still this was not the same ‘Cena takes out every member of the Nexus single-handedly’ type of deal. He had a damn lot of backup and all they succeeded in doing was making the Shield retreat, something that Big E. Langston was able to do on NXT just by his mere presence, so I don’t think we should be sending our commiserations to the team just yet. I am wondering though if this will be a single Elimination Chamber match year as if Sheamus and Ryback are teaming up with Cena for the PPV then that takes out two very prominent participants in what I would be the line-up for the Raw chamber match. Honestly at this point who knows what the WWE is thinking.
1. Alberto Del Rio (281)
2. Robert Roode (280)
3. Dolph Ziggler (275)
4. Daniel Bryan (274)
5. Cody Rhodes (262)
6. The Big Show (246)
7. C.M. Punk (221)
8. The Miz (188)
9. Mark Henry (183)
10. Bully Ray (170)
The Wright View:
Now I know you can’t just blame the one man who makes the announcements, after all they have a whole bunch of people behind them telling them what to do. Still there is a difference between presenting these decisions or lack thereof in a smooth, easy to swallow fashion, or in a train wreck that makes everyone think that the WWE has no clue what they are doing even at this stage. It is this second style of presentation that Booker T delivered this week. First of all we had the Smackdown opening segment, where Booker had assembled six former world champions in the ring, was interrupted by Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler, and then acted like he was going to simply announce the six men left as the Elimination Chamber participants, instead they were going to have some form of matches and this may or may not lead to them being in the Chamber, based on nothing in particular. Then there was Booker’s shameless plugging of the WWE app on Raw, accompanied by him stumbling over his words so bad that you would think he was a rookie on his first day. I know it’s live television and all but I think Punk was completely justified in asking whether or not Booker was drunk. On top of this when he was on commentary, for whatever reason that was, he simply gave away two of the participant’s names, before one of them had even had a match that night! I don’t know if the WWE planned it out that way or if Booker simply decided to blurt it out and they just went with it but it was all pretty damn sloppy, and while WWE booking is in large part to blame you can’t help but question why Booker is the GM of Smackdown if he is still tripping over his lines and sounding like he is off his nut half the time, and covering it all up with a catchphrase or two at the end isn’t fooling anyone.
Y2J & C.M. Punk
Not only did these two have a great match on Raw, which should have probably been the main event rather than the Cena-Shield thing, which was complete proof that Cena gets the main event spot no matter what for the most part, but they also massively showed up the problem with Cena being the major focus of the company. By this I mean that both men were over with the crowd and so everyone was involved and no matter the outcome you were going to pop the crowd. I’ll put it like this; is it better for one half of an audience to love a guy and the other half to audibly hate him, or for one side of the crowd to be in support of one guy and the other side to be rooting for the other? Sure the first is more evocative, but the second is more sustainable and means that in the end both men are getting over, no one is being eclipsed by an outside matter and we don’t get the fans separated by a sheer animosity that goes beyond the show and current feud. I’m just hoping that the WWE don’t decide to turn Jericho heel again before he departs as the crowd is solidly behind him and while he does better as a heel I don’t think the WWE needs another heel like Jericho at the moment, Punk and Ziggler pretty much have that covered in spades.
Drew McIntyre Exposes Himself to Natalya
I don’t have much to praise that I haven’t already on the heel side of things so I’ll just say that I enjoyed Drew McIntyre’s thrusting this week, not in that way! Instead it just really sold that he has embraced his new attitude as a rock star and has left his old stale gimmick of the failed ‘chosen one’ which really wasn’t going anywhere. Hopefully after a rather bumpy road McIntyre is at least in a stable position where he is enjoying what he does, which if this is the case then it is more than a lot of us can say in our jobs. I still can’t see 3MB rising past where they are right now but where they are right now isn’t really all that bad, hell they even win occasionally, and I’d assert that McIntyre would make a great NXT champion at some point down the road, which is a damn sight better than being shown the door.
The Handling of Brock Lesnar
Now let me preface this by saying that there is nothing wrong with bringing in some outside talent if they have a big enough appeal, and paying silly money for athletes is a regular occurrence so the five million dollar price tag that Brock came with shouldn’t put your nose too far out of joint. What we can object to though is just how poorly Lesnar has been used thus far this year. Sure he had a couple of good weeks with Cena and a fine match with HHH at Summerslam, and certainly increased viewership and buyrates. But then you see him going up against the Miz this week and you wonder just what the WWE thinks they spent all of their money on. So much money for so little ‘ground-breaking’ moments and innovative content, it just doesn’t make sense. Now if you pay that much for an athlete normally and they don’t deliver you can’t really be to blame, they have the hype but if their performance isn’t up to par then it is their fault. Whereas with the WWE they have relative control over how things go down with Lesnar and yet they continue to mess things up. Can anybody really look back on the year so far and say that the two matches Brock has fought have been worth the hype and the seeming discord that Lesnar’s presence has seemed to cause? It just seems like the WWE are afraid to incorporate Lesnar into any of their main storylines and so he exists as an entity to himself and no one is really getting any sort of rub from his presence. The Miz is pretty much the first guy who Lesnar has had any contact with who is in any need of getting over, and I doubt many other guys will even get the chance to get as far as the Miz did with the guy. Now sure some of this could be an ego thing on the part of Lesnar, but if he was willing to go through with the loss to Cena, which pretty much completely invalidated his return, then you’d have to imagine he would be willing to have lost to a guy like Punk, or maybe even Ryback. Now sure Wrestlemania hasn’t happened yet and so we don’t know exactly what is going to happen at this point, but if it is indeed Lesnar vs. HHH 2 then who has really benefitted from Lesnar’s presence in the WWE in the long-term? Of course there is his signing of a new two-year deal with the company and maybe that will see him involved with more up and coming stars, and maybe this year has mostly been about keeping Brock sweet, but so far from a fan’s point of view at least, Lesnar has not been worth it, not one bit.
I’ll start with Nick Marsico (He plugged me twice after all!), keep up to date with all the wrestling news with The Tuesday Communique
Gavin Napier gives you something shiny to stare at in The Contentious Ten
Ryan Byers speculates over the teams that never happened in The 8-Ball
Shawn S. Lealos ranks some Horror Movie sequels in The 411 Movies Top 5
Finally as always the 411 Staff bring to you The Wrestler of the Week
That’s all for this week, the Elimination Chamber is just around the corner, and Lockdown is at some point. I sure hope that TNA really does have things properly planned out or else this whole ‘going live’ and ‘cutting back on PPVs’ might blow up right in their faces. Sure it is nice that the company is listening to the fans to some extent, but is it really worth the gamble? We’ll just have to wait and see, me personally I believe that quality is the key in the long term and that if your product is good enough people will buy no matter what, a controversial view I know. For now this is James Wright signing off.