The Heel Report: 02.21.13: We The Shield
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: Aries & Roode
Despite some great performances at the Elimination Chamber it is hard to beat a heel duo who are on top of their game and go out there and put on one of the best weasel-heel performances ever against each other in a one-on-one match. There were so many great heel moments from start to finish, beginning with a stereo ‘finger-poke of doom’, which led to an eventual Aries double-cross anyway, then there was a double chair fake-out where both men tried to convince the referee that the other had hit them with a steel chair, neither man actually receiving a shot and so not even threatening any sort of premature breakup of the new heel super-team, and it all ended on a double count out when both men, distracted by Chavo & Hernandez, wouldn’t let the other get back into the ring on time. The whole thing was just excellent and I’m not sure how any performance, no matter how good, by a single heel, could ever have beaten it.
2nd Place: Jack Swagger
Any other week and Swagger probably would have taken this one home, not only did he pull off a surprise win at the Elimination Chamber to become the number one contender for the World Title, but there is something to be said for garnering legitimate heat with a gimmick to the point where after only two weeks back he is being commented on by major news sources (even if most of them are full of shit). Swagger’s character has raised the ire of a lot of people already, a lot of people who clearly haven’t done any real research into what is going on and therefore are getting even more worked up than they would be otherwise. The WWE is walking a fine line with this one, let’s just hope that they actually let Del Rio go over Swagger so that we don’t get another HHH-Booker T scenario, but then what about the Ziggler cash-in? Hell maybe they are keeping that card in their pocket in case this angle gets too hot in the next few weeks.
3rd Place: The Shield
Well F*ck me sideways, who would have ever thought that the WWE would have brought in a group of relatively unknown individuals and given them such a sustained push where they are constantly going over the company’s top stars but not over-extending themselves or making things unbelievable. Their match at TLC was great, but honestly I preferred these past two matches simply because they were really sold as a unit. There wasn’t a moment where each man wasn’t looking out for the others and finding any and every advantage they could to win against legitimate main event-level opponents. Since the WWE seem to have forgotten that they are supposed to be pushing the tag team division I would suggest giving the belts to the Shield so that they can tide the division over for the better part of six months so that stuff around Rock and Brock can die down and the booking and writers can focus on this pet project again, also we might get some damned interesting matches out of it.
4th Place: C.M. Punk
Punk was once again unsuccessful against the Rock, but with the events of the match where Punk clearly had Rock down for a three-count, and the following night on Raw when there was no gong and Punk didn’t ride off quietly into the night, I have to believe that there is still a shot that Punk will be inserted into the Rock-Cena match, if just to tide him over now that it looks like the Undertaker won’t be making an appearance this year. Of course in all this Punk will probably still lose out to Cena, as honestly we all know this is the Cena redemption story, the only question is whether he would pin Rock or Punk in the match to exercise his ‘demons’ after losing to both men when it really mattered.
5th Place: Mark Henry
So the Hall of Pain was actually a red herring all along eh? More likely the WWE actually had no real idea who was winning the chamber match until the night itself so Henry had every chance of winning really. But now that he didn’t you have to hope that he won’t lose all the momentum he created since coming back a couple of weeks ago. I just hope that Raw isn’t any indication of who The World’s Strongest Man’s Wrestlemania opponent is going to be, sure I liked how Henry mocked the Great Khali with his dancing and how that could be a trigger to make Khali become more vicious, on paper that works, but this is Khali we are talking about, it just won’t translate when put into practice and it would be a waste to match the two up on the grandest stage. More likely it will be Orton, Ryback or Sheamus, depending on who is free and who is facing the Shield.
6th Place: The Big Show
Well that’s about it for the Big Show in the world title picture I would say. He certainly had a good run but I’m not sure he will be able to keep up his momentum now as he has pretty much feuded with everyone of interest on the Smackdown side of things (if you can even consider it a separate brand at this point). All I can think is Ryback but there is nothing between the two so far and Big Hungry seems to be at least double-booked as it is what with the Shield and a possible (although now more unlikely) match with Cesaro at the Granddaddy of them all. Also who saw that tap out loss coming? Doesn’t really make any sense due to all the emphasis on Del Rio pinning the giant but ah well, I’m also still a little let down that there was no post-match beat down and MitB cash in by Ziggler, but as I said before, keeping Ziggler as an insurance policy has its merits, I just wish they didn’t have to have him lose all the time before they actually pull the trigger on him.
7th Place: Zeb Coulter
Swagger’s mouthpiece is clearly the more controversial of the pair and I could see him outstripping his protégé on numerous occasions on the chart if this partnership continues. It is pretty scary reading fan reports where members of the audience were apparently agreeing with what Coulter is saying rather than booing as is clearly the aim. Still the gimmick actually asks some good questions about what being a ‘patriot’ in America entails, and where intense Americana can lead when ignorance is involved.
8th Place: Antonio Cesaro
Now wouldn’t it be interesting to see how this man and the new Jack Swagger interact, my guess is that the WWE will be keeping them as far away from each other as possible so that we don’t have to find out and the interaction forces either a tag team or a premature face turn from one of the two. Honestly I believed that Swagger was going to come back as a face and take the US title away from Cesaro, but instead we get a continuation of the Miz-Cesaro feud, which in all honesty hasn’t been all that amazing. They have had some decent matches and interactions but nothing to write home about, I always thought Miz was tiding over Cesaro for Ryback or Swagger but now it looks like it will be yet another match between the two at Mania, well at least Cesaro can perhaps go over now on the Grandest Stage.
9th Place: Big E. Langston
The clock is ticking ever closer to us seeing Big E. in an actual match, I like how the WWE has teased his physicality, not letting us see too much at once. Of course he is still the NXT champion so you can obviously see him in the ring on that fine show, but let’s not pretend that most people have the sense to watch the WWE’s best and brightest young talent. What I would like to see is Big E. carrying the belt around with him once Ziggler wins the world title, right now it might outshine the Zig Zag man, but if they did that and had AJ win the Divas belt at the same time then that trio would look way more dominant than they do right now.
10th Place: Dolph Ziggler
Speaking of which Dolph seemingly still looks pretty weak, losing to Del Rio twice and only getting a tokenary win over Kofi Kingston at the Elimination Chamber. This match was so last minute and only given a tiny amount of time which shows that they had nothing for Ziggler on the event. However this lack of booking prior to the event actually gives me hope for Ziggler’s future since I believe the WWE were trying to bait us all into believing that because Ziggler wasn’t booked he would be cashing in at the event, while this was a swerve that didn’t happen in the end it shows that the WWE are always thinking about Ziggler and his MitB case, it’s the same way with his multiple cash-in attempts, sure in the short term it makes Ziggler look weak for failing so many times to seal the deal, but the fact that he hasn’t actually lost the case shows that the WWE are always testing the audience to see how they would feel about a Ziggler cash-in and are just waiting for the right time to make it happen. Arguably he could have been champion all this time while the belt has been juggled between Sheamus, Big Show and Del Rio, but nevermind about that.
1. Robert Roode (290)
2. Alberto Del Rio (281)
3. Dolph Ziggler (277)
4. Daniel Bryan (274)
5. Cody Rhodes (267)
6. The Big Show (257)
7. C.M. Punk (236)
8. Mark Henry (198)
9. The Miz (188)
10. Austin Aries (174)
The Wright View:
The Dancing Fools
Sure this was fun at first, but already it has gotten stale and now this team are going over guys like the Rhodes Scholars simply because they do a little dance at the end. This whole ‘wacky partnership’ thing only works so well, apart from anything else it is hard to believe that every time Tensi doesn’t want to dance and then every time he is convinced by being spanked on the behind by either Cameron or Naomi. What’s more the guy only has about five dance moves that he just repeats over and over again. Honestly there is nothing wrong with a jokey tag team for a bit of light-hearted entertainment, but if they are going to be given significant air time and a solid push they are going to have to have more to them. At first this was a welcome change for Tensi as his character had fallen flat, and a new lease of life for Brodus Clay as he had pretty much been relegated to a side-act anyway. Now though both men are already losing steam and I am not the first person to grumble over how their entertaining union has already started to look like bad WWE-style comedy. Bryan and Kane worked because they had a bunch of well written skits that made us like them as a duo, good or bad, and they have continued to develop with their dynamic up to this point where they are on the verge of breaking up. All Tensi and Brodus have had is the same tired segment repeated several times and a cheap plug with action figures and frankly it just isn’t enough to get people to care for more than five mintues.
The New WWE Title
Now I like many others hold the opinion that this new WWE title is not the best belt possible, but is a damn sight better than the old belt, which has been around for far too long. I agree that the new belt lacks all that much imagination on the front and the side panels of brahma bulls, are clearly transitional. However I also kind of like this fact since while it is not a classic design it is in its own way timeless, or at least timeless as long as the company logo doesn’t change. There is something pretty cool about the idea of having a simple company logo belt where the sides can be customised to the champion, it will hopefully make each championship reign seem more significant and the belt’s face design could stand the test of time. Although honestly I wouldn’t have encrusted the WWE logo with diamonds, but I can see the point; it harks back to the former design for all those who liked the ‘bling’ look, and it also represents the white colouring of the logo itself, making it stand out, enforcing that recent mantra of ‘no one man is bigger than the WWE’ that occurred during the imitation Summer of Punk. Overall time will tell if the belt is actually successful, but it certainly isn’t a car wreck, and you can’t claim that the WWE are jipping anyone with how long they kept around that good awful spinner belt, unlike John Cena t-shirts, where every other week the parents of the kids who buy the shirts groan as he debuts another one in a slightly different colour and the one they just brought for their kid is now passé. What’s more you have to love the irony of Punk saying he would bring change and change the title as champion and that change actually only came once he lost the belt, almost as if he was getting in the way of his own promised change by being the champion for so long, with no real good moment to swap out the belts.
Roman Reigns’ Spear
Talk about a move that is legitimately ‘out of nowhere’, in their match at Elimination Chamber this past week Reign’s spear was used twice to turn things around for the Shield and has devastated Ryback and Sheamus, driving one through the barricade and leading to a rare pinfall victory over the other. This is really just another excuse to praise the group but Reign’s spear looks so impactful that it gets some special attention, of course Rollins’ flying knee is also pretty cool and took out Jericho in the same way on Raw, but the spear has been utilised more often so far and looks like it could take any opponent down for the count at any point. It will certainly serve the guy well once the group go their separate ways, although hopefully that won’t be for some time to come yet.
The Rhodes Scholars
This was bad, I know the two are supposedly broken up and I am enjoying the gag of how ‘hard’ it is to get them back together but honestly reassembling the duo to lose to Tensi and Clay on a pre-show seems just sad. What’s more these guys never won the tag team titles, which is a crime in itself. I honestly don’t know what the WWE was thinking here; the two clearly work well together and no one was really tired of their act, and yet they never let them win the gold and then broke them up only to have both men job out to other guys and then they put them back together only to lose again, it just makes no sense to me! Here we have two of the most talented heel performers in the WWE, all set last year to take off in a big way, and yet here they are floundering once again, how have they managed to fall through the cracks?
Ken Hill presents the staff’s top WWE title matches in The Top 5
Shawn S. Lealos gives the most anticipated comic book series of 2013 in Alternate Takes
Joseph Lee has the top Horror Romances in A Bloody Good Time
Ken Hill comes in again with the top tag team break-out stars in The 8-Ball
The 411 staff have the Wrestler of the Week
Christopher Daniels on Impact – While he might have gone from competing for the title to being taken out rather easily by Magnus, in arguably a pointless competition for a shot at the title, he is still doing his heel thing. This week Impact was again emanating from the UK and so Daniels modified his glove to give the fans a two-fingered salute rather than one, a really nice touch and something us Brits can appreciate. Honestly I think TNA should have let Daniels take the title, if only for the month and if only to reward him for being so great a character in TNA without ever actually winning the world title, still it looks like he will have to wait still further for the opportunity, which is a real shame.
That’s all for this week, Elimination Chamber actually did little to solve the questions of what matches will be taking place at Wrestlemania. After all we still don’t know if Punk will actually be involved with Rock and Cena, we can’t be sure that Ziggler won’t cash in and ruin the prospective Swagger-Del Rio match, Shield will probably face Ryback but there are no guarantees and nothing has happened with the Lesnar-HHH situation yet, not to mention a no-show by the Undertaker. So really there is everything to play for in the WWE at this point, now maybe it will all resolve with a numbing inevitability but you never know, they might just surprise you as the Road to Wrestlemania rolls on. For now this is James Wright *Breaking News: Jack Swagger is F*cked, that is all* signing off.