wrestling / Columns

The Heel Report: 01.03.13: Show-Stopping Heels

January 3, 2013 | Posted by James Wright

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: The Big Show

The World’s Largest Champion ended his year with a bang, defending his World title not once but twice, twice! On Smackdown he took on Alberto Del Rio before winning by DQ, and then on Raw he picked Del Rio’s announcer Ricardo to face, before once again winning by DQ when Del Rio himself got involved. While their last feud was far from stellar I am quietly optimistic about this apparent new feud as while it seems like it is a bit of filler and to me the idea that Sheamus, Show and Del Rio have been competing for the title for over half a year is a little depressing, I think that the two might really help each other in reinventing their roles as heel and face. After all Del Rio so far has been struggling to get over as a face due to his turn being so sudden, and being associated with the Miz, who is struggling in the same role himself, but in defending Ricardo from the menace of the Big Show he can begin to be seen in such a light, and he made massive strides this week, sticking up for his friend and even letting him drive one of his fancy cars to the ring for his title match. As well as this the Big Show has been floundering a little as of late, having the same old monster heel problem of not being able to act as an unstoppable monster once winning the title and resorting to playing the weasely heel role so as to protect his baby-face opponent. Now in going up against Del Rio and more importantly Ricardo he has found a nice new niche of being a massive bully, picking on men much smaller than him. It is a natural role for the giant and helps him look like a complete douche bag, KOing Ricardo on Smackdown and then going on to pick on him further on Raw, it really made him look like a complete dick of a champion, encouraging the crowd to get behind anyone that can give him is comeuppance

2nd Place: Austin Aries

One of the two men who put on one of the best heel performances in a match in the last year, and only ahead because he wasn’t the one who ate a Twist of Fate from Jeff Hardy. The TNA main event displayed the best and worst that the company had to offer. Best in that it had the company’s two top heels trying to out-cheat each other in a great and even matchup, up until both men decided they were fed up of the referee interfering so they both gut-shotted him and chucked him out the ring. And it showed the worst of the company when before the match Jeff Hardy delivered what was perhaps his worst inner monologue to date, all about his ‘Creatures’ and full of self-righteous comparisons between himself and the two, as if he is any sort of moral character to be lauded above anyone else.

3rd Place: Robert Roode

The other half of the match was made up of this man, previously thought a possible face by yours truly, now confirmed as at best being a tweener, but more likely his actions were just a tester to see how the crowd would react to him. Roode played the great role of foil in this match, constantly finding counters for many of Austin Aries’ misdeeds. He never fell for his feigning a leg injury. I think the two men set the tone at the start when they both shook hands and simultaneously hit each other with cheap shots that led both men to a stalemate, neither one gaining the advantage. The match ended very much the same way and while I hate that Hardy got the advantage I am hoping that both men will find their way into a match against the champion so that we can see another one of those triple threat matches that TNA has always had a good history with.

4th Place: C.M. Punk

Punk’s New Year’s Eve promo helped to solidify the champion as being much more of a dick heel than before, targeting the fans as being below him, but not as a crazy cult leader or a whiny, underappreciated champion, but now as a self-entitled prick, confident after being champion for over 400 days. Punk is channelling a classic heel vibe and I think is content to run out the rest of his WWE title run, all the while getting more and more anti-WWE, perhaps leading to another conflict with Vince McMahon at Wrestlemania if somehow the Undertaker-Punk, or Austin-Punk matches never materialise, which they very well may not. Honestly a Punk-McMahon rematch might not be the worst way to top off the storyline which started the night Punk delivered his now famous Pipe-Bomb speech, things didn’t work out so well when Punk tried to take on the future CEO of the WWE, but maybe he could make his mark by putting the current CEO out of business for good on the grandest stage of them all.

5th Place: The Shield

The next test for the Shield looks to be coming in the form of the team of Sheamus, Ryback and Randy Orton, a tough test by any measure. This week the Shield delivered a great taped promo and a vicious beat down to the Celtic Warrior which would result in his involvement later in the night. It isn’t clear yet if and when these six men will square off, if the WWE will wait until the Royal Rumble or if they will meet at points in the Rumble itself, but one thing is for certain and that is that right now the Shield have a lot of excitement surrounding them so here’s hoping that in the new year the WWE can keep up this excitement and deliver without jobbing out the group too much in the process like they did with Ryback in these past few months.

6th Place: Dolph Ziggler

Ziggler once again was a major focus on Raw this week, it is just a shame of him that so many others were on top of their game as well. Still going into 2013 it looks like Ziggler will be a much bigger star than he was in 2012. Sure he ended the night by being covered in excrement, but for the most part he delivered a solid promo and actually managed to avoid being Brogue kicked for the 4039th time, so in this way we can see just how far the Zig Zag man has come since pairing up with AJ and the Big E. With them watching his back Ziggler could really go places and hopefully have a substantial title run sooner rather than later.

7th Place: Antonio Cesaro

The US champ went further in his anti-American image on Raw as he defended his US title against Sgt. Slaughter and made short work of the WWE Veteran, even escaping the dreaded Cobra Clutch. He ended things by delivering a Neutraliser to the Sgt and a second one after the match just to add insult to injury. Cesaro didn’t have the greatest week last week and he has certainly passed his undefeated section of his WWE career, but while he continues to search for a suitable opponent to feud with over his title, he was made to look strong this week and certainly pulled up from taking any sort of nose dive as champ.

8th Place: Wade Barrett

Hot on the heels of Cesaro is Wade Barrett, who took the IC title off of Kofi Kingston on Monday night Raw. The two have crossed paths in recent weeks in tag matches and a surprise Fatal-4-Way a short time ago and if somehow the WWE wanted to combine the belts by the time Wrestlemania rolled around I would be all for it. This probably won’t happen however, despite one mid-card belt perhaps being more beneficial in the long run as the WWE might then be forced to give us some highly competitive feuds as the best of the mid-card talent would only be the ones to get shots at the champion, but ah well. All I hope is that Barrett isn’t forced to always defend his belt against guys like Santino and Hornswaggle the whole time.

9th Place: Daniels & Kazarian

The former World Tag Team Champions of the World couldn’t catch a break this week as once again the team of Chavo and Hernandez were able to best them in a non-title match. However beforehand we were treated to a great AJ Styles impression by Franky Kazarian, which nearly made up for all his weak-linkness over the past year. While the two might have been engaged in a feud with Styles for far too long it is hard to describe their segment this week as anything less than hilarious.

10th Place: The Rhodes Scholars

Continuing to do their best to rise above moustache prejudice, the Rhodes Scholars took on the Miz and John Cena in a losing battle. Still they made quite a stir to kick off Raw and should hopefully be in line for a title shot at some point, that is if Cody’s moustache doesn’t get so over beforehand that it shoots off and has its own singles push, breaking up the team.

(Week 74):

1. Alberto Del Rio (281)

2. Daniel Bryan (274)

3. Robert Roode (263)

4. Cody Rhodes (256)

5. Dolph Ziggler (242)

6. The Big Show (218)

7. The Miz (188)

8. Mark Henry (181)

9. C.M. Punk (178)

10. Bully Ray (170)

The Wright View:

Mae Young Is Pregnant Again

Now granted some of what took place at the backstage New Year’s party advanced the show and set up matches, but this whole angle was just terrible and unnecessary. Everything from the fake doctor who had just happened to bring his doctor’s coat after having been out in the ring with C.M. Punk to Hornswaggle coming out of the nearly 90-year old’s vagina as Baby New Year. I get that the WWE were trying to put on a good show and give a nod to a ridiculous storyline of the past, and sure professional wrestling has never been particularly high-brow, nor should it be, but as a fan it makes it hard to even admit to liking professional wrestling when segments like this lower the tone so much of the product that it dips below even soap opera level to just weird and twisted ideas of what is supposed to be funny, as if they got together the half-breed offspring of reality TV and soap stars and asked them what they would think would be most entertaining for the viewers. I am almost tempted to say that the WWE snuck this one in knowing that all wrestling columns’ End of Year awards were compiled and no one could nominate this for worst segment at the last minute.

Acknowledging Past Feuds

Now perhaps this should be a given but we all know how the WWE has a nasty habit of completely failing to acknowledge past history between two wrestlers who have feuded in the past and are now both on the same team. This week however when the Miz and John Cena teamed together they made sure to highlight the two’s rocky history, although I don’t remember them specifically mentioning that they had already been tag team champions together at one point. The two opponents at Wrestlemania 27 have a rich history and it deserves to be acknowledged, not just swept under the rug. And once again Cena helped put Miz over, something he seems to like doing, contrary to his usual style of winning against his opponents no matter what and caring about getting the last word so often that he will directly go against company wishes to deliver a promo when he should be being stretchered out of an arena.

Big E. Catcher

Two times this week Dolph Ziggler has been launched at his new bodyguard and both times the man has caught him in impressive fashion. The first time Ziggler flew at him like an arrow and Big E. caught him without budging, which admittedly was probably more dangerous for Ziggler than if he had given way, I’m still not sure if Ziggler’s look of shock after being caught was from the feat itself or from his life flashing before his eyes as he ran into a brick wall. The second came on Raw when Sheamus chucked Ziggler into Big E.’s arms, while this was impressive in itself what is more impressive is that he almost fumbled Ziggler but managed to hold onto him with one arm before righting himself. Basically this guy is just raw power and now that they seem to be teasing some kind of confrontation with Sheamus I am looking forward to the two eventually squaring off, I imagine such a meeting will take place in the Rumble match in a few short weeks.

Mr. Anderson Turns Again

This was ridiculous, I’m glad they are finding a use for him again but it is probably only a matter of weeks before he turns on the group and becomes a face once again before disappearing from our screens for a few months, coming back again as a heel for no good reason, and repeat.

Obligatory End of Year Awards:

Heel of the Year: Austin Aries

No man represented the cool and cocky heel more than Austin Aries this year, at times it was hard for him to keep the crowd from cheering him and that is probably what turned him face for a few months before TNA decided to switch him back to being a heel to make his feud with Hardy more clear cut for the fans, who are clearly seen as too stupid to decide for themselves who they want to root for. Still in his year as TNA’s fastest rising star he showed more charisma than any other heel and is responsible for some of TNA’s best matches and moments.

Heel Promo of the Year: Chris Jericho Trolls the Audience

Going all the way back to the beginning of the year when Jericho made his return, we witnessed another phase in the career of Jericho and one never seen before; the silent Jericho. He would keep this up for several week, each time being too choked up to actually say anything and making us all look like the smarks that we are. Sure after the second time many of us had caught on that this was all some sort of ploy, but it still exposed the WWE Universe as the fickle sheep that they truly are.

Most Improved Heel of the Year: Dolph Ziggler

Now you might argue that Ziggler has always been this good, but often times he was never allowed to show it. It has been a long road for Ziggler to get the chance to actually deliver promos and become a main focus of the show. After all it was around this time last year that ZIggler was competing for the WWE championship, but through that time he was completely overshadowed by Punk, who in turn was being overshadowed by John Cena and the Rock, and so Dolph barely got a look in. But look at him now, he isn’t even competing for either title and yet he gets to finish off the last Raw of 2012, delivering a great promo and working with the face of the company. Not too shabby for a man who started his career as a caddy and then a cheerleader.

Heel Turn of the Year: The Big Show

The angry giant proved just how angry he was when he came out at Over the Limit and cost John Cena a match against Johnny Ace. To be honest there weren’t all that many shocking heel turns this year, unless you want to count Devon as being revealed as the first face of Aces & 8s, but that was more of a let-down than a shocking moment. What’s more Show’s turn led to a near year of dominance as he was in main event with John Cena before then going on to feud with Sheamus for the World title, which he now holds. At the time I was sceptical as to how much presence this heel turn would actually afford the Big Show, thinking that he would be back in the mid-card within a couple of months, but he has held his own and certainly managed to erase the image of begging for his job in the middle of the ring, which would have been the last thing we ever saw of him had he not made the move to turn heel by clocking John Cena with a KO punch.

Villainess of the Year: Gail Kim

While it wasn’t for the whole year and while the division is dwindling, Gail Kim certainly held it captive for the majority of her time as Knockouts champion, working her way through the division and making herself the longest running Knockouts champion ever. She also held the Knockout tag titles for a long while along with her singles title, making it a golden first half of the year for the woman who helped form what was once considered the best women’s division in professional wrestling.

Most Pointless Heel of the Year: Robbie E

While ‘little’ Robbie started off the year as TV champion he quickly dropped the belt to Devon, and then spent the next couple of months trying desperately to get it back before being entered into the BFG series, in which he managed to lose nearly every one of his matches, only fluking a win due to a count out. Overall Jesse might be a more pointless heel than Robbie E, but we have had to put up with his annoying gimmick longer, so that’s why it falls to him to be called the most pointless heel of the year, although perhaps you could replace his name with Robbie T’s if you like.

Worst Face of the Year: Jeff Hardy

That’s right, as much as John Cena urks me there are some arguments to be made for why he is at least a partially redeemable character, such as the fact that he actually lost quite a few times this year, and can at times be willing to put a guy over, as long as his name is either Miz, Edge or C.M. Punk. But nothing can redeem the ‘Charismatic Enigma’ (seriously that moniker alone should land him here) Jeff Nero Hardy. You’d think a guy like Hardy, who completely embarrassed himself and his company last year would be a little more humble right now, but instead he has allowed himself to be apparently forgiven by everyone and now even holds the TNA world title, taking it away from the much more deserving Austin Aries as a boon to try to convince him to stay with the company in the coming year, which no doubt Hardy will not honour and like the rat he is he will jump ship to the WWE once again. What’s more not only did Hardy take the title when he should never be allowed, or allow himself to carry a major title again after his actions, but he also has been the pioneer behind the excruciating, suspension of disbelief shattering inner monologues that send me reeling each time they appear, growing more and more egocentric as they go.

Heel Debut of the Year: The Shield

Not since the Nexus has a group made such a big impact as when the Shield blindsided the Ryback and smashed him through the Spanish announce table at TLC, then they went on to do it again and have since been attackings at least one member of the WWE roster per week and looking super strong while doing so. Their first PPV match went down a storm and everyone seems to have high hopes for the former FCW stars, myself included.

Most Pointless Heel Turn: Devon

Maybe I should make this ‘Biggest Letdown’ as that is the truth behind it. I was almost tempted to give it to Mr. Anderson seeing as it is so ludicrous that he has changed alignments so many times without any build, but honestly we don’t know where that is going. We do however know that Devon’s heel turn didn’t do much for him, sure he is the TV champion now, but he was before he left. As hard as everyone in the ring tried to sell the reveal of Devon as the then believed leader of Aces & 8s everyone’s reaction was at best ‘meh’. At worst people condemned the Aces & 8s angle as a failure, I myself think there is still some life in it, however I do also think that the guy is the wrong choice for the main face of the group since no one honestly believes in him as a big time heel leader and I still maintain that Bully Ray would have been a much better choice.

Best Heel Comeback of the Year: Brock Lesnar

While he might not have been able to beat Super Cena he certainly beat the living shit out of him, then went on to beat the living shit out of Triple H, and will probably do the same again come Wrestlemania time. Sure Lesnar could have been used a lot better than he was, and his appearances spread out more, hell he could have acted as the WWE’s new answer to the Undertaker a few years ago, appearing as if from nowhere to beat the shit out of someone. But with such a hefty contract each one of his matches had to have a decent amount of hype behind them. So sure things could have gone better, but it is hard to deny that this man came back to the most buzz of any other heel this past year, severely taking it to the two biggest faces in the WWE in the past ten years.

Cheap Pops:

Gavin Napier lists the top ten Royal Rumble competitors in The Contentious Ten

Michael Weyer gives the top 12 lessons of 2012 in Shining a Spotlight

Joseph Lee brings us the top ten Horror movies of 2012 in A Bloody Good Time

Shawn S. Lealos runs down the top ten Superhero deaths in Alternative Takes

The 411 Staff continue to Rate ’em Up in The Wrestler of the Week

That’s all for this week, come back next time for more heely goodness, for now though this is James Wright signing off.


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