The Heel Report 12.05.13: Giving Some Thanks
Posted by James Wright on 12.05.2013
Did the Shield rise to the top this week? Did Randy Orton hold onto his crown? Or has Dixie Carter stolen #1? Read on to find out the top 10 heels in professional wrestling this week!
This is the Heel Report. A weekly chart spanning from Tuesday's NXT to next Monday's Raw, 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, after 100 weeks naming the reigning wrestler a ‘Heel Centurion'.
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 (or in other words the smarkiest chart of smarkdom ever to smark). This week was pretty great for heel performances and wins so we have a packed chart, let's get things going shall we…
1st Place: The Shield
Ask yourself just how much time this week in the WWE was taken up by the Shield wrestling in the ring. It was a lot. First there was that spiralling tag match that took up the second hour of Smackdown, changing from a normal, to a six-man and finally to a twelve man tag team main event. Then on Raw they had a great six-man tag match against the tag team champions and the Big Show, their win highlighting how great they are at working as a unit, despite the possible hints that Roman Reigns might be breaking away at some point in the near future.
It is almost unbelievable how solidly these three men have been booked as a unit in this era, the list of names that they have beaten in tag matches over the past year reads like a who's-who of the WWE right now. How many times have we worried over what the WWE were going to do with them; after their first loss, when they won their first titles (which shouldn't make sense but what with the state of how the WWE usually treat their champions it actually is a pretty big concern at this point), and then when they lost their tag titles. Each time though the team has come through and if anything looked stronger than ever, more importantly throughout this first year the team have never really gotten stale and still get to put on great matches week in and week out.
Also a special gem that stood out this week was Dean Ambrose on commentary, you might expect as much but you never know, however here Ambrose was entertaining, brought up good points and most importantly; commented on the match at hand and put over the people in the ring! Doesn't sound too difficult and yet usually this is a rarity on commentary, like with Punk I can only hope that he gets to sit in the chair more as he really did add to the broadcast, as do the group in general. I only hope that they can make their handicap with Punk at TLC entertaining and believable, while the general booking decision is questionable, I have faith that the match itself will come through.
2nd Place: Robert Roode
Both TNA and WWE actually did a pretty good job at providing entertaining shows this holiday week (well not for me being English, but I appreciate the sentiment), but the overall heel star had to be Bobby Roode, who has really stepped up now that Bully Ray is out of the title picture. Last week I complained that Dixie's heel persona was somewhat masking the other heels on the program, but this week nothing could have been further from the truth. Her presence actually helped to enhance the roles of the heels and gave the faces of the company, even if they were mostly joke performers, something to rally against.
Roode did a great job of taking charge of the main event Thanksgiving Feast and his rivalry with Angle is showing just how far he has come since the last time they faced each other a couple of years ago, and just how much his character benefitted from his lengthy world title run. Sure he hasn't actually gone over Angle clean yet but since he has always been a bit of a scheming heel it actually benefits him to keep on winning through various round-about means.
I especially liked his getting at the American audience through his acknowledgement of Canadian Thanksgiving and his declaring of its superiority. I'm actually pretty surprised that there have been no real ‘USA' chants in the Angle-Roode matches but I suppose it is more about who is the better man than either man's actual characters or persona beyond this, and so far that is working well.
3rd Place: Dixie Carter
Dixie finally snapped this week and issued an ultimatum to AJ Styles, most likely bringing to a close the ‘AJ Styles World Tour' which I think is a good idea at this point as while this is a rehashing of the rehash of Summer of Punk 2, TNA actually managed to hold out much longer than the WWE in terms of bringing the true champion back to face the man who will be the newly crowned TNA champion. While Styles has nowhere near the mic skills of Punk we might actually get a decent conclusion to this angle where AJ becomes the number one guy in the company for a while, rather than what happened to Punk with Nash, Del Rio and then HHH, which was a huge mess for no real reason.
In general Dixie did a good job this week and the difference between the way things are being run now and how they were over Hogan is becoming clear, namely that Dixie is actually trying to push young talent into more prominent positions on the card. The opening segment on Impact showed that with the re-debut of Rockstar Spud as admittedly ‘the Brad Maddox of TNA' and Dixie's first in-ring meeting with her nephew Ethan Carter. Both guys got some time to shine and while neither completely radiate ‘it factor', with some time and opportunity they could actually become prominent members of the roster, or not but at least they will be getting a shot.
Seeing Dixie backstage monitoring the product was also a nice touch and I wouldn't mind seeing more of these segments where she reacts directly to what is happening in the ring, why wouldn't a camera be there to capture her reactions, as surely hers is one of the most important opinions in TNA. Sure some of the Thanksgiving Feast preparations were unnecessary but overall I thought she did a nice job this week of being a visual presence, but one that actually enabled her wrestlers to shine, rather than eclipsing them as was my worry beforehand. Will things continue to improve? I sure hope so.
4th Place: Chris Sabin
As part of letting her wrestlers, especially heels, shine this week, one man who managed to get a few good shots in was Chris Sabin, who was part of the ‘totally not a traditional survivor series elimination tag' match where his team won with no eliminations. Sabin has some trouble being the X Division champion seeing as how the company has very few wrestlers left on the roster just in general. However what I will say is that with the re-appearance of Curry Man this week, otherwise known as a masked Christopher Daniels, it got me thinking that why don't guys like Daniels and Aries, who have admittedly transcended the X Division at this point, don masks and give the division some new competitors to pad things out, that is if TNA are still unwilling or unable to hire any new talent to give their divisions some actual weight.
I enjoyed his general baiting at the Thanksgiving Feast of getting in Roode's face, then agreeing with him and sending his girlfriend Velvet Sky to the back seeing as how she was a loser that night. Then giving thanks for his own luxurious hair was a nice touch and showed how he knows just how to play the smarmy, self-satisfied heel.
Of course without anyone to actually match up against it is hard for Sabin to stand out on his own, even though he is now a former world champion, that title win really didn't do anything at all did it?
5th Place: The Wyatt Family
You know a heel group is doing well when in a week they have nothing to show but losses and still look like they are on the rise. The Wyatt Family has the great mix of two massive heavies that look impressive in the ring, and a leader who talks a load of gibberish, but gibberish that always seems at least menacing if not entertaining and weirdly convincing as well.
The decision to put both Punk and Bryan in handicap matches with the two factions of the Shield and the Wyatts is a strange one and it desperately stinks of padding. Still somehow Bray Wyatt managed to salvage things with his plea to Bryan on Raw. Maybe he could join the Wyatts, maybe they are actually trying to bring down the machine, first with Kane from within, and then with Bryan, the only man who has managed to take anything away from the new authority for even a second.
If this were the case then Kane's sudden corporate change after being taken by the Wyatts would make complete sense, as well as his placing Bryan in that match at TLC, it even helps to explain why the Wyatts attacked both Punk and Bryan, claiming ‘the devil made me do it', kicking the proverbial hornet's nest of anti-establishment figures with a faint hint that it was the authority themselves that ordered the actions. Or it could all just be meaningless nonsense, we'll just have to wait and see.
6th Place: Bad Influence
The final two men to make up the TNA ‘totally not a traditional survivor series' match were the members of Bad Influence; Christopher Daniels and Kazarian. Not only were they in the winning team of that match and in the main event Thanksgiving Feast, but also Daniels technically pulled double duty with his performance as Curry Man, who I can only hope will make more appearances in the future.
It still boggles my mind that these two are not the tag team champions or are not at least in some kind of feud right now. As entertaining as some parts of Impact were, it is still telling that the company is severely lacking in roster depth, especially when you consider that the number one contenders for the tag team titles are arguably a couple of nerd jobbers who are supposed to be joke opponents. Hell the team holding the titles are supposed to be joke opponents!
7th Place: Randy Orton
Had he not have been completely laid out at the end of Raw the Viper probably would have come much further up the chart, but as it is the WWE champion looks like he is living on borrowed time. Then again it is possible that the WWE are pulling a swerve and will keep Orton as ‘the face of the WWE', but let's face it Cena is probably going to get his spot back, bringing to an end any sense of the WWE letting someone else take the reins for awhile.
Then again does anyone really want Orton as the man who takes that spot? Guys like Punk and Bryan can be interesting, something we haven't seen for a while, but with Orton this has happened before, and each time it seems like it is HHH who hands him the reins, before then taking them back off him and putting them in his own hands soon after, which is just depressing for both us and Orton. Oh god, do you think that HHH will make himself the undisputed champion at Wrestlemania? It happened before, why wouldn't it happen again? Especially now that HHH has even more power.
8th Place: Rockstar Spud
I don't know if it is his Englishness, or that in TNA a character like this might actually get to have some fun and not actually just be undercut by yet another authority figure every time he speaks, but I was actually interested to see Rockstar Spud actually get a real role on the main Impact roster.
Of course as a spineless heel toady he will probably lose any match that he is entered into, but that could have been something that happened anyway, and at least now he has a reason to be on the show and could at least accrue some memorable segments, something that TNA is generally lacking in.
9th Place: The Bro-Mans
If anyone has benefitted from the shortcomings of TNA recently in the financial department it is the Bro-Mans, a team that arguably should never ever get to be anywhere near the tag team titles, held by some of the best teams in the history of the industry, and yet here they are, and now they have their own DJ!
Seeing Zema Ion find a new role for himself was great and his annoying horn noises are something that will help give the heel tag team even more heat when they come out to the ring. Now if only they could get some teams to actually go against and for the audience to root for.
10th Place: Ethan Carter
The final place in this largely TNA dominated chart goes to Ethan Carter the third. The whole ‘EC3' thing is pretty pointless, but I am glad that Derrick Bateman is getting a shot to peddle his enthusiasm elsewhere when WWE for some reason took a pass on him despite him surely having the right look and build for their model of competitor.
It would be nice to see the guy face some real competition at some point but hell even Ryback started off with jobbers in his build of wins, and he was supposed to be a face. With Carter being handed ‘easy' victories it makes it easier to dislike the guy despite his winning ways. What's more his association with Dixie and his new cry of ‘I Am Rich' is a great way to make this guy a new rising heel star in the company.
1. Randy Orton (113)
2. Bully Ray (97)
3. HHH (83)
4. Alberto Del Rio (76)
5. AJ Lee (67)
6. Dixie Carter (66)
7. Dean Ambrose (54)
8. Damien Sandow (51)
9. Robert Roode (48)
10. Paul Heyman (46)
That's all for this week, TLC is shaping up to be a strange event, with two handicap matches with some of the best wrestlers in the business and a title unification main event that technically should have been something saved for Wrestlemania, you might think that this was one of the big four PPVs of the year instead of Survivor Series. There is still a bunch of space in the card for some specialty matches to be booked and I really hope that one of those matches will be a multi-team tag match, preferably with either ladders or tables involved, or both! One for the titles and another for the No. 1 contender spot to the titles, yay for tag team wrestling! Here's hoping that TNA continues to push its younger and heel talent and that the WWE actually pull something together as we lead into the Road to Wrestlemania despite the apparent shambles that are going on. For now though this is James Wright signing off.