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 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

The Heel Report: 1.17.14: Make a Mess
Posted by James Wright on 01.17.2014

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), so without further ado let's get on with the report…

1st Place: The Shield

While the group appears to be circling the drain as a unit in lieu of a major Roman Reigns push, they were still pretty successful this week. Sure one of their two victories was largely dependent on the New Age Outlaws walking out on C.M. Punk on Raw, but they beat the team clean on Smackdown and Punk has beaten all three before so who knows what could have happened.

It seems strange that the match took place twice before the team turned on Punk, despite the surprise of the turn in general. A lot will depend on the explanation that comes out either on the next Raw or in the coming weeks. If it was the Authority's doing, which it will most likely be attributed to, then why did they wait to do it on Raw? If it was the non-kayfabe reason of a larger audience then wouldn't it be more dramatic to do it in a match at the Rumble where there would be more impact? Then again it could be to prove that ‘anything can happen on Raw' and strictly speaking despite their being an arguably bigger impact on a PPV, the larger audience would still be on Raw.

The strange thing is that now with the announcement of the WWE Network and PPV revenues seemingly not being pushed as the biggest financial gainer for the company, the whole idea that things should be saved for PPVs makes little sense now and the WWE's apparent policy of giving us non-satisfying PPVs and PPV-quality matches on Raw looks to make more. Maybe the WWE have been preparing our expectations over the past few months for this, especially considering the ends to the string of PPVs during the feud between Orton and Bryan, however that seems like a strange business strategy to follow so it is pretty unlikely.

It seems pretty likely that Roman Reigns will break away from the group by WrestleMania, a good way to do that would be to give him a big push at the Royal Rumble and then qualify for a spot in the Elimination Chamber, with his other Shield members sabotaging him, either on purpose or by mistake, at some point along the way. Will we get a Wyatts vs. Shield match at WrestleMania? Only time will tell.

2nd Place: Randy Orton

Like the Shield, things seem to be falling apart for Orton. Despite this however he also managed to do well on the chart; in part due to his win over Big E. Langston on Smackdown and in part, despite his fluke loss to Kofi Kingston, his attacking of John Cena Sr.

Sure this has happened before but it was for a completely different reason this time. Before Orton was being malicious and wanted to throw Cena off his game, this time it was more to do with Orton being insecure and snapping, seeing the face of the enemy in his father. While we could argue on which character is better I actually quite like the general idea of the pressure of being the first WWE World Champion getting to the title holder. As the only guy in the company with a world title, Orton sees challengers rising up all around him; a ‘pointless' rematch with Cena at the Rumble, a former enemy with a beef that never really got settled returning in Batista, a monster claiming a shot at your belt in Brock Lesnar, and then a guy who you completely beneath you getting a fluke win that could lead to a title shot in the near future in Kofi Kingston.

Orton Legitimately has a bunch of guys gunning for him and a line of challengers just waiting to take the belt away from him. To me this really sells the importance of being champion, as well as the pressure that is involved. Gone is the usual situation of their being only one guy at a time anywhere near the title picture, him and the champion fighting it out until one loses on a couple of occasions. If this keeps up the champ will always have a few challengers waiting in the wings and will never feel safe, which is great for heels as it gives them something to always try to weasel out of, and great for face champions as they can truly appear to be ‘fighting champions'. Only time will tell if this keeps up after WrestleMania season, but for now the title might not be in the main event, but it certainly is the most contested prize in the company, as it should be.

3rd Place: The Wyatt Family

The trend of heels with problems gaining points continues with the Wyatt Family. Once again this boils down to the focus given to them, although less to other successes since they didn't really have any this week.

Instead they lost all their matches but were arguably the main focus of at least Raw, and even got to compete in a main event steel cage match. The Daniel Bryan situation is an interesting one, although mostly in the question of what the hell are the WWE playing at? To be fair, Bryan seems even more over now with the crowd after turning on the Wyatts, if that is possible. However the speed of this angle is just strange, although not completely uncharacteristic of the booking of the WWE in the last few years.

Hopefully both Bryan and the Wyatts will come off looking better for going through this feud, and arguably it makes more sense for Bryan to try to gel with this out-there group after being pushed to the end of his rope, only for it to not work out since he really doesn't hold their same beliefs. I suppose what I am trying to say is that at least he tried, unlike say Cena where he was just protecting his job and was then like ‘fuck it' and destroyed the group single-handedly from the inside.

4th Place: Magnus

In what was one of the messiest main events I have ever seen, Magnus successfully defended his TNA world title against AJ Styles to put an end to this seeming shambles of a storyline. I would say that what makes it worse is that it was a title unification match but if you watch that top ten title unification matches video that the WWE put together before TLC you will see that most unification matches end in major shenanigans, so it actually fits the pattern pretty well, even if it is an extreme example.

Despite this though the whole thing was a terrible mess and made the unification match at TLC look all the better, despite the arguably strange timing of the booking. I feel like this match summed up TNA right now, with people all over the place and nothing really making sense, while all feeling pretty cheap and unnecessary.

I think the worst part of this match was that Magnus himself barely did anything to Styles, which made him look super weak and is a big reason why he missed out on the top three this week. He basically just stood around while other people hit their moves on Styles and then was still unable to put him away. If anything this made both AJ and Robert Roode look like the stars of the company, and one of those men is leaving now. The only way this makes any sense is if Styles hasn't really left, but then if that is the case then this is some damn weird booking anyway, wtf TNA?

5th Place: Robert Roode

He beat Sting in a steel cage and managed to hit three finishers on a world champion, leading to him losing the belt to Magnus, all in all a pretty good week for Roode. Sure he is still basically going nowhere in his continuing feud with Kurt Angle, despite having already beaten Angle way more times than almost anyone else who has feuded with him in either WWE or TNA, but maybe he now has somewhere to go when the feud finally ends.

There are two big moves that Roode could do after his cage match with Angle, he can either go back to being Beer Money with James Storm, which would be pretty cool, but he would probably need a face turn to challenge for the tag team titles. Or he can move into the world title picture, which would be preferable to him, but again he would need a face turn to truly go for the belt.

Honestly though a face turn would be fine for Roode at this point, all he has to do is be gracious in either victory or defeat against Angle in their final match and he could get over with the crowd, especially if Magnus is disrespectful to his former MEM partner before the match.

6th Place: Dixie Carter

The owner of the company insists on inserting herself into the spotlight at any opportunity, which should hopefully stop now that AJ Styles is out of her company. In a weirdly logical way it makes sense for her to have thrown everything at Styles to get her title back and make sure he didn't leave with the belt at the end of Impact. After all Punk managing to escape Money in the Bank with the WWE title without a contract seems almost impossible when you think about it.

But in entertainment, while logic can add to things, sometimes it just doesn't work and in comparing the cases with Punk and Styles it is easy to see which is better. Sure the great Vince McMahon only had Alberto Del Rio as an insurance policy in case Punk actually triumphed over Cena, why not surround the ring with heels, or security, or force Punk to defend the belt until he loses it that night? But at the time it seemed to make sense and it was the right amount of resistance to still keep up the suspension of disbelief while making things as entertaining as possible. With Styles and Magnus however, while throwing almost the whole heel roster at the guy you don't want to see leave with the belt, it comes across as ludicrous and the presentation just looks sloppy and hurts the match in a major way, as well as the champion who keeps his belt. Not a great start to Magnus' ‘undisputed' reign.

7th Place: Alberto Del Rio

Del Rio is getting wins again; although it is likely only in an attempt to build him up to be demolished by Batista at the Rumble. Honestly it seems strange to think that Del Rio is a multi-time world champion since he has never really had a big enough pull with the fans either way.

With other guys like Jack Swagger, they get one chance and then have gotten nowhere near the title since. Although with Swagger he probably would have gotten the belt again, from Del Rio, had the whole DUI thing not have happened. Just as long as Del Rio doesn't get near the belt again I am happy.

8th Place: AJ Lee

The longest reigning Divas champ is still going strong and seemingly has no one who is really a break-out contender for her title. Sure Naomi appears to be the closest to getting a title shot, but each week it looks like another cast member from Total Divas is in that position so at this point it seems to mean very little and whoever beats AJ will certainly have a hard time filling her shoes as champion.

In some ways it feels like AJ has hit the glass ceiling of the women's division as there is seemingly nowhere for her to go at this point, although the possible return of Kharma, or betrayal by Tamina, could be interesting, I'm just not sure how much with the Divas division in the current state it is.

9th Place: Ethan Carter

So. Many. Run-ins! I think that has to be a record for the amount of run-ins in one show, it was practically every segment. What's more he didn't even really do that much, although he did help Roode win his cage match against Sting so that is something.

I am all for young talent getting a push, but having them interrupt every match on the card only to get battered can't really be qualified as a push in my opinion.

10th Place: The BroMans

The tag team champions suffered very much from the same thing this week on Impact, although they have always really been a joke team so it is not so bad for them. I still marvel at how bad TNA has let their tag team division get after being so strong in that department for years. I would blame Hogan and Bischoff for the decline as I think they started it, but with them gone it has seemingly gotten even worse so who knows.

(Week 027)

1. Randy Orton (145)

2. Bully Ray (105)

3. HHH (85)

4. AJ Lee (79)

5. Dixie Carter (77)

6. Alberto Del Rio (76)

7. Damien Sandow (61)

8. Bray Wyatt (61)

9. Dean Ambrose (61)

10. Robert Roode (61)

Heel Centurions:

That's all for this week, the Rumble is still over a week away and at this point we are still in the dark about many competitors. It seems likely that those with matches at the event will still get to appear in the Rumble match itself, although there isn't much information on what other matches will take place at the event either, but we can't be sure of anything at this point. The problem is that the Rumble match kind of sells itself so does it really need to be built up all that much? Still it would be nice to see something other than Del Rio talking smack about Batista before his return since the mini-feuds that take place in the Rumble are half the fun of the match itself. There is still a little while though so anything can happen! For now though, this is James Wright signing off.


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