The Heel Report: 04.13.14: Endings and Beginnings
Posted by James Wright on 04.13.2014
Is Magnus on top? Has Lesnar conquered? Or does the Authority rule over all? Read on to find out the top heel in professional wrestling this week!
This is the Heel Report. A weekly chart spanning from Wednesday's Main Event 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: Brock Lesnar
There are few things more worthy of ‘heeldom' than ending the Undertaker's streak at Wrestlemania, and in such a relatively unceremonious fashion at that! The Lesnar victory left an arena of over 70,000 people in stunned silence and I don't think anyone really saw it coming. Personally I think if they were going to end the streak that it should have been to almost anyone but Brock Lesnar, but at least it provided us with a legitimate shocking Wrestlemania moment, although in doing so I think they took away something from the Daniel Bryan victory as the crowd seemed to have the wind taken out of their sails after the loss.
Whether this was done on purpose or not at least they did not end the event with the ending of the streak, although arguably such a thing should have been a big enough event to main event a Wrestlemania. I'm sad that we most likely won't get to see Cena vs. Undertaker or Sting for that matter, although the latter may still happen as a special attraction match. In hindsight, Punk beating Taker last year would have been much better, get Taker to 20-0 and then end the streak, also Punk could still benefit from such a thing and perhaps such a boon would have even encouraged him to stay. Having said that I'm sure Punk could have positioned himself into Lesnar's spot this year if he had just come back before that Raw in Chicago.
Going back to Lesnar, there is some benefit in him ending the streak, and that is simply that now nobody can say that his return didn't mean anything, I just hope that this next year will lead to some more interesting matches. I wouldn't mind seeing Lesnar vs. Batista, or possibly putting over Roman Reigns once he goes solo. The problem is that Lesnar never stays around long enough to build a proper feud with anyone for it to mean all that much in terms of the general WWE landscape, hopefully that will change over the coming year though.
2nd Place: Paul Heyman
As big of an impact as Brock Lesnar made at Wrestlemania, Paul Heyman's performances both on the pre-show to Wrestlemania and on the post-Wrestlemania Raw were phenomenal. First of all he completely sold Wrestlemania off of the back of the Undertaker-Lesnar match, actually coming through on his prediction of Lesnar winning against Taker, something that really was must-see, even if the actual moment wasn't as awe-inspiring as it could have been.
Then he made sure that the victory meant a huge deal on Raw, helping the audience to forget how they felt when they witnessed the loss and making Brock Lesnar a big deal again for being the ‘one in twenty-one and one'. Heyman running with Lesnar makes so much sense and you have to wonder exactly how lackluster Lesnar's return would have been if he did not have Heyman to talk for him. Although maybe Lesnar could become the new Undertaker, in that without a mouthpiece he would simply disappear for months at a time and then could appear simply to challenge guys who are running their mouths or hit a random F-5 on someone who deserves it, although there are quite a few years for such a thing to build before we have to do away with a mouthpiece as valuable as Heyman.
I think everyone was surprised by Cesaro's announcement that he is a new Paul Heyman guy, and it comes as an even bigger surprise in that I think we were all thinking that Cesaro had turned face at Wrestlemania, but apparently not. While it might be hard to tell with the Raw after Wrestlemania crowd I can guarantee that the next time Cesaro appears with Heyman he will be booed, so Cesaro is still most definitely a heel. Associating with Heyman, especially after the Brock Lesnar streak breaking, will automatically make you a big deal heel, and I'm sure this will go better for Cesaro than it did for McGillicutty.
3rd Place: AJ Lee
The former Divas champion took a pretty devastating loss to Paige on Raw, but it will most likely lead to a really great feud, or at least it certainly has the potential to, so even that is a plus. Apart from that AJ managed to cap off her Divas title reign, the longest ever, by beating every single woman in the division at Wrestlemania, which is a pretty big bragging point, even if the division isn't exactly awe inspiring right now.
Still the mere fact that the WWE used AJ and her title to get Paige over in her debut shows just how far AJ has come since winning the title, she is now at the top of the division and needed to be toppled. While their first match for the title was actually pretty sloppy, I have high hopes that Paige and AJ could tear things up in the near future, although I was kind of expecting them to be on the same team since they really are two peas in the same pod.
There was something weird about seeing Paige being congratulated by the other divas backstage considering she is the anti-diva, in fact her whole character was a little off as she was far too humble and gracious compared to how she acts on NXT, as if she is queen of the divas, which admittedly she is. Then again there is potential in casting Paige as the respectful rookie who dethroned the champ and now has to prove that she is worthy of the belt, just so long as she actually does prove it. Although in all this I am disappointed that we will not be seeing a Mickie-Trish type of thing with AJ and Paige, as that would have been one of the hottest things on WWE programming ever.
4th Place: The Wyatt Family
Bray might have lost at Mania but he certainly arrived that night. Not only did Bray have the majority of the support of the NOLA crowd, but he also had them swaying and singing along as he systematically took apart John Cena. It is a shame that Bray will never be able to claim any sort of undefeated streak at Wrestlemania as now that the Undertaker has been conquered the WWE should think about finding a new figure to come up in the next ten years as the same type of attraction. After doing some short research it seems like the only viable candidate right now is RVD, who has a 4-0 win streak at Wrestlemania, but I don't think he has enough performances left in him to make that mean something. Then again there is also the Shield, who are all 2-0 at Wrestlemania, this could easily be built on for any of the three men, although Reigns would seem like the most likely candidate, but whatever the case the concept of a new Wrestlemania streak should probably be kept under the radar for at least another five years, that would give one of these guys the chance to build themselves up to 7-0, which would already be pretty impressive by that point.
The Wyatt Family already got their win back by beating the team of Big E., Sheamus and Cena on Raw, which is actually still a pretty big deal since the Wyatts have never been booked as anywhere near as invincible as the Shield as a tag team. Instead the family is all about Bray, which is evident from the other Wyatts not even being involved in in-ring action at the PPV. I am actually pretty surprised that the WWE hasn't chosen to add someone new to the Wyatt Family yet, although you could argue that Daniel Bryan was going to be a new addition before everything changed. It is also surprising that Kane has actually had no connection to the family since his abduction, and maybe Miz or Kofi would have benefitted from disappearing for a longer stretch and then actually coming back as part of the family since they have both been directionless since then. It was a good gimmick the whole ‘disappearing' people to seemingly brainwash them, but nothing came of it because it was all done too soon. Maybe they should bring it back but make it few and far between and actually make it count when it happens next. Either that or have a certain Punk appear as part of the family at some point, that would be a real mind f*ck.
5th Place: The Authority
While generally being made to look like losers who couldn't stop a single goat-faced, B+ troll from taking away their company's major title, it is hard to argue that the Authority wasn't still being dastardly this week, trying every which way to make sure that the inevitable didn't happen. I think we can safely say now that HHH is in full support of Daniel Bryan, sure he didn't tap out to him in their match, but does that really need to happen when a ‘Knee Plus' is actually probably a more just ending to their match given all the ‘B+' crap Bryan had to listen to.
Then there was the end of Raw, where HHH received another Knee Plus and Bryan managed to keep the title, at least for now. I would love to see Bryan be made to put the title on the line on nearly a weekly basis and still manage to somehow retain, because if done right it could be great. This week the Shield were heavily involved, but Bryan was against people who he has already beaten clean, so there is no question as to whether on even terms he could have done so again, and he still managed to stand tall at the end of everything. If Bryan is taken out and beaten down every week but manages to stand tall at the end of it all then it will all be worth it.
It was a pretty big masterstroke for Kane to let slip that HHH was behind the Shield attack a few weeks ago since it gives them ample reason to support Bryan against the Authority, and as they are strictly mercenaries for hire they are the perfect candidates to give Bryan the support needed without any real fear for their own safety beyond general attacks, which they have been subjected to throughout their career already due to their tactics against the entire roster thus far.
6th Place: Randy Orton
A big shock at Wrestlemania that not many people are talking about is that it was actually Batista who was made to tap out rather than Randy Orton. I think we all thought that if Bryan was going to win at Mania then it would have been Orton tapping out to protect Batista, especially since in losing Orton would still have a rematch clause in his contract, now he has some legitimate beef.
As champion Orton was basically an afterthought, but now that he has dropped the belts it seems like he has the potential to have a real impact, at least as part of Evolution 2.0. Honestly I am pretty excited for a potential Shield vs. Evolution feud as it would certainly serve to elevate the Shield even further before their breakup, plus if you throw in a little Wyatt action between both teams we could have a whole summer of great six-man tag matches that could go down in history as a big deal for the company. The only problem is who exactly will Daniel Bryan be going against as champion while all this is going down? Perhaps newer guys like Cesaro could get a shot, although you could question the importance of the title when ‘lesser' challengers go for the belt, although arguably the title is already at a much lower status than years ago so maybe it should be used simply to showcase new talent; have guys like Cesaro go against Bryan in half an hour classics, but then have the showy part timers and old timers put on a ten minute exhibition match for those who are into that sort of thing, I don't know, I just would rather see something like Bryan-Cesaro, rather than anymore Bryan-Orton or a long Bryan-Batista feud any time soon.
7th Place: Cesaro
Speaking of the newest Paul Heyman guy, he had his own pretty big week, winning the Andre the Giant battle royal, perhaps with the help of Paul Heyman himself to become the 31st man in the match, or something like that, I'm not sure if the WWE were actually alluding to that or not. However with this he wasn't really being all that heelish and he is now against Jack Swagger, which isn't exactly a face-tastic opponent to be going on with in his re-established singles career.
Still by being associated with Heyman it would be hard to call Cesaro anything except a heel, unless the WWE are deciding to have Heyman as some sort of tweener manager, or else keep him bouncing between big time heel and face supporter like they did on Monday where in the same hour Heyman went from antagonizing the crowd to enticing them to the ‘King of Swing'. We'll just have to wait and see, for now though I am saying heel for Cesaro.
8th Place: Magnus
With all the Wrestlemania craziness it is easy for the heels of TNA to get lost in the shuffle, but we shouldn't forget that Magnus managed to successfully defend his world title this week on Impact, through the power of love. Yes you read that correctly, he used the big ‘L' word on the monster Abyss and managed to get his full support in a fatal-4-way for his title, and that has to be the first time anyone has approached the monster in such a fashion.
I really liked Magnus's approach to the situation since it was a big gamble on his part, but it paid off in a big fashion and now their relationship is more than just champion and hired muscle, AJ seems to have done a similar thing with Tamina, but has gone nowhere near as far and the whole ‘friendship' angle between the two was nowhere near as explored, especially seeing as how now AJ doesn't even have the title, a couple of hugs is nothing compared to actually dropping the ‘L' bomb and I am interested to see how this situation further develops, because it has already gone beyond the title at this point, at least for now.
9th Place: Batista
You have to wonder if the Animal ever thought that his big return would lead to him tapping at Wrestlemania to Daniel Bryan, then again it is not like he was actually the champion at the time, so why not tap when it is not your belt to actually lose?
Batista now looks set to be part of a team with Orton, although they are right in saying that the tag titles are beneath them, because rejuvenation or not of the tag division, the world title will always be much more important so I am not too down on the destruction of the tag champs by the reunited Evolution. Then again that is not to say that Batista and Orton couldn't have simply attacked Daniel Bryan as they did to make them look strong, rather than destroying the tag champs unnecessarily. Still this is the WWE, so what did you expect? I think we were all expecting the Animal not to be involved in the decision for the title so that he could then go on to feud with Bryan for the title, but in actual fact, if Bryan is going to keep the title for any amount of time, it might actually be better for Batista if this is not the case. However here if he is going to lose to the Shield it still doesn't bode well for his triumphant return, but if Batista is okay with putting over younger talent with his return then more power to him, better to be a Jericho than a Rock when your acting career is going so well, so I say why not?
10th Place: Kenny King
The king of the night had a pretty good one on Impact and is clearly in a better stead than he was before he went away on his little sabbatical. King was able to show some of his charisma on the show and will hopefully be able to continue to do so against MVP as things progress.
His provoking of the new head honcho of TNA was great and it puts him in a good position to be a lower card version of Magnus, making MVP interact with different areas of the roster as this storyline develops.
1. Randy Orton (195)
2. Bully Ray (120)
3. HHH (117)
4. Bray Wyatt (109)
5. AJ Lee (103)
6. Dixie Carter (98)
7. Dean Ambrose (88)
8. Alberto Del Rio (88)
9. Magnus (78)
10. Roman Reigns (78)
That's all for this week, Wrestlemania shocked and entertained but didn't disappoint, same goes for the Raw after Wrestlemania, so well done WWE. It is sad that this week will also be surrounded by the untimely death of the Ultimate Warrior, but it is comforting to know that his final days were spent redeeming his legacy and burying old grievances and meeting some of the many people he inspired through his career, hopefully he managed to find some peace in that and his legacy will continue on in the right way now that everything has been set straight. For now this is James Wright signing off.