On the eve of No Surrender I bring to you the Heel Report, still going strong despite deadlines and impending doom on my end of things, still if I completed a Masters while doing this thing every week I’m sure I can do the same during my PhD, or I’ll just do a bumper edition every month, either way for now we continue on with another weekly look at the top heels in the two biggest promotions in professional wrestling today! So without further ado, let’s get on with the report…
Weekly Top Ten:
1st Place: C.M. Punk (10/10)
The champ did the world a favour this week by taking out the King at the top of the show, saving us from his awful commentary, if only for a week. Then Punk pulled the brilliant move of refusing to take part in a champion vs. champion match that wasn’t even the main event! I am very glad the WWE played off this and used it in the Punk: Respect storyline as if it had been just another case of terrible WWE booking it would have been a pretty outrageous one, devaluing both the major titles to a ridiculous degree, why would the challengers be placed higher on the card than the champions?! But luckily it was all a fix and we ended up with a Labour Day Punk walk out, which made complete sense and fit the context and storyline. And it only got better as Punk would then prove to be a complete hypocrite and liar as he returned at the end of the show to lay out Cena, costing him his Falls Count Anywhere match with Del Rio, then GTSing him onto the hood of a car, which then drove off, revealing Paul Heyman at the wheel! When you read that description of events on Raw you have to admit that it was pretty decent booking for the night, and add to this the attempt to sour Punk’s hometown crowd by having him not wrestle on the main card while the cameras were rolling, sure it didn’t exactly work, but it was a valiant effort nevertheless.
2nd Place: Alberto Del Rio (9/10)
Del Rio had a pretty good week all things considered. First he actually won a decent Falls Count Anywhere main event match on Raw against John Cena, which is a pretty big deal even with help from Punk. Then he managed to convince Booker T to ban the Brogue Kick before his match with Sheamus at Night of Champions. The only problem with all this is that despite these events Del Rio doesn’t seem like any more of a threat to Sheamus than he did last week, simply because Sheamus has been booked so strong that a guy like Del Rio just doesn’t seem like competition at this stage, and neither does Ziggler. The difference is that Ziggler has the case so that means that he can get lucky even if he would appear to not be on the level of the current champion before cashing in the case; see almost every MitB briefcase cash in ever. I have no idea what Del Rio will do after he gets taken out at Night of Champions and quite frankly I don’t care, the guy showed some promise a few weeks ago before his last title match against Sheamus, becoming more vicious and brutal in the ring, but after losing he has seemed to revert back to his old one-dimensional self and pretty much everyone just wants him to be taken out of the title picture already.
3rd Place: Daniel Bryan (8/10)
Ah Daniel Bryan, we hardly knew ye. I think everyone is on the same page that these anger management bits are just funny enough to turn Bryan face as the fans will become increasingly more on his side, and so he is not long for the report. Still for now he is still a heel and still the main focus of both shows outside of the title picture and that is a big deal at this time in the WWE where seemingly no one has any real storylines or character development if they are not the main, main focus of the show. Having said that the Daniel Bryan character has had a huge amount of character development by any standards in the WWE and he has gone from a guy who the WWE didn’t think had the personality to be a big star to being pretty much the most charismatic guy on the roster right now. My personal favourite bit of the whole week, outside of the excruciatingly funny ‘hug it out’ skit, was when Bryan tricked Ryder into hugging him and then slapped on the No! Lock, the sly heel dog!
4th Place: Damien Sandow (7/10)
The Sandow Test continues as this week the WWE pitted Sandow against Orton to see how the two clicked and things seemed to go rather well. Sure Sandow ended things with an RKO, but he didn’t lose the match and that is still a big deal for a guy who hasn’t been on TV for all that long. He also managed to take out Alex Riley on Superstars and was featured on Saturday Morning Slam, as well as just generally being awesome and being allowed the mic time to prove it.
5th Place: Antonio Cesaro (6/10)
Cesaro’s ‘Now or Never’ push seems to be firmly in the ‘Now’ at the moment as he beats Santino in his first title defence with ease and also knocked off Justin Gabriel on Superstars. I’m still not sure if Santino will get a rematch at Night of Champions or if Cesaro will get a new challenger but either way I hope the guy can continue to win convincingly as he certainly has the talent to go places if he is given the chance.
6th Place: Bully Ray (5/10)
The Bully beat RVD this week and guaranteed his place in the final four going into No Surrender. On top of that with Magnus attacking Joe from behind it looks like it might be Joe vs. Magnus at Bound For Glory so it is even more likely now that the Bully will be revealed as the leader of Aces and 8s, the best thing about this being that it would make previous events seem even better, the most obvious one being his adamant claims that Storm was the leader of Aces & 8s, meaning that Roode was just stirring and the real leader took the opportunity to stir things further, while for the most part avoiding suspicion. Then there is the tactical psychology of Hardcore Justice where Aces & 8s said they were coming after him but he still managed to get the win, absolving him of suspicion and helping him in the BFG Series. Finally if you’ll notice the past two weeks when Aries was taken down by guys from Aces & 8s, Bully Ray has ‘saved’ Aries, with the gang scattering much like they did for Storm, and so Bully has been the closest guy to Aries after these attacks, and if he is the leader this can easily be him one; inspecting his group’s handiwork to make sure it did the damage, and two; give him a chance to bask in the glory of what he has done while no one else has a clue that he is doing it. All around this would just be great and with a two year renewal on his contract the Bully could easily be a massive part of Impact for a long time, so to me it all fits.
7th Place: Daniels & Kazarian (4/10)
A somewhat pointless title defence on Impact that might not even lead to a match at No Surrender now that Angle is injured, still a successful defence has to count for something so here they are. I still think that Daniels on his own is much better as Kaz seems to just drag the team down, not in the ring but in terms of personality and needless to say Daniels has the ring work so that he doesn’t need anyone else to carry him. The problem is that TNA doesn’t have any real tag teams to carry the belts right now, just look at the shambles that wanted a shot at the belts this week!
8th Place: Dolph Ziggler (3/10)
Ziggler made his presence felt this week but once again didn’t quite have the momentum to get further up the chart. Still a roll-up win over Orton is certainly better than a clean loss, by a long shot, and now with his challenge for their rubber match taking place at Night of Champions we could see a clean Ziggler victory, which for all the Codebreakers, RKOs, and lest we forget Brogue Kicks, will mean that Ziggler has been able to overcome two of the WWE’s top stars in the space of a month and could lead to even bigger things going forward and an actually successful run with the world title. I honestly think that if given the time and booked right, Ziggler could go on to be Smackdown’s top star, much like Bryan was last year, although I would also like to see him have a face turn at some point as I really think a face Ziggler could work given the right circumstances, I know it is a little bit, scratch that a lot, redundant but I wouldn’t mind seeing Ziggler pitted against a new heel Smackdown GM as that could get him over pretty well. Of course the easiest choice there is Vickie Guerrero, all he has to do is kick her to the curb once he becomes champion and then she becomes GM, but the only problem with this is it is basically what happened with Daniel Bryan and nearly exactly the same thing as what happened with Edge and Vickie a few years ago, still if it works, it works!
8th Place: Wade Barrett (2/10)
The triumphant return of the Barrett Barrage wasn’t the most spectacular thing I have ever seen, but for a man breaking back into a sea of heels Wade Barrett was always going to have a tough time. I am intrigued by his statement that ‘Wade Barrett is open for business’, my take on this is that he is saying that since he isn’t in the title picture right now there is no need to compete for himself ala his last run before he was injured where he said he is competing for money and titles and nothing else, and so he is putting himself up for hire much like the APA back in the day. I think this would be great for his character as he could drift between heel and face and have some really good moments if booked right. Of course I could have this all wrong and it could have just been a cast off remark and he is actually going to be Sheamus’ next challenger, or he could have been saying that he was open to being transferred to Raw, but that would be stupid as the brands don’t mean anything anymore anyway, we’ll just have to wait and see.
10th Place: Kassius Ohno (1/10)
The former Chris Hero stepped up in a big way this week on NXT, not only brutalising Richie Steamboat in and after their match, but also by revealing another side to his character as backstage he was a glasses wearing, well-spoken man, but he was still just as much of a dick to Ricky Steamboat about his son, just in a different way. I really like the idea of a guy who is hard-hitting and brutal in the ring and then outside of it is a smug douchebag as it means he can say what he likes and then back it up. Sure I know that is almost textbook right now, see C.M. Punk, Wade Barrett and to a lesser extent (in terms of in-ring brutality) Dolph Ziggler, Damien Sandow and Daniel Bryan, but I have never seen it to this degree or look this convincing. Ohno changed his appearance between segments almost to the degree of a Joesph Parks-Abyss change and I think the character has a whole load of potential if given the time to breathe and develop. Favourite part of the performance; when Kassius says to The Dragon: ‘What are you gonna do, arm drag me?’
2012-2013 Season Top Ten:
1st Place: Daniel Bryan (158)
2nd Place: Alberto Del Rio (139)
3rd Place: The Big Show (77)
4th Place: Damien Sandow (77)
5th Place: Dolph Ziggler (75)
6th Place: Robert Roode (75)
7th Place: Bully Ray (74)
8th Place: Chris Jericho (64)
9th Place: Cody Rhodes (56)
10th Place: C.M. Punk (56)
(Heel Hall of Fame)
**Heel Report 2010-2011 Winner: The Miz**
**Heel Report 2011-2012 Winner: Cody Rhodes**
The Face-Off: Jeff Hardy Making Joe Tap
This was just all wrong and further adds to the idea that Joe is not the leader of Aces & 8s as it was a weak move and wouldn’t have happened to the leader of the group right now, more to the point this shouldn’t be happening to Joe going into the BFG Series finals as it makes him look a hell of a lot weaker if he wins, unless he canes Hardy on Sunday of course, then it isn’t so bad. Still that is the Joe side of things, as for the Hardy side of things it is a joke! This is just as bad as when Cena was in a submissions match with Kurt Angle and Chris Masters and he all of a sudden won with an STF, soon to be rebranded as the STFU. This was one of the key moments that made me really hate Cena as it makes everyone else look super weak and is completely unbelievable that a wrestler who barely ever uses submission holds can pull one out from out of nowhere and become one of the most devastating holds in the business (just think of all the guys who Cena has made to tap out to the hold). I know Hardy hasn’t done that yet but it is a danger and I just plain don’t want to see a guy like Hardy beat a guy like Joe with a submission hold as it makes no sense really since Joe should easily be able to counter him. The jury is out on Sheamus’ Cloverleaf at this time.
Face the Facts: Paige
Once again I have to implore anybody who is not watching NXT right now to find a way to see the show as it is pretty much the most solidly booked show in the WWE right now, they are promoting their new champion, have a solid undercard and have a bunch of talent who use up their limited time wisely and are clearly itching to break out into the big time. One such talent is Paige, formerly Britani Knight, and is a home grown talent from England, who also recently had a documentary shown on channel 4 about her and her wrestling family. Paige is damned attractive and yet not your typical WWE diva as she is raven-haired, pale and can actually wrestle. The best part is that she is already massively over with the crowd and gets one of the largest reactions on the card, hopefully meaning that her future is assured, unlike her former tag partner Sofia Cortez who was let go by the company recently with virtually no notice. Basically the sooner this girl is called up to the main roster the better, or at least it is if they will actually put some effort into booking her, if not then it might be better if she just stays put for now, the only question is if they will eventually have an NXT women’s title like they did for FCW, or hell why not move the divas title to NXT as it really is doing nothing for the main event shows right now.
On the Rise: Experimental Commentary
For a couple of weeks now the WWE has been changing things up on commentary with different wrestlers filling in and being added to announce teams. Some have been hits, some have been misses and I’m not sure exactly where it is all leading, but no matter what as long as there is a difference then it is something. The commentary teams for the WWE’s main shows have become dire in recent years and something drastic really does have to be done. Honestly if this is like the Raw Guest Hosts and we get changing superstars on commentary from week to week for a year then even that isn’t so bad, the only problem is that it will be like with the whole GM situation where when things come to a head there will have been nothing built for the future and everything will just be a mess. Basically you could say that about almost every aspect of the WWE right now, so desperate have they been to claw back ratings every week for the last ten years while they were in decline that instead of building for the future they have just employed one quick-fix solution after another and it has left them without any substance. Honestly if the WWE had been given any real competition over the past ten years then they might have been in serious trouble, MMA has done a lot to damage their popularity and TNA has taken away a chunk, but they are only just now coming into prominence so there has been no lasting damage so far. Still despite all these quick fix solutions and their potential harm it is still clear that something has to be done as things staying the way they are now, especially on commentary, would be just plain terrible.
Flat-Footed: Cody Rhodes
The guy can’t win a match and is being left off PPVs when before he looked just about to break out in a big way, I don’t know what happened, but it sucks, the end.
That’s all for this week, No Surrender will have been and gone by the time this is up and I’m sure the results will affect the chart quite majorly, but we shall see. Things with Punk still threaten to go major and if Bully Ray really does get revealed as the leader of Aces & 8s and wins the title at Bound For Glory then the chart could see an unlikely struggle for dominance between the two top heels of both companies. Nothing is set in stone yet, but it sure would be interesting to see. For now this is James Wright signing off.
Category: Columns and Editorials |