Episode 16: Jericho and Omega
A dream match between Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega will take place at Wrestle Kingdom next year. Will it live up to the hype? And what last-minute changes to Survivor Series are WWE contemplating?
A dream match between Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega will take place at Wrestle Kingdom next year. Will it live up to the hype? And what last-minute changes to Survivor Series are WWE contemplating?
The Heels are back with another interview, this time with Polynesian Prince, a wrestler out of the Coastal Wrestling Federation in Pensacola, FL. Prince talks about growing up in the Anoa’i family, starting his wrestling promotion CWF, and his opinions on the current state of wrestling.
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Senior Editor/ The Heels of Wrestling
Dustin Briggs is back and he’s got a match under his belt this time. We check in with Dustin to see how his career is trajecting. Dustin also joins us in breaking down the current stte of WWE wrestling. Like, comment, and subscribe.
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The Heels are back and we’re giving our review of WWE’s big SummerSlam PPV weekend that included NXT: Takeover Brooklyn and SummerSlam. We pick our favorite matches and performances. Make sure to like and subscribe for more Heelish content.
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Roman Reigns has to destroy John Cena in their upcoming match. It can be a No DQ match, it can be a Last Man Standing match, hell it can be a Hell in a Cell, but at the end, Roman Reigns has to have his hand raised, and he has to be a Heel.
On Monday night Raw, we saw Roman Reigns and John Cena team up to defeat The Miz and Samoa Joe to start off John Cena’s tour on Raw. WWE’s two top Faces of the company are together again on one brand. Vince McMahon has been trying to pass the proverbial torch of WWE from Cena to Reigns, but so far it hasn’t worked. Because WWE has gone about it wrong this whole time. Roman Reigns needs to be bad, this needs to be his yard, and he needs to take Cena’s head off to claim it. This is now WWE’s perfect opportunity to turn Roman Reigns into a heel.
Every time Roman cuts a promo, it’s obviously not him. The cockiness of beating The Undertaker. The boos and jeers of the fans. A track record of ruining everything. When we think about it…
It’s time for WWE to face facts. They’ve ironically created the biggest Heel in the business, and they’re too reluctant to pull the trigger on him. Let’s run down a list of some of the horrible things WWE creative have had Reigns do in just this year:
What we have brewing here is a perfect storm of how to turn Roman Reigns into the top heel of the company. Reigns is in a spot we haven’t seen him in since he was busted for violating the wellness policy in 2015. The spotlight isn’t necessarily on him right now as Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman are the leads of the title picture going into No Mercy.
The idea of turning Reigns or Cena heel has been tossed around ad infinitum on wrestling boards for the past few years. The void as the top Heel on WWE programing has been noticeable for quite some time. And much of it is to do with WWE’s booking of top Heels.
Since the breaking of the Authority, it seems as if every Heel has been booked as cowardly or needing help to get their title reign over. From KO and Jericho being best friends to Jinder Mahal having the Singh brothers in his corner, no Heel has been able to do it alone in recent memory.
The situation can all change with Roman turning Heel. We’ve seen him do heel tactics in matches. Brutal attack with chairs, powerbombs through tables, vicious spears, you name it he’s done it. However, that Superman punch does need to go, no Heel would do that. (No one should do a Superman punch anyway.)
But I digress, Roman can be believable as a solo Heel champion. A sort of reverse-Ultimate Warrior type. Except with Roman, we have someone who has the ability to do lengthy work rate matches. This also would open up the opportunity for a tweener like Samoa Joe or Braun to go full on in a character choice as well. There shouldn’t be these many tweeners at the top of the billing. Not for the sake of story and fan engagement.
Heel Roman would also give us a nice contrast with the reuniting of the Shield. I always thought Roman should have been the one in the Shield to turn heel, this could be a chance to retell angles from that period with a new lineup. Do the Shield turn heel with Roman? Do they maybe try to talk sense into him? All these stories could line up, drawing from past instances, and fuel some interesting story lines heading forward.
Every real star needs a turn as an in-ring Heel. It’s too late for John Cena, but factors outside of the ring can be attributed to his lack of Heel. Maybe it was because of the PG era and Vince needing a Stallworth for the company? I don’t know. But right now, there is a bevy of talent on the roster, and all of them feel like tweeners or faces. We need a Heel revolution.
John Cena has been the Face that runs the place for quite some time. However, we need a Heel to take over. The Roman Empire needs to ride a wave of destruction across the WWE we haven’t seen in quite some time. Plus a Heel change has definitely never helped a struggling, over pushed baby face before.
And a Heel turn definitely hasn’t taken someone to heights unknown in wrestling:
So what’s up WWE? Vince needs to stop flirting with us and give us what we need, a new top Heel. And that Heel is Roman Reigns.
Markus X. Murden
Follow Markus on Twitter and Instagram @MXMurden
SummerSlam 2017 was a show for the ages, of what WWE needed not to do. Listen in as we break down the week that was before the PPV event of the summer went down.
What you’re going to learn quickly about me as a wrestling fan is I tend to swarm to the underdogs and to the odd ball characters. Growing up as a kid I was absolutely entranced by Sting and Eddie Guerrero. One man who became more of a symbol rather than a wrestler and a small scrappy wrestler who fought until his heart literally gave out. I love characters and there is no character that I love right now more than Kevin Owens.
Kevin Owens by no means should be as good of a wrestler as he is right now. He’s cowardly, brash, turns on everyone, is not the right shape of a wrestler, and is constantly victimizing himself when he’s not brutalizing an opponent.
And I love every single moment of it. Kevin Owens is everything that makes a great heel in my opinion. He is Kevin Owens both in the ring and on twitter, he never drops the Owens character. He is always in kayfabe ( an industry term for the reality of all of the performances during your favorite wrestling program.)
Kevin is on all the time even when he doesn’t talk. Just flip to any promo and look at his face, even if he’s in the background. I guarantee he is more entertaining than who’s speaking. All eyes are on Kevin even when the most electrifying wrestler on the show is in the ring!
But anyone can make a smarmy face, be sarcastic, and win the crowd over. What did it for me was Kevin’s “final” match with Sami Zayn at Battleground. Within that 20 minute match, both men were able to tell the long history between the two up until that bout.
Sami and Kevin were best friends on the indie circuit. Kevin is literally the first person Sami embraces in NXT when Sami won the coveted title. But that same night Kevin betrayed Sami, just like he always does. Rewatching everything with Sami and Jericho it becomes abundantly clear what kind of character Kevin is.
He’s a scared little boy.
He uses his family as both his drive and excuse to turn on his friends become all of these champions but in all honesty, he’s scared. He’s scared of someone getting close to him. He’s afraid that if he lets his guard down maybe someone will do this to him. A kind of karma or worse compromise what he’s been building for his family. As well as in an ironic turn of events he’s abandoned the family he loves so much to chase these titles for them!
It’s apparent in his 2016 Battleground match, that he feels nothing but remorse and regret. That he has to bury what he’s feeling for his best friend and brother Sami, while he’s continuously slapping Sammi in the face.
The moment that solidified Kevin in my eyes a wonderful character was in a simple sentence he said, “Don’t make me do this, stay down!” In one simple sentence of anguish during a grueling match, Kevin cemented himself as my favorite current wrestler.
Kevin repeated this same feeling when he turned on his best friend, Chris Jericho.
Chris and Kevin had been the main reason to watch RAW for most of 2016 and the beginning of 2017. They had fun banter together, they made fun of everyone, and had an amazing bromance including a shark cage! Fans of Jericho could easily say his most recent run was his best and a big part of that is because of Jeri-KO. But like with Sami, Kevin follows a formula. Someone got too close and cost him the “source” of what was feeding his family by feeding his title to Goldberg.
At the celebration of their friendship, there would be no banter and only one list, with one name, Chris Jericho.
Kevin cemented his brutal attack and heart-wrenching decision with a reluctant and poisonous,“I hate you!” Right before slamming Y2J’s head into his new Jeritron model. Kevin would eventually lose his Universal title and go after his best friend Chris Jericho’s United States title. The title would change hands between the two of them before Kevin got rid of Chris “for good”.
The fact that Kevin feels constant remorse that you can visually see it tearing him up inside, is gut wrenching and makes him so fascinating to me. Add the fact that Kevin Owens embraces the US Title like an old lover, and his title reign reveals even more about him. It may be the last memory he has of his best friend Chris Jericho and maybe the last piece of his humanity.
The phrase “Never meet your heroes” has been around for a long time. It implies that meeting them might be a letdown when you realize that they’re just a normal person. I understand the logic behind that concept, but I don’t agree with it. I met one of my childhood heroes, if only for a brief second, and it only made me admire him more. I got to take a picture with Bret Hart, shake his hand, look him right in the eye, and say, “thank you.” I know that’s hardly a meeting, but sometimes that small exchange is enough to make a person lose the admiration they once had for someone. Not me though. On that day, Bret “The Hitman” Hart met and surpassed all my expectations. It was a surreal moment for sure. While standing there, I realized how much I respected this man, and how strong he had to have been to endure through the ordeals the end of his career came with. Bret Hart doesn’t know who I am. He probably doesn’t even remember being in my small town, but for me, it’s a moment I’ll always remember. The day I met my hero.
I’ve always believed that a true hero is someone who manages to stay strong in the face adversity. The end of Bret Hart’s career was filled with both adversity and tragedy. The fact that he managed to keep it together, and tried to pick up the pieces, is admirable. Part 1 of my story ended right before the main event of Survivor Series 1997. Unbeknownst to Bret, the fans, and most of his employees, Vince McMahon had orchestrated a plan to ensure that Hart, who had just signed a deal with WCW, would not leave the ring as WWF Champion. There have been two schools of thinking ever since the incident took place. On one side, you have the people who say McMahon had no choice but to protect his company and all his employees. That Vince would’ve done that to anyone. On the other side, you have people who say that Vince McMahon is an evil individual. An individual who stabbed his most loyal employee in the back, after he was the one who asked him to sign with WCW to relieve some of the “financial stress” the WWF was under. Obviously, I fall into the latter category. Regardless of which side you’re on, we can all agree that the Montreal Screw Job was the turning point for both the WWF and Bret Hart.
Before the match started, Bret was on top of the world. He was defending the WWF Championship one last time, in his home country, and he wasn’t scheduled to lose it. In a sense, Bret was going to have the perfect ending to his WWF career. Then, he’d move on to WCW and start collecting a huge pay day. Sadly, not everything went according to plan. We’ll never know how the match was supposed to end, but what transpired is an incident that still gets talked about today, 20 years later. We all know the story. If you don’t, long story short, Shawn Michaels locks Bret Hart in the Sharpshooter submission, Vince McMahon comes down to ringside and calls for the bell. Your new WWF Champion, Shawn Michaels. The live audience couldn’t believe it, the fans at home couldn’t believe it, and most of all, Bret Hart couldn’t believe it. A man, and a company, that he had shed blood, sweat, and tears for had double crossed him. There would be no fairy tale ending. In fact, Bret Hart’s life and career would begin to spiral downward after this match.
Not only had Bret basically been exiled to WCW, but it seemed as though his departure sparked a shift in momentum between the two promotions. Before the Screw Job, WCW was positioned atop the wrestling world. They had the hottest entity in all of pro wrestling, the NWO, and after the way, Bret’s WWF run ended many believed his arrival in WCW would mean big business for the company. Unfortunately, it didn’t play out that way. Almost immediately after Bret walks out of the WWF, the pendulum begins swinging the other way. Seemingly over night, the NWO gets too big and too stale, Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Mr. McMahon becomes the hottest rivalry in all of pro wrestling, and oh yeah, we find out that “Bret screwed Bret.” When you take everything into consideration, Bret Hart gets a raw deal here (no pun intended). When WCW was beating WWF in the ratings, it was viewed as Bret’s fault because he was WWF’s top star. When Bret decides to leave for WCW (as a favor to McMahon) he’s looked at as a traitor. Ultimately, he’s the one who gets betrayed. The betrayal somehow does nothing for him, but leads to the creation of the Mr. McMahon character, which in turn leads to the full blown start of the “Attitude Era.” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the Attitude Era wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Bret Hart. Whether it was making Steve Austin a star, or inadvertently creating the evil Mr. McMahon, Bret was crucial. If only he could’ve had the same effect on WCW.
Immediately after the Screw Job, I felt confused. The next day, confusion turned into hope. Hope that somehow Bret would show up on Monday Night Raw and confront both Shawn Michales and Vince McMahon. I couldn’t wait for 9 o’clock to roll around. When it finally did, I was disappointed. Not only would Bret not be there, but Shawn Michaels and DX would proceed to make a mockery of the whole situation. By the end of the show, it became quite apparent, even to an 8-year-old me, that Bret Hart would not be returning to the WWF. I honestly can’t recall how I found out the details of the Screw Job, or that Bret was headed to WCW. That kind of information wasn’t as available back then, and especially to a kid. When I learned that Bret would be arriving in WCW though, I was ecstatic. I felt like Bret would pick up right where he’d left off in WWF. Unfortunately for everyone, that wasn’t the case. Whether it was WCW’s fault or Bret’s fault, the whole ordeal seemed doomed from the start.
Before his WCW run was abruptly ended by injury, Bret had managed to win the U.S. Title and World Heavyweight Title, but his character was struggling. His love for pro wrestling was gone, and it showed on screen. I tried to stay loyal to my favorite of all time. I bought a WCW Bret Hart action figure, I started watching Nitro and WCW pay-per-views, but it wasn’t the same anymore. WCW clearly didn’t know what they had on their hands. They never knew what to do with Bret Hart. As bad as his professional life had become, the real blow to Bret and the rest of the Hart Family came on May 23rd, 1999, when Owen Hart tragically fell to his death during his entrance at the WWF pay-per-view, Over The Edge. I remember not believing it when Jim Ross broke the news. It seemed impossible to fathom. Just a couple of years ago, the Hart Foundation was on top of the WWF world. Now Bret, Jim Neidhart, and The British Bulldog were all gone. While Brian Pillman, and Owen Hart, were both dead. A horrible day for all wrestling fans, especially any fans of the Hart Family.
After Owen’s death, things just got worse for Bret. He was forced to retire from wrestling in late 2000, after suffering a severe concussion, caused by a reckless kick to the head by Bill Goldberg. I remember not understanding why Bret wasn’t wrestling. I remember being frustrated with him and WCW for that. When the news finally came that he wouldn’t wrestle again, I was heart broken, but I was just a fan. Bret had to deal with the abrupt retirement head on. One minute you’re a star athlete, the next you’re not allowed to compete anymore. What an unceremonious end to one of the greatest careers ever. In 2002, Bret began taking losses in his personal life. He and first wife Julie, officially divorced that year. He lost his brother-in-law, and one of his closest friends, the “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith, to a heart attack. He also suffered a stroke in 2002.
Then, in early 2003, Bret lost another close friend suddenly, when “Mr. Perfect” Kurt Henning, died of a drug overdose. I can’t imagine dealing with just one of those situations, let alone dealing with them occurring that close proximity. That’s where my current respect for Bret Hart comes from. Sure, when I was a child, I admired Bret Hart the wrestler, but as an adult, I admire Bret Hart the man. I admire the ability to keep picking yourself up after every blow life throws at you. I admire the courage it took to stand alone against WWE for so many years. I understood when he finally buried the hatchet with Vince McMahon, Shawn Michaels, and WWE. He couldn’t let them, or that one incident dictate the way he lived the rest of his life. Bret gets a little older every year and resembles my childhood hero a bit less every year too. None of that matters though. The memories will never fade. Every time I see the color pink, I can’t help but think of “The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be,” Bret “The Hitman” Hart. Forever my hero, my hero in pink.
It’s PPV time in WWE, and below we have the full match card with our predictions for WWE Battleground
WWE Championship — Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Randy Orton (Punjabi Prison Match)
John Cena vs. Rusev (Flag Match)
United States Championship — AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens
Tag Team Championship — The Usos (c) vs. The New Day
Women’s Championship No. 1 Contendership — Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs. Lana vs. Tamina Snuka (Fatal 5-Way Elimination Match)
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Baron Corbin
Sami Zayn vs. Mike Kanellis w/ Maria Kanellis
Breezango vs. TBA
Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English (Kickoff Show)
Bobby Nagel: Aiden English, Mike Kanellis, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, New Day, AJ Styles, Rusev, Jinder Mahal
Adam Gregory: Tye Dillinger, Mike Kanellis, Shinsuke Nakamura, Natalya, New Day, John Cena, Jinder Mahal
Wesley Avendano: Tye Dillinger, Sami Zayn, Baron Corbin, Charlotte Flair, New Day, John Cena, Jinder Mahal
Markus Murden: Tye Dillinger, Mike Kanellis, Shinsuke Nakamura, Charlotte Flair, The Usos, AJ Styles, John Cena, Jinder Mahal
Justin Velez: Aiden English, Mike Kanellis, Baron Corbin, Tamina, The Usos, AJ Styles, John Cena, Jinder Mahal
Special Guest Interview with Mitch Hasttel of Hasttel Toy. We ask Mitch how he got into the Hasbro toy business, his favorite wrestlers, and more!
Follow @Hastteltoy on Instagram to see all his fantastic memorabilia.