Friday, March 20, 2015

Heels



I was watching NXT with my wife and I remarked, "I love Kevin Owens. He's such a jerk." She said, "You're so funny with your love of heels." We then talked about how WWE can't write faces anymore and I asked her if she could describe what Roman Reigns's motivation even is at this point. She thought for a moment, and couldn't come up with it. No one can because WWE faces don't seem to have relatable human motivation.

I then told her about how Kevin Owens came to NXT to win the title, which provides a better life for his family, and he doesn't care who he has to step on to get and keep it because he waited for so long for the opportunity. She got it immediately. And then I said, "Plus, he's a jerk, which is just plain entertaining."

Cut to this week's show where after his scuffle with Finn Balor, Owens is fleeing and as he passes by the fallen Alex Riley, he gives him one more stomp just because he's a dick. That's a great heel. Entertaining and someone you might find in real life.

Anyway, I wish a rule could be instituted where no character can exist without being able to explain their motivation/point of view in one sentence. Good rule?

Jon Eks
Jon of All Trades Podcast
jonofalltrades.us
Facebook: Facebook.com/JoATPod
Twitter: @JoATPod


Oh man, THANK YOU for bringing up that stomp, because my wife thought I was losing my mind last night when I watched that match and I was laughing my head off and she couldn't understand why.  Kevin Owens is the best.  

127 comments:

  1. The Stomp has seemed to really made an impact with fans.

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  2. It's just a great little touch that helps the character. You know, all the things we are missing with the current product

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  3. I watch the Bachelor every Monday night. #BoDconfession

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  4. Man, I HATE Kevin Owens. But in the good, kayfabe way. Every time I see that dumb smirk and hear him make that family excuse ("I'm doing this for my family, so clearly I need to nearly kill my best friend to win") I want to see Sami Zayn return and kick his teeth in.

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  5. Whether or not it works for you, Reigns does have a motivation: he wants to win the title (simple as it gets), he wants to prove his doubters wrong, and he wants to honour his family.

    Your wife must be really dense.

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  6. I wasn't much of a Punk fan until his 09 heel turn and notice just how in to his character he was and the little details. It might be hard to explain but a lot of heels come off like they're just acting - receiting their lines and waiting for boos where Punk seemed to be in character and completely natural as soon as he walked through the curtain, naturally reacting to whatever's happening out there.

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  7. Cena vs Orton,one more timeMarch 20, 2015 at 8:55 AM

    "Your wife must be really dense."


    BAH GAWD KING,THIS FEUD HAS GOTTEN PERSONAL.

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  8. It was something that made sense, so it stands out from everything else right now.

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  9. You must really be a cunt.

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  10. Fuck that shit, I'm a smart mark and I want all my favorite wrestlers to be cool, smirking heel.

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  11. The Love-Matic Grampa!March 20, 2015 at 9:02 AM

    A heel being a jerk just for the sake of being a jerk is always awesome. Like I said, I'd have enjoyed Miz's run more if he'd been the clever, sneaky jerk rather that the faux tough-guy making mean faces.

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  12. In her defense, Reigns virtually never spoke prior to winning the Rumble. When he did speak winning the title was never expressed as his driving goal. Proving his doubters wrong has only come about since his push failed with the fans. And honouring his family was an idea invented from nothing by Paul Heyman. You may have picked up the few scraps WWE has tossed out and woven them into a satisfying whole, but it's mean to chastise her for not choosing to do the same.

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  13. The best wrestler characters are usually some aspect of their own personality turned up to 11.

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  14. The Love-Matic Grampa!March 20, 2015 at 9:05 AM

    Well, Punk also comes across as a bit of a real-life heel as well. Not that there's anything wrong with that, because it's a heel-centric world.

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  15. Similar to that stomp is the tag match between Flair/Windham and the Midnight Express from one of the Clashes. Flair has Bobby Eaton on the match and just slaps him like a little bitch for no reason. I lose it every time I see it. Just being a dick for no reason.

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  16. Wrestling 101. You want to see it--it makes them money.

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  17. I like when people just have to mention their wife/girlfriend.

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  18. So you like Kevin Owens?

    That kinda means he's doing something wrong given we're meant to boo heels.

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  19. Owens has just been phenomenal since he got to nxt.

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  20. You like Kevin Owens now but just wait unto he makes his main roster debut has Funkasaurus Jr.

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  21. "Yep Mode" Abeyance Brown ©March 20, 2015 at 9:11 AM

    Which is why we'll savor everything now.

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  22. Heels are so different now because Vince mandates heels have to be different...my favorite thing Flair would do is in a match when he's choking a downed opponent and the ref admonishes him, he purposefully puts his shin over the opponent's throat and argues with the ref...hilarious and cool!

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  23. I thought he was a guy who never have a cuppa coffee in the big time yeah because of his look (he's FAT!) and his age, but only did he get his foot in the door, Kev's kicking the fucking door down.

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  24. Cena vs Orton,one more timeMarch 20, 2015 at 9:14 AM

    What's that?I can't hear you over all the pussy I'm drowning in!

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  25. I'm VERY excited at this prospect.

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  26. MaffewOfBotchamaniaMarch 20, 2015 at 9:19 AM

    Rollins turns on The Shield, Ambrose starts a blood feud with Rollins for this and chases him constantly.

    Reigns shrugs, goes and wrestles Orton for a bit.

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  27. Was there a better dickweed heel tactic than Ted DiBiase shoving a 100-dollar bill in the mouth of a beaten opponent?


    Plenty of guys heeled on beaten opponents, but it was usually to extract more punishment. DiBiase was just pissing on their pride and worth as human beings. What a great trademark!

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  28. SOMEBODY CALL HIS WIFE AND KIDS, WHO HE IS TRYING TO PROVIDE A BETTER LIFE FOR!

    SOMEBODY CALL HIS WIFE AND KIDS, WHO HE IS TRYING TO PROVIDE A BETTER LIFE FOR!

    SOMEBODY CALL HIS WIFE AND KIDS, WHO HE IS TRYING TO PROVIDE A BETTER LIFE FOR!

    SOMEBODY PLEASE, CALL HIS WIFE AND KIDS, WHO HE IS TRYING TO PROVIDE A BETTER LIFE FOR!



    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

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  29. I have to admit I'm still not sold. His promos in particular do nothing for me. Good matches though.

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  30. I'm having a hard time getting used to saying Owens instead of Steen. Ditto Balor in place of Devitt.

    They really should do a vignette where you see Owens' kids are sadistic little hellions and his wife is a hateful cunt, just to amplify the heel aspect.

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  31. Punk's best line in the Hardy feud.

    "Fix him, so I can break him again!"

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  32. You can tell he realises what a huge opportunity he's been given, one that he probably thought he wasn't gonna get.

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  33. I cant wait 18 months from now when most think he is overrated and is ready for him to freshen up his character.

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  34. I was gonna upvote you but I'm too drunk, stoned and exhausted from hitting the gym.

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  35. Have him go Stan Hansen. "My wife is a no good bitch, and my kids are spoiled brats. But, I got to feed them".

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  36. Battle Kat LitterMarch 20, 2015 at 9:32 AM

    I asked my wife to explain Roman Reigns' motivations, and she said: "Aren't you too old for those baby programs? Have you put the rubbish out yet?"

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  37. If we were in kindergarten and didn't understand nuance your point would be more valid.

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  38. Cheering the heels and booing the faces! We're super smarks!

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  39. People cheering Stone Cold, guy who abused his boss! We're 98 percent of fans!

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  40. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!March 20, 2015 at 9:38 AM

    Mayo he is. Mayo he's not.

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  41. Whereas The Slap has not.

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  42. Stone Cold was portrayed as a face, and Vince as a heel. They weren't boring, bland do-gooder face and generic, mustache-twirling heel like we get nowadays, but they were clearly defined, despite what Russo would have us believe.

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  43. No, they've made that story completely clear since the Rumble. This isn't something that just materialized in the last week. His motivations are clear.

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  44. they key to pro wrestling is when its at its best, it's so simple. One of the best heels i ever saw was Vader in his prime. He was a massive guy who was just a fucking bully, so he was a dick. He was bigger and badder than everyone else and just beat the shit out of them. How hard is that? Hulk Hogan became a millionaire because some mammoth heel would beat the shit out of him every year and a half or so and he'd tour the country getting his revenge.

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  45. And then Virgil would come and pick up the money from the guy's mouth!

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  46. And then she beat you.

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  47. Right! Perfect.

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  48. I feel like this motivation thing has a severe double standard. We don't like Roman Reigns, so we claim he has no motivation. We love Daniel Bryan, so we claim is motivation is obvious (prove himself against the best, win back the title he never lost, show himself he's still great after a long injury). Watch me do the same for Reigns - live up to his family legacy, show he was the top dog in the former Shield, win the WWE Title.


    What was the Rock's motivation? Hogan's? Sammartino's? Bret's? Shawn's? The Undertaker? Regal? Benoit?


    I dunno -- I don't think deep stories, shaded characters or clearly motivated characters. We just need characters we love to watch in stories easy to follow. Lesnar vs. Reigns fighting because, "I think I can beat you. No, you can't. YES I CAN!" is very simple and SHOULD be enough. Should be....

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  49. It's actually relevant in his case....whenever my wife watches with me, she brings a totally different perspective to the exact same thing. Makes me think of WHY the things I watch are happening, both in terms of angles and matches. And unfortunately, if she asks me why something is happening, she usually won't take "Because it's wrestling and that's what happens." For an answer.

    It's actually a pretty good litmus test for whether or not what we're watching makes sense.

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  50. The story is being told through Heyman. Reigns promo last week was the only really decent one he has had and the crowd chanted for Daniel Bryan halfway through. No one cares about the feud as a WrestleMania main event. The story sucks as a result too

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  51. Well, shit, the mofo is merely telling his story and his girlfriend/wife was included in it. It's funny because there's always some dude that gets offended that he read the words "girl" and "friend" on his wrestling website. -______-

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  52. You got drunk and stoned and then worked out?!

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  53. He didn't have the necessary materials for a protein shake so had to go with plan B.

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  54. Austin broke into Brian Pillman's house, held a gun to Vince's head, attacked him in the hospital and gave Stunners to everyone in sight. He was a face because people thought he was a cool rebel.

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  55. Sounds effective

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  56. Winning a title which leads to more money should be enough motivation. For Bryan though, it's such a ready made story line just begging to be played out and they passed on it. People love underdogs trying to slay a huge monster.

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  57. Completely agree with this. Plus, they are FINALLY making it about the "pay window", which it always should be. Flair worked at desperately wanting to be the World Champ because the World Champ made the most money and Flair wanted to make the most money so he could be FLAIR. Owens' motivation is simple; the champ makes the most, he wants to give his family the best he possibly can, and, thus, will do anything it takes to become and remain champ so he can make the most money. He's a prizefighter; he fights for a prize (money). SIMPLE IS BETTER.

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  58. Hey if you're quoting hansens family you can't leave out "I got a big fat wife and 9 kids and I gotta feed them".

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  59. I've had this discussion with a friend. Dibiasi is the best heel of all time.

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  60. Or when he refused to fight a jobber bc he wasn't going to work up a sweat for that level
    Of competition. So he hires a jobber to fight for him, that guys loses and he and Virgil beat him up. What a dick! And it was awesome

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  61. Apparently Donatello was killed in the new TMNT comic

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  62. Everything going on in the BoD is a work. But what you're seeing RIGHT NOW is a shoot!!!

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  63. He had it coming.

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  64. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!March 20, 2015 at 10:09 AM

    Well, he did do machines. Those are dangerous to do.

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  65. And that's a fact, Jack!

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  66. I don't think his motivation is really a valid criticism, so I agree with you. Everything else about Reigns is awful however.

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  67. Wrestling fans don't get girls!

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  68. In a lot of ways that's Brock Lesnar, too. We don't see him all the time and he only shows up for the big money fights. Makes perfect sense for him. It's why Cena stays over whether we like it or not - hustle, loyalty, respect - we know exactly what drives him kayfabe-wise. Why the fuck do I care about Roman Reigns? What is his motivation? We have no idea. ...

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  69. Also, making it all about money makes it MORE meaningful when a guy like Cena, who is always a world title contender, is willing to step back and give up the higher pay level/notoriety to take the US Title away from Rusev, the "evil russian". If CENA is willing to give up the higher level loot to make sure the UNITED STATES WINS, it has to be worth it to us, too.

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  70. Yes, we've discussed on the blog before and it's really simple. Get rid of the "evil authority figure that has vaguely defined power and rationale for what they do and how they make matches on a whim just to be a dick" and just acknowledge that the wrestlers are all here to fight each other and the ones that win the most get titles and money. We all like money, that's why we work so we can relate. It's the great equalizer. Moreover, we're basically just fans that want to see guys fight, not members of a universe they need to treat like morons.

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  71. Yep.


    I think it comes from talking about it EVERY single day. People don't want to just repeat the same thing ("I don't like his face"- sometimes it really is just that simple...), so they try to dig deep.


    Like when people harp on Cena for his (lack of) selling and act like it's a major reason why people hate him. No, he looks/acts like a dork. That's like 98% of the problem.

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  72. There's a difference between thinking 'this is an awesome heel' and 'this heel is awesome.' The former is pointing out someone is a great heel, the latter veers into 'man, I love this guy.' And if you love the guy, by virtue he's not succeeding in the role because he's meant to be despicable.
    But we live in an age where people want Cena to be heel just so he can be cool again.

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  73. I'm really bummed the Goldust/Stardust angle failed because the motivation Goldust gave before their match at Fastlane was fantastic. Rescue his brother by beating him so badly that he never wants to put on the facepaint again. Essentially kill the monster to save the man. It's rare and compelling when they can give more motivation than just proving you're the best. Goldust didn't even care about winning; he just wanted to bring his brother back to his senses. Then the match was a huge failure, though you could say the lack of intensity and flash pin were the result of Goldust not having the heart to carry out his mission. It was a really compelling fashion to build upon, but maybe they were too subtle because the fans could not have cared less.

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  74. Roman Reign's purpose?


    Vince: Because fuck you, that's why.

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  75. Roman hasn't really had direction since the Shield disbanded. Initially I thought they were going to have Dean lose out to Seth and then after Roman was done with Orton, have Roman go after Seth. That may have been when he got injured.

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  76. Rusev at least has a pretty well defined motivation. Of course, knowing Vince, Lana is one wardrobe change away from wearing a monocle and sporting a "USA is not OK" sign.

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  77. Each of these guys had some combination of well-developed characters and years of experience in the business. Roman debuted 2 1/2 years ago in the WWE, and was silent muscle for most of that time. As a fan, I don't know who he is other than being from a wrestling family (along with half the WWE roster at this point, and only recently brought up) and he stands around with his arms folded, looking mean. Why SHOULD I like him? It feels like somebody flicked a switch and turn him into a contender.

    Although you can say Rock had about as much time when he first got the strap, he was way better on the mic and had character development. Hogan had a huge PR machine behind him after Rocky 3 and had 7 years as a pro, Bret had been wrestling for 14 years when he won the strap, Shawn for 12, and Undertaker for 7. Nothing about Roman's rise feels organic. I can't speak for the character development of Sammartino, Frank Gotch, or Strangler Lewis.

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  78. Reigns' direction and motivation is plenty clear, and simple as hell: no one thinks he's ready to face the monster, no one thinks he can win, he wants to prove everyone wrong.

    The problem remains that he just isn't the guy anyone wants in that role. Working with that albatross, they've done wonders in booking it over the last few weeks.

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  79. Jorge SteinbrennerMarch 20, 2015 at 11:13 AM

    My wife: "Is it Monday night? I'm going to the gym. I'll be back in three hours."

    She always walks into the room right when the TV is showing a screen full of Nikki Bella ass as well.

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  80. That's mostly true (subjective, of course ... one could argue his face-to-face with Lesnar was effective, and his pre-Fast Lane promo was as well), but it's not the point. The point isn't whether the fans care or whether the story is good, the point of this thread is whether the character has motivation, which he clearly does. They literally could not spell it out any clearer than they have -- he wants the title, he wants to prove his doubters wrong, and he wants to live up to the expectations of his family.

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  81. Did they bury him in an oversized shoebox?

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  82. I'm not filling in any blank spaces here, because they don't exist. Whether it's Reigns saying it or Heyman, the company has definitely given Reigns a clear motivation. Whether or not fans buy into it is up to them.

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  83. The WWE doesn't know how to write either faces or heels. Most of the time the heels act more like faces and the faces act more like heels.

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  84. Exhibit A: Bo Dallas.

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  85. What is often is lost is that Austin was basically playing the pissed off face but taken to an extreme level that wasn't seen up to that point. Pissed off face attacks heel in revenge for previous attacks; Austin did the same thing, only breaks into the house of the heel who wronged him the past. He stilled acted like a face but he used extreme tactics.


    Things did get blurred over the years but early Stone Cold acted like a face who used heel tactics.

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  86. Well Vince, about 6 or 7 years ago, made mandate that heels can't cheat and have to listen to the refs "because in real sports people don't cheat and the officials can't be touched"...what a joke...

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  87. So you're saying, given what we know now, that guy was probably just asking Virgil for an autograph?

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  88. All in the name of "realism." We're talking about a worked sport. And they wonder why the fans have a hard time connecting with the wrestlers.

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  89. Heeling WORKS, goddammit! Both NXT singles champions are heels in different ways. Owens is violent, surly dick and Sasha is apparently Eddie Gilbert's long-lost daughter. I love it.

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  90. And complaining about smarks cheering for heels makes you something else entirely.


    Some smarks just want to watch the world burn.

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  91. It was entirely fucking relevant to the point he was making - why a casual fan (his wife) loves Kevin Owens.


    I'm sure there's a support group out there somewhere for Single & Butthurt About It.

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  92. Yes, this. God he was awesome.


    I think Del Rio could have been awesome had he taken a few more pages out of Dibiase's playbook. (but instead he just said DESTINNYYYY a lot and carted Bumblebee Man around with him)

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  93. This motivation stuff isn't always necessary. What were Andre Agassi and Randall Cunningham's motivation? What the hell did I care? I liked watching them play. Most of the time face motivation is only revenge or make the fans happy: Bruno, Backlund, Cena, Dusty, Hogan, surfer Sting. There's no real need for them to have a motivation just connect with the audience. Reigns isn't doing that, but motivation isn't really the issue. Heels need motivation for why their dicks, heroes don't need motivation for being good guys.

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  94. ThebrazilianpsychoMarch 20, 2015 at 12:16 PM

    Del Rio himself said that, but WWE did not let him do what he was asking.

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  95. My favorite random heel move came from Gene Snitsky of all people. During his Taboo Tuesday match with Kane, he used a chair to Pilmanize Kane's throat. Kane does the Ken Shamrock Tribute of spitting out blood and the ref shoos Snistky out of the ring while the medics work on Kane. This goes on for about a minute and then Snitsky runs in out of nowhere, gives Kane one stomp and insists that the ref counts to three. The random stomp was the best part and I remember watching that with my two roommates at the time who only watched wrestling when I did and even they marked for it.

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  96. You can't really compare a real athlete's motivation with pro wrestling especially now that the business is basically presented as a show instead of an athletic contest.

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  97. Oh my god the heels heat that would get.

    Tremendous

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  98. Disagree. People have always loved anti-heroes. Tony Soprano was one of the most horrible characters ever created and millions of people watched "The Sopranos" every week because he was so awesome. There's real complexity to Kevin Owens -- he's a guy that acts without a conscience because he puts his family first. He explained that for 12 years he had to put them second to chase his dream and now everything he does, he does for them.


    People aren't rooting for Kevin Owens; they're rooting for an awesome story.

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  99. Best heel punk line period.

    "Your arms aren't long enough to box with God"

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  100. With Kayfabe this dead, there are always gonna be people rooting for Walter White.

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  101. Which is what makes Vince's banning of cheating all the more bizzare

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  102. I know! Wasn't his rationale that real athletes don't cheat? That's asinine.

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  103. The Royal Rumble is basically presented as an athletic contest to secure the title shot and main event at Wrestlemania.

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  104. Their motivation was to win games/matches/titles. If all the faces treated every win/loss result like it was super important, that would be great.

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  105. Yeah, Reigns definitely has a motivation. I just don't care about his performances.

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  106. What is your motivation in this marriage?

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  107. Sammartino had been Polish for like 28 years when he won the belt the first time.

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  108. Yes, and have SCHEDULED MATCHES rather than everyone seemingly showing up for a blank slate card every week. It's not AS bad any more but under the Teddy Long regime it seemed like no heel would ever have had a match on Smackdown if he didn't bother Teddy backstage and get "punished" with a wrestling match.

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  109. "Damn straight!" - Wayne Odesnik

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  110. Totally agree - say what you will about his talent, but the character's motivation couldn't be simpler or easier to understand.

    We've all enjoyed bashing Reigns, but this seems like a stretch by the e-mailer.

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  111. The execution was certainly off, but I liked the idea - Goldust promised that he wouldn't hurt Cody, and tried to win in the most gentle way possible.

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  112. What more motivation does a challenger need than wanting to be champion?

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  113. That was my #1 beef with ROH when they started - the Code of Honor. Oh come the fuck on.

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  114. Regal on NXT is the perfect example of what an "authority figure" should be these days. Make the matches... keep order... and deal with the consequences of those like Owens who don't follow that order. That's it.

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  115. That sort of simplicity works when people give a shit about the challenger. Roman Reigns needs more of a hook, more story to get people invested. There needs to be an issue between Brock/Reigns to get people invested, and there just isn't/ That goes beyond Reigns, they also haven't handled Brock's reign correctly. The entire running angle since Summerslam should have been everybody up in arms that the title is on a part-time primma donna who shows up when he feels like it. The title is being held hostage sort of feeling. Instead they ignored lesnar, made believe that neither he nor the title even existed for months at a time, and of course as a result he has completely cooled and nobody is clamoring to see him beaten. In fact the work they have done the past few weeks has made him look like a bad-ass monster face, if anything.

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  116. Breaking Bad is a textbook case of Walter being an awesome heel... and yet lots of people genuinely think we were meant to view him as being in the right for everything he did.

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  117. Polish? POLISH? How can you look at and listen to Bruno Sammartino and think "Yeah, that guy celebrates Dingus Day."

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  118. They stumbled ass-backwards into something special with Snitsky in 04-05 and totally squandered it. They created a legit monster heel with tremendous heat and proceeded to do nothing with him and repackaged him as a comedy act a few months later.

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  119. Wow someone's upset.

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  120. The same storyline with Daniel bryan, an actual underdog, would have been 1000 x more effective. Nobody buys Roman Reigns as an "underneath" guy in any form, nor do we particularly care if he wins or not because the audience hasn't been given sufficient time to invest in him emotionally.

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  121. That is one of my all time favorite weasely heel spots!

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  122. Oh yeah, duh, redacted. Had just woken up, my bad. Also I try to avoid listening to him if I can.

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