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Why WWE Is Looking Well-Heeled Going Forward – by Mike Sanchez

Now that the dust is settling on the Superstar Shakeup and WWE rosters are lining up nicely, I’ve been impressed in how the heel side of the company looks going forward. I’m liking the way the bad guys/girls have been spread out and not limited to either one brand or division and WWE are making it really easy for the fans to see the clearly defined roles of some of the superstars. I’ve always enjoyed wrestling in its purest form; good vs evil and WWE are reverting back to the simple feuds and stories that many fans want and enjoy. Let me break down some of the promising aspects I see:

Face or Heel – not many ‘Tweeners’

It’s clear that WWE isn’t having grey areas when it comes to their stars of late. The ones you’re meant to cheer wear smiles to the ring, say the right things and get cheap pops from the crowds. The bad guys cheat, whine and cause upset to irk not just their opponents, but the fans too. Yeah, I enjoy some of the heel’s work and their interviews, but whatever I or any other fan thinks doesn’t matter to WWE or how that character is going to be portrayed. They’re the bad guy and they won’t change just because we found their interview witty or funny. They’ll still s**t on the audience at large when they can. Case in point; Shinsuke Nakamura – yes he’s talented, and his interviews raise a smile, but they’re not for us. They’re to make him look like a jerk and he isn’t going to be swayed in his quest to annoy us.

They’re being given the limelight

Your good guys can be the face of the company and have their image plastered on trucks, billboards and collectors cups, but the heels are also being given time to shine. You can have the most over face in the world, but they’re no good without a foil, a worthy opponent to bring the best out of them and push any feud to the next level. There has to be threat to their dominance; a shadowy, unhinged foe willing to go beyond the norms, break the rules to tear down our heroes. The bad guys need to be seen and heard. This is where WWE are doing well of late.

The Miz is the personification of a heel. He’s incredible on the mic and very good in the ring. He’s a credible threat to all and any before him and WWE have begun to realise the height of his heelish persona was when he was opposite one Daniel Bryan. They’re putting it right in our faces and hoping their war of words reaches the heights it did a few years ago. Its smart booking and gives the beloved Daniel Bryan that threat he needs to be as popular as he once was with the fans.

They’re being spread out across the shows & divisions

This is where I believe WWE have really thought out how to utilise their heels; by ensuring every show, division, and title challengers has a heel, or heels within it. Let’s take a look:

Raw

  • WWE Universal Title – Brock Lesnar
  • Intercontinental Title – Jinder Mahal, Baron Corbin
  • Women’s Championship – Alexa Bliss, Liv Morgan, Mickie James, Sarah Logan, Ruby Riott
  • Tag Titles – Drew McIntyre/Dolph Ziggler, The Bar

Smackdown Live

  • WWE Title – Shinsuke Nakamura, The Miz
  • United States Title – Big Cass
  • Tag Titles – Bludgeon Brothers, Rusev/English
  • Women’s Championship – Carmella, Billie Kay, Peyton Royce, Sonya Deville, Mandy Rose

Those are just the ones ‘active’ in storylines right now. Come next week, after the Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia, and we may be able to add Samoa Joe, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and many more to the lists of those vying to win gold in WWE. That’s not to mention those who are playing bit-parts at the moment and having the odd match here and there. I fully expect Owens and Zayn to be wearing titles in the coming months. The main title pictures will be shaken up too, as we only really have two main heels involved in those pictures, coming off the back of Wrestlemania. Once Backlash is over and done with, expect those feuds to be ramped up or new challengers placed there.

It’s fair to say the heels are beginning to become a fixture on WWE programming right now and in firmly defined roles. We know who they are and what they want. We see their actions and hear their words and it’s a wonderfully refreshing change to see not just fresh feuds being built up, but new faces added to the mix in solid roles and story-lines. This trend extends beyond the main two shows and into the 205 division and NXT – where the best heel on TV right now, The Blackheart Tommaso Ciampa, resides. That guy is freakin’ brilliant.

I’m excited to see where this path leads and how strong these heels will be booked. WWE has been crying out for a real tough, dominant heel or two these last few years. One who beats all before them and goes on lengthy title reigns. One who poses a real mountain to climb for any challenger, which only serves to raise the popularity for the good guys when all is said and done. I’m happy where this is headed, for now, don’t let us down, WWE.

As always, thanks for reading.