How Bad Are Our Bad Guys, Part 2
Thanks for all the positive feedback for Part 1 of How Bad Are Our Bad Guys from a couple of weeks ago. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s a must-read in order to understand the complex rating system being used to gauge how bad each heel is (it’s really just the number of Razor Ramons out of 10, because he’s the original Bad Guy!).
I am thrilled to take a look at the second half of the current WWE roster to determine what makes each supposed bad guy a heel, and whether we have reason enough to despise them. Let’s dance.
Shortly after this photo was taken, the young man on the left went missing, and Brock Lesnar was seen picking white yarn out of his teeth.
About 20 years ago, someone found a rabid polar bear lurking in Stu Hart’s Dungeon. They tranquilized it, shaved it, and released it into civilization. They named it Brock Lesnar.
Brock Lesnar may be the only heel on the current roster who could convincingly make Randy Orton look like a flaccid frankfurter. Receiving the highest rating on the Razor Ramon scale last time (at 8), Orton’s been protected to the point that he’s rarely seen in a weak position. Randy’s whiny attitude would play perfectly into Brock’s distaste for chumps; this is a match-up I wouldn’t mind seeing, except that it would result in an automatic face turn for Lesnar.
And that’s something I never want to see. I like my Brock Lesnar without the trappings of emotion or mortality. The day he’s not terrifying upon sight is the day to hang up the ol’ Jimmy John shorts. I watch Brock Lesnar the way I’d watch a horror movie, with great anxiety and exhilaration. Just look at him, his head’s not even a proper shape! It’s been mashed up and screwed back onto the side of beef they call his body.
And they’ve positioned him so well since his part-time return last year. He set his sights on John Cena, the literal poster boy for babyfaces: that feud was fantastic, in my opinion. I like Cena showing weakness, but more importantly, I like Cena showing his edgy side. These two really clicked, and their match at Extreme Rules 2012 is worth repeated viewings.
Brock’s so good at being bad that they’ve since put him up against Triple H (the corporate choice for good guy) and CM Punk (the fan choice for good guy). To quote the Macho Man, Lesnar did the thing. He goes full polar bear every damn time, and I love him for it. Brock gets 9 Razor Ramons, one more than Orton because his promos are so wild.
How could you make this guy a heel?
Curtis Axel is cocky about his wrestling heritage… sort of. He used to do Paul Heyman’s bidding… so, he’s bad by association? He is dastardly in his moves! (Wait, no.) He is menacing on the microphone. He makes bad-guy faces! Like… the Muppet version of a heel. Oh Curtis, I didn’t realize that you have barely a Razor Ramon to speak of. I’ll give you 2 Razor Ramons for now, because I remember when you were with Paul Heyman. And I have nothing else to say.
In Paris, giving the universal sign for “You’re Welcome.”
Damien Sandow uses big words to insult people. At first, I was afraid that he was only borrowing from Chris Jericho’s Little Suit gimmick, but Sandow has made it his own. His condescension is much more all- encompassing, from the way he talks down to the fans, to the way he finishes opponents with The Elbow of Disdain. He carries himself in a snobby fashion at all times; enough to be hated, but sometimes so well that it borders on likable.
He drew an even more delicate line between heel and face when he formed Team Rhodes Scholars with Cody. Yes, they acted SO superior, but their growing camaraderie was downright admirable! Dang, they seemed to enjoy wrestling together. Just a couple a’ guys doing business and a fine job of it, yes sir! They were getting really likable… so it was time for a change.
Of the two, Sandow was the natural traitor, arched eyebrow at the ready. In typical WWE fashion, they portrayed him as being much more villainous than he really was – the nerve of him winning the Money in the Bank briefcase fair and square! They immediately neutralized his villainy by having Cody steal the briefcase, resulting in a farcical standoff involving the Gulf of Mexico.
Since then, much of the bite has been taken out of Sandow’s bark. They cut short his feud with Cody, and got John Cena to flush his MITB briefcase down the toilet (using his surgically-repaired tricep to flush it, too!). And if we needed further evidence of Damien Sandow’s standing as a heel, I last saw him with his head in a bass drum, courtesy of Dolph Ziggler no less. I give him 4 Razor Ramons, a failing grade despite his potential.
“SHE’S OUTSHINING EVERYONE, DAMMIT!”
Vince McMahon must have a real boner for etiquette gimmicks. Dolph Ziggler debuted by repeatedly introducing himself to people, Vickie Guerrero is always excusing herself, and Damien Sandow is sure to say “You’re Welcome”. Then comes Fandango, whose sole heat source was correcting everyone on the pronunciation of his name. LAME. He sashayed it up a notch by bailing on matches if the ring announcer couldn’t pronounce his name properly. Were we supposed to be enraged by this?! “Dammit, Fahndahngoh! I have been waiting all weekend to see you wrestle The Great Khali! You’re an asshole and I’m going to boo the doo-DOO-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo out of you!”
Does he imply that he’s a better ballroom dancer than the rest of us? It’s probably true, and not really anything to get worked up about. He preens and poses all around the ring, which I’m sorry, has backfired in the case of me, because I find commitment to gimmicks highly entertaining.
They say they got rid of his original dance partner (known to many as “Fandangirl”) because she couldn’t accommodate the travel schedule (which I’m sure was true, she wasn’t on contract to the company as Summer Rae is). But the fans had also become so smitten by her, that she was killing what little heat Fandango could generate. Summer Rae will never have the warmth and charisma of the original dancer, perhaps because she tries too hard to be That Girl At Ringside. She is developing more of a mean persona, as she’s become involved in Fandango’s matches and the Divas realm. I think Fandango needs her; not just as a dance partner, but to enhance his image of the self-serving jerk. I’m giving him 5 Razor Ramons, one more than Sandow because the company has continually stood behind him, such as he is.
Well now we know where Little Jimmy went: he’s trapped in Ryback’s bicep!
By all means, Ryback should be a heel. He has the physique and the moveset of someone who’s best deployed in a bulldozer-type capacity. Give him one guy, two guys, big guys, local guys, and Ryback squashes them. But there’s something about him… the way he bobs his head in time to his music, the way he says “I hate bowlies”, his endearingly crooked-tooth grin, and the ever-present lightness in his eyes. Ryback has a childlike disposition that betrays his mandate to be a heel.
Not to mention, they keep positioning him as a bully, and bullies are bad, right? But the bully segments are borderline comical. I hate to say I almost look forward to seeing him announce his presence, “The big guy!” who’s just a harmless dude in a vest that has his own name stitched on it. Now they’ve thrown him together with Curtis Axel, because they’re two Paul Heyman guys without a Paul Heyman. As you may recall, I’ve given Curtis Axel a pitiful 2 Razor Ramons, but only because of his association with Paul Heyman, so what are we left with?
Here’s the clincher: Ryback never wins against the vetted Superstars in the company. When it all comes down to it, they’ve given him no credibility whatsoever. He’s a bowlie in a vest with a 2-Razor running mate. Let’s give Ryback a score of 3 Razors, because he’s at least actively trying to be a bad guy.
The koala’s not having it either.
The Miz is a stale tagline. He somehow manages to be annoying in a way that does not make us hate him, but hate ourselves for continually tuning in to his uninspired schtick. I’ve tried. I want these guys to succeed, especially the ones who dreamed of being a WWE wrestler. I love that part of The Miz’s story, and they’ve dropped the ball on it so many times that I fear it’s past-due. They’ve done a lot of try-this/try-that with The Miz, never with a clear path in mind nor a strong-enough shift in direction. You know he WANTS it, but the bad news may be that he just doesn’t have “IT”.
For crying out loud, Ric Flair gave him the figure-four leglock! I mean, he tried to give it to him, but Miz did the Google Translate version of it into some other wrestling language that did not resemble what Ric Flair intended. They got Ric Flair to give him the figure-four leglock! Ric Flair! The figure four!
And he sucks on the mic. This just makes me feel pity for him, when I’m not feeling anger that they continue to put him on the mic. The only time he succeeds on MizTV is when he acts as a narrator, simply introducing people and giving a little background on their stories. It is very hard for The Miz to keep it simple, however, and he just can’t resist trying to inject his “personality” into the situation. I don’t blame him for trying, but it’s so painfully not working.
And the way he keeps referring to himself as a former WWE champ and WrestleMania main eventer, that’s just shining a light on how far he’s fallen. He says he’s a heel, now he needs to start being one. I dunno, 3 Razor Ramons? Wait, he can’t be the same as Ryback, but he’s more heel than Curtis Axel. Two-and-a-half Razor Ramons.
Yes, that’s it. The full list of heels on the main roster (a total of 11 heels). Looking over these ratings, I must conclude that our Bad Guys aren’t really Bad. If 110 Razor Ramons represents a perfect Bad Guy score for all of them, we are currently sitting at 59.5. That’s 54%, a barely passing grade. First of all, no wonder we’re all so mad when we watch wrestling these days! We have no one to be mad at, which makes us mad! Second of all, that’s the most math I’ve done since high school!
I would love for Lonestar and Fozzie to each do their own Heel Ratings for NXT and TNA, respectively. And I will try to do the same for the non-wrestlers on Raw and Smackdown. Will the heat-seekers at ringside garner more Razor Ramons than the heels inside the ring?
I think this super-scientific endeavor has shown that WWE has not focused enough creative efforts into their bad guys. Get EVERYONE on the same page: write classic stories, sharpen up the announce team, and teach your wrestlers how to act like proper villains. MANIACAL LAUGH.
Wait, you're still here? Lovely. I've posted a column about Kane on a fun site called WhatCulture.com - I would really appreciate your checking it out. I will be writing some WWE stuff for them, but nothing will change in terms of my contributions to TJRWrestling. This is home, and I thank you for your support.