Heels with submission finishers

Hey Scott,

After watching Alexander Rusev for a few weeks, I have to wonder, just WHY does WWE bring heels in with nothing but a submission finisher? Clearly, in Rusev's case, they are high on the guy, but he is destined to crash hard.. You can only make Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods tap so many weeks in a row before you have to give him an actual program with an upper Mid Card face. If there's one Rule in the WWE since the beginning of time is that Upper Tier Babyfaces are protected, and don't tap. Knowing this, you can already see the ceiling for the guy. He will graduate to beating up Dolph Ziggler and then his character will stagnate because he wont ever be allowed to make a Upper tier babyface tap, and he will get shuffled down into the Lower mid card because "he couldn't get over". This is pretty much the same thing that happened to Alberto Del Rio, another promising guy with the curse of being a heel with a submission finisher. I cant think of more off the top of my head, but that's kind of the point! These guys start out impressive then They get shuffled down after not being allowed to crack the upper babyfaces on the roster.
Maybe a better question would be, why does a 320 pound freak athlete with a lot of strength not have an awesome Finisher?
What do you think?

​We clearly already know his ceiling because Lana is the one who's going to get the big star push of the deal, but I do appreciate them at least trying new people in the midcard.  Even if it fails, you can't say they haven't at least tried with him.  I do think that some sort of slam, like the spinning one he does to set up the camel clutch, would be a better option for a finish.  They could also go with the original Brock Lesnar ref-stoppage finishes, where he just wants to beat on the guy until the ref has to step in, although again that has a limited shelf life on it.  ​

The Rougeau Brothers as heels

Hey Scott,

The Rougeau Brothers, once they turned heel in 88, really seemed to get over and got alot of crowd heat, and always cut hilarious promos, and promos that at least to me, made you want to see the babyface team wipe the mat with them.

Were they ever considered for a tag title run during that time?  Or did the heat from the Dynamite Kid incident haunt them the rest of there run?  

Well the heat was all on Dynamite for that.  Most people seemed to think that Jacques was justified in finally putting Kid in his place.  I think that Ray was wanting out by that time, however, due to age and injuries and such.   So there wasn't gonna be much of a long term place for them anyway.  I think that today they would have at least gotten a Too Cool cup of coffee with the belts, but it was a different time in the 80s.  

Topless Robot: WWE Needs Heels

Topless Robot posted an interesting essay:


He acknowledges that Orton is not the ideal choice for lead heel… and then argues that there are no other options.

Topless Robot is still a thing?  I thought it vanished in a puff of smoke when Rob Bricken left.  
There's lots of choices, although "top guy" is tough to pull off because they've neutered everyone in general.  But you've got Sheamus (HHH's real life project and gym buddy) who can turn corporate heel, Dean Ambrose in the wings, Del Rio can always be rebuilt again…there's some choices.  Not ideal ones, but it's the brand that draws now anyway.  

Wrestling Heels who shouldn’t be faces, Vice Versa

I see throughout these PG years, there is a group of fans who believe a John Cena heel turn is the way to go, but I think it will actually backfire on him and the WWE, as he is just better as a face and it is their own piss-poor booking and writing of his character and feuds that are at fault.  Which brings me to the question, who do you think are just better heels that shouldn't have turned face, and vice versa?  My picks:

Randy Orton:  I never liked him really, as he just comes off as the biggest doofus in the ring.  BUT at least as a heel he pulled off sneaky bastard quite well and was believable in just being bitter at everything.  As a face, well I don't even know WTF his motivation was for ANYTHING

Chris Jericho:  I would say minus his 2000-2001 run, because it was quite awesome, Jericho as a face is nothing compared to his Heel phases, especially the feuds he gets involved in.  Like he said in his dvd documentary when WCW finally decided to turn him heel after the Lionheart days, "Thank God!!"

Brock Lesnar:  The man is a monster, and should be booked like one, and Faces don't become Monsters, the rise up to take down that Monster.  Lesnar plays that role to a T and anytime he was made to be the good guy and not destroying everything in his path just seemed way off.

As for faces: I want to have more examples but my mind suddenly went blank. 

Absolutely agreed on Lesnar.  The moment he turned babyface I was like "This is gonna be bad" and it was.  
As for babyfaces who should never be heels:
I'm gonna go with Undertaker as my #1 pick.  Yeah, the initial character was creepy and effective, but once he started talking he would frequently take it WAY over the top far too often (Goat beard cult leader Undertaker, Booger Red Undertaker) and would generally swallow up the offense of the babyfaces.  I think it's no coincidence that his renaissance as a worker came with his babyface turn in 2004.  I find him better off selling these days.
AJ Styles is one where he's just such a natural babyface, and playing a heel he's always seeming to be putting a character on for the sake of the show.  
I'm sure there's many opinions on this one.

Cowardly heels?

Hey Scott,

       There is something that has always bothered me even in my mark days that I have never been able to work out and seeing C M Punk get a heel turn plus a youtube viewing of the RAW match Two Man Power Trip vs. The Chris's has just brought it back to the forefront of my thoughts. Why do heels have to be cowards? I'm sure some have not been and being a casual smark I'm also sure there is a whole slew of history in wrestling that I am missing where this is not true but so many times my enjoyment of wrestling has been hampered by this. Some pull it off as more of an in ring strategy then a personality trait such as Flair and Jericho, but when Stone Cold turned heel at Wrestlemania 17 I was excited to see a more ass kicking Austin that played by even less rules. What I actually got was Austin turned coward who ran away from fights. Same thing with Undertaker during the beginning of the Ministry storyline, who again I was excited for a more evil Undertaker but what I got instead was Undertaker ducking out of the ring when a face wrestler came in after him. The characters were total badass's just a day ago and now they are running away? Yeah I know I'm looking for logic in wrestling, but all this seems to do is hurt the characters and the storyline. 

The three biggest matches that I was the most excited for in my Wrestling fandom would have to be, Hogan Vs Warrior WM 6, Bret Vs. Shawn WM 12 and Austin Vs. Rock WM 17. Not counting the endings all of these matches were built on the fact that they were not only two opponents that would not run away from a fight but that they were two faces and you had no idea who would win or even who should win. Plus it was just exciting to argue with your buddies who were fans of the guy you weren't. Hearing the crowds split down the middle is also very cool! (I suppose you could put Rock and Cena on this list as well, though it didn't personally interest me.) Also in recent history and if you make storylines out of UFC I would call Silva VS Sonnen  a heel vs. heel match as both are complete assholes. I don't care for either guy but I was excited for the match because I wanted to see who was going to be the bigger badass and I was happy to know at least one asshole was going to get the hell beat out of them. 

Even if your going to do a heel vs face match isn't it more exciting when the heel is perceived as unstoppable such as the Lesnar/Cena extreme rules match? 

Bringing me back to the current WWE why must CM Punk be booed? Why can't he be a late 90's Stone cold type that does not play by the rules! For a company that is trying to recapture the past you think they would merely slot Punk into the same Austin storylines! I mean it's sports entertainment right? In sports which are very popular around the world, there are not bad guys and good guys just competitors, you don't see sports league making you hate one team over another and generally the teams that are hated the most are the good teams.

So just why Scott, why does the heel almost always have to be a coward and why does there almost always have to be heel vs face matches when in my opinion the biggest most hyped matches are face vs face?

-J. Ryan Buck

The whole cowardly heel thing is very much a Vince-ism, I think due to a feeling on his part that strong heels don't draw.  Which is of course ridiculous given that Vince himself was one of the strongest heels they ever had, albeit one who always showed ass when it came time for the babyface to get his revenge.  I think there's also the psychological aspect with Vince where he doesn't think that anyone smaller than him can be believable as a badass, so therefore they must be a huge coward.  That being said, I don't mind the dynamic most of the time, and CM Punk is a spectacularly good weasel heel, so with him it works.  However, the problem is when EVERYONE is a coward, because then you don't have any strong heels to oppose your two babyface World champions.  Thankfully they're not going in that direction with Cesaro thus far, so there's hope there.  And Orton was showing signs of escaping that trap a couple of years ago, but then HHH made him look like a fool at every turn and undermined that.  
Also, face v. face rarely works, because you're basically splitting the audience, and in the end one of them has to lose unless you want to book a draw, so the fans are going to be backing a loser either way they go.  It worked with Warrior v. Hogan because that was a particular dynamic that couldn't really be duplicated again, plus the idea was supposed to be Hogan leaving for a while anyway.  Plus, let's face it, pro wrestling has been based on heel v. face for the past 100-plus years now.  It just works better that way.