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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The Best Characters In Professional Wrestling
November 2, 2006 by Mario Carter


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I would first like to apologize for not including Pacific Islander wrestlers in my previous column Racial Stereotypes in Wrestling. I also did not adhere to what I've heard other people say about not getting reclusive after writing columns because I have certainly become stagnant.

Now, I would like to turn your attention to my favorite characters in professional wrestling; the heels. Heels have been my favorite parts of professional wrestling since I've begun watching wrestling in 1997. From the beginning of the entrance song, the fans would go into frenzy as they booed the treacherous and despised heel. For me and millions of other people during 1997, there was nothing more exciting than watching the nWo decimating their opponents at the height of their popularity. While it may not necessarily be so easy for a babyface wrestler to get over, it truly takes a heinous villain to cause emotional hurt when they've crushed the hopes of fans by defeating their hero. I will present a list of my favorite heels in a multi part column As Rowdy Roddy Piper once said to Hollywood Hulk Hogan, "Do you think they would have loved you so much if they hadn't hated me""

The Rock - Before he became one of the most successful and mainstream wrestler of the WWE, he was Rocky Maivia. The individual names were taken from both his father and grandfather, Rocky Johnson and High Chief Peter Maivia respectively. When he first entered the then WWF, he was told to smile and give naturally happy attitude that was as irritating as Katie Couric. Fans booed him with a deep-seated hatred because they were not only tired of his 80's babyface act but they were tired of seeing him performing lackluster matches with poorly executed moves. The gimmick was radically changed as Dwayne Johnson came back to join the Nation of Domination not as Rocky Maivia but as The Rock. The Rock was an extremely arrogant person who coined several catchphrases such as "If you smell what The Rock is cookin" and "Layeth the Smacketh Down." Fans seemed enthused as they were insulted with his trademark quips and as he continued to gain more title success than he previously had with his single Intercontinental run as Rocky Maivia.

Owen Hart - Owen Hart had very little success as a babyface member of the New Foundation with Jim Neidhart and High Energy with Koko B. Ware. He especially failed to capture the fans with his previous gimmick as The Blue Blazer with his only notable match being defeated by Mr. Perfect at WrestleMania V. It was a Survivor Series match that would eventually change this. He was teaming with his three of his other brothers as they took on Shawn Michaels and the three other knights. Owen defeated three of the knights before he eventually got eliminated himself. The Hart team won but Owen was because he was eliminated. Owen and Bret got along well enough to compete for the WWF Tag Team Championships at the 1994 Royal Rumble. Bret's knee then buckled but wanted to fight on his own thus losing the match. Owen felt an intense and unstoppable rage as he viciously attacked Bret's knee. Owen finally got over as a heel. He would have two classic matches at WrestleMania X and a steel cage match at the 1994 SummerSlam for the WWF championship. Owen scored a win over Bret but lost valiantly in one of the two five star matches to take place in the United States . Owen Hart would experience later success with a King of The Ring victory, reigns as Intercontinental, European and as Tag Team champion. Unfortunately, he had to reprise his old gimmick of The Blue Blazer and died doing a stunt as he descended from the rafters, hitting a turnbuckle at Over the Edge on May 23, 1999 in Kansas City Missouri at the age of 33. Owen Hart was a wrestler who didn't really want to be in professional wrestling. He was trying hard to find jobs in other professions because he wanted to be a gym teacher but Owen was nothing like his smarmy over the top character. He was a caring, noble and trustworthy person who befriended practically everyone with his wonderful personality. This business would be a lot better if there were more people such as Owen Hart.

Mr. Perfect - Curt Henning entered the WWF with vignettes of him showing how perfect he truly was whether it was shooting darts, playing basketball, golfing, playing pool or throwing a football, then running to catch it. His natural charisma allowed him to play the character so well that it wouldn't be too long before the fans began booing this arrogant athlete. He finally captured the Intercontinental Championship after winning a battle royal and announced Bobby "The Brain"Heenan as his "Perfect Manager."He then lost the Intercontinental championship in a legendary match at the 1991 SummerSlam. The WWE doesn't even come close to making great Intercontinental champions like they used to. Mr. Perfect continued to gain success by continuing to be a heel and by then becoming a successful babyface. Around 1996, as he was preparing his comeback into wrestling, he later left for WCW. He joined the nwo in WCW but did not have nearly the same success as evidenced with his three month title reign as U.S. champion. He then deteriorated with his country versus rap angle as apart of the West Texas Rednecks even though it was well known that he was from Minneapolis , Minnesota even proclaiming that he was the greatest athlete to ever be from Minnesota . Curt Henning even came back to the then WWF but still could not capture the success that he previously had, then being fired after he got into a fight with Brock Lesnar while he was inebriated on a flight back from a European tour. Henning went to NWA-TNA and eventually died in Tampa , Florida at the age of 44 in February 10, 2003 due to cocaine intoxication. Curt Henning was a magnificent athlete who experienced great success and as proof of his dedication put on a classic match at Summerslam despite his back being in severe pain. He should be remembered for those types of moments in his storied career and not the negative turn his career took after going to WCW.

By Mario Carter


Brent Matthew Denny wrote:
I'm not going to say who my personal favourite heels or babyfaces are in my response to this column basically because I don't think anybody would be interested. All I'm going to do is give my personal opinion on the three men you talked about.

The Rock - "The Corporate Champ" "The People's Champ" "The Most Electrifying Man In Sports Entertainment To Day" all of these nicknames have been given to The Rock and I will go so far as to say he was alright. He wasn't the best and he wasn't the worst and yet he also I don't believe was good enough to be called ok or good. The Rock in my opinion was in the middle between being good and bad as far as his wrestling ability is concerned and as for his gimmick's or characters I never really paid any attention to him and I have never really been a huge fan of his (I don't know if you can tell) in point of fact I hate the guy I think he is a wrestler who was over exposed and everything he done was for the camera's. It was all intentional all purposeful all blatant and you could tell and you could see it. Where as with other guys it wasn't blatant and you can't tell and you can't see it. That is why I don't personally feel the Rock is "The Great One" despite loads of people feeling differently.

Owen Hart - Now here is somebody I loved as a bad guy and it's funny because I never really paid any attention to him (I never paid any real attention to his older brother either) until he finally turned heel and stepped out of his big brother's shadow. An I think arguably his greatest storyline or feud was with his big brother (ironically) I just loved the way Owen the character was determined to prove that he is/was just as good if not better than the "great" Bret Hart and I loved it when at Wrestlemania 10 Owen proved that he was just as good if not better than Bret by beating him in the opening match. An I hated it when Bret tried to prove he was better than his brother by winning the WWF Championship.

An despite Owen stepping out of his brother's shadow as far as what he did at Wrestlemania 10 I personally don't think Owen ever did really step out of Bret's shadow and yet he could have done especially after Bret left the WWE. Owen Hart had everything it needed to become a WWF Champion and in my opinion Owen Hart was better than Bret because he didn't have the ego that Bret had. Of course there's always the chance that Owen would have become WWF champion had what happened to him not happened and I personally think it would of been great if he had been given the shot to become a WWF/WWE Champion but unfortunately we'll never know.

Mr. Perfect - Curt Henning was arguably one of the best Heel's in the WWF/WWE's history. He wasn't the absolute best but he was one of the top 5 heels in the WWF the No.1 best villain during Curt's time in the WWF was Ted DiBiase "The Million Dollar Man" however I liked Curt's character and gimmick and in my opinion Curt was the first cocky and arrogant wrestler in the WWF. I loved the way he wrestled I loved to watch him wrestle and I think he made a great/Perfect WWF Intercontinental Champion. One of his best matches was against Kerry Von Eric "The Texas Tornado" at SummerSlam the only problem that I had with Curt Hennig as far as what he did in the WWF/E was how he only held one title. Could he have been a WWF champion maybe maybe not but I don't think Curt was ever really given the push to see if he could have been WWF champion. An what about the tag team titles. Why couldn't Curt have found himself "The Perfect Partner" and become the "Perfect" Tag Team Champions I mean he had a couple of potentially "Perfect" partners

Ric Flair -- Randy Savage

Heck maybe Curt could have eventually ended up teaming with Lex Luger when he was the The Narcissist and had Bobby Heenan as their manager. Despite the WWE's lack of pushing Curt in other directions apart from the IC title. There is no doubt in my mind that Curt was and is one of the great's in the WWF's history and in wrestling history and it's a pity just like Owen that Curt died so young.

An in closing I just want to say. My name is Brent Matthew Denny and that is my opinion.
Jonathan Preston wrote:
The Rock was a good heel, no doubt. But he's best known as the People's Champ. Everybody loved the Rock on both sides, heel or face. But I think the people loved him more as a face because he still talked crap loads of trash and he still was the arrogant, cocky wrestler. He was good heel, but not great.

Owen Hart, he was a good heel. His feuds with his brother Bret was awesome and later him becoming the King of the Ring winner and changing his name to the King of Harts, brilliant. But I call him a good heal, not a great one.

Mr Perfect again, a good heal but not great. He had the arrogance and he talked the talk and walked the walk but didn't really do anything to stand out too much to me as a great heel.

Now, here's some great heels:

1) Million Dollar Man: He was a great heel. His gimmick was perfect. He used to make people in the crowd jump through hoops if they wanted to win his money and he screwed them at the end everytime. You had to boo him for that. Or how badly he treated Virgil back in the days. You were just wanted for him to get his once Virgil turned on him. He had that evil rich man's laugh and he had the famous line, "Everybody has a price for the Million Dollar Man!!!" You had to hate him.

2) Jimmy Rave (ROH): Everytime he enters the ring the whole audience chucks toilet paper at him. Need I say more!!

3) Jeff Jarrett: Now this man was the undisputed King of heels. Nobody hates heels like they hate Jeff Jarrett and the reason behind it is because of his mic skills. He knows how to work the crowd and not only that considering, he kept winning the NWA title, that gave the fans even more reason to hate him. Nobody wanted to see Jeff Jarrett champion anymore.

So the bottom line is this. The Rock, Owen Hart, and Mr Perfect were good heels. The Million Dollar Man, Jimmy Rave, and Jeff Jarrett are great ones!!
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