Being a “heel”

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Being a “heel”

Post  Illegal on Fri 20 Feb 2009, 7:09 pm

Heel for dumb asses:

So you want to be a heel?

Everybody needs a hero to save them at one time or another. Bette Midler asks melodically "Did you ever know that you're my hero?" Do you know what my answer is, Bette? Bite me! Go make more "B" movies and entertain the fags, oh great queen of the homos! You are the poor man's, Barbra Streisand!

That, my lucky douche bags, is your first tip on being an effective heel. The following column was written by a RoughKut.com visitor. It is a very in-depth look into the heel "persona". It will show the Greenest of the Greenhorns step by step how to develop his character and it's a great read for even the most seasoned veterans. ~Kut


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Being a “heel”by Dustin

The term “heel” is used by wrestling insiders to define “bad guy”.

Being a heel in wrestling is something that is a fine art and must be performed correctly to get the proper reaction from the fans in attendance. Some think it’s easy, others disagree. However you want to think about it, you have to work at being bad in order to be perceived as “not good”.

The Decision to Go Bad

There comes a point in everyone’s wrestling career when they are either asked to or choose to be a heel. This decision comes from many reasons but the most important one should be to better develop your chosen character.

Anyone can come up with a couple of insults. School bullies can demean someone’s character. Internet wimps who think they’re cooler than you can rip off someone else’s material. Can you overcome their low efforts to be something worse?

As with any decision in your life (or your character’s life), there needs to be a reason for being bad. No one is just bad because they want to have something to do. Even mass murderers have reasons for their killing sprees and burglars have reasons for committing their crimes. Only the truly insane have no good reason for anything and that is a character type that has been done.

Be original. Don’t try to play insane. No one I know, save one man, has ever been able to effectively pull it off.

Perhaps your best friend passed you up by going into singles competition just when you thought you had a great shot at the tag team titles. Maybe a certain someone keeps nailing you in the ring (inadvertent or not) and you’re getting fed up with it. How about an angst towards management for constantly looking past your talents to newbies and guys who can’t pull their weight in a match.

Maybe you just want to show the world that you are one bad ass dude. (I do not recommend this approach as there are FAR too many people out there using this idea and even adopting it for real life. It’s almost sad, really.)

Whatever your reason for going bad, make sure it is a good one. Make sure there is also an “out” in case you want to turn back to the good, too. Having no way out can diminish your efforts if you ever switch sides because it wouldn’t have involved a transition. People (wrestling fans) don’t like abrupt, unexplained changes.

The Ways of the Past/Ways of the Present

In the past, it was simple enough to garner heat by simply attacking the fans. Not physically, but rather, with words. Insulting the local sports teams (the New York Yankees can’t play fair, so they want to BUY the World Series), attacking the regional stereotype (how many Virginians here tonight are related?), or simply picking out a popular local hero or two (Derrick Jeter couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn with an elephant).

These techniques are still used today, but are often coupled with some other deeper techniques for a more modern approach.

Some intricate ways of being a heel without saying a word. For example, grabbing the leg of your target while he is involved in another match, costing him the win. How about cold-cocking him with a steel chair in the back while he’s preparing to go out for his match? Maybe you simply grab his valet and drag her away from ringside, especially if she’s well-liked.

Using combinations of these are great ways to get the crowd to give you heat. While heroes need to be faced with overwhelming opposition, you need to be part of that opposition in order to succeed as a heel.

Bret Hart was a great heel in the past by using his heritage (being Canadian) against the American audiences. While the Canadian-American angst angle has been beat to death, perhaps using some more recent angst (American-French is a good one) might be a better path.

Tools that one needs to be a heel are basic:

You MUST be of quick wit (On the internet, this isn’t AS vital, but it helps DRASTICALLY).

You MUST be willing to put over your “target” face (if the fans think that you are beaten and you come back for more, or against a new “target” face, then they’ll continue to hate you due to annoyance).

You should be willing to cheat (Very few heels win cleanly and there are reasons for that. Being hated comes easier when you are willing to take the low road to get wins).

Those three things can basically make or break a heel. Now, you may be wondering why someone should be willing to put over their opponent. Heels without faces are useless. Faces are hard to build and they need help. If you aren’t willing to help, you’re just a dick, not a heel. As much as you think it isn’t, wrestling is a team effort.

Types of Federations and Being a Heel There

There are basically two types of e-Feds: angle and roleplay. In the angle based feds, it is up to the handlers to come up with the way things turn out, how the match will go and how things will basically turn out in their overall angle. Roleplay based feds use forums or email to take submissions of “interviews” in order to be judged for determining the winner and loser of a match.

We’ll start with the angle fed, as it is the closest thing to being actual wrestling.

In an angle federation, you have the opportunity to work side-by-side with your “face” in order to see that everyone’s goals are met in the angle. Establishing WHY you two are fighting is imperative. Perhaps the face wronged you. Perhaps he simply took your place in an important match. Maybe you don’t like him because of an ethnic or racial reason. That is for the both of you to decide.

The angle should swing mainly towards good points for the heel. Some would argue that this is the wrong way to go, but think about it. If the two wrestlers meet for 5 matches and the heel only loses the last one, who comes out better? The heel. He will have successfully (as long as cheating and antagonizing the crowd is involved) gathered a decent amount of heat, while still putting over the face in the end. The face benefits from “overcoming adversity”, but the heel gets a record of 4-1.

Matches shouldn’t be one-sided. That just bores people. The face should end up losing by seconds, inches or by being overwhelmed by sheer numbers of opponents. People want to cheer for a hero. The easiest way to get them to cheer is to be as anti-hero as you can be.

We cheer for Harry Potter, not because he’s a great wizard, but because we want to see him get one over on his relatives and those trying to hold him down. He’s a hero. Villains, in this case, are anyone opposed to Harry achieving his goals. For those not familiar with the series, its basically anyone who isn’t a friend.

Moving on to the roleplaying type.

Roleplaying federations are not as easy to be a heel in as they are in angle federations. To gain the same sort of heat in a roleplaying scenario, you have to HEAVILY hit the verbal skills to insult, antagonize and manipulate the feelings of others. If you aren’t naturally good at this, it can be HARD.

Interrupting matches is the only other way to really put across your intentions. If you’re a heel and you interrupt someone’s match, you anger those involved and get a bit of heat.

There isn’t much else to work with here, but that may be a bit one-sided since I am not a big fan of the roleplaying style of eFedding. Those without top notch skills are often left by the wayside struggling to get some recognition amongst 15 year olds with nothing to do but write during the day.

The Big Problem

The biggest problem I’ve encountered in all my years of eFedding are the constant need of heels to take on the top guys right away. If you attempt this type of maneuver, you can throw out the idea of winning 4/5ths of the matches.

Heels, just like anything else, are built on familiarity. Faces take years to create properly. Heels are the same way. While we may hate Johnny No-Name as soon as he enters the WWE, we are certainly not impressed when he tries to take on the reigning WWE Champion in his first few matches. Do we hate him? No, we just think he’s stupid.

Effective heels will start at the bottom. Work with someone nearly as new as yourself and then you have a springboard for bigger and better things. Some wrestlers in the past didn’t have to go through the normal process of building up or waiting (Bill Goldberg and Brock Lesnar, for instance), but you shouldn’t think of yourself as special.

Starting out with a couple of smaller names and getting them over should be first on your list. Establishing your techniques and ideas will allow you to move up to midcard for a while here and there to get more heat. Established faces will always help get heat, but as long as you are relatively new, try not to forget the newbies. They are your bread and butter.

After establishing a long string of heated rivalries (nine or ten, I’d guess), then its time to start pestering the main event crew. To be in the main event, the fans have to know who you are and that is why you will want to build up the base for your future endeavors. Without nine or ten rivalries behind you, your heel vs. the Champion isn’t going to get the Champion over and get you very much heat.

Research is the Key

Researching your next event location for stereotypes, sports teams and local heroes is essential. While I have described ways to work with others to get yourself some heat, it is still important not to forget the basics.

Remember the insult portion of this column? Well, if not, go back and read it again. It is necessary, unless your character doesn’t do that. Most cases, though, it is a nice way to get “cheap heat” for your match and, more importantly, a way to get the crowd to root for the face even more.
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