Wrestling’s Best Ever…Heel

He made pencil-necked geeks of them all.

Ciampa NXT

Cast your mind back to NXT TakeOver: New Orleans.

For almost a full calendar year prior to it, Tommaso Ciampa mounted a campaign of psychological warfare at the expense of former best friend and tag team partner Johnny Gargano. This all spewed forth from the twisted mind of a man who perceived an heroic, selfless intervention as grandstanding at TakeOver: Chicago. #DIY had imploded, and Ciampa, legitimately injured in that match, found in the recesses of his dark heart the ultimate, wrong man-wronged heel motive.

As Ciampa’s knee recovered, his mind disintegrated.

He watched from the sidelines as Gargano embarked on an emotional career upswing. An agonising losing streak threatened to embroil Johnny Wrestling in professional hell, before he recovered to become a contender to the NXT Championship, delivering a spate of classic performances along the way. Yet more personal hell, however, was a crutch shot away.

At TakeOver: New Orleans, Ciampa, who lives to be evil, entered the ring to no music. The entrance theme is designed to both pop the crowd and motivate the performer. Ciampa needed no such thing to amp himself up: only the deafening hatred of the people he, in turn, despised.

Jay White is a natural, and, increasingly, a super-effective heel in New Japan Pro Wrestling. At September’s Destruction In Kobe, the perennially hapless Yoshi-Hashi rushed to the ring in aid of betrayed CHAOS stablemate Kazuchika Okada. He tripped, slicing his forehead open. As blood poured out of him like a waterfall, most onlookers grew concerned. Not White: to put over his despicable act, he walked over to Yoshi-Hashi, not missing a beat, and smeared the claret all over himself.

Lio Rush is aggressively annoying. More bluntly, and more accurately, he is a little sh*t. Samoa Joe was awesome in a role both deadly and coolly detached throughout his recent programme with AJ Styles. Sami Callihan and Tama Tonga are very effective at p*ssing people off, even if they haven’t yet convinced those people to anticipate the comeuppance.

CONT'D...(1 of 4)


Former Power Slam Magazine scribe and author of Development Hell: The NXT Story - available NOW on shop.whatculture.com!