For all that is good in professional wrestling, our heroes would have nothing to fight about if not for the heel characters that cause anguish at every turn. It’s classic booking 101: the babyface chases the heel, and crowds pay good money to see him or her get their revenge. Not every bad-guy in 2013 was worth writing home about, but a few stood out above the rest.
2013 Heel of the Year
Brian Fritz: Bully Ray
He totally likes being hated. He doesn’t do anything that makes you want to like him. He’s a despicable character and isn’t looking for anyone’s approval or praise. That’s what makes his such a good heel. Sometimes, Bully has even taken it too far but he relishes the role like few have in recent history.
Michael A. Wiseman: Paul Heyman
Much like the performances of Mark Henry in late 2011 and Bobby Rhoode throughout 2012, Bully Ray upped his game in 2013 by playing the bad guy to end all bad guys. He was nasty. He was a cheater. Bully even played the role so well that, sometimes, he had to publicly apologize for it. Unfortunately, when I think back to 2013, I can’t help but remember all the things that Paul Heyman did – and all the talent he helped get over as a result. CM Punks astonishing 434-day title-run ended with a solid feud against The Rock, a feud that was enhanced by the never-ending praise of Paul Heyman. Then, Heyman escalated things against The Undertaker perhaps a little too far. But nothing compares to the way Paul Heyman played the victim when he finally turned against his long-time student, and his bone-chilling promos that made wrestling feel real again for one brief moment. Managers aren’t used very often in wrestling anymore, but when spotlighted effectively (see Zeb Coulter), they can become as important as the talent they’re trying to promote.
Steven Muehlhausen: Bully Ray
As a heel, you are that person in real life with the attitude cranked up. Bully Ray always eggs om the crowd and wants the fans to hate him. He says despicable things that makes the fans want to jump the rail and kick his butt.
Who was your pick for Heel of the Year? Do you think Brian, Michael, and Steve got it right? Give us your opinion in the comments below. And be sure to check out every pick for Best of 2013: Professional Wrestling as we countdown towards the new year.