Best “bad guy” of the year is such a tricky category – on the one hand, you want to hate them, but on the other, sometimes the most hated guys are fan favorites. Then there’s the divide between supporting characters (authority figures or managers) and the actual wrestling talents themselves. Does Paul Heyman earn this award by default? How many guys can play that role as well as Vince McMahon once did? Can a part-time champion become a full-time baddie? Read on for our picks…
Brian Fritz (@BrianFritz): It was not really the best of years for heels. Sure, Dixie Carter was the evil owner of TNA Wrestling but she doesn’t play the role well and shouldn’t even be on television. Batista returned to the WWE as a babyface but finally turned heel and was rounding into form but wasn’t around long much before leaving to promote his summer spectacular “Guardians of the Galaxy”. You could go with Stephanie McMahon who was pretty despised for her role in The Authority but I thought she was overused and was so overbearing it hurt others. I’ll go outside the box and choose Matt Hardy for his work with Ring of Honor. Hardy was pretty hated for helping Adam Cole and then going on to make the ROH Iconic Championship which drew more boos. Add that to his promos — especially the online videos he put together — and Hardy gets the nod from me.
Michael A. Wiseman (@therealwiseman): I’m trying to remember – were there actually any legitimate heels this year? Any GOOD legitimate heels… I’m not talking about the “Cena Sucks” chants, or Brock Lesnar (because I’m fairly certain he got more cheers than jeers). Even Bray Wyatt somehow managed to become a fan favorite while trying to be bad. I guess I’d crown Stephanie McMahon “Heel of the Year” if only because she was so dang villainous to Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella. Her mic work was untouched, and every time she confronted somebody she didn’t like, her words sounded like fingernails across a chalk board. Plus, she gave Brian and me (and our BTR swag) five minutes of live tv fame! In an otherwise weak year for heels, Stephanie McMahon was a true standout.
Danny Bixby (@DannyJBixby): STEPH! STEPH! STEPH! There is nobody who gets a more visceral reaction of hatred from nearly every person in the crowd more than Stephanie McMahon. She has been in the spotlight this year with a year long Daniel Bryan & Friends program AND she even had a (surprisingly great!) match against Brie Bella at SummerSlam. Which, arguably, Steph carried. You could go through everything Steph did this year to point out why she’s the best heel, but you only need one real example: All it took to make Vickie Guerrero a babyface for the night (one of the other most consistently booed performers of the past decade) was to put her in a program against Stephanie McMahon. Boom! Vickie is an instant fan favorite. THAT is serious heat!
Dan Ryno (@DanRyno): It should be Paul Heyman, but it isn’t. Heyman managed Brock Lesnar to the WWE title, but couldn’t keep The Beast relevant during his prolonged absences. Also, instead of propelling Cesaro to the top tier of WWE, Heyman somehow managed to stunt his growth. Therefore, I’m going with Seth Rollins for the award. After turning on his Shield brethren in June of this year, Rollins became the centerpiece of the Authority, even outshining former company mealticket Randy Orton. The feud with Dean Ambrose proved that the villainous Rollins could seriously propel/enhance the babyfaces that he matches up with. With Lesnar (and his championship) MIA, Rollins’ Money in the Bank briefcase has become the top prize on Raw, and the dents in that briefcase prove that the former Shield member has utilized it quite frequently. Cage match victories over Ambrose and John Cena, a vicious cinder block Curb Stomp to Ambrose, and captaining the Authority’s Survivor Series team all helped to shape Seth Rollins into the company’s #1 bad guy.
Nathan McCarter (@McCarterN): This category could be a bit more competitive if the WWE had true heels in 2014, but they don’t. Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, and a host of others are “cool” heels. The best heel in the WWE this year is hands down Stephanie McMahon. She’s better on the mic than most the roster, generated the most consistent heat, and even stepped inside the ring for a surprisingly good match. McMahon was the class of the heels.
Do you think we picked the best “bad guy,” or would you have awarded somebody else? Tell us in the comments below! And keep up with us all week long as we pick our “Best of 2014”.