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Seven Ways To Be A Better Pro Wrestling Heel

March 06, 2012 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Nigel McGuinnessMaster movie maker Alfred Hitchcock once said, “The more successful the villain, the more successful the picture.” What he was saying, in other words, is if you want to make a really good movie, you have to have a really good bad guy.  You’ll see movies like “Star Wars,” “Titanic,” “The Ten Commandments,” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in the top money-making movies of all time (adjusted for inflation). What do all those epic films have in common? Simple — a really, really good villain.

Heels are pro wrestling’s villains. So if we want to put on damned good pro wrestling shows, we need damned good heels. Heels are so important to the success of a wrestling promotion, I’ve dedicated an entire chapter of my new book Fixing the Indies to them. A big part of pro wrestling’s problem today is that so many young guys just don’t know how to be heels. That’s why I address the issue so heavily in my book. So let’s take a look at seven ways to be a better heel.

Be a real jerk

Part of the reason why you might have so much trouble being a good heel is because you just don’t know how. You’re a nice guy in real life, so you just don’t know how to be a bad guy. The solution? Identify jerks in your real life and then copy their behavior. Everybody has a jerk in their life — maybe a boss, a teacher, a guy down the street, a kid you went to school with. Ask yourself, “What made that guy such a jerk?” and then make a list of the reasons. Take that list of items and put them into your pro wrestling character. Nigel Mcguinness is a perfect example of this.

By the way, that’s not the “peace out” sign he’s holding up in the picture above.

Make people hate, not laugh

As a heel, your job is to make people hate, not make people laugh. You’re a villain, not a clown. Unfortunately young heels today don’t get that. They spend their time making fools of themselves by acting comically. Like when a heel takes a few bumps from the babyface, rolls out of the ring, sticks his fingers in his ears, and yells, “Shut up!” at the crowd because he’s “offended” by the fans’ catcalls. Or when you have a heel tagteam and one heel takes a beating from the baby, rolls out of the ring, and then — on the verge of tears — runs to his partner for a nice, comforting, gay hug.

Now I ask you, could you imagine Darth Vader running to get a nice hug from the Emperor after the rebels blew up the Death Star? Can you imagine Hitler running to get a hug from his top general after he learned that the Russians had turned the tide and were advancing towards Germany? Did Brett Favre run for a hug from his receivers after he threw an interception?

Again, don’t be a clown. Don’t be silly. Don’t try to be funny.

Be a jerk!

Get mad

Like I mentioned just above, instead of taking a beating from the baby, rolling out of the ring, and then literally pretend to cry about it, get mad. I mean really, really mad. Nobody fears a crybaby, but everyone gets a bit uneasy when someone blows up in a wild rage. So instead of rolling out of the ring and pretending to pout, roll out of the ring and throw a tantrum. Beat the mat loudly, grab the bottom rope and shake it violently, go over and kick the ring steps, point at your opponent and yell, “Hey! You better watch it, punk!” Here’s your opportunity to release all the tension, frustration, hurt, and anger from your real life. Did you just find out your girlfriend has been cheating on you? Did you and your brother get into a big argument? Did a friend betray you recently? Did your boss chew you out at work? Take that anger, pour it into your character, and then release it!

Glower

Sometimes it’s not what you say that makes people dislike you, it’s how you look. I knew a guy in high school who really, really liked a certain popular girl. This guy wasn’t in the “in” crowd himself, but he wasn’t going to let that stop him. So one day at a school dance, he worked up the courage to go ask the girl to dance. He walked up to her sheepishly, smiled, and asked politely, “Would you like to dance?” To this day I’ll never forget her response.

She didn’t say a word. She just cut her eyes at him in disdain, wrinkled her nose as if she had just gotten a whiff of rotten milk, furrowed her brow, and then turned her back to him. This girl was so stuck up, she wouldn’t even grace his invitation with a “No, thank you.” One would have thought she would have been at least flattered by his invitation, but instead she reacted as if she was repulsed by the guy, as if he had come up and sneezed on her.

If you’re a guy, you probably aren’t thinking very highly of that girl right now. Just think how you can get a similarly powerful response from fans by using similar expressions. Next time you’re walking down the aisle to the ring and a fan heckles you, instead of stopping and yelling, “Shut up, trailer trash!” cut your eyes at him and just glower. Show serious disdain for the guy, and then, without saying a word, just continue walking. You have business to take care of and don’t have time for flunkies like this guy in the crowd.

Talk smack after the match

No one likes a sore loser, but even fewer people can tolerate a sore winner. Watch the bad boys of the NFL. Do you see them talk smack to the fans before the big game? Heck no! They’re too focused on the game itself to worry about the fans. But after the game, watch out! A trash talker like Joey Porter will be swaggering up toward the tunnel, catch the eye of an angry fan whose team he just beat, and shout, “Ha ha! Sit your a#$ down, you loser!”

By rubbing it in good like this, bad boy players like Porter, Terrell Owens, Pacman Jones, and Chad Ochocinco stoke the ire of fans across the league. You want to do the same thing as a heel in pro wrestling. Don’t talk big smack before the match, talk big after you’ve won it. Find a fan who was heckling you all through the match, go right up to him, point straight into his face, and say, “Ha ha! How do you feel now? I just kicked your boy’s ass!” Trust me, if the guy’s a good mark, he’ll just about come unglued.

Make eye contact

Eye contact is extremely powerful, both for good and bad intentions. If you’re trying to land a job, making good eye contact with the interviewer can make the difference between getting the job and losing it to the next guy. On the other hand, if you’re in an argument with somebody, maintaining good eye contact projects a very strong, personal, intimidating message to the person you’re arguing with. So whenever you go to talk smack to the fans, make direct eye contact! 99% of indie pro wrestlers fail to do this. When they go to talk some smack, they talk to no one in particular.

They’re looking through them and effectively targeting no one. This gives the clear impression that you’re not being serious, that it’s all just an act. They’re effectively broadcasting like a radio station. A radio station broadcasts its signal indiscriminately and pays no attention to whether or not anyone is tuned in. There can be 100,000 listeners or just one…it doesn’t matter. This is not what you want to do as a heel. If some guy is giving you hell and you want to say something back to him, don’t be shy. Go straight up to him, look him dead in the eye, point at him, and say whatever it is you have to say. Make it sincere. That way, that fan will think, “Whoah, is this guy serious?” and everyone around him will be thinking the same thing, too. But be warned — if you do this right, that fan might be waiting for you in the parking lot after the show!

Go low

Remember, not every dirty tactic has to be illegal. This is a topic I discuss extensively in Fixing the Indies — to be a villain you have to be dirty, but that doesn’t mean you have to always resort to doing something illegal, like raking the eyes, punching your opponent in the nuts, blatant chokes, etc. Today’s heels use illegal tactics so often, fans have become to immune to it. There’s no outrage over it. So to bring back the shock value of doing something illegal, don’t do it so often. Instead, go low. For example, suppose you and your babyface opponent are about to lock up, but right before you do, you stomp his foot.

There’s nothing illegal about a foot stomp, but it sure isn’t a brave, toe-to-toe type thing to do. Here’s another example. Suppose you and your opponent are exchanging punches. You work this so that it looks like it’s going to come down to the last man standing — the tougher wrestler, whoever throws the bigger punch is going to win.

So back and forth you go, blow for blow, but then out of nowhere, instead of hitting your opponent up high, you punch him in the gut and double him over. Again, dirty, but not illegal. If you use your imagination, you can think up all sorts of underhanded, easy-way-out tactics that aren’t technically “illegal” per the rules of pro wrestling but still strike the fans as being dirty and cowardly…which is exactly how the best heels win their battles.

So there you have it — seven ways to be a better heel. Practice these methods every chance you get, and watch how many new enemies you make!

Come check out my new book, Fixing the Indies, the step-by-step guide to success in indie pro wrestling.” And then link to http://fixingtheindies.com

Fixing the Indies: Saving Independent Pro Wrestling from Itself

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Who’s Next to Leave ROH?

November 11, 2009 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Nigel McGuinness ROHThe Final Countdown tour is over. Ring of Honor recently saw two of its’ biggest stars leave the company to make a bigger name for themselves in other companies. Nigel McGuiness, or Desmond Wolfe as he is now known as, made his debut in TNA Wrestling a few weeks ago. Bryan Danielson should be making his much anticipated debut on WWE programming very soon. These two men are two of the most gifted wrestlers and entertainers you will over see in a wrestling ring. Since its’ inception back in 2002, Ring of Honor has been the place to go to see the most gifted, talented, and unsigned wrestlers in the wrestling business. Today in 2009, not much has changed.

ROH has unofficially been the third most important wrestling promotion in the United States since it ran its first show back in February of 2002. Since that time, wrestling stars from around the world have flocked to ROH to showcase their talents there. Ironically, ROH has become the breeding ground for future stars of both WWE and TNA. Guys like CM Punk, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, and Christopher Daniels all shined bright during their time in ROH. Now, their stars shine even brighter because of the bigger stage they are on.

So now that McGuiness and Danielson are WWE and TNA bound, the question to be asked is, “Who’s next”? The current ROH roster is jam packed with guys who can very well excel at the next level if given the chance. When news first broke that Bryan Danielson was leaving for WWE, there were rumors buzzing that WWE scouts had their eyes on at least five others from ROH that they were looking to possibly bring in. So of the current ROH roster, who is ready to take that next step and become the next big superstar of the wrestling world?

Through careful examination of the Ring of Honor roster, there are plenty of guys who can, and probably one day will, fill the role of “Superstar”. As of right now, there are a select few that can legitimately be seen as having a bright future in either TNA or WWE. Below are some current ROH wrestlers who I personally think have the best shot. Here they are in no particular order:

Tyler Black: Tyler is probably the most athletic wrestler on the ROH roster. At six feet tall and 200lbs, Tyler Black can wrestle any style. He can fly, mat wrestle, and do the power moves. His agility is unmatched for a man his size. He has proved he can hang with the best of them, having had a set of fantastic matches with Bryan Danielson recently. The only downfall is his promo skills. They have been getting better as of late, but he still needs some seasoning. At 23 years old, if given some time to work on this with Dusty Rhodes down in FCW, Tyler could be destined for a bright future in WWE.

Colt Cabana: In my opinion, WWE made a huge mistake in releasing Cabana back in February of this year. “Scotty Goldman” was never given a fair opportunity to showcase what his character could do. He had a weekly segment on WWE.com that was fun to watch. Colt is one of the funniest and most entertaining men in the wrestling business today. How could World Wrestling ENTERTAINMENT overlook the best ENTERTAINER out there? On top of that, the man can actually wrestle. He has a good look, a great character, can talk on the mic, and can get the crowd behind him. What downside did you see WWE?

Claudio Castagnoli: WWE has been making it a habit of signing guys based on their looks alone, so why not offer Claudio a contract? At a chiseled 6’5” 220 lbs, Castagnoli is exactly what a pro wrestler should look like. He has a “Very European” gimmick that gets great heat with the crowd and he can work his ass off in the ring. He cuts excellent promos and just makes fans absolutely hate him. Another pure athlete, Claudio can have entertaining matches with wrestlers of all sizes. His hands-free airplane spin is something spectacular to see as well. He would also benefit WWE in their European market as well. Stephanie McMahon recently said a main focus of WWE right now is expanding their global market. There is no better way than to bring in stars that represent all parts of the world.

Chris Hero: Hero has all the gifts to make it to the top of this business. His size (6′ 225lbs) is perfect for the WWE. He has spent the last year focusing on getting into the best shape of his career, and you can tell. He has wrestled all over the world and trained with the best including Mitsuharu Misawa. Hero can wrestle all types of styles and can have a spectacular match with anyone. His hard-hitting match with Kenta on HDNet a few weeks ago is a Match of the Year candidate in my book. Above all else, Hero is a master on the mic. He cuts the best promos in ROH right now. He is so good on the mic that he does color commentary on most ROH DVD’s. Hero is very marketable and is exactly what WWE or TNA needs right now.

Delirious: Hailing from The Edge of Sanity, Delirious is one hell of a worker and a pleasure to watch in the ring. His character is very unique and could be marketed extremely well towards kids in either WWE or TNA. Delirious has wrestled around the globe and faced some of the best wrestlers in the world and held his own. He also might be the best conditioned wrestler in ROH right now. There were rumblings about a month ago that WWE was interested. It comes as no surprise as Delirious can bring pure wrestling ability, charisma, and entertainment value to any organization. If WWE can market a masked wrestler like Rey Mysterio and make him as big as he is, they should have no trouble doing the same for Delirious and his fun character.

Honorable Mentions: Austin Aries, Davey Richards, and Roderick Strong. We all know these guys are fantastic workers. Davey Richards could possibly be the best wrestler pound for pound in the United States. The one downfall all three of these guys have is that they are too small. I would love to see these guys in either WWE or TNA, but let’s face it, they would get lost in the shuffle. It already happened to Aries and Strong in TNA. Pure wrestling ability alone, these are three of the best in the world. As a fan, I’d rather they keep doing what they are doing and stay away from the Big Two. These guys can still make a great living doing major indies and working overseas, not to mention have better matches as well

You might agree with some of the above, or you might think I am insane. Either way, it is a great conversation piece. Only time will tell if these men are the next WWE or TNA Superstars. With all of their ability and talent, don’t be surprised if it happens sooner rather than later.

Dom Vitalli is originally from Upstate New York and currently resides in Phoenix, AZ. He is a die hard New York Yankees fan and currently wrestles for various independent wrestling promotions throughout the state of Arizona. You can follow the life and times of Dom “The Bomb” Vitalli at www.myspace.com/goldglove2b.

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Nigel McGuinness and Bryan Danielson to TNA?

October 20, 2009 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Bryan DanielsonBryan Danielson and Nigel McGuinness, quite possibly two of the greatest independent wrestlers to ever wrestle in the United States, recently announced that they were to sign with the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). After many years of working the indies, they finally were going to get their big break. Each individual had their respective farewell bouts in companies like ROH, PWG, and FIP, and were ready to expand their repituar by joining the largest wrestling organization on the planet.

The buzz of the two joining WWE had finally came to a minimum, until this afternoon(Tuesday October 20, 2009), when a rumor started circulating the web, that Nigel was unhappy with the WWE because they took so long to send him his contract. Shockingly, the rumor also states that Nigel is now set to sign with TNA(Total Nonstop Action Wrestling)! Nigel wrestled on the indy scene for nearly 10 years, and I am truly shocked that he hadn’t gotten an offer from the WWE until now. He is basically the perfect for what a WWE superstar should be. He’s a great wrestler, a fantastic talker, and has the perfect look. For him not to have negotiated with the WWE until now, is truly reprehensible! Nigel is basically telling WWE to stick it, and joining the TNA. Another rumor stemming off of that one, is that Bryan Danielson, who was also set to sign with the WWE, could possibly decide to go with Nigel to TNA.

In my opinion, if this rumor proves to be accurate, this is a great opportunity for the TNA, and a huge loss for the WWE. For the sake of TNA, this is a great opportunity for them to add two new, young stars to their roster. TNA has always been heavily criticized for their excessive use of older talent, or former WWE guys. With the addition of Nigel McGuinness, and possibly Bryan Danielson, TNA has the perfect chance to use them as an alternative to older talent. I could see these two in the TNA main event/world title scene very soon, and that would be a great, great move for TNA to make!

If this rumor is true, WWE has suffered a huge loss. With WWE’s sorry attempt at a new talent initiative, Danielson and McGuinness would have been a sure success. Triple H, Undertaker, and even John Cena and Randy Orton, are not going to be around forever, therefore WWE needs these two hungry, talented, hard working guys, like Nigel McGuinness and Bryan Danielson, to be the future leaders of the WWE roster, to carry on its legacy. WWE should have signed these to much sooner, and now they may have lost their chance.

This is a very hot rumor, and I will be sure to post any new information regarding this topic, as it’s released!

Todd Frizzell is from Columbus Ohio, and has been a huge professional wrestling fanatic for the last ten years. Todd is very interested in all aspects of pro wrestling, including what goes on when the cameras aren’t rolling. Todd is very excited to write about his passion, and will try his best to entertain and provoke the wrestling fans.

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