Dot Net readers voted on a variety of 2015 awards throughout the month of January. The following are the results of our poll for Best Heel. Thanks to everyone who took part in the voting.
(1) Seth Rollins (35 percent)
(2) Kevin Owens (27 percent)
(3) Ethan Carter III (6 percent)
(4) Stephanie McMahon (4 percent)
(5) Bray Wyatt (4 percent)
Others: 24 percent
Darren Gutteridge’s Thoughts: Kevin Owens. There were several names I was mulling over for this award, but what clinched it for Owens was one word – commitment. Owens, thanks to his past life as Kevin Steen, could have walked the line of cool heel/internet darling. Instead, he doubled down on being the most consistent heel of the year, smarks be damned. He showed no redeeming qualities at all, and even when he was funny, it would only be a matter of seconds before he was doing something that rubbed you the wrong way. That is a true heel.
Jake Barnett’s Thoughts: This one is easy for me. Kevin Owens had a fantastic year, starting with the immediate splash he made in NXT, and that continued all the way through to the main roster with consistently great performances in the ring and on the microphone. WWE would be well served by expanding his role in 2016 and giving him an opportunity to be their top heel.
Jason Powell’s Thoughts: A tremendous year for the top three finishers and the readers got that order right. Rollins came into his own as an excellent talker. He was as overexposed as anyone, yet he maintained good heat throughout the year. Owens makes it look effortless. It was a big drop to EC3, but it should not have been. He was excellent as the top heel in TNA. As tiresome and counter productive as the heel authority figure routine has become, there is no denying that Stephanie McMahon plays her role to perfection. Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar surely would have finished higher on the list if they had played heels throughout the full year.
Haydn Gleed’s Thoughts: Another coin toss for me between Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens. Both have the ability to make themselves feel credible wrestlers despite the situations they’ve been put in, and able to generate monster heat with a simple promo. Anyone who had seen Kevin Steen’s work knew how good he was before coming into WWE, but Seth has left a lot of people red faced who thought the weakest part of his act was his mic skills and wouldn’t be able to get over as a heel without that ability, myself included. For the success that Seth has had in 2015, Rollins gets the nod for my vote here.
Will Pruett’s Thoughts: The best heel of 2015 was easily Seth Rollins. He was asked to carry WWE through a challenging time and, up until he was injured, he did so. Rollins shocked the world at WrestleMania. His title reign consisted of some truly entertaining matches. His performances filling time on far too many Raw episodes stand out as well. Rollins was the kind of heel we couldn’t appreciate until he was gone. Sadly, WWE is sorely lacking in heels without him. Ethan Carter III deserves an honorable mention here for his work in TNA.
Zack Zimmerman’s Thoughts: Kevin Owens. Sure, Triple H and Steph get the most face time and are the top heels in the business, but I’m just over the whole Authority thing and I can justify Kevin Owens easily enough that it’s the right choice for me. Owens run in NXT to open 2015 was a tremendous heel run against the top babyface at the time in Sami Zayn. His momentum carried him into a very impressive debut program with John Cena and all along, Owens’s justifications for his actions were true to his character and relatable-yet-detestable. His momentum was surely halted by limited character development and limited mic time, but the work he delivered, particularly in NXT, are worthy of this award in my mind.
John Moore’s Thoughts: This was a really close one for me but in the end I had to choose Seth Rollins over Kevin Owens. Kevin Owens makes being a heel look so easy in that he can just start a feud by walking past a person the wrong way and saying they suck (i.e. Alex Riley and Kenta). Seth Rollins gets the nod due to his great work throughout the year as a heel, making you hate him, making the viewer want to see him get his cummuppence. Rollins also lost the legendary J&J security force, but still was tasked with the task of being the only protected bad guy on Raw. His first big moment of the year was stealing the World Title at WrestleMania. The moment this year that solidified his status as a top bad guy was right after mania at Payback 2015 where a Shield reunion was teased, but the crowd actually wanted to see Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose beat the hell out of Rollins rather than have the shield reform. Seth Rollins wasn’t only the best heel in the #1 company in the world, he was the only true heel on that roster and despite questionable booking at points Seth Rollins overcame and prospered.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Will Pruett on the Roman Reigns whodunnit angle, WWE heading into SummerSlam, AEW's October 2 premiere on TNT, the New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax Tournament through Day 11, and more (77:45)...