Cool Heels

August 18, 2008

I’m inspired this week by a question Claudio Castagnoli asked me at a ROH show in Detroit, Michigan. Claudio asked me several questions that night but there was one in particular that I thought was very interesting and at first I thought it would be hard to answer. I took a deep breath to contemplate this question and to my surprise the answer jumped right out at me.

The question was, “What’s your biggest pet peeve in wrestling?” There are several thing in this business that drive me crazy, which is why I thought pinning down my biggest pet peeve would be difficult, but it wasn’t. My biggest pet peeve in the wrestling business is “Cool Heels”.

I absolutely hate the concept of cool heels, because there is no such thing, despite so many people trying to be one. The term Cool Heel is the perfect oxymoron; these two words are completely mutually exclusive. If you are cool, you are not a heel, even if you profess to be one. When telling a story you need an antagonist and a protagonist; the antagonist is the heel the protagonist is the baby face. The baby face is the person people like, or associate with and want to be like, the heel is the person who challenges the baby face and fans want to see lose in the end. The heels job is to be the foil to the baby face, and to make said baby face look good. The heels job is not to out shine or be more popular than the baby face. If a heel is being cool, he would be better described as a heel with no heat or an outright baby face that happens to break rules, either way his baby face opponent is finished.

If you go to a party and there are 2 people to hang out with and one of them is cool or at least cooler than the other, that is the guy you will hang out with (or at least want to hang out with), and therefore the baby face. By being cool he makes the other person less appealing to hang out with and thus the loser. You cannot be that cool person and be the heel.

It takes two to tango in this business and everyone needs to be willing to do their respective job. Heels need to be unselfish and be willing to be the lesser man. The heel job is to make fans think the baby face is cool, not the other way around. If you are unable or unwilling to do so, you either need to stick to being a baby face or better yet find a new profession.

Heels who try to be cool are, in my opinion, the most unprofessional workers out there. They are not only, not doing their job as a heel, they are actually getting over at their opponents expense, which as far as I’m concerned is the cardinal sin of wrestling. When this job is done properly both parties get over, and if you have to sacrifice one you always sacrifice the heel. Baby faces draw the money in this business and need to be protected the most. Once a crowd loses faith in a baby face he is dead in the water. A heel can always perform a dastardly deed to get his heat back but a baby face that has been labeled as uncool or a loser is almost impossible to get over again.

That’s my two cents for this week; I can’t wait for all the email asking me about DX and the Clique, after this one.

Lance Storm