Yes, we like the Shirewolves. Yes, we rooted for Samm Levine. Yes, we cheer every time John Rocha shouts “HORSEMEN!!!”, but let’s be honest: whether we love-to-hate them or hate-to-love them, we all love watching the heels. If we hear “Shippin’ Out to Boston,” we know that the Patriots are coming. If we hear “CAN’T FIGHT THE FRICTION”, we know that KO is near. And if we hear someone banging a cane on the ground, we know it has to be “Dastardly” Andrew Ghai.
These competitors are supposed to be the scum of the Schmoedown, but we adore them: why? I’ve been pondering this for awhile now, and I think I’ve come up with a couple of answers…
THEY HAVE THE BEST STORYLINES
When it comes to storyline potential, there’s just so much you can do with heels, especially when it comes to heel turns. Napzok turning heel was one of the biggest surprises of last season, and it gave us one of the best storylines, and KOrruption has been the main storyline throughout the year, with Mike Kalinowski having his hands in almost every Schmoedown decision.
Even ignoring main storylines, the heels still take part in the best side-stories. This year, for example, Andrew Ghai had what I consider to be the greatest Schmoedown storyline of all-time. Plus, we’ve had the Fyffe Club vs Viper Squad rivalry, all of which was fueled by Jay Washington on the side of the heel. Last season as well, a storyline that was prevelant throughout the year was JTE’s comeback, going from not winning a singles match since 2014 to almost getting a singles title shot. Heck, we can go back all the way to 2016, when Rocha was the biggest heel, and he had a storyline where he went from losing to his rival to winning the singles belt.
So if you’re watching the Schmoedown because you love the storylines, you’re going to gravitate towards the heels because they play a huge role in almost all of them.
THEIR TRIVIA KNOWLEDGE (OR LACK THEREOF)
When it comes to gameplay, heels have an upper hand in two departments: when they suck and lose, or when they’re the underdog and win. Starting with the first side, heels are always incredibly confident in their “ability”, so when they play so incredibly poorly, it’s hilarious. Dagnino, for example, is super cocky, so when he answers “Caskick Bosman” instead of “Chadwick Boseman,” we all lose it. Or when Ricky Hayberg talks a big game before the Manager Bowl and then scores 5 points, it’s truly an amazing thing to witness. This also pertains to the next factor, so I’ll save that for later.
Let’s talk about this second side, because I feel as though this is one that doesn’t get recognized enough: when an underdog heel comes into a match, and pulls out the victory. There are a bunch of matches that I could use as an example, but for the purposes of this argument, I’m going to use Murrell vs Ghai from this year’s Collision. This was a match that Ghai, by all intents and purposes, was not supposed to win. This match was supposed to be Dan’s re-introduction into the Schmoedown, but not only did Ghai win the match, he got the TKO over Murrell.
After this match, I started to notice something happening: the Schmoedown community started to get more on the side of Ghai. Before, he was seen as a nuisance, the “weaker member of Team Action”. After defeating Murrell and Reilly soon after, people really started to gravitate towards him as a player, becoming more invested in his storyline.
THEY’RE ENTERTAINING AS HELL
A Schmoedown player can have an amazing storyline, be great at trivia, or both; but if a competitor isn’t entertaining, people won’t care about anything that they do. And heels in the Schmoedown dial up the entertainment factor to an 11.
Think about some of the greatest catchphrases of all time in the Schmoedown. “Let me stop you right there” came from Kalinowski when he turned heel. “Where’s the Belt?” is a moniker of Team Action. “Growl Growl” comes from Bibbiani’s heel days. You never heard Ken Napzok talking about the system before turning to the dark side, but afterwards it’s all he ever talked about. And of course Finstock’s endless supply of incredible one-liners.
There’s a reason why people quote these so often: because something about these characters and what they say resonates with the fan community, whether it be because of how comedic it is, or because maybe they find themselves agreeing with what a heel is saying or doing. Heels in the Schmoedown bring us into the game and get us fully invested, whether it’s because we want to see them taken down a peg, or we love how bad they are, and that’s why I think we all love them so much.