As someone who was not a regular watcher of the WWE, one of the things that took me a while to understand was the intricacies of kayfabe and the roles of heels and faces. After over two years of watching the Schmoedown however, I have come to appreciate the role this has in the success of the league and really look forward to seeing how new entrants will act and what dastardly deeds the heels will get up to next.
While many of the heels have been that way from the start, like “Dastardly” Andrew Ghai, there are others like Ken Napzok and Mike Kalinowski who were once seen as heroes of the league, fighting the good fight, until they snapped and turned to the dark side. In addition to shocking the fans with their turn to evil, many of these heel turns have played a big role in improving not just their own personal Schmoedown careers, but also the league as a whole.
Today we’ll be looking at those former faces who found success by going dark!
Two of the original ladies of the Schmoedown, “Miss Movies” Brianne Chandler and “Sassy” Stacy Howard arrived in the league with a victory over the Wangers in October 2016. However, their success was limited over the following months, until they brought in Jay Washington as their manager. Washington helped turn the pair into the first big female heels of the league, while the Viper Squad became one of the more established factions of Season 4.
While Rachel Cushing and Clarke Wolfe were showing their success as faces, Six Degrees made it clear that the role of a heel would work just as well with a woman or a man, creating the opportunity for any new arrivals to play any character that they wanted.
He was Captain America. He was Batman. Then, he became “The Killer” and the leader of KOrruption. Mike Kalinowski’s heel turn on leaving The League revolutionized the Schmoedown last season as he – under instruction from Paulie G (and unbeknownst to Kalinowski, Kristian Harloff) – began blackmailing Commissioner Thadd Williams into running the league however he wanted.
Under Mike’s supervision, we saw the Innergeekdom Division get its first Ultimate Schmoedown-style tournament, which saw Mara Knopic make her debut and run all the way to the Innergeekdom Championship, whilst also highlighting the strength of the division and setting up himself, Rachel Cushing and Adam Hlavac as some of the biggest stars within the division. We also saw the Anarchy Tournament completely shake up the Teams Division, as most teams were broken up and new alliances were created, giving us super-teams like Who’s The Boss, The Odd Couple and the Founding Fathers.
The Anarchy Tournament also created a number of new teams who either stuck together after the tournament or found themselves reforming on a more permanent basis over the next year, effectively “rebooting” the Teams Division at a time where the Patriots, the Shirewolves and Above the Line had been dominating the league.
On a more individual note, this turn also represented the moment where Mike’s fortunes began to improve. His studying seemed to go to a new level as he strove to win his own tournament, eventually leading him to becoming the first Schmoedown Pro to win the Innergeekdom Title twice. Meanwhile, his new partnership with Chance Ellison and creation of the KOrruption faction has seen him earn an upcoming title match in the Teams Division, as well as finding himself just three matches away from the Singles Title.
Staying within KOrruption for a moment, we also need to take a look at Ken Napzok. As part of the Nerd’s Watch, Napzok was a force for good in the league but he did not have the ability to stand up to the Lion’s Den. Eventually he decided that “If you can’t beat them, join them” was an acceptable alternative and he betrayed Rachel Cushing to join Tom Dagnino.
While it may not have had a net positive impact on his playing career, turning heel gave him the chance to go all-in on the mic and he has since proven himself to be one of the best in the league when cutting a promo either on camera or live on stage. More than that, his turn also freed up Rachel Cushing to join Clarke Wolfe and take the next steps in her development into one of the best to ever compete in the league. Not to say that he was holding her back, but the Shirewolves and the Fyffe Club played such a key role in Rachel’s success, and that would not have been possible if Ken had not abandoned her.
Who would have thought that Drew McWeeny could turn heel?! “The Godfather” had always been a player focused on pure knowledge instead of storylines, but this season he has dived in headfirst by siding with The Family. Usually quiet and reserved, he has not really had to change his ways much, but his strong, silent personality makes him so menacing whenever he does speak – just look at Burnett’s reaction in the recent promo when McWeeny reminds him that he was promised a belt!
Beyond that, turning heel and joining The Family has brought him real success. With Burnett and Ghai there to take care of things on the mic, McWeeny can focus on his performance in the match, and having Ghai at his side on the table adds a great element of strategy to go along with his immense knowledge.
Could this alliance ever see him win a belt again? I’d never rule it out!
Who will be the next Schmoedown Pro to turn from hero to villain? What impact will that have on the league? Only time will tell…