During John Bradshaw Layfield’s 280 reign at the top of SmackDown in 2004 and 2005, there were very few, if any, more hated heels in WWE than JBL.
The Texas native turned his back on his highly popular tag team partner Faarooq, assumed the role of a arrogant Texas millionaire and formed a stable to keep himself on top. It was a run that followed the ‘heel champion’ blueprint that has been around for as long as time.
Speaking during a new Q&A Session, JBL has now given his thoughts on what makes a true heel and how to get ‘real’ heat.
The former WWE Champion was initially asked what the biggest challenge is to being a heel.
“That’s easy. The being a heel is being hated. Being a heel is finding something people don’t like.”
JBL went on to explain how Road Dogg went from being a fan favourite to turning on the people in the stands.
“Road Dogg would always say these catchphrases, and people would repeat em’ and say em.’ If you tell people ‘You suck!’ They’ll boo. That is not real heat. If you explain to them, why they suck, and it strikes a chord with them, now all of a sudden they get really mad at you. ‘How dare they bring that up?’ That’s when you get heat. Road Dogg used to have all these catchphrases, that he would say, and when he turned heel the whole crowd would would want to singalong or chant along with him. And he would just stop and say ‘This isn’t chant along with Road Dogg don’t think I’ll say those today,’ and people would boo.”
The WWE Hall of Famer expanded further recalling an incident where Curt Henning, got a member of the crowd who had cheered him, to boo him immediately. JBL continued that there is a place for popular heels, but there always needs to be a “true heel” as well.
“There’s a place for heels that are popular. No doubt about it. But in every series, like you have on Netflix or Amazon or HBO… There’s always a super-heel or two. And that’s the guy that’s got to be a pure heel. And it’s tough to find those people, because very few people actually want to be a heel. Hot Rod, Roddy Piper, loved being a heel. Randy Orton, The Miz. I think those guys enjoy being a heel, because once you realise that it’s part of the show, you take your ego out, it’s just tough to walk through airports for some people and be called a name. Or to go on your social media, which we didn’t have back in the day and hear people, see people, bashing you…”
“I loved being a heel because you could control things so much easier.”
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper has been back in the news recently after being the subject of A&E Biography Special. After watching the documentary, WWE legend, The Rock, paid tribute to a man he called one of his heroes.
If you use any quotes from this article please do so with a h/t and link back to Inside The Ropes.