The Heel Never Loses
As “Golden Boy” Chick Donovan says, “The heel never loses.”
The Golden Boy says, “As a heel, I style out the same way I style in, and that’s all (the crowd) remembers.”
It’s the beauty of heels. The heels in wrestling like the heels in real life. Real-life chickenshit heels whose divorce is always their spouse’s fault. Whose firing from a job or lack of promotion is always because somebody had a vendetta against them. Heels whose friends and family forget about them, never because they’re worth forgetting, but because everybody else is so thoughtless and uncaring. Heels who always lose a bet because of a bad call. Heels who go to jail because of incompetent lawyers and biased judges, never because of their own crimes. The heel never loses in romance or love because it’s women and culture and society’s fault that nobody loves him. The heel never rises above his social class because of people who don’t look and think like him. Heels whose social isolation is a choice, never a matter of being a piece-of-shit that nobody likes, trusts or embraces. Heels whose ailments and illnesses are always the matter of age, never lifestyle. Heels whose limitations are always the cause of chance or dumb, bad luck or somebody else.
The chickenshit heel is never a coward – because you, just like everyone else, can be accused of being a coward too. It’s how the heel is never lazy, a liar or a hypocrite, because you can be accused of being a liar and a hypocrite too. It’s why you’re both lazy – since you don’t put the cap back on the toothpaste or you leave a coffee cup in the sink, while the heel doesn’t change his piss-stained underwear for days since he never leaves his bedroom anyway.
That’s how the heel styles in. And it’s how the heel can always style out, even when he’s just lost the match. He can always style out because his loss is always the fault of something outside himself. The heel is always the victim, except in his cheating victories. It’s how the heel can always style out, because just like the babyface who can be taunted into throwing a punch, that’s how and why, according to the heel, he and the babyface are essentially the same. It’s how the heel can punch and gouge and otherwise cheat, yet, when he holds out his hand and you deny his conciliatory handshake, that’s what makes you no more of a sportsman than him.
It’s the art and beauty of being the heel to exploit relativity. It’s the secret and sublime art of the heel to know you’ve thrown a punch or two too. It’s the chickenshit art of the heel to know that 2 and 10 are equivalent by way of neither being 1. It’s his artform to know that his punches and gouges and his unfairly utilizing the ropes for leverage is a far lesser offense than throwing fire in the face of an opponent. It’s the heel’s artform to know that to some degree everybody cheats. And the fact that his ways are less sever than the most severe, that makes this standard heel fare more like you than the capital offender. That’s what makes the fire-throwing heel the enemy of you both. And that’s what should make you and the standard heel allies – your common knowledge and understanding of the evil greater than you both.
As the Golden Boy says, in wrestling, it’s not a matter of the outcome, but how one handles the outcome. It’s fine to lose, so long as you don’t accept it. It’s fine to lose so long as you show the crowd you’re not a loser. So long as the heel leaves the ring looking and feeling like a winner, his hope is that’s all anyone will remember. And just like him, with a convincing enough presentation, just like him, it’s what you’ll both believe too.
This is the art of the heel – getting the cheap win on the babyface and getting over on the referee. Or losing and never accepting the loss. The art of the heel is getting over on everybody, including himself. As the Golden Boy said, “Life and wrestling….it’s all the same thing.”
5 thoughts on “The Heel Never Loses”
What an interesting perspective.
thank you. heels are an interesting study. and, as some argue, wrestling is just Shakespeare, dumbed down. and Shakespeare got a lot of things about human nature and the psyche right.
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I like that, it may why so many people are hooked on Shakespeare and wrestling. 🙂
Well done. I’m not familiar with Chick Donovan. My love of wrestling peaked in the mid-eighties.
like many things we obsess over, it’s easy to find an overabundance of meaning/substance when we look too hard. i’ve heard similar things when it comes to baseball, drama, etc. it’s a struggle sometimes to not over-interpret. anyway, as always, thanks for the read, Bob.
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