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British pantomime and UK indies actually having heel heat


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#1 Sean Liska

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 12:57 PM

I was having an interesting discussion with someone on the Observer board about how UK indies are so much more fun than American ones. One thing I really love is that heels in these promotions actually get heel heat. It was suggested this is partly because of the history of pantomime in UK culture. I'm totally in the dark on this stuff - do we have anyone here from the UK who keeps up with the scene and can comment? Basically, my big question is, are the UK indies going to be the last bastion of true heel heat besides casual WWE crowds?  Because I go to American indy shows and it's nothing but people cheering for high spots and near falls and not my thing.



#2 FMKK

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 01:27 PM

This is a strange and yet apt observation and something I've considered before in terms of comparison to wrestling. I don't think there's anyone who really follows panto properly. It's something that usually comes around at Christmas and Easter as family entertainment/school field trip fodder. Basically fairytales and the like performed on stage with broad, comedic and exaggerated performances that encourage the crowds to boo and hiss at villains etc. They usually have local actors and then a few mid-level celebrities and TV/soap opera actors in main roles to draw the audience. It's all on the level of good, campy fun and the crowd participation and heat is mainly on an tongue-in-cheek level (maybe less so for the youngest children) so maybe the comparisons doesn't work as well to wrestling where the heat on heels tends to be more vocal and visceral. So it's not quite 'true heel heat' in that sense, although I guess uk wrestlers are maybe more comfortable with playing the role of panto villain?

But there are comparisons to be made between the mediums and I'm now thinking about how/of panto is similar to the territories in terms of the regional organisation of the performances and the travelling drawing cards. Who's a bigger draw between Les Dennis and Keith Chegwin?

#3 Sean Liska

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 01:30 PM

 It's all on the level of good, campy fun and the crowd participation and heat is mainly on an tongue-in-cheek level (maybe less so for the youngest children) so maybe the comparisons doesn't work as well to wrestling where the heat on heels tends to be more vocal and visceral. So it's not quite 'true heel heat' in that sense, although I guess uk wrestlers are maybe more comfortable with playing the role of panto villain?
 

I'll take whatever I can get at this point with indy wrestling, watching some OTT and the crowd is all over the heels and the matches have legit face/heel heat and it's great.



#4 Mrzfn

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 03:34 PM

I know it's not for everyone stylistically, but CHIKARA works hard to actually define their heels and get them heat. Then again, they have a fair amount of British influence so it could be part of the same root factor.



#5 Quentin Skinner

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 10:04 PM

For the most part in the UK throughout in the notable companies other than maybe RevPro who focuses on big super shows more than anything, heels get heat and the desired reaction. Now that isn't to say the crowd can't take to an act and almost force them to turn babyface because they're so likable in the ring (example being South Pacific Power Trip) but from acts like Jinny, Zack Gibson, Sebastian, Jordan Devlin, CCK (although it's slightly changing now), Dan Maloney, The Prestige, The Anti-Fun Police, The Origin and more, the heels all get booed to hell. Even in PROGRESS, British Strong Style is getting tons of heat still. Marty Scurll as champ got heat and this isn't even mentioning how intense the crowd hate was for Jimmy Havoc during his 2013-2015 run. Will Ospreay has managed to get good heel heat in places like WCPW and PROGRESS. Or someone like Paul Robinson who consistently for 3 years was one of the most vile and hateable characters in wrestling. The clear distinction between faces and heels and the crowd buying in to it is definitely a big reason why I'm more in to following the UK scene than most of the US right now.



#6 Laz

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 10:22 AM

To add to that, Quentin, I'll say that the UK indies actually allow their heels to be heels. Jimmy Havoc's infamous threatening to cut a fan's throat, Paul Robinson just being allowed to be a smarmy prick...it's almost like the UK companies still understand how pro wrestling is supposed to work.

#7 kingliam

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 10:42 AM

I also feel that the UK bubble is significantly smaller, so most UK fans would have heard (through social media, for example) promoters, wrestlers and super fans talking about booing a heel if you like them, because that is their job. Not saying that works for everyone, but if you listen to Tuesday Night Jaw as a PROGRESS fan and Jim Smallman and people like Scroobius Pip say that, you are more likely to buy into that as a concept.

 

Jim Smallman has already said that even during the Jimmy Havoc heel run, there were still people in the crowd who would cheer him, though it would literally be the odd one or two. It clearly doesn't work for everyone.






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