Things are getting interesting in Duffy, GA, as Heels lets us into how Jack Spade (Stephen Amell) will have his DWL promotion work with his arch nemesis Charlie Gully’s Florida Wrestling Dystopia, while Ace tries to wrestle with his own conflicted emotions.
Mostly this show has a bunch of narratives going into this show before the big wrestling event later in the show, and here’s how things went forward.
Jack has his family back under the roof, so he has to deal with Gully’s “suggestion” of a cross-promotion rather than face a lawsuit. That is hard for the elder Spade to swallow, nor is it any easier when he has to work with Rooster (Allen Maldonado), and the bitterness between the two is palpable. Spade feels like he turned traitor, and Rooster believes he never gave him a choice and kept him down. But somehow, both men try to work together to find some common ground.
Meanwhile, Ace is living with his brother and just trying to find his own way since driving out into the woods didn’t work so well.
(Author’s Note: If you do go camping, don’t make the mistake Ace made with soccer shoes, and wear proper hiking boots. This is your Heels PSA.)
However, a little uncle/nephew time with Thomas (Roxton Garcia) helps him get out of his head and rediscover his love of the squared circle, with another idea to get back into the ring.
That leads to Wild Bill and Diego Cottonmouth (Robby Ramos) going out to do a wrestling convention and continue their podcast aspirations. Not only does this highlight the good, the bad, and the weird of fandom at these conventions (with one of Wild Bill’s fans wanting a picture comparing their…errr, “Wild Bills” side-by-side before Diego escorts him off), this allows us to see some of the people Wild Bill used to consort and work with in his heyday, such as the Man-Beast Magoo (Aleks Paunovic) and the Texas Slinger (Chris Browning). While there is a point they catch up on old times over drinks at an Applebee’s and try to record the podcast, the stories they are getting are bland: Magoo is now managing Fro-Yo stores, and Slinger is looking like his sobriety is hanging by a thread. That’s when Wild Bill turns things up a notch and all but calls them sellouts. That’s when Magoo looks Wild Bill in the eye on wanting to stay in the limelight of the squared circle and delivers this fantastic line:
“I cheer for you, but I don’t wish I was you.”
Diego witnesses all this, and he is beginning to learn more and more that his wrestling heroes of yesteryear have feet of clay.
Next Staci is helping Jack out with getting beer for the DWL show because Willie came up sick, but not before grabbing some money from the office safe. As Staci runs things at the DWL Dome a mysterious woman asks for Willie before quickly heading off, and that gives Staci some pause.
But the final narrative has Crystal now working with a veteran of women’s wrestling that Rick Rabies (CM Punk) brings into the DWL to help out. Yes, this is the debut of AJ Lee (going by her real name AJ Mendez in the credits), portraying the character of Elle Dorado. As far as Crystal and Dorado working for the first time in the ring, stiff doesn’t quite do it justice. At one point, Crystal and Dorado are in the locker room getting ready for their match, and Crystal offers her some ibuprofen to help with her bad knee. Dorado swallows it like it was candy, and she tells Crystal what life is like on the road and the sacrifices that it entails, especially if you’re a female wrestler:
“I had health insurance once. Hung on to that for like two whole years. An apartment, a ficus. Like most places, they only carry two or three women. So they run out of stories and combinations pretty quick. Then it’s off down the road.”
That leads to the DWL having their match and things start to take shape with the beginnings of the cross-promotion with Rooster cutting a promo on the crowd that gets the right amount of boos. Meanwhile, Staci runs around backstage and sees Willie handing an envelope to the same mysterious woman, leaving her wondering what is going on at the Dome and how this will affect her down the road. That leads to the main event, as Rooster and The Hole (Luke Hawx) run into the ring to steal the DWL title, only for a mysterious hooded figure to drop from the rafters to kick the would-be invaders out of the ring and speak in a distorted voice. He addresses the DWL faithful that he will earn his redemption, “for I am…The Condamned.” That leads to a shot of Ace Spade in dark hair and grease paint around the eyes under the hood.
While this show has a lot going on, the different narratives tie up nicely in the end. Big props to Paunovic and AJ Lee for the way they delivered their lines that serve as both adulation and warning of what happens to anyone that pursues life in the squared circle. As for Ace’s character transformation, one has to wonder how much of this is a rib or an homage to Stephan Amell’s character from The CW’s Arrow series. Either way, that is an awesome setup for the upcoming episode that will feature the much-ballyhooed cross-promotion.
As always, stick with SlamWrestling.net for future reviews and stories, and catch up on prior episode reviews in our archive found below.