December is winding down and Christmastime is here, so given the spirit of the season, it means we’re in store for another edition of the annual Naughty and Nice 3-Count, recapping the best babyfaces, heels and tweeners of the year.
As far as how I went about picking these names, I went with a mixture of accomplishments, longevity, intensity and character work, mostly in a kayfabe sense with a smidge of smark added in for taste.
Of course, this is mostly a personal preference and you may disagree entirely, so if that’s the case, give us your list in the comments below!
Keeping all that in mind, which men and women made my list? Let’s take a look (in no particular order)…
There weren’t any real tweeners this year I feel worthy of mentioning. Instead of having some quality “shades of gray” characters, WWE tended to do something similar, but not the same. What they did, rather, was switch people back and forth between heel and face on a moment’s notice, often with little rhyme or reason.
Case in point, Braun Strowman. At the beginning of the year, he was a staunch babyface. Then, with the Bray Wyatt feud, he started acting like a heel while feuding with another heel and crapping on a babyface Alexa Bliss, who turned heel. Now, Bray Wyatt’s turned down this tweenerish role but he’s still acting like a heel. It’s kind of a mess because WWE doesn’t have much direction, so they’re changing things week to week to fit whatever happens that day and it seems someone on the writing staff either thinks that’s fine and doesn’t matter or that the unknown element of it makes it more compelling.
Not for me. I’d prefer more stability, even with the tweeners.
How can you not cheer for this man? He’s perpetually positive and uplifting no matter what’s going on. The guy’s fantastic in the ring. He’s among the brightest prospects WWE could actually build the company around. And if you’re judging based on credibility, he won the North American and NXT Championships and held them at the same time this year.
Lee is one of those guys I’d imagine a lot of younger kids gravitate towards and look up to. There’s something about his magnetism that reminds me of John Cena, but in a different way. Cena was more brash, outlandish and loud while Lee is soft-spoken and reserved. While Cena could appeal to kids by being bright, colorful and energetic, Lee is delivering a similar message but in a calmer way.
Watching his most recent WWE Network special gave all the more reason for him to be on this list. He seems like one of the most genuinely nice people on the roster today.
This year might seem like it went on forever, making it hard to remember what happened in the earlier months. But should you forget, here’s a rundown of McIntyre from this year:
- He saved the Royal Rumble from being won by Brock Lesnar. Hero status right there. He also eliminated Roman Reigns, which made quite a few people happy.
- McIntyre got rid of Erick Rowan’s spider. No more worrying about that.
- Drew sent The Beast Incarnate packing when he beat him for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania.
- He stood up against Seth Rollins with the whole Monday Night Messiah gimmick (albeit Rollins kept on doing his thing).
- He’s taken a stance against RETRIBUTION and The Hurt Business.
- He’s helped out R-Truth.
- He gave a title shot to his buddy, Heath Slater, on his way out.
- Obviously the babyface in his feuds with Dolph Ziggler and so on.
- Adversary for Randy Orton while he was taking out legends.
- Took Reigns down a peg at Survivor Series.
That’s not even everything, but you get the idea. The Scottish Warrior has been the top babyface of Monday Night Raw since the start of 2020 and it seems he’s not slowing down any time soon.
There are few feel-good moments as wonderful as seeing Edge come back out of retirement. Like Daniel Bryan before him, we/they had to experience their careers being ripped out from underneath them before they were ready to settle down and it was heartbreaking.
Then, miraculously, they came back against all odds. Doing so was incredibly momentous and such a happy moment that there weren’t many other positives that can match it. Becky Lynch’s pregnancy announcement is one of them, for sure (but this isn’t a list of moments).
Edge was further humanized in the documentary surrounding his return, which was exquisite. If you didn’t like the guy before, watch that and I doubt you’ll walk away from it without respecting him more and rooting for him to finish his career on his terms.
Unfortunately, Edge suffered another injury that set him back again. However, in the coming months when he does return, watch out for him to be right back on top and one of the easiest people to cheer for.
Granted, I’m still hoping once the dust settles on that and he feuds with a couple villains like AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and King Corbin, I’d like to see him turn heel again. Heel Edge is pretty great and I’d love for him to be on both the Naughty and Nice list for 2021.
Honorable Mentions: Otis came SO close to making this list, but I ruled the others more important due to how often Otis fell short this year. At the beginning of the year, he was a guarantee for one of these spots. Once WWE stopped giving him anything to do, only to take the Money in the Bank briefcase and Mandy Rose and Tucker away from him, his stock has fallen.
Shotzi Blackheart was another contender, but she didn’t accomplish much. She even lost at WarGames.
Last, but certainly not least, I just barely booted The Street Profits off this list. They’re magnetic and wonderful and have been incredibly successful. What hindered them, though, was their inability to have any decent enough opponents to accentuate their babyface attitudes. The only example that worked into that was Zelina Vega poisoning Montez Ford, but that feud with Andrade and Angel Garza went on for like 7 months and I grew tired of it. The Street Profits also feuded with The Viking Raiders for a while in a face vs face feud, which offset them a bit, and then with The New Day, too. Just barely not on this list.
Tribal Chief is amazing. This is the heel everyone was hoping for and what WWE should have done with John Cena (in his own way, naturally; can’t have him do the Samoan thing).