Tonight night at 9 p.m. ET/PT Starz will air a new and highly anticipated show called Heels. It is about a small wrestling group The Duffy Wrestling League (DWL) based in Georgia that has great hopes of someday making it to the next level and battling the drama that goes with putting a show as well as the day to day issues that we all face.
Heels was created by wrestling fans Michael Waldron (Loki, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness) and executive-produced by Mike O’Malley (Survivor’s Remorse) who also is the showrunner and plays the role of Charlie Gully the rival promoter of Florida Wrestling Dystopia (FWD)
Heels stars another real-life wrestling fan and occasional participant Stephen Amell who is also an Executive Producer and star who plays Jack Spade who takes over the DWL after his father’s untimely death. His first battle is with Ace Spade (Vikings’ Alexander Ludwig) his own brother who wants to see the DWL go to the next level faster than Jack feels comfortable pushing it.
For those of us who grew up wresting fans we are familiar with is the good guys and the bad guys or as we know them “heels.” Jack plays the heel to Ace’s hero role and there is plenty of drama inside and outside the ring.
This is Amell’s first big TV project after starring for eight seasons on The CW’s Arrow is one that’s close to his heart, as Amell has been involved in various wrestling promotions over the years — including a WWE Summer Slam.
Heels is blessed with an outstanding supporting casts Alison Luff as Staci Spade, Jack’s wife who learns that she has to contend with the emotional stakes her in-laws have invested in their wrestling goals and the demands it puts on her family; Mary McCormack as Willie Day, Jack’s business partner and the logistical brains behind the local wrestling organization; Kelli Berglund as Crystal Tyler, Ace’s valet, and love interest; Allen Maldonado as Rooster Robbins, one of the best wrestlers in the circuit who always has something to prove and always backs it up; two-time Super Bowl champion James Harrison as Apocalypse, a been-around-the-block journeyman wrestler who’s been at it for decades and has no illusions of fame or glory; and Chris Bauer as Wild Bill Hancock, a larger-than-life former wrestling star who is now a high-level pro wrestling scout.
Over the past week, I was able to watch the first two episodes of the show and I have been impressed. Impressed with the acting, impressed with the writing, and impressed with the directing, this is well worth checking out.
Heels takes me back to when I was a kid growing up in Tampa who grew up going to the Armory for wrestling events when there was no air conditioning, no walk-up music, or pyrotechnics, just plain old wrestling, good guys and bad guys. When we couldn’t go to the matches we would all gathered around the television to watch Championship Wrestling from Florida and find out who was going to be the bad guy, the heel we were to root against.
JOIN ME AND MIKE O’MALLEY AS TALK ABOUT HEELS ON STREAM ON WITH JIM WILLIAMS
For two years early in my directing career long before I was doing the big-time college sports, major league baseball, the NBA, the NHL, NFL the Olympics or any major concerts I was doing Championship Wrestling from Florida. It was fun and I saw the wrestlers as people, with families
There is no question in my mind that Heels has the best shot at being the most entertaining and real show that I have ever seen about all the aspects of wresting. How the matches are set up, how the wrestlers work together and how they deal with family issues just like the rest of us.
I think that Heels will be an instant hit here in the Tampa Bay area where wrestling has been part of the community for over 5 decades. It will feel like a story that many like me can relate to on a number of levels.
The Tampa Bay area is one of the birthplaces for wresting and it remains home to many wrestlers. It is a frequent stop on the WWE circuit and hosted the first two post-pandemic events were held at Raymond James Stadium home of the defending Super Bowl Champion Buccaneers. The WWE has also worked closely on events at the NXT Performance Center at Full Sail University in the Orlando area.
So, this area knows its wrestling and that is why I know that it is going to love Heels starting Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Starz.