Although I like to consider myself a very serious person who likes their wrestling straight-laced with a sport-style presentation and minimal shenanigans, I’ve always understood that within every promotion, there is a need for balance, a need for variety, and a need for role players. Not everyone can be a main event talent, and not everyone needs to be. Some people are ideal comedy relief, and some are perfect role players.
By and large, Impact Wrestling has always been a promotion that’s given a platform to these role players. In terms of a definition of what I mean by ‘role player,’ think people who have gimmicks independent of winning and losing matches and are great at making the most of their hand. Johnny Swinger and Rohit Raju are two recent examples of people slotted into that position and you can now add Heath to that list.
Heath is currently working a ‘Bounty Hunter’ style gimmick, aiming to track down the members of Honor No More and exact revenge on them for taking his tag partner Rhino out of action.
I have, to put it mildly, loved his recent presentation. He’s not coming out every week demanding matches or cutting melodramatic promos about what he will do to them when he gets his hands on them. He’s not jumping them in backstage segments either, a touch I’ve liked given the general way they’ve presented Honor No More as this outlaw band confined to the shadows.
Instead, Heath jumps one member during the group’s entrance or after one of their matches before escaping into the crowd. He’s not being pushed as this dominant monster, rather a constant irritation and a thorn in their side.
He’s also, in a pleasant surprise, being presented as an intelligent babyface. He’s not repeatedly getting baited and running headlong into confrontations where he’ll be overcome by the numbers game. Instead, he’s picking his spots to score small wins and make his presence felt. The only time he didn’t do that was this past week, when he beat Kenny King in one-on-one singles action. He got beaten down at the end but in the end Honor No More’s frustration, in canon likely caused by how much he’s irritated them, boiled over and he was able to escape with the upper hand once more.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) August 12, 2022
Something that’s not been addressed on commentary yet is that there’s a nice symmetry between this gimmick and the start of his Impact run. Then, he was sneaking into the venue to try and get his spot with the promotion. Hey, I did raise my eyebrows at the logic hole of a man repeatedly breaking what was supposedly a COVID-secure bubble during height of pandemic, but I’ll overlook that now.
In many ways, it should be no surprise that he’s thriving in his current position because he’s always produced his best work when cast into this spot as a role player.
While perfectly solid in the ring, Heath has never and will never be someone that’s going to blow you away when the bell rings. He is someone, though, that works hard and clearly loves his craft.
In the WWE, he worked hard with the bones him, Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre were given with 3MB. They were jobbers and the matches didn’t matter but they worked with it and got far better crowd reactions than the gimmick was even close to deserving.
The I’ve Got Kids storyline a few years later was one of that company’s best from the last decade, largely because it was simple and gave you an insight into the real Heath Miller. Unlike most of the dross from Vince’s brain, it also had a logical payoff that they managed to deliver without any hiccups.
When they tried to rehash that story in Impact it admittedly wasn’t quite as good but his ‘campaign’ to win a contract was fun and, again, he nailed the role he was asked to fulfil. After that, though, his effectiveness began to wane a bit more.
On his return from injury, he had the goal of liberating Rhino from Violent By Design. That was solid but once he’d done that, his story had to become about getting in the tag team title picture and having regular matches. As such, he immediately felt less interesting.
It was a similar story for his World Title match with Moose earlier this year. It was solidly built for what it was and probably as good as it was going to be bell-to-bell but it’s not something I’ll think about much again. It did, however, leave me to wonder what real use they had for Heath moving forward as he felt fairly flat as a character.
Now though, it’s very different. He’s back in a ‘role.’ Not a belt-chasing, match-winning role, but a role that gives him purpose on the TV and plays to his strengths.
I’ve got no idea how this Honor No More Hunter storyline pans out. Does he cost Eddie Edwards in his World Title challenge as the ultimate revenge? Is the payoff him and a returning Rhino taking the tag titles from Taven and Bennett? Or is it causing the faction to implode from within by exacerbating the tension between PCO and Eddie Edwards? Regardless, it’s great right now and working wonderfully for Heath.
Another undeniable part of the attraction here has been that we saw AEW try and do something similar last year with Frankie Kazarian and whiff quite badly. It started well enough but he had a match with Doc Gallows and then it was all over. Heath’s attempt has been much better booked from the start and as such it’s resonated with me as a viewer much more.
If it wasn’t clear, Heath and his current gimmick are one of my favorite parts of Impact Wrestling weekly. Perhaps the biggest reason why is because it’s fun. At the end of the day, that’s what this silly passion of ours is supposed to be, isn’t it?
Powered by RedCircle