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The Heel Book Notebook

An Open Letter to Alex Riley

By: Owen Douglass | Posted 12/05/13

Dear Alex,

Congratulations on the new commentary gig. It's great to see that you can still get a paycheck from the WWE without having to continue to randomly appear in dark matches before SmackDown stripped of your gimmick and trying to get by on your bland move set. Surely this will be a fresh start for you to reinvent yourself into one of the voices of WWE. There is just one problem though: you are the absolute worst.

Your last few appearances on NXT have been difficult to listen to. Why do you feel the need to parrot a superstar's catchphrase after they just said it? Are you a Skrull who is observing and copying the powers of NXT superstars in your quest to win back The Miz's affection and have him take you with him to the main roster? Even William Regal isn't safe, as you've taken his flirting with Renee Young and turned it from being a cute and weird dynamic to just seeming sad and creepy. Renee laughs at your attempts, but in a "get me out of here" manner.

But this week's episode of NXT was the last straw. You crossed the line from annoyance to hatred. You confused "torque" with "twerk" during the Women's Championship match just so you could make Miley Cyrus jokes. Those weren't even still relevant when this episode was taped. You attempted to say the crowd were chanting "you can't sing" towards Aiden English when clearly the crowd was fully behind his performance. Renee called you out and you threw a temper tantrum the rest of the show, talking over everyone else and trying to bury the talent on their way to the ring. Questioning Adrian Neville's nickname "The Man That Gravity Forgot" and poking all the holes in it was uncalled for and hearing Renee and Tom have to put up with it was uncomfortable. You didn't come off as a heel, you just came off as an unprofessional jerk.

I have some advice for you. First, learn how to put talent over. You can discuss the background of catchphrases instead of just shouting them and exclaiming how much you love it. Don't try to talk over the match with nonsense jokes that have nothing to do with the competitors in the ring. Second, decide if you're a face of heel. The first half of the latest NXT you were being silly and getting behind the faces, but in the second half you were yelling at Sami Zayne for coming out during a match and praising Bo Dallas. Be consistent and be good at one of these roles instead of mediocre at both. And lastly, how dare you yell at scrawny Tom Phillips for not coming out to save Byron Saxton from Antonio Cesaro when you are an active wrestler who was sitting a few feet away from it. Think before you talk and don't great obvious flaws in your logic. Being so mad at Tom was uncalled for and made you look like an idiot. More so than usual.

I hope you read this letter and take these criticisms to heart. Because seriously, you are the worst.

Sincerely yours,

Owen Douglass

Heel Turn Notebook is a wrestling column that serves as a supplement for the Zonecasts: Heel Turn podcast. To listen to the show, please check out http://www.ozoneent.com/zonecasts/heelturn/.