Episode 1 of Heels—Recap and Review

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 10: (L-R) Alexander Ludwig and Lauren Dear are seen as STARZ celebrates the premiere of its new series "Heels" on August 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 10: (L-R) Alexander Ludwig and Lauren Dear are seen as STARZ celebrates the premiere of its new series "Heels" on August 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images) /

Episode 1 of Heels on Starz premiered yesterday evening at 9PM EST. The show was highly anticipated and especially by wrestling fans. Like The Wrestler, starring Mickey Rourke, it promised a darker side of the pro wrestling ring and industry, as opposed to the comedic side Hollywood has always been trying to thrust upon the industry.

So here’s a review and a brief recap of a very promising first episode of Heels on Starz

In Episode 1, I’d say that they delivered the message that wrestling has a lot more depth than is thought by most, and they delivered that message loud and clear.

An overview of the show (No spoilers)

Canadian actor, Stephen Amell, of Arrow fame, plays Jack Spade, a wrestling heel (villain) and the individual made responsible for the family business (a southern wrestling promotion) left to him by his deceased father, who had also been a wrestler in his heyday.

Alexander Ludwig (Bad Boys for Life, Vikings), plays his younger brother whom the father did not leave the business, but is a face (good guy) for the promotion.

The first episode establishes the family history, why the promotion is in the staggering state that it’s in, and the dichotomy between the two brothers.

But what happens when someone from their father’s past comes to Duffy (small town in Georgia) in hopes of finding the next big star for the promotion he works in—a much bigger, nationwide promotion?

Does it suddenly cause a rift between the brothers and their family? Or, were there already issues between them, aggravated by this new arrival?

Reviewing the first episode

Having seen the trailer a while back, I was pretty excited to watch this show. Now having watched the very first episode, I can say that I’m more than pleased about what I saw, but not for the same reasons I had first expected.

When I first heard about the show — about the small town, the family of younger wrestlers trying to keep their father’s legacy afloat — I thought we were going to get something very reminiscent of the Von Erich family.

Anyone who knows their wrestling history knows that name very well. The Von Erich family was, and is still, considered professional wrestling royalty. The likes of Steve Austin and so many other Attitude Era wrestlers have been quoted saying that these were their idols and what got them to the ring in the first place (among others, of course).

But the base storyline — the story at the base of the show — wasn’t the focal point going into the first episode.

We see a floundering wrestling promotion, yes, but what I especially liked, was seeing the inner workings of the business from a creative standpoint. The main character, Jack Spade’s, incessant time spent at his laptop, working on the finishes for matches.

And that’s what is so often overlooked in wrestling, isn’t it? The creativity of it all: the characters, the costumes, the storylines, where the matches can go physically, storylines spread out over months and months.

This is showcased big time here and I loved every second of it.

The show also gives a feeling of the past. Yeah, you see a laptop here and there, a cell phone here and there, but overall, the show transports the viewer to a simpler time and period; that’s what’s pleasing about the show as well, one of the best parts in fact.

After all, we are getting a glimpse at a wrestling promotion, which because of low finances, is stuck in the proverbial stone age of the industry by default.

The cinematography is epic: Great picturesque scenes to feast your eyes on, and not just in the ring, although the wrestling is very good. You’re not getting Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit here, but you need to keep in mind that these are actors (except for Amell, who interestingly enough has been in the ring.. in WWE and ROH, wrestling the likes of Cody Rhodes and even joining the Bullet Club).

The acting itself and the portrayal of the multilayered characters is pretty good too. The physiques of the actors are just okay — a little on the small side for wrestlers in such a promotion, except for James Harrison, who showed up in epic shape to play a wrestler. He looks like one through and through. An ex-football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, and Baltimore Ravens, he came to play for sure and executes his portrayal to a T. Can’t wait to see more from his character: Apocalypse. And what a name!

There was even a surprise appearance from Doc Gallows.

So at the end of the day, the prognosis is good, folks. The episode ended on a high note (almost like a real wrestling show) and left the viewer wanting more — a lot more; a cliffhanger of you will.

If we can rate these episodes from 1 to 5 DDTs, I give episode one a strong 4 DDTs out of 5.

What’s to come?

We’ll be reviewing the episodes of the show as they air, episode to episode, so stay tuned for that dear readers.

The John Cena vs. Roman Reigns segment on SmackDown heated up this feud. dark. Next

Doc Gallows appeared in Episode 1, as we stated, and announced to be on the way is of course Mick Foley himself and CM Punk.