‘Heels’ Star Stephen Amell Says WWE Wrestlers Would Hate His Character Jack Spade for 1 Reason

Stephen Amell plays the heel of Heels. Jack Spade (Amell) plays the bad guy in the Duffy Wrestling League. But, as the owner of the DFL, Jack is the heel to his brother Ace (Alexander Ludwig) and the other performers. It’s a role Amell embraces, as he says real professional wrestlers like those in the WWE would hate Jack, too.

Stephen Amell pins his opponent in Heels
Stephen Amell pins his opponent | Starz

Amell and Heels executive producers Michael Waldron and Mike O’Malley were on a Television Critics Association panel for Heels on Aug. 19. They discussed the reason professional wrestlers would frown upon Jack. Heels airs Sundays on Starz. 

Stephen Amell knows how WWE and other pro wrestlers work

Amell wrestled in the WWE and performed with Cody Rhodes before Rhodes launched All Elite Wrestling. So, Amell knows that Jack’s habit of scripting DWL matches move by move is not conducive to the best performance. 

Alexander Ludwig and Stephen Amell prepare to enter the ring
L-R: Stephen Amell and Alexander Ludwig | Starz

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“People that script their own matches, generally speaking, people that I’ve met in the business, they don’t like that tactic as much,” Amell said. “Because the improvisational aspect of wrestling allows you to play to the crowd more. Which is something that we see Jack say to Rooster later in the season when he does some improvisation. It’s better to let the wrestlers get out there, let them see how the crowd is feeling, and then react to it than it is to script everything beforehand.”

That doesn’t mean WWE decides their matches in the moment 

Improvisation doesn’t mean anything goes. Professional wrestling is still orchestrated, and the outcomes of the matches are still predetermined to forward the big picture storylines. However, Waldron said, they’re usually not scripted move by move.

“It’s generally the openings and the endings are what’s really tightly choreographed and kind of the big story beats within,” Waldron said. “A lot what’s amazing about pro wrestling is the improvisation within the ring that these guys are doing. It’s kind of a dance that they’re working together, and playing off the crowd, and sort of trusting one another to tell a great story. But, I think, if there was anybody who was going to really tightly choreograph a match down to the move, it would probably be Jack Spade.”

There are real Jack Spades outside of ‘Heels’ though

Jack is not a pure work of fiction, though. Waldron knew of famous WWE performers who liked to script their matches. 

“There’s stories about like, I think, Macho Man Randy Savage, he was known for wanting to choreograph everything down to the peak move,” Waldron said.

Heels: Stephen Amell carries the belt into the ring
Stephen Amell | Starz

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The heels and the faces are actually on the same side putting on a show. They don’t want it to be anarchy, either. 

“It’s very dangerous to not know what the person that you’re working with is going to do,” O’Malley said. 

Amell confirmed that Jack is simply taking choreography to an extreme where most performers prefer more flexibility. 

“In general, in the professional wrestling industry, people like Jack Spade are not liked as much,” Amell said. “You’re looking for the beginning, you’re looking for significant moments in the match, and you’re looking for the finish. And any interesting false finish which is the one-two and then the guy kicks out.”