Heels and Faces

Professional wrestling is so frustrating at times, especially World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Each match is predicated on a good guy (Face/Babyface) in one corner and a bad guy (Heel) in the other. I can’t help but feel like that’s an antiquated system, especially if the fans are just going to cheer for the “bad guy”.

But wrestlers will say, “As long as the fans are reacting, that’s all that matters.” There’s merit to that, yes. John Cena built a career off of half the fan base hating him and the other half loving him.

I think the half that hated him was just tired of his good guy gimmick and wanted him to do something different. He couldn’t, of course, because in the modern day of professional wrestling, Cena is too much of a hero to ever turn against the kids he tells to “Never Give Up.”

Wrestling tries to avoid bad PR since the mere mention of “Wrestling” still connotes negative feelings.

Hence why the WWE refers to Pro Wrestling as “Sports Entertainment”. Two lovely words, aren’t they? Let’s all skip around a field of cupcakes and think happy thoughts.

Plus, with Cena, there’s the whole “Most Make-A-Wish Appearances Ever” thing, so turning him heel was never going to happen.

From a fan perspective, it’s frustrating. From a corporate perspective, it’s business.

Nowadays, I look at the WWE roster and the larger than life characters just aren’t there anymore. For the most part, it’s just a person with a superlative and either a smile, or disgruntled look on their face.

Perhaps it’s the fact that the writers micromanage every single syllable that comes out of their mouth, preventing them from talking like their character.

Take Sasha Banks for example. Her gimmick is, “The Legit Boss”. Eddie Guerrero is her inspiration. Wrestling is her dream. Her best friend is Bayley.

Beyond that, I don’t know what her character is. What is a “Legit Boss”? I’m not sure I know.

Currently, her character is a face and has been for a few years. When she was coming up through NXT (the developmental system), she was a heel and a mighty good one. Her character thrived as a heel. It made sense.

Now, she just comes out and smiles, like every other face on the roster and Michael Cole (the announcer) proclaims, “It’s Boss Time!”. But what does that even mean?

It’s just frustrating because we’ve seen the matches and promos she’s capable of, but being a face does not suit her character at all. She’s just there, merely waiting for the creative team to tell her she can turn on Bayley and feud with her again.

Bayley is a Hugger. That’s her gimmick. Beyond hugging children on her way to the ring, I don’t know what else she is. Again, it’s frustrating, because there is so much potential there that isn’t being discovered.

I think one of the reasons why Sasha and Bayley never seem to get any traction is because the women only have one championship to go after on their respective brand. If you’re not the champion and you’re not the challenger, you’re going to be put in tag team matches almost every week.

But the tag team matches are pointless because there are no tag team championships.

How many times do Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Natalya, need to face the Riott Squad? They all deserve so much better.

It’s like, “Darn, we lost this week, but we won last week, so yay we’re equal.”

Side note: Why are the only dastardly things the Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, and Liv Morgan) have done been push objects off tables backstage, and snap a pair of Natalya’s late father’s sunglasses?

They should be causing mayhem every week, especially since Sarah and Liv aren’t as polished in the ring as Ruby.

Again, maybe it’s the writing. The women never seem to get into complex storylines like the men do. I want to see that change.

Currently, there is an overall blandness when it comes to the roster.

There isn’t one face on the roster that I truly, 100% care about. Okay, except for Elias. But is he ever going to make a title run, or is he just going to play his guitar every week?

Seth Rollins is cool he cuts the exact same promo in the ring every week.

And sure, watching Braun Strowman treat people like rag dolls is intriguing, but his promos are the same thing every week, too.

The New Day seem to be one of the few acts that can do their own thing, but it’s a comedy act. I’m waiting for them to be a bit more serious and allow Big E to go after a singles championship.

A.J. Styles lost the WWE Championship to Daniel Bryan a few weeks ago, when Bryan turned heel and hit Styles with a low blow. I loved everything about that because Bryan had gotten so stale.

He miraculously came back from retirement earlier this year, but his comeback story ran dry.

His heel turn has given him much needed life and purpose.

It worries me that the WWE seems to have no idea how to get their babyfaces over with the crowd, but the heels are no problem.

The heels are just more entertaining to watch because they actually do interesting things when they’re not wrestling.

Another thing that bothers me is how every superstar is so set in doing their entrance the exact same way every single time. Maybe that’s how production wants it? I don’t know.

But I’d rather not see Ronda Rousey come out for a championship match and stop to hand off souvenirs to children. You’re about to put your title on the line! You’re supposed to be focussed!

I’d rather not see The New Day come out with a tray of pancakes for every single match. Walk out with a purpose, just once.

Finn Balor’s entrance music matches up to certain lighting cues where he and everyone in the audience throw their hands in the air at the same time. It’s cool. but he does that every single time.

I get it – it’s entertainment. The fans in attendance want to be a part of things like that. But for important matches, can you come out with a little more seriousness? Can you just walk straight to the ring with some bounce in your step, instead of stopping to look around?

There are so many little things that are missing.

Rarely do superstars pace back and forth in the ring while cutting a promo. There is nothing being communicated with their body because they’re merely reciting lines and trying not to forget anything.

The Rock and Stone Cold would march all around the ring to get their point across.

Again, maybe it’s a modern day production thing. And if it is, let your words be extra emphatic.

I watched an Eddie Guerrero promo on YouTube the other night from 2005. It was incredible. Why? It felt real. I forgot I was watching a wrestling show.

It’s that suspension of disbelief that I’m missing nowadays.

Professional wrestling should be about feuds that build through actions and words and get so heated that the only way to settle things is in the ring.

Feuds don’t really boil to the surface anymore. Most of the feuds could be solved with a little mediation and meditation. Cue Jinder Mahal.

Braun Strowman can’t wait to get his hands on Baron Corbin, but I couldn’t care less about it. Corbin is an annoying heel, yes, but I’d rather he get off the screen than get beat up.

All I want is for each superstar to talk, act, wrestle, and be how their character should talk, act, wrestle, and be. No more one size fits all promo that can be recited by every single babyface on the roster.

I’d love it if the superstars could go out there and cut a promo with nothing but bullet points to work off of, like they did many years ago.

That’s how I did all my university presentations. You either know what you’re going to say, or you don’t. Word-for-word memorization makes you sound robotic. No, I am not comparing my school presentations to speaking in front of a television audience, except I kinda am, but I’m not. Kinda.

That would allow them to use their own verbiage and perhaps stumble into something magical.

The best things are unplanned, as they say.

This post has trailed off into so many different directions, I don’t know what it’s about anymore. I’m just frustrated. I keep tuning in to watch wrestling every week, hoping there’s a change in storytelling.

I look at NXT and guys like Velveteen Dream, Tommaso Ciampa, and the Undisputed Era, give me hope that we can eventually get back to superstars who eat, live, and breathe their character and aren’t just a person with a nickname.

Before I go, I need to talk about the greatest thing in wrestling today – Becky Lynch.

She “turned heel” at SummerSlam in August, when she attacked Charlotte Flair after losing the SmackDown women’s championship match.

I put “turned heel” in quotations because that act turned Becky into the biggest babyface in the company and it’s not even close. Even when she tried to get the fans to boo her in promos, it didn’t work.

There isn’t a babyface on the roster that gets the reaction she gets and it’s because they’re lame. Becky Lynch is bold and interesting and has steam coming out of her ears. That’s what we like! Of course the crowd cheered!

When Becky invaded RAW to attack Ronda Rousey and the rest of the women’s roster, she left the melee through the crowd with a broken face and blood everywhere. It was the coolest thing I’ve seen in a really long time.

It was her Stone Cold moment.

Becky Lynch posing in the crowd with a bloody face and a wry smile was a true, bonafide, capital M – Moment.

Her Twitter game since “turning heel” has been top notch and unstoppable. Again, did they think we would boo her? Especially in a time where quick, sharp, and insulting tweets are glorified?

I think WWE needs to go back to the chalkboard and rethink what a babyface is in 2018. Coming out to a catchy song, smiling, and losing because your opponent cheated, isn’t enough anymore.

You can’t be “Woe is me” and hope the crowd takes pity. The crowd wants bold characters who can have a temper from time to time because HELLO, YOU’RE FIGHTING SOMEONE IN A WRESTLING RING. YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE SHOULD BE RISING.

Anyway, back to Becky Lynch. They’ve eased her off of the crowd-hating promos and are just letting fans cheer her while she continues to act like a heel.

In turn, this will be terrible if/when they pit her against a babyface because that person will be booed, when they’re supposed to be cheered and it’s a whole convoluted mess that wouldn’t exist if heels and faces were no longer a thing, and each superstar could just act how their character would act and let the fans decide who they like.

DID THAT ALL MAKE SENSE?

Good. Publish.

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About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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17 Responses to Heels and Faces

  1. Okies, I’ve never watched wrestling in my life, so this was a little bit of an educational post for me. BUT I have been binge watching RuPaul’s Drag Race and in season 4, they have an episode where the queens had to be in the WTF (“wrestling’s trashiest fighters” I think) and they had to BE wrestlers, and I was super confused at why Ru kept saying “and the heels are….” “and the faces are…” so thank you for explaining that to me!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bryan Fagan says:

    I came from a time where wrestling was bigger than the NBA. Growing up we had Canadian Wrestling with the likes of Gene Kiniski. I never missed a show. Later we had Portland wrestling where Rowdy Roddy Piper and Playboy Buddy Rose came to life.

    I think my most confusing moment as a kid was on a 4th of July weekend in our valley. All the big Portland wrestlers were in town that night. I happened to be in the right place at the right time where I spotted a driver in a van. Convinced I knew him from somewhere I walked a little closer. To my shock and awe I watched as the good guy stepped out followed by the bad guy riding shotgun.

    WTF?????

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      Wow! You must’ve witnessed a rare moment back then. I’ve read books that the heels and faces would always travel separately in case they weird spotted. Even now, the WWE separates the heels and faces on different busses when they’re doing tours in Europe, even though everyone knows they’re all friends behind the scenes.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bryan Fagan says:

        It could have been the budget. Who knows. Probably one van per match. I remember Buddy Rose. He was the ultimate bad guy but really cool. My cousin had a Yankees hat. Buddy stopped and pretended to steal it. Really nice guy.

        It was a lot of fun back than. I also met Jesse Ventura. He had a huge ring presence.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Ely says:

    Perfect sense! Let’s talk about that field of cupcakes! I can make that happen. I’m JUST saying. And THAT ends my knowledge in relation to this post hahahaha!!! Go CUPCAKES!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Haha see, I put little nuggets (or in this case, cupcakes) like that in these posts because I know 90% of my readers will have no clue what I’m talking about so I’m hopeful they grasp on to my lines about cupcakes like you have! Thanks Ely!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Tony Burgess says:

    The WWE suffers from too many people on the roster or perhaps their writers/producers don’t know what to do with them. I am finding the indies to be way more entertaining.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      Sometimes I think they don’t have enough people on the roster because a lot of them are overused and overexposed, while very few if any are elevating themselves to superstardom.

      I agree, the indies have been enjoyable in recent years with the Young Bucks and their gang.

      Thanks Tony!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I was getting worried you weren’t going to mention The Man, Becky Lynch. She is the best thing going right now and I am so happy for her (except for the “getting her face broken” part).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      I was actually going to start the post talking about her but decided to put her in the main event slot, so to speak, and end on a high. She is so great. The whole roster should turn heel if it means their character finally has a purpose and attitude, like Becky.

      Like

  6. Dutch Lion says:

    You hit on a lot of stuff here Paulie. #1 Wrestling ain’t what it was. #2 You’re right about the babyfaces and the heels. Back in my day (I sound like such an old man. Wait, I AM an old man) guys would switch and it was awesome! That was part of the story. My guy Randy “Macho Man” Savage switched so many times it was funny. I loved him no matter what. Take Andre “The Giant”. He was a heel but I loved the guy, in a weird way. He was just so…..different, and hilarious, and unstoppable. Sure, during matches I cheered against him but I respected him. It’s hard to put into words. The guys back then free-lanced WAY more than now. I love your bullet point speech example. They need to build up the rivalries to the point that we CAN’T WAIT TO PAY for Pay-per-view because we need to see what happens between X and Y. Nowadays the guys don’t invite my vitriol. They are all too similar. I need characters. I want insane promos. I want surprises. I want humor. I love the comedy. These guys take it way too seriously nowadays. Ever seen Piper’s Pit? They should do that weird stuff again. Have outlandish characters. Invent new belts for the women. How about trophies INSTEAD of belts? Why not put a guy in handcuffs if he loses his next match? Have a dude get pummeled in the crowd for 30 seconds if he loses a match. Haha!

    Every time I try to watch the last few years I don’t make it long. You know what piqued my interest? When Shaq got in the ring at the Wrestlemania. That was cool. They need to find a new 8th Wonder of the World like Andre. Find the biggest dude in the world and sign him up. Pretend he’s Andre’s long lost relative or son or something.

    They need better actors. They need better promos. Sure it’s fake (Right?) but make me believe it’s real. Make me at least wonder if Macho Man really hates Hulk Hogan. Is there jealousy over a woman? Is there jealousy over title shots and storylines? They need talent at the announcing table too. Get famous people from other genres. I like the idea of Ronda Rousey. Can they get Shaq? Can you imagine if they shocked the world with Shaq vs another ex-NBA player? How about Shaq vs Kobe for the next Wrestlemania? That would sell tix. Wo! I’m excited about that idea. Let’s go WWE! Raise the stakes.

    Geez Paul, you got me interested again. I’m puttin’ WWE on my watch list right now.

    Thanks, Reid

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I feel like the wrestlers want freedom to come up with their own promos and do their own thing, but they’re not allowed to, except for the guys who have been there for 10+ years. I think they try and keep it scripted because they have a lot of PG sponsors they want to appease, rather than the fans in attendance or at home.

      There have been very few matches lately that get built to the point of actually wanting to watch the Pay-Per-View. It seems like they’re building to a Ronda Rousey vs. Becky Lynch match at WrestleMania which very well could be the main event. Look up Becky Lynch if you get the chance. She’s the best thing in the WWE right now.

      There’s a guy named Lars Sullivan who’s going to debut soon. He’s gigantic. He has acromegaly which is the same thing Andre The Giant had, which caused him to have enlarged features.

      Shaq was supposed to have a match with the Big Show two years ago at WrestleMania but backed out of it.

      If you start watching again, SmackDown Live on Tuesday nights is the better show at the moment.

      Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Paper Champion says:

    Good article. I’m sharing on Facebook group.

    Like

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