I already know there will be a ton of people that don’t agree with this, but I feel they’re sure to be left in the past.
If you haven’t heard, there are rumors of WWE abandoning the old heel/face dynamics, and let the fans choose who to cheer and who to boo. This has obviously brought about a lot of criticism from many old school superstars, as well as some people currently still in the business. In the past WWE pretty much told us who we should be supporting. But all of that changed as people became more aware of wrestling being more entertainment than competition. I know that sentence will piss people off, but refer to the first sentence of this blog if that’s you please. If you don’t believe that, just look at how people react to results online. Every criticism in this day and age has to do with how people feel their favorite superstars are being portrayed. Not about what awful thing someone did to them, or how they wish they had won their match, but more along the lines of, “why would they book it that way?” And that’s from people that have no connection to the business other than being a fan! Pretty much every piece of information is available somehow now, as opposed to when I was a kid and the only way to get it was by watching the shows every week. Now everyone knows there are writers, bookers, and these people decide how things go.
One criticism I’ve seen from some names online is how there are no real “bad guys” in wrestling these days. That all the heels want to be cool now. This might be the dumbest criticism of them all, and why this new model is perfect. Look at the attitude era. Who were heels at the beginning of it? Stone Cold, DX, The Rock. Who were the biggest babyfaces at the end of it? Stone Cold, DX, The Rock. Who do you think made it that way? They did? No, the fans did. The most iconic catchphrases/tshirts were all dropped when these guys were heels too. Austin 3:16? He was a heel when that dropped. Smell what the Rock is cooking? He was a heel when that dropped. Why did people start liking these things? Because they were cool!!! Hell, you can even go as far back as the four horsemen to see heels being cheered for being cool. People will always root for the bad guy in some way, whether you like it or not.
How many characters have we seen flop due to trying to be forced down people’s throats, or portraying something they’re not comfortable with? This new model will help cut down on that too, I believe. The best recent example I can think of is Bray Wyatt. When I think of him as Husky Harris, he seemed ok with it, but he seems like a completely different person now. He just comes off as loving his character now, and that resonates with people. When the crowd can tell that you love what you’re doing, they’re going to cheer for you.
Times change, and you can either change and evolve with them, or be stuck in the past. I just see this as a natural evolution of the business, and there will be people that will complain about it, but I think ultimately it will be for the best. Let the people decide who to love.