What's Next for WWE's Good Guys?
There's an ongoing problem in WWE that needs to be rectified sooner or later.
The lack of good guys (or "babyfaces" in wrestling vernacular) that have the potential to be stars down the road.
In the case of Cena, he's been the main face for nearly seven years now.
For as much as some people may want him to turn heel, I really don't think that's in the cards for the immediate future, or even the distant future.
My opinion is that WrestleMania is all about The Rock putting him over, and then raising his hand after the match to acknowledge that he's a superstar on his level.
Orton's only been a face for the past two years, but he's been wrestling in main events for the past eight years.
In my opinion he'll be in the face role for many years to come.
His heel run was fun. His babyface run has been better.
The fans pop for the RKO as if it was a new move rather than something that they've seen for a decade from him (and from Diamond Dallas Page before that). He's still very popular.
CM Punk has proven to be an elite face performer as well. His work in the ring is as good as anybody in the company. His promos are top-notch. His cocky demeanor works very well for him and as he showed on Monday's Raw he can also show emotion very well too.
While his heel work was tremendous, especially in the 2009 feud with Jeff Hardy, he has more value as a face going forward.
The next face on the totem pole is Sheamus.
He's done a very commendable job as a good guy. His gimmick hasn't changed much from his heel days, but that's because his role as a legitimate tough guy was easy to convert into a face role.
He's essentially doing the same thing he did before. The difference now is that he's brogue-kicking the bad guys instead of the good guys. And the fans love him for it.
There are part-timers that are playing big roles at WrestleMania who are also on the babyface side.
They are The Rock, Undertaker and Triple H, along with Shawn Michaels in a refereeing role.
Once WrestleMania is over, though, they'll likely be out of the picture. Triple H could always return at any time, but his days as a full-time performer are over.
My reason for concern is the guys on Team Teddy Long at WrestleMania.
So far we know that Santino, Kofi Kingston and R-Truth are on the team, with two more names announced at Smackdown that I won't spoil for you.
The sixth name will likely be revealed on Monday's Raw, we think. Could it be a guy like Rey Mysterio returning from knee surgery? Perhaps. It's unlikely to be Sin Cara, who also had knee injury and won't be ready to return for a couple more months.
When I think of Santino, Kofi, R-Truth, and the two guys I won't spoil, I see none of them as legit top guys.
They are held back by a number of different factors. Santino and Truth are mainly comedic characters, while Kofi doesn't really have the promo skills to get there. I think he has the talent in the ring to warrant a serious push, but does management see him that way? Not so sure.
Another name on the babyface side is Big Show.
He's turned between heel and face so many times over the course of his career. They're using him well as a veteran face to put over heels like Henry, Bryan and now Rhodes. He's also in the final run of his career with only a few years left. He's not somebody you can really bank on for the long term future.
The heel side of the roster is loaded.
At the main event level, you have Chris Jericho and Daniel Bryan, two of the best all around performers in the company. They can do it all. As long as the creative team believes in them they're going to be in the main event picture for the rest of the year as they should be.
Other heels near the top of the roster are Kane, Mark Henry and Christian—three established veterans who are very good at their jobs.
If you had to point out three guys who are likely to be a WWE or World Champion for the first time in 2012, names like Dolph Ziggler (let's ignore his one-hour reign), Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett are the ones that come to mind. All heels. They're all guys that should stay heel too.
It's time to fix that balance. There are some guys on the heel side of the roster that I think have great potential in a face role.
What current heels should go babyface? I have a few suggestions.
Jack Swagger: I think he's a very good talent with babyface potential because he's got a legitimate athlete background.
While he's not as good as a Kurt Angle or Brock Lesnar type, his gimmick is similar. The "confident jock" heel role he's been in since he started in WWE can only go so far.
A split with Ziggler would work. It would produce great matches that would be beneficial for both guys. If Swagger "broke the ankle" of a heel that wronged him, it would really elevate him as a badass too. Fans like cheering for a badass. He can fit that role well.
The Miz: I already wrote about him a couple weeks back. Because he's a smaller wrestler, he could probably earn the sympathy of the fans.
His promos could easily be tweaked to be more babyface-like, especially because he has a catchphrase the fans like to chant along with. His heel run is boring. It's been about five years. Time to freshen him up.
Christian: This one was tough for me. I love the smarmy, cheap, cunning, heel version of Christian. I really do. However, the babyface side is lacking so much it might be best if he became a hero one more time.
He's one of the five best in-ring performers in the company. Along with Ziggler, Christian may be the best guy at taking a beating. It will be better for the young heels on the roster to work with an amazing worker like Christian. They'll be better performers for it.
Mark Henry: Like with Christian, he's better as a heel. However, I think fans would support him if his current heel act became a face one by simply destroying the smug heels that deserve a pummeling.
His promos are great at times. He's also the most legit badass on the roster in the eyes of most fans.
Plus, who doesn't sing along with "somebody gonna get they ass kicked" when he makes his entrance? I know I do. You can admit you do too. It's okay. We're all friends here.
What else can be done? Elevate talent from the mid-card, like my personal favorite Tyson Kidd, who is one of the better workers in the company that needs a chance to shine.
Give a guy like Zack Ryder a gimmick that doesn't make him a total nerd. Call up FCW talents like Seth Rollins or Richie Steamboat to see if they catch fire.
The current WWE roster is very strong. The talent level runs deep. The future is bright. The issue is the present. Are there enough new heroes for the fans to get behind?
For the sake of the company there needs to be new heroes created. The sooner the better.
Do you think WWE has an issue with the lack of babyfaces? What can be done? Please share your thoughts below. I'd love to know what you think.
John Canton is a Featured Columnist at the Bleacher Report who's excited about going to WrestleMania 28 in Miami. You can read more of his work at his website thejohnreport.net where he's currently reviewing every WrestleMania event prior to WrestleMania 28. Follow him on Twitter @johnreport too.
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