Are Multiple Heel Factions in WWE the Answer to Monster Faces?
One targeted complaint against the WWE has been the establishment of good guys who can go through extreme adversity on multiple occasions, yet come out the winner every time.
These situations often fly in the face of logic, upsetting some viewers who feel alienated from the feud, or even the character.
Heroics of this unbelievable magnitude are mostly associated with John Cena, but these accusations have also been directed at Randy Orton, Sheamus and CM Punk.
A big effect of this type of booking has been the disproportionate amount of mid-card heels that now reside in the WWE locker room. Normally this would suggest that there are plenty of future contenders however most of these heel characters have already had title opportunities and failed to capitalize on them.
The most prominent names like Dolph Ziggler and Chris Jericho have lost in the last few months, so they are not in the position to challenge again soon. Other wrestlers have not been so lucky. The likes of Jack Swagger and Drew McIntyre have been dismissed in short feuds, and have never looked like they will re-emerge as contenders.
The WWE's solution appears to involve the creation of multiple heel factions, who can use superior numbers to their advantage. Early examples of this include John Laurinaitis who has surrounded himself with a group of mercenaries and Abraham Washington who appears to be collecting low level guys for a yet unknown purpose.
This is not a bad idea.
Factions will have their own order which will naturally strengthen the top wrestlers image. This way, a fan's expectation can be adjusted appropriately to coincide with the group dynamic. Expectations for matches will differ from the free-for-all atmosphere that currently prevails.
All in all, this could be the end of "monster" faces, as they become outmatched by too many opponents. People power—with a very different meaning to the catchphrase that John Laurinaitis wants the people to believe in—could be the ultimate equalizer.
Of course, heel groups have been around in the modern era. Vickie Guerrero has been managing people for almost five years and currently has a stable consisting of Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger. The last few years have also seen groups like The Corre, Nexus and CM Punk's Straight Edge Society.
These groups did not meet with a great deal of success. Varying reasons can be attributed to their failures but one of the big ones is that they were overcome by a single dominant opponent. From that moment on the whole group lost credibility.
This is starting to happen now with Guerrero's group who keep being dominated by the monstrous Brodus Clay.
The problem for the WWE as a business is that "monster" faces sell the most merchandise to children. This is currently thought to be one of the WWE's highest revenue streams and great risk is attributed to changing away from the formula of strong faces.
This could open up a real problem in the future. There is a potential scenario where the WWE's profits drop badly and the executive side of the company instruct the booking team to allow the good guys to win constantly.
This could potentially kill off all the heels in one fell swoop.
Good versus evil is the backbone of wrestling, so a total loss of heel credibility would be catastrophic.
Whether multiple factions will be the great equalizer or a disaster in the making will be down to WWE's creative department. The Corporation, NWO and Evolution were great assets that sold merchandise by the millions and readdressed the balance between good and evil.
However these are the exceptions.
Such widespread approach to creating heel factions is a very high risk strategy and could end up as one of the biggest disasters in wrestling history. Then, it could be the shot in the arm that the wrestling world needs right now.
The success of the whole idea will depend on fans getting behind the idea vocally, and with their wallets.
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