Perhaps nobody in the history of professional wrestling has gone from heel to face and back again as many times as Big Show. He has settled in as a monster heel over the past several months, however, and it has become quite obvious that he is much better off because of it.
While Big Show's heel turn was less than enjoyable as he joined forces with John Laurinaitis and became a sellout, he has definitely settled into his role. Big Show has had a lot of practice as both a heel and a face over the years, as I count no fewer than 15 turns during his career, but his current character is what he should have been all along.
I realize that every wrestler is in need of a change to freshen things up, so it was inevitable that Big Show was going to turn face at some point, but I can't fathom what the WWE saw in his face character that made it want to turn him back on so many occasions. Big Show simply isn't believable as a face and I can't recall ever enjoying him as one.
The writers have finally come to that realization as well and they rewarded Big Show for his stellar work as a heel by giving him the World Heavyweight Championship. He certainly hasn't been the best world champion and will probably ultimately be looked at as a transitional titleholder, but his reign hasn't been the train wreck I expected it to be.
He isn't particularly great on the mic regardless of whether he's a heel or face, but at least I can take him seriously when he's heel. The smiling, joking, dorky face Big Show is unbearable to watch and we've had to tolerate it far too many times in the past. All he really does as a heel is sweat, spit and yell, but it gets the point across if nothing else.
Also, his dominance in the ring is much easier to stomach when he's a heel. It got frustrating at times when Big Show was dominating everyone as a face because even though it was realistic, it was holding back up-and-coming heels. Big Show's dominance as a heel is welcomed, though, since most heels in wrestling today are cowards who can't win a match cleanly on their own accord.
Not only has Big Show done that on a number of occasions, but he did it to Sheamus at Hell in a Cell. Sheamus hadn't lost a match cleanly in months and it was actually refreshing to see Big Show take the title from him despite the fact that Big Show is a veteran who doesn't need the strap. Big Show is simply much more palatable as a monster heel and I would go so far as to say that I have enjoyed his work lately.
The sad thing about Big Show is that there's no telling how much more favorably he would be viewed today if he had spent the vast majority of his career as a monster heel. A lot of fans have respect for him because he has been in the business for a very long time, but he is never going to be viewed as a legend like some of his contemporaries such as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, The Rock, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Triple H, Kane and John Cena.
Is Big Show better as a heel?
He has been around as long or longer than most of those guys, but he hasn't achieved the same accolades. He has held essentially every meaningful title in WWE, but very few of those reigns were legitimate, particularly the world title runs. He has pretty much always been a placeholder and that has a lot to do with the fact that he hasn't settled into a comfort zone as far as his character is concerned.
A guy like Andre the Giant is looked back upon much more fondly than Big Show despite the fact that they're very similar. Andre went from face to heel once and that was it for all intents and purposes. He worked well as a face because he was a big-time attraction that everyone wanted to see and he was great heel as well due to the problems he posed for guys like Hulk Hogan.
Big Show can't pull off the face role as well as Andre can because the "wow" factor isn't there. Andre was the first of his kind and he was a novelty act in a lot of ways. That made Big Show's sheer size much less impressive to the general wrestling fan population and it simply hasn't been enough to get him over as a top babyface during his career.
Everyone can buy into the monster heel, though, as it's a tried-and-true method that has worked since the start of professional wrestling. Big Show has found his way back to that gimmick, but this time he should keep it and never let it go.