Rock, Cena, Miz and WWE's Horrible Modern Understanding of Face-Heel Stereotypes
We've come a long, long way since those days when people complained (they still do, though, despite the long way) and complained, and then there shone a ray of hope through CM Punk's infamous pipebomb. WWE pre-pipebomb and post-pipebomb hasn't been the same, with everyone but the elite pessimists claiming it's worse than before.
All of that credit cannot be attributed to Punk, though he has played a significant role. The return of tag teams and suspense, the addition of an hour, Triple H's backstage influence and the introduction of promising newcomers have uplifted the company to a pedestal laughable by Attitude Era standards, but respectable nonetheless.
Sadly, the stagnant stereotypes that cling to the characters that run the show haven't changed. It's repulsive at times, pathetic even more and at times just blindingly annoying.
Somehow, just somehow, this notion has gotten into the heads of all the writers that any heel has to be gay, ugly, a coward, all of those or, in the case of Antonio Cesaro, carrying a purse. They make Damien Sandow and Dolph Ziggler wear pink throughout the year just so John Cena can crack gay jokes (vintage Cena) because men can't wear pink, but when there's promotion to be done, pink now becomes the colour of manhood and hustle, loyalty and respect because John Cena now wears it.
Damien Sandow will have to be content with switching to purple trunks and Ziggler a blue shirt because they're not man enough to wear pink anymore.
However, after that transient promotion, we're back to "pink and stink" jokes. Millions of dollars!
The Miz has been a pathetic face, and it's a shame, because he could make a great one. Controversial claims these, because the Universe at large has received face Miz with open arms. But then, they've done that to Sheamus, Cena (half of them) and Brodus Clay too, so excuse me for not taking it into account.
The point here is this: A face doesn't always have to be a derogatory, name-calling prick. Kofi Kingston has a whole stack of conversations to pick from in order to further a feud, but they stick with "Cesaro has a purse."
There's nothing in that makes me want to cheer the guy—which is important, if you want appropriate reactions. We've had excruciating Miz TV segments lately, in which heels like Rhodes, Sandow and Punk have spoken negatively no doubt, but also logically in comparison to Miz's lame humor.
If there's a guy who is claiming to be the best wrestler in the world and providing legitimate reasons why he is so (a near 400-day reign, for example) and the rebuttal is a "your mom" joke or "you have a moustache because you were kissing a bearded man," I'm going with the heel even if it costs me the disapproval of the haters who love Miz.
This is what made us hate John Cena in the first place—his lack of seriousness when seriousness is required. There we have Dolph Ziggler talking about how everything is handed to John Cena and how sadistic, manipulative little AJ will screw him over, and John Cena responds with bleached hair and nonexistent (?) balls comments.
We sat through six months of Kung Pao, wonder woman, transvestite, fruity pebble BS before a single sensible argument was uttered by The Rock.
He continues to do it now—with Raw 1000 being notable—where Daniel Bryan is screaming how he's the best in the world and would be facing Rock at Royal Rumble, and the essence of Rock's rebuttal is Oompa-Loompa + Lord Of The Rings character + Rock Bottom = Good job Great One.
Heels have to deal with stereotypes of their own, unfortunately. The WWE creative team usually can't decide whether they want a dominating heel, a cowardly one or a complex dominating cowardly one, so they all end up nowhere with zero credibility. On some SmackDowns, we have "I'm a giant" Big Show, not afraid to take a stand. On others, he's seen scuttling away from Sheamuses—behavior atypical of giants.
CM Punk is shown to be bold enough to dart down to the ring when challenged before he's usually stopped by Paul Heyman, which leaves the possibility that without Paul Heyman, Punk would have fought his opponent right there itself. But we see coward Punk just as often.
This inconsistency weakens the characters to a limit where it's hard to passionately support any of them, it's hard to respect them and it's hard to relate to the show.
Coming from fans who've stuck with you so far, please don't make it any harder for us, WWE.
Thanks for the read, all.
Shalaj Lawania is known for his disappearing acts, because being there all the time is too mainstream. Do show him love, he needs it. For more love, you can follow him on Twitter if you have a good annoying tweets threshold. For the rest, use Wikipedia.
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