Building off psychologist Carl Jung and author Joseph Campbell’s work with archetypes, author Caroline Myss identifies the following as many of the “archetypes that exist in human consciousness” (“Myss Library”):
Addict, Advocate, Alchemist, Angel, Artist, Athlete, Avenger, Beggar, Bully, Child, Clown, Companion, Damsel, Destroyer, Detective, Dilettante, Don Juan, Engineer, Exorcist, Father, Femme Fatale, Gambler, God, Goddess, Guide, Healer, Hedonist, Hero, Judge, King, Knight, Liberator, Lover, Martyr, Mediator, Mentor, Messiah, Miser, Monk, Mother, Mystic, Networker, Pioneer, Poet, Priest, Prince, Prostitute, Queen, Rebel, Rescuer, Saboteur, Samaritan, Scribe, Seeker, Servant, Shape-Shifter, Slave, Storyteller, Student, Teacher, Thief, Trickster, Vampire, Victim, Virgin, Visionary, and Warrior.
All of these archetypes have been presented in WWE at one time or another. Most of these are present today. It is the combinations of these character types, which make the weekly stories in WWE able to occur.
These are the same archetypes found in any sort of character-driven entertainment from plays to radio shows to blockbuster movies. Fans of WWE are attracted in part because of these basic elements.
My favorite storyline of all time in pro-wrestling is one I remember from my childhood. The turning of Owen Hart on Bret Hart in 1993 was a pivotal moment in storytelling in WWE for me as a child. I was shocked when Owen attacked his own brother and claimed he was in the shadow of Bret all his life.
I even remember the tiny details of this feud when Jerry Lawler became involved and traveled to the Hart Family house to show a large photo of Bret on the wall and a tiny wallet-size one of Owen next to it.
The stories and characters behind those stories make up a significant part of what makes one a fan.