WWE Debate: Face CM Punk & Randy Orton Are Good Business Or Poor Utilization?

Shalaj LawaniaSenior Analyst IJuly 7, 2013

Given WWE Creative's modern understanding of babyfaces as icons of bullying, demeaning, abusive and discriminatory characters (yet they somehow always end up underdogs), it's no secret that the heels in the fictional world of WWE have much more well refined characters.

A heel, implying shades of homosexuality for an Antonio Cesaro with a purse, is cheered because he's doing his job, and doing it well. If he's booed on the grounds of immorality, then he's doing a great job as well.

A babyface committing the same heinous crime is still cheered by the current wrestling crowd, but shouldn't be and he gradually starts losing support. I'm not a stickler for heroic and angelic babyfaces with no malicious intent in them, but there has to be a line between face and heel actions, and today's faces (read: John Cena, Sheamus, Miz) somersault over it frequently. 

Which is why in such a heel infestation, it was necessary to convert guys like CM Punk and Randy Orton into good guys. They are wrestlers capable of winning any crowd over with their performances in the ring (or in Punk's case, on the mic as well). They are people whom a crowd would legitimately like, and keeping in mind there is a dearth of likable babyfaces, such characters are needed. 

A balance between good and evil has to be established to maintain a modicum of decorum, and no matter how much WWE tries to convince us otherwise, more of John Cena isn't the desirable solution.

Which is why such face turns are good for business. These likable superstars now give you legitimate reasons for you to cheer them, buy their merchandise and not feel sadistic for being advocators of evil people—especially people who play around with Undertaker's father's ashes or punt Triple H's wife in front of him. 

But for any individual granted rudimentary skills of observation and conclusion, it is easy to infer that both CM Punk and Randy Orton have characters that complement and function better as heels. They enjoy playing the bad guy and it shows. 

Now if we were to choose the excellent heel side of them over the good babyface side, it would definitely lead to better television, but it also presents a dilemma to the WWE Creative. Remembering that a balance between good and evil has to be struck, they need babyfaces that can rise to Punk or Orton's level to create good feuds. 

One of the main reasons why John Cena hasn't turned heel is because the company fears a ratings apocalypse as there is no superstar ready to step into Cena's top dog spot. They need an unstoppable force to challenge the immovable object. They need a Batman for a Joker. 

CM Punk and Randy Orton as apex heel characters have traversed all shades of evil—they have battled the apex face John Cena multiple times. Punk has even battled the only three faces bigger than Cena in the controversial WWE hierarchy—The Rock, Triple H and Undertaker. There is no territory to explore for heel Punk, unless Hulk Hogan drops from the sky or Stone Cold Steve Austin sets out to fulfill every wrestling nerd's biggest fantasy since forever (or well, since the pipebomb promo).

So even though they are much better to watch as heels, they have no direction. But as faces, we may have to sit through weeks of Punk calling Miz gay for watching Twilight and Orton stoically walking around with no purpose or emotion and just RKOing and DDTing guys and posing. This may not appeal to the elitists, but it works for the general crowd—a crowd that cheers for big bully Sheamus and derogatory jerk Miz with gusto. 

It works for the crowd, and provides new storyline opportunities and thus generates good business.

Vince McMahon approves. 

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.