Vladimir Kozlov, or the pissed off Russian as I have taken to calling him, has spent his entire stint in WWE as a heel.
However, on ECW this past Tuesday night, he may have gained some points in popularity after he apparently made a challenge to Ezekiel Jackson.
Considering the fact that Ezekiel has been portrayed as a heel, this may indicate a slow face turn for Kozlov.
There are a good number of perks for our Russian friend if it is decided to have him turn face. It might save his career. Let's take a look at some of the pros in having him turn face, shall we?
1) Possible Fan connection
Let's be honest with what we all know. The fans don't like Kozlov, as he is a heel this is supposed to be a good thing; however, fans don't dislike Kozlov due to his heel status. They dislike him because they find him boring.
Kozlov has failed to garner heat with the fans in almost every area, even entered in a feud with Triple H and super babyface Jeff Hardy. I barely ever hear Kozlov booed. It’s pathetic.
However If Kozlov turns face, he might have a chance in gaining some popularity, and this is mainly because of the large number of young children in the crowds.
I think if Kozlov is put up against a strong heel soon, it may help him get pops from the younger fans.
Not to mention a good deal of the senior fans are tired of "the Russian is a bad guy" concept, as I know I am.
We haven't seen a "good Russian" in quite some time. In fact the last one I really recall is Nikita Koloff, and that was back in 1987. It might encourage older fans to cheer him. A face turn for Kozlov may also appeal to a Russian fan base.
2) Mic skills aren't as important
Kozlov is flat out bad on the mic, largely due to his heavy accent. I know for a fact my girlfriend can barely understand him as she often has me confirm what he says in his promos.
We have seen pretty consistently that to play a strong heel, one has to be fairly good on the mic or at least be passable. There have been a few faces that fans will cheer despite bad mic skills; Batista is a good example of this. He isn't very good on the mic, but people will cheer him anyway.
3) Possibility for successful feuds
Let's recap every feud Kozlov has had in WWE to date.
Kozlov vs. jobbers. Epic Fail. (it’s boring!)
Kozlov vs. Jeff Hardy. Fail.
Kozlov vs. Triple H. Fail.
Kozlov vs. Matt Hardy. Fail.
Kozlov vs. Shawn Michaels. Fail.
Kozlov vs. Dreamer Vs Christian. EPIC FAIL.(considered an epic fail because it didn't even last three weeks)
Noticing a trend here? All of Kozlov's feuds as a heel have been complete and utter failures; I do not attribute this to Kozlov's success in the feud but because he failed to get over, or it was dull!
The most I ever saw him draw heat was during his feud with Triple H and Jeff, and that was barely any heat to begin with.
Kozlov is one of the people that in order to have a successful feud, he has to wrestle someone with strong promo skills in order to compensate for his lack thereof.
There are a number of heels with good or at least decent mic skills. Ex: Jericho, The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, CM Punk, Sheamus, etc.
4) Helps balance ECW roster
There have been a rather large number of new wrestlers in ECW, most of which are heels, such as Ezekiel or Sheamus. There are very few faces on ECW right now so having Kozlov turn will help balance the numbers.
The brands two strongest faces are currently involved in a feud with each other, so the door is pretty much open for Kozlov to become one of the brand’s top faces.
5) Fits the current WWE face look
We all know the current WWE trend of having big or over muscled guys as faces. People like Cena, Batista, Triple H and The Great Khali have all found great success as faces. Kozlov is big like them and he has got a certain look about him that might have him find success as a face.
The Main difference between most of the big guys that are faces and Kozlov is Kozlov actually uses a technical/brawler style, as averse to being overly based on power such as Cena and Batista.
6) May Help get new guys over
As a stated previously a majority of the new wrestlers coming into ECW are Heels. They really aren't that many guys on ECW that can get them over, so these mostly talented individuals are stuck with wrestling jobbers, or talent no one really takes seriously.
Kozlov, as a face, can engage in feuds with talent like Sheamus and Ezekiel (as it appears, he already has done.) and through his matches with them help get them over.
This is likely the path that will be taken if WWE opts not to have him portray a strong face.
There are a good many perks in a face turn for Kozlov. It will at the very least give him something to do. Kozlov will also not have to worry about getting heat, something I have redundantly stated he has failed to do, as that is the role of the face.
If someone like Batista can make it in the WWE as a face, I don't see why Kozlov can't.
I also think it wise for me to bring up that I, and others, may have misread the meaning behind Kozlov slamming the jobber in front of Ezekiel.
It may not have been a challenge at all, but an act to impress him in order to forge an alliance.(Just food for thought)
Hell, at this point it might have even been an act to impress Chris Jericho so that Kozlov will be his partner.(Though I strongly doubt this)