Enter the Dark Side: An Analysis of a Heel

Devon GivensCorrespondent IMay 23, 2010

Many wrestling fans around the world a long, long time ago, all tuned in to see their beloved face to overcome all the obstacles thrown at them by the dominating and often narcissistic heel.

This would often lead to a predictable outcome, with the face getting the upper hand in the midst of the battle that has begun in between them, all culminating at the nearest pay-per-view.

Since then, many of the wrestling fans who have once rooted for their beloved faces suddenly turned to the dark side—joining forces with their formerly hated foe—the heel.

That statement serves its purpose as the inspiration to my article.  Today, I want to analyze the aspects of professional wrestling's most unique and precarious character, none other than the heel.

The character of a heel is most often portrayed as immoral and usually tries to take advantage of their opponents by drifting outside the bounds of the rules of the match.

Others might just exhibit unlikeable traits of personality by preferring not to break the rules, but attempting to physically dominate their opponent by putting them out of commission.  These all describe the true nature and intentions of the heels: providing a foil to the faces.

We can all agree that if a "face vs. face" feud would come to fruition, it wouldn't be half as entertaining as a "face vs. heel" match (that is, unless you're Kurt Angle or Brock Lesnar). 

Faces against heels are the bread and butter of professional wrestling, you simply just cannot have a promotion with characters that exhibit good mannerisms and the stereotypical "happy-go-lucky" attitude. 

A promotion also needs characters with blank expressions, cold-hearted stares, the narcissistic attitude, and the look that makes you want to punch them square in the face and land a swift kick in the cajones.

But we often find a balance in between that.  Sometimes, the "shade of gray" may develop from the intensity of the shining light that has dawned upon the face.  One guy that has experienced that moment is the venomous viper—Randy Orton.

Orton has not been baptized or rechristened by WWE management (yet, by the way), he is just simply the same character you saw last year. 

But one has to wonder, what was it about him that made him tick?  Was it something about his character that turned the ire from a wrestling fan, replaced with cheers instead of the boo's he should naturally receive?

Or is it that the fans just flock off like sheep and go anywhere where someone tells them, like perhaps they're stuck in some sort of a trance?

Many of these questions I've listed can be answered with a simple nod of their head, but I'll save the pat on the back and critical praise later.  Seems like there is only one question I've listed that stands out from all the rest.  And that question was pertaining to his character and what made him descend into the "shade of gray" that developed from the shining light that dawned.

Perhaps it is the similar anti-hero attitude he expresses beneath that cold-hearted stare and uncaring blue eyes, which draw many similarities to none other than Austin himself.  Or maybe it is the "swagger" he possess when he strolls down to the ring with a blank facial expression, ready to kick you dead in the skull .

These two answers probably resolves the ever-growing notion that resides deep in your mind, although some may fail to acknowledge it because of their closed-mindedness and continue to question, but I digress.

This is what draws my unbridled attention to professional wrestling.  Watching the unique characteristics of the heel dominate any opposition that comes their way.

This leaves the feud to feel refreshing and interesting, drawing some of the disenfranchised fans who hunger for a worthy five-star classic in the making, and rejoice whenever there is even one that meets our every expectation.

Nevertheless, I'm sure many fans have experienced this in the abbreviated moment of their time as a wrestling fan, often regretting the decision they've made.  But this one
statement often floats around in their heads, being accompanied with a condescending smile:

"I don't want to enter, but I can't resist the urge that refuses to purge.  I've officially entered the dark side."