WWE: Have the Words "Face" and "Heel" Become Meaningless?

PS SinghCorrespondent IIIAugust 16, 2011

"Stop looking at this bizz in black and white. I am not a 'heel' or a 'face,' I am me. I find it comical that u truly believe That archaic ideology still exists. Today, WWE fans cheer for who they please, which is why I love this company. I should mail u a pair of my shorts because you're stuck in 1993."-A reply from John Cena to a fan on twitter telling him to turn "heel."

Hey Bleachers, my name is PS Singh, and in this article, I will be speculating as to whether the face (good guy) and heel (bad guy) personae in professional wrestling and WWE still matter. Later on, I will also talk about why John Cena should not turn heel for a long time. This tweet from John Cena shows us how he feels about it, and honestly, I think he's right, but I felt the need to elaborate on it with this article. I will also be talking about WWE star, CM Punk.

Since professional wrestling came into existence, it has revolved around one concept. The good guy (baby-face) vs the bad guy (heel). It's been that way for decades and every successful wrestling promotion has used that ideology. Typically, heels have always been portrayed as either arrogant, cowardly, monstrous, or any combination of the three, and they often cheat to win. Faces have typically been portrayed as brave, wholesome, friendly guys who pander to the crowd and stand up to the heels. Now, of course, there have been exceptions. Occasionally "tweeners" such as Stone Cold Steve Austin and CM Punk have popped up. The definition of a tweener is "someone who acts like a heel, but is treated by the majority of fans as a face."

A traditional babyface
A traditional babyface

Other than the occasional tweener though, a roster is usually divided into faces and heels. Faces feud with heels. Faces get cheered on while heels get booed. Eventually, every heel is defeated by a face.That's the way it was always supposed to be, but in recent times, it's been different. For a long time now, some heels have been getting cheered just as much (sometimes even more) than faces.

Take the Miz for example. His entire character is heel: He's cocky, he cheats to win, he's cowardly. Yet how many times recently have you heard an "awesome" chant come up through the crowd when Mike Mizannin is in the ring? Another example is R Truth. Five months ago, nobody (other than kids) liked this guy. He was annoying, he wasn't a good rapper by any stretch and he wasn't funny. Then he turned heel in April, became a lot more interesting and funny on the mic and suddenly, everyone in the IWC loved him, as well as many more grown men. Then there's CM Punk, who even before his shoot promo had a huge amount of fans despite being a heel, even when he was up against top faces like Randy Orton. And of course, John Cena, who is vehemently booed by the IWC as well as by many grown men, despite apparently being the perfect face.

There are many reasons for heels getting cheered these days, the premier one being, people (other than a lot of kids) know that wrestling is scripted. Therefore, they cheer for wrestlers based on their ability in the ring, as well as how entertaining they are, as opposed to their character's alignment.

Another reason is that heels, regardless of their talent, are made to look like underdogs. Look at every heel in WWE: Christian, Miz, R Truth, Cody Rhodes etc. Do you see any of these men getting a clean victory over John Cena or Randy Orton anytime soon? No.

We as human beings generally tend to back up the underdogs because we can relate to them. This is one reason why so many people, especially men, hate John Cena so much. How can we relate to a guy who is always smiling and in control? A guy who barely loses? A guy who, even when he loses everything unfairly, still comes to work smiling and pandering to the crowd without a hint of anger? We cannot relate to John Cena, because his character is unrealistic. Take SummerSlam for example. Cena was blatantly screwed out of the title by a bad call from the referee, Triple H. What did Cena do? He left. If you had just been screwed out of something that apparently meant the World to you, would you have been so cool about it? I know I wouldn't. Then there was Wrestlemania 27. Cena was screwed out of the title by The Rock, in the main event of Wrestlemania, then settles for a match the next year? And he wasn't even mad? If I was Cena, I would have whipped Rock's ass right there on Raw!

After going over all this and more in my head, over and over again, I had an epiphany. John Cena doesn't have to turn heel, because in a way, he already is one. He represents everything that WWE had become during the PG Era, which makes him a perfect face to some, (mostly kids and women) and the perfect heel to others (Mostly guys over the age of 13).

He can stay the way he is, because he keeps us all in anticipation. We in the IWC have been waiting since 2005 to see who would be the man to finally take John Cena down to the point that he snaps and turns heel like we want him to.  But no matter what happens, Cena always pulls through with a smile on his face, fueling the hatred even more. Remember, a good heel is someone the fans will pay to see lose.

The real irony is that when/if Cena finally does turn heel, he won't be a heel anymore to most of us here in the IWC.


Now onto a different WWE star who has been the talk of the IWC for a while now. This man is the most popular star in WWE today as a matter of fact, and his name is CM Punk. It's strange really, how the IWC has been reacting to CM Punk's recent push and "face" turn. A few months ago, CM Punk was by far the IWC's favorite star. Nearly all of us saw him as the most misused star in WWE, and we were clamoring for WWE to push the Straightedge Superstar. Well, they did it. Punk defeated Cena in two consecutive main events, he's involved in WWE's hottest storyline right now and he is set to become the face of WWE's new era, the Reality Era.

CM Punk is a guy who has the respect of the "WWE Universe" and the IWC alike thanks to his incredible skill and talent, as well as the fact that he's a face right now. He's one of the few superstars who can say that he's an IWC favorite in the main event and who's also beloved by the casual fans. (Save for some kids who really love John Cena and even some in the IWC)

Thing is though, how long will it be before more of the IWC start hating him? Because while CM Punk is phenomenally talented in every aspect of being a professional wrestler, he's no longer a heel-ish underdog. When he's top face, (which I believe will happen soon) and starts to win a lot more often, who's to say that the IWC won't turn on the man we've been with since day one? Look at what happened to Randy Orton, he used to be a god around here, now he's at the top of the "IWC's most hated" list.

Granted, CM Punk is far more talented than Randy Orton, but look at what's happened already. A few people in the IWC have recently turned on Punk, some going as far as calling him a corporate sellout, which disgusts me. Personally, I don't see it that way at all. Is accepting a bigger paycheck from your boss in order to give your fans what they want, "selling out?"

The thing is, these days, it is impossible for a wrestler, face or heel, to be universally loved by the fans. John Cena is right, we have to stop looking at the wrestling business in black and white. It's all about the shades of gray. The ideology of "face" and "heel" persona still do exist, but unlike in the past, WWE cannot control who the fans love anymore. Especially, not in this new era, The Reality Era.

Well, that's the end of this article. Remember to like it if you did, leave a comment expressing your own opinion and become a fan if you want to see more of my work.


Don't turn you back on a Wolfpack, you might wind up in a bodybag.