Babyfaces Finish Last: How Turning Heel Can Save a Struggling Wrestler's Career

Leonardo SplinterSenior Writer IApril 19, 2012

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Nice Guys Finish Last

"Nice guys finish last." We've all heard that phrase. One meaning of the phrase is that when it comes to relationships, women don't want a guy who's overly eager to please, desperate and needy. Women want an exciting challenge to win over.

Women want an independent man who isn't afraid to live his own life and do what he wants to do. Women want a man who respects himself, stands up for his principles and isn't afraid to stand up to a woman he's attracted to.

So What?

In lots of instances, the same can be said about wrestlers' relationships with fans. Let's look at Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's wrestling career as evidence.

Before Dwayne Johnson became The Rock, he was Rocky Maivia—a smiling goody two-shoes who would fish for cheers from the crowd at a time when Stone Cold Steve Austin would calmly walk to the ring with an "I don't care what you think of me" attitude and give people the finger. Guess which wrestler was booed? The heel/tweener, Stone Cold Steve Austin, right?  

Wrong. Rocky Maivia, the babyface, was the one being booed and on the receiving end of "Rocky Sucks" chants all across the country.

It wasn't until Rocky Maivia stopped fishing for cheers from the crowd did he become cooler than the other side of the pillow. It wasn't until Rocky Maivia stopped caring about whether or not the crowd loved him did he become the jabroni-beating, pie-eating, trail-blazing, eyebrow-raising, most electrifying man in sports entertainment—PEOPLE'S champ, The Rock.

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In other words, it wasn't until Rocky Maivia turned his back on the fans and became The Rock did he get the fans on his side.

Why did The Rock get millions of fans, while Rocky Maivia got millions of "Rocky Sucks" chants? A difference in attitude. While Rocky Maivia smiled, kept his mouth shut and waved to the crowd, The Rock scowled, spoke his mind and insulted the crowd. While Rocky Maivia fished for cheers from the crowd, The Rock didn't need to fish for cheers. Instead of fishing for fans, the fans gravitated toward him.

Again, So What?

What inspired me to write this article is that I can think of several wrestlers who would be much better off if they would turn heel. I can also think of some wrestlers who lost a bit of their edge when they became babyfaces and should return to what initially got them over.

Unlike babyfaces, heels are free to do what they want to do, say what they want to say, be who they want to be and, as a result, have better character development than babyfaces. They are the kind of guys women are attracted to, and the kind of wrestlers that fans (at least the fans in my hometown of Chicago) gravitate toward.

Of course, there are many other factors to look at when determining why someone is or isn't successful, but can you think of any wrestlers whose careers would instantly improve if they were to turn heel? Can you think of any former heels who lost a bit of their edge after becoming faces?

Thanks for reading!