Hi everyone. Today, we are looking at the least effective babyfaces (good guys/girls) in WWE. What defines a face in today’s game? Getting the crowd to react is everything. It is the job of a face to gain support from the crowd. John Cena has been an effective babyface to his fans in the past, much like Roman Reigns has in recent times. Their ability to draw mixed reactions amplifies the supporting fans as they naturally feel it is their duty to oppose critics negativity.
I won’t include Cena or Reigns in the list as I feel they’ve done enough to garner a fan base of loyal fans. However, there is a reason behind the mixed reactions. What it boils down to is many fans refusal to buy in to the way WWE books and writes its protagonists. Next up is a rough translation from comments I’ve seen from different people in the past few years on this matter:
“It’s not that we don’t want to support the faces, it’s just heels usually have more interesting characters while the faces are generic. All the top faces act and say the same things in recycled storylines. It’s difficult to support a talent who turned face after losing everything that made them entertaining as a heel. Even more so, when they played the heel better than anyone.”
Big fan of Aries for years so I feel disappointed to include him. When he was in NXT he didn’t get great face reactions, but they were better than what he gets on the main roster. It hurts when I hear a crowd chant random things during his matches, he’s not deserving of such disrespect. He recently tweeted about the New Jersey crowd on Raw: “Thank you New Jersey. Classy as always.
#RAW” – Turn him heel please WWE.
She’s getting mixed reactions due to her push coming too soon. The beauty of her NXT run was she spent 3 years building her way up and getting the fans behind her before getting a shot at the NXT Women’s title. She became Raw Women’s Champion pretty early in comparison, less than a year after debuting on the main roster. WWE really wants to keep her around as she has a younger fan following whose parents buy merchandise, but it’s not enough to keep her in contention for the title. This is why she was defeated easily by Alexa Bliss on PPV; she’s been demoted til she gains enough fans to make her a top face on Raw.
When Cedric made the surprising jump from ROH he was an exciting prospect and fans gave decent pops for his entrance. The story with Alicia Fox, his injury, and the 205 Live effect has killed his appeal. He might be a decent face in time, but staying on 205 Live is not going to save his character. There has to be more to Cedric Alexander.
Charlotte as a face? Why? How does that make sense? There was no explanation. Why would she help Becky Lynch? I kinda understand they have a common enemy .. but Charlotte’s never had friends, she’s had people who work for her. Am I the only one who finds it baffling how she’s a face on Smackdown while Naomi’s being challenged by Lana? Someone stop this? Please? We want the heat magnet back.
How is she a face exactly? Does she try to get support from fans? Does she look like a role model? Does she do anything awesome in the ring? There’s way more things to hate about Dana. Also, I hate it when WWE does nothing to distinguish between face and heel .. at least give them a different look. You can’t cheer someone who still looks like the person you despised a few months ago.
His mid-card run is telling of the reactions he receives. It feels like there’s only a big reaction when he interrupts someone like The Miz after an epic promo, otherwise support for the Lunatic Fringe is down compared to previous years. He’s nowhere near the Universal title picture .. and doesn’t look like he will be any time soon.
His career is filled with mediocrity while he meanders from one feud to the next, never getting anywhere except reinforcing the fact he’s not really a lunatic. Despite having this label he doesn’t sell it to me .. and restrictions from creative makes it tougher still. His character has no depth, and it’s baffling in the sense it can be painfully predictable. I’m not sure what WWE is doing when they randomly put the IC title on him .. we know he’s not going to defend it til it’s time to pass it on.
He came up against impossible odds when he challenged Bobby Roode at Takeover, because The Glorious One is a heel the fans pay to see. While he’s been in NXT for a couple of years, he hasn’t done enough to show the fans he should be the top guy due to being sidelined by severe injures. Many of us will know how great he is in the ring, but we know you need more than that in WWE. You need a gimmick, a character, anything which connects you to the casual audience so they react and create special moments.
Itami was too respectful of his opponents before, so the recent change in character is exactly what the doctor ordered. Time will tell if fans get behind this dangerous athlete. Personally I think he’d serve better as a heel leader of a stable similar to The Four Horseman; where they show chemistry, ruthlessness, technical prowess, and the ability to look cool.
Since WWE changed his attire and entrance music he’s become a lost cause. It feels like his career has gone down the plug hole since his days as United States Champion and one-half of The Lucha Dragons. Is he a jobber now? Is what I think when I see Kalisto.
Who? Well, I’ve included Liv Morgan because there was a point a couple of years ago I thought she had potential in NXT. I was wrong, it seems she’s either a slow learner or may never learn the ways of the ring. She is young though (23) .. so perhaps we should give her the benefit of the doubt. Regardless, Morgan is doing nothing in NXT while others like Ember Moon, Ruby Riot, Billie Kay and Peyton Royce take up airtime. Her career hangs on if she can improve in the ring, and get to grips with the microphone.
It’s like she was never a multiple time Women’s and Diva’s Champion. Somehow Mickie has found herself back on Raw where she’s managed to blend in to the Women’s Division like a camouflaged chameleon. And even worse, the fans seem to have forgotten who she is as well. The fact is .. Mickie should be one of the biggest stars on Raw, but years of absence and failure to SELL her as a credible threat to any Women’s Championship means the fans have no reason to cheer her on.
I still think he should be on NXT. Part of me feels like he’s only got where he is by piggy backing off Zack Ryder’s popularity and connections with American Football. He’s not completely useless on the mic or in the ring .. he’s not bad at all, it’s just he hasn’t gotten over by himself yet.
He needs to put in a lot of work before we can respect his passion for the business. He didn’t get much of a reaction when challenging Jinder Mahal, so I think he’s another who could have stayed in NXT an extra year to polish his character and ring work. He will get better reactions in the Hype Bros tag team, but let’s not lie to ourselves here .. Zack Ryder is who everyone’s cheering for.
The 205 Live effect makes it an impossible task for Mustafa. Literally the only time fans pop for him is when he goes up for his finisher .. and that does not make an effective face. Even when up against 205 Live’s better heels does he get little support. The only thing we know about him is he doesn’t like being stereotyped (due to his name & look) because he’s from Chicago and is as American as anyone. Cool huh? I guess. We should start chanting “USA! USA!” at him for the laugh.
Randy is forever monotone in his quest to bore the world with his face character who talks and acts like a watered down version of his heel persona. Ok, so he’s like a snake in the grass, he’s meant to act with an icy demeanor .. but there’s got to be some change.
I’ve always taken him more seriously as a heel, and his matches as a face don’t interest me til he hits the RKO. Fans pay to see him do the RKO and not much else. How does WWE expect us to cheer someone who comes across as uncaring for anything other than their own success? Why make a natural-born heel a good guy? All these years later .. I still find myself asking the same questions of WWE.
I know some of you hate Vince Russo but he’s 100% right about Sami Zayn; he does not look like a star and it’s difficult for casual viewers to understand why wrestling fans hold him in high regard. Is he excellent in the ring? Absolutely, he’s one hell of a wrestler. His matches with Kevin Owens, Cesaro, and Shinsuke Nakamura have been amazing. There’s no doubting his wrestling ability here ..
.. but is he someone you care about? Do you get excited when you hear he will wrestle? Could he walk down the street and be instantly recognized? Could he be the face of the company? No chance is the answer because the concept of “Sami Zayn” sucks. It’s difficult to take him seriously, even more so when they have him act goofy. He doesn’t get anywhere near the same reactions on Raw or Smackdown than he had back in NXT. I don’t know how WWE can save him .. I hate what he’s become, and I hope they do a complete overhaul soon.
Another accomplished heel falling terribly short of being a top face. Seth ‘freakin’ Rollins is so freakin’ freakin’, I don’t know where to freakin’. I mean come on .. what does freakin’ even mean? Does it make him a good guy? Does it make up for all the times he talked down to everyone in the WWE Universe? Was it his way back from injury? I don’t get it. I guess it’s freakin’ good to put on t-shirts? I mean .. who’s going to buy a freakin’ Seth Rollins t-shirt with no freakin’ on it? Right?
Oh .. remember when he was WWE Champion? Man .. he did a pretty good job. Now look at him .. losing clean to Reigns multiple times. Hanging around in the main event scene but clearly being pushed to the side. It’s difficult playing a face in the game today, and Rollins is a prime example of that. How do you make the fans love Rollins after all he did before? And how does he evolve in to something universally likeable? The answer is it’s not impossible .. but it won’t be easy.
Television has changed over the years. In the past, it was natural to cheer the good guys and hate the villains, but audiences have changed and become smart enough to respect those portraying the roles. While fifty years ago someone may have seen a ruthless, barbed wire bat wielding psychopath, in the present day, we see Negan of the Walking Dead (sorry, it’s a TV show) being super charismatic in truly evil fashion. And despite all the despicable things Negan’s done, fans know the actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan is playing a part so they can appreciate his entertainment value without becoming too disgusted over his character’s intentions to take and control everything through fear.
Audiences are looking for complex characters. They are looking for good guys with weaknesses to overcome. They like a bad guy who can draw many emotions. We like polar opposites, two strong characters who have tons of chemistry while simultaneously hating each other with a passion. And it has to feel real, or no one will buy it.
Some fans are annoyingly impatient, and I think WWE could make use of this by building a story for a few months to a huge payoff. The problem with making credible faces is you need to build them over long periods of time and stay the course; turning them heel is not always the best alternative. This is WWE’s biggest problem though, they don’t write any detailed storylines so there’s nothing to look forward to. Instead, what we get is randomness with no meaning. It’s the same thing with different faces.
Heels insult the fans in their promos and play to them during a match .. while faces have to keep to their values. Some talent end up looking anxious as they try to remember all the good things they have to say while maintaining a level of intensity and/or entertainment. Only a few are getting it right .. but I’ll leave that subject for another day. I believe I’ve done the job of highlighting talent who I believe are struggling to reach the positive fans. So thanks for reading everyone! And please, leave me a comment with your thoughts on the difficulties of working babyface in WWE’s current environment. Cheers.
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