The job of a promoter is pretty simple. You listen to what the people want and ultimately, you give it to them. Sometimes you make them wait, as to build additional anticipation, but in the end, you give the people what they want.
WWE doesn’t seem to believe in this philosophy.
No, in WWE, it’s almost the other way around. Many have joked about this in the past, but often times it seems to be true, that Vince McMahon “knows what the people want more than they do.”
No he doesn’t.
Sometimes business will come first, and even if the loud majority of people in the buildings seem to want something, if the bottom line shows something different, then it’s just not going to be in the cards, regardless of how much fans might be clamoring for it.
Case in point? John Cena.
For years now the fans have been begging for the opportunity to boo him. When they are denied that opportunity, they create their own and simply boo him whenever they want, regardless of if he’s doing something to warrant it or not.
By now most people are aware that due to Cena’s merchandise sales, which are leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else in the company, mixed with his ties to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and general appeal to children, Cena is a complicated case when it comes to a potential heel turn. Complicated in one sense, simple in another. It’s simple in the fact that it’s just not going to happen. Certainly not until someone can take over his “spot” as a mega-merchandise mover and a guy who is incredibly over to kids.
There are examples, however, currently in WWE that don’t really have such a strong argument for refusing to go with the flow. No, with these people, it seems like WWE is purposely going against the grain, “just ’cause.”
Why is Cesaro a heel? People clearly want to cheer him. They clearly want to rally behind this guy and make him a star. Hopefully what’s going on here is that WWE is doing the slow-build, which I mentioned earlier as a way to build additional anticipation in him finally “breaking through” as a top good-guy.
It’s a move that’s easy to execute when you feel the time is ready, as with his pairing with Paul Heyman, when he finally decides he’s had enough of being a “Paul Heyman Guy” and wants to establish himself as a “Cesaro Guy,” he has the perfect person to turn against (Paul Heyman) to draw cheers from the fans, and a perfect person to work with to help boost his status as a top guy (Brock Lesnar).
Bad News Barrett is another good example. Maybe not with this week’s RAW, as with the rare exception of WWE catering to the London fans by having Barrett cut a promo and then leave to British Bulldog’s old theme song, he is generally packaged as a heel. Clearly despite his persona, people like the guy. They want to cheer him. WWE, however, doesn’t seem to care.
It’s interesting too with Barrett that for the longest time, as plain old Wade Barrett, he was viewed as a future mega-star, then he just disappeared. He returns, gets a lame gimmick slapped on him, and he ended up getting over like rover with it.
Bray Wyatt is a decent example, maybe not the best in the world, but certainly a legitimate one. It’s hard to figure out if he’s a baby face or a heel certain weeks, as he says things like a heel, but says them in a way that he comes off as a baby face. He’s working against arguably the top heel in the company, despite the fact that he’s packaged as the top baby face, but clearly in working against Cena, and being a new, interesting character, fans are going to cheer Wyatt.
Hell, they’ll even sing bad songs with him.
How about Dolph Ziggler? I’m not even sure what he is these days, in terms of a baby face or heel, but he’s absolutely a person that people want to get behind. Clearly people want to cheer him, but I think the WWE Universe would even accept Ziggler as a top heel, as long as it meant he was used in a legitimate fashion. Ziggler, to me, comes off as a guy where people respect his talent so much, that he’s over basically for that reason alone.
I think the fact that he’s arguably being held down for all these years actually adds to his appeal with the fans. I would argue that the fans love him more specifically because they recognize how good he is, yet he gets zero opportunities. Why WWE goes against the grain with this guy is beyond me. That dude had to piss off the wrong person at some point in his past. There’s just no good explanation for the way he’s used in a time where WWE is in desperate need of top guys, especially new top guys that could run with the ball for several years, as opposed to being on the “back nine” of their career.
So, keep cheering. Keep boo’ing. At the end of the day, I’m not exactly sure how much it matters. If WWE views a certain talent as a heel, nine times out of ten, regardless of fan reaction, he’s going to be a heel. If WWE views a specific character as a baby face, nine times out of ten, regardless of how much you boo him, he’s likely going to remain a baby face.
That’s just the way the cookie crumbles, folks!
Who are some heels that you guys think should be baby faces, and vice-versa? Leave your feedback in the “Comments” section below. You can also hit me up on Facebook at Facebook.com/MattBooneWZR and/or follow me on Twitter @MBoone420.