With an influx of heels with a touch of evil running rampant in many of the more successful wrestling companies, I wonder if there is any room left for the baby faces of old, and what more, are there any young wrestlers left or in development willing to fight that good old fight?
Looking to the past, some pretty epic characters set the scene for this new breed of anti-hero, especially those with a character geared more towards the so-called dark side. Characters like Danhausen and of course Decay have certainly carried the torch. And the success of those old characters and the new speak volumes in terms of where the business may be going or not going.
Pushing the boundaries
It may have been way back in 1990 that The Undertaker made his debut in the then WWF, and in all his glory of darkness, but the resonance from that character is still felt to this day. The Undertaker went on to have a career unparalleled in the world of professional wrestling and there are those out there that believe it all came down to the character he and the company put forth.
The Dead Man certainly pushed the boundaries of what a heel could be and all the way until the end, calling on the forces of darkness and wreaking all-out hell on his opponents over the long years. And of course, as was seen with talent like Stone Cold Steve Austin, it became “cool” to root for the bad guy—especially one that had the showmanship of a horror movie icon to boot. This was also seen with Kane during The Attitude Era.
An offspring of “evil” characters
And of course the influence of The Undertaker can be seen even today and in recent years, especially with the inception of characters like Bray Wyatt in WWE. Wyatt instilled fear into the members of The Universe and all without saying all that much. It was in his presence (and is) like Taker, and in the way he carried himself and of course the details specific to the character. And recently, he reinvented himself as well; much like Taker did over the years, and even recently, his evil character terrorised and entertained many.
At WrestleMania 36, he took possession of John Cena. The last frame of Cena’s character is of him disappearing, and if the wrestling landscape was what it was in say … the early nineties, we could certainly picture Cena chained up in some dark dungeon awaiting escape from the clutches of Wyatt and the demonic forces that call on him.
And all over the plethora of wrestling companies that are certainly standing the test of time as the years and calendar days whip off the wall at a maddening pace, we see characters of an evil nature popping up across the board. Decay in Impact (and with the addition of Black Taurus just this past week) seems to be doing quite well, and like Taker and Wyatt, they have the physicality to back it up, making for all-around characters that the public has no choice but to love—especially hard core wrestling fans.
Danhausen has made quite a big spark as well; his spiel has made quite a wee bit of noise on the internet; so much so that in the last few weeks, the man he’s feuding with, Brian Johnson (not to be confused with the lead singer of AC/DC), lamented about how “the internet” latched on to Danhausen because of his tendency to be funny, all the while calling on those aforementioned forces of evil. Johnson’s call-out was a valid one and Danhausen and his vial of teeth (the contents of which he actually feeds to his opponents) will have his hands full when they square off once more, for sure.
But we can’t help it, speaking for all of us. After all, a great villain like the aforemntioned Danhausen needs to be really bad, or what war is left to fight for the hero of our tale?
But are there any heroes left? A better question would be: does anyone wish to fill those shoes? Can they handle the complacency of the crowd as honourably as Cena did, fighting for what some might call, the greater good? I can’t help but wonder how Danhausen would fare against the likes of Cena.
Is it over for the hero of old?
“And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat upon him was Death and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with the sword, and with hunger, and with death and with the beasts of the earth.”
Now how about that for a little of the old “Hell, Fire and Brimstone?!”
Why we love horror in our wrestling
Why do people cheer for Freddy from those Nightmare On Elm Street films? Why do these characters like Michael Myers live in infamy and with such a cult following? Because perhaps in a way, it is these characters that fight the mundane; they fight those that have turned stale or we have grown tired of supporting. And like in film, in wrestling it is these characters that fight the boredom of characters that seem so uninspired in their fight against evil.
And is that the problem? Uninspired heroes?
And speaking of evil clutches and heroes trapped within the grasp of such characters, with John Cena gone, who is left to play the character of White Knight to all these Princes of Darkness?
People just don’t seem to want it anymore, though. People are even urging—no begging—Cena to turn heel should he return in the near future. Many even having daydreams of his re-starting the NWO, emulating Hulk Hogan when he returned back to a career of full-time wrestling after chasing his own Hollywood dreams. Now…we don’t see John Cena’s Hollywood dreams turning out in the same way that Hogan’s unfortunately did. Just the opposite, I’d say.
The man is showing he has not only the acting chops, but the drive to possibly be the next Dwayne Johnson. But if he does want to return, who knows in what capacity that will be? The aforementioned match at WrestleMania 36 had a bunch of subliminal messages, and ones that incited quite a bit of excitement, that’s for sure. It’ll be definitely interesting to see.
But in the end, the question certainly still remains: Where for art thou White Knight?