There are only a few things that I feel strongly about when it comes to wrestling, and one of them is that heels and babyfaces should remain largely unchanged. Neither is a particularly easy role to play well.
As a babyface, your effort should be placed in getting the fans progressively more connected with you. It’s not just about getting fans to pop when your music hits. It is a matter of getting fans so invested in you that they live vicariously through you. When you succeed, they succeed. When someone hurts you, the fans take it personally as though they have been hurt themselves. Fans should be so emotionally behind you that, when you get ganged up on by a group of heels, fans become visibly angry, and it all they can do not to jump the barricade and help you themselves. That’s also what lets a guy like John Cena grant over 200 wishes and raise millions for charity. People become so invested in you, that they will do just about anything they can to be part of your team.
If you are a heel, it is not about getting booed. That is easy. Go into a town, insult their local football team, and you can get a whole arena to boo you. If you can’t draw a fair amount of heat, then you don’t deserve to be paid as a WWE Superstar. But, being a heel is more than that. As a heel, you get fans to genuinely hate you. They should take great pleasure in seeing you hurt. When babyfaces storm the ring to help one another and gang up on you, the crowd should go nuts. A good heel is hated so much that fans literally wouldn’t pee in their mouth if their teeth were on fire. As an example, the heel Chris Jericho was attacked more than once by fans, and, though I am not at all advocating fans attacking talents, it shows just how much they genuinely hated him.
Lastly, when people play their respective roles well over time, turns have a much greater effect. When Hulk Hogan turned heel, fans felt personally betrayed. Here was our hero, a man we had be behind for years, turning his back on us. Consequently, he was a much more effective heel.
When you have talents turning heel, then babyface, then back to heel, then back to babyface every few months, I don’t think the fans ever really get that emotionally involved. Fans might respond appropriately, but they don’t really care. It is somewhat like a pendulum. Do you want it to swing widely from side to side or simply oscillate around the middle?
What are your thoughts? Please comment below, and let’s see where the discussion goes.