Right, straight off the bat, I will state that so far due to time constraints, I have only been able to watch half of RAW from Monday, but none the less, my dilemma is this:
I've grown up watching this great sport loving the way heel wrestlers work. From Macho King Randy Savage to Jake the Snake Roberts, part of me always wanted the heels to win. Don't get me wrong, I liked a lot of the faces too, everybody was a mark for the Undertaker when he was a face, and I'm sure everybody at some point cheered for good old HBK when he was a prime face.
These days though, and in particular this week's RAW, all fans seem to be turning like this now. Are we all more about respect instead of the old pantomime booing and cheering? Or is it that the current faces on the roster are just that boring?
If the answer to that question is yes, then WWE creative need a right kick up the arse, because it has never been that bad before. There has always been a good half dozen babyfaces that even hardcore wrestling fans can get behind. During the much mentioned Attitude Era, if Austin was out injured, you had either Rock or Mankind, as well as Taker or even Ken Shamrock.
Ruthless Agression era saw the emergence of such babyfaces as Eddie Guerrero, Brothers of Destruction, Hardy Boyz etc. to cheer for. All of which had world class heels to compete with, but the faces were at the top of their game regardless.
These days, you have Cena who, even though did a funny heel turn joke, gets booed out the arena before thanking the crowd after the show. If Cena got injured, the next face in line would be Orton, who is fast walking down the same dead end street storyline as Sheamus, unless one of course turns heel, but that defeats the purpose.
On RAW this week, during the first half anyway, the heels got over with the crowd more than the faces. Take for example the Miz vs. Wade Barrett. Excellent contest which went back and forth, with a perfect tribute to Cactus Jack by the brilliant Barrett. However, the only time Miz got a cheer was when he used Flair's finisher. Wade Barrett nearly blew the roof off the place when he hit the Bullhammer, it was incredible. Maybe it's time for Barrett to move up the food chain....?
Del Rio was a very good World Heavyweight Champion given the storylines he was put in. An average feud with Big Show and a feud with Jack Swagger which was halted in all fairness by the DUI incident, could have maybe gone further before Mania had that not happened. Part of me thinks Swagger was pushed too soon though...
However, I couldn't believe the ovation Dolph got for hitting Del Rio with his finisher. Never before has the Zig Zag received such a noise from winning. Thoroughly deserved, regardless of how long they made him keep that stupid briefcase for. Let's hope WWE doesn't blow it this time...
That being said, whatever happened to the days where the heel was booed? Will those days ever return? No.
Reason? One reason could be that fans maybe have too much access to the superstars now. I blogged once about how I believe Social Media is more of a hindrance to WWE programming and I stand by that even more today. Somebody asked The Rock on Twitter at the end of last year whether he and CM Punk really hated each other, to reply "No I love Phil" or words to that effect. Now, in my day (I can't believe I used that term, just thought it'd be funny) if a fan asked a wrestler if they hated their opponent, they would not have had a proper answer. There would be no way they'd break keyfabe like that.
Back in the early 90s, fans thought that Sgt. Slaughter actually did sympathize with Saddam, hence the tons of tons of death threats and hatred towards him. I realise that it was a different era and the fans are different now, but the point still stands that some of the stuff was still more believable.
Another reason could be is that the heels are different. The heels nowadays seem to be the better workers. Punk is one of the best workers around and can put on a damn good match with anybody on the roster. Same can be said for our new World Heavyweight Champion. Like him or not, he's a good worker. Fans these days respect the hard work and dedication these guys put in.
Also, outside of the ring, both heels and faces put the time in to visit troops and other fans alike. It's not just all babyfaces anymore. I remember seeing a clip of Mark Henry talking to kids on that be a star campaign. You certainly wouldn't have seen Andre the Giant kissing a baby on the cheek around Wrestlemania 3 that's for sure.
So what's my point? Should WWE do away with heels and faces as characters altogether? Hell No. Should WWE shake it up a bit and change around who is a heel and who is a face? Maybe. Should WWE just accept this change a move on? Admit that WWE universe should be entitled to cheer and boo for whoever they like, as Cena often says.
I can honestly say I don't know. I do know that they should go back to the drawing board and pick a guy, a good mid card babyface and give him the ball and let him run with it, to quote a Stone Cold-ism. If the fans want Ryback as their top guy, that's who they'll pick. WWE shouldn't still force a guy to kick out of 3 finishers which have beaten everyone else ever and expect us to cheer, no. They should put the people on top who the fans want there. That's who is going to draw.
If the top guy gets chosen based on fan reaction alone, then surely they'll be considered less boring? Obviously. Granted, it would never be a case of getting everyone to agree, but the majority consensus will be happier. We may even hear less chants of either "Boring" or "You can't Wrestle" or hey, maybe even "Cena sucks", because it would be who the fans actually want to see.
Just a thought...