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The ability to draw: Heels in wrestling

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In my last blog, I briefly touched on the imporantace of being a draw in wrestling and the stem and roots that has to be planted properly in order to become a successful company man. In wrestling, there are various top wrestling draws that made a mark in wrestling, changing the foundation of entertainment that the fans oh-so crave for. From wrstling's top draws like Lou Thesz, to Hulk Hogan, to Stone Cold, all the way to John Cena, they are important leaders of their era, drawing in big crowds. They had to follow a step of smart marketing and booking which got them to the top. Although being a top babyface draw is important, a top heel is also important in the aspect of drawing as well.

Heels play an important role in an industry where top babyfaces dominate for the casual fan's liking. They are villians who makes the faces look good whether its putting them over or differing tottally from what the fans love in a wrestler. For a top babyface, they need to look good and score a win to send the fans home happy. To make things more climatic so to speak. For instance, Wrestlemania. At Wrestlemania, you rarely see a heel win to end the show. There is always a feel-good moment at the grandest stage of them all. Even at Wrestlemania 2000, Triple H (a heel at the time) retained his WWE title in a Fatal Four Way match but The Rock attacked him as well as the Mcmahons to give the fans a feel-good moment. Wrestlemania is and has always been a climatic show to give us wrestling fans a feel-good moment that we can write as one of the greatest climatic moments in Wrestlemania history.

Although Wrestlemania is mostly about climatic endings, there is one particular Wrestlemania that didn't have a climatic ending and that's; Wrestlemania X7. The ending of Wrestlemania X7 ended up in an anti-climatic to end the show. Stone Cold after beating The Rock and capturing the WWE title, ended up attacking The Rock with a steel chair even more and joining forces with Vince Mcmahon. Wrestlemania X7's ending was a heel turn from Stone Cold. Why? Well it set up a future climatic ending with Kurt Angle beating Stone Cold for the WWE title at Summerslam 2001 and The Rock pinning Stone Cold at Surivior Series to score the pinfall for Team WWE in the Invasion angle. When there is an anti-climatic finish, there is always a climatic finish. This keeps the fans watching to see if their favorite babyface will prevail in a feud.

As a heel, you need to do anything to get the fans to hate you. You need to annoy them and treat them like they are below you to draw instant heat. Doing anything at all cost in order to gain heat is what a heel should do. In some cases, cheap heat can help or hurt things in some cases. We all know about Chris Jericho's suspension for kicking a flag in Brazil as a way of doing his job and getting cheap heat but guess what, it worked. Although he got suspended, he still created controversy and that's also what a heel is suppose to do. Shawn Michaels has done it as a heel, JBL has done it as a heel, and now Chris Jericho has done it as a heel. Creating controversy=drawing. It draws the fans in to see that heel lose. People pay tickets to a wrestling event to say their favorite wrestlers win and people pay tickets to see wrestlers they despise lose. Another great exapmle is Hulk Hogan turning heel and the formation of NWO in WCW. Hulk Hogan debuted in WCW in 1994 as Hulkamania. The southern wrassing fans weren't buying into his Hulkamania gimmick like the WWE northern fans did which resulted in Hulk Hogan turning heel. At Bash at the Beach 1996, Hogan betrayed WCW by alliding with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. It gave him massive heat which is why the NWO group drew so much fans into the WCW product. Mainly because the fans wanted to see which WCW wrestler would stop NWO since they were a dominate group.

Its quite simple that a heel's job is to put over a face but if a heel refuses to put over a face, it doesn't get that said over which is important for a heel to do the job. Like I said eariler, heels are made to make babyfaces look like a million bucks. That's pretty much their main job besides drawing mega heat. Without Andre The Giant putting over Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania 3, Hogan would have been made to look we. Their is a reason why heels mainly lose. Their job isn't to be booked dominate. Like a superhero needs to beat a villian to look credible, a face needs to beat a heel to look credible in the world of proessional wrestling.

Thanks for reading guys. Leave a comment. Take care and be safe.

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  1. The Phantom Menace's Avatar
    The comic book reference was well placed. Sometimes a villian/heel is too strong or good to be beaten by one face/hero, thats why we get team ups. Hogan was the perfect hero(the Dudley Do-Right of wrestling in the '80s) while Ric Flair was the perfect villian(the Lex Luthor of wrestling) vain, arrogant, boastful(but he backed it up) and an unapologenic cheater. Flair was perfect in the role & revelled in it, I've always enjoyed the bad guys they made the show worth watching.
  2. Y2JLionsault's Avatar
    What annoys me now is that the WWE have the ability to make great heels, but it is the same process for making their top babyfaces. Sheamus, CM Punk, Randy Orton. They were awesome heels, so awesome that they were turned into faces. They don't have the ability to get a guy come in as a face and stay that way to make it to the top. That's why Kofi won't get anywhere. He's so popular, the kids love him so they won't turn him heel. Being a heel is when a superstar really gets to flourish I suppose but it is a shit formula for making a babyface IMO. Guys like Randy and Sheamus should remain heel and the WWE needs to find a new way to make babyfaces in the main event scene.
  3. WarMachine22's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Y2JLionsault
    What annoys me now is that the WWE have the ability to make great heels, but it is the same process for making their top babyfaces. Sheamus, CM Punk, Randy Orton. They were awesome heels, so awesome that they were turned into faces. They don't have the ability to get a guy come in as a face and stay that way to make it to the top. That's why Kofi won't get anywhere. He's so popular, the kids love him so they won't turn him heel. Being a heel is when a superstar really gets to flourish I suppose but it is a shit formula for making a babyface IMO. Guys like Randy and Sheamus should remain heel and the WWE needs to find a new way to make babyfaces in the main event scene.
    While I agree 100% what you say, the answer to making a variety of babyfaces is quite simple. Break the formula. I mean my favorite WRESTLER of all time is Edge, one of the greatest heels in history. Why he survived as a face, easy, he kept the attitude, he was in your face, he wasn't afraid to do heel like things to heels (e.g. Con-chair-to).

    To make a variety of babyfaces that hold attention you don't need to go back to the attitude era, but they need attitude in some regard. I personally feel WWE would boom greatly with more Anti-heroes. Guys who are faces with heel traits. Hell an idea I think that could work great would a Dark Knight of the WWE, whether its faces or heels, someone does something that doesn't follow his code he takes action. Give it 'an eye for an eye' kind of code. The reason the Undertaker has survived is not only the great matches he's given us, but because he's always been a lone gunner. He can face heels or faces (mainly because he's earned Legend status) but its always entertaining.

    I'd love to see more Anti-heroes, and that 3rd element to faces and heels could really help the company evolve. Having guys who have their own code and their own rules, not saying no rules, but their own rules could really help character development. Thats what Kane was at one point.

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