Where Have All the Heels Gone?
by, 03-29-2013 at 09:04 AM (5044 Views)
This blog is dedicated to the memory of Paul Bearer.
What's up everybody? Renevious here. Now it's been a seriously long time since I've written a blog, but there's a topic out there that I just can't leave alone anymore. And in the wake of the legendary Paul Bearer's passing, I feel like this must be addressed. That, my friends, is the lost art of being a a good and effective heel. Wrestlers used to seriously take pride in how much heat they could draw from a crowd. Lots of guys even made their entire careers from it. But today we live in a sissified politically correct world that is way too worried about hurting someone's feelings or offending someone. Now I honestly don't know if there is even a chance that we can get back to the way things used to be, when entertainment was just entertainment. Or are we forever stuck in a downward spiral of politically correctness that will inevitably kill off anything we used to actually enjoy watching? That's rhetorical. Don't try to answer it.
Think back to the 1980's. Many of us consider this to be the golden era of wrestling. Now technically, that was the 1950's, but for the sake of modern times, we're going to stick with the 80's. Wrestling was becoming a worldwide phenomenon, and everyone had their favorites. Guys came out, and they were like real life comic book or cartoon characters. And we knew without a shadow of a doubt if someone was good or evil. It really wasn't until the 90's that it got popular to blur the lines and have a character with tendencies of both face and heel. Either way, if it's done right, it's great. That's not my point. My point is, think about what types of things heels used to do back then to show us that they were evil. Roddy Piper knocked out a guy from Fiji with a coconut. The Iron Sheik would spit on the American flag. Lex Luger offered Ron Simmons (a black guy) a job as his servant/driver. The list goes on. And this was a PG era! Here's what I'm getting at. Heels back then weren't afraid to really get down and nasty and do controversial things to generate heat. That's how we knew they were bad guys. The faces had it easy. All they had to do was sit there and take it for a little while and then come back and beat the bad guy's ass. It was about as simple of a formula as you could make, but it was extremely effective.
Now I'm going to sort of skip over the 90's and the Attitude Era, because it was a time when there weren't every many "good" guys or "bad" guys. Everyone was just a bit nastier back then. Heroic acts were performed by both, and extremely evil acts were performed by both. And we all loved it. It's what was right for the era.
But let's fast forward to today. We're PG again, and that's fine. I'm not complaining about that at all. But things just aren't the same. If you try and look at the business through the point of view of the powers at be themselves, you probably think that the business has come full circle. They think that they're putting on a product like they did in the 80's. The show is back to being family friendly, and good guys are actively playing the part of role models to kids all over the world. But something is missing. We see it, but they don't. The heels are just not the same. Bad guys are only labeled as such because we're told that they're bad. For the most part, all someone has to do these days to be a top heel is say some mean things about the audience or not get along with an existing good guy. It's sad the lack of effort that goes into establishing these characters. But whose fault is it really? It seems like society doesn't even allow these characters to exist anymore. WWE is sort of making the effort, but they keep getting shut down. Look at Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter. Love them or hate them, you have to admit they are an extremely effective heel persona. And they are great at generating some genuine heat from the fans. But, as soon as it gets going, fucking Glen Beck has to accuse the WWE of having some hidden political agenda. It's just a character! Same thing goes with CM Punk and the whole Paul Bearer thing. WWE had to bend over backwards to make it known that the Moody family gave their full consent for this storyline. Now think about how much more emotional it could've been if they would've kept that to themselves. It's just to generate heat. And they did a damn good job of it. I mean, what real wrestling fan would think for a second that Bill Moody would have had any objections at all to this story? This guy was part of storylines where people got fucking ritualistically crucified and dead bodies were dug up and brought on the show. Every superstar today could take a lesson from the level of commitment that man made for the sake of entertaining the crowd. And now he's being more effective dead than what most of the roster is doing alive.
In closing, I wish it were as easy as blaming the talent or the writers for watering down the product to a point where we no longer find it interesting. But I'm afraid the problem lies much deeper than that. Until society as a whole learns to grow a pair and stop being offended by every little thing they see or read, we're just going to have to suffer through sub par entertainment.
Thanks so much for reading, and I apologize if this blog was a little unorganized as I am extremely out of practice on my writing. All comments are welcome. And as always, God Bless.