I think the PG era is a big restraint in terms of getting over as a real heel. I mean, you mention "despicability" like it's an easy thing to achieve in the current WWE environment. Of course to children it might be, but more importantly to the "Smarks" it's damn near impossible. Lets take this forum for example, the demographic on here must be in the 16-35 age range, with PG programming it's going to be extremely difficult for a heel to actual shock us and I mean literally shock us, not to the point where we begin to despise them anyway. The only way a wrestler is going to get legitimate heat as a heel (with the Smarks) is if they're bad, if they're so bad that people want to turn the television off every time they make an appearance, now that is going to garner heat, not the right heat though.
All that depends on how much one is to rate the importance of the 'smark' demographic. Not saying they don't play a factor, but they are not the key market for good reason. I'll play along, regardless of all that.
We aren't all that different to the casuals aside from the fact we stick by the product. That means we're people as well, and as people we have our preferences and dislikes. If a character plays to our dislikes, granted it has to be convincingly played, then by all likelihood we grow disdain for them (and vice versa on all counts with face characters). During my occasional lurking about I've come across heaps of comments talking about how they wanted, say, Booker T to overcome that dastardly Cody Rhodes after what he was put through earlier that night, or how much of an irritating twit Daniel Bryan is. Some souls are harder to shake than others, yes, but the remnants of fresh-eyed 'markism' still lingers about these hallways.
Now, as smarks, we should be mature enough to recognise the talent of the performer when playing a character and separate them accordingly. That may take the magic out of it but judging from some complaints and poster attitudes that feeling has long gone. Yet they still persist with this place and persisting with this product. Smarks aren't the immovable force of anti-fandom many paint them to be
. See them as movie goers; in this case, the 16-35 age bracket you suggest this forum's made up of. They want to be entertained and yes, even moved, but they need something that's more acquired to their taste or else they'll question it.
I'm not going to get into X-Pac heat as that's a smouldering mess of subjectivism that doesn't need further elaboration.
Interesting to note you used the word 'shock' to illustrate what needs to be done to move smark audiences. Taking that word literally (which is what I assumed you meant), the element of 'shock' is a crucial one in helping get a character over, although those sort of impactful transitions are best utilised in small doses when in competent hands. They are critical junctures that are intended to stand out and instantly remembered above all else in regards to characters/stories/programs. Even if professional wrestling is mostly a soapie, a key reason that stories/programs of such nature get panned in Western culture is because they're one track and used so frequently as twists that the whole notion is watered down into a weak fart.
I agree with you that this current era has made things pretty listless and run-of-the-mill. That isn't so much an inditement on the PG rating, however, but more the safety nets that the company have put out to preserve their delicate image in modern culture. That doesn't mean notions of raw hatred and passion from the stands can not still resonate occasionally. That Brock Lesnar-John Cena match was received so positively because it was something so unusual and surreal to us and many others. This loathable behemoth in Lesnar, having returned from UFC and making us question the validity of his latest comeback, viciously takes apart the main face of the company in John Cena and reduces him to a quaking mess for the most part. If things are written well enough, such as what hopefully will become of Ambrose and looks to be doing so with Sandow, then there's more reason for us to become invested enough to cheer or boo them loudly enough that we may as well be in the football grandstands.
And if you want to get down to it, there's nothing really "important" about appeasing the IWC. Truthfully, we mostly consist of a bunch of fickle, know-it-all, pencil neck marks that lack self-awareness. Most of us come onto sites like these to protest against the 'quality' of WWE products which, as most know, has always consisted of Jerry Springer-esque entertainment, yet will still continue to tune in because of habit or 'loyalty' (both of which are such pathetic, jellyfish excuses in my book). It's funny when we debate taste when, in actuality, there is very little of that in "sports entertainment."