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Discussion Starter #1
I've heard this discussed by the guys at PWInsider & several times on message boards and its something that bugs me. I even recall Lance Storm talk about it before.

I've heard fans & "experts" talk about how "cool heels" are detrimental to a wrestling product because they cause people to turn on the babyfaces. My guess is that this argument comes out of a modern day disdain for the nWo, and maybe even as an explanation for some of the reactions that John Cena gets. Here's my problem with that whole argument.

If you look at any other form of entertainment (TV shows, movies, comics, whatever), aren't the villains almost always cool? I mean Darth Vader was the coolest character in Star Wars. He was iconic, dressed in black, made that chilling breathing sound, & was just a straight up bad ass. Boba Fett takes it even further as he looked awesome & that was it. The character became popular by just standing there & looking cool. I didn't even know his name until I got my hands on an action figure & before that, I just called him "The Bounty Hunter".

As a whole, The Decepticons were WAY cooler than the Autobots, especially in the earliest stages of the Generation 1 show. The Autobots were mostly cars & trucks & the Decepticons were military vehicles, jets, weapons, spy tools, & a tape deck (ok that last one is cooler than it sounds I swear).

How about Thundercats? Are you going to tell me you'd rather somebody besides Mumm-Ra The Everliving as the lead villain because he's "too cool"? Mumm-Ra was the most frightening villain I recall being exposed too in my youth, and as such, it made him the most memorable & interesting character.

And finally, what about monster/slasher movies? Who are the most memorable characters? THE MONSTERS of course. I mean look at Alien, Predator, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, & Freddy Krugar. These characters are the ones we remember the most from these movies rather than the heroes trying to stop them.

So there are cool heels everywhere, and wrestling has also benefited from having them. The nWo was not a detriment because it was "too cool" as a heel faction. It was a detriment because WCW didn't have an end game mapped out and milked the cash cow for more than it was worth. I also found it strange that the PWInsider guys discussing this topic used Ric Flair as an example of how not to be a cool heel & make good business. Are you telling me that The Four Horsemen WASN'T cool? Seriously? I thought they were pretty awesome myself. And what about The Rock? Was it detrimental to have him be as cool as he was while he played the villain? I don't think so.

Villains are inherently cool. How many times do we hear "The villain stole the show" at movies & such. Why is it a bad thing for that to happen in wrestling as well?

Now going back to all the villains, lets have a look at "the babyfaces" they went up against:

Han Solo was a very cool character that most guys would want to be. Luke Skywalker was the character that we saw grow & develop through the course of the Trilogy & ultimate is the character that audiences root for. The Autobots have Optimus Prime. Prime is AWESOME! He's like John Wayne, Yoda, & Superman all rolled into one. He's very cool! Thundercats had Panthro who was the biggest bad ass of the team & a Skywalker like character in Lion-O who's development we follow from start to finish. And even in the monster movies I mentioned, Alien went up against a strong female character in Ripley, and The Predator had to contend with the likes of Jessie Ventura, Carl Weathers, & Mr. Bad Ass himself, Arnold Schwartzenegger.

I could sit here all day and list examples: Joker & Batman, Clubber Lang/Ivan Drago & Rocky Balboa, Whiplash & Ironman, Lord Zedd & The Green Ranger, Sauron & Aragorn, Green Goblin/Doc Ock/Venom/Sandman & Spider-Man, Agent Smith & Neo, T-1000 & Terminator, Hans Gruber & John McClane, and it goes on and on and on and on.

So what makes these cases work? The heroes are awesome too. Whether it be through being able to identify with them or marveling at their awesomeness, heroes can be very cool in their own right. The nWo was cool, but had cool opponents too: DDP was pretty cool! Crow Sting was awesome! Goldberg was a damn cyborg! The problem here was that WCW didn't run with any of these guys when the nWo ran its course. As for The Horsemen & Flair, look at some of their rivalries. Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, Sting, & The Road Warriors are all great & exciting babyfaces. Now on the flip side, who remembers Flair's rivalry with Ronnie Garvin? As for The Rock, yeah he was a cool heel, but he went up against Mankind who at the time was probably the most sympathetic character in wrestling. Rock also went up against "Stone Cold" Steve Austin who was the only personality around at the time that was just as cool as he was.

So after all that, maybe the problem is not that "the heels are too cool & need to learn how to not be cool", but rather creative needs to learn how to write better babyfaces. Who is the coolest babyface in the WWE right now? Randy Orton by a country mile & Christian is up there too. Everybody else is watered down, one dimensional, meant to appeal to only kids, or just plain boring. When you put Edge, a guy that looks like a rockstar, up against Mr Candy Pants John Cena, you better believe I'm going to cheer Edge over him. If you put guys like Miz up against a goofy rapper like R-Truth, again, its a no brainer.

Like I said, villains are inherently cool & it'll always be that way. They shouldn't be toned down just to make the faces look good. The faces should be cool themselves and I should want to root for them regardless.
 

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kinda read your novel and ill answer from what i read.
WWE dont like cool villains. There is no grey with them, only black and white. A cool villain to the wwe is an oxymoron.
Its why i assume they pipe in cheers when cena gets booed and why they pipe in boos when jericho or punk got cheers (or why they turned orton face when he got cheered instead of keeping him heel) they dont like that grey area.
Sure darth was a kick ass heel and you will probably see more darths at a convention than jedi but thats a whole diffrent ball game to what wwe put out. WWE put out something continuous and over the span of years. Star wars and the good/bad guys have to be put out over 2/3 hours every 2/3 years two or three times. Now that its over with darth can be good or bad, doesnt matter it still sells. WWE dont want punk to sell, they want him bood to get over the story they are telling.
If they let punk get cheered would him going crazy over rey and his daughter have the same affect?

im kinda losing my point i think but basically wwe dont like cool heels, it goes against wwe ethic :p unless you are stone cold then you do as you please

Now if carlsberg did cool heels....
 

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Student of the game? I am the f***in' Game!!
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Great post like always.

There should be cool heels just as long as there's a cool protagonist to compensate for it and a good story to be emotionally attached to it.

I hear people say we need to boo the heels even if we like them because that is the 'right thing to do'. That imo is even worse than openly booing all the faces. So you would submit to WWE knowing full well that isn't right than rather openly, vocally vent your approvals/disapprovals. Why must we submit to something we obviously aren't attached too? Just for the sake of the show, means you, the fans aren't emotionally attached to whatever that is happening within the show. It means WWE are failing to get us involved with the story lines where we fans have to result to booing heels because its the 'right thing to do'.

All those great examples you've posted had great characters to get behind but even those who didn't still had an incredible plot device to get us involved and connected. Thats what wrestling lacks. These days they result to bumping heels down so the face and heel are at an even playing feel.

We don't need such mediocrity.
 

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Well if you boo a Heel you like, you support him, altohught i guess Cheers are good to. The thing with the Cool heel is, the Faces have to bring the Fans to the Arena, but if the Heel is cool and the Face is not liked, you are gonna get low numbers, cause the majority is just gonna hate the heel, well cause he is a Heel. But i guess i mostly enjoy the Heels over the Faces cause they are able to do so much more, they can do what they want, while the Face has to look ot or he gets booed.
 

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Student of the game? I am the f***in' Game!!
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Well if you boo a Heel you like, you support him, altohught i guess Cheers are good to. The thing with the Cool heel is, the Faces have to bring the Fans to the Arena, but if the Heel is cool and the Face is not liked, you are gonna get low numbers, cause the majority is just gonna hate the heel, well cause he is a Heel. But i guess i mostly enjoy the Heels over the Faces cause they are able to do so much more, they can do what they want, while the Face has to look ot or he gets booed.
You don't make sense. Why is it the heel's fault if the face aren't cool and can't draw fans?
 

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Sly as a fox, ferocious as a lion
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The problem is that faces have became too "cut-and-dry" nowadays, that is hard to actually get behind them. Let's face the facts here, faces nowadays haven't exactly been entertaining as they were about a decade ago. But don't get me wrong, there are still faces that I (and others) can still get behind, it's just tough. It's almost like the faces get mediocre, while the heels get better. The balances in alignment is pretty much damaged.
 

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Well if you boo a Heel you like, you support him, altohught i guess Cheers are good to. The thing with the Cool heel is, the Faces have to bring the Fans to the Arena, but if the Heel is cool and the Face is not liked, you are gonna get low numbers, cause the majority is just gonna hate the heel, well cause he is a Heel. But i guess i mostly enjoy the Heels over the Faces cause they are able to do so much more, they can do what they want, while the Face has to look ot or he gets booed.
But thats exactly what he's saying, the heeols are allowed to be cool, but the faces should be even cooler to compensate for it, it would lead overall to a much better, more entertaining product.
 

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Cool heels were never a bad thing. What was a bad thing though is when the cool heels outshine the faces, and then you have a problem. The role of the heel is to make the face look good, he's supposed to the face get him over and create some dimension. But if the heel manages to look better then the face, it basically ruins things because 1)the face is supposed to be the good guy and supposed to be the one the fans get behind. Like in movies, we're supposed to be on the good guys side because they're the one who do right, and save the world or something. They're the heros. But if we side with the heels then the face looks bad. 2)Faces are the money makers usually. Stone Cold, Cena and Hogan were all top merchandice sellers and drawers so they were faces during their time on top, Hogan in the 80's, Austin in the late 90's and Cena now. If they looked bad, then business looks bad because the product depends on them. Of course their are exceptions to this, because Hogan and Austin were able to look better then the heels most of the time, and Cena is just an example of WWE's bad booking, but WWE still try to protect him. and 3)If a heel does better then a face, then the face has failed his job and therfore the psychology of heel/face goes out the window. Heels are supposed to be hated and faces are supposed to be loved, not the otherway around.

That's my analogy of the whole thing anyway. In reality pro wrestling is supposed to be a co-operative organisation. Both the heels and faces depend on each other, but if one side fails the other then there is a rift in the system, and things become lobsided. That's why it is crucial that everyone does their job accordingly.

My opinon is, that if things were the way they were years ago. We wouldn't have too much of a problem of heels outdoing the faces. Years ago, wrestlers were giving more creative control, and allowed to express themselves. Austin, The Rock and Mick Foley were all allowed to be theirselves, and say what they wanted, and that's why they got over as both heels/faces. Today wrestling or rather WWE has restricted this type of expressesion to the point were scripts are written for the wrestlers to read, they have no real creative input. Maybe a few like CM Punk, but the majority don't seem to have this and WWE are booking the wrong people for the job. The Miz I would say would work well as a face, he's got the charisma and mic skills to do so, Mr Kennedy(Anderson) works as a face too. On the other hand, Cena and Triple H are boring as faces. They are generic and have nothing going for them. But since Cena is the top dog, it dosen't look like WWE would turn him heel for fear of losing one of their top sellers. Undertaker as well, one last heel run would do him before retirement. But that's my two cents anyway.
 

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cool heels are only bad if they completely outshine the face. The face needs to be cooler or at least AS cool as the heel.
 

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Very good original post, which expresses a lot of things I feel. I spent most of my time viewing WWE hoping that the heel defeats the face, which makes for a curious experience. I often feel I'm finding shades of grey were none are actually intended. I know that the Nexus storyline will end with John Cena (who stands for Truth, Justice and The American Way) burying the upstarts (who are led by an evil Englishman), and wrestling convention states that this is the only possible outcome. But in terms of a compelling storyline, this is all wrong, aand viewed another way, Cena represents the stale old guard, while the Nexus wretslers (who do have genuine gripes, in terms of their humiliating treatment on NXT) represent something new and fresh.

So, yes, WWE needs to find a way of making babyfaces cool again. Although I personally don't think the Randy Orton face turn really works, the fact he gets huge pops shows that audiences are wanting a different type of hero, one who encompasses moral ambiguity. It's a start, and I really hope that Wade Barrett turns face in a smilar way after his feud with Cena ends. Elsewhere, TNA is actually doing better; it's successfully pulled off an effective face turn for Mr Anderson, which means that, alongside Jeff Hardy and RVD, there are actually faces there I can mark for.

But I'm sure it's easier to create heels than faces. Aside from the relatively modern cultural examples cited in the original post, you can go back centuries and find the same rules holding. Ben Jonson's 'Volpone', a play from the early 17th century, makes the point that crooks and fraudsters are intrinsically more interesting because of their deviousness and ingenuity (think Edge in his 'ultimate opportunist' mode, back in his Vicky Guerrero-dating glory days). By comparison, the good guys just stand there, glowing in their moral righteousness. Where's the drama?
 

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Short answer: Technically, if someone is cheered when they are supposed to be a heel, then point blank, they suck as a heel. A good heel should be able to get most people to boo him. That's why cool heels are bad because technically they are not doing their job if they are getting cheered. And usually people cheer the cool heel.
 

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Chris Jericho is the best current example of that. His heel character is a raging douchebag and megalomaniac. I should want to boo him not just out the building, but off of planet Earth.

But I've liked him since he was in the friggin' WCW Cruiserweight Division and I like him now.

If a face is so good and perfect he becomes boring. Thats why Cena flipping out on Darren Young was a great thing. Its the first thing I've seen him do in months that was out of his American Fuckin' Perfection mold, and that has me interested.
 

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Short answer: Technically, if someone is cheered when they are supposed to be a heel, then point blank, they suck as a heel. A good heel should be able to get most people to boo him. That's why cool heels are bad because technically they are not doing their job if they are getting cheered. And usually people cheer the cool heel.
Yeah, and about 3 decades ago Super Heroes were supposed to be the shining paragons of morality, who were absolutely faultless and immaculate, and villains were supposed to be campy, clearly evil punching bags. Then in the late 80's and into the 90's, the entire market shifted into the "Anti-Hero era", where heroes became ambiguous, and villains became credible. Which, I might add, created a boom period for the comic industry.

Going into movies, there's this wonderful quote from Bruce Willis: "Any story where you have good guys versus bad guys can only be as smart as the intelligence of your baddest guy". Which, looking at the success of virtually all action movies, is completely true. The more memorable the villain is, the better the movie ends up being. Just ask Hannibal Lecter, Terminator or the Joker.

In short: If you're telling your audience how things are supposed to be, instead of playing to what the crowd wants, you're doing it seriously wrong. Wrestling isn't about "heels" vs "faces". It's about entertaining the crowd and drawing in the audiences.
 

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Short answer: Technically, if someone is cheered when they are supposed to be a heel, then point blank, they suck as a heel. A good heel should be able to get most people to boo him. That's why cool heels are bad because technically they are not doing their job if they are getting cheered. And usually people cheer the cool heel.
That is bullshit. People cheer interesting characters. It just so happens that in WWE's eyes the faces should now be one dimensional Mary Sues who fight for truth, justice, and merchandising. They should honestly just have power suits because they're basically Power Rangers. This causes the heels to compensate by normally having at least some semblance of character. Also, your reasoning is circular.
 

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well isn't it the faces' job to be cool??

i mean i know guys are told what their characters are but it also on them to improvise. what makes me like guys like cm punk and the miz is how they interact with the fans and how they're able to improvise on some situations. you think punk or miz is told to roll their eyes or pretend to not care when a face is talking?? no, they do it on their own.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yeah, and about 3 decades ago Super Heroes were supposed to be the shining paragons of morality, who were absolutely faultless and immaculate, and villains were supposed to be campy, clearly evil punching bags. Then in the late 80's and into the 90's, the entire market shifted into the "Anti-Hero era", where heroes became ambiguous, and villains became credible. Which, I might add, created a boom period for the comic industry.

Going into movies, there's this wonderful quote from Bruce Willis: "Any story where you have good guys versus bad guys can only be as smart as the intelligence of your baddest guy". Which, looking at the success of virtually all action movies, is completely true. The more memorable the villain is, the better the movie ends up being. Just ask Hannibal Lecter, Terminator or the Joker.

In short: If you're telling your audience how things are supposed to be, instead of playing to what the crowd wants, you're doing it seriously wrong. Wrestling isn't about "heels" vs "faces". It's about entertaining the crowd and drawing in the audiences.
I was going to respond but this pretty much summed it up.
 

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Very good post

The fact that faces are not as over as they use to be is because there gimmicks are boring and targetted towards kids. The heels in the WWE seem much cooler as most of them they are actually interesting, charismatic characters.
 

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You don't want a cool heel stealing a faces thunder and cheers.
 

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I think the bigger problem here is that the heels can't be cool because they are seen as inferior. The Heels never go over clean, barely ever look dominant and arent taken seriously while the faces are made to be mile above the heels in charisma and ability.
 
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