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Let's be real here, we can talk all we want about the guys that lack personality, but there is such a small range of personality between the guys who are lauded as to having personality to the point of being rediculous:

1. Cocky, arrogant heel thats pretentious. All non-monster heels may be cocky, but god, they are ALL so pretentious in the WWE. Its okay with ME competitors like CM Punk or Del Rio who come off as geniunely credible, but sheesh, every heel seems to have shades of this wheter justified or not. Everyone wants to mention the old days and how many characters there were, but seriously:

-Heels today all seem to be Hollywood-esque snobs who revel in being high status and being validated by said status. Midcard heels acting like this is especially annoying which WWE only gets away with because casual fans have interanlized the fact that WWE has no sense of cause and effect in regards to the supposedly credibility of a character and how it would relate to how the character carries himself when such a thing would be inconvient for management. Even Micheal Cole has shades of this (regularly tries to justify/moralize his jackassery).

-Heels back then were quirky, over the top jackasses who were comftorable with themselves and didn't need or want validation, they just pissed off the fans and the faces for enjoyments sake and liked to beat up other guys. Some heels were pretentiuos, but we had guys like Piper who was a raging lunatic as a main eventer. Its what I kind of like with heels in TNA like Bubba Ray, Flair, or even Generation Me even if I want none of them to be main eventing (Immortal of course ****ing sucks).


2. Faces are simply forced to conform to the standard that John Cena or another main event face set up. This is a problem pretty much because secondary characters (i.e. midcarders) should logically have more leeway for personalities because they aren't supposed to be the guys the audience has the highest expectations for. Derrick Bateman and Santino are the best examples of guys who got over by NOT confroming to the expectations of behavior associated with alpha male wrestlers. Its not really a bad thing to hold guys competing in the ME to be held to this however.

Half the problems associated with guys like Morrison, Bourne, Danielson, Kofi, etc. can be traced to this: they are reduced to non-entities because they struggle to conform to the ideal set by Cena (or alternatively Austin) instead of having the room to branch out and be different within the midcard. No one can really even blame them for supposed lack of personality because EVERY face aside from the aformentioned Santino and Bateman are forced on this limited track; its not like the sheer variety of personalities and characters from the attitude era exists presently. (This is not so say that those guys can be excused for being subpar characters, it means they can be excused for any notion of being subpar performers; not everyone fits into a single, specific mold).

3. You can easily see this by watching how characters interact with each other, through promos or in the ring. They only ever act differently when there is an overarching storyline going on; the guys don't ever act differently depending on which character they're interacing with when there is no external need for it. Orton is of course a prime example of this.




Its hard to call certain performers to task for lack of personality when most of the guys WITH personality fall into the same patterns on the show, individual oddball quirks excluded which goes against the idea of them having any real character.
 

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I think WWE is following the current trend in global media and entertainment in general.
If you stopped there, you would've had a point. ;)

I don't want to write an essay on this subject, but the WWE right now is trying to reflect popular culture. Pop culture today is vain, self-centered and shallow. It's focused on fame and driven by the faux-reality offered by social networks, reality television, celebrity news and 24/7 entertainment. Audiences no longer respond to "larger than life" characters, they live in a world where role models are regularly exposed as flawed human beings and any random person can achieve overnight fame on YouTube. Dr. Drew wrote a really good book on this whole trend in entertainment called "The Mirror Effect".

Basically, media has shifted from entertainment to "reality". No one can relate to a raging lunatic and society has become so infused with this 24/7 newsfeed "meta" mentality that most can't just step back and look at someone as an out-of-this-world character. They want to see them as people. Regular people that are just as vain, self-centered, shallow and fame obsessed as their douchebag friends. Then they want to go home and follow them on Twitter and see that same snarky, Generation Me (not the tag team 8*D) kind of attitude in their "real life" too. So we get left with the "Cocky Smirking Douchebag" heel template and the "Smiling Sarcastic Confident" face template.

tl;dr Vince McMahon is trying to stay relevant.
 
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