Heel Or Face: It’s All About Entertainment For WWE Fans


The struggle between good versus evil has always been an overarching theme within pro wrestling and the WWE. There’s always been good guys versus bad guys, and in the past the lines have been clearly drawn in the sand. WWE’s Attitude Era changed all that to some extent, with tweener characters in “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, Mankind, and Undertaker, where audiences thrilled and accepted that bad guy as good at times. As the PG Era rolled through, we saw those babyfaces and heels define themselves once again along the same lines as the Golden Age of wrestling. The similarities between the likes of the John Cena and Hulk Hogan characters are endless.

Now that the Reality Era is in full swing and social media buzzes, along with reality television, we get a sneak peak of the performers behind their personas; older fans, and the younger generation alike, build connections with superstars more based on admiration and respect, versus their face heel personas. We get that they are playing a character. We’ve known this for a while, but social media, in real-time truly impacts this idea on a grander level.

The Miz is a fine example of a blurred bad guy. He’s a heel alright; however, his work in recent years has garnered respect amongst adult fans, male and female, due to the entertainment value he’s brought forth to both brands he’s been on. He gets booed when he comes out on the mic, but certainly gains a positive reaction when his music hits initially. That glorious pop that all superstars try to reach for. In many ways, it is the true brass ring for sports entertainers.

We also have Bray Wyatt, positioned as a cult-like leader heel, he still has a swarm of fire-fly supporters whenever he enters an arena; despite his evil doings.

Kevin Owens is another strong heel who, despite not holding any championships on SmackDown as of late, continues to dominate air time within the show via openers, matches, main events, and backstage segments along with recent BFF, Sami Zayn. They are heels, but let’s face it, people want to see them because they simply entertain.

Then there’s Samoa Joe, and to go one step further, his storyline with Roman Reigns and (somewhat) Jason Jordan. Joe is a bonefide heel that receives a wonderful reception every time he enters that squared circle. When an entire arena is chanting your name, you know you’ve done something right. He’s connect with the fans, heel or not, because he entertains. Meanwhile Jordan is a face and seems to be feeling the same love that Roman Reigns once (and still does, to some extent) experiences: a lacked connection with main roster fans, post-Kurt Angle is your daddy story.

This article was originally intended to relay an idea that this may be an opportunity to turn Samoa Joe, The Miz, Jason Jordan, etc. Alas, I decided against it. Why? Perhaps instead of shifting towards labelling WWE characters, I began to think about a concept of true character development. Why do some fans connect with Joe? Because they know his story. They know his character and they feel drawn to it. He can be a bad guy, but his past stories have told a tale as to why he is the way he is. He let’s be known through every backstage segment, promo, and with in-ring performance. Heel or no heel, he entertains and that is where the true connection lies.

So, while there are days I long for those solid lines of face and heel, the one thing I do like about today’s WWE platform is the fact that fans connect to superstars who give them what they want. No one is telling them who to cheer for or boo; we all have a voice and a choice. A story is told and while some can see the face side of things, it is a beautiful wonder that others can also see the heel side.

Sure, the lines are blurred a lot at times and if an outside fan, who’s fallen out of touch with the business since that Golden Age of WWE were to watch RAW or SmackDown nowadays, they may be confused. I know some of my friends constantly ask questions when seeing an audiences’ reaction during a WWE program, with comments like, “I thought Roman Reigns was a good guy?”

“Well, he is, but he isn’t; it’s complicated,” is something I find myself saying a lot.

However, it is the evolution of the idea behind what motivates these characters and their opponents that produces solid storylines and programs that keep loyal fans, and entertained.

Dorathy's been an avid fan of the WWE and sports entertainment since she was a small child. She attended... More about Dorathy Gass

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