WWE: The Age of Cool Heels


Is there no place for a pure babyface in the present day WWE anymore?

WWE is undergoing a metamorphosis over the course of the new era. Not only do we see more and more indie stars who don’t have the prototypical WWE star look, we also witness more stars from other promotions eventually getting treated as respected veterans of the game. Finn Balor could be cited as the best example of the former. AJ Styles and Samoa Joe would be examples for the latter case.

One thing that has changed along with this is the fan’s taste for the cool and revolting figures. Heels like Kevin Owens and Bray Wyatt get loud reactions more often than not. At times, the cheers they get could envy even Roman Reigns. Reigns is the face of the company and is the most generic and bland babyface on the roster. Despite being a face, the crowd loves to boo him everywhere he goes.

Therein lies the question. Is there no place for a pure babyface anymore? On a closer examination, one could identify the trend exists beyond Reigns. Stars like Bayley at the top order and Apollo Crews at the very bottom are victims to this trend.

Alexa Bliss had the fans in the palm of her hand with a scathing promo on Bayley. The do-good babyface character of the Raw Women’s champion stood no chance against Bliss in this segment. The crowd loves to embrace those cool heels much more than the pure heroic babyface. This trend could be the birth of an eventual new trend in the world of pro-wrestling. Even when AJ Styles was still a heel, the crowd roared for him at every turn. Perhaps there is a bit of truth to this.

The very fans who boo Roman Reigns used to chant ‘Roman Reigns’ back in the days of the Shield. One time, the crowd would erupt the moment Reigns shushed Triple H. All he had to say was ‘Get in the ring and fight’. That was all it took to get a good reaction for Reigns. Whereas now, no matter what he says or does, the fans would boo relentlessly. Perhaps, WWE should take a page out of their own book and rethink Reigns’ creative strategy.

The problem does not end with Reigns or Bayley. Apollo Crews is a smiling athletic babyface on Raw. Back in the 80’s, that is all you would need to be a champion. But in 2017, the fans still have not accepted him. WWE needs to work these characters into an edgier form eventually. The fans would continue to reject bland babyfaces in the long run.

Next: Has WWE Held Back Finn Balor Since Raw Return?

Perhaps the one exception to this rule could be Sami Zayn. Zayn could be referred to as the sheer definition of a babyface. Yet the fans love to cheer for him. However, Sami isn’t another smiling do-good babyface. Beyond his character lies an ability to eventually connect with the crowd. Reigns and Bayley and most other babyfaces lack that ability.