It’s happened before and it seems to be happening again. Wrestling is a very cyclical industry and the industry has reached a point in its cycle where the heroes have become the villains and the villains are seemingly becoming the heroes. The past 10 years in wrestling (more specifically WWE) have given birth to cookie cutter good guys which pander to the crowd and always do the right thing but is that the type of hero the audience wants? If you listen to recent reactions from live crowds it doesn’t seem to be what the crowd wants at all.

It doesn’t take long after tuning into shows like Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown to notice that the fans love the bad guys. The WWE Universe is singing along with Bray Wyatt, chanting for Bad News Barrett and cheering for Cesaro while they continue to boo stars like John Cena, stay silent for Big E and give a mixed reaction to Sheamus.

Why is it that the good guys have a hard time getting love from the WWE Universe? The biggest problem is that good guys just aren’t that easy to relate to anymore. They say that the best superstars are the ones whose television character is an extension of their personality, something that comes naturally. It often feels too much like the good guys who always do the right thing are trying too hard to be something they’re not.

Sheamus made his debut on the WWE main roster as a heel and after years of tearing through everyone in his path the fans started to get behind him because they loved his aggression and smash mouth style. Fast forward a few years later and he gets a mixed reaction at best despite the fact that he’s great in the ring, because from a character standpoint he might as well be telling fans to say their prayers and eat their vitamins.

John Cena is another great example. Cena was getting some of the loudest ovations in years right around the time he hit the main event. His character was great, it was something new and fresh and above all else it was entertaining. John Cena was edgy and he was the guy everyone wanted to cheer for but it quickly became a bait and switch scenario. Shortly after winning the title Cena went from edgy rapper character to the super wholesome face of the PG Era. The fans quickly let him know that this was not what they wanted and this was not the character they had invested in.

If you look at history anti-heroes are the ones who have made the biggest impact. Steve Austin is arguably the most popular WWE superstar of all time and if you look at his personality he was basically a heel. Same thing with The Rock. He was one of of the most popular stars ever and he was such a good bad guy that the crowd forced him into being a good guy. Even after making the turn not much changed about his personality.

The recent turn of The Shield is a perfect example of how to do this the right way. The Shield are getting one of the loudest pops on the WWE roster right now and the only thing that’s changed about them is their opponents. The Shield has maintained just about every aspect of their heel personalities and now they’re three of the top faces in the industry but at the same time they’re still quite edgy. They still triple powerbomb people which is pretty much and do other things that heels do but people absolutely love it.

The point we’re trying to make here is that the good guys don’t always have to be good. The fans want stars they can look up to, stars they can idolize and people that they think are cool. Edgy is in. It always has been and it always will be.


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