If you have watched the WWE lately, you may have been confused with the line between good guys and bad guys. Just recently, the Big Show hoisted the always-informative Zeb Colter up to him, and was deliberating in his mind if he should strike him down with that massive fist or let him scurry back to the safety of his Real Americans.
The Big Show is no heel, but after hearing the audience yelling for it, he clocked the shaggy bearded leader and sprawled him out all over the ring. His short, pudgy body was dragged away while the giant made the stadium erupt in cheers. It is not normal behavior for a face to stoop to that level and hit a weakened old man, but this is being seen more and more lately under Vince McMahon.
It may have been a subtle observation, but this is also the way that the WWE is going to operate going forward.
He recently said in a meeting that he is trying to get rid of the philosophy of heels and faces. I guess what he has in mind is that the performer will base his decisions on the context and conditions around him. Instead of seeing everything in blaring white and pitch black, wrestling fans will be seeing grays in and out of the ring.
This possibly comes from the success of the antihero-driven shows such as Breaking Bad and the Good Wife where the line of morality is crossed frequently. This is an intriguing idea for wrestling, but how can the WWE pull this off when they aren’t developing characters anymore?
If they spend all their time crying about John Cena’s father getting struck again, how are we supposed to know how Cody Rhodes and Goldust would act after getting jumped? We haven’t seen one promo, one beyond-the-ring scene, or one announcement table visit from the tag team champions. They seem to be like those plush wrestling buddies, shaped crudely and lifeless. They are just one example, but I could name many more.
The only way McMahon’s vision will work is if there is a greater emphasis on building these wrestlers. Even after that, there is no way to eradicate good guys and bad guys. They are the main ingredients to every story. Morality plays an enormous role in wrestling, whether that vulture-looking heel McMahon likes it or not.