Is Wrasslin' Beyond Good And Evil?

Corbin Macklin


Recently, I saw Cody Rhodes on the twitter saying that he believed the industry was beyond babyfaces and heels. In my novice opinion, that's exactly why wrestling can't consistently draw the interest and money it did in times past. Most people do not know that professional wrestlers used to earn more money than athletes in real sports! Nowadays on the high end a wrestler might get around five million. That's an average salary for a jabroni in the major sports! Back in the day Bruno Sammartino was stunting on hoes with his Rolls Royce. Now Roman Reigns isn't making the money that top superstars do in real sports. I believe this is because fans can't invest in the characters the way they used to do.

I listen to a lot of clips of Jim Cornette's podcasts on YouTube. I have heard him say, on many occasions, his goal as a heel manager was to start the most riots and get people to attempt to stab him. And, the fans knew the business was a work. So, it's not that the marks believed in the babyfaces because of ignorance. The marks legit loved the babyfaces and wanted to maim the heels. Nowadays, if a heel tries to get out of a match by countout or disqualification, fans take to twitter or their blog to cry about the booking. Wrestling fans now are so smart they have become stupid, in my opinion. You're so "smart" you can see through what happened in the first match of a prolonged feud to know that it was to set up a future match, but instead of wanting to see the babyface get revenge on the heel, you want the heel to win clean, which garners no heat and weakens the babyface who loses fair and square. Or, you want the face to go over on the heel. Then it's kind of like... why are we doing the next match?

I recently asked my best friend: has there ever been a better storyline/build than "The Mega Powers Explode"? He was silent for a long time before agreeing there has not been. Then I asked, and answered for him: will there ever be a better storyline/build in wrestling? The answer is no. The reason, at least in WWE, is... imagine Vince not rewriting television and changing his mind 1785375093 times for a feud to take a YEAR to develop. Nowadays you get things like Jericho and KO's fake friendship that lasted for a few months before they feuded over the United States belt. It's amazing to me that they can't do anything to top something a good 30 years old.

Jim Cornette also likes to point out that boxing and MMA do old wrestling hype to garner interest in big bouts. I was telling my best friend how crazy it was that Mayweather and McGregor went on a literal world tour to cut promos calling each other gay slurs and epithets. They had the fight. And then, as is typical of today, after drawing a ton of money from the idea that they hated each other and folk HAD to see what would happen, they spoke of respect. Killing any interest in a rematch. Anyway... wrestling nowadays kills interest in seeing matches. You get to see the same people fight in tag matches on tv. Sometimes they even give away the match on the last tv before the ppv!

It's a shame what they did to Muhammad Hassan. That guy had nuclear heat. The TV network was breathing threats. If I was Vince, I would have kept doing what he was doing to get that heat. That kind of heat drives business. Back in the day, Andy Kaufman had folk calling the tv stations threatening to shoot people and burn down the building if they kept showing him beating up women and cutting those promos. Jerry Lawler had the good sense to keep it going. And now, fans who know, still regard that feud as an example of how you can get over as a heel to the point that people want to pay money to see you finally get beat up.

Nowadays, fans say dumb things like "they need to turn Roman Reigns heel so people can like him". That is dumb, because it defeats the purpose of a heel turn. People shouldn't BE turning heel and face every other year. It makes the turn pointless. I know that people hated The Rock before his turn, and were indifferent to New Day before they turned, but, generally the POINT of being heel is that people don't like you and they want to see you lose. If you are watching the heel hoping they always beat up the babyface, my friend, you miss most of the magic of wrestling.

I like to say that, if fans of other media were like wrestling fans, you'd get people trying to break the Superman character by having him turn from a guy who tries to hold back his strength and not hurt people too badly, into a ruthless killer. Folk would turn Captain America into the head Nazi. All the cool villains would turn babyface. The comic business would go to hell to the point where more people USED to read comics than currently do. Wait. It did. Anyway... wrestling needs to have villains you DESPISE. Maybe not to the point where marks are trying to hit the ring and attempt felonies on them, but at the least, you're not chanting for them and singing along with them! This wrestling we're getting now is a sad shadow of what it used to be.