SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
(The following is a guest editorial submitted by Marshall Bailey of Houston, Tex. You can submit a guest editorial for consideration to be published: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Hurts doesn’t it? The man you hate is now the man you are SUPPOSED to boo. If there is anything wrestling fans hate more these days, its being told what to do. A friend of mine recently said he does not like the new Heel Reigns, and he will continue to boo him despite the change.
To which I responded, “Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?”
I was met with a blank stare followed by a list of Reign’s faults.
Culture has evolved to the point where in wrestling its no longer a matter of Face vs. Heel. More so, its entertaining vs. boring.
But there is a sneaky little fact missing from the equation: The audience knows too much.
Since we know Reigns is a company favorite, we are conditioned to rebel. Sometimes it is because there are other wrestlers we would rather see. Or, maybe just maybe, we do not like Vince pushing wrestlers down our throats.
Let us take a journey in a time machine, shall we? It is now 1999, front row at WrestleMania XV. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is heading to the ring to take on the corporate shill, The Rock. Vince McMahon is in the Rock’s corner. Mankind would eventually arrive in Stone Cold’s corner. Chances are you were one of the fans cheering for Stone Cold and booing the Rock. It was all too obvious that McMahon wanted the Rock to retain and screw over Stone Cold. But most importantly, fans wanted McMahon to lose.
That is the key. Fans want McMahon to lose. Stone Cold wins the title, we cheer, and McMahon has egg on his face.
Well, not really. McMahon still won. He got your money, your eyes, and even if you do not realize it, you played right into the script.
Fast forward to 2020. Smackdown. Roman Reigns has returned after a long absence after spearing his way into the main event picture once again. Everyone assumes Face Reigns is back. We are ready to boo him to spite Vince McMahon. Just like in 1999, McMahon is still the enemy. He is keeping us from seeing the product we want. In 1999, we wanted Stone Cold as champion. In 2020, we want someone other than Reigns as champion. So, we boo the Face to show our displeasure with the storyline.
But Paul Heyman is there. Oh, Reigns is Heel now?
“Oh… Well, we are going to boo him anyway! That’ll show him.”
Yeah, that strategy really worked for 2005 and Triple H’s endless title runs.
But now I look back fondly at Triple H’s dominance of Raw. We could have had Scott Steiner and Goldberg as long-term champions instead? Yuck.
Strong heels are best for business. Because if you do not like what they do? Great! Boo them! If you do not like the attention they receive, then also great! Continue to boo them! Want to cheer for them? Go ahead! Then he becomes that “edgy” face everyone is waiting on.
Looking at you, Kevin Owens
Worked well for Drew McIntyre.
Remember fans, there is no shame in playing into the script. There is a reason WWE and McMahon have stuck around for so long. Remember when Impact was a major player? Well now Jeff Jarrett is in the WWE Hall of Fame and honestly forgot who TNA world champion is currently.
You wanted to boo Roman Reigns. Now you can! Do not stop just because its what we are SUPPOSED to do! We begged for Heel Cena and never got him back. Let us enjoy Heel Reigns. He might even turn into someone you want to cheer.
And if he does, Vince McMahon wins yet again. It is just good business.