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JRH

WWE has become a heel-run promotion

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Since the 1960s, the WWF/E was traditionally a promotion where the faces dominated for the most part. Yet lately, it seems like the WWE has now become a promotion where the heels are dominant (just look at the title scene : https://www.wwe.com/superstars. Only Bianca is a full-on face. ). Why have they decided to go this route? It's not like it's going to get them any new fans, if anything, it may turn some of them off by constantly seeing faces destroyed by heels (the whole dominant heel champ thing that the NWA did was pretty much due to necessity with the whole traveling champ thing). 

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HHH started it with his reign of doom in 2003. Then Batista and Cena went back to face dominant runs. The 2010s was mostly heels running it though: Punk, Orton, AJ and of course, Brock.

Considering there's no more PPVs to worry about and that ratings are what they are, this wouldn't be that big of deal if WWE wouldn't make it their mission to fuck over any babyface that gets any momentum. Oh well...

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Hmmm, I can see the argument, but we did get a lengthy Drew McIntyre run, a lenghty Io Shirai run, and a considerably long Kofi Kingston run, all as top champs.

I guess they are trying more than usual to some resemblance of dominant faces, but indeed the overall picture shows a heel-heavy lineup of champs.

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Beyond that, the heels are the ones who form factions and look out for each other while the babyfaces are only in it for themselves. I don't know if it's Ayn Rand Kool-Aid seeping into the booking or what, but it surely plays a role in WWE's inability to get babyfaces over.

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NXT has been awful about this. I think faces have had 3 months with the belt in the last several years and now heels are beating heels for it. 

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8 hours ago, KawadaSmile said:

Hmmm, I can see the argument, but we did get a lengthy Drew McIntyre run, a lenghty Io Shirai run, and a considerably long Kofi Kingston run, all as top champs.

Kofi had the secondary belt and he lost it as soon as they decided to switch Brock to Smackdown. 

The trend indeed started with Hunter. I think the bigger issue though is that they seem to have forgotten how to book badass main event faces. Drew is an exception, but even his reign got repetitive and tedious at times. As soon as a face gets over and reaches the main event level, WWE books them to start losing again and again until their momentum gets killed. I guess this is inevitable when they have booked the promotion itself as the heel for the past decade. 

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I'm sure they'd love to have their next John Cena by now, but they don't grow on trees.  Compound that with their awful booking and you get what we get.  A generally shitty product.

You've also got the weirdness of the way they market to kids with a product that I don't think is super kid friendly, but then again it's not super adult friendly either.  The half-in/half-out style of the promotion is just weird and it leads to weird characters with odd motivations

Apparently Bray Wyatt and Alexa Bliss, ostensibly satan worshipers who transport between dimensions doing evil shit, are supposed to be babyfaces.  Whatever.

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Yeah since around 2013 the company has pushed the promotion as the main heel and the wrestlers pathetically have to go up against the system. Some weird dystopian/libertarian amalgamation 

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8 minutes ago, MoS said:

Kofi had the secondary belt and he lost it as soon as they decided to switch Brock to Smackdown. 

The trend indeed started with Hunter. I think the bigger issue though is that they seem to have forgotten how to book badass main event faces. Drew is an exception, but even his reign got repetitive and tedious at times. As soon as a face gets over and reaches the main event level, WWE books them to start losing again and again until their momentum gets killed. I guess this is inevitable when they have booked the promotion itself as the heel for the past decade. 

Spent a decade booking the boss(es) as heels, then just changed over to the promotion as a whole being a heel. Really pretty bizarre when you think about it. Has any other company really done that? 

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23 minutes ago, cm funk said:

I'm sure they'd love to have their next John Cena by now, but they don't grow on trees. 

Ryback has an interesting anecdote that after claiming he could be the next John Cena Triple H bluntly told him that WWE doesn't want another John Cena and that Cena's the last marquee name WWE will ever have. The business model now is that WWE The Brand is supposed to be the draw, not any individual star.

7 hours ago, Mad Dog said:

NXT has been awful about this. I think faces have had 3 months with the belt in the last several years and now heels are beating heels for it. 

What's most peculiar is that 2013-16 period where NXT really grew and became a hot show it was super babyface heavy. Look at acclaimed shows like Takeover: R-Evolution and Takeover: Brooklyn from 2014 and 2015, the babyfaces won EVERY SINGLE match. When is the last time that ever happened on a WWE PPV?

Of course, once NXT started to get more integrated and became  the 'third brand' it became a heel territory as well.

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I wonder if part of it has been the reactions to Cena/Roman over the years where they'd rather just put heels on top of everything so if the fans are going to boo, they're going to boo the guy they're supposed to.

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24 minutes ago, Kadaveri said:

Ryback has an interesting anecdote that after claiming he could be the next John Cena Triple H bluntly told him that WWE doesn't want another John Cena and that Cena's the last marquee name WWE will ever have. The business model now is that WWE The Brand is supposed to be the draw, not any individual star.

What's most peculiar is that 2013-16 period where NXT really grew and became a hot show it was super babyface heavy. Look at acclaimed shows like Takeover: R-Evolution and Takeover: Brooklyn from 2014 and 2015, the babyfaces won EVERY SINGLE match. When is the last time that ever happened on a WWE PPV?

Of course, once NXT started to get more integrated and became  the 'third brand' it became a heel territory as well.

The HHH thing is interesting.......but consider the source.  On no planet would Ryback have ever been the next John Cena.  Could have been a bigger star, sure, but not like that.  Kinda sounds like HHH letting the guy off lightly

I still contend they'd love to have another guy like Cena, while also to your point pushing the brand as the main draw.  It's kind of always been that way though.  Hogan was massive, Austin was massive, but they were always pushing the brand uber alles.  There's a reason the first thing most people in America and Canada think of when they think of rasslin is WWF/E

You actually can have it both ways, the big star gets the promotion over and vice versa, they've just got shockingly bad at getting babyfaces over with their audience.  And that's totally on them, because everyone the audience falls in love with they manage to either fuck up via bad booking or cool them off for no good reason

I can maybe see something to Vince not wanting anyone pulling power plays on him like big stars have done before.  Seemingly the only person he makes a real exception for is Brock.....but c'mon, I give him a pass on that, it's Brock F'n Lesnar.  A lot of the talent is getting fucked over hard by the promotion at this point

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3 minutes ago, cm funk said:

A lot of the talent is getting fucked over hard by the promotion at this point

The problem is that somehow Vince has created this environment about talent speaking out is a carnal sin. It's the main reason a lot of guys have the happy-to-be here mentality. 

And they will never find their next Cena, Rock, or Austin. The star-making machine is dead and has been that way for a long while.

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I think the problem is they are promoting the WWE Universe as the top heels aka the fans. Those annoying fans who wont just let Vince push who he wants to push. I'm sure Vince has been happy in recent years to have first the Saudis,  then Fox, and now Peacock to give him money so he hasnt had to worry as much about the fans as in the past.

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I'm listening to the B&V&C Mania recap and Vinny put over a Bianca post-Mania promo that she did online or on the network or something and said it was one of the best babyface promos ever

Bianca is def super likable, super impressive in-ring.......she has incredible potential to be a legit cross-over star.  I worry they're gonna mess it up, because they always do

But also, despite how not progressive WWE is in many ways, you have to give them credit for not only pushing women, but investing in the future with them.  They're getting top level college athletes because it's one of the few ways for women to make real money in that line of work.  As times go on, with progress in sports science and quite frankly progress in the quality and number of female athletes out there due to societal changes, that might be the best pipeline for young talent.  I'm a little worried that the NCCA pipeline is drying up.  Without Ross, and now Brisco......Meltzer made a really good point that a lot of amateur wrestling coaches are biased against pro-wrestling and you really need the right people and the right relationships in the future.  I don't know if Angle would be a good person for that, probably not, but they need someone.  Regal does a great job scouting for them IMO, but they also need someone to scout the amateurs and the other athletes. 

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2 hours ago, strobogo said:

I wonder if part of it has been the reactions to Cena/Roman over the years where they'd rather just put heels on top of everything so if the fans are going to boo, they're going to boo the guy they're supposed to.

 

I was thinking this as well. They were so freaked out by Cena and Roman getting booed they just started going with heels on top so it would look better to the general public/media

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I don't mean to blame everything on the man, but some of it has got to do with the rise of HHH as well. He spent most of his main event (poorly) cosplaying Harley Race and Ric Flair, and probably pushes for that model, even though it was a regional, territorial model completely out of place in today's wrestling - after all, most regional territories were anchored around babyfaces.

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I mean I guess but after Hunter's reign of terror there was a near 10 year Cena reign on top where he beat everyone pretty routinely and if he lost he immediately got his win back

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I meant in terms of him gaining power backstage. All of this shit started with The Authority after all 

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Oh the Authority was just brutal. That's where they really started chasing fans away. In hindsight the Authority felt like they were the main heel faction for a decade. Just never-ending and pointless. 

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As if we needed more examples:

WWE puts Priest in a what is supposed to be a star making WM performance with Bad Bunny.  Seemingly because they see star potential with him.  They follow it up the next night by having him lose to the F'n Miz of all people.

I know their logic, it doesn't hurt him because it was 2 on 1 and Maryse was there.  And that's fine in certain situations.  Not this one.  Priest shouldn't be losing at all right now, and shit like this is why nobody ever gains momentum

WWE booking 101 everybody

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Even when babyfaces are presented strongly and given lengthy title reigns, they invariably get the rug pulled out from under them and end up back where they started if not worse. Take Kofi, for example. After losing the belt, he went right back to throwing pancakes in the midcard without missing a beat. We're seeing the pattern repeat with Drew right now. After spending the better part of a year as a kick-ass babyface champion, he loses the title to The Miz, who up to that point had won zero singles matches in 2021 and only won two in 2020. Then he loses clean to Lashley at Mania and gets laid out by T-Bar the next night on Raw. He'll be feuding with Baron Corbin or Dolph Ziggler over the US title by Summerslam.

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See, I think WM was the ultimate proof of this. Since it was the first show back with people, logic would indicate that you have all the faces go over so the show has a "feel good" vibe. Instead, the majority of matches (including all but one title match) were won by heels.

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52 minutes ago, JRH said:

See, I think WM was the ultimate proof of this. Since it was the first show back with people, logic would indicate that you have all the faces go over so the show has a "feel good" vibe. Instead, the majority of matches (including all but one title match) were won by heels.

See, I would actually expect them to do the opposite of that. It's the same reason they job the hometown face all the fucking time.

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