There is something that has always bothered me even in my mark days that I have never been able to work out and seeing C M Punk get a heel turn plus a youtube viewing of the RAW match Two Man Power Trip vs. The Chris's has just brought it back to the forefront of my thoughts. Why do heels have to be cowards? I'm sure some have not been and being a casual smark I'm also sure there is a whole slew of history in wrestling that I am missing where this is not true but so many times my enjoyment of wrestling has been hampered by this. Some pull it off as more of an in ring strategy then a personality trait such as Flair and Jericho, but when Stone Cold turned heel at Wrestlemania 17 I was excited to see a more ass kicking Austin that played by even less rules. What I actually got was Austin turned coward who ran away from fights. Same thing with Undertaker during the beginning of the Ministry storyline, who again I was excited for a more evil Undertaker but what I got instead was Undertaker ducking out of the ring when a face wrestler came in after him. The characters were total badass's just a day ago and now they are running away? Yeah I know I'm looking for logic in wrestling, but all this seems to do is hurt the characters and the storyline.
The three biggest matches that I was the most excited for in my Wrestling fandom would have to be, Hogan Vs Warrior WM 6, Bret Vs. Shawn WM 12 and Austin Vs. Rock WM 17. Not counting the endings all of these matches were built on the fact that they were not only two opponents that would not run away from a fight but that they were two faces and you had no idea who would win or even who should win. Plus it was just exciting to argue with your buddies who were fans of the guy you weren't. Hearing the crowds split down the middle is also very cool! (I suppose you could put Rock and Cena on this list as well, though it didn't personally interest me.) Also in recent history and if you make storylines out of UFC I would call Silva VS Sonnen a heel vs. heel match as both are complete assholes. I don't care for either guy but I was excited for the match because I wanted to see who was going to be the bigger badass and I was happy to know at least one asshole was going to get the hell beat out of them.
Even if your going to do a heel vs face match isn't it more exciting when the heel is perceived as unstoppable such as the Lesnar/Cena extreme rules match?
Bringing me back to the current WWE why must CM Punk be booed? Why can't he be a late 90's Stone cold type that does not play by the rules! For a company that is trying to recapture the past you think they would merely slot Punk into the same Austin storylines! I mean it's sports entertainment right? In sports which are very popular around the world, there are not bad guys and good guys just competitors, you don't see sports league making you hate one team over another and generally the teams that are hated the most are the good teams.
So just why Scott, why does the heel almost always have to be a coward and why does there almost always have to be heel vs face matches when in my opinion the biggest most hyped matches are face vs face?
-J. Ryan Buck
The whole cowardly heel thing is very much a Vince-ism, I think due to a feeling on his part that strong heels don't draw. Which is of course ridiculous given that Vince himself was one of the strongest heels they ever had, albeit one who always showed ass when it came time for the babyface to get his revenge. I think there's also the psychological aspect with Vince where he doesn't think that anyone smaller than him can be believable as a badass, so therefore they must be a huge coward. That being said, I don't mind the dynamic most of the time, and CM Punk is a spectacularly good weasel heel, so with him it works. However, the problem is when EVERYONE is a coward, because then you don't have any strong heels to oppose your two babyface World champions. Thankfully they're not going in that direction with Cesaro thus far, so there's hope there. And Orton was showing signs of escaping that trap a couple of years ago, but then HHH made him look like a fool at every turn and undermined that.
Also, face v. face rarely works, because you're basically splitting the audience, and in the end one of them has to lose unless you want to book a draw, so the fans are going to be backing a loser either way they go. It worked with Warrior v. Hogan because that was a particular dynamic that couldn't really be duplicated again, plus the idea was supposed to be Hogan leaving for a while anyway. Plus, let's face it, pro wrestling has been based on heel v. face for the past 100-plus years now. It just works better that way.