Fellow Cagesiders, I've already written a post on my first experience at Raw. Let me say it again here for those of you who didn't read the post: WWE puts on a helluva show and I'm so glad I went.
However, there's one thing that I noticed about myself and my cousin as we took in the show: our zealous support of the "bad guys" and the reactions to that support. We cheered for Dolph against RKO because we both realize that RKO is boring and one-dimensional and Dolph should be on that next level. They had a helluva match and we gave them both props in the end, but we were in the vocal minority while cheering for Ziggler.
The same thing happened with the Cena/Del Rio match, though the anti-Cena group was much more vocal. We were near a lot of kids, which led to a lot of them peeking around at us throughout the night with a look that said "WTF is wrong with you?!?!? He's THE MAN!". Trust me, I was thinking the same thing about the good guys when I was their age and I totally get Cena's role model status for kids. But then we grow up and become aware of the world around us.
Don't ask me when or how this happened but, like most of you, I stopped caring so much about the "good guy/bad guy" dynamic and started caring more about critically analyzing the performer and story. Perhaps since I've grown up and experienced more than a 9-year-old, I realized that the world is so much more complex than a simple "good vs bad" narrative. Whatever it was, part of me knew (or at least hoped) that the kids who zealously cheered for Cena and Orton would expand their horizons and question them more as they mature.
This should resonate with many of you because I shamelessly rooted for Goldberg as a kid even though I've come to discover that he was just OK in some areas and highly dangerous to work on many occasions. All this while I hated Bret Hart's bad guy persona in WCW, after never seeing him in the then-WWF and his superstar-level draw. Not to mention me hating the annoying jerk that was "Lionheart" Chris Jericho while not appreciating how great of a performer he was then. That doesn't mean I won't get a little nostalgic for Goldberg at times, but I can now see his faults when I once thought he was perfect.
It's been said here before, but a lot of wrestlers do better as heels and I can totally understand why. Things get more interesting when you're a bad guy and a great performer can personify bad in a greater variety than good. Nobody likes a show off who brags about his skills, or an angsty guy who kicks a loveable old announcer, or a dude who brags about how rich he is. Why? Because you want to prove those people wrong and tear them down. You can only be good in so few ways, like being a wholesome American hero, a guy who rises above adversity, or someone who likes to share the good time with others.
Perhaps that's the big pitfall of the PG Era, that once those Cena-supporting kids grow up a bit, they might not care so much about SuperCena the good guy. Maybe they'll see more C.M. Punk in them and want to switch sides. Only problem is that he's become kind of stale lately, thus they might not have anyone else who resonates with them and their experiences.
Either way, rooting for the "bad" guy is typically much more fun now because he's usually a damn good performer and much more interesting. That's not to say that rooting for the good guy is a bad choice, but rather a difference in expression and our motivations. I just hope that future generations will have a better variety of characters to choose from when they start to watch so they'll get more out of the good vs bad struggle.