The WWE's New "Dick/Heel" Dynamic


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For as long as there has been a story to tell in the wrestling ring, the face/heel dynamic has been in full force.

First, you have the Face. The "good guy." The one who the crowd is supposed to root for. The one who comes to the ring and thanks the crowd for being there and tells them how happy he is to be in their city. He plays by the rules and respects his opponents.

Then, you have the Heel. The designated "bad guy." He berates the home crowd and is always lying, cheating and otherwise playing dirty.

This dynamic has been around since "the business" as we know it has existed. It makes for easy booking and helps the crowd more easily identify who they are supposed to be rooting for. With the relatively rare exceptions of Tweeners and anti-hero Faces (such as Stone Cold Steve Austin), who engage in typical heel behaviors, yet are cheered for it, this dynamic is simple.

Simple... until recently however.

Since around the time of this most recent WrestleMania, I've been back to following wrestling. During this time, I've noticed a disturbing trend.

For example, try this experiment:

Imagine you have never witnessed anything related to pro wrestling before in your life. You tune into the opening segment of last night's (Dec. 10) episode of Monday Night Raw and watch Dolph Ziggler deliver a promo from atop his ladder, only to be interrupted by Sheamus and then Big Show. After watching this segment, imagine if you are then asked to identify who the "bad guy" is in this scenario.

There is a very good chance your answer will be the pale, red-headed "fella" who pushed another guy off of his ladder for no apparent reason.

Imagine, then, your surprise when you are informed that not only is this "Sheamus" guy not the villain here, but he's supposed to be the "good guy" appealing to children everywhere on this "family show"!

It's your classic "bully at the beach kicking over the smaller, weaker kid's sand castle" scenario. You have Dolph Ziggler up there on his ladder giving his speech and not hurting anyone, only to have him interrupted by a bigger, stronger guy who proceeds to ruin everything Dolph was trying to do.

Maybe your parents were heeling it up during your childhood, but mine told me it was never okay to start a fight. It was okay for me to defend myself, but I was never to strike the first blow. Here, in the 2012 WWE Universe, we have the supposed "role model" good guys doing just that.

Perhaps, you are sitting there right now saying "DarkTalon, Sheamus is just Irish and Irish people love to fight! He's still a good guy because he smiles and tells jokes!" Aside from the obvious issue I have with that logic reinforcing age-old ethnic stereotypes (which is another HUGE problem in the WWE, one which I'm not even going to get into here), this is hardly an isolated incident.

In fact, nearly every face on the upper part of the WWE roster engages in this bullying behavior.

For another prominent example, let us rewind a few weeks to Dolph Ziggler (apparently the most bullied man on the roster) speaking negatively about supposed babyface John Cena and his ladyfriend AJ. (You might better recall this as the night John Cena "injured" his knee, which has barely been mentioned since then.)

Dolph is in the ring speaking when Cena comes out to strike the first blow against him. Let me repeat that: Dolph was talking, so Cena hit him.

Let us try another experiment, shall we?

Imagine this time, you are back in middle school, another kid says something you don't like -- it doesn't matter what -- only that you retaliate by punching him square in the face. Now, you're sitting in the principal's office explaining yourself. Do you think you are going to be in any less trouble because your argument is that the other kid was saying something you didn't like?

Of course not. You "started" the fight when you took that swing.

Remember the whole "sticks and stones" rhyme? Well, the WWE apparently does not. This is how far removed from the real world logic utilized by reasonable human beings #WWELogic has become.

It's yet another example of the WWE wanting to have it's cake and eat it too with the PG Era. The programming has been made to appeal to younger fans, who are notorious for modeling themselves after famous athletes and entertainers. The WWE promotes its anti-bullying work on a constant basis, yet allows its own designated "good guys" to engage in bullying whenever they please, as long as it is against the designated "bad guys".

The only difference between the faces and heels in the current era of the WWE, is that this bullying behavior is tolerated, celebrated even, when performed by a "face", yet reviled when performed by a heel.

When Sheamus pushed Dolph from that ladder, it was expected that he would elicit cheers from the audience and glowing praise in the commentary. If the situation had been reversed, it would have been considered a despicable act, by a notorious heel in Dolph Ziggler, against a beloved face in Sheamus.

That is why I'm proposing we recognize this shift in the face/heel dynamic by relabeling "face" as "dick." Because, when you are performing heelish acts, while being applauded by those in charge, you are being a dick.

I can only suspend my disbelief so much WWE. If I ever have kids, I'm going to point to the acts being performed by your so-called "faces" and instructing my kids to never behave in such a way. Is this really the message you wish to continue broadcasting to your targeted youthful audience?

"Do as we say, not as we do" indeed.

Editor's Note: This FanPost has been proofed, lightly edited and promoted to the front page as well as other sections of Cageside Seats for your enjoyment, Cagesiders. Write up one of your own and maybe we can do you the same honor. Enjoy! This one is a great read.

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