Since returning to wrestling fandom a few years ago, I’ve wondered why I always prefer watching heels versus baby-faces or tweeners.
This has been with me since childhood, when I always rooted for the ‘bad guys’ to triumph, even just momentarily, and was always left disappointed by their inevitable downfall. Part of me thinks I just like to be disappointed, but on a deeper level I think it’s my collectivist leanings that make me fall for the heels every time.
To explain, most of the wrestling I’m exposed to is written very much from a Western individualistic perspective. In our individualistic culture, the ideal baby-face stands on his/her own, wins by ‘out-working’ everyone, and doesn’t accept and/or need any help from anyone. Their achievements are just that: their own achievement. They owe absolutely nothing…to no one…and repeatedly remind you of it.
So maybe it’s being female, or maybe it’s that I’m from a more collectivist culture myself, but something about this lone wolf, solo champion stuff just doesn’t appeal to me.
For starters, it’s awfully lonely being a babyface champion. Not only does no one owe you anything, no one really likes you either. In general, babyface champions are arrogant, annoying, and at times downright nauseating. All of their solo achievements leave them vulnerable as victims to their own egoism. Just ask the former Shine champion, Santana, Wonder Woman personified, as she faced challenger after challenger. Still, no one was willing to come to her aid when heel hijinks ensued.
Heels on the other hand are collectivist by nature. They put each other over, collaborate to achieve shared goals, encourage and support one another, and are seemingly always willing to lend a devious hand.
Heel champions have no qualms about asking for help or using a little outside influence. The current Shine champion, Taylor Made, has certainly benefited from her collectivist instincts. After all, what are friends for? Heels often value group goal over individual pursuits, and will readily remove a member who has lost sight of the collective. A prime example of this being the beat down of Allysin Kay following her refusal to join the united Valkyrie and Valifornia alliance. Kay’s transition to babyface meant going out on her own…now with no allegiance to any group.
If being a ‘good’ guy has to involve standing on your own all the time, crowing loudly about how awesome you are, and refusing to ask for or accept any help…then count me out!
I‘ll stick with the heels who seem to get that a united pack, no matter how odd or weird the collective may seem, can accomplish a lot more than just one lonely wolf on a hill.