Baseball’s all time hits leader, all time home run king and one of the top five pitchers of all time. Pete Rose, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.
What do all three have in common? None will probably ever make it into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Rose’s gambling and Bonds’ and Clemens’ involvement in the steroid era take three baseball heroes and deny them access for fans to celebrate their careers in Cooperstown. In fact, the steroid era will make it hard for fans to trust prolific offensive numbers for a long time to come. Just see what happens when A-Rod gets close to Bonds’s record.
As I feed my one-year old son some cereal and I type in between bites, what will he have to cheer for? Look at a political world where every candidate, Congressman or President seems to be coated in a greasy batter of doubt, scandal and/or self-interest and it’s hard to imagine that he will ever look up to someone the quality of our forefathers.
Not saying that wrestling is where we should look to for role models for our kids but since wrestling is controlled and plotted, I think it’s time for wrestling to create some real heroes because people are glomming on to anything positive today.
Why is Barack Obama doing well in the race to the Democratic nomination? Because he’s the only babyface in the race. Why did no one watch the Oscars this year? Because all the top nominated movies either had heels as lead characters or were very dark in general. Not a Forrest Gump in the bunch.
I think fans of wrestling follow society, politics and pop culture as well. With heels dominating sports, politics and Hollywood, I think wrestling can grab a hold with some true babyfaces. That’s why Jeff Hardy is so damn over right now. Same with Rey Mysterio (too bad he’s bitten by the injury bug so often. Look at the resurgence in ratings for the NBA this year. With Lebron, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and others leading the way, the NBA is loaded with fresh-faced, marketable stars. Not a gangster or thug among them.
But, in wrestling, to have babyfaces, you have to have heels. Other than JBL and Edge, there aren’t any real nasty shit heels in the WWE. On TNA, no real heels at all. Shades of gray don’t cut it if you want to make a babyface. The blurred lines have been the order for years now but in wrestling, all things are cyclical.
I think it’s time for some more clearly defined roles. Take the comedy away from Kurt Angle and he’s a heel. Same with Christian. Make AJ a babyface and continue to push Jay Lethal. More defined roles for all. If fans of TNA knew who to boo and who to cheer, I think it would help gain character retention with the viewers.
One last thing, it seems as if the US economy is headed for a recession. The last time the US went into a true recession was the early 1980’s. That coincided with the birth of Hulkamania. Spend some time now making some true heels and then choose the next Hogan (Samoa Joe? Big Show?)
When times get tough for Americans, they glom onto a hero. Times are tough and getting tougher but who can we cheer for? Can wrestling once again provide the answer?