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  • Powder and I were talking yesterday, and it got me thinking. WWE (and all wrestling promotions, though mostly WWE) really struggle to create heroes/faces. There are exceptions, but most faces in WWE were former successful heels who just happened to direct their attitudes towards heels in a face turn. I see a lot of praise for Madcap Riddick Moss right now, and he seems to have something to work with, but he basically has the pre-rap John Cena gimmick, with less color on the trunks. One of the points I made with Powder is that it's very hard for something "cool" to stay cool. I don't just mean in wrestling either. This is why I felt of all the releases over the last couple of years, the ones that bothered me the most were Aleister Black and Hit Row/Swerve. Those guys were "cool" without much creative effort. Much like Riddle and Street Profits, who are existing exceptions to the existing rule of bland boring babyfaces (I'll add New Day in there, but with them going into 7-8 years of the gimmick existence, and many online fans having grown tired of it, they might not be so cool anymore), you could tell Swerve and Black had something to them a bit more than generic wrestlers.

    This isn't to say they would be mega stars in WWE had they stayed. But they had characters that were unique and people were drawn to.

    Moss, on the other hand, might have a lot of intangibles that WWE looks for (like Roman Reigns in 2012-2014), but he doesn't have anything to work with for personality. At least not yet. He seems comfortable on the mic and in front of a crowd, but so does 80% of the roster. Drew McIntyre is a great example of someone who has all the intangibles to connect with the audience and the WWE team, but is lacking something in terms of character. Being the scottish guy with a sword isn't really a character, but that's what WWE has depended on being their babyface for decades now. Cena connected as a heel rapper, turned face using the rapper gimmick, and then slowly that was shed as well. It's not that he was a bad babyface or anything, but it certainly wasn't much to hang your hat on creatively.

    To be clear and fair, this has been the case for a long time, and in many promotions. AJ Styles was the face of TNA, and he was "the guy who wrestled higher and 'gooder' than the rest". Hulk Hogan was the big guy who had huge charisma, with a great promo style, and the "hulk up" gimmick. But in the end, he was just a guy who wrestled better than his opponents.

    This is where Cody really has a slight edge over the rest of the star babyfaces. His character isn't much, but at least he has the son of Dusty Rhodes aspect, trying to win the title his father never won, plus the returning guy who reinvented himself across the globe for the last few years. Without a character (and forgetting that he'll be on the shelf for 6-12 months), the creative team could book him for 2 years without much effort or character to work with. But Drew (or Moss) seems to need something now to get them to the fall.

    To those who watch other promotions, are there face gimmicks or characters that stand out?

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    • Cody's pretty much everything that WWE wants in a top babyface. He doesn't have a super multi-dimensional, fleshed out Game of Thrones "character" but I think that's just because he's himself. The fact that he doesn't have this insanely defined character makes him more relatable, I think, and easier to put yourself in his shoes thus easier to feel sympathy for him and want to root for him.

      CM Punk is a wonderful babyface. A little of that it just him being a big star that people fondly remember, but he also speaks genuinely and carries himself like a good person. If you can find the in-ring interview segment he did with Hangman a few weeks ago it's worth a watch. He's this calm guy, completely unfazed by anything Hangman has to say, politely letting Tony hold the microphone for him just coming off like the respectful good guy you want to get behind.

      I know that he's a heel now, but I think that Austin Theory could be big money as a babyface. He's entertaining, he's got a physique that women will love, he can work. The thing that might hurt him is he's almost too good looking. 40 years ago, he'd be the biggest babyface in many territories, today he might struggle because guys might not want to get behind someone who looks so much better than them.

      If they could book her halfway decently, Toni Storm could be a major babyface star for AEW. But I thought the same thing about Britt before they turned her, so what do I know?
      https://youtu.be/wue-ZFnEta8
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      • Speaking of Theory, Pen and I were discussing him, and I thought that he is the next John Cena, but IMHO he needs to put on about 25lbs of muscle. Right now he is listed at 220, but he should be around Cena's size. Both are 6'1" and Theory is also a former bodybuilder, so he knows how to put on the muscle correctly.

        Thoughts?
        Last edited by Powder; 06-07-2022, 04:13 PM.

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        • You have this odd fixation on wrestlers' body size.

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          • It's not a fixation, it's an observation. Wrestling is about perception.

            Suspension of disbelief is important, but it has to make sense. Does anyone really believe that Rey can beat up Lashley? No, but can everyone believe that Rollins has a chance against Lashley? Yes.

            Size matters. I am not saying that wrestling has to be the land of Giants anymore, but it should have some believability to it. For Theory to be champion, I cannot see him, at this smaller size, really beating a guy like Roman, Lashley, Drew, etc. But Cena, who is the same height, but 25lbs or muscle larger, absolutely.

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            • And, I told you that you were wrong.

              Size/look is definitely important, and you're correct about perception. But Theory already has a look that stands out. He's massive for his size. You need to remember that Cena is not only a freak of nature, but he's much less athletic than Theory. The point I made to you is that if Theory added mass, he might not be able to work the way he currently does. He's not a tall or big guy overall, and I'm telling you that no matter what he is bookedas, he's shorter than Cena. John could do his style at his size, but there's no way Cena could move around the ring like Theory does. Cena looked like a bodybuilder, but moved like one as well. Theory is so much faster, and athletic. Think about all the praise Shelton Benjamin used to receive for his athleticism, and Theory is pretty damn close to that while being more impressive in look.

              Adding size often comes at the sacrifice of speed/movement. It's why in real combat sports, that's the topic of discussion when someone moves into a different weight class. If they go up in weight, it's to add muscle and power. It they drop, it's to gain speed. So Theory adding anything would mean losing something else. And I really fail to see how adding any mass would improve his look. If he gets in better shape, he'll have to wear tassels and face paint and yell about Destrucity.

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              • I'm not as up on this as regards the young'uns, but isn't his height/weight broadly the same as a Shawn Michaels or an Owen Hart?

                "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

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                • The thing to remember with Theory is that he's only 24. He's still just a little bit away from that age where most men hit their peak ability to "fill out". He's also a former competitive bodybuilder. He's going to get bigger just by way of continued bodybuilding and getting a little older.

                  I don't necessarily think that he needs to get any bigger. He's got one of the best bodies on the roster and looks much bigger than he is. 2002 John Cena was a little bigger, but not much. And if Cena's coming back to work with him as is rumored, I think you'll see that they're really close in size these days.

                  I actually believe Cena is a great comparison, as unfair as that might seem. They're similar in build, similar in age as when Cena debuted in the main roster (and put on some mass over the years as he got older), and I actually think that Theory is leaps and bounds ahead of Cena in terms of charisma and promo ability before Cena started the rapping thing.

                  I said when I first saw him on an Evolve video that I thought he could be the next John Cena, and I hope the kid proves me right.

                  Keep in mind that prior to his late 90s WCW midlife crisis, Randy Savage was only like 225-lbs.
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                  • It's really hard to tell the size difference between two men that have never stood together, but by looking up pictures of Vince and Theory, and Vince and John, John seems to be an inch taller. Impossible to say for sure, because in both comparisons, they look the same height as Vince, and sometimes they look taller. Camera angles and heels are obvious variants. But John wore running shoes, not wrestling boots with heels. And he's taller than Vince in more pictures and Theory is.

                    So, nowhere near confirmation that Cena is taller than Theory, but it seems that way.

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                    • I also hate the argument that we need people to be Drew/Roman/Lesnar size to make it more believable, because if there are more of them, it takes away the luster those guys have. If everyone was that size, what would be so special about them?

                      Wrestling is about working the crowd more than anything else, so someone like Theory using his skillset and heel tactics to beat guys like that is what keeps the machine humming, isn't it?

                      Plus, as an outsider looking in, he has the look of a star to me already. I said the same about Reigns when he first debuted. I remember a lot of people claiming Ambrose was the breakout star to be, but I had a gut feeling Roman had the entire package tailor made to be a superstar for WWE. Without having seen him in action, Theory has that same look to me.

                      It may be a lazy comparison, but he reminds me of 2003 Randy Orton, only more muscular.

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                      • Anyone who knows about wrestling - the shoot kind - will know there's also a law of diminishing returns. They have weight classes for a reason but once you hit a certain point the advantage starts to ebb away. Assuming broadly similar skills, a good 210lb'er will beat a good 170lb'er (almost) every time. But it doesn't follow that a good 250lb'er would beat the guy who weighs 210lbs with anything like the same regularity. That's just not how it works.

                        That holds true across most combat sports, too. David Haye was a glorified cruiserweight who smashed the massive Nikolai Valuev for the world title. Mike Tyson was usually the smaller fighter, and at heavyweight the same was true of Evander Holyfield. In UFC you've got examples like Randy Couture beating Gabriel Gonzaga and Tim Sylvia when he stepped back up from Light Heavyweight to win the Heavyweight title.

                        I mean, long story short, in wrestling size and presence is important but all you've really got to do is pass the eye test. Do you look in shape? Do you like you'd be a heavyweight in UFC, or boxing, or any other combat sport? Then you're probably fine and the rest is overthinking it. You can always steal a few extra pounds on the introductions if you need to at that stage, anyway.

                        "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

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                        • The size argument is a weird one and, honestly, a little outdated.

                          I just did a moment's research and was surprised to find that Elias/Ezekiel is an inch shorter and 3lbs lighter than Theory. I would have expected him to maybe be a similar height but to be billed as a fair bit heavier, just on the eye test.

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                          • So I see a headline today that Sasha's gone from WWE?

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                            • It's a rumor still.

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                              • There's two conflicting stories out there on this at the moment. You wonder if that's someone trying to force the issue, or if it's someone just spreading stuff for the clicks.

                                "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

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