Monday, February 19, 2007

Buddy The Heel

Buddy Rodgers knew how to use the heel angle to his advantage. He popularized many of the moves and mannerisms used by later wrestlers, specifically Mr. Perfect and Ric Flair. He knew that he was a star. This made him one of the most hated in the business since he possessed a lot of leverage in negotiations. Rodgers really paved the way for future wrestling as a form of entertainment.

Buddy was similar to Gorgeous George in the way that they got the crowd against them. Rodgers, however, was much more arrogant and could back up his actions in the ring, being the best worker of the 50's. Gorgeous George, on the other hand, was about 90% show and 10% wrestler. Rodgers was also known for being a bully in the ring which added to his mastery of the heel role.

In the match we watched during class, we were able to see him in action. He was very cocky and knew how to get under the audience's skin. When he won the match he exclaimed to the audience, "To a nicer guy it couldn't happen." His presence around the ring and in interviews helped to gain the interest of the TV audience as well. A lot of wrestlers' success depended how well they could perform on television. Buddy was able to use this to his advantage as he became one of the top box office draws of his time.


Sam Ford said...

Ismael, your assessment of Buddy Rogers' place is wrestling history is pretty accurate, but I was curious to know yoru own take about what his character meant. What's your analysis of what all this means? You mention that Gorgeous George was more show than Buddy, but do you think that makes Buddy a more important character in wrestling history? Does it make you look at him differently?

Ismael said...

I think that Gorgeous George and Buddy Rodgers were very similar and different at the same time. In my opinion, Buddy was a much better fighter and perfected the heel character. Gorgeous George was possibly as hated as Buddy, if not more. It seemed like he brought out other's hate the most when he wasn't wrestling. Just because Buddy was a better wrestler and Gorgeous George was a better entertainer doesn't make one more important than the other, in my opinion. Wrestlers must be able to wrestle and entertain in order to be successful in the business. Buddy and George both made significant contributions to wrestling from two different approaches, even though they appeared very similar, and over the years the best heels have borrowed from both of these innovators.

Omar said...

Definitely--physical ability and drawing power constitute the most fundamental characteristics of a good wrestler. One of the best ways for a wrestler to develop that drawing power is to have the crowd despise his antics, which traditionally has been the key to a heel's fame. What is important, though, is to be able to sell that personality to the crowd, to make the crowd believe, at least in part, that that is how the wrestlers carries himself outside the ring. As you mention, therein laid George's claim to fame. But the idea isn't unique to the heel. Any wrestler's fame, to some extent, relies on his ability to make the crowd believe that he, his real self, and his character are inseparable.