We talked a bit about this in class the other day and I had intended on doing my blog post about it, so here ya go!
In the early days of wrestling, the distinction between good and evil was very clear. The world that wrestling existed in was black and white. Lower and middle class citizens subscribed to the belief that if you worked hard enough, if you believed enough, you could climb up through the ranks and settle yourself among the elite. That was the American Dream that we all believed in. However, over time, we have become a jaded nation. The world transformed from black and white to grey. We realized that in order to win, sometimes we’d have to cheat or take shortcuts. And if we couldn’t do that, well, you better get used to the view from the bottom. And that’s exactly the view that wrestling began to take. We had wrestling icons like Stone Cold Steve Austin and Degeneration X come along and they would be cheered on and praised as if they were faces, but they would kick and fight and spit and “stick it to the man.” They played dirty, just like the heels, but they were justified in their actions. They were fighting for the voiceless; they were fighting back against an oppressive authority. And we realized that that was how the game of life had to be played if you wanted to make it out alive.
And yet we still have 100% babyfaces like John Cena that come along and a lot of those people who believe that you have to play dirty sometimes do not tend to care for him. To those people, he is naïve and in denial. He doesn’t understand how the world works. And that’s why those people get so much satisfaction from seeing him demolished and beat down by a brute force like Brock Lesnar.
And children love him. Why? Because he represents everything they know and understand. He’s a walking, talking, wrestling Disney movie. So of course they worship him. “Never give up. Hustle, loyalty, respect.” That’s what children are constantly told. And that’s not a bad message by any means. It’s good to encourage children to keep their head up and keep trying. Some kids really need to hear that. But some of those kids will grow up and get angry because they’ll come to terms with some harsh realities. They’ll feel lied to and cheated. But then there will be some that grow up, still holding those beliefs and values close to their heart. And you know what? Good. Because we will always need those people in our world if we want to keep seeing awesome matches.