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Posted in: The Green Room
The Green Room: Defacing Reality
By Leaf
Jul 7, 2014 - 5:55:06 PM

The Green Room:
Defacing Reality

We are just hours away from another installment of Monday Night Raw, and there is a real sense of optimism within the air. And why shouldn’t there be?

Last week, we saw the individual returns of several former champions:

Chris Jericho- a big name within the business who has recently been credited as being a starmaker, willing to put over the next generation of superstar.

The Miz- a former WWE Champion, who has seemingly returned to a much more comfortable heel role.

AJ Lee- the face of the Divas Division due to her history-making title reign. She once again reigns supreme.

Strangely, it was the return of a long-forgotten almost-insignificant former World Heavyweight Champion that really got me thinking.

When Damien Sandow pulled off his PERFECT Mr. McMahon impression and entered himself into the Battleground Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal, he was almost immediately interrupted by Stephanie McMahon. Vince’s daughter didn’t take too kindly to Sandow and his impression, and because she was insulted, she scheduled a match between “Vincent Kennedy McMahondow” and another competitor in the upcoming Battle Royal match.

Now it’s amazing what can go through your head within the space of a few seconds, as the moment that Stephanie said that her father had to topple giants and that Damien would be granted that same opportunity, THIS was my thought process:

“Okay so it’s a giant. It’s got to be Big Show, right? They were involved in a segment together recently, with basketballs, randomly. But why would Big Show help Stephanie? Surely a heel will be the one to help Steph, even though Sandow isn’t exactly a face. After all, she’s one of the biggest heels in the company. Wouldn’t that just ruin any form of continuum from Big Show’s inclusion in the authority storyline? That would be a stupid turn. It won’t be Rusev, that would be overkill. Could it be an NXT guy. Bull Dempsey is big, he just debuted down there recently…”

And at that moment, a familiar theme signalled the arrival of the returning Punjabi Playboy, the Great Khali.

One squash match later, and I was still reeling. Why would a face do the dirty work for one of the biggest heels in the entire company?

And that’s what has led us here, ladies and gentlemen. I want you to join me in analyzing the alignment of three top “faces” in the company. For this column, I have selected the WWE World Heavyweight Champion John Cena, a superstar who is potentially the next “golden boy” Roman Reigns and the man who many fans have really got behind lately, Dean Ambrose.

In this edition of The Green Room, we are going to delve deeper into these three characters and discover what makes them a face, if anything. Then we will ask ourselves why they are portrayed the way that they are on television.

Are we living in a world of heels? Is the WWE operating under Arkham Asylum rules? Do faces even exist anymore?

Let’s find out shall we?

Our time is now.

John Cena

So here we have the face of the company.

Whilst you can’t please everybody, it has always seemed strange that the man who is supposed to represent the brand receives 50/50 reactions, regularly. As we know, this is not just a recent occurrence. This indifference from the crowd stems back to his very first WWE Championship reign. Most notably, these reactions can be traced back to his feuds with alignment-indifferent popular wrestlers Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle.

As I mentioned in my last column, in many ways John Cena is already a heel as he doesn’t represent the adult fans who are paying their TV licenses and/or network fees in order to watch the product. He is a real-life action figure, with interchangeable clothes and marketable slogans such as “Never Give Up”. That being said, if the WWE was to “turn” Cena into a traditional heel, he would still receive these 50/50 reactions. The heartbroken kids would subject him to an array of high-pitched abuse whilst the majority of the older “smart” fans, who once jeered him, would start to see him as their spokesperson. This change in opinion would take place as Cena will have turned his back on the traits that he felt did not represent him best, fulfilling the desires of the fans who were clamouring for a change because John Cena was originally out of touch with their ideals.

But, my friends, these almost decade-long problems are not the main issue here; his crimes are now.

Just one month ago, on the June 2nd episode of Monday Night Raw, it was announced that if Daniel Bryan could not compete at Money In The Bank, a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion would be crowned in a multi-man ladder match. As we know, Cena won his 15th World Championship at the event but his campaign to participate in that fateful contest started on that very night, just over a month ago. Almost immediately after the announcement, the Cenation leader swiftly entered the ring, stalking the gold as if he were Elmer Fudd hunting Bugs Bunny during “rabbit season”. It seemed as if nothing else mattered to the Cenation leader apart from those big golden belts.

I say this, as in recent months, the so-called “face” of the company had enlisted the help of the Usos to even the odds against the Wyatts. After Cena was victorious over Wyatt at Payback and had set his sights on the now-vacant Championship, Cena gave up on the Usos. Yes Mr. Never Give Up Unless A Championship Is Involved Elsewhere was not there for The Usos’ six-man television tag team matches against the Wyatt Family. Instead, it was Sheamus who tagged with the brothers on two separate occasions. It wasn’t as if Cena had truly moved on from the Eater of the Worlds however, as the leader of the Wyatt Family also qualified to be a part of the multi-man ladder match.

You get the picture.

John Cena is not the man he claims to be, and actually, Bray Wyatt was completely right with that accusation. It’s not as if the WWE shies away from this, however. An ongoing storyline on WWE’s breakout reality show, Total Divas, sees Nikki Bella try to tie down the Champ with some form of commitment. Whilst all of the other co-stars are beginning to elope around her, Cena states his absolute reluctance to tie the knot due to his previously failed marriage. No matter how close she may come to inspiring some form of change, it appears that John will always kick out at two from these proposal pinfall predicaments. Cena also seems reluctant to submit to Nikki’s baby talk.

He may be the face of the company, the leader of the Cenation, but he certainly isn’t the living embodiment of the holy virtues.

Roman Reigns

Honestly, if it was up to me, Roman Reigns would be a scheming superstar, going by the name of Rohypnol Reigns instead, who would carry various drugs around with him in the hope that he would get the perfect convenient opportunity to spike another person’s substance, such as a cup of coffee, in order to somehow benefit him.

I’m kidding of course. Who in the right mind would think that was a good idea?

Wait, that pretty much happened?

Okay, let’s try this again. Roman Reigns would completely ignore any injustice that was taking place, such as Seth Rollins winning the Money In The Bank on behalf of the Authority. He would also ignore Dean Ambrose’s efforts within various 2 on 1 situations. By doing so, he would pretty much erase the entire history of his own injustice-solving character, in order to instead focus on his own new goals, such as winning a singles championship.

Again, that’s already happening. Believe that.

Don’t let the same attire, the same walk down the aisle, and the slightly-modified music fool you; it seems that ever since the Shield split up, the Roman Reigns character has completely changed. He debuted as part of a faction that were seemingly all cut from the same cloth. Though it’s not just Seth Rollins who shed his colours as it seems that Reigns only has himself in mind.

It may have seemed like Reigns turned a corner during last Friday’s episode of Smackdown, as he saved Dean Ambrose from an assault at the hands of Seth Rollins and Randy Orton. As a result, Ambrose was pitted against Randy Orton in the main event with Roman Reigns banned from ringside.

Honestly though, it was business as usual for the big man.

When threatened with the removal of his WWE World Heavyweight Championship Fatal-Four Way spot at Battleground, Reigns was M.I.A. He did indeed help Ambrose fend off Orton and Rollins after the match but it sure did take him a while to arrive, following that DQ verdict.

The biggest injustice in the WWE is Roman Reigns’ booking because how are we supposed to cheer this man who has shielded himself, so to speak, from anybody around him?

Dean Ambrose has appeared to be a more likeable character to many, even though he has been threatening violence at almost every opportunity.

Hey, look, a convenient segway!

Dean Ambrose

Ever since Seth Rollins betrayed The Shield and left them broken in the ring on the June 2nd 2014 episode of Monday Night Raw, Dean Ambrose has vowed to get his revenge.

He hasn’t gone about this in the typical “cookie-cutter face” route. There has been no talk of broken pride and how he wishes to avenge the Shield by defeating Seth Rollins in a one-on-one match. That is because Dean Ambrose isn’t a plain cookie, he’s just plain kooky.

In this short period since Rollins’ betrayal, the Lunatic Fringe has amassed quite the list of morally-questionable accomplishments:

- He has interrupted Seth Rollins during almost every appearance that he has made on television
- As a result, he has started to attack Seth Rollins numerous times, throwing the first punch in the majority of the brawls.
- He has even attacked Seth Rollins whilst the former Architect of the Shield was on commentary during last week’s Smackdown. To Seth’s credit, Dean was completely unprovoked.
- He has threatened to rearrange Rollins’ face and to cram his arrogance down his tiny giraffe neck…
And to hack his nose away...
And to tear his ear off…
And to rip his hair out of its roots…
Before stuffing it in his mouth…
As his teeth will no longer be there...
All by beating the hell out of him.
- He threatened to disrupt a Pay-Per-View match by heading out to the ring and unleashing his fury upon his former Shield brother.
- He continued with his threats by telling Rollins that he aims to prevent his former stablemate from winning the top prize in the industry, by attacking him before he gets the chance.
- And just last week on RAW, he succeeded in stopping a Money In The Bank cash-in by doing exactly that.

Wow. That’s quite the list.

As he addressed Seth Rollins last week, Ambrose revealed that their heated discussion was “from one scumbag to another”. Yes, we know that Rollins is no angel, but even Ambrose admits that the two are on a parallel level of bastardry.

If we are still to believe in the age-old saying of “two wrongs don’t make a right”, then what can we say about thirteen? I’m not too sure, but I know what we can say about Dean Ambrose. He’s a face due to circumstance. As fellow main page columnist Maverick likes to say, he is very much the new-born late 1996 / early 1997 Steve Austin for this era.

It seems that the Lunatic Fringe has Mr. Money In The Banks’ number and that he wishes to ensure that it is indeed unlucky for Rollins, by any means necessary.

Branching Out

These three men have a lot in common, surprisingly. Neither of these men are flawless characters necessarily, as I’ve addressed. They’re all being pushed at the moment, and seemingly will be the foreseeable future. Most importantly though, they are all part of the Reality Era.

Now the Reality Era to me, isn’t just about the influx of reality shows such as Legends House and the aforementioned Total Divas, nor is it solely about the rise in social media, which allows fans to really feel like they are truly involved with the product.

To me, the Reality Era is all about these flawed faces.

The WWE has truly started to become true to life. Not every man can be Gandhi, and not every woman can be Mother Teresa. These faces are not perfect, and they are far more relatable to the audience this way. Not every face in the WWE has to resemble a 2009 MVP, who shed every instance of his previous cocky heel nature to suddenly become a face that would be cheered simply by his new associations and who he was now scheduled to compete against. Even John Cena in 2006 started to forego his “Chain Gang” image in order to take on some more positive but plain attributes from his Marine character, John Triton.

The Cena of today has gradually changed in order to adapt to this new era, during what will more than likely be his twilight years. Meanwhile, the likes of Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose are already great examples of what a new modern face should apparently act like.

Actually, maybe “modern” isn’t quite the right word.

After all, let’s think back to the Attitude Era. The top faces were a beer-drinking roughneck brawler who would attack his foes at any time and an egotistical, third-person-promo-cutting, eyebrow-raising star. What we’re seeing now is a rehash of wrestling’s boom period from the middle-to-late 1990’s.

And why not?

The Reality Era is providing us with a better look into wrestler’s lives with new reality shows, with backstage shows such as the RAW pre and post-shows, and as mentioned, the stars of this era are encouraged to interact with their fans via numerous social media methods. Why should the WWE have their faces hide behind a facade when the audience is perhaps more informed than it ever has been?

It’s because of the Reality Era that we are once again seeing these angels with dirty faces, and providing Roman Reigns doesn’t look to spike anyone ever again, every action seems to be perfectly realistic or understandable, even if it isn’t the most clean-cut choice.

The Reality Era is completely aware of the changing world and that’s why Reigns and Ambrose are receiving positive reactions just the way that they are, and it’s even why the Bo Dallas character exists to be hated. When Bo tells us to “Bolieve”, we jeer because we have outgrown the nice innocent guy. We’re all corrupted and that isn’t a bad thing.

On tonight’s episode of RAW, don’t fret if a face pulls a questionable tactic. Just ask yourself if you would do the exact same thing. Don’t lose faith in the faces, just don’t expect them to answer as many of your prayers.

For the world as you know it is being defaced.


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