The Face of WWE is…?

So for one reason or another, this morning I got to thinking about the current lineup for the upcoming WrestleMania show next month, and it occurred to me that WWE may have made a pretty sizable change recently!

Looking back through WWE history, that company/territory has traditionally been a babyface territory. Going all the way back to Bruno Sammartino, WWE has traditionally been a babyface-led territory. From Bruno, Pedro Morales, and Bob Backlund to Hulk Hogan, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels, Diesel, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock all the way forward to John Cena & Roman Reigns…until now.

During the New WWF Generation and early Attitude Era, while Shawn & Diesel teetered between babyface & heel throughout their careers, WWE always had Bret as their spotlight guy who would give out his signature sunglasses on the way to the ring while always giving you a positive role model to follow. He’s even quoted in his Wrestling With Shadows documentary: “Your kids are pretty safe if they’re watching me on Saturday mornings, I send out a pretty wholesome message. The Hitman character stands for believing in yourself and never quitting.”

The same can also be said later on between The Rock & Steve Austin. While “wholesome” might not exactly be the correct characterization for them, there’s no denying that during their separate babyface runs, they usually tended to make the right decisions and stood up for what was right…in their own ways.

Even in the post-Attitude Era WWE, John Cena was the definition of wholesome, white-meat babyface if there ever was one. He stood for hustle, loyalty & respect, with a never give up mantra, and while a lot of the fans of the era tended to boo him unless they were young kids, he never strayed from walking the straight & narrow. And as Cena was starting to wrap up his in-ring career, WWE had broken apart a group known as The Shield (Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns) to select Roman Reigns as the heir-apparent to Cena.

Clearly, Reigns was designated as Cena’s successor early on, as in a podcast interview of CM Punk after his exit from WWE, he had even mentioned that he had numerous producers from WWE making sure that in matches where Punk was decided to come out the victor, that he always made sure that “Roman looks strong”. So as WWE began to transition from Cena to Reigns, a lot of the same negative crowd responses that Cena had gotten from the older fanbase began to continue on with Roman Reigns.

For a good 15 years, John Cena was the uber-squeaky clean, superhero who always overcame all the odds, fans called for a heel turn from him, which would never come to fruition. Amazingly though, here we are in 2021 and after Roman Reigns has received seemingly identical responses from all sections of the fanbase…WWE actually pulled the trigger and turned Roman heel, partnering him up with Paul Heyman as a mouthpiece and have been running with it for a number of months now! So that leaves us with the question…if WWE is a babyface territory, and their face of the company is Roman Reigns, who is now a heel, is he still the face of the company? And if he’s not, who would you say is?

I suppose an argument can be made for Drew McIntyre, since they’ve been mostly “full speed ahead” with him for the last year+ since having him eliminate Brock Lesnar from last year’s Royal Rumble and defeating Lesnar for the WWE Title at WrestleMania, but would you say they’re (for the lack of a better term) “all in” on McIntyre? Both Kevin Owens & Daniel Bryan have also been big opponents for Reigns, but I also certainly wouldn’t say that they’re characters who WWE have put all their eggs in their baskets either.

So please let me know who you think the face of WWE is right now by going on over to the WrestlingFansAnonymous Facebook Group and take the poll! I’d love to see the responses!

Thanks for reading!

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