As I’ve discussed elsewhere, the WWE of late has seemingly gone very heavy with the heels of late-most recently or notable being the debuts of Fandango, The Shield and The Wyatts, but there are plenty others of course. I call it flip-flops because, well, let’s look at some recent runs:
Alberto Del Rio: was booked to be one of the top heels, including a couple runs as champion. But, at one point, they turned him face. Now, after the brief face run, he’s back to playing the heel, and I think playing it quite well. The short run irks me only because, well, it was short. Like someone didn’t quite think the move out first, before actually doing it.
Mark Henry: Everyone remembers his wicked promo, the fake/teased retirement. I almost bought it, but the wishy-washy Henry act I knew was going to be an angle when he insisted that Cena stay in the ring. It was, honestly, a stroke of genius. But now? He’s in a program with…The Shield. Which practically instantly, like, a month later, makes Mark a face. But for how long?
In that same mindset, see The Big Show. Sure, he had his run-ins with The Shield already earlier this year, but the way those turned out, he was a heel. And now, he’s back in the mix against The Shield…as a face.
I get it. Turns happen for all sorts of reasons. Hogan was a guy no one ever imagined as a heel, but when he turned, it shocked the wrestling world, and it propelled WCW to unprecedented heights for the now-defunct company. Of course, the nWo became one of the hottest angles/factions in wrestling history, and over time it the line between face and heel for them became really blurred.
But what does this all mean, relative to the current WWE roster? Quite simply, WWE could really use a few reputable faces. Cena is out for probably half a year, but did a hell of a job helping position Daniel Bryan as a top face. RVD is back, but the understanding is his run is a part-time one. Unless something has changed, I don’t know how much he can be leaned on-though his new focus on the WHC gives me hope that perhaps he’s going to be around longer than planned. Sheamus is on the shelf. Kane is probably out for a bit with the Wyatt storyline needing to play out. Christian is back, but with his recent “one more match” mantra, I don’t know if he’s planning on running out there for much longer-but he’ll give 110% as long as he can. Ziggler is in the mix too, but I have to believe that the higher ups are mindful of his concussion issues. Clearly, the face side of the roster isn’t as good as it has been. So what now?
Does WWE go out and lure in a big name guy? There are always rumors of Sting as he gets around to his annual contract renewal with TNA-and who wouldn’t want a Sting-Undertaker Dream Match at WrestleMania? But, in the grand scheme, for what is necessary, WWE needs a young, full time superstar. Sting would be a huge get, but is not the answer.
Chris Jericho? He just wrapped up his recent run, and I have no doubt he will be back in due time. But, he’s on tour doing his Fozzy thing, and as I just said, WWE needs full time and younger. Chris is always great to have, but again he’s not the answer.
Recently I’ve heard rumblings of AJ Styles contemplating taking his boots to greener pastures. It is certainly intriguing, though I admit I do not watch near enough TNA action to know his worth fully. But it is intriguing in any case.
But… why not another flip-flop? This time, not one like Mark Henry turning in a month or less. More like, a flip-flop out of necessity due to injuries, but one which could make perfect sense. It’s always nice to fill a need via someone already on the payroll, and turning Ryback to a babyface once again could work wonders. And here’s how I’d do it.
Yes, Ryback is now a bully. Kinda goes against the WWE Be A Star anti-bullying campaign, but I am sure someone somewhere took that into account… Have Ryback keep bullying people, only to piss off someone on the corporate end of the spectrum. Perhaps Ryback bullies the caterer that Vince and Hunter picked out and they are mad. Which leads the Corporation to send out the Hounds of Justice to pummel Ryback. Based on his recent actions, you would think he’d have no support-except down comes Daniel Bryan, out for revenge against The Shield and the Corporation, not caring about past interaction with Ryback. And just like that, the turn begins.
Ryback understands that it’s not nice to be on the receiving end of the bullying (by the Shield) so he seeks to change his ways. He was already getting over as a face before, so surely he can get over again. And just like that, Daniel Bryan has some backup if needed, and WWE has another new babyface. I’d work on getting Ryback into a program with Dean Ambrose for the US Title and really build it up. Between the Usos and Henry/Show, the other two members of The Shield ought to be pretty busy, so getting Ryback and Ambrose in a good solid program running the remainder of 2013 could be just what WWE needs.
I am sure there are other options out there to be explored (John Morrison? MVP?), but turning a current heel back to a babyface almost makes too much sense-the only other heel right now I’d consider turning might be Fandango, just based on how over he was with the crowds (who can forget the post ‘Mania RAW sing-along?). I think Ryback is a solid choice and could help bolster the face side of the roster until the WWE gets some of its A-listers back next year. And… it’s not like they’ve never turned a wrestler a few times in short order.