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Opinion

Character Alignment In WWE

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Shinsuke Nakamura Character

Hell of a week in wrestling, eh?

Well, given all of the news items involving professional wrestling right now, most notably the MASSIVE amounts of money that WWE is receiving for their TV rights, I want to talk about something more nuanced.  I want to talk about something that fans criticize often but seem to not truly understand. Today ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to talk about character alignment.

Roman Reigns recently was interviewed by the Daily Express in the United Kingdom.  They asked him about him possibly turning heel, and his response was “It’s a weird question cause, aren’t I already a heel? If I garnered that reaction, what’s the point? If it’s already happening, if I’m already being booed, why try and get booed?”  When this article was published and it got to the internet, needless to say the IWC lost their minds. Some people, like me, tried to show people that clearly he understands that he’s already an antagonist in some form. Others, like a heavy majority of fans I interacted with this past week, tried to argue that he’s completely wrong and he’s trying to save face by saying something that couldn’t possibly be true.  So that created a question in my mind. Is Roman Reigns a face or a heel? More importantly, if Roman is a face, what does he do that constitutes being a face?

The answer to that question is simple, yet ends up getting very complicated.  Roman exhibits both heel and face tactics, often depending on the feud or who he’s pitted against.  When he’s heelish, he’s brutal to his opponents, arrogant in promos and around other talent, attacks other wrestlers unprovoked, and known to hold a vendetta and go out of his way to eliminate his opponent.  On the other hand, Reigns has shown to be loyal to those he considers his family (The Shield and the Usos), has moments where he’s pandered to the crowd, and stands up for himself often in the face of adversity.  So, the logical answer is that Roman is a tweener. Yet, some fans refuse to accept that, stating that not giving him a traditional alignment is a cop out. So, how do we figure out what Roman really is?

First, we have to realize that characters are no longer simply linear.  While there are characters that still fall in that realm, wrestling characters are, as characters in general often are, non-linear and deal with more shades of grey.  Characters have evolved into fully fleshed out characters, with motivations that serve multiple purposes. Wrestling has followed suit. Some of our greatest characters have been either a tweener or an anti-hero.  Long gone is the classic battle of good and evil between the “white meat” babyface versus the evil heel; it still exists in some forms, but wrestling and entertainment largely have moved on from this. So then, how do we figure out where a character stands when it comes to alignment?

In 1974, Dungeons and Dragons was created and introduced to the world.  The creators of that game introduced an alignment chart in which most characters in entertainment are judged by.  With society being more broad than simply good and evil, the creators found a way to classify characters taking into account their moral and ethical perspectives and motivations.  They concluded that there are 9 alignments that a character could be, all mixing the thought process of law VS chaos and good VS evil. The chart is below.

This chart gives deeper thought to character motivations and explains who a character is in a much deeper way than simply good or evil, or in wrestling terms, face or heel.  So, I’m going to explain what each alignment is and who I think associates with that alignment the most.

The first alignment on the character axis is the Lawful Good alignment.  Characters that align with this believe in truth, law, and doing good.  They often have a personal code of conduct that they stick to through everything.  The most clear character like this in the WWE is John Cena.  He stands by his code of Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect, and always tries to do the right thing.

On the other end of the spectrum, Lawful Evil characters are similar to Lawful Good characters in that they believe in law and order, but their purpose for such is to adhere to their ways and wishes.  These characters often use the law and manipulate it to get what they want, usually at the detriment of good characters. Nobody in wrestling represents this better than Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.  The Authority technically believes in the laws; they make them.  They often use their laws, however, to hold who they want down and push who they want to prominence.

Neutral characters are the most important characters in this character axis, because the represent the shades of grey more than any other.  Lawful Neutral characters represent that perfectly, as they believe in law and order and what’s right, but follow their moral compass.  This differs from Lawful Good in that while both believe in law and order, Lawful Neutral characters don’t necessarily believe in right and wrong.  They just believe in their code. This was the hardest for me to match to a WWE star, but the closest I can think of is Aleister Black in NXT.  Aleister has talked often about being in the grey space between good and evil, and his character follows its own motivations.  He doesn’t try to be a hero, he doesn’t try to be a bad guy. He believes in his own moral compass, but only his moral compass.

Chaotic Good characters differ from both other good characters in that they try to do what’s right, but they believe in their conscience more than the laws maintained.  These characters are often free spirits or rebels that do what they want, but always in the name of good. I’d relate this alignment to guys like AJ Styles or Seth Rollins.  Both men have shown that they try their best to do right and stand up for what they believe in, but they’ve both shown that they’re willing to do whatever they have to in order to achieve that.  Both men have had very brutal feuds with authority figures, and both men have also been the bad guys in the story, but through it all, they try to do the right thing according to their own conscience.

Chaotic Evil characters live by the old Joker adage; they just want to see the world burn.  Characters like this do what they want, when they want, how they want without any care who or what it hurts.  They don’t really believe in anything but their own impulses. Since his heel turn at WrestleMania, Shinsuke Nakamura has represented this perfectly.  He’s attacked and stalked AJ Styles at every chance simply because he wants what AJ has; the WWE Championship.  On top of his excessive and unnecessary violence, his speech and mannerisms have changed and become very neurotic and unconventional, even more than usual.

Chaotic Neutral characters are the Han Solo’s of the world.  They do what they want, and are often considered crazy.  They’re rebellious just for the sake of being rebellious.  Good or bad, their concern is their freedom and ability to do what they want.  I’m sure you’ve figured out that this is Dean Ambrose.  Ambrose is considered a lunatic, somebody who does what they wants and often doesn’t make sense in doing it.  Ambrose has stuck up for his brothers but has also turned on his brothers when it’s been advantageous to him. And more than anything, his concern is his ability to be unabashedly himself.

The alignment of Neutral Good is similar to Lawful Good in that characters believe in law and order, but will stand up against it if they feel that it’s wrong or corrupt.  They try to always do the right thing, but are willing to go against what somebody else believes is the right thing if necessary. This describes Daniel Bryan perfectly.  Bryan had a very storied rivalry with The Authority where he was attacked and mistreated for months, but also became the authority figure later on in his career.  He’s been on both sides of the law, but always does what he believes is right.

Neutral Evil characters have been called the “assholes”.  They are just plain bad. They take advantage of any situation, go after their own interests, and they even align with other characters if it helps them in their goals and endeavors.  Doesn’t this sound like The Miz to you?  Miz has had numerous henchmen and partners; he turned on them all.  Miz is always scheming to find a way to get what he wants. He’s also cowardly and conniving, taking advantage of every opportunity.  You could also equate this to Kevin Owens.

I know you’ve all been waiting to see where I’d put Roman Reigns in this algorithm.  Well, we’ve finally gotten to the alignment I feel he fits best – the True Neutral character.  I know that differs from the perception that he’s a face, so let me explain.  True Neutral characters aren’t selfless enough to be good, but their don’t do enough bad to be considered evil.  They don’t follow the rules enough to be lawful, but they aren’t wild or rebellious to be considered chaotic. True Neutral characters simply exist in the middle.  They do everything, just not enough. Doesn’t that describe Roman? He’ll attack a man viciously in the backstage area from behind one week, and the next, he’ll stick up for his brother.  He’ll pander to the crowd in a promo one week, and the next, he’ll brag about how much better he is than everybody. Roman does what he wants with no bearing on anything else but his one goal.  He’s a wild card, and that’s the true nature of the character.

Now, obviously, these are just my interpretations of these character alignments.  I can understand if you disagree with any of these, I can even understand if you think using an alignment axis created for a Role Playing Game is even relevant to wrestling.  But my point is this – wrestling characters are no longer as simple as good or evil. There is more nuance in characters than ever before. Most of them aren’t beholden to heel or face, they’re more beholden to their character and it’s motivations.  And, as I’ve explained here, often times it can serve many different purposes. So the next time you find yourself in the argument of whether Roman Reigns is a heel or not, try to think about it differently. You might be surprised what you think if you do.

FIN


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Opinion

King: Plotting The Return Of Randy Orton To WWE

Chris King is back with his look at the best scenario to bring Randy Orton back to WWE, and the perfect opponent for his first big match back.

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Randy Orton 4

Chris King is back with his look at the best scenario to bring Randy Orton back to WWE, and the perfect opponent for his first big match back.

I wanted to bring everyone’s attention to a superstar that’s being overshadowed right now, ‘The Viper’ Randy Orton. After RKBRO lost the Raw Tag Team Championships to The Uso’s, Orton vanished from the company. There was speculation about his serious back injury and, it wasn’t until The Viper’s wife herself posted a candid picture of Orton after successful surgery.

While the focus in WWE right now is either on The Bloodline, Bray Wyatt and Uncle Howdy, or the returning Cody Rhodes, I felt this was a good time to start plotting The Viper’s return to WWE.

Randy Orton’s Return to WWE

On the Raw-After-Mania ‘The American Nightmare’ opens the show after a tough battle over Roman Reigns to win the WWE Championship. Rhodes with tears in his eyes is giving an emotional promo about his family’s legacy, and how much this title means to him. The WWE Universe is chanting “You Deserve It,” and out comes Finn Balor flanked by The Judgement Day.

‘The Prince’ starts by congratulating the new champion for dethroning ‘The Tribal Chief’ but, now he wants his title shot. Rhodes being the resilient hero accepts Balor’s challenge for the main event. The American Nightmare and The Prince are putting on a clinic of a match, delivering multiple finishers but unable to put the other away. Judgement Day starts to interfere when Orton’s music blares throughout the arena. Orton takes out the heels and helps his former protege. Rhodes capitalizes and hits Crossroads for the 1.2.3.

The former Legacy members are celebrating and embracing with a hug as Rhodes goes to raise his newly-won title. In the blink of an eye, The Viper strikes and takes out Rhodes with an RKO Outta Nowhere! The champion is knocked out as Orton hoists the title above his head while trash-talking his now rival. Orton violently throws Rhodes out of the ring and delivers a nasty-looking draping DDT onto the floor.

The Build–And Culmination–of Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes

Orton stares giving 2009 vibes as Rhodes’ head raises, so The Viper runs and delivers a punt kick. WWE officials come out and break things up and the champion is stretchered out of the arena. The show closes with Orton grinning over the destruction he has caused to his former protege. Over the next few months, Orton and Rhodes enter into an extremely personal rivalry over the coveted prize. We finally make it to SummerSlam where both men agree to raise the stakes and do war inside HELL IN A CELL!!!!

This is how I would book The Viper’s return to WWE. If you feel like this should be written differently, I’d love to hear your thoughts!


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Opinion

AJ’s Phenomenal Opinion: Bray Wyatt

So everyone loves Bray’s return right? Right? Well the McDonald’s Sprite spicy opinions of AJ…may feel differently.

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Well, just because my work schedule changed, doesn’t mean I’m not going to drop some opinions of mine, of which, I haven’t done too bad with. I got Three out of Five for my returns right a few months back and this is going to be about the last entry on that previous list. I knew for a fact that Bray Wyatt would return to the WWE in some way shape or form and time for some… controversy.

As my favorite ratings winner of 83 Weeks once said, Controversy Creates Cash and boy HOWDY… Do I have something to get off my chest here so sit back, order some Chairshot Merch and lets get on with Adam’s… Rants for a bit.

Initial Thoughts

Bray coming in and making a return to the WWE was an inevitability. Death, Taxes and I guess WWE Returns are always guaranteed anymore and maybe we could get some new creativity with a supernatural gimmick. Bray has always had that supernatural to him ever since he had the Wyatt Family in Erik Rowan, the late Luke Harper and in the end, Braun Strowman. The Wyatt’s had a control like no other and were beloved for a moment in the WWE.

Bray did a lot to make sure things were in motion but for some reason any massive feud he had, he failed. Following a bunch of injuries to the rest of his family and even releases later on, he seemed to at least get some traction going for him. WWE Champion, somehow got Randy Orton with him, Universal Championships and got those big match wins that eluded him in the Wyatt Family beginnings. Let me also say this as well, I actually liked the Firefly Funhouse Match with Cena as a “This is Your Life” match of sorts. I was tickled and entertained… Then much like Bray in character, something changed.

Dark and Terrible Lurk with Fiends

We had a lot to figure out during the Pandemic. Like A WHOLE HELL OF A LOT. Through it all though, WWE figured it out but the person that helped these types of ideas, soured them drastically. Lets go back to the WWE Championship run in 2017. Randy Orton won the Royal Rumble that year and he wouldn’t betray Bray, right? Well he does and Mania for the two is set, Orton against Wyatt for the WWE Championship and it was… terrible. Random images of maggots and decay (Not the IMPACT Stable) popping up into the ring as the match goes on and Randy still wins. Through head game attempts, Bray comes up short in the big match moment. That’s odd but maybe it will be a bigger pictu– and Jinder Mahal wins the Championship. Okay.

Wyatt returns as this Mister Rogers character and has a darkness inside of him with The Fiend. Now we had this amazing theory or maybe that’s what happened but the story was, anyone The Fiend fought, they revert back to their best selves. The Miz returned to be the A Lister, the guy who grabs a microphone that you love to hate. Finn Balor doesn’t have the Demon Gimmick anymore because after his loss, he’s the Prince again. The cocky guy that walks around because he is the best, he gives no care in the world. Seth Rollins, who he took the WWE Universal Championship from, went from a dorky sweetheart back to the asshole taking every opportunity that he could get because he’s that much of a weasel and when he lost… He lost to Goldberg. The one guy that has been the same since 1997. Drums, Pyro Bath, Spear, Jackhammer, “Who’s Next?” and during that time, he sucked at points. One of those Rollins matches was in a Hell In A Cell match, the red cage with the red lighting. Match ending with a Stoppage from the referee… INSIDE OF A HELL IN A CELL (I think Sean Waltman said it best… Why did the match stop? It’s supposed to be Hell?) and it’s one of the rare times that I agreed with wrestling’s favorite Uncle… That was Negative Stars for a match.

After Goldberg, he didn’t have a commanding presence. He recruited Alexa Bliss who was already over whether she was a Heel or Face and made everything so unbelievably… boring. Alexa had to carry that idiotic demon gimmick and doll, not having anything really supernatural. Just some wrestling and Brock Lesnar cleaning up everything faster than a Chop Shop in main events and segments. He tried to return and make his grand return, beating the Universal Champion Braun Strowman at Summerslam just to falter a literal week later to Roman Reigns, who proceeded to never look back from that win. Bray gets fired after and no more supernatural ideas. Undertaker isn’t around really and retires, Kane is a mayor. Paul Bearer is no longer with us and everything is just… normal.

Wyatt’s Six (Reasons I Tune Out)

In 2022, Vince retires seemingly from everything and Triple H is at the helm, could he bring balance to everything? He makes a bunch of returns that people love seeing. Johnny Gargano, Dakota Kai, Tegan Nox, Bronson Reed, Dexter Lumus just to name a few and of course, the big one that everyone wanted. Bray Wyatt.

Bray makes this heartfelt return and everything seems great. We get him as him, he makes this weird build to a Wyatt 6, assuming we think it’s the Firefly Funhouse and he’s just talking, building. Alright well who is going to be these six figures because they are more than just puppets this time around. A masked man named Uncle Howdy that people think is Vincent Marseglia or maybe a bearded Bo Dallas who is Bray’s real life brother and he……… pops in and out to confuse people. Okay… (1)

Alexa might return to the 6 because of all the segments and gets darker and a heel. Alright that is perfectly fine but, WHY IS VINCENT DALLAS HERE AGAIN TO JUST INTERFERE WITH RANDOM THINGS? Okay… fine. (2) Alexa has a Women’s Championship match against Bianca Belair, that will make sense of thi– it’s a clean finish… Why is it clean? No Howdy, No Wyatt just a random VHS tape like I’m watching The Ring about her being dark after the match. Okay…… (3)

Oh Wyatt finally gets a feud for his return. I almost forgot about that! Who will be this first victim? LA Knight.

…Okay…… (4)

Maybe this will be good. They are both great on the microphone, maybe Bray has new moves that he can do and I know all too well how good LA Knight is, I have been an Eli Drake/Shaun Ricker fan for years. This could be a great match that they have, they announced it for the Royal Rumble so it’s going to be big and it’s a… Pitch Black Match presented by Mountain Dew.

O…okay…… (5)

The Royal Rumble is upon us, the Men’s Rumble starts the show and we all have adrenaline in our soul for it and now is this weird Pitch Black Match and it’s not a cinematic match. It’s in the ring, No Count Outs and No Disqualifications. LA Knight comes out in his iconic Yellow Attire and Wyatt is talking… with a mask on. The lights turn off and the ropes are glowing a neon greenish-yellow… with an announce table spot that… has Nickelodeon Slime inside of it when they break it? Okay fine… I knew the match was going to be dumb and gimmicky from the Mountain Dew Sponsorship. Bray wins, yay. LA Knight comes back with a Kendo Stick and… we get invulnerable Bray again… they don’t hurt. Lets go to this crash pad and Bo Marseglia shows up from somewhere and just elbow drops him from maybe fifteen to twenty feet with pyro and the Firefly Funhouse Puppets appear at the top, to watch a fire… And there is number six…

Actual Thoughts on Current Bray Wyatt, Post Rumble

I absolutely hate it.


This was awful. You build whatever insignificant thought process of the Wyatt 6 has going for it when Uncle Howdy does the best Cap’n Shane O elbow drop for a hellfire effect. At least the pyro was better than the AEW Explosion Match I guess…

Regardless, how does LA Knight come out of all of this moving forward? He lost an idiotic gimmick match and looks presumed dead. This just makes me think that whoever in whatever interview said Bray Wyatt is a creative mastermind needs to put whatever they have down before we hear about their T.O.D. posted somewhere. This Pitch Black Match is somehow worse than that Rollins Hell in a Cell Match and that takes talent. At least a good amount of alcohol lulled that from my brain but this made me remember that and enjoy the thought of that match happening with its finish. The best way I can picture how this was pitched was Burnt Dogshit, wrapped in a Kerosine Blanket with… sorry had to look at what I wrote, not putting that on websites but… people saw a Creative Quesadilla and when we got the actual product, it gave Salmonella poisoning and E Coli at the same time.

I really don’t want to see another Bray Wyatt match… again. Whoever gave him creative, take it away immediately. As much steam as Bray Wyatt gets in promos or possible matches in the past, the only steaming he gets at the end, is steaming piles of shit. You can say, he’s getting paid millions where I’m a little troll on the internet with typing power and I really don’t care but to me, Triple H… you finally got your first failing grade with something in your leadership role in WWE.


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