Orton is a horrible face. Why is he so over?

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Orton is a horrible face. Why is he so over?

Post by Legend_Killer » Sat May 21, 2011 8:21 am

I have been wondering this for a while. I have seen many times around here how bad of a face Orton is, and how he is average at best in the ring and how ratings go down when he is champ. My question is how is he so over right now?

It really struck me watching the Smackdown when he won the title, both during the first segment of the night and during the match how much the crowd love him (especially over a crowd favourite like Christian). Maybe I am hearing things and the guy isn't as over as I think he is but this is the impression I get.

Don't get me wrong, I much prefer a heel Orton and I can understand the criticism he recieves but it seems he gets a hell of a reaction while he's a face.

Basically, since he's not a good face, and his wrestling is below par, why does he get the reaction he does? I am interested to hear because, to be honest, I feel he gets a bad rap around here to a degree.
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Re: Orton is a horrible face. Why is he so over?

Post by GooberBM » Sat May 21, 2011 8:38 am

It's kinda just one of those things that defies logic. The crowd simply wants to cheer for him. When they were breaking up Legacy they were positioning Ted Jr. to come out as the face, but the crowd went to Orton instead. He has a song that is easy to pop for. His finisher is the type of finisher that is easy to pop for. His pre-RKO gyrations get the crowd into a lather. His "going to that place in his head" when he's about to punt someone....the crowd just eats it up. So in the micro sense, he does have things you can point to that the crowd just likes.

But in the macro sense, there is a certain rejection of Face Orton at the top of the card, when you consider how much he's not a draw. The live crowd enjoys his antics, but it doesn't translate to ratings, PPV buys, merchandise sales etc. To me, the reason he's a business disappointment is connected to the reason he's so widely cheered: He still maintains a lot of his heel characteristics from 2008-2009, even though he's playing a face now. He wrestles the same way (even when it doesn't make sense like last night), early on in his face turn he would RKO anything that moved, including John Cena and the crowd loved it, and up until the last couple of weeks on Smackdown, many of his mannerisms had stayed exactly the same from heel to face. And in the big picture, acting like a heel doesn't sell long-term.
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Re: Orton is a horrible face. Why is he so over?

Post by Legend_Killer » Sat May 21, 2011 9:19 am

GooberBM wrote:It's kinda just one of those things that defies logic. The crowd simply wants to cheer for him. When they were breaking up Legacy they were positioning Ted Jr. to come out as the face, but the crowd went to Orton instead. He has a song that is easy to pop for. His finisher is the type of finisher that is easy to pop for. His pre-RKO gyrations get the crowd into a lather. His "going to that place in his head" when he's about to punt someone....the crowd just eats it up. So in the micro sense, he does have things you can point to that the crowd just likes.

But in the macro sense, there is a certain rejection of Face Orton at the top of the card, when you consider how much he's not a draw. The live crowd enjoys his antics, but it doesn't translate to ratings, PPV buys, merchandise sales etc. To me, the reason he's a business disappointment is connected to the reason he's so widely cheered: He still maintains a lot of his heel characteristics from 2008-2009, even though he's playing a face now. He wrestles the same way (even when it doesn't make sense like last night), early on in his face turn he would RKO anything that moved, including John Cena and the crowd loved it, and up until the last couple of weeks on Smackdown, many of his mannerisms had stayed exactly the same from heel to face. And in the big picture, acting like a heel doesn't sell long-term.
These are good points. But I wonder if there is something there for the WWE to somehow turn into something more. I will take your word for it that his merch doesn't sell and he causes ratings to fall but surely there is an opportunity there to turn the crowd reaction into dollars?

In recent history we've had Stone Cold act the heel yet still get over as a face, also Triple H to some degree has done the same thing. While I'm not suggesting Orton is in their league right now, but why is he different from those examples?
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Re: Orton is a horrible face. Why is he so over?

Post by TheLyontamer » Sat May 21, 2011 9:43 am

The thing to remember is that being over with the audience and actually being good are often two separate things. John Morrison is over but a lot of people around here, myself included, think that he sucks. Chris Masters is not all that over but the general consensus from a lot of people is that he’s awesome. I have always found that how over a wrestler is has as much, if not more, to do with how hard he is pushed rather than how good he actually is, hence the likes of Morrison and Kofi Kingston are more over than people like Masters and Tyler Reks. So the fact that Randy Orton gets cheered by a large portion of the audience doesn’t necessarily mean that he is a great babyface, rather that he is pushed as one.

From a character and in-ring standpoint, I have always found Orton to be quite poor as a babyface. There was the six-month run in 2004 which was a disaster of epic proportions, although a larger chunk of the blame for that failure should go to the Raw Creative team. And now we’ve had over a year of babyface Orton since Wrestlemania 26 and for my money he still hasn’t clicked. I’m not a fan of his matches mainly because he still wrestles like a heel. Randy’s got great offense and is one of the best in the business in that department. He is very effective at methodically beating down an opponent. The problem with that is that it’s a heel tactic. The job of the heel is to wear down the babyface and have long control segments, leading to the face’s fired-up comeback. That’s why Orton’s matches with Cena back in 2009 were so phenomenal. I remember in the Iron Man match Orton had a 35-minute frickin’ control segment. That’s just insane yet he managed to pull it off to perfection and Cena was great on the sell.

As a babyface you need to be adept at selling injury within a match and really getting the crowd to feel sympathy for you. Your job is basically to get your ass kicked and make it look like it’s killing you. In my opinion, Randy is average at best when doing that. He’s often describes as dead pan, which I think is a good term to use. When getting beaten down by an opponent, his facial expressions are almost non-existent and to me he doesn’t give the impression that he’s all that hurt or desperate. I cannot buy into him or feel sympathy for the guy. I want to, but I can’t. That’s a crucial area where he pales in comparison to the likes of Cena, Rey and Christian. And I haven’t even mentioned his weird gyrations and movements. When they first started calling him The Viper I think they meant it in a metaphorical sense, that he is quick as a snake and can catch his prey with ease. Randy seemed to take that as them actually wanting him to act like a snake and start slithering and hissing. That kills his matches for me. And even during his fired-up comebacks, the emotion looks forced. He is below-par at selling and emoting, two of the most crucial elements of being a good babyface.

Then there’s the character. He’s still using the character that he had when he was playing the role of a demented, psychopathic heel. That hasn’t translated well to being a babyface. When he was a heel it was OK for him to be emotionless, slow and methodical because it fit the character that he was portraying to a tee. But as a face you really need to be somewhat likeable and I don’t know why anyone would like Randy Orton as a character, seeing as everybody hated him two years ago when he was playing the exact same character. Why it worked for HHH and Austin, I don’t know. But it’s not working for Randy.

Of course, there’s the drawing power or lack thereof, but that doesn’t have a lot to do with the original question asked. As to why Randy’s over, well it’s really not that hard to get over when Creative straps a rocket to your ass and pushes you, as I illustrated in the first paragraph. The interesting thing about Orton is that the fans turned him face, rather than WWE. I think it’s because he had gotten so over as a heel that people were just sick of booing him and grew to like the guy. As to why he gets cheered, well I don’t know. There’s obviously the RKO and the theme song, which people love. I think that there’s what I like to call ‘the badass factor’. A lot of people who were fans in the Attitude Era tend to cheer for people like Orton and Edge because their characters are similar to Attitude Era babyfaces. You’ve got Cena, who’s a company guy, never puts a foot wrong, is a hero to kids, etc. Then there’s Orton who don’t take no crap from nobody and will RKO whoever the hell he wants and won’t be held down by those above him, yadda yadda. A lot of people gravitate towards characters like that so I think that’s a big reason why he gets cheered. I’m sure there are others as well.

I must come off like a massive Orton hater in this post, but in reality I’m not. I was one of his biggest fans from 07-09. I just don’t like the current character. Of course this is all only my opinion. LK, if you dig the character and enjoy his matches then good for you. I really like Cena, yet you don’t. We all have different tastes and views about what makes a wrestler ‘good’. Cheer and boo whoever the hell you want. I love heel Orton. He’s one of the best in the business, IMO. As a babyface, not so much. That’s where I stand on him.

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Re: Orton is a horrible face. Why is he so over?

Post by Creepster » Sat May 21, 2011 9:44 am

I am completely lost for words as far as face Orton goes, and i really don't understand how he gets the crowd reaction he has been getting recently. some heel wrestlers i can understand how they get cheered; Rock, Austin, HHH, Kane, Jericho. but each one of those have some what of an 'iconic' feature to them, whereas Orton just hasn't ( well, not yet anyway) i think his face turn is started picking up speed his he has been doing the super RKO's, but everything about him screams heel; his voice, his walk, his entrance theme, his 'voices in his head' move set. and yet the WWE still insist on him being a face. and what makes it worse is his feud (if you can call it a feud) with the ultimate baby face of Smack down.

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Re: Orton is a horrible face. Why is he so over?

Post by Kostka » Sat May 21, 2011 10:20 am

Something to keep in mind is the difference between being over with the live audience and being a draw. Orton is more like a HHH type of supporting player than he is someone like Cena or Austin that tunes viewers in/racks in cash. The drop in ratings on SD I'd attribute more to Rey moving shows (the real #2 draw). Orton will never be That Guy, and I don't think it's any secret.
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Re: Orton is a horrible face. Why is he so over?

Post by dwayne_dread » Sat May 21, 2011 5:59 pm

Right Kostka. He's not a #1 guy. Although the move to Smackdown is sort of a test to see if he can be. I like Orton's character. He understands it well. He's devious, he's closer to the 'dark side' than any of the top draw on raw/smackdown, and he's either the ultimate villian or the anti hero.

Basically he fills a void at face or heel. Right now he's filling the void for the lack of top faces left by Undertaker, HHH, HBK, face Y2J, and face Edge's departures. Remember when he was last a heel all of those guys were in the company.

They just need a face that can handle top storylines and he's it. When someone else arises as a #2 #3 young baby face they'll be able to move him back to heel.

When your company's #2 face is a guy who doesn't wrestle, shows up once every two months, and is pushing 40 you need a face orton.

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Re: Orton is a horrible face. Why is he so over?

Post by candyxwrapper » Sat May 21, 2011 9:21 pm

I have always said the samething. Randall Keith Orton has never been a good face in my opinion. He likes something that most wrestlers have that you can believe them when they bounce between roles. Randall is just unlikeable and I for the life of me can't figure out why people cheer him.
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Re: Orton is a horrible face. Why is he so over?

Post by rangerrick012 » Sun May 22, 2011 3:08 am

It all begs the question then, what should be most important - being over with the crowd or playing the role? To me if the crowd still loves what you are doing, then everything else should take a back seat to some extent.

The crowd still loves him and he gets good reactions. I'm not doubting that he's not good in the classic babyface sense. And the draw stuff to me is a separate thing, as it's hard to say anyone active right now outside of Cena and possible Rey to a certain extent has any sort of a 'draw' capability. (Factoring in that HHH and Taker are both semi-retired). Should Orton be more of a draw given his reactions in the arena and the fact that people do seem to geninely like his character? Perhaps, but there's a lot that goes into being a draw and for whatever reason Orton's never been able to do it as a face, and I don't think it will change now on Smackdown.

But getting back to my point - I don't buy that it has everything to do w/ creative shoving him down peoples' throats as far as him being over. I'd say that Cena's been shoved down people's throats and some people still never will like him. Basically (and not to turn this into a Cena hate topic) I think it's just one of those things where Orton's the anti-Cena for a certain segment of the crowd. I was a bit surprised to see the crowd still heavily behind him even after taking the title from Christian. But it's obvious that the crowd just likes him.

And to kinda contradict myself - I actually do think that most of the crowd doesn't look at things like selling and being a good babyface in peril or whatever - most people just cheer who they are told is good. So to that degree, that explains why Orton remains cheered even while 'being a heel' in every sense. But it is a complicated thing, and I don't even think WWE creative expected Orton to get such reactions without really changing his character at all.
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Re: Orton is a horrible face. Why is he so over?

Post by GooberBM » Sun May 22, 2011 8:11 am

rangerrick012 wrote:And to kinda contradict myself - I actually do think that most of the crowd doesn't look at things like selling and being a good babyface in peril or whatever - most people just cheer who they are told is good.
Your logic is mostly spot-on but this is your own weak spot. The WWE didn't tell the crowd to cheer Orton. The crowd demanded the WWE turn Orton face. That's the part that confuses some people, I think. That they wanted to keep him heel back in late '09-early '10, but the audience pretty much forced their hand
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Re: Orton is a horrible face. Why is he so over?

Post by Kostka » Sun May 22, 2011 11:19 am

The crowd doesn't look at selling? It's something the crowd feels through the workers performance, and elects a response by creating sympathy. It's the reason why Morrison isn't over despite being pushed, and Masters matches always get over despite being exclusively on C shows.
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Re: Orton is a horrible face. Why is he so over?

Post by GooberBM » Sun May 22, 2011 11:43 am

Kostka wrote:The crowd doesn't look at selling? It's something the crowd feels through the workers performance, and elects a response by creating sympathy. It's the reason why Morrison isn't over despite being pushed, and Masters matches always get over despite being exclusively on C shows.
again, it's a big picture/little picture argument

Chris Masters is one of the most over wrestlers in ring. The superstars crowds tend to get into his matches because he is the best limb seller in the company by a country mile so wide it's the length of california, vertically. As a character though, Chris Masters is not over.

Morrison, is over, but it's a matter of style and flash over substance. He has regressed as a worker, but you can't say that the crowd isn't into him when he comes out and does stuff. I can't explain it myself, but there is a tangible reaction for John Morrison that is undeniable.

Orton is somewhere in between. He's got a style that people respond to, and he's not without substance, as he is fully capable of delivering the goods. But Orton is completely over with the crowd (at least the live audiences) without being proficient at creating sympathy for his character or having anything resembling a traditional babyface appeal. In a way, he's right, the average fan doesn't look at selling. If those small, technical details were what most fans were watching, Chris Masters would be way further up the card than he is and certainly further than John Morrison. But it's really not what they're looking for. Even if all the small picture details don't fit, Orton just kinda fits in the larger picture. It's weird and doesn't make total sense, but it just kind of works
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Re: Orton is a horrible face. Why is he so over?

Post by AndyF1069 » Sun May 22, 2011 11:51 am

In 2004 (I was 14), Orton was a heel on sunday and a tweener on monday after what happened with evolution. The next week he came out to his own music and was a good guy. That's all it took for me to go from boo to yay. Pretty sure it's that simple for most of the viewing audience. Especially the younglings
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Re: Orton is a horrible face. Why is he so over?

Post by rangerrick012 » Sun May 22, 2011 11:58 am

GooberBM wrote:
rangerrick012 wrote:And to kinda contradict myself - I actually do think that most of the crowd doesn't look at things like selling and being a good babyface in peril or whatever - most people just cheer who they are told is good.
Your logic is mostly spot-on but this is your own weak spot. The WWE didn't tell the crowd to cheer Orton. The crowd demanded the WWE turn Orton face. That's the part that confuses some people, I think. That they wanted to keep him heel back in late '09-early '10, but the audience pretty much forced their hand
I was referring to Lyontamer's post where he said the crowd only cheers guys like Orton, Kofi, and Morrison b/c the WWE push them so hard as a babyfaces. While there's some truth to that, that can't be the sole reason why the crowd cheers a guy. There's a lot of things that go into people cheering certain guys over others.

Kofi is basically just a hype man. Him coming out and jumping around gets people excited. I guess he's the Flavor Flav of the WWE in that regard. Morrison does the cool flippy crap, and some people eat that sh!t up, so that's why people cheer him, regardless of whether the flippy crap actually has meaning or fits into the match. Orton has the badass persona and is the anti Cena, the RKO is a pretty easy move to pop for. So that explains why he continues to get cheered even though his actual in-ring performance as a face is subpar according to some.

My point in saying that people don't look at selling is not that people don't care about it or that it isn't essential. Just that it isn't as far up on the totem pole when it comes to whether a crowd cheers someone or not. I don't know how to convey that, other than saying that the average fan doesn't go out of their way to look at stuff like selling when determining whether or not they will cheer for someone. Now of course good selling can help get someone over, like Masters or Christian. But it isn't necessarily THE determining factor.

Masters when you look at him, and I know he's the new 'it' guy on here, doesn't really have an identifiable character yet, doesn't have a move set that the crowd can pop for easily, and doesn't have a finisher that makes the crowd pop either. So that's part of the reason why he isn't AS over as guys like Kofi, Morrison, Orton.
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Re: Orton is a horrible face. Why is he so over?

Post by GooberBM » Sun May 22, 2011 12:13 pm

it's cool, I'm mostly with you on this one
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Re: Orton is a horrible face. Why is he so over?

Post by El Canuck » Fri May 27, 2011 9:45 am

Orton gets over as a face for the same reason as Steve Austin, or the Comic book characters Deadpool and The Punisher. He's an Anti-Hero, his character is very much the antithisis of John Cena that fans over 12 have been begging for. Wheras Cena is the goody-goody save the world at all costs hero, Orton was his main rival; during that time, both men got mixed reactions, the kids loved Cena, the Teenagers and young adults loved Orton. So his face turn was driven by that fan reaction, much like Austin's face turn was driven by him doing things that were traditionally heelish. It's been a long time coming in my books for Orton, and it's interesting to see how they develop him into Austin 2.0.

As for Morrison, during his time as a tandem with The Miz on ECW his was a character begging to be face. His in ring style mimicked the great faces of Mexican Wrestling (in Mexico faces are usually the ones who pull off all the flashy aerial moves that get "Oooh's and Aaah's" out of the crowd while the heel is the base or target for the aforementioned moves), his characters heelish antics came off as goofy and almost lovable ("Be Jealous!") and all he needed was a push in the face direction to get over, and thats where the Miz came in, this was a tandem put together just to turn on eachother and the Miz was clearly the one chosen to be the definitive heel of the pair, and he pulled that off to perfection, while Morrison seemed sort of goofy as a heel, Miz was obnoxious and the crowd loved to hate him.

As for Masters, when I used to take part in discussion forums around the time he started out there was nothing but disdain for him, he was getting a big push, he was a mediocre heel and everyone thought he was just another muscle head that Vince as we all know, loves to death. Now, upon his return and subsequent shrinkage, you all seem to love him, and I can't help but think it's due to his lack of push. It's eerily similar to that lame Hipster movement going around where they hate everything and everyone mainstream but love everything underground, regardless of quality. By Masters appearing on C shows without his roids he's beloved, pushed on A shows in his jacked up form, despised.
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Re: Orton is a horrible face. Why is he so over?

Post by GooberBM » Fri May 27, 2011 1:44 pm

El Canuck wrote:Orton gets over as a face for the same reason as Steve Austin, or the Comic book characters Deadpool and The Punisher. He's an Anti-Hero, his character is very much the antithisis of John Cena that fans over 12 have been begging for. Wheras Cena is the goody-goody save the world at all costs hero, Orton was his main rival; during that time, both men got mixed reactions, the kids loved Cena, the Teenagers and young adults loved Orton. So his face turn was driven by that fan reaction, much like Austin's face turn was driven by him doing things that were traditionally heelish. It's been a long time coming in my books for Orton, and it's interesting to see how they develop him into Austin 2.0.
I wasn't going to but hell, I'll bite. Austin stopped being an anti-hero the day he won the WWF Championship at WM 14. When everybody is a badass and doing bad things is cheered (ie. Godfather being a pimp, most of what the HHH D-X did, the APA for examples), and your moral standing is the compass by which everything around you is judged, then you are no longer an anti-hero. You are just a hero
As for Masters, when I used to take part in discussion forums around the time he started out there was nothing but disdain for him, he was getting a big push, he was a mediocre heel and everyone thought he was just another muscle head that Vince as we all know, loves to death. Now, upon his return and subsequent shrinkage, you all seem to love him, and I can't help but think it's due to his lack of push. It's eerily similar to that lame Hipster movement going around where they hate everything and everyone mainstream but love everything underground, regardless of quality. By Masters appearing on C shows without his roids he's beloved, pushed on A shows in his jacked up form, despised.
please read the MOTY thread before you make a comment like that. Do we have an unhealthy enjoyment of Chris Masters, maybe. But it is firmly rooted in reality and what he does in the ring. Feel free to engage people in relevant discussion and debate, but don't expect to get away with throwing haphazard blanket statements like that around
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Re: Orton is a horrible face. Why is he so over?

Post by El Canuck » Fri May 27, 2011 2:56 pm

No, Austin continued to be an Anti-Hero by pure definition of the word, WWE just continued to push a lot more anti-heroes all at once, as in the examples you listed. Austin was the leader of this trend. Despite WWE shifting gears, the "moral compass" never shifts, good is always good, evil is always evil. I stand by my statement.

As for Masters, I stand by that statement too, I assume MOTY is Moron of the Year or some such thing, and if I win the award for this post then this whole forum must be populated by members of MENSA. I never claimed my statement to be fact, just mere observation of how you all treat Chris Masters versus how he was treated years ago by your ilk when he first arrived and was getting a monster push. I've been observing this Hipster like trend in wrestling forums for a long time now, it's not just limited to Masters.
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Re: Orton is a horrible face. Why is he so over?

Post by GooberBM » Fri May 27, 2011 3:29 pm

El Canuck wrote:No, Austin continued to be an Anti-Hero by pure definition of the word, WWE just continued to push a lot more anti-heroes all at once, as in the examples you listed. Austin was the leader of this trend. Despite WWE shifting gears, the "moral compass" never shifts, good is always good, evil is always evil. I stand by my statement.
The Austin Era was a perversion (to cause to turn aside or away from what is generally done or accepted) of the Hero Structure of the Hogan Era, not because Austin was less of a hero than Hogan, but because of who his actions were cast upon. Case in point, both guys would strive to keep the villain from reaching the Holy Grail, even at the cost of themselves.

Hogan:
skip to the 3:00 mark for the pertinent portion

Austin:
skip to the 6:15 mark

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Austin has anti-hero tendencies, sure. But so does Superman when he's facing Darkseid. At the end of the day though, Austin, like Hogan before and Cena now, is much more Superman than Punisher
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Re: Orton is a horrible face. Why is he so over?

Post by coco » Fri May 27, 2011 5:20 pm

El Canuck wrote:No, Austin continued to be an Anti-Hero by pure definition of the word, WWE just continued to push a lot more anti-heroes all at once, as in the examples you listed. Austin was the leader of this trend. Despite WWE shifting gears, the "moral compass" never shifts, good is always good, evil is always evil. I stand by my statement
I agree. Austin is to Wrestling what Kratos is for God of War. It's not about doing the right thing but acting because they see a benefit for themselves; it ends up being a good act but the intentions as an anti-hero are not based on morality; the fact that they do something heroic is coincidental .

Austin was an Anti-Hero and those characters are just more appealing and complex than pure heroes like Hogan and Cena. Rather than a hero with anti-hero tendencies i think it's the other way around Austin was an anti-hero with heroic tendencies at time.
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