|"Stone Cold" Steve Austin|
The best characters, in my opinion, are those that have layers & depth to them. It is a big reason why current babyfaces are so boring in WWE. They lack depth. They're just straight-up Captain America only without the shield. Hulk Hogan worked in the 1980's. The same model does not work in 2013 when everyone has the internet & a Twitter account (including the wrestlers). The fourth wall is gone & so is the veil of secrecy surrounding the industry.
What that leaves behind is a show where the fans are "in on it" so to speak. So they're going to be endearing to the funny & entertaining & lambast the unskilled or boring. Realism, is what professional wrestling should be going for in a UFC-popular society. Now, I am not suggesting that WWE, TNA, ROH or any other U.S. promotion should present itself as real, as in not worked, but I am saying that the days of zombies shooting lightning are a thing of the past. The Undertaker is still over because he has adapted over the years. He's a great worker & people feel nostalgic for his gimmick. If a new gimmick were to debut on RAW tomorrow with a guy that could do all the things that The Undertaker has done in the past, he would be ridiculed & laughed out of the building. No, what the promotions should be going for today, I feel, is an athletic feel. Almost sport like. A battle of who is the best between wrestlers. Like NWA used to be or how New Japan feels now. It has never really been what WWE has been about but I think it's time to try.
The days of pro-wrestlers being larger-than-life superstars getting by on presence alone are gone. Nowadays, people want to see talent, I feel. Not just from an actual wrestling standpoint but from an entertainment standpoint. When something feels fake or phony, the live crowds will let you know. When something is boring or not entertaining, the live crowds will let you know. It does not matter if someone is a good guy or a bad guy. If they are cool/funny/entertaining, they are going to get cheered. Just like the nWo used to. Just like C.M. Punk does now. If they're boring/stale/fake they will be booed. Like John Cena. This does not mean that WWE should turn C.M. Punk babyface (again) or John Cena heel. It means that something is working with Punk & something is not working with Cena.
Take Bully Ray's recent heel turn in TNA as an example. It was met with cheers. It was met with people on Twitter talking about how cool it was. No one was angry at Bully & wanted to see him get what was coming to him. They were entertained because TNA did something that they enjoyed & felt like was a good idea, even if it happened months after it should have & doesn't make any sense in storyline. If that same thing were to have happened in the 1980's, a riot would have almost broken out.
Just give us compelling characters that are competent at their jobs & let them do what they're good at. You don't need to micromanage or over-script every single second. It's 2013, why is WWE trying to get over a racist character preaching about immigration? Just makes the wrestlers look good, make them look strong & make them look like any man can win on any given day. The best should be the best. The best should be the champion. But you always need credible opponents trying to knock him off of the mountain. The fans will get behind their favorites still & will talk about who they think is going to win. Just like they used to do.