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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Heroes: Modern Day Icons
September 21, 2005 by Nathan Dewey


Many devoted fans of professional wrestling speak highly of the golden years of WWE; usually expressing their younger years, and the powerful Icons that pulled them in to tune into countless programs every week. These were their idols, their heroes. Apparently, still in the calming finish of the attitude era, these heroes can no longer be found. Instead, we're left with a palette of gray. It seems to me that, each WWE superstar has walked jaggedly across the line between good and evil, as each rapidly changes from face to heel at least once every year, confusing some younger viewers. Thankfully, there are a handful of superstars, who can be remembered as modern day heroes, and role models, while still keeping an interest in their loyal fans.

To prove my point, recently Hulk Hogan made his return to the WWE and defeated Shawn Michaels at SummerSlam. Countless fans across the net explained their discomfort with the fact, and claimed many things about one of the most influential heroes of the WWE, saying he's a power monger whose greed has propelled him to the top of the industry. Say what you will, it still doesn't change the fact that we all looked up to him at one time or another, and still cherish the memories that he provided with us. It appeared that even the most memorable face had gone gritty and shaded. But, the loyalty had shined through, as the crowds still chanted "Hogan!"

Contrary to what some may believe, not everything in the WWE has gone stale, and I'm getting tired of the negative comments concerning wrestling as of late. We still have some very talented and incredibly famous faces to look forward to every week. I have chosen three in particular, all of which are from SmackDown!. These superstars give us an incredible show every time they're in the ring. They have developed a high number of younger fans. They embody every feature that looked for in a perfect hero. I'm sure you'll agree... and here's why.

The first has been a baby face for almost all of his career, and why not" Frankly I can't see how he can even come close to being booed. He is the one-and-only Rey Mysterio. Rey represents the little man, the one without an advantage of strength, but an incredible heart and confidence. I see in Rey Mysterio someone who represents so many people out there, that it keeps his fans proud every time he enters the ring.

Earlier in the year, Rey began the classic feud (I think) with Eddie Guerrero. Whenever the chips seemed to be in Eddie's favor, Rey fought through it with great courage. The entire feud has brought back the classic formula of "the good-guy always wins." Though I ask myself, "How come I always see Rey coming out the winner"" - well, because he's one of the finest all around tuned up performers the WWE has ever seen! His stunning array of original, and dazzling maneuvers in the ring keep everyone's eyes peeled to the T.V. screen, wanting more, and wondering how he could possibly pull it off. The fact that Rey doesn't show a hint of slowing down and is currently taking a massive good guy angle, is making Rey Mysterio a very popular asset to SmackDown!

Another excellent example of a genuine role model is Chris Benoit, the Rabid Wolverine. He's a kids dream of the perfect wrestling machine. What's not to like about Benoit's ring savvy. He's been a very entertaining heel, but makes for a fine face (though misused.) A perfect example of this is at WrestleMania XX when Benoit gained the World Heavyweight Title for the second time in his twenty year career. This moment represented a hard working man who has paid his dues, and in return received a grand reward; proving anything is possible and always work hard to accomplish your goals (at least that's what I got out of it.) That's the kind of hero the WWE has been able to continually make.

My final choice may be somewhat confusing to some, but I chose The Undertaker as another great hero of modern WWE. Undertaker embodies a fantasy aspect of pro wrestling, something the WWE has been lacking as of late, without being able to produce new original characters. Unlike many, Undertaker represents something different to look forward to. He's an anti-hero, in other words, he's a reluctant face so to speak. He barely ever talks and never gloats or pleads for approval. No. He appears when he wants and where he wants, and almost always gets the job done. Some would say, "Undertaker's time is up" but I disagree, and believe he's still kicking (and not in a twitching sense). There are little to no flaws in the Deadman's character, which is a great thing these days.

With so many others rising like John Cena (whom I despise, but can't question his popularity) and Batista (who I believe, is a confusing champion) and many more, WWE is going back to the basics. As many of us have noticed, WWE is once again taking a lot of their characters to heart, but seem to be too paranoid to not do to the unjust changes. Personally, I enjoy the programming very much lately, and will still continue to watch for my idol, and route for the good guys... until Jericho comes back!

Thanks for the feedback on my first column "Win, Win For Y2J"" Feel free to post any comments on this article, and maybe give me an idea of your heroes and thoughts on WWE's new technique in character development, whether you like it or dislike like it.

by Nathan Dewey ..


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