Eric Bischoff is a man who knows a little something about blurring the lines between heel and babyface.
Arguably, it was his NWO storyline that began the era of the ‘cool heel’, whereby the bad guy was more interested in selling t-shirts and getting crowds to pop than actually being a hated nemesis for WCW’s good guys.
On this week’s 83 Weeks podcast, Bischoff lamented the lack of true heels in modern day wrestling and how it leads to a ‘neutral effect. He said:
“We don’t really have any heels [in today’s wrestling]. People play the part of a heel, play the part of a baby face, but there’s nobody out there that people really genuinely hate and want to see get their ass kicked. If you don’t have a real viable meaningful heel then you’re never going to have a real viable meaningful baby face. You are going to have a neutral effect.”
Bischoff believes one of the reasons for this is a change in mindset from wrestlers compared to those years prior, both from a personality and business perspective:
“One of the reasons I think is that people don’t want to be hated. It goes against every instinct you have as a human being since the time you drew your first breath, to find ways to make people hate you and react negatively to you. WWE is even worse, WWE their entire revenue model for talent is on merchandise and as a heel you don’t sell a lot of merchandise. Nobody fully invests in being a heel.”
They say however that there is an exception to every rule and Bischoff reserved specific praise for one young AEW star as someone who stands out as a truly ‘meaningful’ heel. No prizes for guessing who that is:
“There’s only one guy that I could pick out of a crowd that could be the next really, really meaningful heel and that’s MJF. Everyone else has this thing where I can turn at any minute, you can’t tell if I’m a baby face or a heel. It’s so grey. Good guys, bad guys, baby faces, heels, it’s all just one big fog and not enough of anybody else standing out from the fog.”
He continued with his praise, saying how he would have loved to have worked with the youngster:
“This MJF dude, come on, I would’ve loved to work with that guy,” Bischoff stated. “He’s so good. What he delivers on camera is magical as a heel, very few people are capable of pulling it off. He loves heat.
Bischoff is the latest in a long line of notable wrestling names to heap praise on MJF who is thought by many to be the most likely to emerge as AEW’s first homegrown superstar.
Credit to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.