Heel (professional wrestling)

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In professional wrestling, a heel is a "bad guy". It is the opposite of a face, which is the word for a "good guy".[1]

The job of the heel is to be booed by the audience (this is called getting heat), which helps to gain sympathy for the face. This can be done in many ways. One common way is to break the rules when the referee is not looking. Another way is to act in a nasty way towards the audience.

Sometimes in American professional wrestling, a person from a foreign country will play the role of a heel who hates America. The Iron Sheik, who is Iranian, is one example. He had a rivalry with Hulk Hogan, who is American and acted as a patriot as one part of his character.[2] It is not necessary for the foreign heel to really be from a foreign country. For example, Fritz Von Erich played the role of an evil German, despite really being from Texas.

WWE has said that it has stopped making it clear whether a wrestler is a face or a heel. This is partly because audiences know professional wrestling is scripted. Because of this, they might cheer a heel who puts on good matches. Also, they may boo a face who they think is being featured too much and is not skilled enough for it, and so any heel facing them in a match would be cheered.[3]

In lucha libre (Mexican professional wrestling), heels are called rudos. Rudos tend to use moves that show off their strength and power. This contrasts with técnicos (faces or good guys), who use a fast-paced style and high-flying moves.[4]

References[change | change source]

  1. Oz, Drake. "Understanding Wrestling Terminology: A Casual Fan's Guide". Bleacher Report. Turner Inc. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  2. Esbenshade, Ellie. "The Geeky Historian: What Happened to Foreign Heels in Wrestling?". The Geeky Historian. Medium. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  3. Ostriecher, Blake. "5 Reasons WWE No Longer Has True Heels Or Babyfaces". Forbes. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  4. Cocking, Lauren. "Everything You Need to Know about Wrestling". Culture Trip. Retrieved 25 July 2020.