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A Face (short for Babyface) is a Professional Wrestling good guy. He's the guy the fans get behind, the one they cheer for. A face used to always be a clean-cut good guy, but nowadays, anybody the fans cheer for is generally classified as a face, whether or not he's clean-cut, and whether or not he plays by the rules. The Lucha Libre equivalent is known as a técnico (or technico). To further confuse, in British Wrestling (Such as World Of Sport), the term used is "Blue Eyes."

Like many things in pro wrestling, a wrestler's status as a face is anything but permanent; a Face Heel Turn could come at a moment's notice.

Some fans draw a distinction between "face" and "babyface"; they argue that "babyface" should be used to refer to the old-school, clean-cut, "train, say your prayers, and eat your vitamins"-type good guys, and the shortened version is simply anybody fans cheer for (including a wide variety of Antiheroes and Designated Heroes). Insiders in the pro wrestling business, however, use the two interchangeably.

The opposite of a face is a Heel, the bad guy that the fans love to hate. See also Tweener (a guy who falls in between Face and Heel status, fighting either side as the situation calls for) and X Pac Heat (when the fans hate the actual person). The Face Heel Index has some more variations.

Unrelated to The Face which can also be called "The Social Guy" because they're the group member that specializes in social skills.


Examples:

  • Hulk Hogan was perhaps the ultimate All-American Face, keeping it up for eighteen years until he pulled his infamous Face Heel Turn during Bash at the Beach in 1996.
  • Besides some disputes with his brother and Rob Van Dam, Jeff Hardy has always been a hero the fans could look to and project their energy on.
  • Similarly, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat spent his entire career as a clean-cut babyface. One veteran theorized that Ricky could cut off Hulk Hogan's limbs with a chainsaw and still get cheered for it because he was just such a naturally likable guy. This is why he used the "Steamboat" stage name despite being born with the natural ring name Richard Blood; contemporary common sense said that you couldn't have a nice guy named "Blood."
  • Even though he's in the heel stable Nexus, Justin Gabriel almost always gets cheered by the fans due to his likeable personality, underdog status, and awesome wrestling skills.
  • It appears that any wrestler who has been around long enough becomes a face by default. Ric Flair was probably the ultimate example, as all of his heel mannerisms had long since slipped into nostalgia by the end of his career.
    • Bryan Danielson in ROH probably set the record for doing this quicker than anybody. He was a natural heel as ROH Champion, but his Large Ham heel antics were some of the most entertaining parts of any given show. From when he first infuriated the crowd with his "I HAVE TILL FIVE!" schtick, it took around half a year for it to become the most beloved part of his act.
      • As Daniel Bryan, even after he spat in John Cena's face and hellaciously destroyed everything in the WWE with Nexus, the fans loved him. He actually got kicked off the WWE for being too violent after he choked someone out with his own tie, and the fans cheered for him so much, he was rehired before his no-complete clause ran out, and became a face by joining team WWE, then eliminating as many Nexus members as John Cena.
    • Kane is another face by default. He tries really hard to be heel and generally does a good job and gets booed. The moment he stops performing over the top acts of evil though the fans are back to cheering for him. Similarly his brother The Undertaker, became a face by default through a combination of his all around talent and grave digging zombie gimmick.
  • Sting could very well be the ultimate example. There have only been a couple of attempts to turn him heel over his 20+ year career and they have all been lack luster and half-hearted, at best. For example, when TNA put him in the Main Event Mafia, Sting was conspicuous in not participating in beat downs perpetuated by his stable mates. They eventually threw him out, making him a full fledged Face again.
    • Currently he's a heel, but he's done nothing to explain his actions or build up heat; he just stands around brooding, like he doesn't know how to be evil.
    • Now it's been revealed that his motivation is...vengeance against Hulk Hogan for all the crap he did during nWo, hey Sting, don't you know about the Three Month Rule? Quit Breaking the Fourth Wall, TNA can't afford a new one.
  • Rey Mysterio, Jr. full on.
    • Has Mysterio ever been a heel? (And yes, I'm referring to his WCW days, too.) Except for one match against Mark Henry where he used one of Eddie Guerrero's heel tricks (though even that was more of an homage to his recently departed friend), I don't think he's ever played any role other than the underdog face. He's probably unique among male Superstars in that respect. (Rob Van Dam is somewhat borderline. He was a heel when he first came over from ECW in 2001, but by that time he was so popular even among WWE fans that he got cheered anyway.)
      • Rey turned heel when the Flithy Animals were formed and they feuded with Ric Flair for a bit back in 1999 after he lost his mask and the whole No-Limit Solders thing died. The Animals was partly responsible for luring Flair out to the middle of nowhere one Nitro where the New World Order ambushed him and he had to hitch a ride back to the arena. All during Rey's maskless period, however, Canon Dis Continuity in WWE.
  • The Great Khali has always been the good guy to the Indian audience. It was the US where he was booed. The same may be true for other hometown heroes that wind up wrestling for foreign promotions.
    • This also applies to Bret Hart, who will always be face in Canada no matter how he's booked. Even when he was the biggest heel in the company in 1997, all he had to do was cross the border and he was a face again.
    • La Resistance spent their whole gimmick praising France and Quebec while contrasting them to the inferior United States of America. The commentators act surprised for some reason when they got cheers in Quebec despite this, they were even cheered over the other Canadian wrestlers.
  • Maria Kanellis was with WWE from 2004-2010 and remained a face the whole time. There were hints at her turning heel mid-2009 when she was in an angle with heel character Dolph Ziggler but that storyline was scrapped and Maria never turned. She was even voted "Diva of the Year" by the fans, something she was obviously not expecting when you consider that the likes of Mickie James and Melina Perez got bigger reactions than her.
  • Kelly Kelly is a Diva who, considering how she was first portrayed, is more likely than Maria to turn heel some day. She debuted in the "new" ECW in the spring of 2006 as an "exhibitionist" who was always removing her clothes (at first just to entertain the male fans, and then to distract heels while they were fighting wrestlers she particularly liked) and was the love interest of the Jerkass wrestler Mike Knox, but apart from the distractions she herself never did anything truly unlikable. She eventually broke up with Knox, and starting around 2007 the "exhibitionist" gimmick was dropped as well. She's been a straight-up babyface ever since, but of course only time will tell....
    • A major reason why she's been a face so long is because she is probably the single largest woobie in WWE, who seems to take an almost perverse glee in making her suffer. Her boyfriend Mike Knox was emotionally abusive and let her get hit in the head by the Sandman with a singapore cane, The Miz actively sabotaged her attempts to hook up with anyone, got stalked by Kane and rejected by Randy Orton, the list goes on. At this point, the easiest way for a Diva to get heel heat is for them to do something bad to Kelly.
    • She is now currently the most popular diva they have and one of the few who can get a crowd to react so chances are she's not turning heel anytime soon.
    • Interestingly enough, in the ring itself, she's very heelish. She uses an illegal submission hold, is very aggressive, screams a lot and will ram her opponent's face off the canvas sometimes just for the hell of it.
  • Not a wrestling example but Hercule from the Dragon Ball series acts like the typical wrestling hero and the main characters despite being better fighters than him are all willing to do the job so that he will look good.
  • In one episode of Xena The Warrior Princess the main character decides the best way to save her friend Joxer, who had offended the Amazon tribe, was to stage a Squash Match with Xena playing to the crowd before "killing" Joxer with an overly dramatic finishing move.
  • Antonino Rocca, this man brought drop kicks, cross bodies and huracanranas to professional wrestling back in the 1940s! He was also responsible for bringing wrestling back to Madison Square Garden in the 50s, where it hasn't left since. He was one of Antonio Inoki's influences.
  • There was an American comic starring a superhero actually called "The Face"
  • All attempts to turn the fans against Jim Ross failed miserably. Yes, face/heel extends to commentators. Not even WWE's biggest competitor, WCW, was allowed to take shots at Jim Ross though the fans seemed to hate everything else WWE.
  • A face doesn't have to be a decent person, so long as they get fans to cheer them. A common cited example of this is Randy Orton's second face run where half of his feuds were started by his own need to Kick the Dog. Sometimes the enemy would be shown to be just as evil or worse than face Randy but not always. Another example was Kaientai's face run where they constantly gave Eviler Than Thou speeches to their heel opponents.
    • Los Guerreros by all means should have been the heel team, with the way they proudly lived out ethnic stereotypes and regularly lied, cheated and stole. They were such good workers in the ring and on the microphone though that it didn't take any effort to get them over as faces. Trying to get them over as heels always failed, at most they could make Chavo hated by attacking the more popular Eddie. WWE later gave them a Spiritual Successor in Cryme Tyme whose career went pretty much the exact same way, only with less success in winning titles and less longevity.
    • The Boogeyman, who's entire gimmick was smelling bad, randomly appearances and force feeding people worms he first ate and then regurgitated into their mouths. For whatever reason, fans took a liking to him.
  • Mickie James was a heel during a lot of 2006 but she was never booed. The fans loved her crazy stalker lesbian character so much she got cheered going up against friggin Trish Stratus at WrestleMania 22. She officially turned face around September 2006, and has never turned heel again since.
  • Of course, Tito Santana, winner of the first Wrestlemania match ever, the first Mexican to win the intercontinental championship, remained a face his entire career.
  • Bill Goldberg, the top draw of WCW was always a face, though he had somewhat of a mixed reaction when he wrestled the Rock, Brock Lesnar took all the heat for his infamous parting match at Wrestlemania 20.
    • Goldberg did briefly turn heel in Spring of 2000, but that got quickly nixed as fans didn't react well to a heel-turned Goldberg.[1]
  • Razor Ramon HG was a face in HUSTLE since his debut, and became the top face, leading their forces against Generalissimo Takada's monster army. Much of what got him over in the professional wrestling world has not been as well received when he moved on to other television programming though.

Notes

  1. Mind you, not the usual booing that a heel gets and that sort of stuff, but rather fan apathy at how poorly conceived the Goldberg turn was.
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