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In wrestling, a face is a character who is portrayed as being moral or approving (that is, faces are "good guys" or "crowd favourites").

The vast majority of wrestling storylines (though not all) place a heel ("bad guy") against a face.

The term face began as an abbreviation of babyface, and up until the mid 1990s, the two terms meant essentially the same thing. This changed with the birth of Extreme Championship Wrestling, the start of World Championship Wrestling's nWo storyline, and the Attitude Era of the World Wrestling Federation. These three things coincided and saw wrestlers like Steve Austin and Sting adopting heel tactics to overcome opponents. While technically tweeners, their immense popularity with crowds had their gimmicks categorized by many as faces (though they were not the pure "babyfaces" of old). Although wrestlers such as Dick the Bruiser, Crusher and Fred Blassie had been babyfaces while using non-admirable tactics, the Attitude Era is usually credited with this new kind of face. Many wrestlers who would be considered face today would previously be considered a tweener.

Similarly, Kurt Angle was introduced to the World Wrestling Federation with a gimmick that would traditionally have him seen as a babyface, and yet was immensely unpopular with fans. Thus, while adopting many actions and mannerisms of a babyface, Angle's gimmick was seen by most as being "heel." The Spanish term used in lucha libre is a técnico (literally a "technician", one who sticks to basic wrestling techniques without cheating, in theory). Some reasons that can cause fans to turn against a wrestler with a face gimmick include: wrestler's repetitive in-ring antics; a limited moveset; a lengthy title reign; and lack of selling his/her opponents' moves and carrying his/her opponent. This often results in wrestlers who are supposed to be cheered receiving a negative or no reaction from the fans. A good example of that is Bret Hart, who started out as a face in his feud with then heel Steve Austin, but then saw fans turn against him and cheer for Austin, after Bret Hart continued his agonising hold after the end of one of their matches. Another example is the original character of The Rock (named Rocky Maivia) who was immensely unpopular despite his constant attempts to get the crowd on his side. Current WWE Champion John Cena is another example, who despite being a top face on RAW was heavily booed throughout most of 2006 until the week after Unforgiven 2006 after defeating Edge in a TLC match when fans got back on his side, albeight briefly.

See alsoEdit

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