|Red-white-and-blue junior Captain Americas as pretty, pumped, and competitive as babyfaces can be: Jake Jenkins and Austin Cooper|
All in the same day a couple of days ago, SP at Inner Jobber posted a by-the-numbers "how to be a fantasy wrestling jobber (like Curtis Thompson)" post, and Joe at Ringside at Skull Island posted a "you might be a heel if..." list of distinguishing characteristics of the heel set, and I briefly mentioned my guilty pleasure of watching a babyface hero defeat an evil doer in the ring. I think there's less said than should be about professional wrestlers who fall neither into the doomed to be exploited category or the devious exploiters category. Since SP and Joe did such thoughtful treatments of jobbers and heels, I decided to try to do a little more justice on behalf of that oft-maligned class of homoerotic wrestlers: the face.
|I've got a longstanding crush on handsome hero Mitch Colby.|
|Gorgeous face Denny Cartier is all skill, stamina, and strength on the mat.|
|Fiercely pretty babyface tagteam Zack Coleman and Brian Barnes.|
Like babies themselves, I can't think of anyone ugly who I'd classify as a babyface wrestler. Granted, "ugly" is entirely subjective, but inclusion criteria for babyface wrestlers (as far as I'm concerned), include a strong, chiseled chin, gorgeous, piercing (often blue) eyes, and a gym-toned body with beautiful skin. The parameters are flexible to accommodate an assortment of tastes (eye of the beholder and all), but something obviously beautiful seems a prerequisite. A babyface seems to, by definition, be attractive in a conventional sense. It's not like particularly homoerotic wrestling is well-populated with men who fail to meet basic standards of physical attractiveness, but those especially handsome Clark Kent-esque boys tend to get checks in my personal tally of elements that add up to the essential ingredients of a compelling face. Necessary but not sufficient criteria to be a babyface, it seems to me, is eye-catching beauty.
|Alexi Adamov strives valiantly to honestly overcome notorious Aryx Quinn's dirty tricks.|
Further inclusion criteria for me include that babyface wrestlers tend to stick to the straight and narrow when faced with (as they frequently are) an underhanded, dirty, no-good heel. Here's where it comes in handy to have powerful muscles and innate athleticism (again, necessary but not sufficient characteristics of faces - plenty of heels and jobbers have beautiful muscles and obvious athleticism). When faced with cheating and trickery, the Pearl Harbor before the bell rings, the hair pull, the crotch blow, the foreign object, the refusal to break a hold when the action hits the ropes, the babyface hero grimaces, shakes his head ("kids these days") and reinvests his faith in his thousands of hours of gym time and, hopefully, substantive experience and wrestling skills. An occasional venture into a retributive low blow not-withstanding (particularly in homoerotic wrestling), the face places his confidence in the superiority of his physique, his mental preparation, his wrestling prowess, and the sincerity of his heart. In a post-modern world, faces can get away with a lot more rule bending and still be objects of heroic adoration, of course. They can most definitely lose their temper, open a can of unnecessarily rough whoop-ass, ravage an opponent momentarily in a rage. But in the morality tales of homoerotic wrestling, if I see a handsome stud tend toward the exercise of self-restraint and appear to intentionally decline to take shortcuts, I check off another box in the face checklist.
|Who's got whom? Babyface hearthrob Brad Rochelle battles babyface heartthrob Jeff Phoenix|
|Classic babyface Christopher Bruce shocks and awes perennially supine Rio Garza|
|Heel rising Morgan Cruise drops gorgeous giant Diego Diaz with a shocking low blow|
|Gorgeous babyface Justin Pierce puts the hurt on gorgeous babyface Tommy Tara|
|Babyface beauty Cameron Matthews heeled by Kid Vicious|
So I started by making a case for a face, which I still stand by enthusiastically. Heroes battling for good, winning valiantly, losing in soul-crushing, despair-inducing humiliation... fuck, I love that guy. But I'd love him even more in a context in which I could watch his character grow and change, in which his motivation is more explicit, contrasts drawn more starkly, perhaps his heel turn that much more shocking because he'd convinced me of his utter trust that right will ultimately overcome might. I'm sure it's a pipe dream, but it's still a dream that makes my blood pulse harder.