“Heels” and “faces” sound like human anatomical bits, right? The heel is at the back of your foot. Everyone knows that. Also… in a rugby ruck sometimes the forwards use their feet to “heel” the ball back and win possession. A well-trained dog will walk behind its trainer when commanded to “heel.” But there is another meaning, too. In wrestling the meanings of these words are a bit different.
What about “faces”. What does “faces” mean? That is so obvious. It’s the pretty bit at the front of your head, right? The bit just below the forehead and just above the chin. In a similar vein a face can be the part of any object that forms the surface of the object… or faces outward. Not very well explained but I am sure you get it. Everyone knows what a face is.
Well, in professional wrestling “heels” and “faces” have slightly different meanings. A “heel” is a bad guy or villain deliberately chosen by the promoter of the wrestling event to get the crowd booing. The “heel” will ignore the ref, cheat, hit their opponent with anything they can find lying about or near the ring (a microphone, a chair, a bottle, a shoe, an umbrella etc.), abuse his or her opponent and the crowd and generally do all kinds of weird and dumb stuff deliberately to make the crowd hate him or her.
So, can you guess what a “face” is? A “face” is sometimes known as a “baby-face”. In the professional wrestling world “faces” are the ones hired by the promoter to encourage rapturous cheers from the crowd. They are the heroes. They are the ones that the crowd come to see punish the horrible “heels” for their villainousness. Unfortunately for the crowd, things don’t always turn out the way the crowd wants. In a dramatic sense (and therefor marketing sense) it wouldn’t work if the good guy won every time. Sometimes the bad guy beats the shit out of the good guy so that the crowds will come the next week to see that “face” or another “face” take revenge against the bastard.
It all kind of reminds me of the Warner Brothers animated characters the wolf and the sheepdog (Ralph and Sam) who are all chummy before clocking on for work at the beginning of the day but beat the crap out of each other during working hours, then, after bundying off, presumably go off for a beer together after work.