My kids are seven and nine. They are not allowed to watch wrestling, but because of their dad, they’ve met three major wrestling personalities from the 80s. All three of them were heels in their day; they could not have been nicer to my children. They shook hands, asked their names, took time to listen to them, gave autographs when asked, and share some stories. They were incredibly kind to my kids.
All three of these encounters happened away from the ring. Far away. Had they happened at ring side, my kids know these nice gentlemen would not have been nice at all. The men who smiled and took the time to get to know my kids would have insulted them in every way possible. They would have scowled at them, scared them, and made my kids hate them. Why? Because that’s their job.
The world needs more Kevin Owens. We need more wrestlers who don’t care about people’s feelings, even kids. We need fewer independent wrestlers playing the heel and then selling T-shirts and smiling for pictures. (Props to Aaron Williams, who I saw forego his usual gimmick table at a recent even where he was working heel.) We need more of the old Dutch Mantell “Don’t buy my photo and rip it up in front of me,” like the time the Lovely Lylah sold a bunch of cake pops for charity by saying, “Don’t buy these just to throw them at me during my match!” We need men and women willing to live the heel life in the ring, in the arena, and yes, even on social media.
We don’t need Triple H comforting kids at ringside after playing the heel. We need more Kevin Owens.