Are Monster Heels an obsolete model in WWE?

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Not everyone loves a monster heel, but when done correctly it can change even the most cynical fan’s mind. When it comes to booking them, however, fans keep hearing that WWE simply refuses to stray from the familiar. Gunther is just the latest example of their tired approach to potential monster development.

It may be too soon, but fans have seen this writing on the wall quite often in the past. As for the superstar formerly known as Walter, he’s now made three trips to Friday Night Smackdown, marking them all with brutally victories out of two – you guessed it – random, and a glorified third jobber.

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Glorified jobbers are still jobbers

Now early squash matches are important. You need to be able to build a monster slowly, which means not rushing it into a situation that could ruin all of its progress. Still, fans should care – or, in this case, WWE should give them a reason to. So far they are 1 for 3 in this regard.

Fans love and appreciate Drew Gulak, but WWE doesn’t seem to like him the way fans do. His charisma and ability in the ring cannot be questioned, and yet he was made to be comic relief for weeks. For weeks before WrestleMania Backlash, he was literally Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey’s punching bag as they tried to outdo each other ahead of their title match. And though Gulak made the most of it, as only he and few others can, a glorified jobber is still just that: a jobber.


So, sorry Mr. Gulak; we know you were, on paper, Gunther’s toughest test yet in his first run on SmackDown. But it’s hard to even take that seriously considering Gulak hadn’t wrestled on SmackDown in over two years.

There are some intriguing matches to be made

Quite often these heels are cut off before they have a chance to really start, but it doesn’t have to be. One potential issue is the fact that Gunther is a heel, and sadly the blue brand doesn’t boast much of the popular babyfaces at the moment. Or at least, those who can be considered as soon-to-be challengers.

Drew McIntyre is at the top of the list, but it’s all about Roman Reigns and The Bloodline for him right now.

Then there’s Ricochet, the current WWE Intercontinental Champion. The Imperium leader would undoubtedly get a lot of heat, as fans love Ricochet, but maybe that’s more out of indifference than anything. We cannot say for sure at this time. Plus, if WWE loses him too soon, then what? And, it’s not like they care much about their midcard titles anyway.

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Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods? Sorry, they’re currently locked in a weird and twisty feud with Sheamus, Ridge Holland, and Butch.

On the surface, it’s hard to see where a promising opponent for Gunther will come from at present, and for various reasons it is a pity. The truth is, there are matches up and down the roster that could be an ideal fit. His work inside the ring cannot be questioned; neither does his presence. Everything about him is menacing and imposing. Yet, as is too often the case, something is missing. By now it should be obvious what the problem is.

Who is the character?

RAW is currently experiencing its own potential problem with Veer Mahaan, which boils down to this: there’s so little behind his character. It’s a model that’s gotten so thin it’s almost laughable; insulting, even. At least Mahaan can say he knocked out Rey and Dominik Mysterio. On Smackdown, no one with name value has stood in the way of Gunther…yet.


Hope on the horizon?

Judging by recent events, there may be some positives to report.

It should be noted that on Gunther last four WWE live events appearances, he has four wins, two over Shinsuke Nakamura and two over Sami Zayn. But until fans see this every week, it’s going to be hard to trust the creative direction. Maybe there is something to build with Nakamura, maybe. So let’s see. Too many squash matches against strangers, and this man is doomed. It’s a delicate balance that WWE apparently always tries to strike.

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If they want fans to invest, they have to adapt. We have already been told “Be afraid of them”. This is no longer enough; that hasn’t been enough for a very long time. Slow builds are welcome if some interesting seeds are planted along the way, but right now there’s nothing to hold back.


Show, don’t tell—against someone who will create lasting impact.

Don’t feed Gunther to Reigns anytime soon. Or McIntyre. But for once, we have to do something different. Ultimately, there must be a character under the character. Otherwise, WWE will forget about Gunther like they have countless others.

So will the fans, if they haven’t already.


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