During an interview with Inside The Ropes, Triple H and Shawn Michaels discussed how big of a role social media can play in the creation of a baby face or heel. The former D-X members noted how now with social media, everyone has an opinion and can share it.
“The world now, and I think this is social media, make it okay to express what you want to express,” Triple H said. “If you go back to the 80’s and you were a WWF fan then, you didn’t want to say ‘I don’t like [Hulk] Hogan’, but you didn’t want to say it too loud because everybody else liked Hogan and you didn’t want to be the one guy who didn’t. Now I think it’s just that everybody has an opinion, everybody. No matter what you say it’s wrong to somebody, no matter what you do it’s wrong to somebody, everybody has an opinion, but you can’t dictate now.
“You create a character that everybody is supposed to dislike but there’s a large portion of them that like that. Then when you create a character that everybody is supposed to like there’s a large portion of them that dislike that. If you tried hard to flip them, and I know everyone is going to say Roman [Reigns], there’s something to all that. Look at [Tommaso] Ciampa, it’s a unique thing and for whatever reason it’s happened, it just is. But that’s a more difficult thing now than it’s ever been to come up with a universal [baby face or heel].”
“That’s what’s so great about this,” Michaels said. “We love it, but it’s still a fact. Fans of anything, not just WWE, if you’re winning they’re for you if they’re losing they aren’t. I would imagine folks don’t go to a soccer game and hope a big fight breaks out but sometimes it happens. Sports fans are passionate and it causes them to do whatever. We recognize it.”
Triple H also talked about how passionate the WWE fan base can be. The Game also dispelled rumors of WWE enhancing crowd noise to manipulate the reactions of certain wrestlers.
“The one thing I love about what we do is the passion of the fan base,” Triple H said. “I think sometimes fans think it’s something we hate, I see the internet talk about us manipulating crowd noises? We don’t manipulate the crowd noises, it’s just what’s happening. It just is. They’re passionate about it, but we love the fact that they can express their opinion. We love the fact that they can go out there and say this is great or this isn’t great, this guy is a good guy or this guy is a bad guy.”
Triple H went in depth into how the WWE listens to the fans and decides to make their decisions and provides the women’s revolution as the best example of that.
“If they tell us they dislike something, if we’re smart, we listen to that,” Triple H said. “It might take us a while but we can fix it. If you talk about the women’s evolution, it started, hadn’t boiled up until there was a definitive moment where the fans had had enough. #givedivasachance trends globally for 3 days, the noise, Vince responded on social media ‘Keep watching, we hear you’. That caused the change, we embraced it even though it took a while to hear it. Embraced the change and now it’s headed in a completely different direction. It takes time and it takes time for things to change but we’ll get there, shifting cultures isn’t easy.”
Michaels echoed how important fan interest is in a wrestler, whether it be positive or negative, and how every professional wrestler should want to be noticed.
“I’d be more worried if people weren’t engaged,” Michaels said. “Whether you do get tired of it or not, what’s going to really suck is the days when nobody cares, nobody wants a picture or an autograph. Better to have that hassle then no hassle at all, that’s how all of us in this line of work look at it. Any kind of engagement, good, bad or otherwise, is better than no engagement at all.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Inside The Ropes with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.