Those of who you remember Vince McMahon as the play-by-play announcer for WWF wrestling in the 1980s and beyond will no doubt recall his penchant for shamelessly cheering on the babyfaces and jeering the heels.
If a wrestler was an antagonist, McMahon pointed out his flaws during matches and begged the ref to catch any rulebreaking. However, if a competitor was a protagonist, he was golden in McMahon’s eyes and got the thorough support of Vince from the broadcasting table.
And McMahon’s attitude changed quickly if a wrestler turned heel or babyface. The best example I can use to illustrate this is Jake “The Snake” Roberts.
When Roberts arrived in the WWF in 1986, he was a full-fledged heel who used his snake, Damien, to humiliate opponents. When Roberts dumped Damien out of the sack, McMahon’s comments went something like this:
“Oh no, he’s not gonna, he’s not gonna put that snake on him. Oh, he’s putting Damien in his face and his mouth, that big nasty snake. Oh, come on! Yecchhh!”
Then Roberts turned babyface in 1987, and the same wrestler and snake got different treatment from McMahon:
“Whoa, baby, here comes Damien! Can you imagine what it’s gonna feel like with that snake on you? Yeah, get him, Jake, get him!”
McMahon’s approach was simplistic, but it worked. His words sold you on the idea that babyfaces were good men that fans could stand behind, and that heels were mischievous fellas who weren’t to be trusted. No gray areas, no tweener wrestlers — you were a good guy or a bad guy, period.