This blog might be a little longer as I feel like I need to explain it a little more than others and it focuses on crowd interaction rather than a specific physical movement.
First of all it is worth noting that this specific observation relies on a good proportion of the crowd having a reasonably good understanding of the characters in the ring, what they do and what they stand for. It is more difficult to pull off in a new venue or in front of a crowd that doesn’t know you but not impossible.
What I noticed in a recent tag match was how well the heels were using their opponent’s characters to rile up the crowd and get the response they wanted. In this specific instance it was using catchphrases of the people they were wrestling to get the crowd going after a brief lull.
I like this because it isn’t a simple generic “Shut Up!” or “Don’t Boo Me!” that a lot of people rely on to get an easy reaction, it actually puts focus on the getting behind the babyface rather than drawing all the attention onto the heel. People use it effectively with me, many a time I’ve been on the mat and my opponent mocks my “Saint! Saint! Saint!” chant and the crowd respond by picking up the chant and running with it. I think too often people have the idea that being a heel is all about them, but in reality a heel’s job is as much about making the face look good too.
This also got me thinking about other ways that you can use personas and characters to enhance your stories. Perhaps it could be using an opponent’s established move against them, you could also take the persona of a wrestler who constantly cheats to get a win and have the face cheat to get a victory over them.
I think my own best example of something like this was in a Last Man Standing match in 2011 against JD Knight. The match itself had plenty of crazy bumps and weapons used but the sweetest part was the story we told over the course of the evening. Earlier in the night JD had done a promo with a guitar, singing a particularly bad song about me which I interrupted. During the match the instrument was retrieved and the conclusion was me smashing JD over the head with it and the guitar smashing into pieces. For me it was a great story that we told from the promo through to the finish of the main event and the reaction to the guitar shot on JD was amazing.
I’m sure there are plenty of other ways to use this, feel free to share any you have seen/used in the comments and, if this is useful for you, sign up to get the updates via email.