Face and heel turns are significant to a WWE character’s curve not only because they imbue an endearing freshness to their ring lore, but also because they root them to the inherently human quality of moral and emotional turbulence. Exaggerated and monotonous portrayals of selected Superstars for the sake of better audience reaction, however, have been mainstays of the product.
Yet, the inflated sense of morality that WWE tends to adhere with does not deter the ugly truth from pulling aside the curtain. There is a wall and these characters are illusionary. Though there have been instances when life outside the squared circle has bled into a wrestler’s character inside it, for the most part, they are shadows of their other selves.
Heroism inside the ring is written for the sake of audience response and connection while any such act outside the chalk circle of a “sports entertainment product”, in the face of real danger and harm, is indeed laudable to a fault.
I don’t mean to deride the generosity of the WWE which has been involved in numerous charitable events over the last few years. The work and its scale are equally commendable, but hardly unbecoming for a company that is as influential and powerful as the WWE. Therefore, Make-A-Wish and the like are not subjects of this list. Neither are locker-room veterans who are known to be considerate and benevolent to up and comers in the business.
Instead, the focus is on isolated incidents of Superstars both past and present, whose bravery, benevolence and commitment outside the ring are worth taking note of.
CM Punk’s kindness to Joey Mercury
The Straight Edge Superstar is known for his unwavering loyalty to friends and family alike. In 2007, his longtime friend Joey Mercury, following his release from the WWE, had spiralled into poverty and substance abuse.
The former MNM member was on the verge of losing his house to a foreclosure deal, had Punk not stepped in to save his friend from a certain derailment. Paying for the house in an amount close to six figures, Punk secured Mercury’s home and later helped Joey wean himself off his drug habit.
Daivari stops a violent drunk inside a public transport
Shawn Daivari was a notorious heel, though his gimmick was racially motivated in a cheap attempt to draw heat. Despite that, his act of heroism on a lightrail train in October 2012 did not go unnoticed by media around the country. En route to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, a drunken lout, shouting racial slurs, had threatened to kill every single passenger in the car.
When the police did not respond to emergency calls, Daivari grabbed the belligerent man from behind and used a rear naked choke hold to subdue the threat before dumping him out of the train at the next stop.