10 of the most polarizing wrestlers of all time
Polarize: verb (used with object), po·lar·ized, po·lar·iz·ing.
- to cause polarization in.
2. to divide into sharply opposing factions, political groups, etc.:
The controversy has polarized voters into proabortion and antiabortion groups.
3. to give polarity to.
It is the second definition of polarizing that we are interested in with regards to sports entertainment. The root of the term comes from the magnetic poles, where charges are diametrically opposed to each other. This perfectly explains the reactions that some superstar wrestlers get from the capacity crowds they perform in front of.
Some wrestlers just have a certain appeal that only applies to a specific aspect of the audience. Perhaps their persona best suits children or older veteran fans. Another possibility is that the wrestler used to be a heel or face and changed roles, and not all of the fandom has accepted the change. Yet another factor in the polarizing crowd reactions might be if the wrestler is a heel, but is still deeply respected by the fandom.
For whatever the reason, polarizing wrestlers are the ones who people just can't stop talking about. The philosophy in pro wrestling has always been that as long as the crowd is making noise, it's a good thing. Anything is better than silence to the eyes and ears of the wrestling promoters.
Here are ten wrestlers past and present who have generated polarizing reactions from the crowd.
Real Name: Dustin Runnels
Years in the sport: 30
Finishing move: The Shattered Dreams (neckbreaker/suplex)
Dustin Runnels is the elder son of the dearly departed wrestling legend The American Dream Dusty Rhodes. In order to avoid being in his father's shadow, he and Vince McMahon developed the Goldust character.
From the start, the character generated controversy. Goldust's outrageous antics and flirting with his opponents drew a lot of criticism for stoking the fires of homophobia. While many in the crowd disliked Goldust because his sexuality made them uncomfortable and therefore booed him, there were others who were thrilled at his performance, resulting in a polarizing reaction from the crowd. These days Goldust no longer makes sexuality a part of his act, and mostly just looks strange. He, therefore, gets heavily cheered.