In the peak of his era, Hulk Hogan was the most beloved wrestler of all time, with thousands of fans cheering for the Hulkster, despite his often-lackluster matches. His opponents were true villains, at least in the eyes of the crowd, from turncoat Sgt. Slaughter, to the paranoid Macho Man Randy Savage, to the undead Undertaker.
But in 2018, things are greatly different. Superstars who have done nothing but shown heel acts are booed, whilst those who fight for the good of the WWE Universe are often booed out of the building. Becky Lynch attacked her friend, during Flair's celebration, after returning from injury, and yet, fans have cheered the Lass-Kicker on and demonized the Queen.
But when you look at it from a business point, it makes sense. Roman Reigns walks into an arena. His loyal fans cheer for the babyface Universal champion, whilst those who cannot stand the Big Dog boo him in kind. And in all of this, stands Reigns, getting the loudest reaction of the night, night after night. Week after week. Year after year.
Reports have stated that WWE head-honcho Vince McMahon does not care about heel and faces anymore, focusing primarily on reactions. The Reigns effect echoes John Cena during his ascent to stardom, as to whether or not he was being booed or cheered, he was getting THE reactions, and was making the most in merchandise.
With even more stars joining the WWE from the Independent scene, it's going to get harder for the company to control how the WWE Universe feels about their superstars. After all, it would be hard to boo someone you've relentlessly cheered for the past decade, just because you were told to.
Perhaps WWE just can't make natural babyfaces anymore, or perhaps it's just easier to be entertaining as a heel than a face (looking at you Elias). In short, it seems there is no one reason why faces and heels are seemingly a thing of the past, but short of some monumental change, expect stars like Roman Reigns and Charlotte Flair to continue as top stars.