Kevin Sullivan Wonders If Today's Wrestling Heels Can Still Get Proper Heat

Kevin Sullivan wrestled as a heel for nearly all of his career, giving him plenty of experience in getting and maintaining heat from the crowd as such. So it was a fitting subject for him to jump into on a recent episode of his "Tuesday with the Taskmaster" podcast, as he addressed social media's impact on today's wrestling and the evolving tastes of fans making it more difficult to have a truly hated heel. 

Sullivan blamed how young wrestlers engage on the various platforms as a major reason some have struggled to generate heat. "We have social media and maybe you don't say 'We loved working with him last week or two weeks ago and can't wait for the rematch,'" said Sullivan "Maybe we can use this in a different way."

The death of kayfabe has long been a criticism from some veteran wrestlers on how things operate now with many fans reveling in their look behind the proverbial curtain at how things operate behind the scenes. And that's why Sullivan has been especially drawn toward AEW World Champion MJF, who in the past has worked overtime to stay in his Burberry-dressed persona constantly.

"It is like when I see MJF on the Van Vilet program or any other interviews he does, he stays in character," added Sullivan. "But people still love him, so I don't know if you can still get heat," referring to the positive response MJF has continued to get from some fans since resurfacing in AEW after a months-long hiatus as "The Devil" at All Out last year. The babyface-oriented response has only increased with his recent blind partnership with popular fan favorite Adam Cole.

But fans cheering for the heel — against the traditional good vs. bad model — is not a new phenomenon. "Cool" heels such as the NWO, D-Generation X, Bullet Club, and The Elite have populated professional wrestling for years, and the industry seems to be doing just fine.