When it comes to a really good match in professional wrestling the competitors inside the ring need to tell the fans a story via what they're doing. It's tough to do. What makes it even harder is when the company and the Superstars haven't defined who's the bad guy and who's the good guy. Any good story has good battling against evil, and it's no different in pro wrestling no matter what Vince McMahon might have you believe. In the business they're known as heels and baby faces as opposed to bad guys and good guys, and all of the best matches throughout history will likely have a baby face pitted against a heel. Sometimes the lines are a little blurred but trust me, much more often than not this is the case.
Most of the best Superstars throughout the business' history will have been both a heel and a face at some point in their careers. Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold, The Rock, they were all both at different points, and all turned at different points. In fact a couple of those names will feature in this upcoming list. Despite the majority of Superstars admitting that being a heel is a lot easier and a lot more fun, there are a handful of top stars that never turned and spent their entire careers as good guys. Five of those Superstars will feature in this list, and the other ten will be wrestlers we still can't quite believe turned their backs on the fans.
17 Heel Turn: Seth Rollins
Shock heel turns aren't something that is reserved to the days of old in WWE. When they want to they can still leave us with our jaws on the floor via turning someone heel and they did exactly that in 2014 when Seth Rollins turned his back on his brothers in The Shield. Seth, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns were on top of the world at the time, stopping Evolution's reunion in its tracks. The Architect decided to cash in, or sell out depending on who you ask, and join forces with Triple H and The Authority at the expense of what he had with The Shield. That first steel chair shot was heard around the world, and three years later fans are still asking when the three men will be back together again.
15 Heel Turn: Rikishi
Rikishi may not be a hero per se, but his heel turn back in 2000 still came as a shock to fans watching at the time. A story line had been going on for almost a year revolving around Stone Cold being run over and Mick Foley trying to figure out who did it. At the time Rikishi was spending his days leading Too Cool in their dance routines, so his name was pretty far down the list of suspects. Well eventually the Samoan admitted to his crime, citing that he 'did it for The Rock' as a way of trying to get his fellow countryman, sort of, to a higher station in WWE. It's an angle that anyone watching at the time will undoubtedly remember, but not one that worked when it came to cementing Rikishi as a main event star.
14 No Turn: Bruno Sammartino
Can you believe that there was a time in WWE, a long long time in fact, where a foreign man was the company's top baby face? Bruno Sammartino, an Italian man who moved to the United States with his family following World War II, became WWE Champion and held the belt for almost twelve years. Incredible by any standards and inconceivable in today's product. Such a long career with WWE, both before and after the twelve year reign, yet he never turned heel, and there's good reason for that. Throughout Sammartino's run with the company the Italian was Madison Square Garden's biggest draw. WWE could sell out MSG whenever they liked because Bruno was headlining the card. The fans loved him and a heel turn would have caused fans to stop attending shows and had detrimental affects on the company's finances.
13 Heel Turn: Paul Bearer
Paul Bearer may not have been a wrestler, but he was a hero and a baby face by association as he became synonymous with The Undertaker. Throughout the majority of The Deadman's career Bearer would accompany him to the ring, holding Undertaker's signature urn. In a shocking turn of events during the Attitude Era however The Phenom's faithful lifelong friend turned his back on him and sided with his nemesis Mankind. During the pair's famous Boiler Room Brawl the two Superstars had to make it to the ring to get Taker's urn from Bearer. The Deadman made it only for Paul to turn his back on him and instead help Mankind win the match. Both Bearer and Mankind would beat down Taker after the match as shocked fans looked on.
12 Heel Turn: Andre The Giant
Andre the Giant is one of the most beloved pro wrestlers in the history of the business. Most fans have probably blocked out that Andre was ever a heel, but rest assured there was a time that the Eighth Wonder of the World was the bad guy. Everyone remembers his his famous match with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania III, and don't forget that Andre was technically the heel in that match. The Giant had become jealous of his former friend Hogan and wanted his WWE Championship. Although he didn't win it on the first time of asking, he did in the rematch. As if it wasn't hard enough for us to deal with a heel Andre, the Frenchman then made it even worse by instantly handing over his newly won title to Ted Dibiase.
11 No Turn: Rey Mysterio
The more seasoned fans among you may want to throw a flag on this one, but I think it should be included anyway. Yes, Rey Mysterio did technically turn heel for a time during his run in WCW, but he was barely Rey Mysterio at the time. Plus it was as a part of a tag team and it was for a very short period indeed. Outside of that one instance Mysterio has been a face for the entirety of his career. In all fairness it's hard to make a luchador of his stature a red hot heel, but it's still pretty impressive. On top of that he's hardly the type of wrestler that fans would want to see as a heel. He's loved by pretty much all pro wrestling fans and it would have been a near impossibility to make us hate him.
10 Heel Turn: Sgt. Slaughter
One of the most infamous and controversial heel turns in WWE history was that of Sgt. Slaughter all the way back in 1991. Before departing the company Slaughter was seen as one of the most patriotic Superstars on the roster. Then in a shocking turn of events the Sergeant returned to WWE as an Iraqi sympathizer, a country that the United States was at war with at the time. It provoked a reaction from the fans like nobody had ever seen before. Apparently Slaughter and his family needed security outside of the realms of wrestling to keep them safe from irate fans. Rumor has it that WrestleMania VII, where Slaughter would face off against Hulk Hogan, was moved to an indoor venue due to safety concerns.
9 Heel Turn: Trish Stratus
Trish Stratus is one of the greatest female performers to ever grace a WWE ring and is a deserved Hall of Famer. For the majority of her career she was a baby face, and a good one at that. At WrestleMania XX however her baby face tendencies came to an end. Trish had been involved in an on screen relationship with Chris Jericho. Things started to get messy when she overheard Chris and Christian making a bet on who could sleep with their respective girlfriend first, Christian was with Lita at the time. After the truth came out Trish developed real feelings for Chris, still in the realms of the angle, who would defend her honor against Christian at The Show of Shows. Startus betrayed Y2J however and instead revealed that she wanted to be with Christian, successfully turning heel in the process.
7 No Turn: Ricky Steamboat
If there was one man throughout the entirety of pro wrestling history that simply couldn't be turned heel, it was Ricky Steamboat. His look, the way he performed in the ring, the adoration from the fans, it just didn't seem to be an option for Ricky or the powers that be who were booking him throughout his career. Steamboat would do battle with all the biggest heels of his time at the top of the business, his most famous matches being against the one and only Ric Flair of course. Flair and Steamboat went around the horn more than you may think, it wasn't just the three famous matches that made TV, with Ric as the heel and Ricky as the beloved baby face. It's what worked for the two of them, and how it always was for Steamboat.
6 Heel Turn: Shawn Michaels
When fans of the business look back on Shawn Michaels' career, we almost don't want to remember the times where he wasn't the savior or the baby face. There were times when he wasn't though. In fact one of the most famous moments in Shawn Michaels' career was a heel turn that he used to announce his arrival on the singles scene. Up until a point Shawn was known as a tag team star and had spent most of his career partnered up with Marty Jannetty and the two of them were known as The Rockers. That partnership came to an abrupt end however when HBK super kicked his fellow Rocker on an edition of Brutus Beefcake's Barbershop before sending Marty through the window of the talk show's set.
5 Heel Turn: Bret Hart
It takes two extremely talented Superstars to pull off something known as a double turn in professional wrestling. That's where in the space of one match a heel will turn face and a face will turn heel. The most perfectly executed example of a double turn was when Bret Hart and Stone Cold did battle at WrestleMania 13. The Hitman had been absent for a while and upon his return discovered that WWE had changed a fair bit. The fans were beginning to get behind the anti establishment Austin and becoming disillusioned with Hart. WWE jumped on the opportunity to officially turn both Superstars and even though it had already begun to happen naturally, it was still pretty awesome when they rubber stamped it at The Show of Shows.
4 No Turn: The Ultimate Warrior
Ask anyone who was a child during the late '80s/early '90s and watched pro wrestling and they'll almost definitely cite The Ultimate Warrior as being a hero of theirs. It's no coincidence that throughout the entirety of his run as the Warrior he was never really a heel, even when he faced off against the immortal Hulk Hogan in the main event at WrestleMania VI. Older fans among you may remember the man behind the Warrior paint, Jim Helwig, being a heel, but that happened before he donned the colors that would make him a household name. WWE even attempted to vilify the beloved character after he departed the company due to the nature in which he left via their less than complimentary DVD of the former WWE Champion, but no luck.
3 Heel Turn: Stone Cold Steve Austin
It was the final image in what is widely regarded as one of the best pay per views of all time. Stone Cold and The Rock had closed out WrestleMania for the second time in three years, but this iconic match had a twist ending that we couldn't quite believe. The iconic anti-hero Steve Austin sold his soul to the devil himself, Vince McMahon. The man he had fought so hard against for years prior. Basically his bitter enemy. The boss aided Austin in beating The Rock so that Stone Cold could become WWE Champion once again, in Austin's home state of Texas to boot! As shocking as it was it's one moment in Steve's career that he has since said he openly regrets. Along with refusing to face Brock Lesnar on Raw back in 2002 it's the one thing he wishes he could go back and change in his otherwise illustrious career.
2 Heel Turn: Hulk Hogan
There is no heel turn more infamous in pro wrestling history than Hulk Hogan's. The man who had spent the 1980s and the first half of the '90s as an idol to children across the globe did the unthinkable and turned his back on all of his Hulkamaniacs. Kevin Nash and Scott Hall had been teasing that their New World Order was getting a third member, and at Bash at the Beach in 1996 that member was revealed to be The Hulkster. Apparently it took a lot of convincing to sway Hogan to turn and join forces with Nash and Hall, and I'm sure along with the rest of us Hulk is counting his lucky stars that he did as the threesome became one of the biggest things the history of the business. To this day arenas hosting wrestling shows are packed with fans wearing nWo t shirts.
1 No Turn: John Cena
The man who will never turn, and the one we want to see turn the most. Although saying that Roman Reigns may have overtaken him by this point. Nevertheless, for so long the fans were crying out for a John Cena heel turn, and at this point we're well past it ever really being able to happen. Similarly to Warrior, Cena actually began his career as a heel, something many fans may have forgotten. His colorful get ups and Make A Wish work have overshadowed Big Match John's early persona, the Doctor of Thuganomics. Once WWE realized that Cena was the man who could be the face of their company that character was left in the dust and ever since John has been the driving force behind WWE. It would have been nice to see Cena have a real heel run, but for WWE there was just too much to lose.
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