WWE has been exhibiting a disheartening trend as of late in ignoring the interests of its fans and mocking people for choosing to cheer and boo who they please, regardless of how the company feels the fans are supposed to react. Especially in the main event scene, fans regularly chant for the wrestlers allegedly playing heel and boo the hell out of any traditional babyfaces, the exact opposite of what wrestling tradition is based on. There are plenty of reasons, good and bad, why WWE has chosen to stick with the course and refuse to turn anyone heel or face, but this hasn’t stopped fans from complaining and begging for the company to let the storylines catch up with public opinion.
Fans have been annoyed with the alignment of top WWE stars for so long the complaints are started to get redundant and yet the sheer number of stars who could use a character revamp is getting so large it bears repeating. Granted, a few of the names we’re about to mention are pretty obvious, as are the reasons a refresher is so desperately needed for fans to start caring about them in the appropriate way again. There are also some less obvious choices, though, whose turns would be far less expected, but could open up as many unique possibilities as the obvious options. Keep reading to learn which 10 WWE superstars should turn face and which 10 should turn heel.
20 TURN HEEL: James Ellsworth
To make something clear from the start, we don’t necessarily mean all of these turns need to happen tomorrow. There’s still plenty of gas in the tank for James Ellsworth to entertain SmackDown audiences as the ultimate underdog and little buddy to Dean Ambrose. However, the very nature of an underdog means there’s only so far Ellsworth can go with this character until he’s either not an underdog anymore or he turns into a complete joke. Pretty much the only way for Ellsworth to remain viable in the long term is to start showing some edge and the most direct way to do that is a heel turn. Ellsworth also has the option to spend a few months in NXT developing a deeper character, although another way to look at that is the fact NXT would be a perfect place for him to start acting like a jerk.
19 TURN FACE: The Ascension
Part of the problem with The Ascension is that WWE has been so dismissive of the team that fans can’t care about them either way, heel or face. We’re calling Konnor and Viktor heel because they typically wrestle faces, but the truth is, the team could get a big boost simply by WWE giving them definable characters in either direction. Considering the team is a blatant rip-off of The Road Warriors and that The Road Warriors achieved their greatest success as destructive faces, it almost seems too obvious that The Ascension should follow that same pattern. In the instances when WWE has tried to give The Ascension characters, they’ve been heels, meaning their face potential is almost completely untested. The closest they’ve come to getting cheered was their stint with Stardust as The Cosmic Wasteland, which was arguably too convoluted for fans to care about. Making the duo straightforward babyface monsters would be much easier for fans to follow, and it could easily save their careers.
18 TURN HEEL: Kane
There’s a significant portion of fans who probably feel the best thing WWE could do with Kane is have him retire, but that seems pretty unlikely at this point. If the Big Red Monster is here to stay, the least WWE could do is have him play to the only strength he has left, that being to serve as an imposing and preferably silent monster with no moral code. Even corporate sell-out Kane would be acceptable, as long as fans were allowed to boo him. What fans are getting, though, is an alleged “demon” who gets along swell with all the babyfaces, and only dislikes heels if they specifically hurt his feelings. There was a time in Kane’s long history where character nuances like this felt appropriate, but after almost 20 full years, there’s really no place left for him to go in terms of emotional development. All that’s left for Kane to do is destroy, either as a hired corporate gun or a thoughtless monster.
17 TURN FACE: Luke Harper
While it doesn’t have to be Luke Harper, at some point, one of the original Wyatt Family members needs to turn on Bray Wyatt for the story to come to a conclusion. Harper and Erick Rowan have strayed from the pack during the three years The Family has been creeping out the WWE Universe, but they always returned to Bray and his mind games without anything significant happening in the time off. Considering his decent reign as WWE Intercontinental Champion, Harper has more potential as a solo star and thus he gets the nab over Rowan as the person who should stand alone. With Wyatt’s powers growing now that Randy Orton seems to be on their side, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have Harper and Rowan band together against those two, making two new faces in the process. The problem there, though, would be another turn would eventually be needed to make a true star, so perhaps only one of the two defying Wyatt is the best bet after all.
16 TURN HEEL: Xavier Woods
There are plenty of fans out there who probably think The New Day is still the best act in WWE as they come close to breaking the record for being the longest WWE Tag Team Champions in history. New Day might indeed still rock, but all great things must come to an end and the most logical way for this to happen with New Day would be for Xavier Woods to give into his heelish tendencies in a major way. He doesn’t necessarily need to break up the group or turn on Kofi and Big E outright, as Woods could gradually get more and more annoying with his catchphrases, whining, and musical interjections, something certain fans less appreciative of New Day’s shtick probably already think he’s doing. Kofi and Big E have personalities that make their antics naturally fun, while Woods has qualities that make him a natural heel, with even the man himself admitting he’s better when he’s trying to make people hate him.
15 TURN FACE: Titus O'Neil
Titus O’Neil's heel turn is still pretty fresh, so maybe it’s a little premature to tell WWE they should his reverse on this one. That said, looking at Titus O’Neil’s character and personal history makes it an extremely confusing move to have him be a bad guy. O’Neil’s biggest achievement thus far has had nothing to do with wrestling, but rather his status as “Celebrity Dad of the Year,” an award given to him by the MEGA Dad Awards in 2015. This dedication to his children, plus his winning smile, makes it a no-brainer that O’Neil should embrace his role as a caring father who loves children. Instead, WWE has made him a jerk who can’t win a match, something that goes against everything fans know to be true about him. O’Neil already proved he could amass great support when WWE suspended him in February of 2016 and received a great deal of negative responses from fans, and yet they chose to make him a bad guy later that year anyway. Turning him back and forth so fast could damage his character, but keeping him in a role he isn’t suited for could be even worse.
14 TURN HEEL: Goldust
Similar to Kane, Goldust is at an age where his best bet might be to slow down in the ring and start focusing on a second career backstage. If he insists on sticking around, though, the least he and WWE could do is play to his strengths, which have always been as a creepy and manipulative heel. Outside of a brief brush with relevance in 2014 thanks to his father and brother getting involved, Goldust hasn’t really been an important player in WWE since the early 2000s, when he teamed with Booker T. Goldust has been riding the success of the Booker team ever since, getting himself into embarrassing “comedic” roles whenever his career started to slag. The slag has been permanent since WWE separated him from his family and the jokes are reaching a sad nadir, meaning perhaps the only thing left for Goldust to do to save himself is revert to his original heel persona. Goldust was never as relevant or famous as he was back when they called him The Bizarre One and given how long it’s been, a return to form could shock the world all over again.
13 TURN FACE: Brock Lesnar
The whole point of this list is that Vince McMahon has been known to defy his fans' wishes and recently this backfired on him in a major and extremely public manner. Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar attempted to get a Raw crowd to boo them by goading Goldberg, only for the audience to make it clear that particular audience was never booing Lesnar. Despite his status as the monstrous Beast Incarnate, Lesnar has been receiving reactions of this nature pretty much since the day he returned to WWE in 2012 and he’s still been booked as a heel practically the entire time. Even turning his back on wrestling for another run in UFC, where he was busted for using performance enhancing drugs, did nothing to stop fans from going wild every time Lesnar took someone to Suplex City. WWE should accept this already and book the show so Lesnar gets cheered on purpose, preventing Vince from suffering another meltdown when the crowd ignores his whims.
12 TURN HEEL: Mark Henry
Upon first glance, Mark Henry might look like another Goldust or Kane, in that his age means WWE could just as well let him retire. That may be so, though his track record tells a different story. Henry has consistently proven he’s at his best when fans least expect him to make a wild comeback and those comebacks have generally been concurrent with destructive and bombastic heel turns. After more than a decade of stagnancy, Henry became World Heavyweight Champion by creating The Hall Of Pain and tearing down anyone who stood in his path. He’s started saying the words Hall Of Pain once more, but in order for it to come back for real, he needs to start destroying his victims on sight again, too. Becoming a friend of The Golden Truth and reverting to his more comedic characteristics is the polar opposite of what he needs to do.
11 TURN FACE: Nia Jax
It’s tempting to look at Nia Jax and see her as an imposing monster amongst the average women in WWE, thanks to her taller than usual frame and power-heavy style in the ring. Dig a little deeper, though, and you’ll realize some of the most successful popular wrestlers in history were the slightly bigger and more destructive ladies who embraced the WWE Universe’s love while she went on her warpath. Chyna serves as the best example of this trend and the short tenure of Kharma proves a modern crowd could be even more receptive to the idea. The uniqueness of the situation alone could make a face Nia Jax seriously stand out amongst the typical supermodel mold most WWE female superstars tend to follow. Granted, Nia would still face the perhaps bigger problem that she’s not as talented as the other women in her division, so it may all be a moot point in the long run.
10 TURN HEEL: Finn Bálor
We’ll grant the fact that Finn Bálor didn’t exactly spend too long on the WWE main roster before a serious injury sent him to the hospital, so it would make sense if the company wants to keep him face for his big comeback, whenever that may be. However, all one has to do is look at a picture of Finn Bálor in his full “Demon King” gear to understand that his true potential lies as a heel. Beyond mere looks, Bálor also has a great deal of experience as a bad guy in Japan and most fans would agree it was far more groundbreaking than his enjoyable if not game changing time in NXT. As many fans are aware, Bálor was actually one of the original members of the Bullet Club, founding the group with Bad Luck Fale, Karl Anderson, and Tama Tonga in 2013. Resuming his position as a top member of the new stateside Club could be the easiest way for him to turn heel. Honestly, though, just about anything that would make The Demon King more demonic would be an appropriate enough place to start.
9 TURN FACE: Breezango
It’s always a manner of time until good comedy heels turn into faces. Look no further than our entry on Xavier Woods to understand how being annoying in the right ways can make an act extremely popular within the WWE Universe. Honestly, the one thing stopping Tyler Breeze and Fandango from making the switch is the fact the comedy they’ve produced isn’t that great. Neither of the two ever wins any matches and their routines intended to make fans laugh typically meet silence if not outright groans, and this doesn’t look to change any time soon. The one hope WWE, Breeze, and Fandango have is to embrace the audience and in the very least get cheered the old fashioned way, hopefully making fans a little more receptive to their cliché and unimaginative comedy. The jokes won’t get any better, but at least they won’t be met with animosity and a change of character might actually lead to one of them finding their comedic edge.
8 TURN HEEL: Big Cass
Given wrestling’s propensity to inevitably break up every popular tag team it creates, Enzo and Cass have a shelf-life just like every other tag team this list has mentioned thus far. Either one of them could make a solid heel, with Enzo’s wild personality and Cass’s monstrous size and yet we’re giving the nod to Cass and his size on this one mostly due to the sympathy Enzo has already managed to garnish when he suffered a concussion at Payback. That Cass is a destructive giant also helps, as he could easily slide into any monster role WWE executives think is vacant when they pull the plug and make him turn on Enzo. Cass could easily be a bodyguard, a looming threat, or your run-of-the-mill jerk heel with a size advantage, while Enzo would receive even more sympathy by way of his partner leaving him in the dust.
7 TURN FACE: Karl Anderson
On the flipside of the various tag teams we’ve suggested break up and turn a member heel, The Club have the option of breaking up and turning either Karl Anderson or Luke Gallows face. Anderson gets the rub for two reasons, those being Gallows longer history in WWE meaning fans will have a harder time accepting him in a new, smiley role and Anderson’s turn in NJPW as a comedic face pining after the love of Maria Kanellis. Though Anderson’s love for Maria was considered a heel move, considering she was married, it nonetheless lead to fans feeling sympathy for him and genuinely laughing at his mannerisms, showing a great deal of potential should Anderson become a face and want the fans on his side full time. Gallows being a textbook heel would help Anderson get that fan support especially fast and it could prevent both sides from falling into the usual pattern where one member is forgotten after a tag team breaks up.
6 TURN HEEL: Shane McMahon
Now that we’re several months removed from Shane McMahon’s shocking February 2016 return to WWE, the dust is starting to settle and both Shane and the WWE fans need to think long and hard about his future in sports entertainment. There’s no denying Shane-O-Mac has been responsible for countless unforgettable moments as an in-ring performer and as an authority figure, and he's portrayed both heel and face characters while he was making history. From day one, though, Shane always appeared vastly more confident, natural, and realistic as a heel. It didn’t matter if Shane was sycophantically sucking up to his father or angrily fighting back against him, Shane was better if he was supposed to get booed while doing it. WWE has tried to rewrite history to make Shane a viable opponent for The Undertaker, in the meantime washing over the fact he was almost always an arrogant heel in the matches he put on the best performances. WWE has had enough heel authority figures that we’re not even sure how to pull this one off, but we remain steadfast in our assertion Shane fits the family trend, in that he’s better as a bad guy.
5 TURN FACE: Bray Wyatt
The WWE Universe has been rife with shades of grey since tTe Attitude Era, with uniformly evil characters like Bray Wyatt only coming along in rare and special occasions. Far be it from us to deny Wyatt brings an incredible charisma to his role as an untrustworthy and manipulative cult leader, and yet we nonetheless can’t help but speculate how far Wyatt could go if given the opportunity to preach his word with the fans on his side. The darkest characters in wrestling history have turned face before and in certain cases (re: Bray's fellow former cult leaders The Undertaker and CM Punk), this switch has caused some of the greatest successes the industry has ever seen. The WWE Universe proved at WrestleMania 32 that more than 100,000 fans will support Wyatt and his family, and the support will grow ever stronger when Wyatt embraces it and becomes a man of the people.
4 TURN HEEL: John Cena
Fans have been begging for John Cena to turn heel for so long now that we heavily considered leaving him off this list. Facts are facts, though, and just about everyone in the WWE Universe over the age of 12 is well aware the best way to make John Cena interesting again is to turn him into the biggest jerk in wrestling. The more we learn about his personal life the more obvious it becomes, as he presents himself like a totalitarian bully to his own family on Total Bellas, and this is after a divorce that saw him lose almost everything because he blatantly neglected his wife. Wrestling exclusive, any superhero with no weaknesses eventually gets too boring for fans to cheer for, even if that superhero does an impossible amount of charity work along the way. This shouldn’t be taken as a prediction because we totally understand WWE and Cena’s motivations for staying face, and don’t expect them to change. It sure would be nice, though, and it could save wrestling fans from years of more boring complacency whenever Cena’s not busy filming movies and shaking hands with sick babies.
3 TURN FACE: Rusev
The fact Lana and Rusev survived in life and on television despite WWE’s best efforts to split them up should have been a sign to the company that fans support these crazy kids regardless of how mismatched the pair might look. Things are slightly complicated by wrestling tradition, which would imply Rusev’s Bulgarian heritage makes him a natural heel, a role he and his wife no doubt were able to greatly buy into and portray with gusto during their first few years with the company. Around the time of their wedding, though, fans were strongly coming around on Lana and Rusev, made evident by the uniform rejection of their breakup and subsequent re-pairing with Dolph Ziggler and Summer Rae, respectively. Though Lana and Rusev were eventually able to reunite with one another, they’ve done so by ignoring any support fans gave them near the wedding and reverting into pure heel characters. Letting fans treat Rusev and Lana the way they want could save them from damaging their characters even more, though WWE seems more interested in the latter for right now.
2 TURN HEEL: Roman Reigns
The parallels between John Cena and Roman Reigns almost go without saying, with the only difference being Reigns debuted significantly later than Cena did, so complaints about Reigns needing to turn heel haven’t been going on for quite as long as those about Cena. Recently, WWE has even seemed to flirt the idea of Reigns turning into a tweener, with fans only intended to cheer him about half the time and yet even this isn’t working. Despite Vince McMahon’s best efforts, people simply hate The Guy and there’s nothing Roman Reigns can do to earn their sympathy at this point. WWE has no other option than to cut their losses and make Reigns a full-on heel, and unlike Cena, this time the only thing stopping them is pure stubbornness. They could even turn around and make Roman a face again in a year or two after everyone gets the hatred out of their system, but even this seems rather unlikely to occur any time soon.
1 TURN FACE: A.J. Styles
Whether you call him The Face That Runs The Place, The Champ That Runs The Camp, or simply The Phenomenal One, there’s no way to undercut the unbelievable success A.J. Styles has achieved in less than a year with WWE. Since his debut at the 2016 Royal Rumble, Styles managed to become one of the most popular superstars in WWE today, and he did so despite turning heel halfway into his run. Styles has officially been a bad guy since rejoining Gallows and Anderson in The Club, remaining heel even after getting separated from his fellow Club members. While A.J. has been excelling in the role, there’s one minor flaw to the idea in that fans are still loudly chanting his name and treating him like the charismatic top star he is. They might laugh when James Ellsworth one ups A.J., but they also jump to their feet at every Phenomenal Forearm, sending mixed signals. Considering A.J. is the WWE Champion, the company really needs to define him clearly one way or the other and his in-ring skills point towards embracing his status as a babyface being the most phenomenal route possible.