Over the years, there have been plenty of moments when a wrestler would tease a heel turn through his/her actions, but nothing would come out of it. WWE can be predictable at times, but they do like to surprise the fans every now and then.
It doesn’t matter how talented a wrestler is, if they can’t touch their fans’ emotions and rile them up, they’re just that—talent. That’s why heels are so important in WWE storylines. Fans get to see the unattractive side of wrestlers, allowing them to feel a range of emotions more complex than what one would experience from perfect superheroes like John Cena and Roman Reigns (kind of explains why fans hate them so much, doesn’t it?)
That being said, it’s better to be hated than never loved, right? However, sometimes plans don’t go as planned, and sometimes they just never happen. In regards to the latter, here are 15 cases in which a heel turn was rumored but never happened. While reading these entries, imagine if these heel turns actually occurred in a WWE storyline.
15 Roman Reigns/Dean Ambrose Heel Turn At Survivor Series 2015
Rumor has it that either Roman Reigns or Dean Ambrose was supposed to turn heel at Survivor Series 2015, with one betraying the other to win the WWE Heavyweight Title. However, the idea was nixed considering what actually happened.
Reigns did defeat Ambrose for the title, fair and square, and Sheamus, who cashed in his Money in The Bank, stifled his moment of stardom and finished Reigns to become champion. It was a wasted opportunity for the WWE to establish a legitimate villain for its main storyline. Since then, the company has had issues with establishing Reigns’ presence with their fans.
That Survivor Series ended up with low ratings, and it rubbed off on the following episode of Monday Night Raw, which had the lowest non-holiday ratings since 1997.
14 Ricky Steamboat Goes Bad
When it comes to a character’s heel turn, usually it’s the promoting company’s idea, but every now and then, someone requests to turn heel, like Ricky Steamboat. However, his request was denied.
He told Wrestling Inc. in an interview that “Pat [Patterson] simply told me that it would probably ruin my career... I just wanted to experience what it felt like on the other side of the fence. As we all know, the heels have the most fun out there in the ring."
Steamboat went on to make very interesting points about heel characters.
"When you are a face for a long time and you turn heel, your stock value immediately goes up, especially if you're able to pull it off in the ring and on the mic. Then you ride that horse as long as you can. When it starts to falter, and when attendance drops, then you can turn back babyface. And your stock value goes up again. For a year they'll boo you, and for a year they'll cheer you."
13 John Cena Turns On The Rock
Remember John Cena and The Rock’s feud that climaxed at WrestleMania XXVIII? Apparently, Cena was supposed to turn heel during that storyline, but the idea was nixed.
In a podcast interview with Chris Jericho, Cena noted how close he was to switching sides. "It was discussed briefly, with the program with The Rock," said Cena. "I got new theme music, got new gear made. It’s not like I am not ready for it. I am just trying to do my job the best I can. If it happened, I thought it would be great. It would be great for me to be able to do that, but it is so rewarding to me to go out there and be inspirational. If they say it’s time, I just hope that they have someone ready to replace my role on the show and it’s truly what’s best for everybody.”
In other words, Cena just wasn’t ready to hang up the superman cape.
12 Xavier Woods Heel Turn Involving Zombies
In 2016, Xavier Woods was rumored to turn heel on The New Day due to being brainwashed by The Wyatt Family. The idea came from an ad posted by the WWE involving the search for zombie actors. It also noted that it was for a New Day promotion.
Many believe that this ad was for a storyline that would turn Woods into a strong heel. The Wyatt Family then would have gone on to win the WWE Tag Team Titles against New Day, completing Woods' heel turn and inciting a feud between himself and his former team.
The proposed storyline was interesting because of Woods' character. Since he had a P.H.D. in Psychology, many wondered how the WWE would use such a factor in their storyline.
11 Roman Reigns At Money In The Bank 2016
Supposedly, Reigns was to turn heel again at Money in the Bank 2016 against Seth Rollins. Instead, he was defeated fair and square by Rollins. Afterwards, Ambrose cashed in his Money in the Bank and ended Rollins' short reign as champion.
Before the event, various publishers proposed Reigns’ heel turn; with them noting that the time was perfect for Reigns to turn. Reigns’ suggested heel turn was further accentuated by fans being shocked about Rollins winning without cheating, promoting the idea that fans would have liked to see Reigns turn to the bad side. Some even suggested that if Reigns could have perfectly turned heel against an opportunistic Ambrose, disqualifying himself and wasting Ambrose’s cash-in pass.
Nonetheless, the heel turn never happened and is among many discussed WWE what-ifs.
10 RVD Final Hurrah As A Heel
During RVD’s final run with the WWE, it was rumored that he would turn heel. He even commented on the notion in an interview with Sports Illustrated, noting that he wasn’t too happy with the idea.
“The office wanted to put me with Paul [Heyman] and turn me heel,” explained Van Dam. “But I already have one foot out the door in wrestling, so why change to a heel when I’m on my way out? I’ve been so willing to stay strong and stick to my guns for so long when it comes to my beliefs. I’m a symbol to people for a lot of different things, and changing me to a heel, at the last minute, could change that.”
Like Cena, RVD instead opted to stick to his guns, maintaining his image for his fans.
9 Becky Lynch Turns Heel
Rumors had it that Becky Lynch would turn heel for her feud with Nikki Bella, an idea Lynch herself discussed in an interview with Games Radar.
Lynch was asked if she was willing to rile up fans by turning heel. Her response: “Oh, 100 per cent. And [I'll do it] when people least expect it! Mostly for social media: Twitter or Instagram becomes so much more fun when you can be boastful and say whatever you want. You can be so full of yourself and ridiculous when you're a heel," Lynch said.
She even noted about turning heel against Bayley as well, considering it interesting. “If I'm ever going to feud with Bayley again, you couldn't have her be the heel. Actually, I would love to see Bayley heel, though. Wouldn't that be funny? What would she do? Kick puppies? I don't know.”
8 John Cena Heel Turn in 2009
Although John Cena is proud of his eternal status as WWE’s prized babyface, a friend of his, rapper Esoteric, confessed that Cena had requested to turn face years ago in a podcast interview.
Apparently, Cena wanted to return to his “Doctor of Thuganomics” gag, and Esoteric helped him write his heel-turn angle. Unfortunately, the turn was denied by the WWE. In his feud with The Rock, however, fans got a glimpse of old school Cena again, as he brought out his rap skills for the first time in years.
“He’s had heel angles before that never came to fruition,” said Esoteric in the interview. “Probably about, five years ago? It was something that he had come up with, and he had this concept and I was pretty excited to see it happen, but whatever, it never happened. He could definitely pull it off, but I think they’re just waiting for the right time. I know the young kids love him and the older people hate him, and they sell Cena Sucks t-shirts, but I think he’s getting money from everything.”
7 Rey Mysterio Heel Turn In 2012
In 2012, it was proposed that Rey Mysterio would turn heel and help Cara gain momentum. The heel turn never happened, fortunately, and many found it to be an odd idea for his character to turn heel.
Perhaps it’s because, for most of Mysterio’s career, he has been an underdog kind of character; that superstar who clearly isn’t as big or as strong as the rest but shows relentless heart. As such, the idea of turning Mysterio heel did seem strange since everyone wanted to root for him consistently.
Also, he likely wouldn’t have sounded well on the mic as a heel; he’s definitely better off as that baby-faced underdog who overcame the odds. Good thing the heel turn never happened.
6 Goldberg Turns Heel In WCW
Goldberg holds sentiments towards his fans the same way Cena and RVD do, and in an interview with The Inquisitr, Goldberg noted how he turned heel one time and decided not to maintain the turn.
"Oh man, did I want to be a heel. I would have been the best Bruiser Brody'ish, bald, freaking monster anybody would have been. People think Brock [Lesnar] is good as a heel, oh man. They turned me one time in WCW in Baltimore, the night before I wrestled Hacksaw Jim Duggan and he just got over surgery and he had cancer. I had to go out and blast him and had a Make-A-Wish girl in the back, with cancer.
"So I come back after the match and she's in tears, wrestling is wrestling, I get it, the good, bad and evil and trying to storyline people in and out of what they think is going to happen. But I wasn't going to do that.
“I failed as a wrestler in that I didn't turn heel but I think I won as a human being.”
If Goldberg had turned heel, maybe his career would have taken a lengthier turn. Like most of these entries, it’s one of those things we’ll never find out.
5 Shawn Michaels Turns On Daniel Bryan
The reason this one’s a rumor is because Michaels’ heel turn was never confirmed, or at least it wasn’t clear. In a match between Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan for the WWE Heavyweight Championship, Michaels served as guest referee. Due to confusion, Michaels hit Bryan with a sweet chin music that he quickly regretted, causing Bryan to lose the bout.
Later on, Michaels shows clear remorse about the matter, apologizing to Bryan. However, it was rumored that this incident would lead to a full heel turn for Michaels. Instead, his pseudo-heel turn felt lazily planned, and fans were never sure what role Michaels truly played. Apparently, the WWE did not want Bryan walking out with the belt, or for Orton to win cleanly, so the effort of turning Michaels temporarily heel resulted in much confusion.
4 John Cena Heel Turn Before WrestleMania 33
With John Cena’s return to the WWE, many were expecting him to face The Undertaker. It was rumored that the fight would result in Cena’s heel turn. The reason for this is because The Undertaker doesn’t need to turn heel due to his status as a WWE Legend, so Cena was expected to become the bad guy in this storyline.
The plot was risky due to Cena’s reputation as the kids’ favorite, which would have been in jeopardy if he had gone bad. Also, how would his loyal fans react to him attacking a 51-year-old relic in The Undertaker? The rumored heel turn had rewards; it could have revitalized Cena’s career and also the WWE’s ratings.
Time will only tell, and as we approach WrestleMania 33, it seems highly unlikely now.
3 New Day Turn Heel
Fans have been complaining that ever since New Day lost their Raw Tag Team Championship, they have lost a bit of their sheen. Inside sources are saying that the WWE is planning on relighting the duo with a potential heel turn. The main reason for New Day’s possible heel turn is that sales for their merchandises have dropped. If the WWE decides to go with a heel turn for New Day, they could set them up against baby-faced opponents like Enzo Amore and Big Cass, and even bring them back to champion status by using dirty tactics, as they previously did.
The heel turn would have made sense for New Day; if they’re losing spark, the WWE is going to have to turn them on the fans before fans turn on them (like they did to John Cena and his superhero gimmick). Xavier had previously teased a heel turn during The Wyatt Family feud, but nothing came out of it.
2 Eddie Guerrero Turns On Batista
There are many rumors about where Eddie Guerrero’s storyline was headed in 2005. Some believed he was supposed to turn heel against Batista, and others thought he would fight against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 22 after igniting a feud. There was even the idea that he would fight for the title against Randy Orton due to Batista’s real life injury.
In regards to turning heel on Batista, Guerrero had befriended him and partnered with him for weeks. Supposedly, Batista would have showed signs of distrust, and only after Guerrero gained his trust that he would be betrayed.
To this day, the topic remains a mystery and many fans want to know what the WWE had planned for Guerrero. Due to his untimely death, his storyline for 2005 remained a script and was never enacted.
1 Roman Reigns Turns Heel On The Shield
Everyone knows that Seth Rollins' heel turn is what completed The Shield’s disbandment. However, many rumors note that the original heel turn should have come from Roman Reigns, not Rollins. Such a heel turn would have successfully allowed Reigns to become one of the faces of the WWE as the company has planned for years.
Yet, the idea was scrapped and Rollins was the one to turn heel, and ultimately, become the face of the WWE. Many fans wonder what would have been of Reigns’ career had he turned heel on The Shield, and considering his current struggles with popularity, he might have seen some positive reactions.
Reigns’ heel turn is perhaps the most anticipated out of any current active WWE superstar, but time and time again, the WWE has shown hesitation.