In the WWE, being a top face is incredibly difficult. How many wrestlers will you actually say brought fans to their feet every match? John Cena, The Rock, Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Sting, and The Undertaker are among the very few.
Being a heel, on the other hand, is much easier. However, anyone can pick up a microphone and start talking trash to the fans while making fun of the top faces. But only so many Superstars can actually make themselves the ultimate bad guy. It's not that easy making yourself so despised that fans throw litter in the ring and make you seem like a real-life villain.
In recent years, the most entertaining WWE Superstars tend to be the guys who can get under the fans' skins the most. Why do you think guys like Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, and Chris Jericho still have huge followings? Fans admire the way these guys can bring so much hatred upon themselves.
But who are the top-of-the-top heels? Here are our picks for the 15 greatest WWE heels of all-time.
16 Vickie Guerrero
Excuse me?! EXCUSE ME?!
Please don't tell me I was the only person who loved listening to Vickie Guerrero scream at the crowd to listen to her while she was heckled with heavy boos. The way she presented herself to the WWE years after her late husband Eddie's tragic and untimely passing was admirable.
Guerrero was the ultimate WWE heel. She was like a real-life boss many of you fear of having. She was ruthless, always tried screwing over the good guys, and her on-screen relationship with Edge just infuriated the WWE fans. It was top-notch to have the evil boss woman side with "The Rated R Superstar," who I believe was undoubtedly the top heel of the Ruthless Aggression Era.
Her microphone skills were better than you realize. Seeing her get fired (on screen by Stephanie McMahon,) was a treat to the WWE fans at the time, but they no doubt lost one of the top heels ever.
And if you disagree with that, all I have to say to you is...EXCUSE ME?!
15 Sgt. Slaughter
It was impossible to envision Sgt. Slaughter as a bad guy, considering his character as the military American hero. But when he betrayed his country in storyline, it set up one of the most epic heel turns of all-time.
Behind the scenes, Vince McMahon had a tough time convincing Slaughter to turn heel, but it worked a little too well. Slaughter turned on the U.S. and sided with General Adnan, a storyline Iraqi general. This was said to be because Slaughter found the Americans way too soft in their ongoing wars in the Middle East.
But his heel turn was controversial, and Slaughter apparently needed security any time he went out in public because of the large amounts of death threats coming from fans.
Luckily, he was never harmed, but it all goes to show just how well his gimmick got to the fans. During this gimmick, Slaughter would reach the top of the wrestling world by capturing the WWE Championship.
14 Eric Bischoff
Eric Bischoff is an iconic heel to the WWE because he's the sole guy who nearly put Vince McMahon out of business. Yet, when he came to work with his old business rival, Bischoff ended up being one of the best bad guys on screen as well.
We all know how he became the main guy in WCW and signed the likes of Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and of course Hulk Hogan to major deals. This sparked a long Monday Night War with WWE. As Bischoff's group led the ratings battle for years, all signs pointed to Vinny Mac losing and having to find a new place in life.
Well, a series of controversial decisions (Fingerpoke of Doom, Nash/Hogan getting too much power in their contracts and reuniting the nWO over-and-over again) led to WCW losing and having to be bought out by McMahon. Bischoff then became the General Manager of Raw, where he did everything in his power to screw the top faces and favour the heels.
Sadly, he was kayfabe fired in a trial that presided over Judge McMahon, and eventually moved on to TNA. Nobody will forget Bischoff's incredible impact on the WWE, though. Hopefully he can come back to the company for one more run.
13 Seth Rollins
Only a few years in the business and Seth Rollins has already established himself as a top 15 all-time heel. How about that?
Rollins has been such an epic bad guy since his rise to the top of the card. Aside from Chris Jericho, no Superstar has a better way of infuriating the crowd. Rollins is the one who broke up The Shield, which has a lot of fans bitter to this day. Many people still believe it was the wrong call to end them too early, but it helped all three eventually become the top-three stars of the company.
He became WWE's top villain for ditching his good guys and siding with The Authority after taking them down earlier. Rollins took out Randy Orton after the latter turned face, and he later took down John Cena and Sting. When you destroy the top faces, you're going to make yourself an epic heel.
And come on, it was hilarious when Rollins returned and said he threw away all of the "get well cards," his fans gave him during recovery.
Don't be shocked if he's top-five on this list within five to 10 years.
12 Ted DiBiase
Ted DiBiase's role as "The Million Dollar Man," the filthy-rich loudmouth was an easy way to draw in fan hatred. After all, everyone has met wealthy snobs whose good fortunes go to their heads, making them think they're way better than everyone else.
I mean, how silly is it that he created his own title belt (Million Dollar Championship) and attempted to buy the World Heavyweight Championship from Andre the Giant? Can you imagine if an evil coworker created their own award for the company and bought "Employee of the Year," off of someone else?
It was controversial for DiBiase to have Virgil (a black wrestler) act as a manservant. Though that easily crossed the line, it was only another way for DiBiase to come off as a major villain.
The Million Dollar Corporation, led by DiBiase, also became one of the most iconic villainous stables in WWE history, which had Steve Austin, Nikolai Volkoff, Irwin R. Schyster and "Ted DiBiase's Undertaker." Again, an easy way to make yourself evil by making your own version of one of the company's top faces.
DiBiase also joined the nWo, becoming the fourth member after Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Hulk Hogan. Put all of this together, and it's easy to see why people hated "The Million "Dollar Man so much.
10 Jake Roberts
Many studies show that people fear snakes more than anything else in the world. That's a great way for Jake Roberts to make enemies as is. But his work as a criminal mastermind made him so awesome. I mean, how many people would actually have their pet snake bite "Macho Man" Randy Savage?
Roberts also did the evil deed by trashing Savage and Miss Elizabeth's wedding by gifting the couple a snake in a box.. Given how much fans were drawn into the Savage-Elizabeth real-life (and on-screen) relationship, Roberts made a name for himself as the top heel by doing everything in his power to sabotage them.
That's basically all Roberts had to do in order to become a top-notch heel. The way he attacked Savage and his opponents was similar to how Kane and The Undertaker brutalized their enemies. He was a psychological villain who just had, well, no chill whatsoever.
9 CM Punk
Ah yes, we really wish the guy never left, but don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened. Thanks, Dr. Seuss for that powerful quote. It didn't take CM Punk long to become a top heel. We are talking about the man who ended Jeff Hardy's WWE career by stealing the World Heavyweight Championship from him at SummerSlam 2009, then defeating him on SmackDown and forced Hardy out of the WWE per pre-match stipulation.
Punk kept that momentum by playing the cocky, loud-mouth jerk you all wanted to beat up in high school. But Luke Gallows was his bodyguard. The Straight Edge Society is widely regarded as one of the greatest underrated villainous alliances ever, and it surely ended far too early. Punk said the meanest things as a bad guy, accusing the fans of being alcoholics and druggies while calling them losers for not joining him.
Remember when his group crashed Rey Mysterio's birthday celebration for his little daughter? Punk also feuded with The Rock, making him another easy person for the fans to hate. Oh, and many of us consider him a real-life bad guy for leaving the WWE in controversial fashion, right?
8 The Iron Sheik
This man did a ton to make the fans hate his guts.
It all started with ending Bob Backlund's streak of being the champion for six years. But he's historical and infamous for portraying the Iranian that hated America. Real clever, right? Well, he actually played the role like no one else ever could have.
His character, like Sgt. Slaughter's heel personality, was controversial. Sheik's gimmick came shortly after the Iranian Hostage Crisis, and he became the ultimate super-villain as real-life tensions grew heavily between America and Iran. His alliance with Nikolai Volkoff made for one of the most memorable tag teams ever as the two anti-American Superstars drew more than their fair share of heat.
The Iron Sheik will always remain a significant part of WWE history. It was Sheik who first dropped the belt to Hulk Hogan as WWE ushered in the Hogan Era.
7 New Jack
This man didn't have to wait too long to make a name for himself in ECW. He was one of the greatest risk-takers in the industry's history. New Jack also became famous for his improvising skills that were never planned or expected to take place.
New Jack narrowly avoided death during a real-life accident against Vic Grimes. Both guys fell 15 feet and missed the tables that were supposed to break their falls. New Jack went blind in an eye and suffered brain damage. But that's not what made him a heel.
New Jack was just a savage when it came to brutalizing his opponents. He was best known for being involved in the Mass Transit Incident, in which 17-year-old Eric Kulas lied about his age to take place in a tag-team match against Jack. Kulas asked New Jack to blade him for bleeding purposes, but the latter went too steep and severed two of his arteries. Oh, then Jack said he didn't care if Kulas died.
Kulas had to go to the hospital and thankfully survived, but it just took that one incident to make New Jack one of the most hated villains in wrestling history.
6 Shawn Michaels
Ask any WWE fan who grew up watching "The Heartbreak Kid," and the majority of them will happily tell you that his best moments in the industry occurred while he was running with The Kliq during the '90s.
But Michaels had a couple of sensational runs as a top-notch heel that cemented his legacy as one of the WWE's all-time greats. His feud with Bret Hart in the '90s was arguably the best of its time, and the infamous Montreal Screwjob made Michaels the most hated sports entertainer in Canada.
Even though Michaels and Hart have reconciled, HBK will forever be linked to that night and the way he helped screw his real-life and on-screen rival by conspiring with his boss. Another memorable heel run with HBK was when he turned on Hulk Hogan back in 2005.
When they faced off at SummerSlam that same year, the two had tension backstage which led to Michaels over-selling everything. Michaels knew how to act like an arrogant and entitled jerk when asked upon, making him one of the best heels we got to see.
5 Chris Jericho
If you hate this entry, then Y2J will call you a "STUPID IDIOT!!!".
I'm in the belief that Chris Jericho is the greatest guy of all-time on the mic NOT named The Rock. Even after his best in-ring skills left him years ago, his words and ways of enraging the crowd make him one of WWE's top stars all these years later. Even when he wrestles in Canada, he cuts the most epic promos where he insults his country and talks about how it wasn't even special to him. As a Canadian, I love that. It's hilarious!
Jericho has always found the best ways to insult the fans, from "hypocrites and parasites," to "morons," and "stupid idiots," Y2J knows what it takes to make himself the top heel. Remember when he told Charlotte to "quiet," during a promo only to talk about how legendary she is and should get all this respect that nobody gives her?
Jericho has feuded with all of the top faces over the years, and even though he's had some memorable moments as a face, no doubt being the heel suits him best.
"The Rated R Superstar" enjoyed an incredible run during the Attitude and Ruthless Aggression Eras. We are talking about a guy who won an incredible 31 championships in WWE, including a record seven World Heavyweight Championships. Though he and Christian were fan favourites during their tag-team days, Edge started to become a heel in 2004 and would maintain that role for a good five to six years.
He did that by taking down the top stars. Edge's iconic Money in the Bank Cash in to steal the WWE Championship from John Cena (after the latter won an Elimination Chamber at New Year's Revolution) instantly made him despised. Edge also made himself even more hated when he began a real-life relationship with Lita, while Matt Hardy (her former boyfriend) was fired. That really irked the crowd.
Edge also fought with D-Generation X by forming Rated RKO with none other than Randy Orton. Before Edge had to retire in 2011, he was able to enjoy a run as the good guy, which was well-deserving. But no doubt his best moments came as a heel.
3 Ric Flair
"The Nature Boy" spent large portions of his career he playing the super-villain. Hey, when you're The Dirtiest Player in the Game, fans aren't going to love you too much, and that's how Ric Flair got by in his career. For those of you that were too young to watch him, you've definitely seen how he helped his daughter Charlotte win all of those title matches.
Flair's always played the super hot-shot persona that we have all wanted to be. He always was the Rolex-wearing, kiss-stealing, jet-flying, limousine-riding son of a gun whose shoes are worth more than your house. That character appealed to the fans because we all grew up knowing rich snobs who just bragged about how they thought money made them better than all of you.
Flair's run with Evolution as his career began wearing down gave him one more epic run as a bad guy. No doubt he was one of the best villains of our time.
2 Triple H
What sets Triple H above almost every other wrestler in WWE history is that nobody could play the iconic hero or the memorable villain the way he did. Triple H was able to play both roles with ease and perfection.
During the Attitude Era, he and Shawn Michaels formed D-Generation X, the greatest WWE faction of all-time. Their immature and hardcore style appealed to the older generation of fans right away. There's no way they would fit in today's PG Era, but they gave fans a heck of a run back then. Anywho, as for Triple H being a villain, just look at how he's done it: His run with Evolution include the best moments of his career. Getting Flair, Batista and Orton to bow down to him and help "The Game" stay on top of the wrestling world was one of the greatest storylines ever. It's certainly my favourite ever.
Evolution is undoubtedly one of the greatest factions ever, but Triple H's run as co-leader of The Authority over the last several years has put him above most other villains. As his age goes up and his in-ring skills go down, he's found ways to play the evil boss, much like his father-in-law.
Without a doubt, Triple H changed the landscape of WWE when it came to being the villain.
1 Roddy Piper
Many of us will simply remember him as the greatest heel the industry has ever seen. Who else would ever smash a coconut on somebody's head? "Rowdy" Roddy Piper defined what it meant to play the wrestling "bad guy." All while wearing a kilt no less. Piper was controversy before being controversial became a thing.
"Hot Rod" made a surprise return to WWE at WrestleMania XIX when he came out to attack Hulk Hogan during Hogan's match with Mr. McMahon. Piper played the role of an angry, hot-headed Scotsman and is considered by many WWE historians and journalists as the measuring stick heel. His promos were top-notch stuff that you could only dream of wrestlers cutting today in the PG Era.
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