The professional wrestling business has been all about the event, WrestleMania, since it debuted in 1985. Vince McMahon’s brain child has been the biggest event in the sports entertainment business for 30 years and brings together all the most talented wrestlers, as well as some top names in music, movies, and more. Over the years, there have been dozens of special guests at the event from actresses Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy, to television personalities like Mr. T and Maria Menounos, and musical acts like John Legend, Run-DMC, and Flo Rida.
While the event is known for the glitz and glamour, each year, the extravaganza also features memorable moments during matches that have been built up for months. Some of these moments that occur in these matches are stuck on the minds of fans around the world. From championship victories (or losses), to special attractions like a TLC or Ladder Match, to heel and face turns, these moments all live on in history.
When it comes to heel and face turns, there haven’t been as many as you may think, but when they have occurred, they have usually been something special. The 10 most remarkable and memorable turns in WrestleMania history are included here. Some of these are just memorable for the moment itself, while others also changed the landscape of the WWE. While I may not have included Trish Stratus’s face turn after slapping Mr. McMahon at WrestleMania X-7, it is still one of those moments that still stand out to me.
What’s your most memorable turn?
10. Brutus Beefcake, WrestleMania III
There were more than 93,000 fans in attendance at the Pontiac Silverdome to watch Hulk Hogan battle Andre the Giant for the WWE Championship. In one of the matches held at the event, Brutus Beefcake and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, also known as the Dream Team, took on and defeated The Rougeau Brothers. The Dream Team, a heel team, was having their share of issues throughout the match and even after they won, continued to argue. Later that night, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Adrian Adonis met and following the win by Piper, Beefcake earned his nickname of “The Barber” by cutting Adonis’s hair.
9. Andre the Giant, WrestleMania VI
At WrestleMania VI, the Toronto Skydome was the site of the memorable main event between The Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan in a title for title match. In the opening match of the massive 15-match card, the Colossal Connection of Andre the Giant and Haku were set to defend their WWE Tag Team titles against Demolition. At the conclusion of the match, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan began yelling at Andre and blamed the Frenchman for the loss. In what would turn out to be the final televised match of Andre’s career, he turned face in what is one of the greatest turns in WrestleMania history.
T-7. Kane, WrestleMania XV
The first of two ties to make the list in terms of WrestleMania heel and face turns took place at WrestleMania XV from the First Union Center in Philadelphia, PA. When you compete in front of the excitable crowd in Philadelphia, there are easy things you can do as an athlete to get in their good graces. In the case of Kane, who was a heel coming into his match with Triple H, things got off to a great start for him even before he wrestled. Kane was entering the arena and was attacked by the San Diego Chicken, who turned out to be baseball legend, Pete Rose. The year before, Rose was hit with the Tombstone Piledriver by Kane and was seeking his revenge, but once again met his demise. Coupled with the results of his match with Triple H, including Hunter’s actions later in the night, and his incident with Rose, Kane had a memorable face turn.
T-7. Triple H, WrestleMania XV
Continuing on from the previous entry, the two men had a huge rivalry coming into this showdown and the match was one of the most anticipated on the card. Towards the end of the match, Chyna returned with a steel chair in hand. The former Degeneration-X teammate of Triple H was seemingly there to seek revenge on Triple H. As Kane let his guard down, Chyna nailed him with the chair, setting up the Pedigree and the reunion of D-X.
This seemed like it was a face turn for Chyna, but it was all a mirage. Later in the night, Triple H and Chyna would cost X-Pac in his European title match with Shane McMahon. The reunion of Triple and Chyna was actually under the umbrella of The Corporation rather than D-X. The heel turn proved to be a huge turning point in the career of Triple H, as he would soon find himself ascending to the top of the card and soon became the company’s top heel.
6. Rick Martel, WrestleMania V
Arguably the most underrated turn in WrestleMania history occurred at the Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, NJ. The card was billed as ‘The Mega Powers Explode’ with the main event featuring Hulk Hogan verus “Macho Man” Randy Savage for the WWE Championship. The eighth match on the card featured the Brain Busters (Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson) vs. Strike Force (Tito Santana and Rick Martel). During the match, the face team featuring Martel was being controlled by Anderson and Blanchard. For most of the match, Santana was being controlled and when he finally got his chance to tag in Martel, his partner dropped from the apron and walked away, turning heel in the process. From there, Martel soon became the Model, one of the company’s more entertaining characters.
5. ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage, WrestleMania VII
The Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena was the site of WrestleMania VII featuring the WWE Championship match between Hulk Hogan and Sgt. Slaughter. The card also featured a retirement match between “Macho Man” Randy Savage and The Ultimate Warrior. At this time, Savage was known as the Macho King and was accompanied to the ring by Queen Sherri, rather than his longtime valet, girlfriend, and wife, Miss Elizabeth. After Savage lost the match, he was attacked by Sherri, but the save came from Elizabeth and Savage turned face again. The reunion had many in the crowd in tears and is one of WrestleMania’s more heartwarming moments.
4. Trish Stratus, WrestleMania XX
Madison Square Garden was the home of WrestleMania XX featuring the main event of Chris Benoit versus Triple H versus Shawn Michaels for the World Heavyweight Championship. The exciting card featured many memorable matches and one of the most memorable was a grudge match between Chris Jericho and Christian. During the match, each man was hellacious in their attack of the other, but the end of the match came after Trish Stratus, who accompanied Jericho to the ring, inadvertently elbowed her love interest, leading to the win for Christian. After the match, Stratus turned heel after she repeatedly struck Jericho, leading to the Unprettier from her new love interest, Christian.
3. Stone Cold Steve Austin, WrestleMania X-Seven
The only man to make the list twice, both with a heel and a face turn, is Stone Cold Steve Austin. At WrestleMania X-Seven from the Reliant Astrodome in Houston, TX, Austin was set to battle The Rock for the WWE Championship. Austin, the challenger in the match, was one of the biggest faces in the company at this time and prior to the match, it was announced that it was set to be a no disqualification match. During the match, Rock tried to pin Austin, but was pulled out of the ring by Austin’s longtime nemesis Vince McMahon. Later on, McMahon would give Austin a steel chair, which he used to nail Rock with more than a dozen times, setting up his heel turn and the world championship victory. While this turn was the most shocking of any entry on this list, Austin’s heel run never quite caught a lot of steam, so it’s outdone by our top entries.
T-1. Bret Hart, WrestleMania 13
Heading into WrestleMania 13, Bret “Hitman” Hart was starting to show signs of finally turning heel and Stone Cold Steve Austin was finally beginning to turn face. Whether or not it happened all depended on Vince McMahon’s mood heading into the event. The Rosemont Horizon in Chicago, IL was the site of this card and the match between Hart and Austin wasn’t even the main event. In a submission match between these two WWE Hall of Famers, Hart was victorious via knockout after Austin passed out from pain and blood loss. After the match, Hart continued the assault and only stopped after being pulled off by special referee Ken Shamrock. The ending of the match immediately turn Hart heel and Austin face.
T-1. Stone Cold Steve Austin, WrestleMania 13
While we covered Stone Cold Steve Austin’s heel turn against The Rock at WrestleMania X-Seven, the greatest turn in WrestleMania history came from Austin and Bret “Hitman” Hart. Coming into the showdown with Hart, Austin was riding high and on his way to super stardom. The year before, Austin won the King of the Ring and the catchphrase that helped make him a star was born with “Austin 3:16.” Between the King of the Ring in June and WrestleMania 13, Austin remained a heel, but began to change the way the terms heel and face were looked at by the fans. This one undoubtedly had the biggest impact on the business. In addition to that, it’s probably the greatest WrestleMania moment of all time.
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