A world without bad guys would be boring, as everyone wants to see the good guy defeat the villain. The WWE universe is no exception to this and a good heel (bad guy) can get the crowd to react bigger than a good babyface (good guy). The role can be played so well that the fans will either hate you or love you for being so entertaining.
The heels are necessary to draw in the crowds. The fans come to see the bad guy get knocked on his butt by their favorite babyface. When the wrestler plays the role right, a good storyline is sure to accompany the villain, but if the role is played badly, then the storyline is sure to be one that will be truly lackluster.
For instance, The Big Show turned heel in 2014 to join The Authority and started a rivalry against Roman Reigns. This rivalry was very short lived, due to the fact that it did not get the fans engaged in the action. Big Show's promos did not do enough for the fans to care enough to hate him, so his matches there after were nothing short of boring. When he turned face again in 2016, it drew no reaction from the crowd as there was no real element of surprise. That is because his role as a heel was not played well at all.
Compare that to someone like Kurt Angle who would not only praise himself, but would also throw out insults to the crowd. He would also challenge then run from his opponents. He played the heel role to perfection. His rivalries against Triple H and The Rock were entertaining in every aspect. When he turned face, the fans stood beside him, especially when going against Stone Cold Steve Austin during the Invasion storyline.
The role of the heel has been extremely difficult to play in this PG era, due to constraints on language, and emphasis on scripts. Excelling as a heel in the current landscape of WWE is truly an accomplishment, and this list will highlight those who do it best. Below are the ones who are the top rated heels of the 2010s.
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15 Alberto Del Rio
Alberto Del Rio was a great heel from his first day in the WWE. The former World Champion was so cocky, he needed his own personal ring announcer and came out to the ring in elaborate expensive cars. His rivalries against Rey Mysterio and Christian led to their injuries because of his refusal to let them out of his infamous cross armbreaker. Mexico's "Greatest Export" would later in his career put Sin Cara in his armbreaker, even when the referee called for the end of the match due to an injury.
Upon returning to the WWE in 2015, Del Rio teamed up with Rusev, Sheamus, and Barrett to form the League of Nations, and used their numbers game to take out a number of opponents, like a typical heel.
14 The Nexus
Is it fair to have a group of eight Superstars on this list functioning as one heel? For the time being we will say yes, as The Nexus was the biggest thing in professional wrestling during the Summer of 2010. The group, which consisted of all NXT rookies, hijacked Raw and destroyed the ring, the equipment and John Cena in their main roster debut.
Honestly with all of the havoc the group caused they should probably be higher on this list, but sadly John Cena's feud with them changed that. Cena was consistently able to plow through all the members of the stable, making the Nexus look weak in the process; the group disbanded shortly after the feud.
13 AJ Lee
AJ Lee convinced the WWE universe that she was mentally unstable because of a break up with Daniel Bryan. She lashed out on her teammates, Kaitlyn and Natalaya when they tried comforting her. She would also cost her storyline boyfriend John Cena a match against Dolph Ziggler and later win the Divas Championship; this was all while pretending to be nuts.
She started a feud with the cast of Total Divas claiming they wanted to be actresses while she was a wrestler. Being as conceited as she was, she was under the assumption that she was a wanted woman, and would hire Tamina Snuka as her bodyguard. Her innocent, yet mental persona made for a great heel.
12 John "Bradshaw" Layfield
Though Layfield is not in the ring anymore, he certainly makes for a great heel announcer. JBL brings comedy to the announce table with his constant insult to the babyfaces as well as his fellow announcer Michael Cole. The former WWE Champion will always favor the heels and confirms his loyalty to The Authority every night. He would also call for the punishment of the babyfaces when they would stand up to The Authority, or would use the same tactics as the heels. He is one of the best heel commentators and one of the funniest, but he better watch out, as heel Jerry Lawler is back in full effect.
11 Vickie Guerrero
Vickie Guerrero's voice is enough to make her a successful heel. She lived by her husband's theme song; she lies, she cheats, and she steals. As the General Manager of Smackdown, and manager of Dolph Ziggler, she tried to fire and strip Edge of the World Heavyweight Championship after he successfully beat Ziggler. Her willingness to appease The Authority helped the fans hate her even more. Now retired, she will always be remembered as the annoying woman who would get everyone's attention with just two words, "Excuse me!"
10 Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens is probably the best active wrestling heel in the WWE now. When debuting on the WWE main roster, he went straight after fan favorite, John Cena and even defeated him in their first match; he later stepped on Cena's United States Championship and raised his NXT Championship belt in the air.
Owens has little to no respect for his opponents, and is one of the best trash talkers during promos and during his matches as well. He could be clearly heard screaming, "I hate you," to Dean Ambrose during a last man standing match for the Intercontinental Title. He has an overwhelming sense of entitlement which grinds the fans' gears.
9 The Wyatt Family
The cryptic promos, the freaky entrance video, and the creepy look are all reasons why the Wyatt family are great at what they do. Bray Wyatt, the leader, has his followers, Luke Harper, Eric Rowan, and Braun Strowman willing to do anything for him. It is very rare you see one without the others, making them all very dangerous to encounter.
The Wyatts took out some of the toughest guys on the roster like Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker, because of their strength in numbers. The so called "family" has no remorse for their actions and enjoy imposing pain on their victims.
There is no denying that R-Truth is pretty much a joke now, but back before Capitol Punishment in 2011, well that was another story. Going into the pay per view, Truth was claiming that WWE was part of a conspiracy, a conspiracy to keep John Cena the WWE Champion. His rationale was that "little Jimmy" was the reason for the conspiracy, and that WWE didn't want someone like him to be in the main event.
To all of the eye rollers out there, for this brief period of time, R-Trth was treated as a legit main event player. He got the best of Cena on many occasions, and refused to dance and sing for the paying crowd. It's really sad that he was reduced to a joke, because for a while it looked as if he was going to be the next big heel for WWE.
7 Mark Henry
It was looking as if Mark Henry was going to be remembered for only ever being a mid-card guy at best. His reign as ECW Champion was forgettable, and by 2011 his shtick had gotten stale. That is until one night, Henry absolutely destroyed The Big Show, inducting him into "The Hall of Pain".
Many other superstars would eventually join Show in the "Hall", as Henry would make his march towards his first ever Heavyweight Championship win. Fans enjoyed this more violent side of Henry, showing off his refined promo skills as well as his improved psychology. If nothing else his "retirement" speech in 2013 is enough to get him on this list, as it was one of the best swerves of all time.
6 Stephanie McMahon
Stephanie McMahon must have learned what it takes to be a heel from one of the greatest himself, her father, Vince McMahon. Stephanie has the fans chanting some vulgar names at her at times, and draws a bigger reaction from the crowd than many of the wrestlers on the roster. Hated for playing a primary role in The Authority, she is good at being bad.
Steph is soley responsible for stripping Daniel Bryan of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. She then got into a heated rivalry with his wife, Brie Bella and even had a match against her at SummerSlam, persuading her sister, Nikki, to turn on her. Stephanie will go down as one of the most hated women in the history of WWE.
5 Seth Rollins
After turning on his Shield brethren in June 2014, Rollins was still hearing, "You sold out" chants for months following the turn. Rollins' storyline against Dean Ambrose can easily go down as one of the best rivalries in the PG era. The former WWE World Heavyweight Champion found his way to the top by selling out to The Authority. Rollins stated that he was able to fend for himself, yet was always accompanied by his security team, Mercury and Noble, and would often use them as shields or distractions for getaways. He is definitely one of the best heels in the PG era and still has plenty in the tank.
4 Brock Lesnar
Since returning to the WWE in 2013, Brock Lesnar has been a force to reckoned with. He attacked Triple H and split open his head, taking the COO out of the picture for a while. He would later go on to challenge the Big Show to a match at The Royal Rumble, which did not last very long, as The Beast Incarnate would use steel chair shot after steel chair shot to destroy the Big Show.
His most infamous win would start the best rivalry of 2015. Lesnar challenged and defeated The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX. He won the match with three F5s, ending the Deadman's long lived WrestleMania winning streak, devastating fans all across the world. Despite ending Taker's streak, fans eventually got behind Lesnar, making him a tweener more than an actual heel now. Even with the cheers, Lesnar is one of the baddest guys in the company, and certainly one of the best heels.
3 Randy Orton
Randy Orton may be one of the most sadistic men in the WWE, often employing mind games against his opponents. He would use Brie Bella, Daniel Bryan's fiancee at the time, against Bryan, often telling her Daniel Bryan wasn't a real man, and that he was.
Orton's short tempter adds to his heel ability, often lashing out against anyone who angers him. After losing to a match against Kofi Kingston (which Triple H gave him to blow some steam off,) the Viper got really upset and ended up attacking John Cena's father who was in the crowd. He was given everything he ever wanted by The Authority while earning nothing, and just crawled under the fans' skin. When he turned face again in 2015, the WWE universe loved him proving he was the perfect heel.
2 CM Punk
One of the WWE Universe's all-time favorite wrestlers is CM Punk, and that is because he plays his role better than anyone in the WWE. While injured, the "Best in the World" would work colored commentary, and would often play the role of 1980's bad guy, bashing everyone on the roster.
When he returned from injury, Punk took control of the newly re-formed Nexus and went after Randy Orton blaming him for the loss of his World Heavyweight Championship a few years back. Of course this all led to the infamous "Pipebomb" promo, which made Punk untouchable in the eyes of the fans. The current UFC fighter could do no wrong in the eyes of the fans, even when using such heelish tactics as pouring out the ashes of Paul Bearer, who had passed away in real life. Punk dictated when he was booed and when he was cheered, which is the sign of a great heel.
1 Triple H
Triple H will always be the best heel in the WWE. His promos are insulting to not only some of the best on the roster, but the fans as well. As head of the Authority, he unfairly gives his favorites shots they do not deserve, and gives the wrestlers on roster difficult match to prove their worthiness. Triple H's heel quality goes deeper than any storlyine could ever show. There are people in the WWE Universe, who legitimately hate Triple H, claiming that the star runs the WWE like his own personal WWE2k16.
In the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion is sparred with every great babyface for the past 20 years, going up against guys like The Ultimate Warrior, Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Booker T, The Rock, John Cena, Edge, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, and the list goes on and on. The truth is that as the heel in all of these programs, Triple H elevated all of the previously mentioned guys with his great mic work, and overall heel ability.
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