The world of wrestling has never reached more people than it does today. With social media and the many ways to watch the program, more people are watching than ever before.
The industry was suffering quite the low point in recent months, but with the advent of another company (AEW) and its debut prime time show on the horizon, the industry has seen a very positive turn in interest overall. Even the WWE has seemed to step up their game considerably.
But what is the industry without the epic characters that make up the roster? Good or bad, these men and women attract us with their charisma and in the heels’ sake, their sheer and utter mean streaks. And if it’s good to be bad, then these heel turns will have you remembering some pretty epic moments in wrestling history. Join us as we look back on some heel turns we saw coming a mile away and some that shocked us to our very core.
20 No One Saw Coming: Hogan As The Mysterious Third Man
Hogan was the epic baby face of the eighties and nineties. His message was wholesome and his tenure at the top was unlike anyone before him. It was because of his good and heroic deeds that he attained fame. But when the character turned stale and he turned on the millions of hulkamaniacs that followed him throughout, it was a shock indeed. But it was also the beginning of the NWO... one of the precursors to the attitude era.
19 No One Saw Coming: The Betrayal Of Johnny Gargano
NXT is sure bumping up the game in sports entertainment. Serving as the ''farm league'' for the WWE, they have had some pretty amazing story lines erupting as of late, and fans can't seem to get enough. Many have discredited the NXT over the years, but it finally seems to be picking up some momentum and at times has even been more interesting than the Raw and Smackdown brands! Just look at the betrayal of Johnny Gargano story line if you don't believe us. Worth checking out.
18 No One Saw Coming: Bret's 97 Heel Run
When Hogan left the WWE territory for the south and WCW, there was only one man who had the capabilities to take over for him up in New York, and that was Bret Hart. He had risen to prominence over the past decade and proved to truly be the excellence of execution in the ring. But when behind the scenes, Vince McMahon pressured Bret to turn heel, it made for a pretty shocking moment, and no one was expecting it.
17 No One Saw Coming: Sasha’s Recent Heel Turn
Well she hadn't been seen for months when she returned, but the moment in question truly came out of nowhere when she turned from baby face to heel. She interrupted Natalya and was seeming to comfort her, even pointing to the sky and mouthing the words ''He's proud of you,'' referencing Natalya's late father, Jim Neidhart. But in a shocking and most traumatic turn of events, she followed that show of support with a barrage of shots to the emotional and unsuspecting Natalya.
16 No One Saw Coming: When Seth Rollins Betrayed The Shield
They were probably the most iconic factions the PG Era had to offer. The three of them together were unmatched. Rollins, Reigns, and Ambrose (now John Moxley) definitely paid their dues and put forth a good show every time. But when the faction came to an end, it was at the hands of a greedy and embittered Rollins. The story line that ensued was great, no matter how shocking the heel turn was.
15 No One Saw Coming: Steve’s Allegiance With Vince McMahon
The feud between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon is no doubt the greatest feud in wrestling history. The two of them together changed the landscape of the business, and in Vince's own words, there was no one like Stone Cold, ever, and that's definitely saying a lot. But when Steve returned from a long injury leave, he actually joined forces with the evil McMahon, much to the shock and chagrin of the fans. But at the same time, it didn't take long for people to start cheering for him once again.
14 No One Saw Coming: Neville Turns On The Cruiserweight Division
Neville, who was a very sturdy, young talent in the WWE landscape a few years back, was a wholesome man and essentially the quintessential good guy or baby face. It was at a WWE Network event, Roadblock: End of the Line 2016, that he turned heel and in quite the aggressive manner, shocking many, including the announcers. He now has since moved on to AEW.
13 No One Saw Coming: Paul Bearer’s Betrayal Of The Undertaker
Certain people just go together like some things in life: peanut butter and jelly, cold drinks on a hot day... perhaps even pretty girls and handsome dudes on the cover of magazines. Well, in the early portion of The Undertaker's career, he and Paul Bearer were pretty much synonymous with one another, and that's why when Bearer turned on him, it made some pretty big noise in the industry.
12 No One Saw Coming: When Stephanie Turned On Vince
When Stephanie McMahon first started appearing on WWE TV at the tail end of the nineties, no one ever expected her to turn heel and join forces with Triple H. But it did happen and in quite the ceremonial fashion. She played victim most of the time, and well... at one of these times in particular, she gave her father one of the biggest shocks of his life. The other probably being when in real life, she told him that she'd be marrying Triple H!
11 No One Saw Coming: Daniel Bryan On AJ Styles
Daniel Bryan had become one of the most easily identifiable baby faces in the industry. Especially when he, at the age of 34, was forced to retire because of injury. But like Shawn Michaels before him, he made his way back to the ring and despite his baby face status, and after all the show of support from fans, it was quite the shock to see him turn on AJ Styles. But in wrestling, nothing is at it seems, and expect the unexpected. Vince McMahon taught us that much.
10 No One Saw Coming: When Andre Turned On Hogan
This turn probably led to one of the greatest matches in wrestling history (top ten for sure), and it was as shocking as anything else to ever occur in the industry. Like many other epic heel turns, it gave the WWE and us fans a great and incredible match to watch, and in particular, one that we were all invested in. They were friends, but it all happened in a split second, and we got to see them battle it out in quite the ceremonious fashion.
9 No One Saw Coming: The Rock’s Initial Turn And Allegiance With The Nation Of Domination
As a third generation wrestler, Dwayne as well as many in the industry were hoping that his appearance in the WWE would please the so-called universe. But that's just not the way it went down, and withing months of him premiering at MSG, he was booed out of the building most nights. That only left one option for him and that was to turn heel, and boy did he. He became one of the most celebrated heels during the attitude era, and the character he developed caused him to become one of the industry's greatest exports.
8 No One Saw Coming: Shawn Michaels Turns On Marty Jannetty
They had been one of the most electric and dynamic duos to ever face off in the squared circle. They had the talent, the fan following, and the charisma to go even further than they did. But Michaels had other ideas and had always wanted to make it on his own. Well, art and life collided on an installment of Brutus Beefcake's Barber Shop and with climactic and shocking results. The tremor from this moment is still felt today.
7 No One Saw Coming: CM Punks’s Heel Turn
This is perhaps the saddest turn on the list. CM Punk was stifled, and there's no way around that. He had the potential to be the next Steve Austin, or perhaps go even further considering what he had available to him at the time. But with Triple H's reluctance to make a single man the ''main man'' of the industry, CM Punk was stifled and later made to turn heel, and soon after he got the highest ratings for the WWE in a long while.
6 No One Saw Coming: When Randy Betrayed The Mega Powers
For people within the industry, this feud had a little more behind it than its pretty epic writing. Many who knew about Randy and Hulk and the personal issues they had knew a story line like this was a no-brainer, really. But for the fans it came as a huge shock, and one that nobody was expecting. For anyone who was around for this, do you remember the crowd that night? The reaction was insane.
5 Obvious: Kevin Owens Turns On Chris Jericho
When it comes to Kevin Owens... anything is possible. Can we describe him as a loose cannon? Sure, among other things: he's a top talent and can go even further if allowed to. But when he and Jericho were buddy-buddy, many knew that this young man had something up his sleeve. It was quite obvious, and when it all came crashing down on Jericho's head— quite literally— it came crashing down hard.
4 Obvious: Triple H Turns On Daniel Bryan
Who can trust Triple H? No one! He's proven time and time again that he can't be trusted. If he can turn on Michaels, Batista, Orton, McMahon, his wife— you name it— then he can turn on anybody. When this man goes heel, watch out, as the ''cerebral assassin'' got his monikers from the actions of which he is more than capable of. Which he proved when he turned on the then baby face Daniel Bryan.
3 Obvious: When Shane Turned On The Miz
Shane too, like Hunter, is quite capable of turning at any split second. And for most watching, it was just a matter of time before this man turned on his so-called buddy, The Miz. We kind of knew it was going this way, as a lot of the special moments shared between these two on screen were actually a little too mushy for our tastes, which let us know that a turn was inevitable.
2 Obvious: Ronda's Turn
What was happening to Ronda was a little interesting, but we had seen it before. For veteran fans, the minute a baby face gets booed like that, it's usually a good sign that a heel turn is imminent. We saw it with The Rock and we saw it with Hogan. The only guy that never gave in and turned Heel was probably Cena. Now to see that guy turn heel would have been epic and would have only helped him last longer in this business. Longer than he did at least. We can still hope, though.
1 Obvious: Flair’s Heel Turn Of 2016
We knew this was coming. She's been back and forth, but someone with as much talent and charisma as she has, there's no doubt. After all, she is the daughter of the man himself, Ric Flair. And when you have that much knowledge backing you up, the sky is the limit. So there was no shock there really. For most, it was just a matter of time.
Sources: Wikipedia.org, YouTube, WWE.com