Thursday, April 18

10 Times WWE Wrestlers Turned Heel (& Changed Nothing About Their Character)

More often than not, a wrestler changing their character from babyface to heel comes with a drastic shift in the presentation and style of performance in the ring to tie the switch together. Whether it is changing the attire and starting to fight dirty with an attitude or siding with teams and factions that are clearly evil, it normally helps to have signifying traits that translate this to the audience.

RELATED: 10 Most Controversial Heel Turns In Wrestling History

This means that for better or worse, it can be a notable occurrence when a WWE wrestler does not make a significant change to their character when going over to the dark side, and while it can be a positive example of their ability to naturally portray both good and evil, but it can also serve as a stale rehash of old tired tropes.

10 Shawn Michaels (2005)

Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan shaking hands

After going through brutal feuds with all-time heels like Vince McMahon and Triple H. In this short but infamous story, however, Shawn Michaels found himself in a rivalry with Hulk Hogan where he aimed to prove himself better than the Hulkster.

After some alleged backstage drama between Hulk and Shawn Michaels, it seemed like it was all off the table after just one match but HBK was hardly any different when it comes to how he wrestled and cut promos.

9 Finn Balor (2019)

Finn Balor in WWE

Starting with a huge moment where Finn Balor hit a smooth Pele Kick to Johnny Gargano on NXT, Finn Balor made a villainous turn when he decided to align with the Undisputed Era and began to go by “Prince” again as he did in NJPW.

However, he did nothing close in terms of the gang-like activities his Bullet Club would get up to. It is a shame because it would have been refreshing to see him bring that intensity.

8 The Big Show (Literally Any of The Times)

The Big Show crying while joining the Authority

With decades of switching between face and heel so much that he basically became a walking meme of a wrestler, The Big Show almost never, if ever, truly changed anything about his promos or move set.

Sure, he might have tried to be a bit more comedic as a face in backstage segments in the PG Era but overall, all of his heel runs came with almost no difference to his character.

7 The Undertaker (2001)

the-undertaker-big-evil-american-flag-1

After the Invasion storyline had wrapped up, The Undertaker seemed to serve as a WWE staple that did not have a consistent story to be a part of, so he became the heel “Big Evil” persona. It gave him the room to do more dastardly deeds and show off his vicious side while staying in the American Badass character.

With that said, he was the same character by all accounts. If it was not for a single segment with Vince McMahon’s infamous “club”, he would be literally the exact same as he was before his heel turn.

6 Brock Lesnar (2023)

Brock Lesnar staring at Cody Rhodes

As of this year, Brock Lesnar is a bit of a tweener. His rivalry with Cody Rhodes was sparked by a random attack on the American Nightmare on an episode of Monday Night Raw. It seemed like it was for no reason except to give them a program to not deal with Roman Reigns and after their trilogy of matches, it is clear that it was just there to give them both a great opponent for this series that will go down as underrated, no doubt.

RELATED: 10 Funniest Brock Lesnar WWE Moments Ever

However, outside of blindsiding Cody, Brock did nothing else truly heelish and mainly retained his demeanor and style in the ring. Now that the rivalry is done, it seems like he is going to be back to his face status, and still, he has not changed a bit about his character… for now.

5 The Miz (2020)

The Miz and John Morrison

Known for being a heel for just about his entire career (including his stint as the host of the Divas Search), The Miz fits into the heel persona so naturally there is no reason to fix something that is not broken. However, this also comes with the caveat that every time he turned face and back, he pretty much just kept his same “Awesome” gimmick.

In 2020, he reunited with John Morrison to reform their tag team, and while it was a good time, it was not a different side of The Miz by any stretch of the imagination. Give Miz all the credit in the world, throughout all the changes he is still one of the most entertaining wrestlers on the roster.

4 Daniel Bryan (2011)

Daniel Bryan after winning the World Heavyweight Championship

In an absolutely tone-deaf maneuver, WWE attempted to have Daniel Bryan come across as a heel to the crowd after cashing in his Money In The Bank briefcase. Outside of a few more comedic moments backstage and a more confident entrance, he was exactly the same.

Heel or not, you cannot take the Dragon out of this American. Looking back on this era would be easy to be shaded in rose-pink, but the fact is that throughout everything, Bryan Danielson’s star power shined on through his individual brilliance in and out of the ring.

3 Charlotte Flair (2018)

Charlotte Flair attacking Ronda Rousey

Charlotte Flair might stand as one of the most consistent and decorated wrestlers on the WWE roster of the past decade, but her character has been mixed, to say the least. From trying to garner sympathy because of her history and past as a daughter to the legendary Ric Flair to becoming an egotistical heel, it seems like all of them blend together after a while.

Same instance here when she turned on Ronda Rousey by hitting her with a chair over and over again at Survivor Series. It is a shame it did not lead to anything different with her character, but at least she stayed consistent in the ring.

2 Triple H (2002/2013)

Triple H staring down Brock Lesnar

Triple H is and always has been Triple H. Seems like it goes without saying, but even as the Blue Blood Hunter Hearst Helmsley throughout the New Gen/Attitude Era to being The Game in the proceeding eras, it seems like he just keeps doing what keeps him successful.

Specifically, the two times he turned heel were in the 2002 rivalry with Shawn Michaels and the infamous 2013 Authority run. Outside of a bald head and a bit more tenacity, he still wrestled exactly the same. In fact, some say they took away from his artistry as a wrestler.

1 Bret Hart (1997)

Bret Hart punching Stone Cold

One of the most famous heel turns of all-time; the white meat babyface Bret Hart seemingly turned his back on the WWE Universe when he refused to break the Sharpshooter for Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania 13. Without a doubt, this served as one of the most pivotal and iconic moments in the history of the business, and it ushered in the Attitude Era along with it.

RELATED: 10 Things Fans Should Know About Bret Hart Vs Steve Austin At WrestleMania 13

But just like his middle name, Sergeant would suggest, Bret Hart kept this regime of hard-hitting, grapple-based offense with a sense of realism. This is one of those instances where the change was only to the character’s alignment with the crowd, not with themselves as the Excellence of Execution kept it real with himself.

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