Face and heel turns in wrestling have proven to be often effective, and sometimes legendary. A wrestler switching sides has always been an important part in wrestling, and it can be executed in a variety of different ways.
When a turn is executed with a promo, it often becomes even more legendary. Throughout wrestling history, some of the biggest and most iconic face and heel turns have been done via promos, and these are some of the best ones.
10 Turned Heel: The Rock Joins The Nation Of Domination
When The Rock made his WWE debut, he was Rocky Maivia, grandson of Peter Maivia. Rocky portrayed the typical white meat babyface, but in 1997, that type of babyface just didn’t work anymore and the fans turned on Rocky.
Rocky took a long hiatus from WWE television, but when he returned, he turned heel by joining the Nation of Domination and became The Rock. Even though The Rock wasn’t a promo guy during his Rocky Maivia days, he cut an amazing promo and expressed his displeasure towards the fans who turned on him.
9 Turned Face: Mick Foley’s Interviews With Jim Ross
During Mankind’s first year in the WWE, fans viewed him as a deranged maniac who loved to inflict pain on his opponents, but also on himself. In 1997, Mick Foley had a series of interviews with Jim Ross, in which fans got to see a more human side of Mankind.
Throughout the interview, fans saw what led to Foley becoming who he is and the details of Foley’s personal life. Even though he was still a heel during these interviews, fans began cheering Mankind, which led to him becoming a full time face on WWE television.
After his return from a hiatus in November 1996, Bret Hart became a whole new character, as he expressed his displeasure against the injustices he was going through. On the March 17, 1997 episode of Raw, Bret Hart challenged Sycho Sid for the WWE Championship inside a steel cage, but he was unsuccessful in capturing the title.
After the match, Bret completely snapped, as he pushed Vince McMahon to the ground and vented his frustrations on live television. Bret didn’t hold back, as he often cursed to get his point across, which was a never before seen sight on WWE television. This promo paved the way for Bret to finally become a heel, and it also played a part in the introduction of the Attitude Era.
7 Turned Face: Mr. Perfect Aligns Himself With Randy Savage
During his WWE career, Mr. Perfect was always one of the biggest heels in the company, but after a hiatus from the ring to recover from a back injury, Mr. Perfect turned face to team up with Randy Savage at Survivor Series 1992.
At the time, Mr. Perfect was aligned with Ric Flair and Bobby Heenan, but Perfect grew frustrated of Heenan commanding him to follow his orders, which led to Perfect becoming a face for the first time in his WWE career.
6 Turned Heel: Who’s Your Daddy Montreal?
After the Montreal Screwjob in 1997, Shawn Michaels gained an extremely negative reputation in the city of Montreal, whether he was a heel or a face. In 2005, Shawn Michaels was involved in a feud with Hulk Hogan, with Michaels being a heel for the first and only time in his 2000s run.
With Shawn being a heel, he was bound to get an extremely negative reception in Montreal. Shawn mentioned the Montreal Screwjob multiple times, insulted the country of Canada and even fooled the fans into thinking Bret Hart and Hulk Hogan would come out to give Shawn his comeuppance. It was a great heel promo and one of the best promos in Shawn Michaels’ career.
5 Turned Face: CM Punk Pipebomb
CM Punk’s pipebomb promo is one of the most iconic and influential promos in wrestling history. At the time, CM Punk was a heel, but after his pipebomb, fans had no choice but to root for him as Punk was seen as a modern day version of Steve Austin.
This promo took CM Punk to a whole new stratosphere. He became the biggest star in the company alongside John Cena, and the legacy of CM Punk’s pipebomb still lives well today.
4 Turned Heel: Bret Screwed Bret
After the events of the Montreal Screwjob, Vince McMahon gave an on-air explanation of what truly happened on that night in Montreal. After the Screwjob, Vince thought he would be the babyface, as he felt he had no choice but to double cross Bret Hart.
Vince broke kayfabe on television and fans were able to see that Vince wanted to throw Bret under the bus and completely damage his reputation. Vince was immediately seen as a bad guy in the eyes of the WWE audience, which paved the way for the creation of the Mr. McMahon character.
3 Turned Face: AJ Styles Shakes Hands With Shane McMahon
At WrestleMania 33, AJ Styles and Shane McMahon had a terrific match with AJ Styles walking out victorious. On the following SmackDown, there was a lot of talk about the Superstar Shake-up, as wrestlers from Raw and SmackDown could either stay or leave their respective brands.
As Shane was in the ring, AJ Styles walked to the ring and stated that he would be loyal to SmackDown. Styles also showed respect to Shane after their WrestleMania 33 battle, which turned AJ Styles face.
2 Turned Heel: Hulk Hogan Forms The New World Order
Hulk Hogan’s heel turn at Bash At The Beach 1996 completely revolutionized the wrestling business, as the NWO, led by Hulk Hogan, caused total havoc in WCW and gave Ted Turner’s company a huge advantage over WWE in the Monday Night War.
Hogan’s promo was nothing short of perfection. Fans in the building couldn’t believe it, as they started throwing trash in the ring and some even wanted to get in the ring to attack the heels. After years of being a babyface, after years of inspiring millions of Americans, Hogan finally turned to the dark side.
1 Turned Face: The Rock Says Goodbye To The Fans After Backlash 2003
This promo took place after Backlash 2003 went off the air, but just like SummerSlam 2002, The Rock laid the seeds to revert back to the opposite side, this time turning from heel to face.
After being defeated by Goldberg, the fans started cheering The Rock as he acknowledged their support. The Rock thanked the fans for showing up and also said goodbye as he’d go on a hiatus from WWE television.