The story of WWE has seen dozens of iconic rivalries between top talent to work for the company. However, a common trend is that babyfaces usually win their fights over the heels. The stories generally dictate that since the good guy or girl prevails, that is how most plots culminate.
WWE has strayed from that formula as the always winning face is too predictable. There have been some unique instances of all-time great rivalries ending with the bad guy standing. Fans are usually a bit more surprised and the character that wins sometimes needs it the most. WWE’s next few superb matches ended with heel winning over babyface.
10 Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels
Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho are on the short list of names that many peers and fans consider to be the greatest of all time. That makes it all the more impressive that their legendary rivalry can be argued as the best of their respective careers.
Jericho turned around and embraced this new chapter of his career as the serious villain obsessed with taking down Michaels. The feud ended with Jericho retaining the World Championship over Michaels in a ladder match and then a Last Man Standing match in the UK to win the rivalry.
9 AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose
One of WWE’s most underrated feuds of the past decade saw Dean Ambrose aka Jon Moxley and AJ Styles battle it out for the WWE Championship. Both wrestlers were doing a fine job at the top of the Smackdown card shortly after the brand’s split draft necessitated that success.
Styles won the WWE Championship for the first time in his illustrious career by defeating Moxley to end his reign. The overall feud ended in a TLC match where AJ won thanks to some unexpected help from James Ellsworth. Ambrose took the loss and then walked out of the title picture.
8 charlotte flair vs sasha banks
Some fights present the audience so upset by the heel win that it can hurt the general perception of those rivalries. Charlotte Flair vs Sasha Banks had that problem as it is not talked about enough as a match that helped WWE introduce the new importance of women’s wrestling.
Banks was a huge babyface chasing Flair for the Raw Women’s Championship and even defeated her for the belt three times. The problem was that Charlotte always got it back on Sasha’s first defense. Fans were generally upset as Banks lost weakly at the end with Flair prevailing as the victor.
7 steve austin vs kurt angle
The Invasion storyline of WWE vs. WCW and ECW is still considered the biggest creative flop in WWE history. However, there were some weird bright spots from the failed concept. Steve Austin and Kurt Angle had one of the best rivalries of that era playing the brand war.
Angle’s face swap was a surprisingly big hit as fans rallied behind him against Austin. WWE witnessed great matches and segments between the two that are still beloved today. Austin won the dispute as he held power as the leader of The Alliance with Angle’s face losing.
6 Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho
The friend-turned-foe story of Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho carried the Raw brand for many months as the flagship show. Owens betraying Jericho during the Friendship Festival segment is still a great all-time segment that established their rivalry.
The United States Championship ended up being the prize on the line in their matches with Owens winning the belt and the fight. However, original plans called for Jericho to win the rivalry and the Universal Championship from Owens until plans changed for Goldberg to dethrone him beforehand.
5 The rock against humanity
WWE fans will always associate The Rock and Mankind with each other due to their careers as teammates and rivals. Mick Foley tapped into the more violent side of him for fights with Rock that gained sympathy when he suffered beatings and caused the audience to fully support him.
The WWE Championship switched back and forth four times in five weeks during their early 1999 feud. Rock ended up as the champion to move to his WrestleMania 15 match against Steve Austin. Some fans would argue that Foley, being the guest referee when Austin defeated Rock, helped him win the feud, but that was Austin’s victory.
4 CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy
CM Punk’s heel turn came at the right time with winning the World Championship and feuding with Jeff Hardy. Punk used the direct lifestyle of him to badmouth Hardy and the fans for not following the same philosophy of life as him.
Jeff was in his prime as an individual star with the support of the fans, even rivaling John Cena at the time. Unfortunately, it was also when Hardy felt he needed time off the WWE schedule. Punk not only won the fight, but sent Jeff away after winning a Loser Leaves Town match.
3 Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin
WWE found magical chemistry between Steve Austin and Bret Hart that set up the epic double turn. Austin became the babyface at the end of the Hart fight, but he did it after losing, as the story was better in that context.
The feud continued for a bit longer with Bret forming the Hart Foundation and Austin trying to take them down. The bulk of Austin’s revenge featured him going after Owen as Bret went on to title matches with The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. Bret went through the Montreal Screwjob before Austin scored a notable victory over him.
2 Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels
Shawn Michaels’ return in 2002 led to his feud with Triple H becoming a big part of WWE television for about three years. Michaels scored early victories which ended up being most memorable in his unauthorized comeback match and then became World Champion in the first Elimination Chamber match.
Triple H regained the title at the following PPV when the rivalry stopped and started in the following years. The biggest wins always came for Triple H, as he was more of a protected star at the time. Michaels wasn’t interested in having a long world title reign or being “the guy” who justifies losing to top heels.
1 Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle
The epic rivalry between Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar helped define Ruthless Aggression. This was an interesting story as it started with Lesnar as a babyface and Angle as a heel, but it ended up backwards. Angle turned around to strike up a short-lived friendship with Lesnar until betrayal.
Brock turned rude by aligning himself with Vince McMahon and stabbing Angle in the back. The duo traded incredible match victories until the rivalry culminated in an Iron Man match. Lesnar won the featured match to regain the WWE Championship and win the overall feud.