A heel turn is something that when done right can draw attention and add a fresh flavour to a storyline.
Normally a wrestling story or even a rivalry requires a good guy (the face) and a bad guy (the heel) and mainly the whole idea of a feud revolves around and caters to the story of face versus heel.
However, in professional wrestling, the competitors often reinvent their characters to avoid being mundane by shifting from face to heel and heel to face. The former being the more common from the two scenarios, often
being referred to as a “heel turn”. When done right, one can draw attention and add a fresh flavour to a storyline as we have seen before.
Such examples include Larry Zbyszko turning on his mentor Bruno Sammartino which got him tremendous heat lasting for the better part of his career (mainly because back then a large percentage of people believed that professional wrestling was unscripted). Seth Rollins
unexpectedly smashing his Shield brethren repeatedly with a steel chair and siding with The Authority leaving the audience present and the people watching at home stupefied (because everyone was expecting Dean to turn) and Hulk Hogan leg dropping Randy Savage giving birth to what was possibly the greatest stable in wrestling history.
In the current times, plotlines and wrestling shows are losing their flair without actual crowds so wrestling promotions are now mainly relying upon good narratives to draw ratings. What better way to bring life to a story than a good old fashioned (not exactly) heel turn? Here are some that we can expect to see soon.
Right now Raw has a good amount of heels but from the looks of things, it seems that they might be about to make an addition to that list. Two weeks ago on Raw, we saw the United States Champion Apollo Crews announce that he was going to be defending his title regularly and his first opponent was the “deserving” Kevin Owens.
The promo before the match seemed to start like any other face v face segment where they showed nothing but respect for each other. However, Owens slowly started getting defensive and started claiming that Apollo had given him an opportunity only out of pity, causing things to get a bit heated. During the match, the tease for a heel turn was evident most during a spot where Owens accidentally kicked Crews in the groin, acting annoyed once the official stopped the match for a bit.
Had it been a classic face v face match, Kevin would have gone over to check on Crews.
Furthermore Owens was seen using underhanded tactics to win the title, like spending some time on the outside to regather his senses. However, we did not get to see the ending to the match because of interference by Andrade and Angel Garza which led to a tag team match. Could this be a sign that we might be getting a KO heel turn? Adding to the story, at Backlash we saw Owens come out for commentary and even help Crews get the win over Andrade, but I think that this temporary partnership will be coming to an end soon.
Owens was a tremendous heel in NXT and even on the main roster; he was the type who was easily hate-able and has been booked well. His heel status was cemented by putting him in a rivalry against Sami Zayn where he brutally battered the soul out of him after repeatedly powerbombing him. His rise was quick – he was one of the few up and coming guys who Cena put over – and his turn on Jericho during the Festival of Friendship was just amazing. He immediately turned into a main event heel after that segment.
Point being, Owens is a better heel than a face. He knows how to get heat and knowing WWE, they are more than likely to capitalize on it. Owens was expected to get a big push after Wrestlemania 36 but we haven’t seen that happen yet. He wasn’t even in the Money in the Bank ladder match and on top of that Seth Rollins, the guy who he defeated, got a championship opportunity right after his loss. Sometimes WWE booking doesn’t make sense but maybe this time they are putting some back story into Owens’ heel turn with him being tired of not getting more chances and just snapping.
So how and when does it happen?
I think it will be in the next few weeks, presumably against Crews propelling him into a United States Championship feud, adding some stakes to the rivalry.
So many people had predicted a Mandy Rose heel turn at Wrestlemania with her siding with Dolph Ziggler .
Alas, it didn’t happen thus people didn’t bother pondering over the idea of whether she will turn on Otis later or not but after keenly watching the storyline between the two develop every Friday, I think I know where it is heading.
Right now Mandy is still in a feud with Sonya as we saw on SmackDown two weeks ago where she interfered in Sonya Deville’s match against Lacey Evans via the TitanTron (yes the TitanTron), so there is still some time in her turn as she’s still busy with a rivalry which hadn’t been discussed in the past few weeks.
I think that Mandy will turn on Otis and there are a few reasons I say this, the most prominent of which being that WWE has a reputation of doing so with almost every face couple: Chris Jericho and Trish Stratus, Eve and Zack Ryder, AJ Lee with Cena and more recently: Lana with Rusev.
They do this every single time and I don’t think this time would be any different. We even saw a little glimpse of a possible break up two weeks ago in a segment between the couple where Mandy’s dream is interrupted by a cannonballing Otis, splashing water on Mandy who seemed annoyed by it for a moment there. And last Friday, Sonya proved to be a distraction during the tag team main event when she was seen talking to Baron on the TitanTron, prompting Otis to abandon his partners and run backstage and deal with King Corbin himself. Let’s not forget that the SmackDown hacker has been teasing some sort of break between friends.
We’ll get to that later.
Now let’s rewind a bit to last month’s Money in the Bank PPV. The decision of giving Otis the Money in the Bank briefcase was an odd one as almost all of us thought that it was going to be either AJ or Black. Also, Otis doesn’t come off as “The face of the show”. Don’t get me wrong, I love him but can you hear Michael Cole going “… and your new Universal Champion: Otis”? It just doesn’t match up.
It is all set up for Mandy’s heel turn with one of two directions, and also I don’t think that Otis would cash in on the tag team championships with Tucker. As much as I would have loved to see WWE giving its tag division some relevance, I just don’t see it happening. So the first scenario is where Mandy sides with whoever Otis tries to cash in on and turns on him. The second scenario (which is more likely to happen) Otis will give his briefcase to Mandy. Stuff in WWE doesn’t always make sense and they don’t think it has to.
Plus WWE can back this up by capitalizing on the fact that the women’s Money in the Bank was actually for the Raw Women’s title, so technically there wasn’t any Ms Money in the Bank. The idea being that Mandy is using Otis to get the briefcase – once she does and cashes in on whoever is champion at the time, she’ll turn on him.
I’m sure you haven’t forgotten how a few lines ago I said that we’ll get to the Smackdown hacker later, well this is it.
I think Big E’s heel turn is something that we don’t want to see because he gels so well with The New Day but we have to come to terms with the fact that they are on the brink of termination. The SmackDown hacker has been teasing a tag team break up for weeks now and I think it’s the New Day, yes it is (I hope you find it in your heart to forgive me for that pun).
Big E is an amazing all-round wrestler, someone who fits right in, the centrepiece of the puzzle you’ve been looking for all along. His ring work? A-plus. His promo game? A-plus plus. Big E is an outstanding tag team wrestler but he is an even better singles competitor. If you go through his work as Big E Langston in NXT before he formed the New Day you’ll realise how good he is as a heel.
There are a few things I picked up upon over the last few weeks which have led me to this conclusion. A few weeks ago on SmackDown on “A Moment of Bliss”, Big E seemed irritated with Kofi with them talking over each other at times. This wasn’t the first time it has happened – a week after Big E had won New Day the tag team titles when he and Kofi were cutting a promo on the rest of the tag team division. Moreover, when Big E won the titles for the New Day in a triple threat match he seemed to be overly happy and proud of himself rather than celebrating with or even acknowledging his partners who were celebrating via FaceTime and plugging their social media (yes I love UpUpDownDown Austin, but no need to mention it on SmackDown).
WWE has been reportedly planning a big push for Big E and honestly, I would give anything to see heel Big E stand tall over a fallen Braun Strowman with the Universal Title raised high above his head.
Book it, Vince!
This is an interesting one and I’m fairly certain that this is the direction where AEW is heading.
First things first, Cody is one of, if not the best wrestler in the industry right now and it doesn’t matter if he’s face or heel. Week in week out he gives his best and every time smashes it out of the park. Let’s dive right in; Cody is going to turn heel – he and AEW are putting in an effort to build a proper story around his heel turn.
A few days after beating Lance Archer to become the inaugural TNT Champion at Double or Nothing, Cody cut a promo on Dynamite where if you listened carefully, you would have realised that his disdain for the promotion was slightly creeping into what he was saying. The most prominent example of which being how he mentions that he was the fourth person Tony Khan contacted when the idea for AEW was conceived and not the first person. There were even shades of arrogance and an inflated ego present in that promo. Go and watch it and you’ll realise what I am talking about. Furthermore, Cody faced Jungle Boy and competed against Marq Quen back to back in the last two weeks with both of his opponents being babyfaces.
The most solid proof of his upcoming heel turn can be seen in his match against Jungle Boy where watching without context paints Cody as the heel. Cody used some heelish tactics such as not letting go of the submission even after Jungle Boy reached the ropes, taunting and shouting “WOO” before locking in the Figure Four leg lock, striking Jungle Boy when he was on the ropes and then came the part which convinced me that Cody is going to turn heel soon. Cody took off his belt and stood in a stance which made it seem like he was going to whip Jungle Boy with the belt and he stood in that position for some time before throwing his belt away.
Let’s also take a look at his last week’s match on Dynamite against Marq Quen. Before the match began Cody cut a backstage promo where he boasted his “tiring schedule” and expressed his dissatisfaction of not getting enough credit for it.
Then, the match began and we again saw him bringing his deceitful tactics into the ring. Cody was working his opponent’s ankle throughout the match and he even put Quen’s ankle in a lock when he was under the ropes with referee Aubrey Edwards constantly condemning him. Once she managed to get him away from Quen, Cody stood in the middle of the ring flexing his muscles and taunting, all while Marq is down on the apron screaming in agony.
Even Aubrey Edwards’ facial expressions gave away how heelish Cody was acting.
What more proof do you need?
These heel turns are all incredibly likely between now and the year’s end. With all four of these superstars being prominent parts of their respective developing storylines, which are integral to the show that they are part of, it is a certainty that this will attract some attention and might help to boost the ratings or as I said before, help elevate them to an even greater status.
However, no one can know for sure what the writing teams have in store for their wrestlers with their plans constantly changing either due to negative reactions or even due to shifts in personnel.
Only time will tell how accurate these predictions are.