5 Times Heel Turns In Wrestling Were Completely Justified

Hamish Woodward

The Heel turn can be one of the most effective and exciting tropes in wrestling.

When a wrestler turns his back on the fans, or betrays a partner, it can reinvigorate a flailing career, or show a new side to a previously unexplored character.

However, sometimes you watch a friend turn on another, and can’t help but think to yourself “…but how is he the bad guy?”.

Sometimes, a heel turn is completely justified. Sometimes, a pro-wrestler’s gripe with the fans is justified and the actions that led to it were not their fault at all.

In this article, we’ll take you through the biggest heels turns where the wrestler turning was totally in the right, despite their future action making them quite the bad guy in the grand scheme of things.

CM Punk Turns Heel On The Rock

When The Rock returned to wrestling for a series of matches in 2012 against John Cena, one man who felt left out was CM Punk.

He held the WWE Championship for 434 days in that time, yet was overshadowed by the huge matches between The Rock and John Cena.

Punk was looked over, despite being the most popular man in the company (he outsold John Cena in merchandise that year). Then, The Rock just waltz in, didn’t give him any respect and completely stole his spot in the WrestleMania main event.

CM Punk was completely justified in turning heel on The Rock. You don’t suddenly become a heel because you don’t like a guy who left for 7 years.

We did get one of the best promos of all time during this feud, so the heel turn was worth it in the end.

Chris Jericho Knows Shawn Michaels Is Faking An Injury

When Chris Jericho threw Shawn Michaels through the Jeritron, almost ending his career, he was completely in the right.

Yet, he was still the heel.

For weeks, Shawn Michaels had been feigning an injury, claiming to be hurt. Yet, he always got back up, hit his superkick and beat top stars like Kane or Batista.

Nobody seemed to notice his lack of injury, except for Chris Jericho. He repeatedly tried to get Shawn Michaels to admit he was injured, until he finally did! Then he superkicked Chris Jericho!

Jericho was completely right when he turned heel on Shawn Michaels. While he actions were despicable, like punching HBK’s wife in the face, his initial suspicions were completely right, and it was bemusing the fans booed him because of it.

Becky Lynch Turns Heel On Charlotte Flair And Becomes A Bigger Babyface

Probably the least successful heel turn ever happened in 2017, when Becky Lynch accidentally became the biggest babyface since Daniel Bryan in 2013.

The fans had been behind the Irish Lass Kicker since her NXT debut in 2014, with her infectious personality endearing her to the WWE fanbase.

Through trials and tribulations, the fans stuck behind, even when Charlotte Flair was placed above her in the pecking order.

It was clear WWE saw more money in Charlotte, when they added her to Becky’s title match at Summerslam 2017, handing her another title reign.

The next week, Becky turned heel, attacking Charlotte for stealing her spot and turning her back on the fans. She admonished the fans for abandoning her, as they cheered loudly for her to absolutely demolish Charlotte Flair.

The heel turn had failed, and fans loved the new attitude for Becky Lynch. She immediately turned back face, created The Man character and went on to main event WrestleMania the following year

Bret Hart Turns Heel… But Only In America

Bret Hart vs British Bulldog
Bret Hart vs British Bulldog

Bret Hart was an enigma in the 1990s. In America, he was hated by the fans, after his feud with Steve Austin. He was booed wherever he went, with fans clearly choosing Shawn Michaels as their favourite.

However, outside of the US, he was a hero. In Canada, he was a national treasure, alongside such things as a moose, maple syrup or saying sorry.

In the UK, he claimed he was more popular than British Bulldog, and his match against his friend drew one of the biggest crowds ever in 1992. He was beloved outside of America, but a heel in the country the WWE called home.

He turned heel on the fans in the US because they kept booing him, even before turning – sometimes, simply for being from Canada. This seems completely justified, and why nobody outside the US changed their tune on one of the best wrestlers ever.

Daniel Bryan Turned Heel To Save The Planet

During his 2017 WWE Championship, Daniel Bryan was the top heel on Smackdown. He took the WWE Championship from AJ Styles just before Survivor Series and began a crusade to save the earth from commercialism and climate change.

In 2023, this makes him a hero to the people. However, just six years ago he was the most hated man on the show.

Yes, he was preachy and arrogant, talking down to the fans about shaming them for their overconsumption. But in the end, he was right. We should have listened to our planet’s champion.

He even had a hemp belt, which I need a replica of right now.

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