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***TOP 10 SPOILERS***
10. The Rock:
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s heel turn is arguably the greatest example of the change in wrestling fans’ attitudes during the 1990’s (and which continues to today). Third-generation star Rocky Maivia entered the WWF with a true blue-chip pedigree, with the promotion planning to push him to the moon. Unfortunately, the WWF was so eager to create a main event star that the promotion pushed him down the fans’ throats, failing to understand the change in fans’ sensibilities…
9. The Honky Tonk Man:
Wayne Ferris developed his Elvis impersonator gimmick elsewhere, but it was in the WWF where he had a chance to perform it on a national stage. While conventional wisdom has it the WWF always intended for HTM, aka Honky Tonk Man to turn heel, that’s not the case. Vince McMahon saw the Honky Tonk Man as a babyface in the same vein as Jim Crockett Promotions’ wildly popular Jimmy “Boogie Woogie Man” Valiant. Sadly, the WWF fans didn’t, despite the WWF’s best efforts, including an endorsement from WWF champion Hulk Hogan. The Honky Tonk Man couldn’t get over, despite the Hulkster proclaiming…
8. The New Day:
It’s hard to believe the New Day have been around for nearly four years, becoming one of the greatest factions in wrestling history. What fans may not recall is the New Day’s original status as a glorified gospel choir group, with some accusing the WWE of taking the easy way out and giving them a gimmick that played on racial stereotypes. The WWE Universe barely registered so the group’s gimmick was tweaked to that of a group preaching positive thinking…
7. Eva Marie:
There’s no question the WWE’s women’s division has come a long way from the Playboy Pillow Fights that characterized the Divas division. Fans have come to expect good matches from the women’s division and while there’s room for all sorts of styles, the WWE Universe expects a certain level of competence. Thus, Eva Marie, a natural heel to begin with, found her career challenged by a noticeable lack of in-ring skills. The WWE repeatedly tried to portray her as a babyface but her limited skills led to the boo-birds forcing the WWE to turn her back heel, eventually releasing her.
6. Alberto Del Rio:
Some wrestlers are natural heels and it’s difficult to cast them as babyfaces, even under the best of circumstances. Alberto Del Rio was a natural as a cocky heel who insulted fans and wrestlers alike, looking down on them as absolute zeroes. Rumor has it the WWE turned Del Rio babyface because it needed a Mexican babyface after Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara were taken off television…
5. Santino Marella:
The “Milan Miracle” saw newcomer Santino Marella enter the ring from out of the crowd to take on Intercontinental Champion Umaga in an impromptu match during an episode of RAW held in Milan, Italy in April 2007. Marella’s portrayal as a fish-out-of-water babyface had a shelf life that matched a fish out of water, with WWE fans quickly growing tired of the one-dimensional babyface…
4. Randy Orton:
Like Alberto Del Rio, Randy Orton is a natural heel who plays the same character whether he’s called a heel or a babyface. Orton’s 2004 World Heavyweight Championship win over Chris Benoit at SummerSlam led to the then-heel Orton getting kicked out of Evolution the next night on RAW, turning him face…
While Dave Batista has shown he can play a babyface or a heel successfully, the WWE miscalculated when they brought Batista back to win the 2014 Royal Rumble. Not only did Batista defeat a then-popular Roman Reigns (hard to believe, right?), but his win meant Daniel Bryan hadn’t won the Rumble. Batista quickly acquired the nickname “Bootista”, due to the fans seemingly endless boos every time he showed up. The WWE turned him heel, allowing him to keep his WrestleMania championship match, but showing rare lucidity when they put Daniel Bryan into the main event as well.
WWE Hall of Famer Lita rose to success as the Hardy Boyz’ valet, later entering a storyline romance that mirrored her real-life relationship with Matt Hardy. Lita’s career blossomed as a women’s wrestler, with her holding the WWE Women’s Championship four times. Wildly popular, Lita could seemingly do no wrong with the fans — that is until she had a real-life affair with fellow wrestler Edge (aka Adam Copeland)…
1. Floyd Mayweather:
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