Professional wrestling and WWE Always a tale of good and evil, it has given birth to great heroes and perhaps even better villains.
For too long, WWE has focused on the good guy who always overcomes the odds, no matter how insurmountable, from Bruno Sammartino to Hulk Hogan. In fact, WrestleMania didn’t have a heel winner until its 16th main eventTh When repeating Triple H Retained the WWE title.
It was during this time that wrestling changed, the lines were blurred and audiences no longer wanted the stereotypical good guy. This led to the villain, the bad guy, and the heel becoming the preferred character for some wrestlers. Many wrestlers are better suited to play the role because of their in-ring style, their natural personality, and so on.
For the purpose of this discussion, only WWE work will be included and managers will be excluded, excluding many of WCW’s top talents of the 1990s.
With that in mind, GiveMeSport The 10 Greatest Heels in WWE History Takes You…
10. Roman Reigns
A recent addition to the list of great heels, Reigns’ generational run as the undisputed WWE Universal Champion and leader of The Bloodline has cemented his status as the No. 1 man in the business. His in-ring psychology, facial expressions and character work are top notch. What’s more puzzling is that WWE resisted making him a heel all those years.
9. CM Punk
To many in the wrestling industry, Punk is a villain in real life. Although it is a huge controversy, it is not possible on screen. Already an amazing heel in Ring of Honor, his WWE career completely took off in 2009 when he became the bad guy.
He abused Jeff Hardy’s substance problems, he created the Straight Edge Society, and he eccentrically led the Nexus. He was an anti-hero for the rest of his WWE career, apart from an excellent heel run with Paul Heyman, where he targeted The Rock, The Undertaker, among others.
8. Randy Orton
His RKBro run made him one of the hottest babyfaces in the industry but Randy has always been better suited to playing heel. His career began at Evolution, where he became the irreverent, arrogant “Legend Killer” – the man who spat in Mick Foley’s face!
A brief face run failed before he became an even more terrifying villain – he tried to “murder” The Undertaker and mocked the death of Eddie Guerrero while feuding with Rey Mysterio. He then “ended” the careers of Vince, RKO’d Stephanie and John Cena.
After Evolution and Legacy, Orton was once again part of a villainous group in “The Authority”. Further abominations were seen in the battles with Jeff Hardy and Edge.
The bad guy of the mid-to-late 2000s. The Ultimate Opportunist. R rated superstar. Every champion of the era was cheated by Edge at one point or another, whether it was Money in the Bank cash-ins with John Cena and The Undertaker or taking the World Titles from Batista and Jeff Hardy.
As their on-screen heel persona is enhanced by the real-life events between them, Matt Hardy and Lita showed how the best performances are often a reflection of real life, or when the dial is turned to 100.
6. Ted DiBiase
“Everybody has a price!” The Million Dollar Man was one of the best heel characters of the WWE 1980s boom. He had bought the services of other wrestlers, 30Th Royal Rumble and a spot in the WWE Title. He had poisoned the mind of Andre the monster.
His WWE career saw him manage the likes of “Stunning” Steve Austin as part of The Million Dollar Corporation and introduced the “Million Dollar” belt. He later left WWE for WCW, where he became the financier of the NWO’s storylines. Born bad.
5. Triple H
The Game was the perfect heel foil for Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock in the Attitude Era. Jim Ross’ pure disdain for interpretation is a perfect reflection of this. He is married to Stephanie McMahon, who masterminded Austin’s hit and run. He also made Vince sympathetic.
His peak heel run from 1999-2001 was nothing short of cerebral assassin but he was a “cool” bad guy. His time at Evolution saw him backfire, being rejected by the crowd for his “reign of terror” over the world title.
4. Shawn Michaels
For many fans, Shawn Michaels is one of the best babyfaces of all time. While that’s true, he’s still a great heel. Take a look back at his run until his injury retirement in 1998. He executed one of the best turns when he kicked Marty Jannetty into Brutus Beefcake’s barber shop and later became the most arrogant and cocky character in the business.
His off-screen antics often carried over to the on-screen, most notably in his infamous feud with Bret Hart which culminated in the Montreal Screwjob. He later claimed that he was “an attitude before a catchphrase,” and he wasn’t wrong—he created DX, after all.
After changing his ways and returning to the company in 2002, Michaels was a perma-face outside of an epic six-week run against Hulk Hogan, where he had turned years before.
3. Roddy Piper
The perfect villain to take on the ultimate hero in the mid-1980s was Hulk Hogan. In the inaugural WrestleMania main event, Hogan and Mr.
Piper is arguably the biggest trash talker in WWE history, with “Piper’s Pit” being the location of some of his best work, leading to further feuds with Jimmy Snuka and Bruno Sammartino. Piper’s heel act was so popular that he turned face after two years.
After a run with WCW, Piper returned to WWE during Hogan’s WrestleMania 19 match with Vince, where he returned to his old ways and attacked his longtime rival. Legendary.
2. Ric Flair
Woooo! Flair may have done most of his work in the NWA and WCW but his two stints in WWE showed him as a heel that made him one of the biggest stars in WWE history. In 1991, he appeared on WWE TV alongside another famous bad guy, Bobby Heenan, beginning an amazing 18-month run.
He gave the WWE title to Hulk Hogan, won it himself in a Royal Rumble match, and then tried to woo the wife of another top face, Randy Savage. Classic flare behavior. He later returned to the company in 2001, eventually forming Evolution with Triple H and others. His antics were often cheered there, which was the audience’s respect for the all-time great.
1. Mr. McMahon
Who else could it be? From commentator Vince McMahon “Mr. McMahon,” the tyrannical owner of the WWE, had one of the most pivotal moments in modern wrestling history. It occurred after he claimed that “Bret screwed Bret,” leading to arguably the most famous feud between himself and Stone Cold.
Hulk Hogan, The Rock, The Undertaker, Triple H, Shawn Michaels and John Cena also suffered the wrath of the board chairman, as did both his children and his wife. The biggest heel of them all.