10 Most Shocking Heel Turns in Wrestling History
One of the most compelling parts of professional wrestling, at least years ago, was when a wrestler turns heel and no one sees it coming.
It seems like these days guys switch sides at the drop of a hat but there are some huge heel turns that most wrestling fans will never forget. Regardless of how it happened, or how it was booked, you remember where you were when it all went down.
Here are the top ten most shocking heel turns in professional wrestling.
Tatanka claimed for weeks that Lex Luger had sold out to Ted DiBiase and joined the Million Dollar Corporation. A claim that Luger himself vehemently denied. Little did Lex and the fans know that it was in fact Tatanka all along who had sold out to the Million Dollar Man, turning on his friend Lex Luger in the process.
Leading into Survivor Series 2002, the WWE Champion Brock Lesnar was on a collision course with the Big Show. Brock’s manager at the time, Paul Heyman insisted to Brock that this match wasn’t a good idea. But Lesnar, never one to turn down a challenge, refused to listen. Heyman didn’t take too kindly to this and turned on Brock at Survivor Series. Heyman sided with the Big Show and helped crown a new WWE Champion in the process.
The feud between the Ultimate Warrior and the Undertaker was getting intense. Undertaker had locked Ultimate Warrior inside a casket which had taken forever to be re-opened causing him to pass out inside. The Warrior knew something had to be done to face his fears as he turned to Jake “The Snake” Roberts for help. This led to a series of odd training rituals in things like caskets, graveyards, and crypts. The final task for Warrior to face his fears led to him being trapped in a room and was “bitten” by a venomous snake. As the Warrior passed out in the room it was revealed that Jake was working with The Undertaker all along. Never trust a snake.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin shocked the wrestling world in the main event of WrestleMania X7 as he made a deal with the devil in Mr. McMahon as he turned on the fans to deliver a violent steel chair beat down to the Rock to retain the WWE Championship in the most shocking of fashions. It was truly a WrestleMania moment that none of us will ever forget and arguably the biggest turn in WrestleMania history.
In the mid-1980s Hulk Hogan and Paul Orndorff seemed inseparable. Tagging and training, they were always together. That was until Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and the rest of the Heenan family got into Mr. Wonderful’s ear. Calling him things like “Hulk Jr.” and telling him that Hogan was taking his spotlight. This eventually led to Paul turning on Hulk during a tag match with King Kong Bundy and Big John Studd.
Hulk Hogan and Andre used to be best friends. Andre was one of the first people to congratulate the Hulkster pouring champagne on his head after he captured the WWE Championship for the first time against the Iron Sheik. Years later with none other than Bobby Heenan in the Giants ear, Andre turns on Hogan on an edition of Piper’s Pit joining the Heenan family in the process. Andre demands a world title shot from a shocked Hulk Hogan as he rips off his shirt and cross necklace leaving the Hulkster visibly shaken as this led to the two men’s epic encounter at WrestleMania III.
D-Generation X was finally together again. Or so we thought, at WrestleMania XV during X-Pac vs. Shane McMahon for the European Championship Triple H hit the ring for what everyone thought was to help his friend and long time D-X partner X-Pac. Instead, he drilled Pac with the Pedigree leading to victory for Shane McMahon. Triple H joins the Corporation much to the dismay of his former best friends.
Only mere weeks after Kevin Nash ended Bill Goldberg’s monstrous undefeated streak in WCW to become the champion, the stage was set in Atlanta for the rematch on WCW Nitro. Unfortunately for Goldberg, he was set up that evening and arrested making him unable to compete for the championship. Hollywood Hogan was given the match instead which everyone thought would still be a good main event. We were wrong! Within seconds after the bell rang, Hogan poked Nash on the shoulder as he fell to the mat and Hogan pinned him for the easy title win. Turning his back on the fans in the process as a new nWo hybrid was formed.
In a 1991, future "boy toy" and one half the the tag team duo The Rockers Shawn Michaels was "accidentally" kicked in the face during a maneuver initiated by partner Marty Jannetty. The kick clipped Michaels in the face and resulted in his elimination at Survivor Series. Michaels blamed his partner for the eliminated. Attempting to mend the friendship, Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake invited both men on his "The Barbershop" segment. Michaels and Jannetty appeared to reconcile, but then Michaels levels his former partner with Sweet Chin Music and tosses him through a glass window. While fans might have seen the actual heel turn coming, the way it happened shocked some fans to the core.
The most shocking turn in wrestling history goes to none other than Hulk Hogan when he turned his back on WCW and all his Hulkamaniacs to become “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan at Bash at the Beach 1995. Hogan joined Kevin Nash and Scott Hall forming the now infamous nWo. The same group, that turned the tides of the Monday Night Wars in WCW’s favor for eighty four weeks.