Last night, R-Truth turned heel on John Morrison in one of the best heel turns I’ve ever seen. Ron Killings was originally one of the best things about TNA (though don’t be too proud of that; he was competing with “a midget… beating off… in a twath can” <-Dusty Rhodes voice). Everything about it was brilliant (except it maybe went on a little too long). Just when you thought he was done, he’d attack Morrison again. This needed to be done, as R-Truth was being rejected like a bad kidney. The bar I watch PPV’s at, they treat R-Truth like he just slaughtered a seaful of puppies and kittens. The crowd wanted to boo him and, unlike “The Confederate Warrior” John Cena, WWE gave the crowd what they wanted. In a matter of seconds, R-Truth went from “Mother of God, make it stop!” to “This is the greatest wrestler in WWE history.” I’m not sure about the cigarettes, and there is a little bit of an irony to the anti-smoking thing being www.thetruth.com, but R-Truth smokes. I wonder if this is a veiled shot at them. And it worked for The Sandman ages ago, so why not now?
In honor of this really great heel turn, I have come up with a list of my most memorable heel turns, some great, some memorable because of the effect they had on me.
- The Radicalz-(Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Eddy Guerrero & Perry Saturn) As a result of Kevin Sullivan becoming the booker in WCW, these 4 jumped to the WWE. While I am still processing how Benoit’s life ended, at the time, he was my biggest hero in wrestling. And of course I loved Malenko, Guerrero & Saturn, too. When the Radicalz turned on Mick Foley, I was sick to my stomach. My hero had turned on my other hero.
- Hulk Hogan-WCW Bash at the Beach ’96. I know that moment without having to look it up. Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were running rampant all over WCW. Nash & Hall challenged WCW to a 6-man match featuring a yet-to-be-6th man. WCW brought about Sting, Lex Luger & Macho Man. After a long match, Hulk Hogan started walking to the ring. The crowd was going nuts. They wanted to see their hero go take out this evil Hall and Nash. And he didn’t. He joined them. He became “Hollywood” Hogan and children were crying in misery over their hero turning on WCW. I think the greatest moment was in “Muppets in Space” when Hogan was about to take Rizzo the Rat somewhere and Hogan said. “Haven’t you heard? I’m a bad guy now.”
- Chris Jericho-Chris Jericho in WCW was WWE’s Evan Bourne on steroids (personality-wise, not actual physical ‘roids). He was that sugary-sweet babyface. (I personally loved his music.) When it got time for him to turn heel for the first time, this was a very slow build. He started throwing a temper-tantrum after he would lose. Then he tore the jacket off the ring announcer. Then he showed up the next week with the suit altered and dry cleaned saying it would never EEEEEEEEEEVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRR happen again. Then match by match it built up and was born the great heel Jericho: The Man of 1,004 Holds (most of which were armbar), the guy who would wear his belt at airports and wrestle matches with it on. I loved babyface Jericho. But I loved to hate heel Jericho so much more.
- Bret Hart-This was another slow build that the crowd had wanted to see. In ’97, the crowd was tired of sugary-sweet babyfaces like Bret Hart and wanted to cheer the guy who drank beers, flipped everybody off and stunned everybody cold. Wrestlemania XIII was a brutal match between Bret Hart and Stone Cold. But Hart had begun the build-up a few months earlier. There was the cage match on Raw where Hart lost and cussed up a storm we haven’t heard on Raw since. He kept on whining about how he had been screwed and Austin simply said, “Suck it up.” In the Wrestlemania match, there was lots of Austin’s blood and Hart still wouldn’t release the hold. And thus was born the Anti-American Hart Foundation, featuring Anvil, Owen & Davey Boy (who we all wanted to see feud) & Brian freakin’ Pillman.
- Christian-Around the time of the Alliance, there were so many great heel turns. Stone (What?) Cold (What?) Steve (What?) Austin is the most obvious one. ECW, WCW, DDP stalking Sara Undertaker were a few others. One of my favorites was Christian. Edge had won King of the Ring and ended up getting a trophy for it that year. (Why he got that trophy? Your guess on that is as good as mine.) Christian used to carry the trophy around for Edge. As a fit of jealously, Christian finally turned on Edge. Thus was born the greatest entrance in WWE history. “Christian… Christian… At last you’re on your own.”
What are yours? What did I miss? Love to hear your feedback.