Lex Luger heel turn in 1994?

I’ve been going through the Raw shows of 1994 and my question – did they ever consider having Luger turn heel & join the Million Dollar Man? It was obvious from the beginning he wasn’t, but wouldn’t it have been so much better for Luger, who was stuck in the mud as a face? He was like the #5 face by the end of the year, but could’ve been a main event heel & helped the DiBiase’s corporation feel more like a threat. Heel Tatanka was sad.

Take a drink.

And no, Luger was never planned to be a heel. Probably would have helped immensely, but it just wasn’t where they wanted to go with him.

Yoko’s Face Turn

Was there any way of doing Yokozuna's face turn right?

For a long time he was massively over as a heel until he was put lower and lower down the card. It seems like he could have been turned face and used in a way that wasn't terrible even with his incredibly limited mobility.

I guess they would have ended up releasing him no matter what since he wasn't able (willing?) to lose the weight. Seems like kind of a shame for his WWF career to end like it did considering how good he was as a heel in 1993.
 

​Well, I'd like to once again plug James Dixon's awesome Titan Sinking book, while we're talking about that era:
Tie-in:  I think had Yoko made the commitment to actually lose weight, his new direction as the samoan ass-kicker that was closer to his backstage personality might have worked.  Especially since exactly that sort of character was only a few years away from debuting.  You know, Roman Reigns.  ​

Barber Heel Turn?


Scott, 


Hulk Hogan feuded with Mr. Perfect in late '89-early '90. At the same time, I remember an angle run on TV where Brutus Beefcake had a run in with "The Model" Rick Martel

​​

, cutting up his clothes that he had been modelling, kick off a feud between those two. Then it seemed that it was abruptly changed, when Beefcake had a run in with Mr. Perfect at the Royal Rumble, totally no-selling the run in he had with Martel a couple weeks before. 


It seems to me that Beefcake was being put in a feud with a guy who was a hot heel at the time, with the heat from the Hogan-Perfect feud now being transferred to Beefcake-Perfect. Then Beefcake gets into the career-defining accident, cutting everything off. 

Given that Hogan got his feud with Beefcake at Starrcade '94, do you think that Beefcake was being groomed as yet another "Hogan friend turned enemy" run, if he had not gotten into the accident?

​I doubt it.  Beefcake already had his run with Hulk in 85 and didn't do any business, so I don't see them bothering with another try in 91. Clearly Beefcake was someone who the fans wouldn't buy as a heel anyway, as WCW discovered many times.  Plus you would think Beefcake would have been smart enough to know that his bread was clearly buttered on the Hulk side.  Although try clearly missed an opportunity by not having him ever betray Hulk so that we could someone crying 'ET TU, BRUTI?' in the context of a ​wrestling angle.  

Cena WAS planned to turn heel in 2011

Normally I would post this somewhere in the BoD comments (HUSS!), but I figured it might warrant it's own post. Here's something for everyone who wants Cana to ever turn heel: Chris Hero just dropped on Rosenberg & The Masked Man's 'Cheap Heat' podcast that they actually had a plan to turn him heel after Wrestlemania in 2011, after the 1st Rock match was announced (and probably specifically for that reason). Cena spent $5,000 of his own money on new gear before being told they changed their minds & he said they decided he would "officially never turn heel."

Now whether that still stands after his merch numbers start to fall (if they ever do), who knows. But for all the theorists, there was at least an official plan at some point in the fairly recent past.
​I would be somewhat dubious towards the veracity of that information.  But it's certainly been discussed before, no doubt.  ​


The Foundation Face Turn


Hi Scott,


Was there a direct storyline reason for the Hart Foundation's original face turn?  I remember it essentially happening as Bret sending Jimmy to the back before a singles match on Superstars, and I guess that Bret had been a bit face-y since the battle royal, but I can't recall if there was a specific incident or tease of the split prior to that.

Well the main impetus was the battle royal that opened WM4, where Bad News turned on him, but the main turn came because Jimmy Hart started two-timing them by managing the Rougeau Brothers as well and then turned around and sold the Harts' contracts to the Rougeaus.  The turn was gradual leading up to that, with Bret doing singles matches and wrestling more as a babyface, specifically against Bad News.  

Idea To Turn The WWE Around

Hello Scott, I have been thinking about this, discussing it with people, and I
have a crazy idea how WWE can turn around their declining business. I know it
sounds unusual, and probably not the kind of thing the Creative Team would do,
but just hear me out.

Instead of pushing HHH's and Stephanie's friends, or guys that are related to
The Rock, WWE should watch and see who the WWE Universe(what we old-timers
used to call "the fans") are reacting to. Push the people the WWE Universe
want to see, rather than the guys who HHH is frotting.

Another bizarre idea is this: if some young Action Soap Opera Pure
Entertainment Superstar starts getting a good reaction from the WWE Universe,
DON'T cut the legs out from under him, and have him go on a lengthy losing
streak. No, if the guy is getting a strong reaction, take that as something
positive, and try and build something, and potentially money-making, out of
that genuine reaction.

Do you think this could work?

Only if the writers are allowed to do a wrestling wedding or two in there somewhere to keep them occupied.  

Turn Of The Century Top Star


Your girl Steph said the following about Vince letting her and HHHHHH date initially,


" It was a really big thing in our business for the top star to be dating the boss’ daughter and all of the implications it could have.”"

That's insane right? They started dating in 99' or 00' when Austin and Rock were still around. HHH was not the top star. Is she mental? 
Well he was certainly A top star, probably a solid #3 behind the two real ones, maybe #4 if you count Undertaker.  But he who bangs the boss's daughter gets to create the history books, no?  

Analyzing the upcoming Lesnar/Cena double turn at Night of Champions

Here’s that meltdown that I’ve been promising y’all!

In 2014, WWE has been all about turning conventional wisdom on its ear.  The WWE Network has fundamentally changed the company’s business model.  The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania Streak is over.  John Cena was destroyed in a manner never before seen.  And the WWE World Title is now in the hands of a part-timer, who it seems is destined to defend the title only two or three times in the seven plus months interim until Wrestlemania.

Unless, of course, the WWE turns one more piece of conventional wisdom on its ear.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m calling my shot.  At Night of Champions, John Cena will regain the WWE World Championship by becoming a Paul Heyman Guy.

In other words, John Cena will finally become a heel.  He and Paul Heyman will do whatever is necessary to take Brock Lesnar’s title and destroy him afterwards, keeping Lesnar out of the WWE until his surprise return at the Royal Rumble to finish up his contract strong.

There are so many signs pointing to this that, were it not for the past decade of experience, you would all say that it was inevitable:

  • Brock Lesnar has only three or four more wrestling dates left on his contract.  Night of Champions was obviously not part of the original plan.  With WWE in cost-cutting mode, it is difficult to imagine that Vince is offering him another seven digits to wrestle this one show.
  • John Cena promised “to show a side of himself that he’s not proud of” at Summerslam.  Lesnar’s assault was so merciless that he never got the chance.  It stands to reason that his character would be even more desperate at this juncture.
  • Last Monday night on RAW, Paul Heyman lavished John Cena with praise, and said that he wants to make him a Paul Heyman guy.
  • If Brock Lesnar retains at NoC, there is no compelling use for him to until Wrestlemania, possibly not even then if Daniel Bryan is unable to return.
  • If Brock Lesnar loses the title cleanly to Cena at NoC, there is compelling use for him period.
  • A John Cena heel turn is the last huge trump card available to WWE, and if WWE loses a large clump of original six month subscribers, this may be the only way to get them back. 

On September 20th, there is no way that the IWC’s wet dream does not come true.  Paul Heyman will walk to the ring with Brock Lesnar, and he will walk away from the ring with his newest guy, John Cena.

I guarantee it.

Sheamus Turn

So, when are we getting the Sheamus turn? He certainly lost a fair share of his heat when he beat Bryan two years back and is currently in a kind of bland chunk of the upper-mid card. There is pretty much no chance he's going up with some clear top faces above him now. 

So, again, when are we getting the turn? I actually think there would be some decent heat for a heel Sheamus vs Bryan now, and they will need something other than Orton/Batista for him to fight, especially if the perceived Lesnar feud won't get going until Summerslam. 

Mark me down as someone interested, since their Extreme Rules match was excellent and the heel-side of things right now is pretty shallow. 

I feel like Sheamus coming back as HHHs security force would have been the money move, and now he's just another fella in the midcard.  A heel turn is only gonna be a lateral move at this point.  

Austin Heel turn day

Hi Scott,

I'm sure you're loving these questions today. I actually get Vince's motivation for teaming with his arch-enemy. For someone with as large an ego as Mr McMahon, having your nemesis come to you on his knees and ask you for help must have been extremely rewarding (he probably wishes Turner had come crawling to him to buy him out). Plus, he couldn't beat Austin, so he might as well join him.

What I didn't get about the angle is what was HHH's motivation to team with Austin? After all, he once paid someone off to try and run Austin over and kill him (then Austin returned the favor by dropping HHH from the top of crane). When he came out to confront Austin the night after Wrestlemania, the crowd was ready to embrace him before he attacked the Rock. The end point for the Power Trip seemed to be Austin v. HHH, but why have them team up in the first place?

Because Austin taped the Mr. Olympia finals for him the week before, and earned HHH's lifelong gratitude as a result.

JR heel turn clip

Hello again Scott, I thought I'd share this moment when JR turned heel
back in '96. I actually thought heel Jim Ross was interesting and it's
too bad they ruined it with the fake Razor and Diesel nonsense. For
those that have never seen it:

http://youtu.be/3jLy1NtcCfA

Boy, the interwebs were losing their SHIT on the Monday before this happened, let me tell ya.  Heel JR was interesting, but also way too far before his time to be a proper outlet for the writers bitching about Vince's dumb ideas.  
Also, Fake Diesel?  Whatever happened to THAT guy?  

Austin Heel Turn in Retrospect

Scott,


With over 11 years of perspective on the Austin heel turn at Wrestlemania 17, what is your take today?  Should they have done the heel turn and just conducted it differently?  Should they have just had him win the belt from Rock as a face and do one more run on top against Angle, Benoit, Jericho, and HHH, then return the face vs. face job to a returning Rock at SummerSlam?  Should they have kept him face and had the Invasion start the next night, with DDP, Booker, et al challenging him?

I think a face Austin made the most sense, given the fact that Rock was leaving for a while and Stone Cold was still the fan favorite.  Rock & Austin could do a respect handshake and beer toast on Raw only to have Shane unleash the WCW guys, 'injuring' Rock til summer and beating down Austin.  You could have a precarious Austin/McMahon tandem brought together against a common enemy despite their disdain for each other.  Team WWF vs. Team WCW at Backlash 2001?  Austin could perhaps face DDP and Booker for a couple PPVs.  Then, when Rock returns in summer, you could have Steve go heel and join the WCW guys just to stick it to Vince and reinforce the DTA thing.  Heel-ish Austin vs. babyface Rock could happen somewhere in there, maybe with Rock leading the WWF against Austin and the WCW guys at Survivor Series.  Maybe Austin vs. Rock vs. HHH at Wrestlemania 18?

Hey!  No sneaky "rebooking the Invasion" questions, buddy. 

The problem was not Austin turning heel.  The problem was Austin turning heel on THAT night in THAT stadium.  Clearly the character was staler than John Cena and needed to shook up, I don't think anyone's arguing against that.  However, they rebuilt him by having him win the Rumble and then beating Rock in his hometown to win the World title, which is all kind of a babyface thing to do.  If they did that as a babyface and then had him go mad with power over the next couple of months and shockingly join the Alliance at the Invasion PPV, then you've got something.  Anything further would be rebooking the Invasion, so I shall say no more.

Punk/Ryback – Cena Heel Turn

Hey Scott,


Would a Cena heel turn on Ryback be a good way to spark some interest in Cena, keep Ryback strong and MAKE him in the process? I mean, obviously nothing is ever set in stone in terms of something getting over, but it just seems that if Cena screwed Ryback and shook hands with Punk and Heyman it would instantly make Ryback the number 1 babyface and could lead to Ryback "hunting" Cena down.

Of course, we've all thought about the Cena heel turn over and over and the odds of it happening are slim to none … but it would be different at least.

Plus, what's the best way to get the crowd to HATE Punk? Put him with a heel Cena. Now the kids hate him AND the marks hate him.

Food for thought.

– Randyback

Holy god dude, they are practically running panic drills because Cena can't make it to the PPV and they have no backup #2 babyface ready, and you think they're gonna turn him HEEL?  Now?  No way, man, if anything they're gonna push Cena even HARDER as a squeaky clean babyface because they think the Earth will fall into the sun if he doesn't main event every PPV, preferably while making Punk look like a doofus.  If anything, they'd turn Ryback heel to set him up for Undertaker, but the Cena turn ain't ever happening.  Sorry.

Turn, Turn, Turn

Do you think it's harder to turn from a face to a heel or heel to a face? Or does it just depend on how good you are?

It's INFINITELY easier to turn heel, because there's a million things you can do to make people boo you for no reason.  You can put your feet on the ropes, hit a guy in the junk, punch out the ref, slap some annoying old lady at ringside, spit on the beloved quarterback of the local high school football squad, steal a little kid's t-shirt and use it as a makeshift jockstrap…whatever.  Point being, do any of that and the fans will immediately clue in.  Might not be effective in the long run, but people will take the hint right away.  Babyface turns are trickier, because you generally have to know how to manipulate the crowd into cheering for you, or else have something scripted around you where you save someone from a beatdown, so it's kind of out of your control.  So yeah, I vote turning heel as easier.  

Cena heel turn


Someone in the comments referenced how Cena never changes his matches or the way he performs due to the jeers he often receives.  My response is why would he, or the WWE, ever allow that to happen??
Hundreds of thousands of kids that walk into arenas forces their parents to drop $50 at least on Cena gear.  Not to mention PPV buys, action figures, DVDs, etc. and the fact that he has new gear at least once a year.  WWE knows that the kids are where the marketing is, so Cena is going to play smiling babyface all the time because those kids are always going to be there.  It's kind of redundant and pointless to scream "turn Cena heel" when its stupid to do so and the reason why is pretty obvious.  The only people who would jump for joy at that are people who don't buy WWE stuff and find the PPVs for free on the internet.
My question though, or my question of your opinion, is this: why do we, the smart/internet fans, clamor for Cena to change so much?  Think about it, Hogan did the same schtick for 12 years and made millions and millions of dollars for himself and a lot of other people.  Yet, you didn't have the same reactions back then.  Is it that Cena is on TV every week, sometimes more often than that, whereas Hogan was only on TV once every couple of months?  Or is it the influence that the internet has on the fanbase?  Hogan didn't have to deal with people checking the dirtsheets multiple times a day and once that started, the fans turned on him pretty quickly.  'Net fans are more prevalent in most arenas than net fans want to think.  The IWC isn't as small and niche as it was ten years ago. 


Gah, please don't say "IWC" on this site.  

Anyway, yes, the difference in reaction is definitely that Hogan wasn't on TV every week plus PPV.  Hogan was a special attraction who you generally had to pay money to see, and no more than once a month at that.  
However, Hogan may have done "the same shtick" for 12 years, but by 91 it was sure as hell not getting the same kind of reaction it did in 88.  And Hogan had most of 1990 off, so there was a long period where we had a break from him.  By the end of 95 Hogan was going to destroy his own career if he didn't change somehow.  Cena's been on top, in the same position and doing the same act, for more than 8 years now!  And the kids who were fans of his in 2005 aren't getting older and finding new people to cheer, because in fact the audience is stagnating or shrinking and they're not exactly adding new people to replace those lost fans.  And on the merch front, my only counter to that is "New World Order."  

Austin heel turn

Scott,
Was the Steve Austin heel turn at Wrestlemania 17 the game plan far in advance?  Everything about his return seemed to indicate a recovery from career-threatening injury, gaining revenge against HHH, and regaining the WWF Title.  We got all that to some degree, but the heel turn still seems odd, even 11 years later.  With Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, and HHH as strong heel counterparts (not to mention The Rock leaving to shoot Scorpion King), what was the point of the Austin turn that seemed so out of character?  It seemed that one more run on top as babyface champion could have made guys like Angle, Benoit, and a heel-turned Jericho.  At the very least, you've got the proven top babyface and box office draw to oppose the newly-acquired WCW and work fresh programs with guys like Booker T. and DDP.  The whole Austin turn just seemed so convoluted at the time and has left me wondering: how far back was that The Plan for Wrestlemania?


A long ways back.  There had been rumblings of pulling the trigger on it as early as Royal Rumble, and it was basically the worst-kept secret in wrestling for months beforehand.  I'd estimate that by mid-late 2000, with the HHH feud not exactly setting the box office on fire, they were getting ready to do the deed.  You'd think that the Goldberg turn in 2000 would have taught them a valuable lesson, but apparently not.  

Face/Heel Turn Questions

Heyo Mr. Kieth.  Just some quickfire questions I am curious about for ya, relating to face/heel turns:

KEITH.  But let's move past that…

Off the top of your head, who do you think turned the Most in their career?  (I can't imagine anyone more than Kane)

Big Show.  Someone made a list on CRZ's board and it's by far Big Show.  

Who has the most significant Face turn for the business? (Austin?)

No way, Hogan in 83.  Austin was going to be a star and fans turned him face as a result, but Hogan's face turn off Rocky III propelled him to the top.
Who has the most significant Heel turn for the business? (Hogan am thinking)

That was pretty big indeed.  Biggest one for a specific period of business would be Savage in 89, because it drew huge money for almost an entire year.  
Most significant Face turn for the wrestler? (I would say Austin, but he really didn't change much, just fought bad guys more)

Undertaker in 92.  Turned him from midcard Hogan victim and gimmick wrestler into main event superstar for another twenty years following.  Also John Cena in 2003 would be an obvious choice.  
Most significant heel turn for the wrestler? (The Rock i would think)

Yeah, that's a good one.  Bret in 97 completely changed his life, too.  

Most Ill advised Face turn?

Randy Orton in 2004.  A complete disaster that made him into less of a star and completely undercut everything they were trying to do with him.  
Most ill advised Heel turn? 

I DID IT FOR YOU, ROCK!  

Most significant tag-team turn?  (Doesn't happen much, as it is usually one partner turns on another)

E&C / Hardyz double-turn in 99?  Probably I'd go Road Warriors beating Dusty Rhodes into a bloody pulp in 88, though, because they made themselves main eventers again.  
Biggest Pop you heard from a Heel-Face turn?

Hogan in 2002.  Assuming we're counting the Rock match for that one. 

Biggest Boo from a Face-Heel turn? (Gotta be Hogan, maybe even Andre on Hogan)

Orndorff on Hogan.  That crowd was ENRAGED. 
Thank you, and keep up the good work!

Cena’s Heel Turn

I know we as ‘smart’ fans can’t wait for the moment Cena turns heel –
it will happen within his career but I don’t see it happening this
year or next. The basic argument seems to be ‘everyone boos Cena
anyway why not just have him be heel and re-invent himself’. Whilst I
think Cena will probably do great work as a heel the boos he gets for
everything he does now will almost certainly be replaced with cheers
by those current haters – therefore creating the exact problem they
had in the first place.
Thoughts?

It wouldn’t really be a “problem” in that case, because their end goal is always to get people to cheer him.  It’s the same thing with Rock in the 90s, where they built him up into a super-strong heel and people just loved him so much that they didn’t want to boo him any more.  If their problem is that they’ve made Cena into such a great heel that people cheer him, that’s a good problem to have.  Don’t forget that Cena turned babyface in the first place because the goofy rapper gimmick that everyone remembers turned into a hard-edged heel act where he was doing crazy stuff like giving Rikishi the FU and generally getting mad cred from the fans.  The backlash started once the perception became that he was getting shoved down everyone’s throat.  So yeah, a heel turn could easily lead to him getting legitimately over as a babyface.  Really though, he’s been on top for six straight years now, you’d think it’s time to let him do movies and Make-A-Wish stuff fulltime and just push someone else. 

Cena’s Heel Turn

I know we as ‘smart’ fans can’t wait for the moment Cena turns heel –
it will happen within his career but I don’t see it happening this
year or next. The basic argument seems to be ‘everyone boos Cena
anyway why not just have him be heel and re-invent himself’. Whilst I
think Cena will probably do great work as a heel the boos he gets for
everything he does now will almost certainly be replaced with cheers
by those current haters – therefore creating the exact problem they
had in the first place.
Thoughts?

It wouldn’t really be a “problem” in that case, because their end goal is always to get people to cheer him.  It’s the same thing with Rock in the 90s, where they built him up into a super-strong heel and people just loved him so much that they didn’t want to boo him any more.  If their problem is that they’ve made Cena into such a great heel that people cheer him, that’s a good problem to have.  Don’t forget that Cena turned babyface in the first place because the goofy rapper gimmick that everyone remembers turned into a hard-edged heel act where he was doing crazy stuff like giving Rikishi the FU and generally getting mad cred from the fans.  The backlash started once the perception became that he was getting shoved down everyone’s throat.  So yeah, a heel turn could easily lead to him getting legitimately over as a babyface.  Really though, he’s been on top for six straight years now, you’d think it’s time to let him do movies and Make-A-Wish stuff fulltime and just push someone else.