A good face turn can help solidify a Superstar as a fan favourite. Sometimes it takes time to build it up, and sometimes the fans choose who they want to cheer. Fans decided they wanted to cheer the irritable Rattlesnake Stone Cold Steve Austin, while a long storied relationship between Macho Man Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth brought about one of the most emotional face turns of all time at WrestleMania VII.
However, more often than not, a face turn can often feel forced, leaving fans confused and uninterested in that superstar. For example, we've seen creative turn the Big Show multiple times for any number of reasons, making any change in personality he goes through feeling underserved. A failed face turn can, often, halt the progress of any performer dead in their tracks, sometimes leading to the end of their tenure in the WWE should they be unable to catch the attention of the WWE Universe.
Today, we'll take a look at some of the worst face turns in WWE history.
#5 Big Show turns face in a feud with the Great Khali
The Giant has turned so many times throughout his career that he's become a meme at this point in his career. Over twenty times, the Big Show has gone attempted to cross the line, and while sometimes it caught the attention of the WWE Universe, often the act has left the crowd and those at home groaning.
The Big Show returned to the WWE in 2008 by attacking Rey Mysterio at No Way Out, solidifying himself as a heel upon arrival. However, after his loss to Floyd Mayweather at WrestleMania XXV, Big Show addressed the Raw crowd the next night. He thanked Ric Flair who, at his Hall of Fame induction speech, said he considered Show to be the greatest big man in professional wrestling.
It was at this moment that The Great Khali interrupted the Big Show, and the two behemoths were put into a program together.
The problem with this specific Show turn was that he hadn't had a chance to earn it. He returned to the company only a month before, beating down Mysterio in a show of dominance. To hammer the point home, he would turn heel again only a few months afterwards, essentially making this whole moment pointless.
#4 Kane turns face in 2004 in his feud with Snitsky
After being unmasked, The Big Red Machine became one of the most sadistic psychopaths the WWE had ever seen, and that's saying something considering he was already a monster anyway.
Kane brutalized his former tag team partner RVD, set Jim Ross on fire, shocked Shane McMahon's testicles with a car battery, and buried his brother The Undertaker all within a year. However, one of his most disgusting acts, some believe, was when he forced WWE Hall of Famer Lita to marry him after crushing her longtime boyfriend Matt Hardy in a match at Summerslam 2004.
Over the next few months, Lita became pregnant, though she was still disgusted with her on-screen husband and often tried to cost him matches on Raw. As disgusting as it may seem that Kane more or less forced Lita into having a child, he ultimately became a face after Snitsky accidentally knocked him into Lita, causing a miscarriage. Lita, Edge, and Snitsky would harras the Big Red Machine for months after the fact, attempting to force the WWE Universe to feel sorry for the monster.
It was definitely one of the strangest face turns in WWE history.
#3 Sheamus turns face in his feud with Mark Henry in 2011
Sheamus is a brute. An unapologetic brawler that loves to do nothing but beat down those weaker than him. But in 2011, the Celtic Warrior could stand no more after Mark Henry was bullying the Smackdown Live roster. At SummerSlam of that year, Henry defeated Sheamus via a count-out after tackling him through a barricade. That's definitely a good way to give your new found face some momentum, WWE.
Sheamus did, however, pick up quite a few wins afterwards, going on a 14 match winning streak. However, later at WrestleMania that year, the WWE Universe would see one of their favourite stars, Daniel Bryan, lose his World Heavyweight Championship to Sheamus in ten seconds.
Moments like that definitely didn't help Sheamus's run as a good guy and after three more years, the newly mohawked brawler finally turned heel again. It took some time for the WWE Universe to get back into Sheamus after four years of bland storytelling from creative, but a tag team with Cesaro allowed Sheamus to prove himself to the fans.
#2 Sgt Slaughter begs the U.S. for forgiveness after his heel run in 1990/1991
Sgt. Slaughter returned to the WWF back in 1990 as a heel, aligning himself with Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait. The company attempt to profit off of the conflict while also pushing the former Marine as an American hating Iraqi sympathizer definitely offended fans throughout the world.
However, after losing the WWF Championship to Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VII and losing a handicap tag match with General Adnan and Colonel Mustafa against Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior, Slaughter immediately turned back to a face, with vignettes of Slaughter asking the fans for forgiveness, saying that he "wanted his country back."
Those two years were considered incredibly controversial for the WWF back in the day, and the fan base had an, understandably, difficult time accepting Sgt. Slaughter again.
#1 The Miz turns face in 2012
The Miz is sitting on Smackdown Live as one of the top heels in the WWE. In the past few years, the Awesome One has really elevated his game and has become one of the best superstars on the microphone. Fans love to boo the former Intercontinental Champion, and with his natural arrogance and smug face, it's crazy to think that someone would ever want to turn the Miz into a good guy.
It's crazy, but it did happen. In, what some consider to be one of the worst face turns of all time, The Miz switched sides on Monday Night Raw, joining Mick Foley's Survivor Series team just in time for the pay per view, a team that included Kofi Kingston, Randy Orton, Kane, and his longtime rival Daniel Bryan. In fact, three out of his four teammates were people that The Miz had screwed over in recent memory.
In fact, The Miz had JUST come off a feud with Kofi Kingston over the Intercontinental Championship two weeks before joining Foley's team!
The turn wasn't received favourably by anyone, and would only get more heat as the WWE forced The Miz to become the next Ric Flair when the Nature Boy "gave" the Figure-Four Leglock to the A-Lister. This came after The Miz confronted United States Champion Cesaro for insulting America, an old classic storyline that has only gotten worse with age.
Sadly, The Miz would stay as a "fan favorite" for the rest of 2013 and deep into 2014 until finally returning to his glory as the villainous and cowardly heel we know and love to hate.