Daniel Bryan and Other WWE Superstars Who Could Be Turned Face or Heel in 2013
A babyface or heel turn can revitalise the career of a pro wrestler, and from Daniel Bryan to Big Show, WWE has taken a much bolder stance in recent times in committing to these decisions.
Reports often surface in regard to wrestler X becoming a fan favourite or wrestler Y developing an antagonistic, arrogant streak, and with two high profile superstars in Alberto Del Rio and The Miz both becoming fully-fledged faces recently, it is not unfeasible to envisage more occurring in the near future.
With several wrestlers lacking direction in the company right now—from Ryback all the way to future WWE Hall of Fame inductee Randy Orton—numerous character changes could and should occur during 2013.
Several WWE stars need their personas refined as of writing, and here I'll examine some of the more likely candidates to do so over the course of the year.
Following Randy Orton's tremendously disappointing 2012, the new year began with reports that a heel turn was imminent for "The Viper."
While clean defeats have continued to thwart Orton's return to main-event stardom, there are virtually no signs on the horizon that the dark side is tempting the former WWE champion.
Orton remains one of the most beloved babyfaces in the company, and virtually no boos greet him from any demographic in the WWE Universe, an achievement quite rare in today's landscape of cheesy, predictable "fan favourites."
In spite of this, a heel turn is essential if Orton is to revisit any success he previously experienced as a villain.
In his glory years, Orton headlined WWE and World title matches at WrestleMania 22, 24 and 25, while 2009 saw him dominate the WWE Championship picture.
Few superstars need a shot to the arm of their characters like Orton, and hopefully rumours and speculation of a much-needed heel turn will come to fruition sooner rather than later.
Few superstars have suffered a worse eight weeks in WWE than Dolph Ziggler.
Consecutive losses in January to John Cena portrayed Ziggler and his entourage of AJ Lee and Big E Langston as being completely inept, posing as much of a threat in the main-event scene as The Great Khali on sleeping pills.
Ziggler recently spoke of his love for playing the bad guy, but as the weeks go on, Ziggler's credibility is rapidly being crushed to the point where any victory for the "Show Off" is now somewhat of a shock.
Langston and AJ have been the catalyst for recent Ziggler defeats at ringside, and WWE's insistence on having the trio fail is turning the Money in the Bank winner into a joke and somebody that can't get the job done, despite having a distinct numbers advantage.
Unless an immediate change in booking occurs, Ziggler will struggle to stamp any authority on his imminent World Heavyweight title reign, but at least in Langston and AJ, an easy face turn is viable should WWE pursue it.
Should Langston and AJ betray the "Show Off," a tale of retribution would be a simple enough catalyst to spark a face turn, and given his size, whining tone and incredible work rate, competing as a fan favourite would seemingly be a natural progression for Ziggler's character.
There are numerous avenues that WWE can take to invent Ziggler as a legitimate draw, but if they are not explored soon, a lifetime hovering on the periphery of the main-event scene could yet be his future.
Daniel Bryan was only a heel for eight months in his WWE career, but during that time he competed in four World Heavyweight title bouts and three WWE title matches in seven successive pay-per-views.
Bryan's arrogance produced a phenomenon in 2012, with the "Yes!" catchphrase adopted by live audiences worldwide.
As a face, Bryan has thrived during his partnership with Kane, but the signs are emerging that out of the duo, it may be the "American Dragon" that instigates the demise of the WWE Tag Team champions.
It is hard to gauge whether success would greet Bryan should he go it alone as a face, with WWE's muscular mastodons John Cena, Sheamus and Ryback hogging the spotlight as the featured fan favourites.
Bryan's track record as a heel speaks for itself though, and should his recent actions result in a character transformation, big things surely lay ahead for the man affectionately known as "Goat Face."
Following reports of an imminent heel turn for Ryback, "Big Hungry" may be in the line for the push of his career if he ends up feuding with John Cena.
Successive defeats to CM Punk and The Shield have seen Ryback's astonishing momentum halted in breathtaking style over the winter months.
With no WrestleMania 29 opponent currently in sight, Ryback continues to ask for further feeding without any real direction right now, and a heel turn could be a colossal move for the company should it occur after the "Showcase of the Immortals."
Aside from Brock Lesnar and Mark Henry, few superstars are capable of manhandling Ryback in the ring, and such physical dominance tends to lend itself to the ghastly actions of a heel.
Chants of "Goldberg" continue to greet "Big Hungry," and should those taunts turn to jeers, a second face turn in the distant future may see his character developed enough to have left the Goldberg comparisons behind in the past.
For now, Ryback is stuck in a rut, but should a heel turn occur this year, it stands to make as much of an impact as any other moment in 2013.
Few would dispute that CM Punk is at his best as a self-righteous, delusional jerk, but he is also one of the biggest babyfaces to emerge from WWE in the last few years.
Following "that" promo in June 2011, Punk enjoyed 12 months as the company's No. 2 face behind John Cena and arguably, he is still is now, with the former WWE champion still cheered for just as vociferously as Sheamus, Ryback or Randy Orton.
With his pursuit of the WWE title now over, the future appears fairly bleak after WrestleMania for Punk, and a key variable in shaping his year could be his long-time advocate Paul Heyman.
Should Heyman betray Punk, fans will not need too much persuasion to back the "Best in the World" once more; such is his remarkably confident, charming and compelling demeanour on the microphone.
Punk could easily become a phenomenal face once again, and should he run out of opponents to feud with as a main-event heel, his stint on the dark side may see him return to honourable ways once more.
Alongside Damien Sandow as Team Rhodes Scholars, the former Intercontinental champion appeared to have a partner capable of mutually elevating the duo as major WWE players.
Failure to procure the WWE Tag Team titles followed, and since then both have been stumbling around clawing for any sort of relevance once again.
Rhodes is approaching the sixth year of his tenure on WWE's main roster, and not once has the moustached maestro enjoyed a prolonged mid-card run as a babyface.
As with The Miz and Alberto Del Rio, a stagnant period in their careers was soon ended by becoming fan favourites, and with audible chants of "Cody's moustache" often heard across arenas, fans are clearly inclined to cheer for Rhodes.
A betrayal by Sandow would set the wheels in motion for a feud between the partners, which could revitalise the career of man who seems to sadly be going backwards rather than forwards.
Which superstars do you feel could be due for dramatic character changes in the near future?
Agree or disagree with the selections made?
Feel free to sound off in the comments section below, and as ever, thanks for reading.
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