In life, things may be a little more than "Black or White" sometimes, shades of gray are easier to explain, but in the WWE, there is a clear distinction of good vs. evil. Call it a little out of the ordinary, but I've always cheered for the bad guys, don’t get me wrong, some of my favorite stars have been baby-faces, but you cannot deny the appeal of heels, I think it's because they themselves are only mirror images of what we hate in ourselves.....
So what makes a good heel? A good heel has to appeal to what we hate about ourselves or own lives. A good heel who is cocky and rude will appeal to you if you happen to be a little modest, or mild mannered. You may be wondering why, but its very simple, you hate him/ her because you know that you cannot do what they do, you hate the fact that they can and do "...go there...".
Whatever the reason, heels are necessary and just as beloved and cherished as baby-face, but who are the top ten heels of all time?
10. “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase: No one could incite the crowds quite as much as DiBiase. He was a perfect heel for his time, when the world around him was entering the global economy, and a scare of the 2nd Great Depression of the 80’s made many Americans fear the power of wealthy Tycoons who could “buy and sell” anybody. By trying to buy his way to the WWE title in the late 80’s, and even hiring Andre the Giant a once beloved fan favorite to win or steal the title away from Hulk Hogan. Ted DiBiase made it clear “Everyone has a Price”. That event stemmed into the WWE Championship Tournament at Wrestlemania IV which he lost in the Finals to Macho Man Randy Savage. Alongside Andre the Giant he formed the “Mega Bucks” a formidable tag team to rival Hogan and Savage’s “Mega Powers”. Later on in his WWE career he teamed with I.R.S. to form the tag- team of “Money Inc.” which saw him and I.R.S. take home the WWE Tag Team titles. Later on in his career he would also pave the way for Steve Austin by managing his protégé under the name of “The Ringmaster”. During his tenure in the WWE, his wealth, his cockiness, and his underhandedness made fans grind their teeth and hope that “The Million Dollar Man” couldn’t buy his way out of defeat.
9. Yokozuna: There have been many heels in WWE’s legacy, but none of them was as an imposing figure as the “Sumo Monster”. The Man from the east gained a reputation for himself by rolling over, and running threw many opponents. The man from Japan made a lasting mark as a heel alongside his manager Mr. Fuji who would assist Yokuzuna with his patented salt in the eye tactics. In one of my early childhood memories, I remember a match which saw “The Man from the Far East” battle a patriotic flag waving Jim “Hacksaw” Duggan in match which saw both men bring their respective flags to the ring, this match quickly turned into a sumo match, prompting the crowd to favor Hacksaw, but Yokozuna convincingly put away the veteran after three straightforward charges, seemingly ending the career of the veteran. Plain and simple, Yokozuna was the immovable object. This was proven with an incredible performance at the 1993 Royal Rumble, winning the title from Bret Hart and later from Hulk Hogan, and not to mention the Slam Competition on a U.S. Aircraft Carrier which saw Lex Luger pick up and slam the 400 pound behemoth. Fact of the matter Yokozuna held the title for almost a year; he was dominant, a bully, and just an impressive mass of a man.
8. “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair: Ric Flair made a living of “Styling and Profiling”, he was and probably still is the pinnacle of champions. He is beloved by his fans, and easily one of the most recognizable names in the business. But he didn’t get that reputation from being a face, Ric Flair is known as “The Dirtiest Player in the Game” for a reason. Flair is the epitome of what every good heel should be, cocky, arrogant, flamboyant, self serving, but above all, he can back it up on the mic and especially in the ring. The once leader of the original Faction of Wrestling, “The Four Horsemen”, he took heel status to new heights, besides why should Flair get his hands dirty when he has guys like Arn Anderson watching his back for him. When he wasn’t part of factions like the Horsemen, or Evolution, he was usually slapping his signature Figure Four Leglock in legendary bouts with Sting, Dusty Rhodes, Harley Race, Ricky Steamboat, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Curt Hennig, Bret Hart, Triple H, Shawn Michaels just to name a few. His awesome track record, and his underhanded tactics easily make him stand out as “The Man”, and in Ric Flair’s world, “You have to beat the Man to be the Man”.
7. Kane: How many tortured souls in the WWE have left such a path of destruction in their wake? Well ok, there might be a few, but how many are as deranged and as dangerous as number seven on our countdown? When you grow up being the younger brother of the Undertaker, and your parents die in a fiery inferno, that you yourself should have died in, trust me that’s a recipe for evil and annihilation that cannot be matched. Kane usually taking all his excess baggage to the ring, and unleashing it on his opponents with such brutality that has not been known since the Undertaker himself. Kane’s love and admiration of the thing that caused his mental state, fire, is one of the reasons he is so unpredictable. Although there has only been a handful of Inferno Matches in WWE’s history, they are most certainly sadistic, and a punishment to anyone in them, just ask MVP. Kane is a monster, and unpredictable, but no one could predict that when he was unmasked that his reign of terror would increase tenfold, and would be almost unstoppable, grounding the likes of R.V.D., Shane McMahon, Goldberg, Undertaker, Randy Orton, Chris Benoit and anyone else who chose to get in his way. For his unstoppable terror, his immense stature and strength, and for the plain fact that the guy just plain scares the hell out of me, “The Big Red Monster” earns his spot on this list.
6. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin: No one in the history of all Heels, has ever made it cool to root for the bad guy, well that was until Steve Austin dropped his Ringmaster persona, and simply became, Stone Cold. Austin made it cool to not give a damn, to stick it to the man, the boss, and anyone else who tried stopping Stone Cold from being Stone Cold. He raised hell, kicked ass and wore gold constantly, his heel persona was so good, that fans actually cheered him over his more wholesome adversaries like Bret Hart who was one of the most beloved faces in the company’s history. He would eventually become a face against Vince McMahon’s tyrannical oppression, constantly, and sometimes comically getting the better of the boss. But old habits die hard and in 2001 he made a comeback as a heel by teaming up with his arch nemesis Mr. McMahon so he could defeat The Rock in an Iron-Man match at Wrestlemania XVII, and then teaming up with Triple H on the following episode of Raw to pulverize The Rock in rematch from the previous night’s match. Stone Cold and Triple H or “The Power Trip” as Good Ole JR referred to them, even won the Tag Team titles further cementing what many called their “unholy alliance”. They defended their titles against The Hardy Boyz, and The Brothers of Destruction in some heated matches. After an injured Triple H caused the group to loose their titles to the team of Jericho and Benoit, he continued to dominate solo against his two adversaries well into the summer until the Invasion Storyline began. Stone Cold even went on to lead the WCW and ECW Alliance, after defecting from WWE in hopes of putting the company out of business, and after memorable bouts with Kurt Angle, many thought it possible. His efforts came to a stop in a 10 man elimination match at Survivor Series, when he came close too it, thats is if it weren’t for a scheming Mr. McMahon and Kurt Angle’s actions. Stone Cold is loud, intimidating, ruthless, punishing yet charismatic, and for that he makes his stand on this list as one of “the Toughest SOB on this planet”, and one of the best heels too.
5. The Undertaker: The Deadman, Big Evil, The Phenom, or whatever else you might call The Undertaker, he is one of the most influential heels of the past decade. What is his staying power? It might be that he always seems to rise from the dead, and how exactly do you fight someone who won’t stop coming at you, that’s the real question. He was the imposing threat that exploded onto the scene in the early 90’s, overpowering, and baffling opponents with his signature “sit up” proving he can handle anything. With his signature Tombstone Piledriver, he moved up to the top of the company and the industry, almost as if he were possessed by a higher power. He was also the leader of a notorious faction known as the Ministry of Darkness, and later the Corporate Ministry after aligning himself with Vince McMahon against Stone Cold. With so many feuds, including his younger brother Kane, Stone Cold, The Rock, Hogan, Yokozuna, Mankind, Shawn Michaels, and even Vince himself , Undertaker has seen sweet victory and has also tasted defeat. Undertaker may be beaten, but he can never be buried, and he has been resurrected so many times its hard to keep track, sometimes donning new persona’s like his American Badass days where he ruled “his yard” with an iron fist. Some things never change though, he always comes back with the same intimidating look, the dead eyes, and mannerisms that captivate the crowds and make his opponents hearts sink. But in the end he always comes back to what made him what he is today, the supernatural wonder, The Phenom, and when you hear those bells toll, and those lights go out, you know someone is going to get more then they bargained for.
4. Brock Lesnar: Touted “The Next Big Thing” by Paul Heyman, Brock Lesnar not only broke into the wrestling business, he intimidated it. Brock Lesnar is easily the deadliest man on this list, his amateur wrestling background, and his lethal combination of mixed martial arts easily conquered all of his opponents. What made him a great heel though was his brute force, if he didn’t get his way, someone was gonna pay…. He was ruthless, vile, sadistic, and seemed unstoppable, if there was any man on this list I wouldn’t want to cross, it would most certainly be Lesnar. He took bullying to a whole other level, tossing around guys like Rey Mysterio, the Hardyz, Spike Dudley and RVD like rag dolls. Lets not forget the beatdowns he inflicted on guys like The Big Show, The Rock, The Undertaker and Kurt Angle, in fact he almost permanently maimed Kurt Angle when he viciously F-5’d his legs into a ringpost almost breaking his knees. How many guys can dominate like that? He was simply feared, and as a fan I saw any challenger going up against him as an underdog, and that’s exactly what a good heal should do, make you think he is unbeatable, and pray for the next great face to come along and maybe take him down a notch. Lesnar definetly deserves recognition for his ruthless aggression which made him a heel in his own right.
3. Triple H: The Game is quite notably my favorite heel. Why? Because he is just so damn good at it. Don’t get me wrong Hunter has shared the limelight as a face, especially as of recently, but no one plays the part of heel better than Triple H. Just ask The Rock, Stone cold, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, Ric Flair, Randy Orton, Batista and anyone else who has tangled with the best and they’ll tell you Triple H is simply the best heel, and someone they want to make a career fighting with. The Game is called the Cerebral Assassin for a reason, he takes his opponents, and wears them down mentally, and so by the time they ever step into the ring with him, he’s already beaten them. If that didn’t work, well Triple H has never been against using numbers to gain an advantage, just ask his former D-Generation X partners and his former Evolution teammates. The true beauty of The King of Kings is the fact he will stop at nothing to get what he wants, and being a 12 time World Champion obviously proves he must doing something right. He is cocky, arrogant, vindictive, domineering, and extremely intelligent, match that with an excellent physique, and a combination of experience and a wide arsenal of moves like “The Pedigree” at his disposal, and you have yourself a grade A heel who not only claims to be “Just That Damn Good” but deep down you know its true.
2. Hollywood Hulk Hogan: Hogan will always be remembered as the man in yellow and red who tore his shirts off and slammed Andre the Giant At Wrestlemania III, but his alter ego, Hollywood Hulk Hogan, the leader of the original "nWo" makes this list at number 2. You may ask why Hogan made it so far up this list, and it’s easy to see why, from my point at least. Here you have a guy who spent the last decade making Hulkamania run wild, flexing his 24-inch pythons in the ring, prompting the children at home to take their vitamins and say their prayers, and taking on the baddest heels and being the purest of champions. All of a sudden Eric Bischoff decides to use him in a different way, and in turn he turns his back on everything that made him a star and became the leader of the gang like group the "New World Order", basically telling all the fans at home, the fans that used to love and respect him, to go screw themselves because “whether you love it or you hate it, it’s the best thing going today”. After donning the black and white tights, and ganging up on his foes with the ever increasing numbers of the "nWo", he made a name for himself as probably one of the most hated persona’s in wrestling. When baby-faces like Sting, Goldberg, Flair, The Rock and anyone else challenged him he was sure to make an example out of them, like when he drove an 18-wheeler semi straight into an ambulance carrying The Rock prior to their Wrestlemania XVIII bout. He stands this high on the list not for being the best, but for outraging millions for his betrayal of all things Hulkamania.
1. Vincent Kennedy McMahon Jr.: It might be no surprise to everyone that the biggest heel, is the one who has all the power, and who has more power than the boss? No one that’s who. Vince made his heel turn after his public betrayal of Bret Hart in the Montreal Screwjob, claiming “I didn’t screw Bret, Bret screwed Bret”. This incited many fans to look at the chairman as an ogre, a soulless tycoon, someone without any moral fiber or a shred of human emotion. This was only continued by his dealings with Stone Cold, he made a personal vendetta against the foul-mouthed, beer drinking, redneck, something which fans reacted to. Quite simply Vince made hell for anyone who stood in his way, not even his own family would be able to escape his wrath and cunning at times. Vince while not an active wrestler, has stepped in the ring to prove his mantle as a top heel, mainly getting pummeled by the like of Stone Cold, Undertaker, Bobby Lashley, and DX, but being top heel isn’t about getting pinfall victory’s for Vince, its about screwing the little guy, and getting yours or getting even. Truth be told, if you’re a face, you can beat all the other heels, but even if you pin the boss, you probably wont beat him, cause at the end of the day he signs your paycheck, and there’s “No Chance in Hell” Vince isn’t going to come out on top.
Here are a few that didn’t quite make the top ten:
Here are a few I would keep an eye out for in the future:
The Brian Kendrick