WWE: Rating the Top 10 Turns of 2011

Justin TensityContributor IIIJune 22, 2011

WWE: Rating the Top 10 Turns of 2011

0 of 10

    One of the great storytelling devices wrestling bookers have at their disposal is the turn—the changing of a character from villain to hero or vice versa.

    These turns often intensify rivalries, making old friends enemies or adding an unexpected obstacle to a champion's reign.

    Some of the most famous turns in wrestling history have brought us matches like Hogan vs.Andre, Hogan vs. Savage, and Jericho vs. Michaels and have shown us CM Punk as the Straight-Edge Savior,  Hogan as the leader of the NWO, and even Stone Cold as Mr. McMahon's little buddy in the Two-Man Power Trip.

    Here are my ratings of turns that have occurred so far in 2011, from least to most impactful. Forgive me if I forget some, as it is possible some of them are so unimportant they escaped my radar.

10. JTG

1 of 10

    The Turn

    JTG turned heel on NXT by engaging in a feud with Vladimir Kozlov;kept consistent by managing Tyson Kidd on Superstars


    What They Did Right:



    What They Did Wrong

    Where to start, where to start. I'm not even sure this turn counts because it hasn't been shown on WWE TV. In addition, as a heel JTG's character seems kind of racist.


    Impact: 1/10

    Expect Mr. Just That Gangsta to remain an internet-exclusive superstar. He didn't get a push as a face in singles competition, so there's no reason to believe that the "haters" will respond to this character.

9. Brie Bella—and Her Sister Too

2 of 10

    The Turn

     After the twins made a bet to try and sleep with Daniel Bryan Danielson, he reveals that he has been dating Gail Kim, leading them to turn by attacking her. I couldn't turn down Latina twins with smokin' bodies, but hey they're all beautiful women.


    What They Did Right

    They got Bryanson involved in a storyline, albeit a lame one.


    What They Did Wrong

    The Bellas can't wrestle and they aren't spectacular on the mic—they are just hot. The matches between Brie and Kelly are so lame that I DVR right through them.

    By putting the Divas title on them, the belt became even more worthless. At this point it's barely worth the silver it's made of.


    Impact: 2/10

    These two will continue to be exposed on television—and not in the way I'd prefer. They'll still be lame though. Enjoy the picture.

8. The Uso Brothers

3 of 10

    The Turn

    If you blinked, you missed the Usos turning face. They appeared on Superstars in matches against the Nexus and the Corre and on Smackdown in a six-man against the Corre. I guess that's all it takes these days.


    What They Did Right

    Turning the Usos wasn't necessarily a good decision, but they've been getting air time recently, which is a good thing.

    These two are the only pure tag team in the WWE—the Nexus and erstwhile Corre members are randomly paired-up faction members who have no ring chemistry. Putting the Usos in the hunt for tag gold is the first step to rebuilding the sad tag team division.


    What They Did Wrong

    Ummm...they never really turned. No rescuing a face, no calling out a heel. Just show up, wrestle Slater and Gabriel, and get cheered.


    Impact: 3.5/10

    It has potential. If they get a big enough push and work on their mic skills, they could be the biggest tag team of their generation—assuming they don't get broken up or one of them gets released.

7. Mark Henry

4 of 10

    The Turn

    On the final episode of Raw before getting moved to Smackdown, Henry turned on his tag-team partners, perennial fan favorites John Cena and Christian.

    Ever since, he has been on the cusp of the main event on Smackdown, getting back to the vicious heel character he played for ECW in 2008.


    What They Did Right

    The turn as a whole.

    As a face character, all Henry could do was put over smaller heels or squash the ones who got on the audiences nerves. (For example, he did both in matches against the Miz in 2010.)

    As a heel, he is destructive and mean and having a gigantic, thick heel makes putting over face characters easier.


    What They Did Wrong

    Pushing Henry is a mistake. He is clumsy in the ring and has a limited move set. In addition, his weight makes it difficult to perform certain moves on him. (For example, the Killswitch he took from Christian looked clumsy and ineffective.)


    Impact: 5/10

    This certainly has shaken up the main event scene on Smackdown.

    Henry will probably continue to get pushed because he has good enough mic skills and is probably the fourth best heel in the brand right now, after Rhodes, Sheamus, and the No. 1 on this list.

6. Ezekiel Jackson

5 of 10

    Sorry guys, I'm not sure which of those pictures is Ezekiel Jackson


    The Turn

    After being kicked out of the Corre—that is, after being jumped by Gabriel, Slater, and Barrett—Jackson started fighting them off, garnering cheers from the live audiences.


    What They Did Right

    Calling the Corre interesting runs between an exaggeration and a lie, but the most interesting thing they did was feud with Jackson


    What They Did Wrong

    Push Jackson, especially without a manager.

    His move set is extremely limited—mostly to clotheslines and body —and his accent makes cutting promos painful.

    I have literally cringed during his mic time.

    Remember The Brian Kendrick's sidekick? That was the right role for him. Not the "Personification of Botchification"


    Impact: 6/10

    Jackson is exactly what Vince looks for in a champion—he looks like a steroid junkie. As bad as his ring and mic skills are, Jackson is the IC champion and will continue to get maximum screen time.

5. Zach Ryder

6 of 10

    The Turn

    When Ryder showed up in the ring for Superstars in Long Island—his home, in case you don't know who Zack Ryder is—he delivered a heartfelt speech and gained cheers from the crowd before beating his erstwhile heel tag partner Primo Colada.


    What They Did Right

    It was only a matter of time. The Internet Champion got himself over using his YouTube show. He became too likeable to boo, and you can expect all of his promos from now on to gain massive cheers.


    What They Did Wrong

     Simply put, the show—the match, the segment, the turn—should have happened on Monday Night Raw on live TV. Ryder has put in the time and the work to be a legitimate mid-card contender, and he deserves his shot.


    Impact: 5.5/10

    Could be everything, could be nothing. Depends on what happens from here on out.

4. The Great Khali

7 of 10

    The Turn

    Jinder Mahal abused Khali for "going soft," so Khali reacted by attacking his translator, Ranjin Singh, and assisting Mahal in his matches.


    What They Did Right

    Turning Khali heel and putting him in a team.

    He's not good enough to be entertaining on his own and needs Mahal to make his character interesting. He was also a lame face character, seemingly just a kiss-crazed Frankenstein monster.


    What They Did Wrong

    Pushing Khali.

    Although Mahal as so far proven he is the real deal in the ring and on the mic, this means more exposure to the Punjabi Nightmare—a nickname I'm sure he earned backstage from the people that have had to work with him and put him over.


    Impact: 7/10

    I would be surprised if these two split before they win tag-team gold and are elevated to the main event.

3. Alex Riley

8 of 10

    The Turn

    After Over the Limit, the Miz blamed his apprentice, Alex Riley, for losing the WWE title.

    Riley did not take kindly to this, and the argument turned physical, with him beating up his former mentor and the fans roaring his name.


    What They Did Right

    Pushing Riley.

    He has the look, the talk, and the in-ring acumen to be the next major star in the company. Putting him over on the Miz made Riley a hero and shut up that annoying d-bag heel.

    Miz putting him over on a pay-per-view made him an overnight title contender


    What They Did Wrong

    I felt the story was rushed. I expected Riley to break free after months of being tortured by the Miz—it only took a few weeks.

    Other than that, this is the most compelling story the WWE has going today—even though the next two characters on the list come close.


    Impact: 8/10

    By all accounts, A-Ry is the future face of the company. If he can avoid blowing his big opportunity, his servitude to the Miz will be akin to Orton in Evolution.

2. R-Truth

9 of 10

    The Turn

    After his tag-team partner John Morrison called him out over his number-one contender status, Truth put it up on the line in a match.

    He lost and subsequently ambushed Morrison, beating the high holy hell out of him.

    Truth announced that there was a conspiracy against him perpetrated by the WWE, John Cena, and the "Little Jimmys" that wanted him to be "a good R-Truth."


    What They Did Right

    Give his character a 180.

    The rapper character was fun, but it wasn't a main-eventer. As a heel, Truth is extremely entertaining to listen to, and he has something new to say every week.

    He is great in the ring, and as a man in his 40s, Truth is finally being given his shot to be a headliner.


    What They Did Wrong

    Dressed up a black man as a Confederate soldier. That's it.


    Impact: 10/10

    Bad news for the Zigglers, Swaggers, and McIntyres of Monday Night Raw—Heel R-Truth is here to stay, and he is damn good.

1. Christian

10 of 10

    The Turn

    Frustrated after losing the World Title after five days, Christian tried to win the title back from Orton only to get caught in the RKO again and again.

    Christian turned after striking the face of the brand with the title belt, possibly concussing him before their title match at Capitol Punishment.


    What They Did Right

    Setting up the feud of the year.

    Christian vs Orton is creating the best PPV matches we have seen so far because both men are excellent workers who know how to work the crowd.


    What They Did Wrong

    His post-turn attitude is so generic. The only difference between face Christian and heel Christian is that now he doesn't want his "peeps"—a term he started using in 2004 as a heel character.

    I would love to see Christian join R-Truth in finding something original to say about being a nefarious main-event heel.


    Impact: 10/10

    Although his long-term future is unsure, Christian is now the top heel on Smackdown and will remain in the main event.


    Fun Fact

    Christian vs Orton is a rivalry between two men who both successfully teamed with Edge over his long, illustrious career