Who Did It Best? Analyzing Daniel Bryan, Becky Lynch, Charlotte's WWE Heel Turns

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 2018

Daniel Bryan posing with the WWE title on SmackDown
Daniel Bryan posing with the WWE title on SmackDownCredit: WWE.com

Pro wrestling is built around telling stories between rivals, but since we see the same characters for years on end, transitioning between being a heel and a babyface is necessary for the longevity of most careers.

Three major heel turns have occurred in the past few months, with two of them happening within days of each other.

Becky Lynch turned on Charlotte Flair following their Triple Threat match with Carmella at SummerSlam in August. Daniel Bryan attacked AJ Styles just days before Survivor Series to solidify his turn, and Charlotte brutally assaulted Ronda Rousey at the pay-per-view during their match.

These were three of the biggest babyfaces on SmackDown in 2018, so seeing all of them turn in such a short time was surprising.

But who had the best heel turn? Let's go through each incident and examine whose was most effective.


Becky Lynch

The Irish Lass Kicker has been one of the best wrestlers on SmackDown for quite some time, but her character was not going anywhere being the happy-go-lucky babyface she had been since debuting on the main roster.

Her struggle to earn a title shot against Carmella was well-documented leading up to their SummerSlam bout, and then Charlotte returned from injury and won the right to be in the match in one night.

Lynch's struggle felt real to the crowd since it actually looked like WWE was doing all of this because it preferred to have a Flair at the top instead of the woman with orange hair.

When they hugged following Charlotte winning the title, many were upset to see her long journey back to the top seemingly coming to an end just because someone with more name recognition re-entered the picture.

Then Lynch decked her right in the face. It might not have been the most shocking heel turn of the last decade, but it may have been the most satisfying to watch.

All of her pent-up rage and frustration was released in that one moment. Her promo two days later mentioned how she felt the crowd had stopped supporting her, but she didn't dig into the WWE Universe the same way most villains are known to do.

From that night on, The Lass Kicker has been getting the biggest pop at every show. While her actions continued to be those of a heel, she never tried to turn the crowd against her by hurling insults.

Her popularity practically forced WWE to have her win the Women's Championship at Hell in a Cell, giving her the prime Survivor Series spot against Raw's champion, Rousey.


Daniel Bryan

Bryan and AJ Styles have always maintained a respectful working relationship, but a few misunderstandings led to The "Yes!" Man wanting to punch the WWE champion in the face.

An argument orchestrated by Paul Heyman led to Shane McMahon granting Bryan a title shot against Styles on the SmackDown before Survivor Series.

Not only did Bryan win the bout and the belt, but he also proceeded to attack The Prince of Phenomenal after the match to drive home his point.

This wasn't the same Bryan we all remember from WrestleMania 30 who led The "Yes!" Movement as the most popular Superstar on the roster.

His explanation following the pay-per-view was designed to turn the crowd against him, and even though there are some fans who will always cheer for him, Bryan was starting to get booed for the first time in years.

He hit many of the same points as Lynch during her post-turn promo. He talked about how the crowd might cheer for him, but it never really cared about him when he was at his lowest point.

It was great to see him take his character in a new direction, and it will be interesting to see where it goes from here.


Charlotte Flair

Turning The Queen heel may have always been something WWE had planned, but Lynch's concussion and eye injury prior to Survivor Series led to a few plans being changed.

Charlotte was selected to replace The Lass Kicker in her match against Rousey at Survivor Series. This was something we all knew we would get at some point, but not this soon.

She was being booed during her feud with Lynch, so WWE decided to turn her at the PPV by having her intentionally get disqualified for using a kendo stick.

Her brutal attack on The Baddest Woman on the Planet seemingly came out of nowhere, but her promo two days later on SmackDown helped her sell the heel turn.

It seems as if her deeply personal feud with Lynch is over, at least for the time being.


How Each Turn Was Similar and How They Differ

All three Superstars turned heel by attacking a babyface during or after a match. The only difference is Lynch was cheered when she punched The Queen in the face, while Charlotte and Bryan received some heat for their actions.

While Lynch and Charlotte's attacks may have been surprising to some, Bryan was honest about his desire to punch Styles in the face, and he actually made good on his threat moments before he was granted a title shot the same night.

It felt like WWE was building to Bryan's turn all night, whereas the other two were meant to be shocking to the WWE Universe.

Each person solidified their heel turn by giving a promo on the next show explaining their actions. Bryan chose to focus on berating the crowd, so he ended up with the most heat during his speech.

Charlotte was actually cheered more after her turn than she was heading into Survivor Series, but that may have been WWE's plan, considering general manager Paige complimented her and she ended up facing both members of The IIconics on SmackDown.


Who Did It Best?

It's tempting to just say Lynch had the best turn because she is the hottest commodity in pro wrestling right now, but we have to look at what actually makes a good heel turn.

First of all, the goal any time WWE turns someone from a hero into a villain is to generate a negative reaction from the crowd.

If you look at each of the three incidents, the only person who actually turned the fans against them with their actions was Bryan, making his turn the most effective.

Charlotte and Lynch are more popular than ever thanks to their change in attitude, so WWE will likely choose to portray them as tweeners instead of full-fledged heels.

In fact, some could argue The Queen never turned heel at all. She may have done something evil by attacking Rousey with a kendo stick, but it's not like she came out the next night and ripped the WWE Universe for not supporting her during her feud with The Lass Kicker.

Lynch may have gained the most from her turn, but Bryan succeeded in getting the crowd to boo him, and that is what makes his the best heel turn of the three.