WWE and AEW Stars Who Need to Turn Babyface in 2020
An efficient roster needs a proper balance of heels and babyfaces to work with so feuds can explore the nature of good vs. evil with fresh matches.
To counterbalance our list of babyfaces who should turn heel in 2020, it's time to talk about the opposite move.
Sometimes, wrestlers can see the light and become a fan favorite; in other cases, they turn face purely out of building up enough respect from the fans.
Here are some of the heels in All Elite Wrestling and WWE who should turn babyface in 2020.
Mojo Rawley has been a heel long enough that the experiment has obviously failed. The broken-mirror gimmick went nowhere and he's spent the last year or so as a jobber on Main Event.
A potential partnership with Sami Zayn won't turn him into a worthwhile villain, either. The two don't have the same chemistry or character alignment to click.
Zayn is an indie darling with hipster vibes while Rawley is an energetic football goof at his heart. That is what WWE should just let him be.
Most of the best Superstars have had their greatest success when they were themselves. One look at Rawley in his blue-and-black singlet trying to be a heel screams it's an act.
Being a heel has gotten him nowhere for long enough. It's time for him to turn babyface and do what he did when he reached the pinnacle of his career, which was winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal as a babyface.
He may never win a championship or main-event WrestleMania, but if he's allowed to be himself, he may make a great babyface midcarder.
Nyla Rose is doing fine as a heel with AEW, having been suspended for powerbombing a referee through a table.
There are a handful of babyfaces who can still be pushed to challenge her in 2020, but by the tail end of next year, the promotion should consider flipping the script.
As time passes, Awesome Kong will be built up more as the most dominant heel in the women's division, which will leave Rose to either usurp her or become a distant No. 2.
Rather than run the risk of her falling short, AEW should turn her face in preparation for a feud against Kong for the AEW Women's World Championship so fans are fully supporting her, rather than picking sides between two heels.
As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, her win would be historic and should be celebrated, not booed because she's a heel.
If Shayna Baszler comes to Raw or SmackDown in 2020, WWE would be doing Sonya Deville a disservice if they don't feud at some point. Deville's MMA background would make her a natural opponent for the former UFC fighter.
In that scenario, Baszler won't turn face. She's just too good at being hated and that villainous edge comes naturally to her.
Deville, on the other hand, has been warming audiences up to her more cheerful personality through Total Divas and her Damandyz Donutz adventures.
After splitting from Mandy Rose—another Superstar who is too good as a heel to turn—WWE should focus on pushing Deville as a tough fighter with the hunger and desire to be the best.
Like Rose, her representation of the LGBTQ+ community has yet to be explored in a babyface context, and if she were to have a storyline that built her up as strong enough to overcome any obstacle, there's no telling how far that could take her.
If remains a heel, she'll likely go through 2020 still as Rose's sidekick and not even get a title opportunity or a chance against someone like Baszler.
If it ain't broken, don't fix it. On the flip side, if nothing has worked for an entire year, it's stupid to keep at it and hope things will magically change.
Such is the case with EC3, who has the potential to be a top Superstar in WWE but you'd never think so if you looked at his track record in 2019.
After being brought up to the main roster, WWE promptly had nothing for him to do, made him look like a fool, turned him heel and stuck him in a perpetual loop of Main Event matches he frequently lost.
This is going nowhere, so it's worth turning him babyface again to see if works on Raw or SmackDown as it did in NXT.
EC3 is very good friends with Drake Maverick. The two have natural comedic charisma and the former's funny bravado works well when paired up with a straight man like Maverick. For more evidence of this, go back to EC3's previous work as Derrick Bateman alongside Daniel Bryan in NXT.
Comedic heels tend to be one-note weasels who everyone expects to lose. Funny babyfaces, though, seemingly have no limit.
The Lucha Brothers
When The Lucha Brothers first came into AEW, they were met with rousing fan support and had a healthy, respectful rivalry with The Young Bucks.
Eventually, they started attacking SoCal Uncensored and acting like heels, but the crowd has yet to fully turn on them. They're in a state of limbo as bigger villains than most teams but without the jeers.
When the crowd just wants to like or hate someone, it's better to let them cheer or boo than to try to force anything. In this case, Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix get the crowd to pop too much to stay heels throughout 2020 and AEW should let them naturally become babyfaces again.
Every time The Librarians appear, Peter Avalon starts speaking and people boo. Then, for some reason, Leva Bates tells him to shut up on behalf of the crowd and the fans have no idea what to do.
Are they supposed to cheer her for getting him to shush? If this is her turning on him, why are they always still together and she helps him during the match? Are they not supposed to cheer?
It's a flawed concept, as it should only happen one time with Bates ditching Avalon and turning babyface—something that has to happen in 2020.
The Librarian shtick has outlived its usefulness and Bates, a natural face even when she was just Blue Pants in NXT, should be allowed to spread her wings.
She's teetering on the edge of likable even as a heel, and the only thing holding her back is this gimmick.
Once she ditches Avalon and can be more than a librarian, she can bring back her babyface traits and be a sympathetic loser hero. That's better than a heel people feel bad to watch getting destroyed.
One of AEW's 3 Dark Stables
For such a small roster, AEW currently has three brooding stables fighting for space: The Dark Order, The Nightmare Collective and the trio of The Butcher, The Blade and The Bunny.
They may have some differences but there are enough similarities to make it hard to justify keeping all three.
Both The Dark Order and The Nightmare Collective are seeking cult members. Brandi Rhodes and Allie are femme fatales in command. Oddly enough, Kong is the one using the blade, not The Blade.
Sooner or later, one of these stables will start looking like a failure, and AEW should consider turning one of the factions babyface before that happens.
For instance, as much as The Dark Order got off to a rough start, their recent recruitment vignettes have been great. With a few tweaks, they could facilitate a more comedic tone for the group.
With the right framing, The Butcher, The Blade and The Bunny could easily become antiheroes. The Undertaker, Kane, Mankind and others have proved even the darkest characters can be babyfaces if the crowd likes them enough.
It's a little harder to think of The Nightmare Collective working as a babyface faction, but stranger things have happened. With the right ideas, anything can work.
In an ideal world, all three stables will find a way to stay relevant. Realistically, though, there isn't enough room for three dark and gloomy factions without one eventually turning good or just breaking up.
Cesaro is too entertaining a performer to stay heel forever.
With Sami Zayn as his mouthpiece and partner, he'll do better as a heel than when he's on his own. However, at any given time, WWE could make him a babyface and it would go over very well.
This is especially true if he were to go somewhere like NXT UK. On that brand, Cesaro could be the one to dethrone WALTER and have a reign with the United Kingdom Championship.
Now that Sheamus is back in the picture, a face turn for Cesaro could open the doors for a feud between The Bar, which hasn't happened since 2016.
Cesaro has also fought most of the babyfaces, so if he were to turn, a whole new set of challengers could work with him. Buddy Murphy, Drew McIntyre, Drew Gulak, Shinsuke Nakamura and many more great matches just waiting to happen.
The Swiss Cyborg should ride out this heel team with Zayn for as long as he can, but once it starts to grow stale, he must turn babyface again.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.