Ranking the Most Likely Heel and Face Turns at WWE WrestleMania Backlash 2021
With WrestleMania 37 completed, WWE turns to the future, starting with Sunday's WrestleMania Backlash. The pay-per-view has been built on the promise of Raw and SmackDown having to defend their gold.
This show has the opportunity to reinforce stories already in place or sharply change direction thanks to some shocking moments along the way: A friendly face could lose the audience with a dramatic heel turn, or a villain may turn over a new leaf in order to endear themselves to the fans.
With so many big matches on the card already, including Roman Reigns vs. Cesaro, and Rhea Ripley vs. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair, anything is possible.
The following are the most likely moves that could change WWE's direction going forward.
Face: Sami Zayn
Since his current feud with Kevin Owens first started, Sami Zayn has seemed to be on the verge of a dramatic change. Given the history between the two, one of them is likely to turn to work with the other before this story ends.
KO has done well as a face, and The Great Liberator is too likable at this point to remain a heel. If Owens can help him see the light, it could set up a great tag team to finally get their due on SmackDown.
They don't have a spot on Sunday's card at the moment, but they do have set their sights on the Intercontinental Championship. Apollo Crews is the heel titleholder and will use every way to keep the gold.
If Owens and Zayn could continue their rivalry into a Fatal 4-Way at Backlash, including Crews and Big E, it would be a perfect moment for them to work together to achieve something greater.
This story is slowly building. There was a possibility Zayn's turn could have happened at The Show of Shows, but Backlash could be the next stage for his personal growth to shine through.
Heels: Lana and Naomi
Lana and Naomi have grown frustrated as WWE women's tag team champions Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler continue to outmaneuver them with the support of Reginald.
In a recent backstage promo after losing their latest shot at the titles, the two agreed something needed to change.
This team has not worked in its current role. Lana and Naomi do not mesh well as faces, especially as The Ravishing Russian has a limited move set. Instead of forcing the issue, WWE can help move her switch to a heel role she has always been better at selling.
Naomi has been a babyface without direction for years. She would be much better suited pairing with the confident heel Lana, lying, cheating and stealing their way to gold.
Of course, the main issue holding this story back from Backlash is whether the women's tag team division even gets a spot on the PPV card.
Baszler and Jax are set to defend on Friday's SmackDown against Natalya and Tamina, and it's possible that match breaks down thanks to Naomi and Lana. The two have dreams of doing something special in the coming months. In order to pull that off, a change is needed.
Face: Randy Orton
Randy Orton is in an awkward limbo state between heel and face since his rivalry with The Fiend ended. It was clear The Viper was meant to be villain in that story, but his recent work with Riddle indicates he may become a hero again.
It is unlikely their odd alliance will lead to Riddle turning face, and Orton can remain in this 'tweener state for a while. However, in order for this story to last, he would need to fully turn face.
Based on what plans WWE has for R-K-Bro, WrestleMania Backlash could be the opportunity for The Viper to commit to his new gruff face role. He and Riddle could even go as far as to be the ones to topple AJ Styles and Omos.
It is all a matter of what WWE wants to do with this team. If it is all a feint, The Viper could quickly turn on The Original Bro and start their feud in force. However, there is clear support from fans for this odd-couple pairing.
It would be in WWE's best interest to see how far the fan support goes. Much like the strange but successful alliance of Pete Dunne and Riddle in NXT, these two men can turn a lot of heads with great performances.
Face or Heel: Jimmy Uso
Jimmy Uso had been out of action for over a year due to a knee injury before his return on the May 7 edition of SmackDown. It was a big moment that shaped that entire episode. Would he fall in line or try to save his brother?
It could go either way, and it is clear that Jimmy is conflicted. He loves his brother, Jey, too much to see anyone hurt him and that includes Roman Reigns. However, he also knows Jey has completely bought into The Head of the Table.
There are two options here: Jimmy can turn his back on the family and we can get Uso vs. Uso at a future PPV, or he could also choose to side with his family to form a stable that will be tough to fight.
We have no idea at this point who Jimmy is. He was last seen as a face on TV when he defended Jey at Hell in a Cell in October. However, his role is somewhat unclear as things stand.
Something has to give, though. Reigns could find himself in trouble against Cesaro on Sunday, and The Usos may play a role in saving The Head of the Table or costing him everything.