Most Likely Heel and Face Turns at WWE SummerSlam 2021
WWE SummerSlam 2021 will be one of the biggest nights in the company's calendar. A huge crowd at Allegiant Stadium on Saturday night will watch major matches, including Roman Reigns vs. John Cena and Bobby Lashley vs. Goldberg.
This pay-per-view opens up the possibility for many surprises, which could require some dramatic moments that change the complexion of WWE.
The best way to do that is a heel or face turn for a top Superstar. A good match is worth a lot, but it rises to a higher level in sports entertainment if an unforgettable story is told as well.
Many stars are currently in flux: Randy Orton has been pushed continuously by Riddle to change his perspective, Rhea Ripley is struggling following the loss of the Raw Women's Championship, and Baron Corbin has no friends or future at the moment.
These stories are setting up some of the most likely heel or face turns in WWE that could make SummerSlam something special.
Heel: John Cena
John Cena is returning to a WWE ring with a plan to win his 17th world championship, but he is walking into a match with Roman Reigns where he is largely considered the underdog.
It's unclear if he will continue with WWE beyond SummerSlam, but if he does, he might be in the awkward position of potentially losing the crowd.
However, there is plenty of opportunity for him to take a fresh approach. Is this a bit of wishful thinking? When has it not been wishful thinking that Cena would turn heel?
His flexible position on the roster allows him to do whatever he wants. Given he has played a villain in two of his biggest movies to date, F9 and The Suicide Squad, he will know he won't lose the audience by playing the bad guy.
In fact, taking a fresh approach can help him. If The Head of the Table does have his number, would Cena be willing to cheat to overcome a dominant champion? Could he turn against the fans in his frustration?
The possibility makes Cena far more intriguing than where he is currently. It is not at all necessary if Cena is leaving WWE after SummerSlam, but it could be essential if he wants to continue working with the company for the long term on a part-time schedule.
Face: Baron Corbin
One of the better stories WWE is telling right now is Baron Corbin's descent into bankruptcy. He has been forced to reconsider the way he has been his entire career, and it has set the stage for a turn that no one ever expected.
Corbin could well turn fully babyface as he seeks to turn around his fortunes. The one man who has helped him through all of this is Kevin Owens. It feels appropriate that a reformed face like KO should be the one to help bring the longtime heel around.
While neither man is competing at SummerSlam, The Lone Wolf has told much of his story without matches. He could be begging backstage during the show when he finally has his epiphany.
This story has surprised in many ways. Corbin has been a heel for so long that it is difficult to imagine him as a hero who fans will actually believe in.
However, moments like these are perfect for SummerSlam and will help him finally show his ability beyond being a trash-talker.
Heel: Rhea Ripley
Losing the Raw Women's Championship has left Rhea Ripley with little on WWE Raw, but she could be in position to change her perspective for a feud with the new champion.
Nikki A.S.H. has been established as a major babyface, but she needs an interesting challenger. Who better than a woman whose nickname is The Nightmare?
Even at the beginning of her run on Raw, WWE struggled to figure out if Ripley would be a face or heel. Charlotte Flair has pushed the Australian to be more and more devious to succeed, but Nikki got in the way of her finishing that story with The Queen.
Ripley and Nikki can help each other grow into two of the biggest stars in the limited women's division on the red brand.
This feud does not need The Nightmare to turn heel, but the stage has certainly been set for it.
Face: Randy Orton
Few ride the line between face and heel more than Randy Orton. The rare tweener in modern WWE, he has made his reputation as someone who will gladly challenge (and RKO) anyone.
The Viper is currently playing the face to an extent against AJ Styles and Omos, but he has also refused to work fully with his babyface partner Riddle. Their challenge to the Raw tag team champions has been tenuous.
It can all be complete at SummerSlam, though. Even if Orton may occasionally continue to RKO The Original Bro, he will commit to him in a babyface team that can take over the red brand.
Orton could turn against Riddle at any time for a feud for the future, but the moment demands that The Viper gives his teammate a chance to shine.
Styles and Omos are an ideal heel team to help turn Orton to the light for a while. It would be a special moment at SummerSlam to watch him fully embrace his alliance with Riddle in RK-Bro.