Professional Wrestling: 100 Greatest Heels of All Time

David Levin@@davidlevin71Senior Writer IINovember 17, 2011

Professional Wrestling: 100 Greatest Heels of All Time

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    Just admit it. You LOVE to hate them. You watch with excitement as they come to the ring, huffing and puffing and threatening to break every bone in your hero's body.

    Yes, you love heels and you know they are the best part of the wrestling "program."

    The heel is such an easy character to love. Just as much as the "face" because there is not as much built into the process of being the bad guy. Some wrestlers will tell you it is "easier" to turn heel or come out as a heel than it is to be a face.

    I guess it is because the fans draw their own conclusions from the heel's actions. The face must keep them interested.

    It is the dark side we all wished we had and wished we could do in the ring. It is the way we want to talk to our enemies or our boss or just someone in general.

    The heel encompasses many of the same characteristics of everyday people. Our they could be part of a really "good" reality show (if that is possible).

    And the heel always has us coming back for more to see what happens next week.

    These are not in any order. But they are 100 of the best who love to make us hate them.

Kevin Sullivan

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    He is the first wrestler I saw who used fire as a weapon in the ring.

    Sullivan used the "satanic" dark side to reel in recruits like Jake Roberts and Mark Lewin.

    He was devious and devilish and was a mainstay in Florida and then WCW.

Crusher and Dick the Bruiser

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    In the Midwest, was their a tougher duo than Crusher and Dick the Bruiser during the 1950s and 1960s?

    Both were big, strong men who beat their opponents into submission.

    Both were great together or could work and angle on their own.

Maurice and Paul Vachon

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    Big bully wrestlers in the AWA who liked to beat on their opponents and strike fear in the fans when they wrestled.


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    They were the class of the tag team division in the WWF in the mid 1980s.

    Ax, Smash and Crush all delivered their own brand of pain to their opponents. They were Road Warriors-esque with a little less flair and better mic skills.

The Masked Assassins

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    Georgia's Jody Hamilton and whoever he got to hide behind a mask were the baddest masked duo in Florida and Georgia Championship Wrestling.

    Hamilton was a big man who would over power his opponents with Ole Anderson-like girth.

Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik

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    When the got into the ring, no one wanted to listen to them talk about Iran and Russia.

    When the bell rang, opponents felt a lot of pain.

    Both men were great wrestlers and could use power and finesse to win matches. A very underrated duo.

Bobby Heenan

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    He was a marginal wrestler, but as a manager, he is one of the all-time heels.

    Heenan could talk your ear off but he and Gorilla Monsoon were great as commentators in the WWF. Their electricity on camera was part of the success of the WWF.

The Hart Foundation

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    Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart and Jimmy Hart.

    While Bret was the tactician, "The Anvil" was the powerhouse.

    Jimmy Hart was just an annoyance in and out of the ring.

Dory and Terry Funk

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    The Funk Brothers were both former NWA World Champions. They feuded with Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair and Jack Brisco.

    They were technical wrestlers and played the role of heels in the NWA, but when they went overseas, they were a popular duo.

The Masked Spoiler

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    An underrated heel.

    I loved watching him talk with such arrogance and monotone.

    When he got into the ring he walked the top rope with ease and used the claw as one of his finishing holds.

Buzz Sawyer

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    Lived every day like it was his last.

    And when he got into the ring, he was a wild man.

    He feuded with Tommy Rich like there was nothing else in the world. The feud nearly killed both of them.


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    One of the first real giants I saw in the ring.

    He made a career of slapping his belly, being afraid of snakes and running from the NWA to WCCW to the WWF.

    A real character for Vince McMahon's playground. 

Fabulous Moolah

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    She was the Queen of Wrestling.

    You could not help but hate her and her winning ways.

    Whether she was wrestling Mae Young or Judy Grabel or Wendi Richter.

    No one was better at women's wrestling than Moolah.

Captain Lou Albano

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    A decent tag team wrestler in his day and even better manager. He was a great heel at both.

    He managed 15 tag teams and four singles champions to gold. I guess that proves he was pretty good at what he did outside the ring.

    One of the most colorful personalities in wrestling, ever.

Abdullah the Butcher

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    Abby loved to use forks, wood, spikes—anything that could inflict damage.

    You could not get away from a match with him without leaving blood in and out of the ring.

Stan Hansen and Bruiser Brody

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    Two international stars that just tore up arenas wherever they went.

    They were big and bad and loved as gods overseas.

    In the states, the caused havoc as a tag team and against each other.


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    Her look even scares me.

    Kharma is maybe the biggest and baddest female wrestler of out generation.

    She could overpower cruiserweights if given the chance.

    Just the garb and intimidation alone make her a candidate for this list.

Jimmy Garvin

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    He was so underrated on the mic.

    A great wrestler, he held many regional titles in Florida and then Georgia.

    He moved to WCCW and fought with the Von Erichs and then moved on to WCW where he joined the Freebirds and found success.

Sherry Martel

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    One of the greatest women's wrestlers of all time and then one of the greatest female managers of all time.

    Sherri Martel seemed to be able to do it all. And she managed the likes of Shawn Michaels and Randy Savage in the WWF.


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    Just one plain bad ass.

    JBL was big, strong, powerful and could beat the hell out of you.

    A throw back to the '70s style of heel much in the mold of Ole Anderson or if you take a step further into history, Dick the Bruiser.

Jesse Ventura

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    He was limited, but don't tell him that.

    Ventura was a character all to his own and one of the best tag team wrestlers ever. He and Adrian Adonis formed the East/West Connection in the AWA and held promotional gold.

    Actually, Ventura is better known as a heel commentator. And for that, it helped define the WWF in the early 1980s.

Ox Baker

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    Can't have a list like this without Ox.

    A mean-looking man who belonged in really bad 80's movies.

    The face alone was enough to scare you.

    The punishment was enough to make you stay away.

King Kong Bundy

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    He was extremely agile for a man his size.

    Used a five-count to beat his opponents and used his size to back an opponent into a corner and brutalize them.

    He hurt Hulk Hogan in Wrestlemania.

    Never won a singles title.

Ray Stevens

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    "The Crippler" was a great heel wrestler in the AWA, Portland, the WWF and the NWA.

    Ric Flair seeing him in action was worth the price of admission alone.

    If Flair said it, then it must be true.

Sgt. Slaughter

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    Sarge with his chin was a classic heel in the NWA in the Carolinas and feuded with the likes of Rick Steamboat, Wahoo McDaniel and a young Barry Windham.

    He was loud and obnoxious, like he was in the WWF, but there was no denying he was great heel bruiser.

Edge and Christian

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    I had to put them together because they were so great together as a tag team.

    Strong, agile and pretty good on the mic.

    Each enjoyed great singles success as well.

Randy Savage

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    Oh, Yeah!

    The Macho Man was the top heel while Hulk Hogan was the top face in the WWF. When the Super Powers collided and became a team, it was short lived.

    Savage was loved by everyone, but was better as a heel.

Ted DiBiase

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    The Million Dollar Man gimmick was outstanding.

    Yes, everyone has their price.

    DiBiase could also wrestle and work the mic better than most in the WWF at the time.

    I personally loved his character.

Adrian Adonis

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    A bruising wrestler from up north who could fight his way out of any situation.

    Whether he was in the AWA or the WWF, Adonis was a classic, SOB heel.

Harley Race

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    One look at Race in 1983 chasing Ric Flair and putting the $25,000 Bounty on his head at Starrcade is all you need to know about how good Race was in this business.

    One of the toughest ever to compete.

Randy Orton

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    He came into his own and established himself as one of the young greats in the business.

    Orton joined Evolution and was ousted, much like Sting was with the Four Horsemen.

    He then battled the likes of Triple H and Batista.

    A third generation wrestler, Orton has been loved for his "heel" tactics and psychotic persona on Smackdown.

Big John Studd and Killer Kowalski

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    As the Executioners, they were a heel tag team in the WWF in the 1970s.

    Because of their size, they caused all kinds of trouble for heroes and tag teams in the federation.

Superstar Billy Graham

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    What Bruno Sammartino was to the WWF, Graham was equality important as a heel.

    He was the first heel to hold the WWF title for an extended period of time - almost a year.

    He was popular for his colorful outfits, his mic work and his power.

The Great Muta

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    I personally loved this guy.

    Small and agile and great moves on the mat and in the air.

    He was a mainstay in the NWA and even held the World Title at one point.

The Sheik

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    Ed Farhat was the original who battled and cheated with foreign objects and caused all kinds of trouble in the wrestling.

    There were plenty of wrestlers in his day who were dangerous, but Farhat took it to a whole new level.

The Grand Wizard

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    He was part of the big three of heel managers in the WWF with Bobby Heenan and Capt. Lou Albano.

    His outlandish clothes and his wild sunglasses were enough to get him noticed on air. Ernie Roth was a natural on the camera and managed stars like Hulk Hogan, Jesse Ventura and Superstar Billy Graham.

Dick Mudoch

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    One of the toughest wrestlers ever.

    A former tag team partner and good friend of Dusty Rhodes.

    He was a brawler who looked out of shape, but when it came time to being in the ring, he was all business.

Mr. Fuji and Toru Tanaka

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    A good heel tag team in the WWF.

    Tanaka was more power and pain and Fuji was more mat wrestling.

    Both inflicted punishment.

    Later on in his career, Fuji became a manager and was successful in that heel role as well.

Skandor Akbar

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    The resident heel manager in WCCW.

    He looked like he needed a bath.

    He managed the One Man Gang, The Missing Link and others who came through Fritz Von Erich's promotion week after week.

    He carried a crop with him and wasn't afraid to use it.


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    When the Big Red Machine first made his appearance in the WWE, all hell broke loose.

    And since then, hero or villain, he has been causing all kinds of hell.

    One of the great characters of all time.

Jos LeDuc

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    A Canadian wrestler who used power and pain to hurt his opponents.

    Le Duc was known as a brawler and punisher and was a popular heel in Florida and the Midwest and Portland.


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    Leon White was a decent NFL player then went into wrestling and became a world champion.

    As Vader, he was one of the true heels in WCW before the invasion of the NWO. He was a brawler and fighter and made no bones about he fact he was going to hurt his opponents.

Eddie Guerrero

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    Lie, cheat and steal.

    That was Eddie Guerrero. As a member of the famed Guerrero Family, he lived up to the traditions set forth by the family, and then he set the world on fire.

    As a heel, he was diabolical. As a face, he was loved by all.

Jake Roberts

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    A good worker in the NWA who held many regional titles.

    Then he went to the WWF and became a star.

    Roberts gave a great interview and was a good ring performer and tactician.

    The idea of carrying a boa constrictor into the ring just solidified himself as one of the great all time characters in WWF history.

Dirty Dick Slater

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    A regional star in the south and the NWA. He was a brawler and a grinder, beating his opponents down for a win.

    He also used anything he could to win a match.

    He won many regional titles, but stayed in mid card status most of his career.

Frtiz Von Erich

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    Loved for his work in establishing World Class Championship Wrestling, he was a heel most of his wrestling career.

    Von Erich or Jack Atkisson, had a German Nazi persona and use the "iron claw" to beat his opponents.

    He was vicious and played the part well.

    When he retired, he looked to make his sons into stars and chase the NWA dream.

Playboy Buddy Rose

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    There wasn't a better heel than Buddy Rose in the Northwest Territory.

    He was a singles and tag team champion for Don Owen several times over before the promotion finally shut its doors.

    His size and "figure" was cause for comedy in wrestling circles.

Chris Jericho

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    The one wrestler who may have benefitted from WCW being bought by Vince McMahon the most.

    Jericho became a champion on all levels and developed into a Roddy Piper-like worker in the ring and on the mic.

    His feud with Shawn Michaels helped make him a superstar.

Nick Bockwinkle

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    He was a great heel versus the fan favorite, Vern Gagne.

    He was intelligent and intellectual and his interviews were more about English and grammar.

    But when he was in the ring he was one of the 10 best ever.

The Undertaker

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    His gimmick, his ring, his style.

    What are you going to do about it? NOTHING.

    As a heel, there weren't many that could beat him.

    There still aren't. And when you are in his backyard, all you need to know is your are in trouble.

Steve Austin

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    He was Stunning in WCW and a great all-time heel. He moved over to the WWE and became a heel and an anti-hero and one of the best ever in this business.

    Austin is money whenever he is on camera and that is music to the WWE.

The Wild Samoans

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    The looked like two lost souls. But with the aid of Capt. Lou Albano, these "lost" wrestlers won WWF Tag Team gold and were lead heels in the Federation.

    They never spoke but allowed the punishment they dished out to speak for them.

Larry Zybszko

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    Larry Legend was a talker and an arguer and someone you knew would give you a battle.

    After challenging his mentor, Bruno Sammartino, there was no turning back for the former WWF and AWA star.

Road Warriors

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    When they started out, they were mean and bad and great new-aged heels.

    There were few like them ever in wrestling and were the best tag team EVER.

Kurt Angle

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    Oh it is true....He was a great face and a great heel.

    And Kurt Angle is probably the best mat wrestler ever to lace up a pair of boots.

    And he is still doing it today.

    It's damn true!

The Rock

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    He started out as a face, became a heel and then transformed himself into one of the best ever.

    The Rock would be popular in any role given him because he makes it his own.

    And even today, his mic skills are the best.

The Freebirds

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    They were one bad ass clique. Maybe the precursor to DX.

    Michael Hayes was great on the mic and could wrestle.

    Terry Gordy was the enforcer of the group.

    Buddy Roberts was just plain mean.

    Together they formed one great tag team.

Curt Hennig

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    In the AWA he was loved as Larry "The Ax" Hennig's son.

    In the WWE and WCW he was a great heel with a tremendous look.

    One of the all time great mat wrestlers.

Degeneration X

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    Triple H, Chyna, The New Age Outlaws and X-Pac.

    They were part of the Attitude Era and knew how to play to the crowd.

    They definite pulled off some great stunts and catch phrases.

The Four Horsemen

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    Whether you like them or don't like them, you learned to love them because they were the best thing going in the 1980s.

    And that was the truth.

Roddy Piper

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    He has classic feuds with Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Snuka back in the day and the advent of Hulkamania.

    Piper was also a classic heel in the NWA in Mid Atlantic Championship Wrestling.

    But even as a heel, he won fans over.

Meng and the Barbarian

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    Personally, I loved these characters.

    As members of Paul Jones' Army, they caused havoc all over the NWA and WCW.

    Their look resembled the Road Warriors and they could beat up just about any team in the business.

The Great Kabuki

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    He was one of Gary Hart's first foreign imports to come to the states and battle Dusty Rhodes.

    His best way of getting a victory over an opponent was to spray green mist in their face to "blind" them.

    He also spent time in WCCW and other regional promotions throughout the NWA. 

Ivan Koloff

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    One of the great all-time characters in wrestling.

    He was a former WWWF Champion when he beat the famed Bruno Sammartino.

    He went to the NWA and caused all kinds of havoc in Jim Crockett's territory.

Ric Flair

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    Love him or hate him, he was one of the best heels of all time.

    A classic wrestler who was the "Dirtiest Player in the Game" and he proved that night in and night out. He would do whatever he had to do to retain his title and usually got himself counted out of disqualified to sell for an opponent and put them over.

Rick Rude

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    Once a snobbish body builder, anyways a snobbish body builder.

    He never was a face in the industry and used his look and persona to get over many times.

    Rude was a classic heel. Men wanted to be him. Women wanted to be with him.

    And he was as underrated as they come.

The Midnight Express and Jim Cornette

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    Jim Cornette knew what he had when Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey came to the ring and did their dirty work.

    A skilled tag team that did not talk much, they let Cornette do that for them.

    When they added Stan Lane to the mix, there was more talk and more action.

    A very underrated tag team.

Scott Hall and Kevin Nash

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    Charter members of the NWO. They changed the course of the wrestling and proved it was "cool" to follow the bad guys.

    They took the approach of Steve Austin and moved it three steps further.

    They were "cool" and everyone who followed WCW knew it.

Vince McMahon

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    Never have we seen someone like McMahon, who plays a character on screen for his company to help promote his business.

    Genius, I say.

    He is so good on the mic and so skilled in the art of catch and release, he is almost one of "them".

    Now that he is not on screen as much, he is missed.

    And his character will forever be etched as a "heel" with appeal.

Hollywood Hulk Hogan

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    The greatest hero in professional wrestling history became the greatest villain in professional wrestling.

    It was the best "heel" turn of all time. And it remains that way.

    Hogan can bring more out of a crowd than any other character, mainly because of the foundation he set for years of good will, positive thinking and great promotion.

    When he and Eric Bischoff put together the angle for Hogan to "turn" it changed the course of wrestling history.


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