Who was the greatest at crossing over as a heel/and a face? - Wrestling Forum : WWE, TNA, Debate League, Wrestling Videos, Women of Wrestling Forums
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Old 05-26-2012, 02:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Who was the greatest at crossing over as a heel/and a face?

Over the long storied history of pro wrestling, Before the WWF Attitude era blurred the heel/face lines for good with every wreslter looking out for themselves. Who were the guys who stand out as beging able to play both the top heel and the top face of a company?

In my mind...and I know my avatar gives this away...

1. Sgt Slaughter....the guy was the hotest heel in the WWE in 1980-1982,and in years before in the territories, then he became the top face in 1983-1984 in WWE and took his act to the AWA where he was a top face until he went back to the WWF. Upon his return to WWF he became the top heel again, only to become a face again (although not a top card guy) to finsih his career.

Others who come to mind are....

Randy Savage who played the heel for years in Memphis before taking his heel act to the WWF until he became the number two face to Hogan. Of course he would turn heel and face again as a main event star.

Roddy Piper who danced the line from heel to face in the NWA before his WWF run where he became the heel behind Wrestlemania 1, and then eventually turning face by Wrestlemania 3.

Jerry Lawler of course, who ruled as a heel in Memphis for years before becoming the most loved Memphis wreslter ever for the next 20 years with a heel run or two mixed within.

Jake Roberts who spent his early days as a face before joining the Leigion of Doom in Georgia. Then he arrived as a top heel in the WWF, becoming a top draw as a face, then heel again, finally returning as a face.

Ric Flair, who as NWA champ, and Mid-Atlantic icon toured as either a heel or face depending on which city he wrestled in.

Hulk Hogan who was the top heel in every territory before becoming a face in the AWA and later taking Hulkamania to the WWF. Of course later he would shock the wrestling world as the top heel of the nWo before his return as the top face in WCW and WWF.

The above were the guys who stood out as being able to be head of the class a both a heel and a face......but Paul Orndorff, The Road Warriors, Brusier Brody, Michael Hayes also stand out to me as people who treaded the line well before the Rock, Austin, and Hart in the AO

Who have I missed?
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Old 05-26-2012, 04:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Who was the greatest at crossing over as a heel/and a face?

I really admired Bret Hart's ability to play a heel without really changing much of his overall character. In 1992, for example, when he wrestled Bulldog at Wembley Stadium; he wasn't an actual heel but he was getting booed because he was facing the hometown hero. Hart did plenty of subtle little gestures during that match to exasperate the crowds and draw more boos. When he stood, for instance, with his hands on his hips simply staring at the crowd for a second, shaking his head in disbelief as they jeered him. This made them boo him more. Or the way he'd keep the hold on until the full count of five, and then target the same area of his opponent for slightly longer than he usually would. These were all subtle little nuances that enabled him to elecit those loud jeers and play the crowds without really doing or saying anything to alter his character. He played it brilliantly - working the fans into booing him without really corrupting or changing himself. He did this a bit in his feud with Austin as well - I loved the way he would look a little bit hurt and mystified at the crowds booing him.
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Old 05-26-2012, 10:21 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Who was the greatest at crossing over as a heel/and a face?

Ole Anderson was good in making the crossover way back in his heyday. He was definitely a bad-ass face long before seeing guys like Austin and the Rock.

Another oldschool one has to be Austin Idol. Whether as face or heel, the Universal Heartthrob knew how to bring a building to its collective feet.
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Old 05-26-2012, 10:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Who was the greatest at crossing over as a heel/and a face?

Steve Austin
The Rock
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Old 05-26-2012, 10:59 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Who was the greatest at crossing over as a heel/and a face?

Randy Savage
Rowdy Roddy Piper
Shawn Michaels
The Rock
Jake Roberts
Scott Hall
Kurt Angle
Samoa Joe
Christopher Daniels
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Old 05-26-2012, 12:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Who was the greatest at crossing over as a heel/and a face?

The OP had some good ones. I would add The Rock and Shawn Michaels to that list. Those were the first two names that came to mind when I read this topic.

I remember going to the fan interaction event in Hartford before WM XI. Shawn Michaels was a heel at this time, and he had never won the WWF title. However, he was easily the most over guy in the company at the time. Remember, this was 1995. The New Generation Era was in full swing, and the Attitude Era hadn't even begun to lay it's eggs. People in general, still cheered who they were told to cheer for. With all that being said, heel Shawn Michaels was so fucking over it was ridiculous. At the fan interaction event, each superstar had a table where they were signing autographs. The line going to Shawn's table was by far the longest. My poor mother stood in that line with me for an extremely long time. That goes to show how over he was. On another note, I know he was probably the biggest asshole backstage, but he was really funny and nice to me (because I was a kid lol). I remember asking him, "Where's Sid?" and he points to the random hot girl next to him and says something to the effect of "I don't need Sid, she's my bodyguard." Meeting Shawn Michaels made my entire year as the 8 year old kid I was.

I would put The Rock on this list for the opposite reason. While Shawn managed to get wildly over as a heel before becoming a top face. The Rock was always able to generate heel heat after being extremely over as a face. He initially built up that over-ness as a heel, then became an insanely over face for a little while as the People's Champ. Then he generated crazy heat by becoming the Corporate Champ. Then, he became as over as one could possibly be as a face, including having the best face year of all-time in 2000. He, then was able to take some people's frustration about him doing movies and turn that into Hollywood Rock, which generated a lot of heel heat.
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Old 05-26-2012, 02:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Who was the greatest at crossing over as a heel/and a face?

Ric Flair had strong runs in the 80's and early 90's as top heel and top face of NWA/WCW.

Also, Jerry Lawler. Was the top face in Memphis/USWA but went on to become one of the top WWE heels in 1993 with his feud with Bret Hart.
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Old 05-27-2012, 12:51 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Who was the greatest at crossing over as a heel/and a face?

Great list Greenlawler! I would add The Undertaker to the bunch. He started off as the zombie that was impervious to pain and one of the few heels to gain a pin fall victory over Hogan during that era. During the New Generation as a face Undertaker was one of the very top stars who slayed monster upon monster, year after year. Closer towards the Attitude Era he got a 6 month reign as the World Wrestling Federation Champion. When he formed an alliance with Kane in 1998, his feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin was had one of the biggest and best builds ever. His Ministry of Darkness days was the peak of Undertaker as a heel as he "personified pure evil" as JR would often say by committing the most dastardly acts. Then you have his face return as the American Badass and he ultimately had his last strong heel run as champion with the Big Evil character. Since he returned to the Deadman character is one of the most respected and beloved legends in the history of the business.
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Old 05-27-2012, 12:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Who was the greatest at crossing over as a heel/and a face?

Bret and Austin doing the double turn at WM13 was absolutely brilliant. Really all the best ones have already been mentioned.
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Old 05-28-2012, 12:34 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Who was the greatest at crossing over as a heel/and a face?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BruiserKC View Post
Ole Anderson was good in making the crossover way back in his heyday. He was definitely a bad-ass face long before seeing guys like Austin and the Rock.

Another oldschool one has to be Austin Idol. Whether as face or heel, the Universal Heartthrob knew how to bring a building to its collective feet.
Oh man! Austin Idol that's for sure......you are old school brotha!!!!

Austin Idol was in my head when I wrote the post but I wish he had been given a chance to bloom in the WWF. IMO he did something wrong behind the scenes....because that guy was a perfect WWF heel. No one and I mean no one could play the cocky arrogant heel or face like Idol...not Flair, not that silver spooned Orton, no one....Not sure why he never made the "big time".
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