The Sunday Sharpshooter: Top 5 Heel TurnsBy Thomas Avb BriggsChris Jericho’s return this Monday was a big event. The reaction to his ten-minute, all smiles - no talk, return has been mixed to say the least. Personally, I loved every second of it and can’t wait to see the follow up. For someone who’s assumed to be feuding with CM Punk in the near future, he has to be a heel. And in his ten minutes of time on Raw this week, he was able to turn fans from chanting “Y2J!” to booing him by the end of the segment. That’s just brilliant. For anyone worried about where the WWE and Jericho is going with this character, just give them time. Trust Jericho, he knows what he’s doing.Jericho’s return, and possible heel turn, got me thinking about all of the great heel turns in modern wrestling. It’s always fun to look back at favorite memories, and these are all great ones. Here’s my list of the five greatest heel turns of all time:<!--more-->5. The Rock Joins the Corporation at Survivor SeriesIn late 1998, The Rock was asserting himself as one of the most popular figures in WWE history. His act, which had started as a heel with the Nation of Domination, had led to him being crazy over with fans. It was the attitude-era, people wanted their favorites to be cocky-jerks. When he began calling himself the “people’s champion”, The Rock entered a new level of popularity, only Steve Austin could be considered more popular with fans.During this same time, Vince McMahon was the biggest heel in the business. Being the biggest heel, it was only natural that he take on The Rock. The WWE title was vacant going into Survivor Series, where the Deadly Games tournament was held to crown a new champion. Mick Foley, Mankind at the time, defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin with the assistance of the McMahon and his cronies to reach the finals, while The Rock defeated the Undertaker to make it just as far. The table was set: fans were ready to see their favorite superstar win his first World Championship. And obviously Mankind was in the pocket of McMahon, that much was as clear as day. Of course, the truth was the opposite.The Rock and Mankind proceeded to have a grueling match with both men looking exhausted. At one point in the match, Vince arrived ringside with Shane McMahon, setting up the assumption that Mankind would be getting an unfair win. The Rock applied the sharpshooter to Mankind seventeen minutes into the match. As soon as the hold was locked in, McMahon called for the bell, recreating the Montreal Screwjob from a year before. The Rock was the new champ, and fans didn’t quite know how to react. When Vince and Shane entered the ring to celebrate with Rock, and further beat down Mankind, it was obvious that fans were duped by the People’s Champ. The Corporation was established, which led to great moments between The Rock and Mankind, as well as Steve Austin. (Clip)4. Chris Jericho Throws Shawn Michaels into Jeritron 6000Fans, including myself, were delighted when Chris Jericho returned to the WWE in 2007. What they didn’t expect was a complete character change. The Y2J persona will always be a solid one, but since creating the fan-favorite persona Jericho has spoken about the need to change with the business over time. His heel turn may not have been the most historically significant, but it’s undoubtedly the best we’ve seen in at least a decade.On June 9th, 2008, Jericho invited his idol, Shawn Michaels, to The Highlight Reel - another take on Piper’s Pit. Michaels had been involved in a feud with Batista up to this point, and had utilized heel actions to win his matches, although he still acted like a babyface in all other facets of his character. The fans loved him for it, and apparently that irked Jericho. The interview began with Jericho complementing Michaels, and acting as if all was well between the two. The talk turned when Jericho began questioning HBK’s integrity. He labeled fans hypocrites for supporting anything and anyone who wasn’t completely honest and altruistic.As fans turned on Jericho during the interview, Jericho attacked Michaels. The two brawled for a moment, until Jericho got the upper hand. The segment ended with Jericho throwing Michaels head first into the Jeritron 6000. Fans were stunned, and they absolutely despised Jericho. Of course the heel turn led to a fantastic series of matches between Michaels and Jericho, some of the best work by both men, as well as Jericho’s new silent, self-righteous, and dangerous-man gimmick. (Clip)3. Shawn Michaels Turns on Marty JannettyTag team partners turning on each other is pretty standard these days. If a tag team can stick together for over two years, consider them a success. The WWE, with its nearly comatose tag division, rarely commits to keeping two superstars together for any respectable length of time. And that’s sad; long-time tag partners feuding with one another can be a big draw if done correctly. Just look at what TNA is doing right now with Bobby Roode and James Storm - the two were the company’s marquee tag team for over three years. Now that they’ve disbanded, their feud means all that much more because of their shared history. Their story is one of the best being told in all of wrestling right now, the WWE should take notice.Ironically, the WWE once had a grasp on the same strategy TNA is currently using with Roode and Storm. From 1988 to 1991 the Rockers, comprised of Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty, were one of the most popular tag teams in the WWF. Of course, in 1991 they would break up in one of the best WWE out of ring television segments ever.Animosity and dissension had been brewing between Michaels and Jannetty for months. Finally, the two were booked for a segment in “The Barbershop”, Brutus Beefcake’s awful take on the Piper’s Pit concept. Beefcake inquired about the two’s issues with each other, but instead of progressing towards a natural break, Michaels and Jannetty seemed willing to patch things up and move forward as a team. Fans were clearly relieved as Shawn and Marty grasped hands and raised them to the crowd! But just after releasing hands, Michaels superkicked Jannetty, shocking fans around the world. Michaels then picked Jannetty up and threw him through The Barber Shop set window, looked into the camera, and popped the collar of his leather jacket. BAM! Instant heel. It was a classic moment that led to one of the greatest singles careers wrestling has ever seen. (Clip)2. Hulk Hogan Joins the NWOI’ve never been the biggest fan of Hulk Hogan. He’s undoubtedly one of the most popular superstars in wrestling history (can The Rock now be considered more popular?), but he’s never been a particularly good wrestler. I find it difficult to cheer for someone who just isn’t all that convincing in the ring. But even I can’t deny the importance of his heel turn.The NWO was cool as soon as both Kevin Nash and Scott Hall arrived unannounced in the WCW. Their storyline was fresh and edgy. They were heels, but if you were a WWF fan at the time, you likely cheered them on. Leading up to The Outsiders tag match at the 1996 Bash at the Beach, they started to tease a major third partner. Anytime there’s speculation involved in wrestling, there’s fan excitement. When the match began at Bash at the Beach, and a third partner was not immediately involved, fans were bursting with anticipation. It had to be someone else from the WWF, right?Sting, Lex Lugar, and Randy Savage represented WCW in the match. When only Savage remained in the ring, Hulk Hogan - the most popular babyface in the history of wrestling - walked down to the ring. The crowd went nuts, was he there to save Team WCW, or was he there for another reason? It should be mentioned that Bobby Heenan, possibly the best the heel commentator of all time, nearly ruined the moment by yelling “BUT WHO’S SIDE IS HE ON?!” as Hogan walked to the ring. But I digress. Hogan entered the ring, looked at Hall and Nash, and then proceeded to leg drop a helpless Randy Savage. The rest was history. The Outsiders became the NWO, WCW began to put a hurting on the WWF every Monday Night, and everyone was forced to rethink how they booked wrestling. (Clip)1. Vince McMahon Screws BretIn terms of importance and influence on the wrestling industry, no heel turn is as significant as the infamous Montreal Screwjob. Of the three men involved in the main event - Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, and Vince McMahon - neither was a true heel at that point. Bret was a heel in the United States. Michaels was a heel in Canada. And Vince was just Vince, he represented the establishment, which was worth fighting, but it wasn’t really evil. So when these three men's real life problems spilled out on a world-wide pay-per-view, it changed the landscape of wrestling forever.There’s absolutely such a thing as being at the right place at the right time. When CM Punk won his first WWE World Championship, he did it so in his hometown of Chicago, against an opponent that many fans were tired of. The reaction that Punk got in Chicago was much larger than what he would’ve gotten in, lets say, San Jose California. And that reaction helped the moment feel all the more significant. This applies to the Montreal Screwjob as well.Fans knew that Bret Hart was leaving the WWE for the WCW and that Survivor Series was likely to be his final match. It was also held, obviously, in Montreal, where Bret would be the heavy fan-favorite. Fans were also ready to make Stone Cold Steve Austin and his anti-hero persona the biggest figure in the industry. Right time, right place. We all know how the match went down, so I won’t go into a play-by-play. As soon as Vince called for the bell, and fans saw the bewildered reaction on Bret’s face, things began to sink in. This was real: Vince McMahon, the owner, the boss, had just publicly screwed over one of his most loyal employees. It didn’t matter at that Bret was technically a heel, all of the heat in the world just moved from him to Vince.Of course, Bret would move on to the WCW where he was misused before suffering a serious concussion that led to his retirement. Vince, on the other hand, parlayed the heat that he gained at Survivor Series 1997 into creating the greatest heel character wrestling has ever seen. His feud with Austin brought wrestling to new heights, but he’s also had great programs with several other superstars, such as The Rock, Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, and countless others. He may not be an onscreen character today, but we all know that John Laurinaitis’ character is derived from Vince McMahon. His character will always be imitated, which is certainly the greatest means to measuring its significance. (Clip)Thoughts and opinions? Share them with me! Email: email@example.com Twitter: @thjbriggs Blog:soundthecharge.comThese are the top heel turns that popped into my mind while writing this article, what are some of your favorites? Lets not ignore the fact that I completely neglected heel turns from 1999-2007. Which turns do you feel stood out in that era? Hit me up in the comment section, converse with me on Twitter, and ALWAYS read Thursday Headlines!