Change, good or bad, is almost always exciting. There is nothing that gets me into an episode of Raw than when something unexpected happens. When the alignments shift, when the stakes are raised, that is when business really picks up. That’s why the hottest moments in the WWE this year (aside from anything The Shield were involved in, including epic stare downs with the Wyatts and Evolution) have all been a result of an unexpected, but welcome turn.
Seth Rollins betraying The Shield, Jack Swagger turning babyface and staring down Rusev on behalf of America, and even The Miz’s return to heel douchebaggery were all welcomed changes, because the product needed shaking up. Those turns were all very recent, and if you ask me, there are a few more superstars on the WWE roster that would benefit from a heel or babyface turn.
This week, I’m going to look at four candidates for turns on the WWE roster right now. I’ll look into why a turn would make sense and attempt to figure out the best way to make the transition from good to evil, and vice versa. So let’s do the damn thing!
Kofi Kingston has been playing the same cookie cutter babyface character for his entire career. It seems that the WWE carved out a role for him and refuse to deviate from it. If it were up to them, Kofi would always be the smiling, generic, pushover that he’s been for the better part of the last decade. If it were up to me, I’d say it was about damn time to shake the character up. What he’s been doing isn’t working, and at some point you have to give the guy a shot to run with something halfway meaningful.
A heel turn is just what the doctor ordered for Kofi. It would generate a pretty solid pop in my estimation because it would be equal parts unexpected (because he’s barely changed in the last 7 years) and exciting (because let’s face it, who doesn’t love a good turn). The question becomes, what would be the best way to go about it? I feel that Battleground might be the place to have him turn heel, by cheating to win the Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal, becoming the new Intercontinental Champion.
I would have both Kofi’s feet touch the floor while trying to complete one of his miraculous elimination saves at the end of the battle royal, only for the referees not to see that he was eliminated (because they were dealing with a brawl on the outside at the moment of the elimination). He quietly sneaks back into the ring and eliminates Rob Van Dam to win the title. The next night, Van Dam can confront Kofi about cheating and talk about the Kofi he knows had integrity. Kofi would scoff at the notion and tell Van Dam that integrity got him nowhere for 7 years. He’s been busting his ass, doing things we’ve never seen done before, and it never got him anywhere. It’s time to do whatever it takes to climb the ladder of success. Kofi would then attack Van Dam completing the turn and setting up a nice mid card feud between he and Van Dam for the Intercontinental Title for the rest of the summer. More importantly it gives Kofi a shot to do something new with his character; something he desperately needs.
I’ve made no bones about the fact that for a long time, I didn’t seem much potential in Wade Barrett. I just never got the appeal. He wasn’t all that exciting to me, and his in ring work wasn’t all that great when he debuted on NXT. Then with The Nexus, while the angle was hot for a short while at the beginning, I still didn’t see why people were so high on his ability. He just never popped for me, until recently. Maybe it was focusing more on his roots as a bare-knuckle fighter, maybe it was the way that he borrowed several mannerisms and maneuvers from former NXT standout Kassius Ohno, or maybe it was the way he said “I’m Afraid I’ve Got Some Bad News!” but he found something as a performer that finally made him jump of my screen when he started wrestling as Bad News Barrett (key word is wrestling, because I hated the podium stuff). For the first time ever, I saw somebody that I thought was cool.
Now unfortunately he suffered a ill-timed injury recent, and while it sucks that he has to go away, maybe this can be the first step toward a babyface return. Let’s face it, the WWE Universe loves the guy and his catchphrase, and I’m of the mindset that fighting such reactions is futile, and that at the end of the day, you should give the people what they want. What they want is to cheer Bad News Barrett, and you can give them that upon his return, without having to change a thing about the character, other than who he is delivering bad news to.
Before he was hurt, he had become an unofficial hired gun of The Authority. Upon returning, I could see him playing a remarkable foil for them. Imagine every time Triple H starts droning on about “best for business this” and “best for business that”, Bad News Barrett interrupts with some Bad News for The Authority. They could even build toward a BNB vs. HHH match at Wrestlemania next year. It would catapult Barrett’s legitimacy and Hunter doesn’t have anything else going on as of right now. It’s a possibility.
If there was ever a babyface run that had simply run its course, it would be Sheamus’ current run as Heroic Celtic Warrior. The fact is that while the guy is a quality performer that consistently puts on good to great matches with everybody that he steps in the ring with, and works his ass off to put on a good show for the fans, the only guy in the WWE that kills a crowd faster with the proclamation of their name or the start of their entrance theme, is Al-Bore-to Del Rio. He hasn’t done anything wrong, but in order to get the crowds hot for Sheamus again, I think it’s time for a change.
The Reality Era is all about taking things that the informed Internet wrestling fan believes to be true and translating it to the ongoing onscreen WWE narrative. What better candidate is there for such treatment than the speculated man-crush that Triple H was rumored to have on Sheamus. Triple H loved Sheamus’s look, his work ethic, and chose him as his workout buddy if the rumors are to be believed. What is abundantly clear is that Sheamus is a management favorite, and bringing that to life within the narrative would be just wonderful.
I’d have Sheamus turn heel and become the new go to enforcer for The Authority. Triple H would have Randy, Rollins, Kane in case of emergency, and his new Celtic Assassin, Sheamus. They’d be the four horsemen of The Authority. It would open up a whole part of the roster for Sheamus to have rivalries with and give him some fresh opponents week to week besides Alberto Del Rio. He could even be one of the men Roman Reigns needs to conquer before he can get his hands on Hunter himself. Transitioning the Celtic Warrior into the Celtic Assassin just seems like the right thing to do. Triple H teaching him not to go looking for battles, but rather intelligently destroy all your enemies before they know what hit them, would be a wonderful evolution of the Sheamus character.
We have reached the curious case of Bray Wyatt, everyone’s favorite backwoods cult leader. I would suggest that turning him babyface could be a move that the WWE should think about some point down the line, but the fact of the matter is that for all intents and purposes, Bray Wyatt is already operating as a babyface character. He is a babyface in almost every sense of the term. Allow me to explain.
Look at the photo above. Does that look like the entrance of a villain? What about his intro video, that consistently features him fishing for a cheap pop from the city that they are currently in? Is that something a monster would do? The way that he leads us all in song, the way that he has taken in two men that would otherwise have been outcasts and given them a purpose, the way that he preaches about tearing down the old world and bringing about a new world order, one where the former deities (like John Cena and Randy Orton) are obsolete; it’s fairly obvious that the guy is a hero in every way but the men that he targets.
I don’t want the WWE to change a thing about the guy anytime soon, but it is fairly obvious that the WWE was testing the waters by having him thwart Randy Orton’s attempt to climb the ladder at Money In The Bank, late in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match. As one would have expected, the crowd popped for the spot where their favorite character stopped one of their most hated character’s attempt to become Champion.
Some day down the line, I could see Bray Wyatt turning his sights and his family on The Authority. For if Bray desires the destruction of the old world, he needs to combat those in power that cling so desperately to it. He wouldn’t have to change any of the trappings of his character. He could still evoke a cheap pop when he enters an arena, he could still receive a heroes welcome with a sea of individual lights in the darkness as he strolls to the ring. We want to follow Bray, and we will do so with great pleasure when his goals align with ours.
There you have it, but as always I want to know what you think! Should any of these superstars turn? Which one would benefit most from a turn in the near future? Which one would benefit the least? Would you be excited to see any of them change from hero to villain or vice versa on a Raw or PPV? What other superstars on the roster could use a change of moral alignment?
Until next time folks, I’m Matty J. Douglas saying screw the Emmy’s for totally snubbing the best actor working on TV and a fellow Canadian, Tatiana Maslany. Her work on Orphan Black is nothing short of spectacular and she truly deserved the recognition on the grandest stage for it in the television industry. For shame Emmy voters. For Shame! Have a great weekend everybody!