WWE: Ranking the 10 Best Heel Turns of the Reality Era

WWE: Ranking the 10 Best Heel Turns of the Reality Era

The Reality Era was a period of professional wrestling within World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) from early 2014 to April 30, 2016. The Reality Era is often regarded as one of the most successful periods in WWE’s post-Attitude Era history. With fans gaining more knowledge about the company and its inner workings, they became prominent voices for change.

Several new stars emerged from the era while veterans established renewed legacies to finish what they started. Throughout this era, WWE placed a significant emphasis on its villainous characters. Some long-time heroes were forced to take drastic measures to achieve their goals.

Let’s get into more details and look at the greatest Reality Era Heels.

10. Chris Jericho

Chris Jericho reemerged after a brief hiatus in 2016, confronting the New Day and competing in the Royal Rumble. He would then embark on a feud with the recently debuted AJ Styles in a series of matches. Their competitive nature seemingly turned to camaraderie as they formed a tag team known as Y2AJ.

This alliance quickly fell apart after Jericho attacked the Phenomenal One out of jealousy. Styles would also suffer a significant loss against his short-lived partner at WrestleMania 32After a fatal 4-way match, the two went their separate ways.

WWE: Ranking the 10 Best Heel Turns of the Reality Era
Chris Jericho | Source: IMDb

9. Braun Strowman

The Monster Among Men first came onto the WWE Universe’s radar as a member of The Wyatt Family. This guy didn’t have a chance to stand out in NXT because they kept him hidden.

Braun Strowman debuted on August 24, 2015, edition of Raw as a black sheep mask-wearing member of the Wyatt Family. He learned from some of the best alongside Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan as they worked well in the ring and taught him to excel.

After being drafted over to Raw, Braun Strowman set out to strike fear into the hearts of everyone he encountered. His undefeated streak went on to last well past the conclusion of this era.

The Reality Era served as the launching pad Braun Strowman needed to put himself in a position to dominate.

8. Paige

Paige always looked to set exceptional standards in the women’s division. She made an unexpected and thrilling Raw debut by defeating AJ Lee for the Divas Championship. The two constantly crossed paths throughout 2014, changing alignments and alliances.

On a post-Money In The Bank episode, the Black Widow regained the title in a quick finish. Paige pretended to be a friend to AJ Lee for a few weeks until she unleashed a vicious assault. This culminated in a title match at SummerSlam, where the Anti-Diva reigned supreme.

7. Dean Ambrose

If you’re not a fan of Dean Ambrose, the least you can do is respect him. Check out some of his old CZW death matches and understand why you must acknowledge that the man scraped and clawed his way to where he is today.

As a member of The Shield, Dean Ambrose fascinated the WWE Universe and started the Reality Era as United States Champion. He held the title for a record-breaking 351 days.

His clever microphone work and nonchalant demeanor bring his unique ringwork together. Ambrose remained a fan favorite since departing from The Shield and rarely had a stormy night.

The Lunatic Fringe captured the Money In The Bank contract and the WWE Championship on the same night in 2016. He held the top title for 84 days before dropping it to AJ Styles at Backlash.

6. Charlotte Flair

Charlotte Flair made an outstanding debut to kick off the Women’s Revolution in 2015. She would first earn a significant victory with Becky Lynch and Paige before taking a stab at the Divas Championship. Later on that year, her father, Ric Flair, served as a manager while she began displaying treacherous traits.

Paige’s eventual betrayal set the stage for significant tension between Lynch and Charlotte. After losing to The Man on an episode of Raw, Flair finally snapped in a vicious assault. She would continue to capture big wins until becoming the inaugural Raw Women’s Champion at WrestleMania 32. 

5. The New Day

In recent memory, there has yet to be a team to use the Freebird Rule to their advantage better than The New Day. These guys held down the Raw Tag Team Division for the longest time as they only elevated their value.

On August 23rd, 2015, Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, and Big E started a record-breaking 483-day title reign with the Raw Tag Team Championships.

During that time, they made a ton of royalty money and introduced Booty, Who, Francesa, and so many more sayings and references into the lexicon of the WWE Universe.

They kicked it into high gear during the Reality Era.

WWE: Ranking the 10 Best Heel Turns of the Reality Era
The New Day | Source: IMDb

4. Brock Lesnar

In the old days, a top champion had to fight every night of the week and twice on Saturdays and Sundays. But in the Reality Era, the winner got to have a much different schedule. The Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar, is a part-timer with Championship status, and there’s not much anybody can do about it either.

Brock Lesnar ended the Undertaker’s WrestleMania winning streak at WrestleMania XXX. This solidified the dawn of a new reality-based era of pro wrestling and destroyed many childhoods in the process.

His destructive presence made the Reality Era much more legitimate as he plowed through his competition quickly.

Brock Lesnar held the WWE Championship for 224 days after destroying John Cena at SummerSlam 2014. It took Seth Rollins cashing in his Money In The Bank briefcase at WrestleMania 31 and turning Lesnar’s match against Roman Reigns into a surprise triple threat to dethrone the Beast Incarnate.

WWE: Ranking the 10 Best Heel Turns of the Reality Era
Brock Lesnar | Source: IMdb

3. Daniel Bryan

The Yes Movement began at the end of the PG Era. However, when fans revolted against WWE’s booking after Royal Rumble 2014, it helped usher in this new age of WWE programming.

Fans wanted to see Daniel Bryan as their WWE Champion, and that’s precisely what happened during the closing moments of WrestleMania XXX. Sadly, Daniel Bryan only held his WWE Championship for 64 days before having to vacate it due to a neck injury that plagues him to this day.

Daniel Bryan would return from injury and capture the Intercontinental Title in a ladder match at WrestleMania 31. But Bryan only held the IC Title for 43 days before being forced to vacate it after another injury.

Sheamus clocked him with a stiff headbutt which busted the Bearded GOAT open on the April 2nd, 2015, episode of SmackDown. This stiff headbutt caused much blood the hard way and required stitches to close up. Although it wasn’t confirmed that this shot from Sheamus caused a concussion, it was widely rumored.

Daniel Bryan wrestled his final televised match in a WWE ring on April 16th, 2015’s episode of SmackDown. He teamed up with John Cena to defeat Cesaro and Tyson Kidd, who were WWE Tag Team Champions at the time.

Daniel Bryan’s retirement speech on February 8th, 2016, only went to prove that sometimes reality bites.

WWE: Ranking the 10 Best Heel Turns of the Reality Era
Daniel Bryan | Source: IMDb

2. Triple H

In June 2013, the McMahon family continued appearing in a power struggle. The buildup to SummerSlams WWE Championship match consisted of Vince McMahon offering Daniel Bryan a corporate makeover. On the other hand, Triple H announced himself as the special guest referee. The events that followed marked a definitive change.

The Yes Man’s dream would become a reality as he defeated John Cena for the title. In a shocking turn of events, The Game attacked him and allowed Randy Orton to cash in his Money In The Bank contract. With that, Authority was born.

1. Seth Rollins

Seth Rollins spent his earliest tenure as a member of The Shield alongside Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns. While initially a heel faction, The Shield eventually made a heroic turn AAto take on the Authority in successful efforts. In June 2014, Rollins looked to establish his path as the future of the business.

Triple H’s introduction of a “Plan B” involved the Architect viciously attacking his allies with a chair. He would win the Money in The Bank ladder match the next month with interference from Kane. These events set the stage for Rollins’ historic cash-in at WrestleMania 31

Seth Rollins held the WWE Championship for 220 days until his title had to be vacated due to an untimely knee injury. But The Architect would be back soon enough; this time, he returned as a triumphant babyface as he would later feud with Triple H.

WWE: Ranking the 10 Best Heel Turns of the Reality Era
Seth Rollins | Source: IMDb
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About WWE

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., doing business as WWE, is an American professional wrestling promotion. A global integrated media and entertainment company, WWE has also branched out into other fields, including film, American football, and various other business ventures.

WWE shows are sports entertainment, featuring story line-driven, scripted, and partially choreographed matches; though including moves that can put performers at risk of injury, even death, if not performed correctly. It was founded in 1953 as the Capitol Wrestling Corporation and is the largest wrestling promotion in the world. It is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut.