Sometimes it seems like you can’t trust anyone in wrestling. Tag team partners, managers, even your best friend in the world might betray you at any second for any number of reasons. Often, there’s a story behind it, one that the fans can see building for many weeks until it finally happens. But other times, it comes out of nowhere, and suddenly, to the surprise of everyone, there’s a knife in your back and someone you had trusted right up until that very moment is standing there, mocking you. Heel turns in wrestling can be like watching Game of Thrones: no matter how prepared you think you are, sometimes, you just don’t see it coming. With that in mind, here’s a list of some of the most sudden and surprising heel turns to happen in pro wrestling.
10. Kevin Owens Betrays His Best Friend
As incredible a bad guy as Kevin Owens has been for his admittedly brief WWE career, would it surprise you to know that he entered WWE as a face? In the tradition of other highly-touted independent signings like Hideo Itami and Finn Balor, Owens was brought in with much fanfare and anticipation from both those in charge of NXT and the waiting audience. His first official match in NXT was heavily promoted ahead of time, and took place at NXT Takeover: R-Evolution, against a heel character if there ever was one, the annoyingly evil hippie environmentalist C.J. Parker. Owens basically destroyed Parker to the delight of the NXT crowd, receiving a thunderous ovation. Then, at the end of the night, he was the first one in the ring with a celebratory hug for his best friend, Sami Zayn, when Zayn finally managed to win the NXT Championship after trying for so long. Owens was also the last one to leave, arm firmly over Zayn’s shoulder, as the final chyron for the Pay Per View flashed on the screen for viewers at home. And that’s when he struck, driving an exhausted Zayn to the ground, then powerbombing him onto the ring apron. The character of Kevin Owens was immediately established: he had no friends, only obstacles between him and whatever title he wanted to win.