"Train, say your prayers, eat your vitamins, be true to yourself and be true to your country!"
"CM Punk says each and every single one of you DON'T. COUNT. You have no idea—no idea—how much each and every single one of you count. You count to me, for all that you do: All the love, all the support! It IGNITES me. It MOVES me. It INSPIRES me. That's why, in this moment, I'm reaching out my hand to all of you around the world; to all of you who believe! All of you who have faith! All of you who live your life gettin' knocked down, gettin' right back up, just to say, "JUST BRING IT!"

You're the face, YAY!

A Face, short for Baby face, is a Professional Wrestling good guy. He's the guy the fans get behind, the one they cheer for. A face used to always be an upright do-gooder, but nowadays, anybody the fans cheer for is generally classified as a face, regardless of personality or whether or not they play by the rules. The opposite of a face is a Heel.

The Lucha Libre equivalent is known as a técnico (or more rarely technico) which is more about the method they take to win (técnicos are content to rely on valid wrestling techniques) but is the same in practice more often than not. To further confuse, in British Wrestling (Such as World Of Sport), the term used is "Blue Eyes."

The types of babyface, in order of cleanliness, are:

  1. The Whitemeat. The hero who gets beat up constantly, before heroically and miraculously snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. The whitemeat babyface places particular emphasis on morality and virtue. (Cheating heavily is part of being a heel.) We're told that he's an underdog, fighting against the odds to win the titles he's striving for. He has a tendency to always trust wrestlers, no matter how many times they've betrayed him in the past: Sting had a history of joining tag teams or stables full of vicious backstabbers when he really should have known better (leading to the phrase "Sting-level dumb"). He exists mostly to carry out good deeds and make kids happy.

    Ricky Steamboat is one of the Trope Codifiers for these babyfaces, and was notable for never being a heel once in his entire career. Rey Mysterio Jr. is headed down the same path.

  2. The All-American. He is a real American. He fights for the rights of every man. He fights for what's right, he fights for your life. He feels strong about right and wrong. The whole concept of "America vs. The World" is 80's kayfabe distilled to its purest and most ludicrous form. Some of the biggest pops and most involved crowds have been the result of a "We the People!" chant, or chants of "USA! USA! USA!" against Rusev. Draped in a flag, defending the honor of his country (separate to a degree from his heritage); it's almost the only way to guarantee a strong crowd reaction.

    A decorated member of the United States Marine Corps needs your support. AND HIS NAME IS JOHN CENA! "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan played this gimmick to the point of parody: he would interrupt other countries' anthems.

  3. The Anti-Hero. Heels are allowed to be flawed people, and so are almost inherently more interesting than babyfaces. Solution: Be punk rock and go rebel. This guy is more like a comedic dick who is anti-authoritarian, rather than a true hero. He stands up for himself against the bosses, tells legends like Nash that they are old and irrelevant, and does whatever he wants to whoever he pleases. It's not "out of character" for him to do dickish things, since the entire point is that the heel made it O.K. to do. At the same time, he is a human with real human failings. That's why the Attitude Era babies worked.

    Swig o' beer for the Rattlesnake! CM Punk spoke truth to power and became the poster-child of this type of face in the Summer of '11.

  4. The Underdog. Many bookers still think a "World Champion" has to resemble the classical image of a pro wrestler. They're hung up on the look. The character of a face is different, though. The average guy's build (Cruiserweight/Light Heavyweight) makes him the natural underdog. He understands that he's utterly outclassed by the likes of Cena, Styles, and Haitch, so he picks his movements very carefully. A cunning performer knows how to create and take advantage of underhanded opportunities in the ring. The underdog beat the system, got over, won the title and got the girl? Every normal guy's dream.

    Bret Hart defined this trope in the '90s. A major reason Daniel Bryan got over is because he was clearly not "the chosen one", despite massive fan support. Sami Zayn is a more recent example.

  5. The Fat Guy. Mass × Acceleration = Force. In some ways, the look and the wrestler are intertwined: It imbues them with a sort of "don't give a fuck" mentality. It also helps him stand out, since the majority of the roster is cut, and that might catch peoples' eyes more. Also, "cut" sometimes doesn't translate well into actual ring performance, since a lot of that is for show. That said, "Dude Love" fat is a lot less heelish than being "Yokozuna" fat. When you're built that large, you have to work your weight into your gimmick and play to the Wrestling Monster trope.

    Dusty Rhodes was never in good shape, but that didn't stop him from reaching the top while being beloved by all. Kevin Owens can do a 180° on the top rope into a moonsault or wrestle a 30-45 min match with Superman himself.

  6. The Enforcer. Sometimes the people responsible for airing the show have to make a public "appearance", be it in the form of the company owner, a proxy such as a General Manager or a representative from an athletic commission. They show up to level the playing field when wrestlers are up against particularly unfair odds, assign match stipulations to ensure cheap finishes will not recur, etc. Unlike the heel authority figure, these guys usually don't appear frequently enough to develop a character; just enough to establish their existence so fans won't be confused if a ruling is made.

    An "Enforcer" can also refer to a bodyguard/powerhouse in a wrestling faction; these are usually implied to be Tweeners or Heels.

Some fans draw a distinction between "face" and "babyface". It's argued that "babyface" should refer to the old-school, clean-cut, "eat your vitamins" type good guys, and the shortened version is simply anybody fans cheer for, including a wide variety of Antiheroes, Nominal Heroes and Designated Heroes. Insiders in the pro wrestling business, however, use the two interchangeably. Some fans also call for the distinction of Tweeners for villains that receive a hero's welcome, though bookers and promoters themselves only slowly started embracing the concept in the 1990s, as despite perceptions, most wrestlers wanted to be seen as pure face or heel for whatever show they happened to be working on.

Female wrestlers are often booked as half-heel, half-face. This appears to be by design, with little concern about the heel/face dynamics. The reason why women's wrestling in the United States of America has so often been booked akin to a teen drama is due to the way Moolah trained her girls (enough to sell magazine photos) and how Moolah wrestled. Her repertoire consisted of a hair-pulling snapmare, a hair whip, headlocks, clotheslines, and nothing else. Mildred Burke, who was crowned NWA World Women's champion based on her matches with Clara Mortenson, popularized female wrestling in the U.S. during '30s. But she was frozen out of the industry, leading Burke to take her own promotion overseas. Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia and South America can trace their women's wrestling to Burke. There remains a specific sort of female baby face in the US despite, one who struggles to earn respect while competing in a "male" division, but they can just as easily draw heel heat by harassing male babyfaces. Chyna and Jacqueline are two noteworthy Tweeners who competed in areas they didn't 'belong' in.

Wrestlers with any sort of non-white (e.g. Wild Samoan) or otherwise "exotic" identity are an interesting topic. A non-evil foreigner is a wrestler whose gimmick revolves around a group identity (usually patriotism). Alternatively, they may appeal to certain subgroup of xenophiles. Their entrance music and attire will heavily-invoke cultural symbols, if not being draped in a flag itself. Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales are two commonly cited examples who were pushed to appeal to Italian and Puerto Rican diaspora in the USA, while Carlos Colon was pushed as a distinctly-Puerto Rican wrestler at a time when when the island scene was dominated by outsiders. Bob Sapp was hired for looking like the kind of crazy black man one would find in an anime.

Like many things in pro wrestling, a wrestler's status as a face is anything but permanent; "baby face" is a pun on "about face" after all, and a heel turn could come at a moment's notice. The Heel/Face Index has more examples. There's also the Tweener, a guy who falls in-between Face and Heel status, whichever the situation calls for. (George "the animal" Steele was always portrayed as more misunderstood than heel. He never pulled anything on his own that a heel didn't put him up to.) In Lucha Libre, the typical Rudo relies on brawling and underhanded tactics, and doesn't display much finesse or technique when he fights—and he's probably rude, too.

Unrelated to The Face.


    open/close all folders 

    Fictional examples 

  • While Tiger Mask manga is the story of a heel's journey to baby face, every wrestler who has since used the gimmick has been a face by default. The first official wrestler to be recognized as Tiger Mask by New Japan caused ratings to increase by 25% whenever he was featured on a show, further ensuring this would be his role.
  • Not a wrestling example but Hercule from the Dragon Ball series acts like the typical wrestling hero and the main characters, despite being better fighters than him, are all willing to do the job so that he will look good. He was even instrumental in the defeat of one of the series most powerful villains in a scene which had obvious parallels to the power of the Hulkamaniacs.
  • In one episode of Xena: Warrior Princess, Xena decides the best way to save her friend Joxer (who has offended the Amazon tribe) is to stage a Squash Match, with Xena playing to the crowd before "killing" Joxer with an overly dramatic finishing move.
  • Subverted in Bleach with Mask De Masculine, who is a text book técnico luchador but he works for the bad guys. If Bleach was a professional wrestling story there is a good chance this would almost certainly be played straight, Mask De Masculine even follows the rules enforced by most promotions. He insists there be an equal number of opponents on each side of a conflict to face off one on one, one at a time, with no foreign objects. Thing is, Bleach is a story about death gods with swords hunting down displaced souls. About the furthest thing from professional wrestling.
  • In Hitman: Absolution, there is an achievement for stealing the All-American's disguise (The Patriot), then beating the Monster (Sanchez) with your bare fists, in the arena. From then on, getting a Silent Assassin rating is practically a shoo-in, since the crowd wants to see violent, gladiatorial combat.
  • Mask de Smith from Killer7 was apparently a face during his wrestling days. A former fan calls him "Babyface" (though you'd think they'd call him "tecnico," given he's a Masked Luchador).
  • An in-universe example is found in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Dual Destinies, Case 2: the Amazing Nine-Tails, who managed to revitalise the once near dead village of Nine Tails Vale and is a heroic icon for them. Learning about the man behind the mask is crucial to uncovering the truth of the case.
  • The professional wrestler of Air Gear is Rika, however it is Ikki who gets slapped with the "babyface" label for his behavior on the inline skating circuit.

    Pro wrasslin' examples 
  • Rikidozan: Rikidozan wrestling once drew a TV rating of 88.0. Think about that. RAW at its peak got 9.3 ratings. Andre v. Hogan drew a 14.5 rating. Rikidozan is probably the biggest star to grace the wrestling business ever. He had an unfortunately short run on account of being assassinated, but his death was enough to bring officials from South Korea, Japan and North Korea together for peaceful festivities on at least three separate occasions. It's also why Japanese wrestling has always revolved around a few homegrown stars ("aces") and the invaders (gaijin and/or wrestlers from other Japanese companies) who oppose them. Rikidozan built pro wrestling in Japan. He was the hero, the "ace" of all of Japan, fighting for his country against the foreigners who faced him on Japanese soil. It came about in the post-WW2 era when Japan was broken and occupied, and the locals were not too fond of foreigners loitering at every street corner. The country was seriously lacking a shared identity. People flocked to see Rikidozan beat up the Americans. (It's also why WWE repeatedly goes back to the foreign heel gimmick. It's just such a distinct part of pro wrestling culture, and it always gets one or both guys over.)
  • The other candidate for biggest star is El Santo, whose impact was not as dramatic or as quick as Rikidozan's in Japan but whose career was also much longer, spawning many comic books and movies. Santo was planned to have a heel or rudo gimmick in the vein of The Masked Marvel, a mysterious no good who would inevitably be unmasked. The fans were more intrigued than angered by Santo, however, so promoter Salvador Lutteroth decided to run with it and made Santo the greatest face, or técnico, in all of Mexico. Helping his "face" status was that Santo generously donated to charities and lent his image to public works projects designed to help the poor. Santo was never seen without his mask until shortly before he died and the fans put it back on him when he was buried, which is why masked luchadors became famous for guarding theirs so carefully.
  • Perhaps the more appropriate term is técnico but Lucha Libre Internacional had a luchador who went by Babe Face in the late 1970s up until Triple A forced it out of business around 95. Later his son Babe Face Jr entered the business, although not even IWRG was interested in him, much less the major Mexican enterprises, both AAA and CMLL opting to just milk the rest they could out of Babe Face Sr instead. Likewise, one of Dominican Wrestling Entertainment's featured luchadoras goes by La Baby Face and on the flipped side, there is the masked Australian wrestler of Pro Wrestling Zero 1, El Technico.
  • Bobo Brazil is the Jackie Robinson of pro wrestling. He got over by wrestling non-white midcarders and heels, until finally the Caucasian fans demanded that he be allowed to face better competition (i.e. white people). This was in the early sixties.
  • Hulk Hogan was perhaps the ultimate All-American Face, keeping it up for eighteen years until he pulled his famous Heel Turn at Bash at the Beach in '96. Even this only makes him a heel in WCW's continuity. When he tried the same routine in WWE the fans cheered him anyway, his character reverted in kind. Part of his appeal was drawing on the fans' energy to increase his strength, a.k.a. "running wild."
  • Other than some disputes with his brother and Rob Van Dam, Jeff Hardy is among the most unique stars in pro wrestling who actually made it as a singles superstar when he never should have. Technically, Jeff and his brother were heels (as the "New" Brood) when they debuted in 1999, but Jeff turned face two months later, and it's been a decade since then. When Jeff was caught selling illegal substances, charged with 5 felonies and sent to prison, his merch still out-sold DGenerationX and John Cena. Extremely gifted, but ultimately wasted talent.
  • Similarly, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat spent his entire career as a clean-cut babyface. One veteran theorized that Ricky could cut off Hulk Hogan's limbs with a chainsaw and still get cheered for it because he was just such a naturally likable guy. This is why he used the "Steamboat" stage name, despite his birth certificate showing him as RICHARD BLOOD. (That's not a joke.) Common sense said that you couldn't have a nice guy named "Blood."
  • Even when he was in The Nexus (a heel stable), Justin Gabriel always got cheered due to his underdog status and awesome wrestling skills. A few weeks after leaving Nexus for The Corre, he turned face.
  • Sting could very well be the ultimate example. There have only been a couple of attempts to turn him heel over his near 30-year career and they have all been half-hearted and poorly-received. Most recently, when TNA put him in the Main Event Mafia, Sting was conspicuous in not participating in the beatdowns administered by his stable mates. They eventually threw him out for his disloyalty. He had another heel run in 2010 (a not-bad impersonation of Health Ledger's Joker), but the audience still would not accept it.
  • Rey Mysterio Jr. full on. Except for one match against Mark Henry where he used one of Eddie Guerrero's heel tricks (though even that was more of an homage to his recently departed friend), he's never played any role other than the underdog face. He's probably unique among male Superstars in that respect.
    • Rey turned heel when the Filthy Animals were formed and they feuded with Ric Flair for a bit back in 1999 after he lost his mask and the whole No-Limit Solders thing died. The Animals was partly responsible for luring Flair out to the middle of nowhere, where the New World Order ambushed him. He had to hitch a hay truck back to the arena. (Really.) Rey's maskless period, however, is no longer considered canon in WWE.
  • The Great Khali has always been a hero in the Indian market. It was only in the US that he was booed. The same may be true for other hometown heroes that wind up wrestling for foreign promotions, but Khali is a standout example as he is practically a legend in India! By the time he came to the Americas, though, he was no longer very mobile (his knees turned to powder from all those bumps he took), so the fans didn't see what the big deal was.
  • This also applies to Bret Hart, who will always be face in Canada no matter how he's booked. Even when he was the biggest heel in the company in 1997, all he had to do was drive the border and he was a face again.
    • La Resistance spent their whole gimmick praising France and Quebec while contrasting them to the inferior United States of America. The commentators act surprised for some reason when they got cheers in Quebec despite this, they were even cheered over the other Canadian wrestlers.
  • Maria Kanellis was with WWE from 2004-2010 and remained a face the whole time. There were hints at her turning heel mid-2009 when she was in an angle with heel character Dolph Ziggler, but that storyline was scrapped, and so Maria never turned. She was even voted "Diva of the Year" by the fans, something she was obviously not expecting when you consider that the likes of Mickie James and Melina got bigger pops than her. Maria was finally able to portray a heel when she debuted in Ring of Honour. She alternates as a face and heel for Family Wrestling Entertainment.
  • Antonino Rocca. This man brought elbow drops, cross bodies, huracanranas and the Argentine back breaker to professional wrestling back in the 1940s (the dropkick is disputed, and the rana is sometimes attributed to Huracan Ramirez)! He was also responsible for bringing wrestling back to Madison Square Garden in the 50s, where it hasn't left since. He was one of Antonio Inoki's influences.
  • Likewise Abe Coleman, aka Jewish Tarzan, aka Hebrew Hercules. He shall be credited with innovating the drop kick if Antonino Rocca isn't, but he's most famous for breaking the wrestling ring apart after slamming the 300-lb. Man Mountain Dean.
  • Of course, Tito Santana, winner of the first Wrestlemania match ever, the first Mexican-American to win the intercontinental championship, remained a face his entire career.
  • Goldberg, the top draw of WCW, was always a face, though he had somewhat of a mixed reaction when he wrestled the Rock. Brock Lesnar took all the heat for his infamous parting match at WrestleMania 20.
    • Goldberg did briefly turn heel in Spring of 2000, but that got quickly nixed as fans didn't react well to Heel Goldberg. Mind you, not the usual booing that a heel gets and that sort of stuff, but rather fan apathy at how poorly-booked the Goldberg turn was.
  • Razor Ramon HG was a face in HUSTLE since his debut, and became the top face, leading their forces against Generalissimo Takada's monster army. (Much of what got him over in the wrestling world was not as well-received when he moved onto other TV programming.)
  • Haystacks Calhoun was probably the first "traveling face enforcer", moving from territory to territory backin the days before WWF united them.
    • Boogeyman did something similar on the North American independent circuit. He never won championship belts until he kind of forced a Tag Team with Bobby Lashley. Till the he just seemed to be traveling about tormenting heels and scaring everyone else along the way (presumably wrestling just to support this endeavor).
  • Akira Maeda, an unrepentant jerkass both on and off the ring who was lucky enough to wrestle when anti authoritarian rebellion was the cool trend in Japanese media. So getting himself fired from New Japan for refusing to go on tour only added to his aura and he became just second to Tiger Mask in the Universal Wrestling Federation, even the unsporting act of kicking Tiger Mask below the belt. Maeda eventually became the authority he was perceived to be rebelling against with ventures such as Fighting Network RINGS, to the point he's been caught assaulting students and employees on camera. But by then he was basically revered figure of myth and thus given a pass.
  • John Cena. Full stop. Aside for Rey Mysterio, he has served the longest time as the Face, and if often considered the mascot for WWE.
    • This is partly for publicity reasons. Cena does a ton of charity work for Make-A-Wish Foundation. So far he is the only person to fulfill 300 "wishes". With so many young kids looking up to him, Cena announced that he and the company have no plans to turn him heel. If Cena ever did turn heel, it would probably be a bigger swerve than Hogan's run in '96.
  • Bobby Calloway of F*** Kayfabe: Wrestling With Labels describes himself as the "eternal good guy" and talks about how he believes there is an art to playing a believable face and how the best faces look like they're having "the time of their lives in the ring". He is indeed working as a face in the two matches shown.
  • Molly Holly has been outspoken about how much she preferred being a face: She liked being a positive role model for children, hence why she hated being a heel. In a shoot interview, her family talk about how it is against her nature to be one.
  • The Caras/Sicodelico family in Mexico by and large. Dos Caras Junior is the only one to ever be a heel(at least until the family went to Puerto Rico) and is still more known for his tecnico run there. And when he returned from his WWE heel run he was greeted by scores of Hero Worshippers, as if it never happened, or indeed he had remained good during his entire stay up North.
  • The Rock 'n' Roll Express were THE underdog pretty-boy babyface team of the 80s, and inspired MANY imitations.
  • A lot of North Americans don't get the appeal, but Hiroyoshi Tenzan is a face by default in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, due to his undying loyalty to the company.
  • Bayley is one of the biggest Faces in NXT, and possibly one of the biggest female Faces in history. (She'd probably be the female John Cena if WWE had played their cards better.) It's especially notable that while the rest of her fellow horsewomen (Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, and Charlotte) have had periods where they worked as both heels and faces at various points in their WWE careers, Bayley has never been a heel.
  • Sami Zayn is a classic example of the Underdog face in a new millennium. Basically, Sami's character is an extension of his real life personality: good-natured, somewhat dorky, and willing to fight till the bitter end.
  • All attempts to turn the fans against Jim Ross fail miserably. Yes, face/heel extends to commentators. Not even WWF's biggest competitor, WCW, were permitted to take shots at Ross, even though the fans seemed to hate everything else WWF.
  • A face doesn't have to be a decent person, so long as they get fans to cheer them. A common cited example of this is Randy Orton's second face run, where half of his feuds were started by his own need to be the most BAMF around. Sometimes the enemy would be shown to be just as evil or worse than Randy, but not always. A similar thing happened with Kaientai during his "face" run.
  • It should be noted the baby face "promoter" used to be the default mode of every authority figure ever. Even before kayfabe was broken, most owners, staff, athletic commissions, governing bodies, TV executives, sponsors and the like used to find the idea of the fans turning on them—and by extension, the product—nightmarish. Even when there was an evil boss, said boss would always be below the 'real' boss in authority. A good example is Victor Quiñones leading W*NG and IWA Japan against FMW. Everyone from Ray Gonzales, to Savio Vega, to Carlito Caribbean Cool to Jeff Jarrett tried to takeover whatever was the biggest promotion on Puerto Rico at the time, but would always end up dismissed. Even as Eric Bischoff and the nWo were running roughshod over WCW, they still had to answer to "Ted Turner", who frequently came down hard on them. And while Vince McMahon is the company owner in addition to managing Raw, even this was solved via George Jetson Job Security (in the form of a "board of directors") when Vince logically got fed up and tried to fire the loose cannons in his federation.
    • Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins became one in a public relations move to try and save TNA (and later NWA). It was not a ratings stunt, this was real. His involvement and visibility was a positive for TNA because the actual chairman, Dixie Carter, looks like a Real Housewife from central casting. (After 8 years of running TNA she had no idea what kayfabe was.) On-screen, he's a pretty neutral character, something the business sorely needs.
    • An exception that proves the rule was Savio Vega's stint in the World Wrestling League, which he successfully took control of after turning face around the same time company founder Richard Negrin turned heel(Negrin had health issues that prevented him from running the company in a reliable enough fashion for many wrestlers). The baby face wrestlers such as Glamour Boy Shane were quick to forgive Vega of all past misdoings, in a region were grudges persisting in spite of face turns is usually the norm and in fact had been in WWL until Vega was officially in charge.
  • Trish Stratus was WWE's top female face for most of her career. Although she has said she loved being a heel, both her runs in that role were quite short, lasting less than a year each. Her Plucky Girl nature, natural likability and stunning beauty meant that she was always put back into the face role. Whenever she makes a return to WWE, she's always a face.
  • Trish's Arch-Enemy Lita was eternally a face too, due to her One of Us nature. Little girls looked up to her, little boys wanted to hang with her - and her daredevil streak made her really exciting. She did turn heel towards the end of her time in WWE, but that was only because a real life affair scandal caused fans to chant obscenities at her anyway. As with Trish, she's always a face when she returns to WWE.
  • It appears that any wrestler who has been around long enough becomes a face by default.
    • Despite being the biggest heel in Memphis at the time, Sputnik Monroe is most-remembered as a face because, even though the older fans hated him, he was popular with the youth.
      • Monroe's responsible for tearing down segregation of sporting events in Memphis, and possibly the rest of Tennessee: He was the first Caucasian to be arrested for drinking in a "negro cafe", and in fact was arrested multiple times for "drinking with coloreds" and "mopery". He was defended by black lawyers in each case.

        This lead to his match against Billy Wicks, who was a hometown hero. The match drew the largest attendance ever seen in Memphis, as Caucasian fans and Afro-American casuals flooded in to support Sputnik. Rustwood Park had reached capacity at 13,000 ,but so many people came that they broke the outfield fences down trying to get in, so it was probably closer to 18,000. (In spite of the damage to the ballpark, there were no actual riots at the integrated shows he worked.) Once wrestling was integrated, other sports followed suit.
    • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was a redneck rebelling against an undeserving authority. For the most part, he was a fun-loving good guy who had some had trust issues. Since he stopped wrestling, he's become more of an anarchist who delivers Stunners to everyone around him for no real reason, but fans still cheer for him no matter what.
    • Ric Flair was probably the funniest example, as all of his heel mannerisms had long since slipped into nostalgia by the end of his career. He was even cheered for running in fear from Big E. Langston after his chops failed to hurt him!
    • A decade before Flair there was Ernie Ladd (IWA), who never, ever stopped cheating. Over time, he gained recognition for his sheer determination to cheat, and was subsequently booked against less-popular heels of the 70s. Since his career ended when wrestling was still in the more divided territorial era, Ladd is mostly-remembered as a heel, though.
    • Randy Savage was a heel during his early WWF years. He would cheat during matches, trash-talk his opponents from a safe distance, and abuse his valet (Miss Elizabeth). By 1987, he was being cheered by at least half the audience, thanks mostly to his over-the-top promos and Chicagoland accent. Slowly but surely, dropped his heel characteristics and became a face by 1988. He would turn heel again in 1989, and still got mixed reactions. Against Hulk Hogan, no less. By 1991, he was cheered whether he was a face or a heel.
      • During his nWo and "Team Madness" days, he returned to his old heel habits, but he was still nice to the fans and thus, still cheered.
    • Triple H seemed to be heading this way after turning face in 2006, having spent most of his career as one of the most despicable heels. However, in 2013, he cost Daniel Bryan, easily the most "over" superstar at the time (and probably in the last fifteen years) the WWE championship, and unsurprisingly everyone booed him like crazy. Two months later, the same thing happened with Bryan and Shawn Michaels...
    • The Boogeyman, whose entire gimmick was smelling bad, would randomly appear and force-feed worms to people (that he first ate and then regurgitated into their mouths). For whatever reason, fans took a liking to him.
    • Mad Dog Vachon is a fairly early example. When he started out in the fifties, people found his insanity frightening, but by the time he made it to the WWF (in the eighties), he became a draw for the same reasons.
    • Bryan Danielson in ROH probably set the record for doing this quicker than anybody. He was a natural heel as ROH Champion, but his Large Ham heel antics were some of the most entertaining parts of any given show. From when he first infuriated the crowd with his "I HAVE TILL FIVE!" schtick, it took around half a year for it to become the most beloved part of his act. Later, his supposed heel gimmick of an arrogant jackass who's one to shout "YES!" after most anything he does still has gotten him his fans, who've come to like the "YES!" shtick.
      • As Daniel Bryan, even after he spat in John Cena's face and hellaciously destroyed everything in WWE with Nexus, the fans loved him. He actually got kicked off the WWE for violating the PG advertising rules (he choked someone out with their own tie), and the fans cheered for him so much, he was rehired before his no-compete clause ran out, and became a face by joining team WWE and eliminating as many Nexus members as John Cena. By the summer of 2013, he was the most popular wrestler WWE has had in almost 15 years. (Oh, wait. Daniel Bryan was actually the modern Dusty Rhodes but now he's permanently injured and can't wrestle. Well, this is awkward. - WWE)
    • Kane is another face by default. He tries really hard to be heel and generally does a good job and gets booed. The moment he stops performing over the top acts of evil though the fans are back to cheering for him. Similarly, his "brother" The Undertaker, became a face by default. This was through a combination of his all-around talent and grave-digging zombie gimmick.
    • By the end of his career, Edge was a face.
    • Randy Orton became a face by default in 2010, and the only thing he changed about his character is who he attacked. In fact, it doesn't matter who Randy attacks, face or heel — the fans are going to cheer him on anyway.
    • CM Punk had a similar problem. No matter what he did (mocking Jerry Lawler's heart attack, interrupting The Undertaker's tribute to Paul Bearer, stealing the urn), the heat never lasted. The fans cheered for him and eventually when Punk came back after a hiatus in 2013, in his own hometown of Chicago, he became a face by default even though his opponent (Chris Jericho) was also a face.
    • Zack Ryder. Hated for bad jokes, arrogance, entrance music, hair style, goggles, see through jacket, pants with different leg lengths, and his signature taunt "Woo Woo Woo!" Oddly enough though, many Smart Marks are fans of Zack Ryder. Though this may have something to do with his theme song...
    • Rob Van Dam is somewhat borderline. He was a heel when he first came over from ECW in 2001, but by that time he was so popular even among WWE fans that he got cheered anyway.
    • Sasha Banks took the 'popular heel' archetype to new levels. Despite playing one of the nastiest and most despicable heels in wrestling, the fans eventually loved her. More so due to her sheer desire to fight for women's wrestling and her talent in the ring. They kept her as a heel for as long as they could - and for ages she was famed for never breaking character - before eventually caving to the "we want Sasha" chants and turning her face.
    • Act Yasukawa in Wonder Ring STARDOM. Her heel turn failed to take, even with her membership in the "Monster Army" . She spat rum on a fan chanting her name once, only to get more fans chanting her name and begging to get spat on, too.
    • Mickie James was a heel during a lot of 2006 but she was never booed for very long. The fans loved her crazy stalker lesbian character so much she got cheered going up against friggin Trish Stratus at WrestleMania 22. She officially turned face around September 2006, and never turned heel again for the remainder of her WWE career. She did turn heel towards the end of her TNA career, but it was so corny that no one bought it.
    • Likewise, ODB in TNA has never been able to stay heel for very long. Her character is a boisterous, big-tittied lush who lives a trailer park. She started out as a heel in TNA, but became very popular with the fans (if not the critics!). She returned to TNA in 2011 as a heel, but fans didn't take to it and she reverted to face within a month.
    • Los Guerreros by all means should have been the heel team, with the way they proudly lived out ethnic stereotypes and regularly lied, cheated and stole. They were such good workers in the ring and on the microphone though that it did not take any effort to get them over as faces. Trying to get them over as heels always failed, at most they could make Chavo hated by attacking the more popular Eddie. WWE later gave them a Spiritual Successor in Cryme Tyme whose career went pretty much the exact same way, only with less success in winning titles and less longevity.
    • Kelly Kelly is a Diva who debuted in the "new" ECW in the spring of '06. She began as an "exhibitionist" who was always removing her clothes (at first just to entertain the male fans, and then to distract the heels) and was a love interest of Mike Knox, but apart from the distractions she herself never did anything truly heelish. She eventually broke up with Knox, and starting around 2007 the "exhibitionist" gimmick was dropped as well. She's been a straight-up babyface ever since.
      • A major reason why she's been a face so long is because she is probably the single largest woobie in WWE, who seems to take an almost perverse glee in making her suffer. Her boyfriend Mike Knox was emotionally abusive and let her get hit in the head by the Sandman with a singapore cane, The Miz actively sabotaged her attempts to hook up with anyone, got stalked by Kane and rejected by Randy Orton, the list goes on. At this point, the easiest way for a Diva to get heel heat is for them to do something bad to Kelly.
      • Interestingly enough, despite her overwhelming popularity her usual wrestling style in the ring is one much more expected for a heel wrestler. She uses an illegal submission hold, is very aggressive, screams a lot and will ram her opponent's face off the canvas sometimes just for the hell of it. She did get booed when she was in Beth Phoenix's hometown of Buffalo New York as a result, even though Beth was the obvious heel in all their other matches.
    • Before Kelly came along, Torrie Wilson filled the same role. Torrie was a heel as part of the WCW and ECW Invasion storyline but she turned Face and defected when she fell for Yoshihiro Tajiri. She would spend the next four years as WWE's favourite Girl Next Door. She made a heel turn in 2005 but that didn't stick because fans just loved her too much. It was a similar case with her fellow WCW alumnus Stacy Keibler. Stacy was able to remain heel longer than Torrie - a whole year in fact - but fans loved her too much. She also became a face and remained that way for the rest of her career.

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Alternative Title(s): Technico, Tecnico