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Even Evil Has Standards / Pro Wrestling

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  • The Undertaker:
    • His initial Heel–Face Turn was because he saved Miss Elizabeth from getting smashed unexpectedly by a steel chair by Jake "The Snake" Roberts as she entered back through the curtain. This was before such vicious attacks against women became common place in the current era.
      Jake: Whose side are you on?!
      Undertaker: Not. Yours.
    • Ironically, Undertaker wound up becoming the monster himself at the end of that decade. See, while not quite "evil" per se, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was a selfish, chaotic Jerkass who beat up referees, commentators, and Santa impersonators whenever he felt like it, yet even he couldn't stand for Undertaker kidnapping the innocent Stephanie McMahon and putting her through a forced Satanic wedding. This made for one of the first times Austin looked like an actual good guy when he pulled a Big Damn Heroes moment on the proceedings despite the fact that it was Vince McMahon's daughter, a man Austin detested so much he refused to handle the matter before it got to the Satanic wedding part.
  • Bobby Heenan:
    • Even "The Brain," who was an unrepentant pro-heel commentator seemed genuinely shocked and appalled when Jake Roberts was going to slap Miss Elizabeth across the face at "Tuesday in Texas," thinking he was going to do worse (such as DDT her and then worse).
    • Heenan even voiced disgust when Hulk Hogan, a man he has always hated especially after his famous Face–Heel Turn, spray painted nWo on Miss Elizabeth’s back.
    • Heenan was really not amused when the nWo did a parody of Arn Anderson’s retirement speech.
      Bobby: That’s not funny anymore. Not if you know Arn Anderson like we do.
  • Jerry Lawler, for years, was an unabashed heel commentator who openly bashed faces and sang the praises of the heels at every opportunity, no matter how despicable, malicious or unfair their actions. But even then, Lawler would draw the line at downright evil actions ... or if the despicable behavior crossed a line:
    • One of the first opportunities was kayfabe in nature, when Doink the Clown pulled off a fake prosthetic arm and clubbed Crush over the back of the head, apparently paralyzing him. At first, Lawler was hushed as he stated that even he didn't want the "injuries" that happened to Crush to happen to anyone ... but a short time later, as replays of the incident kept playing, Lawler saw lots of humor in Doink's trick.
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    • A few years later, Lawler expressed disgust when Diesel (a brutal heel at this point) pulled Mad Dog Vachon's prosthetic leg off.
    • In 2000, whenever the Right To Censor were around, Lawler would constantly insult them on commentary, even though they were heels, and cheer anytime any face was able to one-up them. Although this likely has to do with the fact that Right To Censor's gimmick was prudish Moral Guardians and Lawler's commentary persona is always portrayed as a huge horndog, a Chivalrous Pervert at best and a Dirty Old Man all other times.
    • The classic commentary team of Jim Ross (the face) and Lawler (the unashamedly heel broadcaster) played up many of their differences, although despite this, are friends even in context of the story, and this is likely one of the big contributors toward Jerry's eventual Heel–Face Turn. As such, even when Lawler's heel commentary style was at its peak, he always defended J.R. whenever another heel would threaten (or sometimes, beat up) Ross. One example came in 2005, when Triple H demanded a match against Ross ... then brutally beat him to a pulp. Lawler, never enthusiastic to the idea, drew the line when Triple H got a sledgehammer and began using it to hit an already bloody-and-beaten Ross; Lawler finally got into the ring and tried to defend Ross, but Triple H struck Lawler. It should also be noted that even when favoring heels, he would talk even more negatively than Ross about the most obnoxious heels around, such as the Right To Censor or Tazz.note 
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    • During The Undertaker's Satanic heel gimmick in 1999, Lawler routinely said that Undertaker had "snapped" whenever he and his "Ministry of Darkness" lackeys would perform rituals or (more than once) attacked women. Lawler was even concerned for the Undertaker's primary target, Stephanie McMahon, and was thoroughly disgusted during the infamous "Satanic wedding" skit.
    • Also during 1999, when he was acidic in his heel-favoring style, he was notably shaken and subdued at the "Over the Edge" pay-per-view event after Owen Hart – a wrestler he was mocking just minutes later – was badly injured when his ring entrance went horribly wrong. Lawler reportedly accompanied Hart (who was dressed as and competing as The Blue Blazer for the match) to the hospital, where he was dead on arrival. Lawler broke the news when he returned late in the event and was subdued the rest of the evening.note 
  • Jimmy Hart: This trope was the genesis for Hart's Heel–Face Turn in early 1993, after spending most of his past eight years in the WWF as an obnoxious heel, when his wrestlers, Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Shyster (competing as the tag team Money Inc.) attacked and brutally beat Brutus Beefcake during a nationally televised match. DiBiase took on Beefcake in a one-on-one match against Hart's advice; Hart, in the storyline, was concerned about the legit injuries Beefcake had suffered (in a parasailing accident in 1990) would be re-aggravated. When Beefcake got the upper hand, Shyster came out to help DiBiase double-team Beefcake, beating him so badly Hart got into the ring and tried to get between his wrestlers and Beefcake before Shyster could use a metal briefcase to hit Beefcake. Hart was knocked from the ring and could only watch as DiBiase and Shyster completed the attack. Hart was so angered that he turned face and accompanied Beefcake to the hospital, refusing to leave his bedside until asked to by security. For the rest of his WWF run, Hart was a face, and even became his old (in-ring) enemy Hulk Hogan's manager.
  • For a while, when Bradshaw was just starting his JBL gimmick, Triple H, who was a heel at the time as well, showed open disgust for JBL (who was portrayed as racist against Latinos) while still remaining a heel.
  • This trope was also the basis for The Four Horsemen-nWo feud.
  • In Ring of Honor, after Austin Aries lured Jimmy Jacobs's ex-girlfriend, Lacey, out of the Age of the Fall, he decided to stalk her by going to a gym that she frequented. The two confronted each other, with Jacobs pulling his signature railroad spike out on her. Tyler Black and Joey Matthews, the two who shot the footage, immediately stopped the video while expressing their disapproval for this.
  • Austin Aries had no problem kicking in the throat of Delirious and then attacking Daizee Haze for trying to get him medical help so as to continue his assault uninterrupted but drew the line at beating on Delirious while he was unconscious, as Roderick Strong had.
  • Despite his feuds with Austin Aries and Delirious, Roderick Strong had no problem standing beside them to keep Nigel McGuinness from feeling during an ROH title match with Bryan Danielson.
  • Vince McMahon himself, who has often been called Satan by commentators, looked shocked/horrified when Brock Lesnar pushed Zach Gowen (a one-legged wrestler) down the stairs. He even tried to talk Brock out of it beforehand, to no avail. Didn't stop him from booking himself in a match against his own daughter months later, however.
  • In TNA, when Eric Bischoff planned to force the injured Mr. Anderson to compete, Matt Morgan pointed out that Anderson had a concussion, and he might die. Bischoff loudly announced that he didn't care, prompting Morgan's Heel–Face Turn.
    • Forgetting that it was Matt Morgan who gave Hernandez a "concussion" in-storyline and put him out of action for months by putting Hernandez's head between his foot while it was doing the carbon footprint, and the steel ring post, and trying to do the same thing to Amazing Red.
      • He still didn't make them wrestle and put them further in harm's way afterwards, which is even worse. And he also mentioned that he'd learned a lot more about concussions now and understands how dangerous they are.
  • Kane, of all people — the guy who's twice buried his brother alive and set people on fire — showed this when he stopped Big Show from beating Ricardo Rodriguez to death after Rodriguez hit Show with Alberto Del Rio's car. There was actually logic behind it: Kane knew Del Rio would press charges against Show, thus preventing Show from going after Del Rio. So yeah, Kane has the standard of not killing someone if it will prevent you from getting your hands on the person you really want to hurt. During the Attitude Era, Kane shows regret when Triple H ducks out of the way of a fire ball meant for him, injuring Chyna. Triple H was tossed of the ring by Kane for it.
    • Kane also hilariously said that he's a monster, he's evil, he only gets pleasure from murdering people... and even he thinks AJ Lee is insane.
  • On February 20, 2012, after Eve Torres dropped the bombshell on using Zack Ryder, she wanted the then-Heel Bella Twins to personally record her going to John Cena and crying her eyes out. Naturally, the Bellas were a little bit unnerved at the idea of doing so.
  • The Miz himself isn't immune to this when he was feuding with Jerry Lawler, as he went on to offer Lawler his condolences when Lawler's mother passed away. By contrast, Michael Cole (then a heel commentator) openly mocked Lawler's mother's passing.
    • Despite being a heel commentator, Cole was unnerved seeing that Kane had attacked Randy Orton's father, "Cowboy" Bob Orton.
    • After John Laurinaitis, Lord Tensai, and Tensai's manager treated John Cena (who had a broken arm) to a three-on-one assault, ending with them squashing Cena's arm between a chair and the steel steps, Cole was horrified. Subverted when it turned out Cole was only concerned about Laurinaitis getting fired for his actions. When he wasn't, Cole supported him.
    • When Laurinaitis fired the Big Show for no good reason, even after the Big Show got down on his knees and begged, not only does Cole not defend Laurinaitis against Jerry Lawler dubbing the act a Moral Event Horizon, he looks genuinely disgusted by Laurinaitis' actions.
    • Brock Lesnar's general "I'll do and hurt whoever I want because I run this show" persona has really gone over poorly with Cole.
    • He was mortified at Miz's beating on Lawler in one of the final Raws of 2010.
    • Real Life Writes the Plot: When Jerry Lawler suffered a heart attack after wrestling a match in 2012, Cole's honest and sympathetic handling of the situation received high praise from fans, people in WWE and wrestling media. This led to Cole's Heel–Face Turn as a commentator, which cemented when WWE brought back JBL as a full-time heel commentator. Fans definitely were happy to see JBL take over this role.
    • As a commentor, John "Bradshaw" Layfield tends to talk up or generally defend detestable heels, but he cannot stand The Wyatt Family.
  • The Big Bossman's Heel–Face Turn involved this trope. On a Superstars episode in 1990, Ted DiBiase paid off Slick to get the Million Dollar Belt back from Jake Roberts, who had hidden the belt in his bag alongside his snake, Damien. Under Slick's instructions, the Bossman attacked Jake during a match with Dibiase, cuffed a helpless Jake to the ropes, and then walked away from ringside to the stage, where Dibiase gloated about the entire deal. Upon realizing he's been bought off, Boss Man went berserk: what he did next.
  • Brock Lesnar would once again inspire this trope heading into his SummerSlam 2012 confrontation with Triple H. Lesnar assaulted Hunter's retired best friend Shawn Michaels and then dragged Shawn out to the ring, eventually getting him in a Kimura lock. Triple H started going after Brock, but Lesnar's advisor Paul Heyman ordered Triple H to stand back otherwise Brock would fully wrench it in and break Michaels' arm. He relented…but then Brock broke the arm anyway, before evading a pissed-off Hunter's chase. Even Heyman looked disturbed for a moment.
    • Paul also begged Lesnar during his rampage on the March 30, 2015 episode of RAW to not harm various people at ringside after Seth Rollins refused to give him his rematch for the title — Brock didn't listen, and proceeded to attack Rollins, and when he escaped, upturn the announcers' table onto the announcers, throw J&J security over the Spanish Announcers Table, and then F5 both Michael Cole and a cameraman despite Heyman's pleas that none of them had done anything. Stephanie McMahon was also genuinely horrified by the act, tried to talk him down, and when he look poised to continue, didn't hesitate to suspend him and kick him out of the arena. Brock wasn't allowed back until he promised to apologize to those he harmed on live television.
  • In TNA, Tyson Tomko, a guy who was a heel for most of his career, had enough of Robert Roode's abusive treatment toward Traci Brooks. After his victory with Kaz, he decided to give Roode a piece of his mind, and quite a big shove at that too. It was effective and Roode could not (or better say, would not dare to) do a thing, while Ms. Brooks grinned with pleasure.
  • Vickie Guerrero, despite being the bitch she is, really disapproved of how CM Punk disrespected the name of Paul Bearer and even calls him out for it. So as punishment, she pits him against Kane, who attacked him due to his disrespect. It makes sense that Vickie wouldn't like someone who disrespected the deceased.
    • She was also mortified when Vince McMahon let The Shield get away with attacking Kane and interfering during a championship match. Triple H and Stephanie were pressuring her to control the Shield and not let them interfere in matches, while Vince was rather impressed by the Shield's ruthless aggression. Vickie was a consummate ass kisser whose job was in jeopardy at the time, and was terrified at being in a position where no matter what she did, she was gong to piss off one of her superiors.
  • SmackDown: May 15, 2003Roddy Piper and Sean O'Haire had their hand full with Mr. America when Zach Gowen shows up. When Piper pulls out Gowen's artificial leg, both he and O’Haire looked on in disbelief to the point O’Haire basically left leaving Piper behind.
  • On the November 4, 2002 Raw, Victoria went off on a rant about all the violent things she intended to do to Trish Stratus at Survivor Series, and, after Victoria walked away, Ivory said, "Gosh, and they said I was nuts."
  • In 1998, when the New Age Outlaws pushed a dumpster off the stage with Terry Funk aka Chainsaw Charlie and Mick Foley aka Cactus Jack inside of, a vary of other wrestlers, Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler all went to see what happened. The wrestlers who were seen included Heels such as Marc Mero, and The Headbangers, Sgt. Slaughter and Vince McMahon… all broke character and ran to Funk and Foley's aid. New Age Outlaws even had that look on their face, through, Foley committed as “one of the funnier examples of bad sportsmanship”.
  • Daniel Bryan was a complete dick to AJ Lee, cruelly broke her heart and abandoned her... but when she threatened to jump through a table for attention, even he tried to talk her down.
  • TNA, 2014 - Even Tazz, who can normally come up with excuses for the bad guys, finds what Kenny King did to "Sarge" Chris Melendez to be utterly despicable.
  • In a match between Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton in 2014, Orton uses a low-blow on Bryan to get out of the match. JBL, who's a supporter of The Authority and other heels, is disgusted by this and says that, despite saying that Orton deserved a night off, that's a cowardly way out of a fight.
  • During Raven's first run in ECW, he crucified the Sandman, brainwashed his wife and son and turned them against him, deliberately broke one of Tommy Dreamer's fingers, regularly abused and demeaned his underlings, attempted to end Terry Funk's career, and just generally tried to make everyone around him miserable. However, when Rob Van Dam showed up on WWF Raw, Raven joined most of the rest of the ECW locker room (including several of its other heels, most notably Wrestling/TheDudleyBoys) in condemning him as a sellout.
  • Rusev and his valet Lana, with their pro-Russian/anti-American gimmick including promos where they viciously insult nearly every aspect of American culture, have prompted this type of response from more than one American heel. Jack Swagger (who was using a very pro-American heel gimmick) even pulled a Heel–Face Turn just so that he could start a feud with Rusev because of how disgusted he was by Rusev and Lana's anti-American stance. This was significant because, unlike the two face immigrants Swagger and his mentor, Zeb Colter, had previously targeted - Alberto Del Rio and The Great Khali - Rusev and Lana are entirely of European descent (although Rusev is Ambiguously Brown).
  • The Miz, who has had a history with CM Punk dating back years, starting in the revived WWECW, was outright disgusted with Paul Heyman's betrayal and made it blatantly clear when the man made an appearance on Miz TV. (Of course, Miz was nominally a face at that point, wrestling critics' dismissal of his supposed sincerity notwithstanding.)
  • When Steve Corino showed up in Beyond Wrestling in 2015, he explained that the difference between him and Matt Tremont was that Corino was evil, Tremont was disgusting. He didn't mean it as an insult, just saying that Tremont went to lengths Corino would never lower himself to, even in ECW.
  • In Progress Wrestling, The London Riots (Jimmy Havoc's earliest allies when he turned heel and members of his stable Regression) seemed to be trying to pull Jimmy Havoc off of Ospreay when he made it clear he was going to cut Ospreay's ear off, after a tag team match.
  • There's an ongoing meme being shared on social media stating that, for the fans' love of seeing wrestlers get slammed into thumbtacks, powerbombed through tables and thrown off of near-death heights, one independent circuit may have finally gone too far when one wrestler was slammed into a pile of LEGOS.
  • Crossed with Insistent Terminology: On Night II of CHIKARA JoshiMania, December 3, 2011, F.I.S.T. (Icarus/Chuck Taylor/Johnny Gargano) teamed with Portia Perez against "Lightning" Mike Quackenbush, Manami Toyota and The Colony (Fire Ant and Green Ant). In F.I.S.T.'s pre-match promo, Taylor referred to Toyota as "that Japanese broad." Gargano corrected him, saying, "She's not a broad, she's a dame." Taylor then referred to Toyota as, "that Japanese dame."
  • The CHIKARA-affiliated Wrestling Is Fun! promotion had as its main title the WiF! Banana Title, that is, a title that was represented by an actual banana. Jaka actually ate the banana after winning it, which his manager Sidney Bakabella found shocking.
  • At LW Vacationland Cup 2019, July 12, 2019, Jeremy Leary and Skylar Marie tried giving Ashley Vox a Traumatic Haircut. "The Galaxy's Greatest Alien" Kris Statlander, who had her own issues with Ashley, made the save.

Alternative Title(s): Professional Wrestling


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