9. Shawn Opens A Window
As far as heel turns go, it’s one of the best ever, largely due to the visuals of broken glass and streaks of blood. The Rockers had been, well, on the rocks for a couple of months, with dissension and some high-profile losses threatening their effective partnership. Shawn Michaels’ suddenly-arrogant attitude was ruffling Marty Jannetty, but there seemed to be a truce in the offing. Until Michaels Superkicked Jannetty on the set of The Barber Shop, before chucking him through the decorative window.
The phrase “through the Barber Shop window” entered the wrestling lexicon as a result of Michaels’ treachery, as his turn was executed both deftly and brutally. It was a simple two-part beatdown, with the latter visual the most striking. Michaels would never look back from that betrayal, embracing his new heel role with expert application.
8. Rocket Launched
Though we look back at Owen Hart as a gifted in-ring performer and charismatic presence, there was a time when he was used as little more than midcard fodder on WWE programming. Upon his falling out with brother Bret at the dawn of 1994, he’d had almost no notable victories over major stars in the company. There was no sustained push before his turning heel.
Most onlookers probably would’ve figured that former champ Bret would’ve easily put midcard regular Owen away come WrestleMania X. When said match came to pass, Owen looked like Bret’s doppelganger, matching his superstar brother move for move, hold for hold, before putting him away cleanly with a simple reversal. For his remaining days as a wrestler, Owen would always be seen as a threat, thanks to two factors: Bret’s willingness to give to him during that one match, and Owen’s world-class talent finally getting the forum to shine. Oh, and *winning* the match certainly rubber-stamped Owen for better days.
7. Blood From A Stone
There will probably never be a double-turn as excellently delivered as what transpired in the submission match at WrestleMania 13. Bret Hart embraced the bitter dark side of societal disillusionment, while Steve Austin heroically fought against mounting pain and suffering in certain defeat. For Austin, who was fast-tracking his way to the top of WWE anyhow, this was incontrovertible proof of his greatness.
Nobody could ever forget the visual of Austin, eyes clenched in a pained grimace with rivulets of blood crisscrossing his face, almost breaking the Sharpshooter on sheer will. Ultimately, his own body betrays him, but his efforts were good enough to turn the entire crowd to his side. It was one of the most bad-ass performances ever given by any wrestler, and fans began flocking in greater droves to the side of a malcontent that had just displayed true grit.