COMMENTARY | At some point, even the most despicable professional wrestling heels (bad guys) usually turn face and become fan-favorites.
But a very small number of wrestling's most famous heels somehow never turned face. The fact that promoters never felt the need to change these wrestlers' heel characters is a testament to how well they played their roles. Most of these heels wrestled as foreigners, which made it difficult for them ever to reconcile with patriotic American fans.
Take a closer look at the top five heel wrestlers who never turned face:
5. Bobby Heenan
Admittedly, Bobby Heenan's announcing and managing careers far surpassed his wrestling career. However, he consistently played the same heel role throughout the decades he spent working in the industry. The closest that he ever came to turning face was when the NWO exploded onto the scene in WCW. As mega-heels, the NWO even drew heat from Bobby Heenan. However, he clearly favored all the other WCW heels as an announcer.
4. Killer Khan
Killer Khan has to be one of the greatest names for a heel in wrestling history. Billed from Mongolia, the imposing Killer Khan was the first wrestler to put a chink in the armor of the mighty Andre the Giant long before Hulk Hogan body-slammed him at Wrestlemania III. In 1981, Khan delivered a knee-drop off the ropes that kayfabe broke Andre's ankle. Later in the 1980s, Killer Khan also had a successful heel run in World Class Championship Wrestling.
3. Ivan Koloff
Although he was born in Canada, Ivan Koloff played a Russian heel, which was a surefire way of drawing heat during the Cold War. Koloff was such a great heel that he earned the honor of ending Bruno Sammartino's eight-year run as WWWF Champion. Later in his career, Koloff continued to play his Russian heel character well in the NWA. In fact, he and fellow "Russian" Alexis Smirnoff were one of the most successful heel tag teams in wrestling at that time.
2. Abdullah the Butcher
Given his physique and the fact that he rarely talked, it's doubtful that Abdullah the Butcher could succeed today. However, neither of those factors mattered while he was wrestling and Abdullah the Butcher was one of the most feared heels in the business. Abdullah wrestled for many different promotions, and he usually came in to work against the area's top face. His gimmick was the use of foreign objects, which often created a blood bath in the ring.
1. The Iron Sheik
The only country Americans hated more than the USSR in the late-1970s was Iran. And while many heels pretended to be Russians to generate heat, The Iron Sheik was born in Iran. A great amateur wrestler, The Iron Sheik quickly rose through the ranks and eventually landed in the WWF. In 1983, he defeated Bob Backlund to become WWF Champion. The Iron Sheik is still a heel in retirement as he humbles the biggest stars in pop culture on Twitter.
Patrick Michael lives in New Orleans and has always been a big fan of pro wrestling. Patrick's favorite wrestling promotion was Mid-South Wrestling back in the 1980s. Patrick's favorite wrestling angle of all-time was the NWO and his favorite wrestler is Roddy Piper. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Killer Khan
- Bobby Heenan
- Ivan Koloff