Everyone likes to joke that the WWE philosophy is "if you don't know what to do with someone, just turn them heel!" and sure sometimes it does feel like that, we've watched wrestlers like The Velveteen Dream and Kushida drift from good guy to bad guy and back with seemingly little rhyme or reason. But if we are being honest, sometimes a wrestler needs a little change of pace to continue to be interesting, on the main roster, guys like Seth Rollins and Daniel Bryan have had very successful turns that have kept their character's relevant, most recently Roman Reigns's heel turn has earned praise from some of the same fans that were his biggest critics earlier this year.
On NXT a well-executed turn can be just the right thing to give an underrated star the attention that they deserve. So here, in no particular order are 5 NXT heel/face turns that really should happen.
Earlier this year when Candice and her husband, Johnny Gargano, both turned heel following the "final match" between Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa I had a lot of hope that we would see NXT's power couple finally go on to rule over the black and yellow brand together. Now, following Johnny's several failed attempts at gold, a lost opportunity for the women's title by LeRae, and another likely loss scheduled for both at TakeOver, it seems like the dreams of taking over NXT "the Gargano way" have already been crushed. It is time to inject this story with a little bit of drama to keep it going.
Johnny has clearly burned most of his bridges when it comes to having anyone having his back should he turn on his wife, but Candice could find support in her former friends Tegan Nox and Io Shirai. I would love to see Candice turn on her husband and end up teaming with Tegan Nox perhaps even going for the women's tag titles.
Of course, a face turn for Candice could lead to another exciting development in NXT and give us our first high-profile intergender match. LeRae and Gargano have wrestled with each other several times on the indies, and both LeRae and Nox have extensive backgrounds in intergender wrestling that would make them prime candidates for trying this out.
Lumis's run this summer was odd, which really isn't unexpected considering just how odd his character is. Lumis was seemingly a babyface when he aligned himself with The Velveteen Dream against The Undisputed Era in the lead up to TakeOver: In Your House, and continued to work face until an ankle injury put him on the shelf.
When Lumis returns I would love to see him in an intense heel role. I could see him stalking Finn Balor, who took Lumis's spot at TakeOver: XXX following his injury, seeking to get revenge on the NXT Champion. The character is some kind of serial killer/tortured artist type that can be fun to watch as a face but can really only live up to its full potential as a heel. I hope we see Dexter Lumis on our screens again soon and I hope that when we do he is creepier than ever.
Dakota Kai's heel turn has actually been pretty great. Not only did she have a fantastic set of matches with former best friend, Tegan Nox, but she was also able to elevate the profile of Raquel Gonzalez during this run. Kai did such a good job of elevating Gonzalez recently that she has kind of been left out of the feud between Gonzalez and Rhea Ripley. I could see NXT using this as an opportunity to turn Kai face again and let Gonzalez continue on as a monster heel in the women's division.
All of that being said, turning Dakota Kai face does not mean she needs to lose the edge that she got following her last turn at WarGames 2019. Kai can still be a credible threat in the ring and should avoid returning to her persona from before.
It is pretty clear that someone at NXT has a lot of faith in Bronson Reed, the Australian native went from jobbing out to Karrion Kross to competing for the North American Championship at TakeOver: XXX to being in NXT's first-ever gauntlet eliminator match to determine the number one contender for Finn Balor's NXT Championship in only a few months. However, it seems that someone even higher up at NXT isn't quite ready to put a title around the waist of the colossal one. So something needs to be done to keep Reed in a prominent spot while he waits his turn to hold some gold in NXT and a heel turn could be exactly what is necessary to get this job done.
Have Redd attack a jobber in an excessive fashion and give him a reign of terror as a frustrated heel who knows that he is ready for the main event, but is being held back by the powers that be. Maybe this is more of a "tweener" role but still, it is different than his previous Thicc Boi persona and that really would be enough to get NXT's top brass to maybe take him a little more seriously.
Drake Maverick earned his spot on the NXT this roster by getting over with the fans following his real-life release from the WWE. For a minute it really did seem like NXT was going to allow the technically unsigned Maverick to walk away with both a contract and an interim NXT Cruiserweight Championship. That of course did not happen as NXT pulled the trigger on their planned Legado Del Fantasma faction which has honestly, been a lot of fun to watch and was the right decision to make, but Maverick still got re-signed to the company and has had a fairly lackluster run since then.
Drake could easily turn on the fans and accuse them of not supporting him after he got his contract, say they only liked him because it was trendy, and now that he knows that he can only depend on himself he's only going to depend on himself. Admittedly this turn probably won't make huge waves on NXT, but having Maverick turn heel could be a massive shift on 205 live especially in the title scene. Maverick is an incredibly talented guy, and I would love to see him do anything that keeps him on my television.
Got any other ideas for NXT heel or face turns? Let me know by tweeting at me @robbydeshazer!
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