Pro Wrestling: Which Guys Were Heels In The Ring, But Good Guys In Real Life (And Vice Versa)?

Your persona in wrestling is just that: your persona, manufactured by the promoter to fit the needs of the story. Being a “heel” in the ring doesn’t mean you’re a bad guy outside of it, any more than being a “face” in the ring means you’re a good guy outside of it.

Who are some examples of pro wrestlers whose lives outside the ring didn’t match up with their personas inside the ring?

Ted DiBiase immediately comes to mind.

Hulk Hogan was a notorious backstage politician in both WCW and the WWF. Most of the time he was a “face” in the ring.

Frankly, Stephanie McMahon, a pretty big heel when she’s on TV, is by all accounts a good person in real life. Maybe it wasn’t always that way, but from what I can gather, her and Triple H do a good job reaching out to communities and becoming all around good people to the public

Andre the Giant was apparently one of the nicest people you’d ever meet.

Ditto Dwayne Johnson/The Rock.

Andre started Face, turned Heel.

The Rock started Heel and became Face.

(Or so I heard. I only watched wrestling for a few years in my early teens. Andre was a heel before I started watching and the Rock joined after I stopped, so I don’t exactly know their heel/face history.)

Maybe the best case of being a heel in real life was Hardbody Harrison, who kept 8 women as sex slaves.

terry funk I’m told was the nicest guy until you entered the arena and hed get this scowl which told the guys he was in character … he was also a seriously stiff wrestler who just tried to beat the hell out of ya until the bell rung and the show was over… then hed offer to pay for what ever injuries he gave ya and take ya out for dinner

or that’s according to ric flair anyways

I know a guy who has worked in some independent wrestling organizations and he says the Honkey Tonk Man was the nicest guy he ever worked with. Told the best stories. He was always a heel.

The thing is, almost everyone that’s spent much time as a pro wrestler has worked as a heel at some point.

Bill Watts had a minor problem on his hands when Steve “Dr. Death” Williams and Rick Steiner stopped to help after a car accident. Steiner was a heel at the time, and not supposed to be traveling with Doc, who was a babyface at the time. Steiner apparently ripped a car door off to get the injured driver out and got some local press coverage out of it. So the in ring heel became a real life babyface by happenstance, if you will.

Well, I mean, Superfly killed a girl…

Easy … the late “Rowdy” Roddy Piper… the greatest heel to ever step into the ring… one of the humblest. loyal, and nicest people outside of it.

Really? He’s coming into town to a comedy club. Wasn’t sure if he’d be that interesting… I suppose he could have some interesting stories.

I’ve seen a lot of online videos of him. His stories are usually really great, if not pretty bitter. I’d pay to see him

If it’s anything like Mick Foley’s “comedy” tour, it will just be him telling wrestling stories. Which, by the way, could be hilarious and enlightening. I’d check him out if I had the chance.

I worked for a small local wrestling organization years ago. One of the most popular wrestlers was a guy that went by Paddy O’Ryan. Always the fan favorite, he was a total dick to us guys that worked behind the scenes.

Relevant Story from a kinda-sorta heel

Heard good things about AJ Styles dating back to his TNA days. He’s a guy I feel like he comes off too likeable even if he is supposed to be a heel.

Earthquake and Typhoon - bad guy tag team but I’ve only ever read of both of them as being nice guys.

Definitely check him out. I had to opportunity not long ago to attend a “comedy” show by Jake “the Snake” Roberts. It was mostly wrestling stories, but Jake put a funny spin on a lot of them, and even if some of his jokes fell flat, it was quite entertaining to hear of his wrestling experiences. Later, Jake took the time to meet the people who attended–I met him, and he was very nice, and genuinely interested in hearing that I saw him wrestle in Toronto back in the 1980s.

Didn’t they turn face when their manager Jimmy “Mouth of the South” Hart sold them out so that he could form “Money, Inc.” which was made up of Ted “The Million Dollar Man” Dibiase and Irwin R. Schyster (AKA I.R.S., real name Mike Rotunda)?

Or did they go heel again?

(On a side note, Typhoon started as Tugboat, who was a face.)