5 times WWE gave Superstars exactly what they requested for
In modern WWE, it’s hard to find Superstars that still hold creative control or influence on the higher-ups. Even with top-tier stars, it’s more of them being told what to do.
However, there have been instances throughout WWE history where Superstars made a specific request and got what they wanted. In this list, we limit that to WWE stars requesting title wins and heel turns – all of which were eventually granted.
How did it come about? And which superstars managed to convince WWE to put a title on them or change their character?
#5. Roman Reigns – Requested WWE officials to turn heel for his return in 2020
Show up and win.
— WWE (@WWE) September 5, 2020
Roman Reigns’ return in 2020 may not have happened in front of fans, but it kickstarted one of the most important WWE runs in the last decade. After 5-and-a-half years of fan clamoring, WWE finally decided to make the call and turn Roman Reigns heel.
Just as fans, wrestlers, and other experts had anticipated – it was an instant success. Roman Reigns was finally able to tap into another layer of his character, and there seems to be no argument that he is the biggest Superstar in WWE today.
Not long after his heel turn, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that Roman Reigns specifically requested a heel turn from Vince McMahon.
At the time, it was only a rumor. However, in early 2021, Roman Reigns seemingly confirmed this to be true when speaking to Ryan Satin of FOX Sports. Roman Reigns said that he “always” wanted to turn heel and that he got Vince McMahon’s blessing:
“So, it was one of those things where it was like, ‘Man, I want to do this because I know I can tap into a different level of character work. I know I can create so many more layers as a performer if they allow me to do this, but the numbers just wouldn’t let me. When the opportunity came I jumped on it. It was kind of a team discussion. Obviously, you gotta have the big man involved and gotta have the blessing from him. But, it just all seemed to work out with perfect timing,” said Roman Reigns.
It’s interesting to note Roman Reigns’ point about the “numbers” not allowing him to turn heel. Vince McMahon was adamant for years about keeping Roman Reigns as a babyface despite weekly fan rejection.
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) November 23, 2020
It was similar to how Vince McMahon turned down Hulk Hogan’s heel-turn pitch for WrestleMania 6, and how he shot down the idea of John Cena turning heel for years.
In John Cena’s case, a plan had reportedly been put in place, but given John Cena’s PR image and incredible merchandise sales (among several other variables), Vince McMahon got cold feet and pulled out of it.
The circumstances surrounding Roman Reigns’ character was a bit different. It was a pleasant surprise and as The Tribal Chief, he kickstarted a year-long reign as the Universal Champion and the best run of his entire WWE career.
#4. Goldberg – Requested a controversial WWE Universal title win in 2020
— WWE (@WWE) February 29, 2020
While Goldberg might shy away from it, there’s no denying that WWE likely grants him far more creative power than most of the roster. He is a ratings draw for WWE, and there are always more eyes on the product when he is around, whether fans choose to accept that or not.
In early 2020, Goldberg emerged as an unexpected Universal title contender to WWE’s most protected star at that time – ‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt. Wyatt was carrying incredible momentum with him for nearly 10 months since his WWE return.
However, his fate would repeat itself the same way it had years before. When it really mattered – Bray Wyatt lost. Goldberg defeated ‘The Fiend’ and snapped Wyatt’s incredible winning streak, leading to a lot of outrage online from the WWE Universe.
— WWE (@WWE) February 27, 2020
WrestleZone had reported that it was Goldberg who asked WWE to win the match at the last minute, as he supposedly didn’t want to risk “damaging his image.”
“We were told that Goldberg going over was a last-minute decision, apparently because Goldberg didn’t want to risk damaging his image. It was noted that Goldberg bargained for creative control and pushed for the title win because ‘The Fiend’ was a monster and the younger fans needed to see him come out victorious, or it would ruin his character,” WrestleZone reported.
Again, it’s important to note that Goldberg has denied the claims of having control over the final decision. But given how things played out, it leads to a lot of skepticism.
#3. ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin – Regrets his request to WWE to turn heel
— 𝗥𝗼𝗯𝗯𝘆 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗻™ (@RobbyTheBrain) November 3, 2013
There will never be a babyface in WWE who can ascend ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin’s status. WWE has had all-time great babyfaces that they built the company around such as Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Bret Hart and John Cena. But none of them evoked the same reaction every week that ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin did.
Looking back, Austin’s run at the top of WWE lasted only a few years, with injuries shortening that period. But in that time, he arguably had the most impactful babyface run in WWE history.
‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin is among the highest-grossing box office stars in pro wrestling history, but he wasn’t prone to mistakes himself. When speaking to Chris Jericho on the Talk Is Jericho podcast, Austin said that his heel turn at WrestleMania X7 was his idea, but admits that it was one of the two worst calls he made during his entire WWE run:
“Worst call I’ve ever made other than refusing to job to Brock Lesnar at Atlanta. But, you know, that was my idea. Vince always likes to do something big at Wrestlemania. He didn’t have anything big planned. So, me being the rocket scientist that I am, I figured okay. You’re a hot babyface, and if you turn heel, you’re a hot ass heel to draw money like that. Or vice versa. By and large that is true for the most part if the time is right to turn. Well clearly the time wasn’t right for me to turn.” (H/T WrestlingInc)
Although WrestleMania X7 is considered by many to be the greatest pay-per-view in WWE (and professional wrestling) history, the heel turn didn’t have the effect that was expected. Austin compared himself to the legendary actor “John Wayne” and admitted that people simply didn’t want to hate him:
“People didn’t want to hate me. Me, because I always loved working heel more than a babyface. Thought it was going to be a chance for me to have fun, go back to working heel, doing what I loved to do and with that being said, I love working babyface too. Obviously it’s where I made my money, but I like working heel. So it was a bad idea, but Vince bought into it with me.”
Ultimately, this wasn’t something unforgivable and it didn’t necessarily leave a bad taste in the mouth of fans – at least not in the long run. Austin is still one of the all-time greats and the hottest babyface that WWE has ever had.
His heel turn at WrestleMania X7 is considered to be the conclusion of the iconic “Attitude Era”.
#2. Seth Rollins – Pitched his WWE World title win at WrestleMania 31
— B/R Wrestling (@BRWrestling) March 30, 2015
WWE had a problem at WrestleMania 31. The scheduled main event between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns was supposed to result in the latter’s coronation and his first WWE World Championship.
It was meant to kickstart his run as the new face of WWE and the official successor to John Cena’s throne. There was one big problem – WWE fans didn’t buy into Roman Reigns as a top star.
When it became evident that Roman Reigns’ coronation wasn’t going to work, a backup plan was eventually made and Seth Rollins made history by becoming the first and only person to cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania.
In the main event of WrestleMania 31, Seth Rollins cashed in his MITB briefcase and it seemed to be a decision widely popular among fans. Before that, the outcome of the main event was a lose-lose situation.
Seth Rollins revealed on the E & C Pod of Awesomeness that he pitched the cash-in idea to Triple H and told him to keep it in the back of his mind:
“I just wanted to remind him that I have this idea on the table. ‘I think it’s a pretty good one and even if it’s not the idea, it could easily be a contingency plan if the main event at WrestleMania doesn’t come together the way you see it. Just keep it in the back of your head, you know?’” [H/T Wrestling Inc.]
It’s not known as to whether WWE made the decision based upon this, but it’s highly likely that it was a decision already kept in place. Either way, Seth Rollins got exactly what he wanted, and although he has had a Hall of Fame-level WWE career since, there hasn’t been a moment for him that has topped that.
#1. Becky Lynch – Requested a heel turn for her WWE return after over a year
I’m back. pic.twitter.com/dlKraRFC2p
— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) August 22, 2021
Becky Lynch’s return to WWE in 2021 took a few more months than anticipated. While it was understandable that she wasn’t a part of WrestleMania 37, fans were taken aback when they found out that she would take longer for a return.
When it finally happened, it was at SummerSlam 2021. Sasha Banks was originally scheduled to challenge Bianca Belair for the SmackDown Women’s title, but it wasn’t announced until the last minute.
While it looked like Carmella would be a replacement, Becky Lynch returned and dethroned Bianca Belair in 26 seconds. It was revealed soon after that Becky Lynch would be a heel moving forward – with many WWE fans surprised by the decision.
At first, it was WWE who was criticized for mishandling Bianca Belair and the bizarre decision to turn Becky Lynch heel. However, in an update to PWInsider’s original report, Dave Meltzer of WON added that Becky Lynch personally requested for a heel turn.
— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) September 11, 2021
Since this is the most recent occurrence on this list, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. Becky Lynch seems to have a little more footing as a heel than she did in 2018 – where it completely backfired.
Either way, the only assumption we can make is that Becky Lynch took it as a personal challenge. Speaking to the New York Daily News, Becky Lynch said that it wasn’t as much of a heel turn as it was her “getting smarter” – this was, ironically, her doubling down on her heel character.
Vince Russo makes an offer to Vince McMahon himself right here. Check it out, bro!