10 Wrestlers Who Turned Heel On AEW

All Elite Wrestling isn't necessary the promotion for ALL wrestlers. Not anymore, anyway...

Bret Hart

In his last big angle before setting his sights on the AEW World Heavyweight Championship in September 2022, MJF called Tony Khan a "f*cking mark" as he closed out an epic rant at the company and boss' expense, begging to be fired for not being given the respect he felt he was due.

It all followed an equally controversial Double Or Nothing weekend in which rumours swirled that the 'Salt Of The Earth' wouldn't even be appearing on the show for his planned match against former charge Wardlow. A flight home had allegedly been booked, Friedman missed a fan meet-and-greet

The persona turned heel on the company, but dating all the way back to his introduction to this world via Being The Elite in 2018, he never cared about anybody beyond what they could do for him. That very trait flew in the face of how many performers have viewed All Elite Wrestling and its (largely) well-liked president. WWE spent so long being a heel promotion within the walls of its own fiction that it's still strange to some to imagine that the organisation should fundamentally support its talent rather than bury them underneath bureaucracy and bad administration.

Characters aren't supposed to swing for the initials. In real life though...

10. Bret Hart

Bret Hart

It was both a short and long-term endorsement of All Elite Wrestling by Bret Hart when when 'The Excellence Of Execution' appeared at the organisation's inaugural Double Or Nothing pay-per-view to unveil the design of the World Heavyweight Championship.

A sentimental favourite of many that fit the profile of AEW's largest demographic, Hart was also never shy of sharing exactly how he felt about things in the industry. A stamp of approval from him meant more than praise or criticism from some of the charlatans out there.

To that end, his shift in opinion over the last year or so won't make good reading for AEW diehards. Speaking to HNLive, he said;

"I really question the direction that the people that are in charge are taking wrestling. AEW has gone in a bad direction with all the violence and gore. I watched an episode, Dr. Martha Hart doing her big press conference, I’m watching AEW and [Jon Moxley] is sticking a fork in somebody’s head for five minutes with a close-up. This isn’t wrestling. I would recommend turning all that off and not watching because it’s not very good. Wrestling is going in bad directions because people don’t know what wrestling is or was."

Of course, the take might just be for now rather than forever, but 'The Hitman' knows what he likes, and right now, that's not everything he's seeing on Dynamite.

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Michael is a writer, editor, podcaster and presenter for WhatCulture Wrestling, and has been with the organisation over 7 years. He primarily produces written, audio and video content on WWE and AEW, but also provides knowledge and insights on all aspects of the wrestling industry thanks to a passion for it dating back almost 35 years. As one third of "The Dadley Boyz" Michael has contributed to the huge rise in popularity of the WhatCulture Wrestling Podcast and its accompanying YouTube channel, earning it top spot in the UK's wrestling podcast charts with well over 60,000,000 total downloads. He has been featured as a wrestling analyst for the Tampa Bay Times, GRAPPL and Sports Guys Talking Wrestling, and has covered milestone events in New York, Dallas, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, London and Cardiff. Michael's background in media stretches beyond wrestling coverage, with a degree in Journalism from the University Of Sunderland (2:1) and a series of published articles in sports, music and culture magazines The Crack, A Love Supreme and Pilot. When not offering his voice up for daily wrestling podcasts, he can be found losing it singing far too loud watching his favourite bands play live. Follow him on X/Twitter - @MichaelHamflett