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Your Wrestler 180s

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  • Your Wrestler 180s

    Just wondering if there's anyone that you used to not like, but have come to appreciate with time?

    A big one for me is Harley Race, though I wonder how much of that comes through my first experiences of him as a wrestler being well into his 40s and at a time when he'd already started winding down before financial concerns brought him back into the ring. I've grown to enjoy his stuff more the more I see stuff in his thirties, although must admit that even then I used to be less enamoured with what I'd seen. I think to start with I thought wrestling had just moved on too much for me to enjoy it - but I don't feel that's the case anymore and I've admired it whenever I've come across any newer stuff.

    Anyway, that's one of mine. What are yours? And try and keep it positive if you can, go for the 'bad to good' direction of 180's rather than being that guy who pisses on everyone's chips.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  • #2
    This is hard, because even as a kid I loved heels as much as babyfaces. I mean it does do the other way, like Chris Benoit or Jimmy Snuka. But to go from hate to love... hum... let me think...

    I'd say Shawn Michaels. When he first went solo and had the IC title forever and never lost it, it just really rubbed me the wrong way. I was one of the fans that didn't buy his '96 title win, I never bought him as a face. But once he did DX, it just felt like THAT was him. DX in '97-'98 I turned my opinion and really enjoyed Shawn.


    • #3
      Shinsuke Nakamura. When he debuted on WWE's main roster, I was not a fan. Ever since WrestleMania, his antics have been hilarious. Trolling Renee, everything he did at the MitB contract signing, clobbering people down south, it's been amazing heel work. I still don't like much of his main roster stuff prior to WrestleMania, mind, but I love what he's been doing since.

      In the vein of stuff I didn't like at the time, but when I look back on it now, I've done a 180 - R-Truth. I used to loathe the guy. When I look at his 2011 run now, though? I didn't know what I was missing. He was absolute gold. I think my dislike of his cheesy babyface "What's Up?" stuff hung around with me enough to not truly appreciate his conspiracy theory stuff.


      • #4
        The Miz for me. I couldn't stand him for a long time and thought he was a talent-less guy that only got on TV because of his reality show roots.

        He started growing on me with his US title reign, he finally started showing something... else. Better promos and a better delivery in the ring. Having said that, and though no fault of his own, I just didn't buy him as WWE Champion and I loathed that he beat Cena at WM27. I still hate that booking decision.

        Years have passed since then, and I have to say I enjoy it when he's on TV now. He's come on leaps and bounds, especially on the mic, and he plays a perfect chicken-shit heel. His feuds, while mostly not main event, are must-see mid card feuds and he brings the best out of other wrestlers.

        So yeah, he's my 180.


        • #5
          Man, I have turned around from love to hate and vice versa on so many guys. Just to touch on those already mentioned:

          Harley Race: I actually always liked Harley, except for this one period in 83 or 84 in AWA where he looked HORRIBLE. He looked much better later in the WWF, even though he was past his prime.

          HBK: I used to take it as a matter of course that Michaels was the best ever, as the narrative goes. I admit, I've become way less enamored with some of his stuff over time. I'll always think he's really good, but he has more weaknesses than I realized before I expanded my palate.

          Nakamura: Oh man, this hurts me. I first saw the guy in 2015 and he rocketed to the top of my favorite wrestler list. Dude was electric, charismatic, I loved his matches, I loved his weird actions, all that stuff. I couldn't be arsed to watch a thing he's doing now though. I still enjoy the old matches though, so maybe that's less a 180 on me and more a reflection on how the guy seems happy to coast at 1/8th of his potential in WWE.

          R Truth: Haha, I had a very weird relationship with this wrestler. When he was a stupid, smiley, dancing babyface, I thought he was fine. He suddenly got pushed to the main event for a second and I thought it was the stupidest thing ever, yeah he was a bit funny but it was such nonsense that I was very turned off. Now that I've seen more of his non-WWE career, I've settled on the idea that he was a potentially great talker/character and a pretty consistently shit wrestler.

          Miz: Oh yeah, big turnaround on this guy. I loathed him during his Smackdown Host, "Hoo-rah" phase. Just despised him. He really turned me around though, starting with the Miz & Morrison team (I strongly preferred Morrison at the time) and then I came over the rest of the way when he went solo, I still remember him just killing it in 2010 on the mic. It goes against the narrative, but I really liked him in the ring even then, he did a lot of small things that flashier guys didn't bother to do and was great at getting a crowd reaction. So glad he found his feet again, there were a couple years where it was rough to be a mizfan!

          I'll add one as well...

          Sean Waltman: I kind of took it as fact that X Pac sucked so bad he deserved his own special kind of heat, and scorned him the few times I saw him. Having gone back and looked more closely at the guy, I can honestly say I love him in pretty much all periods. There may be a year or two where he doesn't look so good when he's dealing with issues, but he's a trailblazing legend in my book now and I'll defend him pretty much any chance I get.

          The '92 Rumble! The Brain's Finest Hour!


          • #6
            I was about 8 going on 9 when I began watching pro wrestling habitually. 2004 was like my favorite year in WWE history for many reasons, with the exception of JBL. I was a huge Eddie Guerrero fan so when Bradshaw got repackaged as John Layfield, and unveiled that horrible entrance music, I legitimately hated him. By the time he captured the WWE Championship I had actually grown X-Pac levels of disdain and heat seeing him always overcome Eddie.

            There were so many time's I had the opportunity to buy a JBL action figure just to demolish but I hated him just that much that I didn't want him among my collection. Hell i remember contemplating buying the Great American Bash JBL figure but 2 dudes in the same aisle walked by and told me not to. I'm talking about teenager's hating JBL as much as I did. His entire run was just such a piss off too me but it worked because I got to watch WrestleMania 21 live and see John fuckin' Cena dethrone the evil George Bush'esque Texan.

            I think whenever he originally departed before returning back as a commentator was the first time since APA that he didn't make me want to change the channel. Originally he was an alright commentator but his final run in 2007-2008 resurrected forgotten feelings of hatred. It wasn't until sometime in 2010 just before the end of my Grade 9 year that Lords of wised me up to that being a work.

            Something about how he played off my belief of authenticity makes me respect him because he did such a terrific job as the top heel champion that I would legitimately change the channel if he was just talking instead of wrestling wrestling. #Mark4Life


            • #7
              I adored JBL from the word go, but part of the reason is that he was such an unbelievably good heel. Absolutely awesome.

              The '92 Rumble! The Brain's Finest Hour!


              • #8
                Bad Luck Fale is my most recent one. I used to hate every time he was on the screen. Now? i look forward to every one of his matches. Even if I think there may be a DQ. Guy's gotten to a point to where he's comfortable enough with his size and knows exactly what not to do where he can have a good match and hold hos own.

                Is he the best in ring guy ever? No. But he's better than he gets credit for. He's got a good character where he doesn't need to say much but knows how to carry himself to keep the gimmick up at all times. Wrestling can never have too many of those types. I think people lose themselves on "great matches" too often.

                “How great the tremors will be when the judge comes."


                • #9
                  The biggest one for me currently in the positive sense is Zack Sabre Jr. I genuinely used to HATE the guy. Hated watching him wrestle, hated his submission stylings, his white-meat mostly babyface routine, his look, his everything. Didn't help that he was regularly touted as one of the best wrestlers on Earth and I just, couldn't see that being true! He wasn't awful but he was played up as a much bigger deal than I thought he deserved at the time. I remember chanting vehemently against him every time I saw him at the Orlando WrestleMania indie shows, asking people to 'snap his chicken legs' and what have you. Hated him!

                  Since then, I think I've been almost in love with the dude. Since he turned heel and stuck the landing in PWG, alongside joining Suzukigun and clearly picking up a lot of good character work and quirks from the likes of Minoru Suzuki...he's just become exactly what I want in a wrestler. The dude is smart, has a great knack for psychology, knows how to play up his dickheadedness to maximum effect, has a bunch of great submissions, he's just perfect for me right now. Really into him, honestly have him as one of my favorite wrestlers. And all it took was really embracing the heel side and learning from MiSu!


                  • #10
                    Arn Anderson.

                    Took me flipping years to realise just how good he was.


                    • #11
                      Ollie I'm shocked!! What flipped the switch for you?

                      Co-sign Sabre, although I think part of it is that he legitimately got a lot better in the past couple years. He was so mechanical before, but now he actually has a sense of character. It's not tremendously deep but it adds a layer that makes him FAR better in my mind.

                      For a recent one, I have to say I've kind of fallen off of Travis Banks after liking him quite a lot at first. I dug his gritty spirit and willingness to take big bumps and bombs, but he's really not much of a character and I'm not sure he offers anything deeper than what's on the surface. I could switch back on him easily but there was a time I'd actively seek out his stuff, whereas now he's not very high on the list at all.

                      The '92 Rumble! The Brain's Finest Hour!


                      • #12
                        If we do a recent 180... hum... let me see.... I think for one, Pentagon Jr. That just goes with being a AAA wrestler at a time I was hating on AAA. I even vented and Cult had to remind me not to throw CMLL in AAA mess. So anyways, Lucha Underground came on, and I was happy because it was AAA wrestlers, but I wasn't too big on Pent. Like he was introduced to battle Kalisto (as Octagón Jr) in AAA, but once Kalisto went to WWE like dude was just there. Lucha Underground really opened my eyes on him though, and forced me to not be so lazy looking at this new generation of luchadors. You know, I was getting like, nothing's better than 90's luchadors. But Penta forced me to open my eyes.


                        • #13
                          That's so awesome. I dug him when he, Drago, and Fenix tore the house down on their first day, but I thought he might be the #3 guy of the bunch when he spent a little while running around with Chavo. Then he started snapping arms and I was hooked!

                          If anything I admit I've come down on him juuuust a little bit, because I think when he's removed from the top notch LU presentation he's not quite as much of a home run. But we're talking, from the #1 wrestler I'm excited about in the world to still in the top 10, so not a huge drop. I think he's picked up a couple bad habits on the independent scene but still, there's just something about him.

                          Here's a weird one, for a long time my only exposure to Juventud Guerrera was his weird Mexicools run in WWE, and I didn't think anything of him. Going back to watch him in the 90s was a revelation, and I've even seen stuff within the last decade which made a positive impression on me. Definitely think of him as a key part in the group that made lucha what it is today in America now.

                          The '92 Rumble! The Brain's Finest Hour!


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mizfan
                            Ollie I'm shocked!! What flipped the switch for you?
                            Funnily enough, I went on a G1 Climax watching kick a fair few years back. 1992, the first round was Arn vs Austin, and that made me think there must be something more to Anderson than had previously caught my eye. That took me to watch the tag at Clash XVII, with he and Zbysko against Dusty and Steamboat, and that was the moment I really realised I'd been missing out!

                            Another of mine would be Kurt Angle, although I think that's more to do with being a kid when he was during his first run with WWF and absolutely hating him as a character. Similar with Arn, I checked out a couple of his matches from that period a few years later down the line and realised I'd made a youthful mistake.


                            • #15
                              Spectacular, I didn't even know Arn was in a G1!

                              Kurt is...a weird one for me. When I first started in 2003, I didn't like him. He had mostly moved on from being a goof but wasn't fully "wrestling machine" yet. I remember thinking he did way too many long promos.

                              Then as my interest in the actual matches grew more defined, I started to appreciate the fact that he was an athletic freak and could be a lot of fun to watch, so I became a big fan.

                              But, as my tastes have continued to change, I've started to see him, for all his good qualities, as kind of a "get my shit in" wrestler who values the athletic spots, fast pacing, and lots of big moves over storytelling. Plus, of course, he's been painful to watch in the ring for the past 4-5 years, but I don't judge him just on that I guess. So yeah, my feelings are a bit mixed these days but it's impossible not to recognize his big positives.

                              The '92 Rumble! The Brain's Finest Hour!