WWE Hall of Famer and former National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Champion Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat was recently a guest on Ring Rust Radio and told a story about how he wanted to work as a heel in WWE at one point back in 1991, but Vince McMahon rejected the idea:
I’ll tell you a true story. Back in ‘91, I went to Vince and Pat Patterson and asked to do a turn and they both shut me down without hesitation. They said it would not work, I was the premier babyface, and I told them that I’ve been in the ring with the best heels in the business. I actually believed that I could work as a heel because I’ve been in the ring with the best of them. They said bottom line, it would probably hurt your career and they shut it down.
Now, at the time, guys, I was a bit turned off. I was a bit disgruntled because I wanted to be able to work as a heel. At that time, I had been in the business, I was approaching around 17 years and I knew I was getting into the twilight of my career and I just wanted to be able to experience working on the dark side. Being able to feel what that’s like and I was upset about not being able to do it at the time. Looking back at it now, I’m happy and pleased that they did talk me out of it and not allow it.
Like you said earlier, one of the few guys in the business that wrestled close to 20 years actively and stayed the same way as he started in the business. There’s just a few of us that have done that and I’m happy to say that I’m one of those few guys now. I reflect back and I’m happy that I was turned down.