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[[quoteright:200:[[Webcomic/MeatShield http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/should_have_seen_it_9332.jpg]]]]

->''"And so our heroes defeat the muffin in an exciting battle, which we can't show you because it would be much too expensive for [[SelfDeprecation a cheap show like this]]."''
-->-- '''Narrator''', ''WesternAnimation/DaveTheBarbarian''
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Something big is about to go down. Everyone knows it. The BigBad is about to get schooled by the OldMaster. A horde of mooks are about to be mowed down in an awesome fashion. Whatever it is, this will no doubt be one of the most awesome moments you will ever see.

Except you won't.

All you'll get (if you're lucky) is the characters [[TakeOurWordForIt talking about how awesome the scene was to behold]].

Just like [[NothingIsScarier the expectation of something scary is more frightening than the actual scare]], so is the expectation of an awesome scene. Except you never see the awesome scene, and are forced to imagine how it went down.

Compare [[{{Anticlimax}} Anti-Climax]] and WriterCopOut. Not to be confused with TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot, where the awesome thing in question never actually happened at all.

This trope used to be called "Missed Moment of Awesome". If you [[IThoughtItMeant want to find]] a trope for a time when a character's Awesome Moment fails to reach its expected level of epicness, try NegatedMomentOfAwesome. Stories or events that don't turn out as cool as you expected might belong in either TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot (a YMMV trope) or WhatCouldHaveBeen (a Trivia trope).

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!!Example subpages:

[[index]]
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome/AnimeAndManga
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome/ComicBooks
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome/FanFiction
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome/{{Film}}
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome/{{Literature}}
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome/LiveActionTV
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome/{{Music}}
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome/ProfessionalWrestling
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome/VideoGames
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome/WesternAnimation
[[/index]]

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Newspaper Comics]]
* There's a Sunday strip in which ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes are about to go sledding down a hill, but Hobbes jumps off at the last moment. Then the view remains centred on him and we only get to see a hint of how spectacularly Calvin's ride goes (and fails) by the look of Hobbes's reactions.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Sports ]]
* The year is 1968. The New York Jets are beating the Oakland Raiders 32 to 29 with 65 seconds left in a critical late-season game. Fans across the country are on the edge of their seats. And NBC cuts the game off to start showing ''Literature/{{Heidi}}'', a children's movie. And then Oakland scores two touchdowns in the time left, beating the Jets 43 to 32. Executives tried to preempt this, but they couldn't reach operations. No one on the East coast got to see Oakland's comeback. People were rather put out. This has been ranked as the fifth worst television blunder of all time and it will never happen again.
* In 2007, Bitter rivals Buffalo and Ottawa were meeting in the NHL playoffs. The game, went into overtime as both goalies were red hot that day. But oops! the game was on NBC, which still hadn't learned its lesson. Overtime was shunted to Versus, an upstart cable channel which few providers carried, in favor of an hour of ''pre-race'' coverage of The Preakness Stakes.
* 2010, July, a hot summer afternoon. England's first match in the World Cup. Expectations are high. All around the country fans gather in pubs, homes and at parties. Three minutes of tense action goes by. The crowd are on the edge of their seats, England has the ball and are soaring upfield as if unopposed. Sky TV cuts out. Two minutes later it cuts back in to the action. The score? 1-0.
* During the Evo 2010 ''Super VideoGame/StreetFighterIV'' grand final match, the online stream, being watched by over 27,000 people at the time, went out. During the final moments of the match.
* For many sports, we have precious little footage of the great players of the era before television became widespread.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Theatre]]
Comes up quite a lot to cover unstageable events- sometimes, these days, with the actors facing straight at the audience as if it's happening on the [[PaintingTheMedium fourth wall]].
* Was standard for Ancient Greek theatre that everything that actually happened was offstage and characters only appeared to talk about it- it doesn't seem to have been until quite recently that it occurred to dramatists that people might like to actually see this stuff happen
* Was therefore also done like this in the early days of {{Opera}}, as the whole genre was initially heavily influenced by Greek theatre
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Webcomics ]]
* ''WebComic/EightBitTheater'' features this as a fundamental part of the humor of the comic. Most of the promised epic battle scenes (a) don't happen at all; (b) are resolved with a completely mundane anticlimax; (c) get resolved off-panel, frequently by a different character or characters. This includes the defeat of the FinalBoss.
* Happens in ''Webcomic/{{Niels}}'' when the titular character succeeds in pushing Agent 300's BerserkButton.
* [[http://sluggy.com/comics/archives/daily/20031209 Played for laughs]] by ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance''.
-->"Okay, we ''were'' going to dedicate a full Sunday comic to the epic battle, but it's Bun-Bun against a ''turkey!'' ''' ''Come on'' ''' people!
* ''Webcomic/MeatShield'' provided the page image as a lampshade to the trope.
* Played with again, The ninth issue of ''Insonicnia'' is, basically, a standoff between Sonic and Shadow before they start fighting. The tenth issue is missing/broken. The eleventh issue is pretty much nothing but the characters talking about how awesome the fight was... oh, [[AndZoidberg and shadow]] being convinced to move into the house.
* Parodied in ''Webcomic/{{xkcd}}'' [[http://xkcd.com/581/ here]].
* A RunningGag in ''BasicInstructions'' is the viewer never gets to see any of superhero Rocket Hat's epic, well, superheroism, just awed after-the-fact descriptions. And then there's [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2010/10/14/how-to-react-to-something-amazing.html this comic]], which is one of the most literal examples of this trope ever.
* The battle between Mell and Dr. Narbon in {{Narbonic}} during the story "Battle for the Lost Diamond Mines of Brazil". Lampshaded to hell and back when Mell comments not only on how awesome it was, but how "hard to draw" it would have been.
* The sheer scope of Webcomic/{{Homestuck}} requires that many awesome scenes be left out or glossed over for the sake of [[WebcomicTime moving the story along]], but [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=004492 the Trolls' fight against the 12x prototyped Black King]] is arguably the off-screen climax of Act 5-1. Its absence inspired the 6-minute long song [[http://homestuck.bandcamp.com/track/rex-duodecim-angelus Rex Duodecim Angelus]] and a nearly-completed [[http://www.mspaforums.com/showthread.php?38173-S-Rex-Duodecim-Angelus-Artists-Needed Flash fan collaboration]].
** Also Eridan's rampage in the Land of Wrath and Angels. The Angels were supposedly unkillable, but Eridan managed to do it through a full minute of sustained fire from [[InfinityPlusOneSword Ahab's Crosshairs]]. He killed so many they started attacking on sight, so he wiped out the whole race.
** Also, in [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=008178 [S] ACT 6 ACT 6 INTERMISSION 1]], where [[spoiler: [[InterfaceScrew which cuts out early due to glitches and a stardust clog caused by]] [[BigBad Caliborn]], which is then [[LampshadedTrope Lampshaded]] [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=008179 on the following page]]. The following pages are about explaining what happened during the flash, though with the problem that [[OhCrap none of the heroes remember what actually happened]].]]
* In ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'', Violetta can steal ''anything''. [[ImpossibleThief Even if it's being held by someone else, who is watching her, and she's across the room.]] However, these amazing feats of misdirection and sleight of hand only happen ''just'' off-panel.
* Lampshaded early in ''ErrantStory'' as happening because [[http://www.errantstory.com/2003-05-26/100 the artist was too lazy to draw a panel]]. As the comic underwent CerebusSyndrome and the melees became much more serious (and much more elaborate), that all changed.
* ''Webcomic/TowerOfGod'': Kang Horyang reveals his [[http://images.wikia.com/towerofgod/images/6/62/Coolaass.jpg true form]] and then proceeds to beat Rapdevil into a bloody pulp. Offscreen.
* Happened in ''Webcomic/DinosaurComics'':
--> '''T-Rex:''' Time to go on a wacky adventure, which would be quite amazing to an imaginary third party with the ability to see my actions rendered as a continuous narrative!\\
'''Narrator:''' LATER:\\
'''T-Rex:''' Whew!! Kick ass!
* Whatever it was Bluey did with the giant robot in ''DragonTails'', it was awesome enough to make ''Enigma'' admit that it was pretty awesome.
* We never do get to see how [[TheAce Ace]] saved [[NumberTwo Freeda]] [[http://www.commanderkitty.com/2010/07/18/tactical-genius/ from a brainwashed mook's clutches]] in WebComic/CommanderKitty, since [[http://www.commanderkitty.com/2010/09/05/double-take/ the next time we see them]] is long enough after that for them to grab Triple-I disguises. Same with how [[http://www.commanderkitty.com/2011/02/06/and-shes-all-out-of-bubblegum/ Nin Wah fought off an army of goons three times her size]] and [[http://www.commanderkitty.com/2011/05/15/saved-by-the-bell/ wrecked her mechanical arm in the process]].
* A knife fight at a Halloween party between a man dressed as Snake-Eyes and a homicidal, Matrix-styling penguin is only related the morning after in [[http://www.lostinconfusioncomic.net/2011/11/07/lic-035/ this]] ''LostInConfusion'' strip.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]
* ''WhateleyUniverse:'' in the combat finals for the end of fall 2006 term at [[SuperheroSchool Whateley Academy]], the authors have showed us over a dozen combat finals ranging from awesome to hysterical to embarrassing. But every character keeps talking about Chaka's unbelievably awesome combat final against ''three'' superpowered opponents, in a disaster scenario with a tornado and earthquakes. It wasn't shown, and WordOfGod says it never will be.
* WebVideo/TheCinemaSnob's main complaint about ''Super Hornio Brothers''.
* The ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'' cartoon "Weclome Back"[sic] had Strong Bad talking about checking an e-mail in mid-air. Unfortunately, he pulled the "mash stop when you think you're mashing record and mash record when you think you're mashing stop" routine, so all we get is footage of Strong Bad in an airplane talking about how excited he is, and then footage of Strong Bad talking about how incredible the whole thing was, mentioning that they met various celebrities and apparently encountered a narwal. Of course, this being Strong Bad, he might have exaggerated it.
* The final episode of ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'' Season 9 has Caboose recounting their daring rescue operation. None of it is shown due to the perspective of the narrator.
* In Das Bo Schitt's Computer Quest [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_npkWGwYJpU]] (A side-action Gmod animation explaining why the Gmod Idiot Box Episode 10 hadn't been released yet.), Metrocop #1 and Chuck Norris fight for the final piece of Bo Schitt's brand-new computer: the motherboard. Too bad the scene went missing just as they were going to come to terms, coupled with Peter Griffin's laugh. Doubles as a CrowningMomentofFunny.
* ''DrHorriblesSingAlongBlog'':
--> "Captain Hammer threw a car at my head."
* ''{{Yogscast}}'' series Tekkit, episode 2, started out with an exchange by the players about (supposedly sometime between episodes 1 and 2) converting a wooden pickaxe to a banjo, lighting it on fire and playing a solo, and a helicopter.
* Episode 36 of WebVideo/JesseCox's LetsPlay of ''VideoGame/SaintsRowTheThird'' ends with Jesse stepping away when his pizza arrives while his partner WebVideo/{{Wowcrendor}} protects him. However, because the videos are streamed from Jesse's point of view, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YO0rOY0ak0o&t=23m36s the final five and a half minutes]] consist of Jesse's character just standing there while Crendor runs back and forth reacting out loud to whatever he's shooting at. The only action we see are the rare moments when Crendor happens to kill something in front of Jesse. Fortunately, Crendor's reactions and the insertion of ''SoundtrackDissonance/YaketySax'' turn the Offscreen Moment of Awesome into a [[Funny/JesseCox Crowning Moment of Funny]].
-->'''[=WowCrendor=]:''' How long does it take to get a pizza? How long?! Aahh!! The car set me on fire!
* In ''Literature/{{Worm}}'':
** The Siberian is TheJuggernaut and a well-known HeroKiller, to the point that the Protectorate actually avoids engaging her because they've never been able to make any headway. After the [[VillainProtagonist Undersiders]] discover and publicize her weakness, however, [[spoiler:Dragon hunts her controller down and kills him offscreen.]]
** Later, there's Heartbreaker, who throughout the entire story has been built up as a scary background villain, a mind-controller who can permanently force his victims to fall in love with him and uses this power to build up an entire family of parahumans. At some point during the TimeSkip, [[spoiler:Imp -- Grue's kid sister -- murdered him]].
** Golem got one when he [[spoiler:fought at least ten members of the Slaughterhouse Nine]]. And apparently won.
* Parodied in {{Jacksfilms}}' [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3hvYhEecww Breaking Dawn in a Minute]].
-->'''Edward:''' There's going to be an epic not-battle that we need to prepare for.
-->'''Bella:''' What's a not-battle?
-->'''Edward:''' It's like a really cool battle that plays out, but only in someone's head.
-->'''Bella:''' Well, what happens?
-->'''Edward:''' In reality? Nothing. You use your force-field powers and everyone walks away.
-->'''Bella:''' I have force-field powers?
-->'''Edward:''' [[LampshadeHanging Sure.]]
* ''WebVideo/UltraFastPony'', being an abridged series, will sometimes leave action-packed scenes on the cutting room floor because of the time limit, or for the sake of changing the plot from the original. So, in "Ponynet Fight!" the characters run into a vicious hydra, but their escape is replaced with a "14 hours later..." transition card. And "How to Control Freaks" shows Twilight Sparkle breaking Discord's mind control over most of her friends, but skips over Rainbow Dash. There's even a LampshadeHanging via subtitle: "Rainbow Dash normalized off-screen."
* In the promo for Season 3 of WebVideo/EpicRapBattlesOfHistory, Adolf Hitler kills a Rancor with a ''regular Luger pistol''. All we see is him picking up the Luger, the screen going black, shortly followed by a gunshot.
* Heirophant Green and Silver Chariot beat Lovers offscreen during the Lovers arc in ''WebVideo/VaguelyRecallingJoJo''. Joseph mentions that involved many difficult battles.
* In ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'', [[ButtMonkey Jaune Arc]] managed to catch a bunch of Rapier Wasps and put them in a box without getting stung.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life ]]
* Ever had a time where you've missed out on going to a party, either through choice or because you've not been invited, only to see all your friends post pictures of themselves grinning, and saying how awesome it was?
* This trope can be expected to happen for various reasons. Statistically, lightning strikes the Earth 100 times a second, but since our scope of vision is so small, we may only witness one lightning storm in a year. Similarly, even though our field of knowledge is vastly expanded by TV, there are far more awesome things which will never make it to our eyes.
** Also, due to Stage Fright, a person might be able to perform a stunt when alone, but as soon as they're trying to perform to an audience, they might feel unable to do it. Thus, the audience will never see the awesome stunt they were trying to perform.
*** This is especially true when it involves a pet: "You should see this really great trick my dog can do!" is usually the beginning of a wasted afternoon.
[[/folder]]
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