"As far as I'm concerned, all this crap in the ring represents these fans out here. For two years, brother, for two years, I held my head high, I did everything for the charities, I did everything for the kids, and the reception I got when I came out here, you fans can stick it, brother. Because, if it wasn't for Hulk Hogan, you people wouldn't be here. If it wasn't for Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff would still be selling meat from a truck in Minneapolis, and if it wasn't for Hulk Hogan, all these Johnny-Come-Latelys that you see out here wrestling wouldn't be here. I was selling out the world, brother, while they were bumming gas to put in their car to get to high school. So the way it is now, brother, with Hulk Hogan and the New World Organisation of Wrestling, brother, me and the new blood by my side, whatcha gonna do when the new world order of professional wrestling runs wild on you? Whatcha gonna do?!"
The video of that event on Youtube has a great quote: "I was a little kid when I watched this. I started crying."
Also at Bash at the Beach 1996: the show was kicked off with a singles match between Rey Mysterio Jr and his arch-rival Psicosisthe first time they'd fought each other in WCW. The match itself was a classic, ranging on average between 4 and 4-and-a-half stars (depending on who you ask). The finish, when Psicosis tried to do a top rope move (a crucifix into a powerbomb) and Mysterio countered with a Rana in mid air, bringing the entire stadium (which had been lukewarm to the wrestlers in the first 10 minutes) to their feet. So, so many of the cruiserweights these days are following in the footsteps of Mysterio and Psicosis, and it's a Crowning Moment of UnAwesome that Psicosis never became a star like Mysterio did.
Goldberg's electrifying defeat of Hollywood Hogan on Nitro in July 1998 to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship for the first time. Though the match really should have been saved for a pay-per-view in order to create a massive PPV payday, the deafening crowd reaction (thanks to WCW scheduling the victory in Goldberg's hometown of Atlanta, Georgia) and the mere fact that Hogan took a clean pinfall loss in WCW make it probably the last truly great Crowning Moment Of Awesome that WCW can attest to (since it was the last time Nitro defeated Raw in the ratings).
Prior to that, winning the United States championship from Raven, after taking out the Flock. No-selling a shot to the head from a STOP sign was amazing.
At Road Wild 1998, Goldberg defended his newly won title in a battle royal where it was him going up against an entire nWo contingent. Not only did he avoid defeat against both the Hollywood and Wolfpac factions of the nWo, he capped off his victory by Jackhammering The Giant. He would later repeat this spot on Nitro, and hold him up in the Jackhammer for several seconds!
Speaking of the Jackhammer, Diamond Dallas Page reversing it into a Diamond Cutter at Halloween Havoc.
"There's a group of us who are sick of the politics back there. Who are sick of the wrestlers who monopolise this company."
Ric Flair's promo on the final Nitro manages to sneak one in just before the end - read the transcript here.
And you have to give a small CMoA to the WCW booking team for deciding to close out the last Nitro ever with a match that capped off one of the company's longest-running feuds: Sting vs. Ric Flair.
How about the first time Sting came down from the rafters by zipline. The blowoff may have been a misstep, but after months of watching Sting in the rafters, this was really a Crowning Moment Of Awesome.
Or how about Spring Breakout 1998, where he repelled out of a FREAKIN' HELICOPTER.
Vince Russo's Crowning Moment Of Awesome (better known as "the only good thing Russo's ever done") came at Bash at the Beach 2000, when he became so fed up with the backstage politics that had crippled WCW for years that he turned it into a Worked Shoot angle that turned more shoot than work. Jeff Jarrett, who was scheduled to defend the WCW World Heavyweight Championship against Hulk Hogan that night, ended up lying down for Hogan and giving him the title. After Hogan had left ringside, Vince Russo came out and cut a emotional promo promising that Hulk Hogan would never be seen in WCW again (he wasn't), the politicking he had to deal with from Hogan and the other old-guard wrestlers was almost too much for him to handle, and that he was giving a title shot to someone who "still [gave] a shit" about WCW — Booker T. Watch the full promo here.
Actually if you read Eric Bischoff's book, you get a whole other take on this story. It was all a work, and the second half was Russo fucking up a major angle.
Of course Bischoff would say that; he's one of Hogan's buddies. If you ask Russo, it all went exactly as planned. Well, except the lawsuit.
Booker T won that match - and his first World Title - that night, becoming the second African-American (after Ron Simmons) to hold the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, one of the few black world champions anywhere!
Russo's comments about Hogan being "bald" were the basis of a defamation lawsuit Hogan filed after he left the company, which was eventually dropped in 2002.
The "party" thrown by the New Four Horsemen and Arn Anderson on Nitro in 1998, with Ric Flair returning to WCW after a long hiatus. This editor would be remiss in failing to mention the amazing amounts of WIN that was Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Steve McMichael, Dean Malenko, and Chris Benoit standing in the ring, reforming the Horsemen, as well as Ric Flair's absolute fury at Eric Bischoff for crashing the party.
"Fire me! I'm already fired! Fire me! I'm already fired!"
Best part is, that last bit was a shoot.
Chris Jericho: Cruiserweight Champion. Working at a time when WCW's Cruiserweight division could not have been hotter, Chris Jericho reached his creative peak as a slimy, whiny Smug Snake who would do anything - short of actually wrestle - to keep hold of the title belt. His feud with Dean Malenko resulted in so many Crowning Moments of Awesome, including (but not limited to) proving that he is The Man Of 1004 Holds, his introduction of the Cruiserweights at Slamboree, his trip to the Library of Congress and subsequent gloating to Malenko (complete with a good old finger-poke-to-the-chest), and his five-star match with "Rey Mysterio Jr".
It should be noted that Malenko was taking time off for most of the feud. Jericho built this feud up by himself, making fun of Malenko at every turn and even carrying around a blown-up version of one of Malenko's promotional photos. This culminated at the aforementioned Slamboree Cruiserweight battle royal, which was won by Ciclope when Juventud Guerrera jumped over the top rope to eliminate himself. Jericho ran in to gloat (and to attack his challenger) immediately afterward, and Ciclope unmasked, revealing Malenko. The crowd came completely unglued in response. In his book, Jericho notes that this was one of the top three most electric crowd responses he'd ever heard.
This feud also led to a crowning moment for Ted Irvine (Jericho's Real Life father and former NHL wingman). Ted came out during one of his son's rants and told him to either shut up or man up.
Who could ever forget the classic Ric Flair vs. Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat trilogy in 1989? Dave Meltzer (who attended the Chi-Town Rumble event, where the first part of the trilogy took place) gave all three matches five stars, and the Chi-Town Rumble match is considered to be one of the best wrestling matches ever.
Ricky Steamboat, a few years later, had another CMOA at Clash of the Champions XVII. Dustin Rhodes was to challenge the then-tag champs The Enforcers (Arn Anderson and Larry Zbyszko) alongside his usual tag partner, Barry Windham. The problem was that Windham was dealing with a hand injury, so he wasn't going to be competing, but this was covered up in storyline by having the heels injure him intentionally so that the thread of the Rhodes / Windham tag team would be removed. Dustin shows up anyway with a "mystery man" clad in a cloak and a dragon mask... only for the mystery man to take off his costume and reveal himself to be none other than Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, making his return after departing from the WWF just weeks earlier. The reaction of the heels is pure pants-shitting shock and awe. Arn Anderson sells Steamboat's return in particularly fantastic fashion, mentally trying to psych himself up to deal with Steamboat:
With all due respect to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, 1997 belonged to the man called Sting, and his Crowning Moment Of Awesome was at the end of that year's Uncensored PPV. For months leading up to the event, nobody knew whose side Sting was on in the WCW/nWo war. When the PPV's final match was over and the nWo was celebrating another victory, Sting descended from the rafters and proceeded to completely destroy the entire group with his now-trademark black baseball bat, culminating in a beatdown on "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan using just his fists.
If you're talking about Rey Mysterio, you can't talk about his career without going to the match that practically catapulted him to stardom in the US: at Halloween Havoc '97, he faced nemesis Eddie Guerrero in a Mask vs. Title Match for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship; while Rey would win the match, both men came out looking like gold thanks to putting on an amazing display of aerial assaults and technical skill, and Rey arguably became WCW's top cruiserweight from that point on until the promotion's demise in 2001.
Diamond Dallas Page and Randy Savage had been feuding for a good portion of 1997, thanks to Savage being in the nWo and Page outright refusing to join the group. Page would resort to trickery at times, but Savage and the nWo were always prepared...except for one Nitro. Savage was wrestling the masked luchadorLa Parka, and it seemed like it would be an easy win for him, so the nWo members he came to the ring with went to the announcers' table to start harassing Larry Zybysko. When they were distracted, "La Parka" hit a Diamond Cutter on Savage and ripped off his mask to reveal that he was, in fact, Page in disguise - this earned him a huge pop from the crowd. Page picked up the three count and escaped through the audience before the other nWo members could get to him, gloating with the fans.
Speaking of DDP, while newer fans may know Randy Orton as the guy who can hit an RKO out of nowhere, he is preceded by Diamond Dallas Page and his Diamond Cutter. The variations and counters that DDP had for his move were even more numerous than Randy's RKO, and there was always a new one every Monday night for about two years. Perhaps his most infamous ones were when he countered out of Goldberg's Jackhammer at Halloween Havoc 1998 with the Cutter (8:57), which had the audience convinced that he would end Goldberg's undefeated streak (Goldberg secured a mini-CMOA just for kicking out); and a few months later at Starrcade when he maneuvered out of a top-rope Chokeslam from the Giant into a Top-Rope Diamond Cutter (at 8:36). DDP used to boast that he could deliver the Diamond Cutter once a week for a year and never do it the same way twice - and to prove it, he kept footage on his website of all 52 ways to deliver it.
"Ravishing" Rick Rude appeared live on Nitro the same night he was on a pretaped Raw, using the screentime on Nitro to call out Vince and Shawn over the Montreal Screwjob. (He also appeared on pretaped ECW programming the previous weekend, making him the only man to appear on all three companies' programming in what amounts to a weekend.)
It should also be noted that Rick Rude appeared on Nitro with only a moustache. He had been appearing on WWF TV with a full beard, including on that taped edition of RAW. So from a chronological standpoint, he appeared on Nitro clean shaven, and was on Raw an hour later with a beard. It was not just a powerful commentary on the Screwjob, but also a shot to the WWF's pre-taped format as well.
WCW Thunder has a reputation for being bad. But one moment sticks out as being awesome. On the first episode of Thunder, The Giant (you know, The Big Show) comes down to the ring, which is full of nWo members, grabs one of the turnbuckle posts with one hand and rips it out, collapsing the entire ring.
When WCW was in its disastrous downward spiral in 1999, Eric Bischoff at one point snapped and blew up on "the boys in the back" one night. Among other things, he told the locker room that if anyone wasn't satisfied with the way things were going or how they was being booked, they could just leave. Upon hearing that, Scott "Raven" Levy quite literally got up and walked out, asking for his release. Bischoff gave it to him, and he went right back to ECW.
Wargames 1992 Between The Dangerous Alliance of Rick Rude, Steve Austin, Bobby Eaton, Larry Zbyzko, and Arn Anderson take on Sting's Squadron of Sting, Dustin Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat, Barry Windham, and Nikita Koloff. A Classic matchup featuring a Who's Who of talent and probably The Greatest Wargames match ever.