"Stone Cold" Steve Austin had just defeated Jake Roberts at King of the Ring 1996 to win the King of the Ring tournament, and as Roberts (then doing a born-again Christian schtick) walked to the back, Austin uttered words that have since become immortal, and considered to have launched both his career and the Attitude Era: "You talk about your psalms, you talk about your John 3:16... well, Austin 3:16 says I just whooped your ass!"
The Undertaker and Mankind's Boiler Room Brawl, which was something pretty innovative for the WWF at the time and was probably the precursor to Hardcore matches. Also marked the point where Paul Bearer turned his back on The Undertaker after six years, essentially ending Undertaker's original gimmick.
If you could only assign one CMoA for the entire Hart Family, it would have to be In Your House: Canadian Stampede, which took place in Calgary, home of the Hart clan. The main event of this PPV was a 5 on 5 tag team match featuring the Hart Foundation consisting of Brian Pillman, Jim "The Anvil Neidhart, The British Bulldog, Owen Hart, and of course, Bret Hart against the American team of Goldust, Ken Shamrock, Legion of Doom, and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. The American team was comprised of some of the hottest babyfaces on the WWF roster at the time, but their entrances, especially Austin's, was met with visceral hatred. Meanwhile, the Harts got amazing ovations as they each entered seperately, the reactions getting louder and louder with each member introduced until finally they got to Bret, at which point you tell the arena is shaking. The crowd wouldn't die at all during the match, as they cheered loudly any time the Harts had the advantage. After Owen pinned Austin, they gathered the entire extended family, including Stu and Helen, in the ring for a huge celebration and a show of Canadian national pride. It is really special as it was quite possibly the last great moment for the Hart family before the family tragedies started piling up, starting with Pillman's death and the Montreal Screwjob later that year.
The very first Hell in a Cell match at Bad Blood, between The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. While an excellent match in its own right, pushing the envelope and setting the template for Hell in the Cell matches to come, it is most famous for featuring the debut of Kane.
Mick Foley's career is filled with these, but one especially stands out: the Hell in the Cell match versus The Undertaker at King Of The Ring 1998 (which, for better or worse, set the bar incredibly high for Garbage Wrestlers to come). As per the planning of the match, Foley (then wrestling as Mankind) started the match climbing up onto the roof of the Cell, while a rather hesitant Undertaker followed; after a minute of fighting, Undertaker threw Mankind off the side of the Cell, with Mick falling sixteen feet onto the Doomed Spanish Announcers Table. For five minutes, replays of the stunt played as EMTs and trainers went to attend to Mick; Undertaker struggled to remain in character, and even Vince came out to see what happened. As Mick was being stretchered out, he stood up and literally ran to climb up the Cell again. Undertaker was legitimately shocked, but climbed back up as well (on a broken foot) to continue the brawl. Then the unexpected happened: Undertaker chokeslammed Foley through the roof of the Cell and onto the ring below; the chair that Foley was slammed onto followed suit, and did even more damage as it smashed into his face. According to all known sources (including Foley himself), that was unplanned (though some still believe that it was actually a worked spot, save for the chair). Mick chose to continue the match, which culminated with a dazed and confused Foley being slammed on thumbtacks. Twice. And Foley still managed to walk out rather than be carried on a stretcher.
After the second fall, watch his face. See that thing in his nose? That's his tooth.
Urban legend goes Foley had to tell his wife the second bump was unplanned as she was extremely angry at him for taking such a risk.
Foley would have been stretchered out after the match, but actually insisted on walking out instead of being stretchered out again.
According to WrestlingGoneWrong.com (a website about all sorts of unplanned events happening during matches and shows), Foley was concussed and didn't remember anything after that fateful chokeslam. He regained consciousness after the match, and asked Undertaker if they actually used the thumbtacks. The story varies from place to place, but Undertaker told him, "Jesus Christ, Mick LOOK AT YOUR ARM!!!" which was still covered with tacks. Foley was still so out of it that he responded with "Yeah, but did we use the tacks?".
This match also cemented Jim Ross as the greatest announcer in wrestling. BAH GAWD! "Good Gawd almighty, that killed him!", "He's broken in half!" and "Will somebody stop the damn match?!" are some of the immortalized sayings J.R. said during the match.
Jerry Lawler was pretty good as well. When Foley went through the Cell, he responded with a matter-of-fact "That's it. He's dead." (Keep in mind that this was at the height of Lawler's shamlessly pro-heel style of commentary. Lawler — who had repeatedly expressed disdain for Foley beforehand — broke character briefly, legitimately believing that Foley had been seriously injured ... or worse.) When Foley actually got back up, Lawler cried out "This is a man who is unbelievably indestructible!".
The ladder match between TheHardys and Edge and Christian at No Mercy redefined fast-paced, high impact matches for the next decade.
At No Way Out, Foley has his retirement match against Triple H in Hell in a Cell. A pretty awesome match, it finishes with Triple H backdropping Foley through the cage and smashing him through a section of the ring. Then Foley got up. Finally, Triple H hits the Pedigree and retires Foley, giving the Hardcore Legend one hell of a send-off. J.R.'s post-match comments in regards to Foley's awesomeness were pretty awesome themselves.
The main event of Backlash 2000. There are so many CMOAs here:
The defending champion of the WWE Title: Triple H , with his girl Stephanie McMahon and his new father figure Vince McMahon at ringside; as well as having the benefit of Shane McMahon as Special Guest Referee to provide Quick Counts in his favour and to refuse to count the pinning attempt of the Challenger when he scored a DDT on the Game. And who was this seemingly unfortunate challenger? None other than The Rock, who was supposed to have had Stone Cold in his corner to even things out, but for some unknown reason Stone Cold was seemingly "not present" thereby leaving The Rock with seemingly impossible odds. Despite all this, The Rock managed to dislocate HHH's arm and he took Referee Shane out of action by giving both him and Trips a Double Rock Bottom through the Spanish Announcers Table.
And after the odds still proved too much and he was overwhelmed by a Pedigree and an assault by all male members of the McMahon-Helmsley regime; the match got even more awesome when the all too familiar sound of BREAKING GLASS sounded and an irate Stone Cold came out and laid out ALL OF THE ROCK'S OPPONENTS WITH A STEEL CHAIR.
Even more awesomeness happened when Linda McMahon came out with the recently fired Earl Hebner and shoved her protesting daughter to the ground with almost total indifference.
And then to cap it all off, after The Rock had scored a spinebuster and a People's Elbow to score the pinfall victory after Hebner made the count, Stone Cold came out again and after a brief stare-down, The Rock and Stone Cold celebrated with a beer-bash. Truly the highlight of The Rock vs Triple H feud and a brilliant CMoA.
The pop when Rocky hit the spinebuster was SUPERSONIC. I thought the arena was going to implode.
Fully Loaded 2000 had several of them.
The APA interrupted a mocking Edge and Christian promo mid-sentence before their Tag Team title match, with Bradshaw going on a tear on the team:
"I want you two boys to hear this, because in a second, my boot's gonna be in your ear and you wont to be able to hear a damn thing! You walk into these other towns and get your cheap heat by making fun of the town... well, now you've come into the city that has five Superbowl Championships! And come into my home state that has won every major sporting championship there is! You have the audacity to poke fun at us, that's fine... when your country is known only for high-octane beer and two blond haired punks like you! So listen son, tonight in this building where, one year ago, Dallas won the Stanley Cup Championship... in this building where Dick Murdoch and Bruiser Brody, the Freebirds and the Von Erichs ruled... Tonight, we're gonna give another memorable evening they can tell about to their kids forever - the night the Acolytes made Edge and Christian their personal bitches!"
Rikishi pays homage to his "uncle", Jimmy Snuka, by doing a splash from the top of the cage onto a prone Val Venis. Even more awesome—Rikishi was over four hundred pounds!
The main event of Armageddon 2000 was the six-man Hell in a Cell. Five of the six were The Rock, Stone Cold, Triple H, The Undertaker and Kurt Angle: all guys who would easily fit into the Top 10 of the Greatest Wrestlers in WWE History, and who an excellent case could be made for at least 3 (if not 4, or indeed, all 5) appearing in the Top 5. While previous HIACs had been pretty damn good, this match was full of so many jaw-droppingly awesome moments that it is still de-facto the greatest Hell in a Cell Match in history. It also featured Rikishi, who played his role as the Scrappy (by being tossed off the top of the Cell onto a removal truck) excellently. This is proof that 2000 was the WWE's greatest year and a definitive CMOA in WWE history.
Shane McMahon's Last Man Standing Match against The Big Show at Backlash 2001 wasn't as great, but the ending - where Shane won the match by hitting a super-leap-of-faith off the top of the Titantron onto Big Show - was certainly a CMOA for Shane. You can see the entire match here.
Shane has a tendency to pull off CMOAs when he's in the ring. The capper was his Street Fight with Kurt Angle at King of the Ring 2001, in which he takes not one, but two suplexes onto a plate-glass window. The result of the first one? The glass doesn't break, and Shane lands horrifically on his neck and shoulders (just inches away from having some real damage done). Both men, during later interviews, admit to being extremely worried Shane was hurt and were about to stop the match, but Shane gets himself upright and tells Kurt "throw me again". The glass breaks this time. Shane loses the match, but seriously - balls of steel, that one. (Later on, Angle would reveal that Shane suffered no real injuries from the match, while Kurt ended up breaking his tailbone.)
By the time of King of the Ring 2001, the InVasion angle had already started off badly, with Diamond Dallas Page being utterly dominated by The Undertaker. There was one last great moment in the set-up however: late on during the Triple Threat main event between Stone Cold Steve Austin, Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit, it's reached a point where all men are down, with Austin on the outside. What happens next? Booker T launches a surprise attack on Austin after making his way through the crowd! The crowd gave the brief beatdown a great pop, and it's a shame that what happened later blurred the moment out. It was also sold brilliantly by Jim Ross and Paul Heyman, despite a minor error from JR:
Paul Heyman: Wait a minute! What the Hell!?
Jim Ross: Th-th-that's Booker T! He's the WW- WCW Champion!
Paul Heyman: The WCW Champion has just attacked the WWF Champion!
Let us not forget Chris Jericho's biggest in-ring accomplishment - at Vengeance 2001, after the end of the InVasion angle, Jericho defeated The Rock to win the World Heavyweight Championship (aka the WCW World Heavyweight Championship), then defeated Steve Austin directly afterwards to win the WWF Championship and unify the two titles into the WWF Undisputed Championship. To put that into perspective: Chris Jericho went from being a WCW midcarder to defeating the two biggest stars of the Attitude Era in the same night in consecutive matches to unify two of the most prestigious world titles in professional wrestling history, all in the space of three years.
The triple threat match at Vengeance between the Rock, Kurt Angle, and The Undertaker was a sight behold. This match was famous for all the combatants using each others' signature moves on each other. This was also the last time The Rock would win the WWE title (which was the Undisputed Championship at the time).
Survivor Series, Shawn Michaels pinned Triple H in the first ever Elimination Chamber to capture the World Heavyweight title.
Royal Rumble '03 will probably unfortunately be remembered for the awful Triple H - Scott Steiner match. However, the PPV was redeemed by the match that followed: Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit. While fans were earlier greeted with the "Stumblebomb" (a botched powerbomb that sent Trips and Steiner to the floor), Benoit gave Angle a beautiful DDT on the apron. While Steiner annoyed fans with the Double-Underhook-What-The-Fuck-Was-That, Benoit gave Angle the "Uber-Release German Suplex" that flipped Angle completely over and caused him to land on his face. The match was full of crazy reversals, unique pin attempts, and lots of intensity. The match ended up being an unintentional apology to the fans after the stinker that was Trips & Steiner.
What makes this match even more amazing? Not a single punch to the head was thrown.
Well actually, Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit did exchange a couple of punches to the head right before Benoit gave Angle the DDT on the apron.
The original WWE brand split made PPVs brand-exclusive, and at the time, Raw had the bigger names on its roster. The first Raw-exclusive PPV, Bad Blood 2003, lived up to its name - by being bad; the show's main event was a Hell in a Cell Match (a match which rarely disappoints) which was, at best, just okay. The next month, SmackDown held Vengeance 2003, and the closest thing to a gimmick match on the card was a Triple Threat Match featuring Big Show, Kurt Angle, and Brock Lesnar. There were four great matches on this show: the aformentioned Triple Threat, The Undertaker vs. John Cena, Chris Benoit vs. Eddie Guerrero, and The World's Greatest Tag Team (Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas) stealing the show against Billy Kidman and Rey Mysterio Jr. This event was when people started figuring out that SmackDown was the wrestling show.
Chris Benoit vs Eddie Guerrero in particular was one of the greatest matches for either wrestler, and included one of Eddie's Funny Moments, hitting the ref with the newly remade United States Title and then trying to frame Benoit for it by playing possum.
Also notable on the card was Vince McMahon vs. Zach Gowen. For those who do not know who Zach Gowen is, he is a one-legged wrestler. Although Gowen would go down in defeat, he would split open McMahon by dropkicking a steel chair into Vince's head and only lost because he missed a Corkscrew Moonsault.
Shane McMahon's entire feud with Kane in 2003 was filled with awesome moments, but their Ambulance Match at Survivor Series that year had at least two CMOAs for Shane: first, when he hits the leap-of-faith on Kane through the announcer's table, and then when he hits the Coast-to-Coast off the ambulance onto Kane. Note that the audience started chanting "Holy Shit!" after both moves. You can see the entire match here.
Chris Benoit. The Royal Rumble. 29 men, one hour, impossible odds, and the Rabid Wolverine still accomplished what only one other man before him - Shawn Michaels - had been able to do: win the Rumble from the #1 spot.
Eddie Guerrero winning the WWE Championship at No Way Out 2004 by defeating Brock Lesnar. Even then-heel commentator Tazz cheered.
Backlash 2004 featured a WrestleMania rematch between Chris Benoit, Shawn Michaels, and Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship...in Canada. During the match, the assigned referee is knocked out, and Michaels puts Benoit in the Sharpshooter. Immediately, the fans react - and when Earl Hebner (the man who helped screw over Canadian wrestling legend Bret Hart as part of the Montreal Screwjob) runs down to the ring, they start booing even louder. (Why there wasn't a riot over this, no one knows.) The Screwjob tease was played out for all it was worth for about five minutes, finally ending with Triple H breaking up the hold. Afterwards, Benoit locked Michaels in the Sharpshooter to make him tap out, ending a match just as good as their WrestleMania outing (if not better) and giving the Canadian crowd a symbolic apology for the Montreal Screwjob.
"Ring the bell Earl! Ring it! You've done it before!"
Benoit's promo the following night on Raw, given he's not thought to be considerably talented in this regard, deserves mention too.
On the undercard was an Intercontinental Championship match between Mick Foley and Randy Orton. The match - considered by Foley himself to be the best of his career - was filled with several highlights, but none as intense as when Foley dropped Orton on a pile of thumbtacks to counter an RKO.
During her on-screen relationship with Kane, Lita became pregnant and was endlessly mocked for her weight by Trish Stratus. The loss of Lita's baby after a Kane-related accident prompted even more ridicule from Trish. So in the Women's Title match at Survivor Series 2004, Lita finally retaliated against Trish by beating the everloving crap out of her, whacking her with a steel chair and breaking her nose by pushing her head-first into the steel steps. Ouch.
The Hell In A Cell match between Triple H and Batista at Vengeance 2005.
ECW One Night Stand, credited by many as being the brainchild of Rob Van Dam, was a huge reunion of ECW alumni. Memorable moments include Mike Awesome's last wrestling match before his untimely death, the crowd singing along to Sandman's very-well-known entrance theme (itself, the best pro wrestling entrance ever caught on tape), and Steve Austin showing up in an XFL jersey to help the ECW alumni rip apart the WWE "crusaders" who tried to crash the show.
Unforgiven 2005: Matt Hardy giving Edge a leg drop from the top of the steel cage. The rookie Chris Masters taking Shawn Michaels to the limit.
After his World Heavyweight Championship match with Eddie Guerrero at No Mercy 2005, Batista led the crowd in singing Eddie a happy birthday. This took place after the event went off the air, but is still a Crowning Moment Of Heartwarming. And a bit of a Tearjerker when you consider that the event was Eddie's last PPV appearance.
Survivor Series 2005 had Trish Stratus give all three members of MNM (Mercury, Nitro, and Melina) a suicide dive, bowling them over.
The Hell In A Cell match between Randy Orton and The Undertaker at Armageddon 2005.
Following the Elimination Chamber match at New Year's Revolution 2006, Edge cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase and defeated an already-weakened John Cena (who'd just won the aformentioned Chamber match) to capture the WWE Championship. (Edge would do this again in 2007 - after defeating Mr. Kennedy for the Money in the Bank contract, Edge cashed it in and defeated Undertaker after he had just defeated Batista in a Cage Match; Edge won the World Heavyweight Championship in the process.)
The match between Undertaker and Kurt Angle at No Way Out 2006 was a CMOA for both men. If you have to ask why, consider this: Undertaker was around a month away from his 41st birthday, and Kurt Angle was arguably working well past his physical prime, suffering from a multitude of injuries. Nobody believed the two could put on even a decent match, yet they overwhelmed everyone with a certifiable Match of the Year candidate.
Getting revenge from after the Shawn Michaels / Vince McMahon WrestleMania 22 match, the five-man team of the Spirit Squad attacks Shawn Michaels at Backlash 2006, lifting him up into the air and dropping him through a table.
ECW One Night Stand 2006 kicked off the "rebirth" of ECW and featured one of the biggest mark-out moments for ECW fans ever: thanks to Extreme Rules, a well-timed spear by Edge, and Paul Heyman acting as a referee, Rob Van Dam won the WWE Championship by defeating John Cena (a decision that would not only be held up, but would result in RVD holding both the WWE Championship and the newly-reinstated ECW Championship at the same time).
And speaking of that match: Cena/RVD quickly turned into Cena/RVD & ECW Fans. The first few minutes of the match involved John Cena playing catch with the audience (he kept throwing his jersey into the crowd; the crowd, usually with "THROW IT BACK!" chants... well, threw it back). The crowd was universally against Cena, with chants such as "You can't wrestle!", "Same old shit!" and "You still suck!" They even chanted "Fuck John Cena!" in rounds. There was no "mixed reaction" that night; anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is a liar and you should call them a liar to their face. (Or, as Joey Styles put it: "It's mixed between those flipping him the middle finger and those using the F-word!") And of course, there was the large sign in the rafters of the Hammerstein that evolved into a meme all its own: IF CENA WINS, WE RIOT
It's also worth mentioning that during said t-shirt-throwing, one fan upped the ante by throwing the shirt from nowhere near the front row to land it right across the top rope (not even the one facing him) like laundry out to dry.
This match was a big CMOA for Cena too: just watch the match and look at how he sold the crowd's reaction to him. He played off them perfectly, going right back to his heel roots in excellent fashion without really changing a thing in regards to actual presentation - even his walk to the ring, with his head down and the WWE Championship belt held over his head, reflected this. While the Cena hate still continues to some degree, his performance here is probably a big part of why Cena's won a lot of fans over since then.
Really, between the crowd reactions, the in ring action, the finish, and everything else in between, this match really just needs to be seen to be believed. It's another awesome match for RVD, and ranks as one of, if not THE best match Cena's ever had.
When Montel Vontavious Porter was first introduced into the WWE, the general consensus among the Smart Marks was that he was a terrible wrestler, and his push (fittingly, as an overpaid, overrated, showboating Heel) would be better used on somebody with actual talent - the line of thinking apparently being, if (rapidly-decaying-at-this-point) smark darling Chris Benoit couldn't drag a decent match out of him, there was no hope for him at all. Then came Armageddon 2006 and the Inferno Match between MVP and Kane - which ended with MVP's entire back consumed in flames. Almost overnight, MVP became one of the most popular wrestlers among smarks, and while this eventually died down (as it always seems to), he remains an internet favorite to this day. If there's one thing wrestling fans, smark and mark alike, love to see, it's balls. Stop giggling.
Similar to the "Sweetest Chin Music" example below, Unforgiven 2006 had Carlito attempt a diving move - only for Randy Orton to give him the RKO in mid-air.
Speaking of Armageddon, let's talk about the match after it. Originally, it was supposed to be London and Kendrick (then WWE Tag Team Champions) fighting against William Regal and Dave Taylor for the Tag Team Championship. Why is it on this page, though? Well, let's start off with Teddy Long. He's in the Christmas Spirit and decides to give the fans a ladder match.
He doesn't stop there, he says that the two teams would be lonely and added TWO MORE teams. The teams? MNM and the Hardys were the extra opponents. What happened were 30 minutes of undiluted ladder match and fighting and LOTS of bumps.
Once the ring clears off, the two teams face to face are the Hardyz and London and Kendrick. It's a CMoA because these were the high flying teams of their generation (the Hardys being the 90's and London and Kendrick the present)
One important scene was Mercury's eye injury. A ladder smashed both Nitro and Mercury in the face, but Mercury took the brunt of the attack. Mercury was taken to the hospital (with his face stitched and stapled) while Nitro fought alone for victory. He didn't win, but it was awesome that Nitro fought alone.
London and Kendrick deserve a lot more credit; Kendrick bruised himself giving Regal a Sliced Bread #2 from the top of a 20ft ladder and falling out of the ring—someone is heard screaming OH MY GOD! when that happens—and London fights off Matt Hardy to get the championship. It was when the team got JBL's respect—after months of him commentating that London and Kendrick were bizarre kids from Pluto—and propelled them to awesomeness.
At Royal Rumble 2007, John Cena faced Umaga in a Last Man Standing Match. It ended when Cena choked Umaga out with a broken ring rope.
The Undertaker winning the Royal Rumble. And it was about damn time, too!
CM Punk vs Elijah Burke at Judgement Day 2007. Incredible match. Sadly, the audience was dead.
In October of 2007, John Cena tore a pectoral muscle. He was assumed to be out of action for at least seven months (and upwards of a year at the most). In January of 2008, Cena made an unannounced return to action - by entering the Royal Rumble at #30 and winning (this would have been more awesome had The Undertaker not already accomplished this the previous year, making Cena the second man to win at #30). For all the crap people want to lay on both WWE (for being predictable) and Cena (for whatever reason people have to hate him), the fact that WWE kept his return so secret that nobody knew he was coming back was absolutely incredible. As was Cena managing to complete his rehab in half the expected time (three and a half months).
Cena repeated this feat in August of 2008, recovering from surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck in three months. While his return at Survivor Series was heavily figured into the PPV hype (and thus spoiled), it's said that the surgery went so well that Cena was visiting astonished members of the SmackDown roster mere hours afterward.
At Armageddon 2007, Jeff Hardy defeated Triple H clean to win a shot at the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble in 2008 (managing to get Triple H to do a clean job could be a CMoA in and of itself, depending on who you ask). The following year would be one of controversy and heartbreak for both Jeff and his fans - he lost his match at the Royal Rumble; he blew his chance to be in the Money in the Bank match at WrestleMania 24 thanks to a Wellness Policy violation (and during his suspension, his house burned down, destroying all of his personal possessions and killing his pet dog); and he lost three more shots at the WWE Championship after his return (and was written out of a fourth one). It looked like hope was lost for the "Charismatic Enigma"...until Armageddon 2008, where Jeff Hardy competed against Triple H and WWE Champion Edge in a Triple Threat match for the title. After Triple H delivered a Pedigree to Edge, Jeff nailed a picture-perfect Swanton Bomb and covered Edge - and after one of the most tumultuous years of his life, Jeffrey Nero Hardy finally became the WWE Champion (and at the same time, he not only became a WWE Grand Slam Champion, but the only wrestler to win every single home-grown WWF/WWE title there ever was).
Batista picks one up at the end of his Stretcher Match with Shawn Michaels at One Night Stand 2008: "Just so you know... I don't love you, and I am NOT sorry!"
Maryse's performance at Survivor Series 2008: Kicking Beth Phoenix in the back of the head, while standing in front of her, one of the first times fans were given confidence she would eventually become a decent wrestler.
How about her and Melina's I Quit match? It ended with Beth practically bending Melina in half.
Backlash 2009 ended up being something of a CMoA for WWE's top heels: Edge captured the World Heavyweight Championship by defeating John Cena (with a little help from The Big Show and a chokeslam into a spotlight), and Randy Orton pinned Triple H clean in a six-man tag to win the WWE Championship.
Extreme Rules 2009:Wrestl Tommy Dreamer becomes the only wrestler to have held hold both the original and revived versions of the ECW Championship when he defeated then-champion Christian and challenger Jack Swagger in a three-way match to win the belt.
Less than a month later, at The Bash 2009, Tommy would retain the belt against four challengers (Finlay, Jack Swagger, Mark Henry, and Christian) in a Championship Scramble Match.
Night of Champions 2009:CM Punk delivers an absolutely golden promo wherein he preaches his hardcore/straightedge lifestyle to a very vitriolic Philly crowd, which not only cements his status as a full-bore heel in WWE, but pretty much tells everyone on the creative team that yes, the hardcore straightedge angle can work on a main eventer and it can be awesome.
Bragging Rights 2009: the 60 Minute Iron Man Match between John Cena and Randy Orton. Mostly for its Holy Shit Quotient. Like Orton RKO'ing Cena in the middle of an FU, Cena FU'ing Orton from the top rope, Orton throwing Cena through a wall, Orton actually trying to use the pryo to toast Cena's back, Orton DDT'ing Cena from the ring apron, Cena throwing Orton through the ring barricade, and Cena FU'ing Orton through a table.
After being split up months earlier in the WWE Draft, The Miz and John Morrison found themselves as opponents heading into Bragging Rights 2009, both holding championship gold (United States and Intercontinental, respectively). Despite their success, their feud leading up to the event was centered around which superstar was the Jannetty of the team. Considering that The Miz has been seen as the hanger-on by basically the entire WWE audience ever since Miz and Morrison began tagging, it could easily be considered a CMoA when Miz defeated Morrison cleanly at the PPV, finally stepping out of his former partner's shadow and proving his worth as a competitor - especially considering the fact that, in winning his match, Miz became the only one of the 11 Raw competitors in a "SmackDown vs. Raw" match to leave the arena victorious (a traitorous Big Show ensured that not even the mighty D-Generation X was able to pick up a win that night).
An up-and-comer by the name of Sheamus was a relatively unproven commodity, having only been in WWE for six months (and in WWE's developmental territory for a while before that). That didn't stop WWE from deciding to make him a new star: at the TLC: Tables Ladders and Chairs pay-per-view in December 2009, Sheamus defeated John freaking Cena in a Tables Match to win his first WWE Championship, arguably giving him bragging rights over the single biggest upset of the decade.
At Surivor Series 2009, found himself in a 2-on-1 situation during his Survivor Series Match, facing down CM Punk and Randy Orton , then nailed Randy Orton with his Trouble in Paradise kick when Orton tried to sneak up on him and hit an RKO (as he'd already done twice that match to Kofi's teammates Mark Henry and Christian) and pinned him to gain the win, making him the "sole survivor" of the match in the process. For perspective: Orton and Punk are former world champions and two of the WWE's top heels...and Kofi pinned them both in the span of 10 seconds. The crowd's explosion following the pin only made it all the sweeter.
Rey Mysterio Jr vs Chris Jericho's Mask vs. Title match at The Bash. This match could have contested with Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels if only it was on the same stage. Rey Mysterio - the guy whose knees are so bad that his doctors told him if he landed wrong, he would probably never walk again - was pulling maneuvers out that he hasn't done in years, like a double springboard moonsault. Chris Jericho was simply flawless, as he usually is. These two arguably put on a better match than anybody did that year. Hell, even Jim Ross thought so.
Royal Rumble 2010, in the Rumble Match itself:
With only CM Punk and The Great Khali in the ring during the Rumble, entry #6 went to... Beth Phoenix, only the second woman to compete in the Rumble. So what does Beth do? After being lifted over the top rope by Khali, who motions for her to go to the back, she grabs Khali and plants a kiss on him - a kiss so deep, she ends up dragging him over the top rope and eliminating him. Yes, Beth Phoenix eliminated The Great Khali. Not to mention after this she clotheslined PUNK and lifted him OVER HER SHOULDERS.
"The Straight Edge Savior", CM Punk, earned himself a CMOA during this event. He entered at #3 and made short work of both Dolph Ziggler and Evan Bourne (it helped that each had hit their finisher on the other moments before Punk's entrance), then began to cut a promo for the Straight Edge Society as the countdown for #4 begins. It turns out to be JTG, who Punk quickly tosses out; after doing so, he goes right back to his promo. #5 turns out be The Great Khali, who rejects Punk's offer to be "saved" by Straight Edge by giving Punk a good old-fashioned Brain Chop. #6 is Beth Phoenix, who eliminates Khali (as mentioned above), but eats a GTS from Punk and gets tossed; Punk then goes right back into the promo. #7 is Zack Ryder, and as Punk tells him that he has the potential to be saved, he blasts Ryder in the head with the microphone and tosses him; again, after he does this, Punk goes right back into the promo. Sadly, all good things come to an end, as Triple H drew #8 and Punk was eliminated soon thereafter. However, CM Punk has the distinction of eliminating five out of the first seven entrants of the Rumble and cutting a promo at the same time.
At Elimination Chamber 2010, Punk and R-Truth were the first two to start the Smackdown Chamber match. Punk would pin Truth in the first five minutes of the match and would proceed to pick up right where he left off at the Rumble and did another sermon.
"The World's Largest Athlete", The Big Show, enters at #22. "The World's Strongest Man", Mark Henry, enters at #23. Then, in possibly the biggest shocker of the night (even considering what's mentioned below), SmackDown midcarder R-Truth enters at #25 and manages to eliminate both of them at the same time.
Also during the Rumble, Edge made his triumphant return as the #29 entrant, eliminating John Cena to cement his place in history as the 2010 Royal Rumble winner.
Royal Rumble 2010, not the Rumble Match: generic heels Layla and Michelle McCool actually got interesting when they started taunting Mickie James about her weight, calling her "Piggie James" and engaging in all sorts of nasty bullying (one segment had them smash a pig-shaped cake in Mickie's face and drown her in punch); Mickie got her back at Royal Rumble 2010, however, when she squashed McCool for the Women's Championship in less than 20 seconds. And what happened next? The other Divas came down with a big cake, which got smashed all over McCool and Layla. Also a Crowning Moment of Funny as well.
The Undertaker got an unsung moment at Elimination Chamber 2010. When Taker went to do his entrance, he got burned by his pyro and was seen immediately taking his ring jacket off as it was covered in flames. Despite this, he basically has the ref pour bottles of water over him off-camera and is passed more water while he's waiting in the Chamber pod. Aside from foregoing his ominous walk to the ring (because, you know, he's on fire), he does not break kayfabe for a moment and still wrestled the match to its conclusion. That is what you call a Bad Ass. (Michael Cole, despite not knowing what happened, covered for Undertaker's break in character rather well by saying that he was ready for a fight and he didn't want to wait to get it started.)
Money In The Bank 2010. Both ladder matches, but especially the part where Maryse climbed up and tried to get the briefcase for Ted Dibiase Jr. Kane finally winning the World Heavyweight Championship, using the Tombstone Piledriver to do it. Miz's huge victory and subsequent emotional promo about proving the cynics and skeptics wrong; with the real life criticism and doubt he's dealt with his entire WWE career, it made the moment all the sweeter.
Bryan got another CMOA all his own at Bragging Rights 2010 by having an awesome Champion vs. Champion match with Intercontinental champion Dolph Ziggler. This match cemented Bryan's ability to draw a crowd into a match and even gave Dolph Ziggler arguably his best match ever in the company.
How good was this match? Not only did the bookers have the two of them face each other again on that week's Raw and SmackDown, but WWE.com listed them as tying the WrestleMania 26 showdown between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker for the top match of 2010, giving the tie-breaker vote to the fans (it was eventually voted #2). That's quite a hearty endorsement.
At Survivor Series 2010, Natalya Neidheart managed to finally take the Women's Divas Championship off of LayCool in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match. The real period of the moment came the next night on Raw when LayCool (who were signed to SmackDown, but were able to appear on Raw while holding the championship) were denied access into the building. And There Was Much Rejoicing doesn't even begin to describe it.
TLC 2010 had some good moments:
The end of John Cena vs. Wade Barrett. Wade asked for a Chair Match, and he got more than he bargained for: after Cena won, he took Barrett to the entrance stage (where chairs were hanging from the celing) and proceeded to rain twenty-three chairs down on top of Barrett. A fitting end to their rivalry.
The Divas Tables Match that saw Lay Cool going up against Beth Phoenix and Natalya; not only wasn't the match complete garbage, but it saw one of the few times a botch actually worked in favor of the match. As Layla and Michelle McCool tried to superplex Natalya, the reigning Divas Champion pushed her archrivals off the top rope - unfortunately, LayCool didn't go through the table set up behind them. So Natalya improvised and gave them a cross-body splash to put them through and pick up the win, making for a much more satisfying finish.
Sheamus vs. John Morrison in a Ladder Match for the #1 Contender's spot for the WWE Championship; not only was it the match of the night, but it was arguably a breakthrough match for Morrison.
WWE Elimination Chamber 2011: John Morrison continues to steal the show at every PPV with his innovative Parkour offense. This time, he scaled the actual dome of the Elimination Chamber structure and hit Sheamus with a cross body block. In the closing moments, he would do a TRIPLE JUMP FLASH KICK on CM Punk. Although John Cena would predictably win the match, it was first and foremost a showcase of Morrison's athletic ability.
Extreme Rules 2011: An all around great show, with the opening match being Randy Orton vs CM Punk's Last Man Standing Match which had both men go to town on each other with everything from kendo sticks, steel chairs, and the announcers table ending with Orton hitting an RKO from the top turnbuckle.
Rey Mysterio Jr vs Cody Rhodes in Falls Count Anywhere Match, which had them literally fighting all across the arena to a hot crowd.
Layla vs Michelle McCool in a Loser Leaves WWE Match, which was surprisingly pretty good, with Layla getting the victory as well as securing her Heel-Face Turn.
The best part, however, was the debut of Awesome Kong, or Kharma as she is known in WWE, who, immediately after the match, went after an absolutely terrified McCool and hit her with an Implant Buster.
Christianfinally winning a World Title in an awesome Ladder Match with Alberto Del Rio, with Edge coming down and celebrating with his best friend.
The Triple Threat Cage Match for the WWE Championship, which had John Morrison hit a Starship Pain from the top of the cage, The Miz doing a sick looking powerbomb on Morrison into the cage walls, and John Cena doing what can only be described as being a Monkey Flip from the top turnbuckle.
The only really bad moment was Michael Cole getting another stupid victory, but this time we got the satisfaction of actually seeing the crap get kicked out of both him and Jack Swagger. At the very least, WWE had the brains to not have Cole try and put a good offense in. *shudders*
Over The Limit 2011: After months of being subjected to Michael Cole, he finally got his comeuppance in a magnificent Humiliation Conga. Eve Torres came out and performed a moonsault on him after he had disrespected the divas for weeks, interrupting their matches. Jim Ross who had been forced to job to Cole poured barbecue sauce all over him. Bret Hart made a special guest appearance and put Cole in the Sharpshooter while Jerry Lawler made Cole kiss his foot.
Money in the Bank 2011: Well, a lot actually, but first and foremost, CM Punk defeating John Cena for the WWE Championship.
Daniel Bryan winning the Smackdown Money in the Bank briefcase. The crowd EXPLODED when he unhooked the briefcase.
The Miz getting taken out in the middle of the RAW Money in the Bank match because of a dislocated knee... only to come back down towards the end of the match on one leg to try and unhook the briefcase.
Christian getting his second WHC reign by taking advantage of the "Title changes hands via DQ" stip... by getting Randy Orton to kick himin thenuts.
Cena has Punk in the STF when Mr. McMahon tells John Laurinaitis to have the bell ring, Cena releases the hold, and flattens Laurinaitis because he refuses to have Punk screwed even if it means that he loses his job.
And another CMOA for Punk, because by winning the WWE Title, and actually leaving the company with it, he did what a select few have accomplished: he completely, truly, absolutely, in every sense of the word, stuck it to Vince McMahon.
How about Evan Bourne performing an Air Bourne on five other guys at the same time!
How about another one? The match between Cena and Punk was so good, it got a 5-star rating from Dave Meltzer, the first one for WWE since 1997.
This actually goes double, because Cena is The Hero whose wrestling ability is endlessly maligned (a fair amount of which is justified), while Punk is the Ensemble Darkhorse who previous to his push had been jobbing in midcard matches at just about every pay-per-view for about a year or so. Since many people didn't think that either Punk would be allowed the vehicle to perform to a five-star level or that Cena was capable of such a feat, the fact that they did it was all the more improbable and awesome.
Night of Champions 2011: R-Truth and The Miz try to assault a referee, but he blocks Miz's punch and punches him in the face.
Vengeance 2011 had Mark Henry and The Big Show reenacting the big superplex that broke the ring way back in 2003. It ended in both of them getting knocked out and the ref calling the match a double-countout What had happened afterwards was the Cena/Del Rio Last Man Standing match. And they proved that they don't need the ring to have a good match.
At this PPV, five of the six Championships were on the line, and each and every one of the champions retained their titles, which is rare sight to see.
Everyone raise your glasses to Kelly Kelly and Beth Phoenix who delivered three amazing matches in a row at SummerSlam, Night of Champions and Hell In A Cell. Say what you will about Kelly as Divas' Champion but she definitely brought it at each PPV. And with Vengeance behind us you can add Eve Torres in on there as well. The WWE Divas haven't had that many solid PPV matches in a row since 2003.
Survivor Series 2011: Great event overall, but 3 moments were the crowners.
During the World Heavyweight Championship match between Mark Henry and The Big Show, Henry gives Show a low blow, getting himself disqualified so he retains the title because he knew he couldn't beat Show. Henry then tries to break Show's ankle with a chair like he did in July at Money In The Bank, but Show sees it coming and moves out of the way. After giving Henry a WMD, Show proceeds to wrap the chair around Henry's ankle, and breaks his ankle. Any other time, this would be extremely harsh (and when Henry did it to multiple others, it was), but Henry was oh so dearly asking for it.
Big Show doing an elbow drop from the top rope. While this maneuver is no big deal for cruiserweights, with Big Show at 500 pounds, a million things could have gone wrong. That was clearly on the minds of Show and everyone watching as he gingerly climbed up the ropes and took as much time balancing on the top. The fact that Big Show pulled this maneuver off successfully without hurting himself(ala Sid Vicious) is truly remarkable.
The WWE Championship match between Alberto Del Rio and CM Punk. Both men give it their all, but Punk ultimately locks in the Anaconda Vise on Del Rio, forcing him to tap, and winning Punk the championship. The entire arena exploded, because now with Punk champion, WWE will most certainly be moving forward towards its edgier approach as of late.
CM Punk being announced as the NEW!!!! WWE champion by the legendary Howard Finkel was the cookie on the ice cream bar.
For context, Punk had The Fink be his personal ring announcer for the match, counteracting Del Rio's own ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez. And it was gloriously awesome.
The main event, a tag team match, John Cena and [The Rock versus The Miz and R-Truth. Cena took a hell of a lot of blows, but never gave up, and Rocky layed the smackdown to R-Truth with a Rock Bottom, and gave the People's Elbow to Miz for the win. Afterwards, Rock gave a People's Elbow to Cena, a little preview of their match at Wrestlemania.
TLC 2011: The whole show. Top to bottom. Not a moment went by that wasn't completely and utterly awesome. Survivor Series was a tough act to follow, but TLC did not disappoint. It was filled with so many "holy shit" moments that this will no doubt be remembered as one of the greatest wrestling pay-per-views of all time, and the start of something big. But perhaps the best part? Among the sheer awesomeness of the show, highlights include...
Zack Ryder defeating the Smug Snake Dolph Ziggler for the United States Championship, his first singles title.
Keep in mind, that Ryder started the year as just your average jobber, and had only particularly picked up steam as his Z! True Long Island Story webshow gained popularity. So, naturally, Ryder capping off one hell of a year for him with the U.S. Title is just awesome. Woo Woo Woo, You Know It!
Randy Orton and Wade Barrett going at it an awesome tables match, with Orton cutting the 'Barrett Barage' short by RKOing the busted open Barrett through a table.
Triple H and Kevin Nash showing just how much they hate each other in a sledgehammer ladder match. It all ended with HHH pedigreeing Nash, and when Nash tried to show that they were still friends one last time, HHH gave the "suck it" taunt and nailed Nash in his skull with the sledgehammer.
The Big Show and Mark Henry fighting in a chairs match for World Heavyweight Championship. Despite Henry nearly breaking Show's hand, Show still knocks out Henry with the WMD before pinning him to become champion. And then, Daniel Bryan cashing in his Money In The Bank briefcase to pin the dazed Show and become new World Heavyweight Champion, to the crowd's delight and Michael Cole's shock. Hell, even Show himself was proud.
The Tables, Ladders, and Chairs main event between CM Punk, The Miz, and Alberto Del Rio for the WWE Championship. "Holy shit" (which was what the crowd was chanting) doesn't even begin to describe it. But Punk shows just how crafty he is when Miz handcuffs him to the turnbuckle, Punk unscrews the rope with his bare hands before proceeding to beat the everloving hell out of both Miz and Del Rio before unhooking the title to stay champion.
Elimination Chamber 2012: Santino Marella, nominally a comic relief midcard face, actually makes it to the final two of the Smack Down Elimination Chamber match, even eliminating both Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett in order to do so. Sure, he ultimately lost to Daniel Bryan, but holy crap, what a freakin' performance.
Another awesome spot during that match was The Big Show breaking into Bryan's pod, with Bryan's smug expression changing to one of pure terror, and proceeding to beat the ever loving crap out of him whilst in the pod. Given Bryan's behavior since becoming WHC, quite a few can safely say he had it coming.
After Bryan does his usual overcelebrations at the end of the match, he's interrupted by the arrival of Sheamus, the 2012 Royal Rumble Winner. What follows is Sheamus kicking Bryan's ass, and pretty much confirming on what title he's coming for at WrestleMania.
The brutal Ambulance Match between John Cena and Kane, which ends with Cena giving Kane an Attitude Adjustment off the ambulance to knock him out long enough to throw him in.
Extreme Rules 2012 examples here please. This PPV probably surpassed Wrestlemania in quality!
CM Punk doing Shane McMahon proud with an top-rope elbow drop through the Spanish Announcer table.
Both Punk & Chris Jericho had their moments during the Chicago Street Fight, with Jericho hitting a chair-assisted Codebreaker on Punk at one point, and Punk showing ingenuity in escaping the Walls of Jericho by using a fire-extinguisher to spray Jericho in the face with.
Sheamus and Daniel Bryan putting on a spectacular 2-out-of-3 falls match with Sheamus barely pulling out the victory after Bryan essentially took one of his arms out of play.
A small Crowning Moment Of Awesome for Layla making a return exactly one year after her DCL injury and winning the Divas Title, even though Nikki and Brie had used "Twin Magic!"
Brock Lesnar beating the bejeezus out of John Cena for 90-95% of the match, busting him open legit((twice!)), and hanging the man upside down on a ring post by his feet! Even though he lost after a steel chain shot and an AA on steel steps, Lesnar did what said he was going to do, plain and simple: Hurt Cena.
Over The Limit 2012 had one of the best matches between CM Punk and Daniel Bryan that went on for nearly thirty minutes. Loud Yes chants, dueling Daniel Bryan and CM Punk chants all through out the match, as well as a "This is Awesome" chant. They did submissions holds that the commentators had not idea what to call! The only bad thing about the match is that it played second fiddle to Cena vs. Laurinaitis.
The main event of No Way Out 2012 had John Cena taking on a recently turned Big Show in a steel cage match, where if Cena was able to defeat Big Show, John Laurinaitis would be fired and the "People Power" era would come to an end. Thanks to some assistance from several superstars who were beaten up by the out-of-control Big Show in recent weeks, Cena finally put an end to Laurinaitis and his reign of terror with a win over Show.
Hell In A Cell 2012, Ryback had multiple moments of awesome in just one match, despise getting screwed over and losing his streak. Those awesome moments include being in his first match for the WWE CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE against CM Punk, his first ever Hell In A Cell match and (And YMMV here) being able to climb the cell while chasing after Punk and delivering the Shellshock on top of the fricking cell without breaking it. He even picked up and threw the ref who screwed him over, to the side of the cell, from the middle of the ring! He may have lost, but at the end, Ryback was still standing tall.
Survivor Series 2012's main event saw CM Punk defend his WWE Title against both John Cena and Ryback, on the eve of reaching one full calendar year in his reign as WWE Champion. Punk would end up winning thanks to three black attire-wearing men (identified as NXT talents Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose; the latter two being internet favorites) who attacked Ryback, slamming him through the announce table.
TLC 2012: The TLC match between The Shield and Team HellNo and Ryback was really a sight to behold. The match saw The Shield put Ryback through the Spanish Announcers Table, 'again. Bury Kane under myriad of ladders to take him out of the game, and one sick bump through some tables off a ladder by Seth Rollins courtesy of Ryback.
Another great match was the Chairs match between Sheamus and The Big Show, which was won by Show finding a huuuge ass chair for the finish!
Elimination Chamber 2013: The six man tag team match between The Shield and Sheamus, Ryback & John Cena. Aside from isolating & systematically taking apart John Cena for the bulk of the match, there's the ending - Roman Reigns spears Sheamus through the security barricade, as Cena & Ryback to hoist Rollins & Ambrose up for a simultaneous Attitude Adjustment/Shellshocked, only for Reigns to slide into the ring & spear Ryback, with Rollins landing on top & collecting a three, as a confused Cena questions the referee what just happened. The Shield didn't just beat three of the WWE's biggest faces, they did it clean & by pinning Ryback, providing the first clean defeat of his career.
Extreme Rules 2013: The Shield reigned supreme. Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins won the Tag Team Titles off of Team Hell No, while Dean Ambrose won the US title from Kofi Kingston
17 years later, Superfly's "nephew" Rikishi did the same thing to Val Venis; what made this so awesome was that Rikishi was well over 450 pounds when he jumped.
This is the same match that future pro wrestlers Mick Foley, Tommy Dreamer, The Sandman, and Bubba Ray Dudley credit as a formative moment that led them to eventually become wrestlers. That is how awesome it was.
January 23, 1984: Hulk Hogan defeats The Iron Sheik to win the WWF World Heavyweight Championship. This not only made "Hulkamania" a national phenomenon, this came at the 1980s peak of tensions between the United States and the Middle East. Thus, millions of fans celebrated Hogan's decisive win, seeing it not only as Hogan defeating a hated villian, but America conquering a hated world enemy (Iran). Today, the match remains celebrated in American culture.
"'The blind leading the blind?!' Even a fool knows that a man has only five senses! A snake...has six. We... always do it better... in the dark...."
The camera zooming in on his evil eye as he practically cackles the line makes the delivery creepy enough to give you goosebumps.
In the most infamous edition of "Piper's Pit", "Rowdy" Roddy Piper had "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka on as his guest. After Piper insulted and provoked Snuka with taunts and near-racist remarks, he distracted him just long enough for him to pull out a coconut and smack him upside the head with it, sending Snuka tumbling into the Piper's Pit set and allowing Piper to further beat him down. The act got Piper massive heel heat, and is arguably the most memorable moment in Piper's career.
The last great moment for the original ECW fans came when WWE ran an episode of ECW on Sci-Fi in one of ECW's old haunts, New York's Hammerstein Ballroom - with two WWE mainstays, The Big Show and Batista, in the main event. You don't have to be psychic to know this wouldn't end well, and the ECW fans lived up to their reputation with chants of "You both suck!", "Same old shit!" and - best of all - "Change the channel! clap clap clap-clap-clap". The problem here was that the extreme negative reaction pushed WWE in the opposite direction than intended, as they started distancing the new ECW from the old, instead of returning to its roots.
For his part, though, Big Show had a small CMoA himself during this when - in response to the "You Can't Wrestle" chants - he responded to the fans at ringside "I don't have to!" in the same tempo. That is how you play off heat in a venue like that.
This could also be translated into a CMoA for the WWE production crew, as well, for taking the fans' reaction and turning it into the most positive reaction any match had ever gotten since the "rebirth" of the ECW brand. However, this was only for the international rebroadcast.
After John Morrison's taste of main-eventing ECW (thanks to winning the ECW Championship after you-know-who no-showed Vengeance 2007), he was paired together with a relative rookie in Mike "The Miz" Mizanin. The end result of this off-beat pairing? One of the longest Tag Team Championship reigns in recent history, Miz improving his in-ring skills to the point where he didn't suck, and one of the most entertaining productions in WWE history (the Internet-exclusive "Dirt Sheet", which - from its inception to its end - was the most-watched WWE.com exclusive of its time).
February 10 2009: Months of speculation from both TNA and an endless stream of smarks was paid off when Christian made his return to the WWE as a member of the ECW brand, stealing the entire goddamn episode of ECW on SyFy in the process.
The June 30 2009 edition of ECW on SyFy began with Shelton Benjamin waiting for his opponent in the ring. Then a DDR-wannabe song starts playing, and out comes Japanese wrestler Yoshi Tatsu (former NJPW wrestler Naofumi Yamamoto), making his WWE debut as part of ECW's latest "Talent Initiative". The bell rings and instead of a match, Shelton proceeds to spend two-and-a-half minutes mocking Yoshi with horribly racist and stereotpyical Japanese behavior and speech; it's made even worse by the fact that even though there were plenty of boos from the crowd, there were plenty of audible cheers and laughs for Shelton's antics. And then out of nowhere, Yoshi roundhouse kicks Shelton in the head and pins him for the win as the crowd erupts in cheers, making something that could have been ridiculous into something so much better. And even more awesome, for a guy with a goofy theme and no English skills, he's pretty over just based on how good he is in the ring. Also, more than a few people like that goofy, sub-DDR entrance theme.
That theme is a piece of production music named, amusingly enough, "Jpop Drop".
There's more amusement to be had in the case of "Yoshi Tatsu" getting over in the 'E. While he was a dojo classmate of NJPW's intended "supernova" Shinsuke Nakamura, Yamamoto's career never really went anywhere, while Nakamura and fellow classmate Hiroshi Tanahashi were pushed to the moon, somehow having that "it" factor that got the crowd behind those two - to the point that at one point, New Japan claimed that WWE was interested in maybe taking Nakamura aboard for two years. That ended up either being a work or not panning out, and after Nakamura's star fell a bit, one day Naofumi Yamamoto has his own press conference saying that he was going to WWE first. (And although it was a dark match, he also won a 26-man battle royal at WrestleMania 26, further one-upping his former New Japan classmates.)
On the last ECW on SyFy of 2009, Tommy Dreamer got a Crowning Moment of both Awesome and Heartwarming with his farewell speech. It's one thing to see a multiple-time world champion and certified legend like Ric Flair get a final farewell, but for somebody like Tommy Dreamer, who was never a huge draw or a great wrestler? WWE letting him leave like this was damned classy.
The main event of the final episode of ECW on SyFy on Feburary 16 2010. When Zack Ryder and Rosa Mendes try to interfere with the Christian vs Ezekiel Jackson match, Tiffany comes out and gives Rosa an unbelievable spear. Christian's performance was pretty good, as well.
Bryan DanielsonDaniel Bryan got one on the April 6 2010 edition of NXT, when he gets asked whether or not he deserved to be ranked #1 at the time. He procedes to verbally tear apart NXT and the WWE's weaker parts.
"Well, gee, I dunno... does The Miz deserve to be a 'pro'? Does David Otunga deserve to be the guest host of RAW? Does Michael Cole deserve to take Jim Ross's spot as commentator? I'm gonna say... no."
For the entire rundown of Bryan's moments of awesome after his elimination from NXT, go see his page.
The late Crash Holly, the "Houdini of Hardcore". When Crash Holly won the WWE Hardcore Championship, he vowed to be the greatest Hardcore Champion of all time, and to do so, he instituted the "24/7 Rule": Crash would defend the belt any time, at any place, so long as there was a WWE official there to make a three-count. This led to a series of hilarious attempts from people — wrestlers, Divas, even referees! — to win the title off of Crash (or whomever was holding the belt at the time) in various different places: backstage at PPV events, at the laundromat, at the airport, and (in arguably the most memorable defense of the title) "Fun Time USA", an arcade/indoor playground.
Rick Rude proved he was the greatest heel ever with his usual entrance taunt:
"What I'd like now is for all you fat, out-of-shape, inner-city sweat-hogs to keep the noise down, while I show these ladies what a REAL man looks like!"
The kicker? At one event, one guy in the audience (apparently a fat, out-of-shape, inner-city sweat-hog) was so hurt by Rude's statements that he spent the rest of the show in the bathroom crying! Also doubles as a Crowning Moment of Funny. Yeah, I'm a sadist like that.
Ironically, that's what caused Rick Rude to stop using that taunt...
Want more Rude awesomeness? How about appearing on both Raw and Nitro the same night. On the former he was just a DX lacky, on the latter, well, take a look.
"They say everyone has their fifteen minutes of fame. And I'd like to use a couple of my own to talk about what is right and what is wrong with the world of professional wrestling."
And making it even more awesome, he had appeared on ECW's syndicated show that weekend, via the working arrangement the WWF had with ECW. That's right, Rick Rude appeared for all three of the '90s "Big 3" promotions in a single weekend.
And thanks to the time difference he could apparently go from clean shaven to growing a full beard in the space of an hour, one more Take That at Raw being pre taped to go along with taking the WWF to task at what they did to Bret.
A CMOA (as well as a Crowning Moment of Funny) for Lita came from her autobiography in which she describes a phone call to Vince McMahon immediately after her neck surgery. Paraphrasing: "Hey Vince, you know how Chris Benoit managed to walk up 50 stairs right after his surgery? I just did 52!"
Let's give Lita another one. She was one of the only divas to get her own video and DVD. Mae Young didn't do it. Miss Elizabeth and Sensational Sherri didn't get one. Chyna missed out as well. Few other divas had that honor: Wrestling/Sable, and the legendary Trish Stratus.
In 2008, Chris Jericho had a banner year: not only did he become Intercontinental Champion for the eighth time (beating the record that he himself set), he also won the World Heavyweight Championship twice, won the Superstar of the Year Award during the revived Slammy Awards, and practically carried Raw over the summer and early fall months thanks to an amazing feud with Shawn Michaels.
2009 was pretty good for Jericho as well; he faced - and defeated - three legit wrestling legends (Ricky Steamboat, Roddy Piper, and Jimmy Snuka) at WrestleMania 25, won the Intercontinental Championship for the ninth time (breaking his own record), and became one-half of the Unified Tag Team Champions with Edge. And, when Edge was injured, Jericho chose The Big Show as his replacement partner, creating the awesome JeriShow tag team, which ran roughshod over the tag team division for months.
WWE's video production crew are literally the unsung heroes of the company. Their video packages are sometimes the best part of a show, and sometimes they're even better than the matches they're hyping. Most people didn't really start paying attention to what they did until the "Desire" videos debuted; after that, the team just kept getting better and better, and the IWC started praising them more and more.
Case in point: The History of the WWF. Probably the only time a video package has received a standing ovation.
A less-talked-about moment from 1995: Barry Horowitz, a journeyman most known as a constant Jobber in the WWE, finally scores a victory during what seemed to be another squash match by scoring a sudden roll-up on an unsuspecting Skip (Chris Candido), and thus getting the biggest pop of his career. Barry would get one more moment in the sun when he beat Skip again at Summerslam that year. This was often compared to the 1-2-3 Kid incident in 1993, but Barry had been a jobber for years beforehand which made it that much more of a shock.
And of course, it lead to Vince McMahon making one of the best-known calls from that period: