Earn Your Happy Ending / Professional Wrestling

  • This is the main format of a standard wrestling match. The face starts out strong but is quickly taken over by the heel, is beaten up and worn down to when the crowd is sure they're done...until they manage to come back and pull off the win.
  • Trish Stratus embodied this trope as she was hired by WWE with no wrestling ability and appalling mic skills. Over the years she trained and became one of the most accomplished and talented wrestlers in the company. She was rewarded with a retirement match in her hometown of Toronto against long time rival Lita with the Women's title on the line. She ended the match by making Lita tap out to the Sharpshooter and was given a standing ovation from the crowd as well as the staff at ringside.
  • Jeff Hardy also embodied this trope during the second half of 2008. He fought countless times for the WWE title against Triple H; he always came close to beating him, but was never able to. In a promo, Triple H even tried to undermine Hardy's self-esteem by claiming that he'd never win a world title, and that they're in different leagues. To add insult to the injury, Edge took Hardy's place at Survivor Series, winning the WWE championship. However, at the next PPV, Armaggedon, Jeff Hardy defeated both Edge and Triple H in a Triple Threat Match to become WWE champion for the first and, so far, only time.
  • This happened to, believe it or not, Zack Ryder. He started off 2011 as just a perennial lower card jobber, but quickly gained popularity through his Z! True Long Island Story web show. As the year progressed, he started to pick up steam and became a contender for the United States Championship, even gaining the support of John Cenanote . The culmination came at Tables, Ladders, and Chairs, when Ryder defeated Dolph Ziggler (the current US Champion) to finally capture his first singles title in WWE. Not bad for an Internet sensation.
  • Invoked by The Undertaker during his feud with Shawn Michaels in 2009-2010:
    Sometimes it is Hell trying to get to Heaven.
  • Generally the case for WrestleMania main events, usually involving a face wrestler finally achieving his dream in front of a grand stage. Look no further than Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 12, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin at WrestleMania 14 and John Cena and Batista at WrestleMania 21 for some notable examples.
  • After months of getting screwed over by the Authority, Daniel Bryan finally won the title back at Wrestlemania 30, first by beating Triple H, then by going over Randy Orton and Batista in a triple threat match in the main event that night. He wrestled for nearly a full hour along the way.
  • Roman Reigns took eleven months of being scorned by fans, and working his ass off, not to mention having the odds stacked against him constantly by The Authority, but when Reigns won the title in December of 2015 from Sheamus for a real, honest-to-God title reign, there were few people in the company as deserving.
  • Matt Hardy after a heartbreaking betrayal in his personal life kicked off a decade of shaky backstage relationships, creative frustrations, multiple failed rebirthssee  and falls off the wagonsee , and even reaching the ultimate low of faking a thinly veiled suicide note to test his fandom, which was finally enough to piss off his friends into setting him straight; Matt has gradually picked himself back up over the past few years. Apologizing to wrestling fans in some companies and reinventing himself as an iconic heel to them in others, he has turned his life around for the most part, earned back most of the respect he'd lost in his downfall, and become a husband to Reby Sky, father to their son Maxel, and Matt finally became TNA World Heavyweight Champion at Bound for Glory 2015.
  • After being betrayed by fellow Shield member Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose spent the next two years seeking revenge on Rollins and fighting The Authority whilst also chasing after the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, only to be screwed at every opportunity by either outside intereference, reversed decisions, or generally coming up just short in his pursuits. Then, at Money in the Bank 2016, Ambrose won the Money in the Bank briefcase and finally avenged Rollins' betrayal by cashing in said briefcase after Rollins had just defeated Roman Reigns to win his first World Heavyweight Championship.
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