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Also a Tearjerker. There were a lot of people crying at this moment. And of course, heel commentator Bobby Heenan saying, "This is sickening!"
The Tearjerker aspect is made worse knowing that they've both died now. In fact, 20 years on, I still get choked up a little bit. It was good storytelling.
It also helps that it was a story that was years in coming. Think of it. Savage and Liz had a love story that was up and down over the course of about 8 years culminating in their kayfabe marriage. Most soap opera love storylines don't have nearly 10 years of buildup, let alone one for pro wrestling!
ECW One Night Stand got one during the show's main event; when Tommy Dreamer was being beaten down by the combined forces of the Dudley Boyz, the Impact Players and Francine, it was none other than Beulah McGillicutty - Tommy's ECW valet turned Real Life-wife - who helped make the save, distracting the Impact Players long enough for them to accidentally take each other out. After clearing the ring, Tommy - his face covered in blood - turned to Beulah (who hadn't made an appearance on an ECW event since 1998) and gave her a huge hug, which the crowd applauded furiously. Even the Land of Extreme can get a little heartwarming!
To paraphrase commentator Joey Styles at that moment, "What a beautiful, horrific, wonderful, disgusting, heartwarming moment that I'd never allow my children to watch!"
Speaking of Tommy and Beulah, Tommy's retirement speech on the last ECW of 2009, where he thanks the fans for becoming his family, and thanks his family for reminding him why he wrestles. He talks about how his twin 5-year-old daughters see him ("Daddy falls down a lot." "But Daddy always gets back up."), and how he needs to be there for them growing up. He lays his ECW shirt in the middle of the ring, walks over to Beulah, kisses her, then picks up his daughters and walks up the ramp, the three of them waving "bye bye" to the crowd as his entrance theme plays. Keep in mind: Tommy Dreamer was never a "big" name; he was never a "real" world champion. But Tommy Dreamer, for almost two decades, kept getting back up, and WWE allowed him the opportunity to say goodbye that few wrestlers ever get, even under the best of circumstances. That alone should tell you how much Tommy Dreamer meant.
There's Kenta Kobashi's return match, 546 days after he left the business to battle a kidney tumor. When he made his entrance prior to his first match back, the commentators were openly crying on the mic, as were many of the fans.
And after the match was over (Kobashi and his tag partner lost), all of the other wrestlers showed Kobashi a massive amount of respect by holding the ring ropes open for him to walk through, letting him return to the back before anyone else to soak in the crowd's cheers.
The Eddie Guerrero tribute shows, and the announcement of Eddie entering the WWE Hall of Fame.
Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart finally burying the hatchet 12 years after the Montreal Screwjob on the first Raw of 2010. Words don't do it justice.
The ending to WWEWrestleMania 20, regardless of what the events of June 2007 since have done to tarnish it. Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero at the pinnacle of their respective careers, hugging and openly weeping, their world championship belts draped over one another's shoulders. * Sniff* ... 'scuse me...
The episode of RAW after WrestleMania 24, where Ric Flair lost his retirement match, we got to see not only Chris Jericho, Triple H, John Cena, Batista and Shawn Michaels in the ring saying goodbye to The Man, but we got to see the entire WWE roster coming out, clapping and chanting "Thank You Ric". The Big Show was in tears. But that's not all. For the first time in years, the original Four Horsemen, plus Barry Windham came out, as did two of Ric's greatest in-ring rivals, Dusty Rhodes and Ricky Steamboat. From the ring, all the way up the ramp and onto the stage, every wrestler employed by WWE, and various other members of the backstage staff, led the crowd in a "Thank You Ric!" chant that had Naitch in Manly Tears.
The Wrestlemania 24 match itself had one, where, just before delivering the Superkick that would finish Flair's career, Shawn said to him, "I love you. I'm sorry."
The climax occurred after the show went off the air and The Undertaker (then holder of the Heavyweight title and the Big Gold Belt that Ric had held many times) came down to the ring as the wrestlers on the ramp part like the Red Sea. 'Taker maintained his slow, methodical character before breaking it by giving Ric several hugs and then leaving the ring to lead the wrestlers (and the crowd) in a standing ovation for the Nature Boy. Then Vince McMahon came out in total disregard for kayfabe and excitedly rose Ric's hand in victory many times before leaving the ring and allowing Ric to bask in the admiration of every single person in that arena.
Triple H: Look me in the eyes, Shawn. This is not about these people, not about those cameras. This is between you and me, right here. That's it, honest to God truth. I have wrestled everyone in this business for the last fifteen years or so. Anybody who was anyone in this business, I've stood across the ring from them and looked in their eyes. I've wrestled them all, and I can tell you Shawn, from the bottom of my heart, you're the best I've ever been in this ring with.
The end of the Michaels/Taker match at WrestleMania 26. Tearjerking? Absolutely. But the sheer emotion in both men, when Taker - on his injured leg he can barely stand on - stumbles over to Michaels after a grueling 25 minute match, picks him up off the ground, and embraces him? Heartwarming. And Shawn's utter class in taking his final walk up the ramp just capped it off.
The Divas match was the predictable designated bathroom break/trainwreck it usually is, but Vickie Guerrero, all forty-one-years-old Hollywood Pudgy of her, pointing toward the sky and performing her husband's Frog Splash (or trying to, bless her heart and soul) was just lovely.
Ho Yay jokes aside, that time when The Big Show gave Chris Jericho a ticket so he could come to RAW after being banned as a competitor was surprisingly moving.
Rob Van Dam winning the TNA World Heavyweight Championship on April 19, 2010 on Impact. From being presented the belt by Hulk Hogan, to a bunch of the faces on the roster coming out to celebrate with him.
And keep in mind that his first full day as champion? April 20.
The September 13, 2001, Smack Down at the Compaq Center in Houston, Texas, just two days following the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, and western Pennsylvania: The show was rescheduled after it was supposed to take place that fateful Tuesday. It was the first massive public gathering following the attacks, and the fact they sold out an arena normally used for NBA games, putting more than 10,000 lives at risk, was a big FU to al-Qaeda. It was meant to entertain, personal rivalries and angles were set aside, made people laugh and cry. Video testimonials were given by the performers and backstage crew. Arguably, the best moment was the entire locker room and crew stepping onto the ramp and the stage, many carrying American flags, and Lilian Garcia giving a performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" that put her on the map of this (at the time) new wrestling fan.
Hugh Morrus' promo after winning the United States title has to count. An underrated performer who was generally lost in the lower card, after five years this was his first title in WCW and he dedicated his win to "all the C-List and below" guys. Then the roster comes out to congratulate him, including world champ Booker T and Goldberg (WCW's most popular wrestlernote Morrus was the first man Goldberg beat, beginning his legendary "streak." In his autobiography, Goldberg specifically went out of his way to thank Morrus for being willing to job to a guy who had never been in a professional match before. No surprise he was there to congratulate the guy on his title win.) while Hugh is very clearly emotional. Lance Storm comes on screen to challenge him, Hugh accepts, and Goldberg tells him to kick Storm's ass as everyone walks down to ringside. Hugh has said before he didn't know about the boys coming out to congratulate him until it happened and his emotion during the promo is completely genuine.
Raw is Owen., probably the biggest tearjerker in the history of sports entertainment.
Perhaps most of all is the "match" between Road Dogg and Godfather. It may be scripted, but has there ever been a time where fans cheered so hard...to see two wrestlers not wrestle?
Godfather: Hey, you know what, Road Dogg? Instead of me and you just kickin' the hell out of each other, especially today...why don't me, you, and these fine hos over here, man, we go to downtown St. Louis and we light it up all night long?
Road Dogg: ...what do you say me and you go burn one and tell some Owen stories?
[They drop the mic and leave]
On that note, on the night after Wrestlemania XXVI, Bret Hart was cutting a promo on his victory against Mr. McMahon and mentioned that his parents, Bulldog, and Owen were watching from upstairs. An large Owen chant erupts from the Phoenix crowd. Bret's reaction is to unzip his jacket to show a T-shirt with a picture of Bret and Owen printed on it. Cue millions of hearts turning to mush.
Suprising, but David Arquette's horrible WCW angle where he "won" the World Championship doubles as a Heartwarming Moment. Because he donated every dime WCW paid him to the families of Owen Hart, Brian Pillman, and Droz.
Unforgiven 2008, Matt Hardy wins the ECW championship. Armageddon 2008, Jeff Hardy wins the WWE Championship. Two brothers who had scratched and clawed their way up from losing their mother at a young age, being raised by an admittedly gruff single father, literally teaching themselves their craft, through personal and professional problems of all magnitudes where at times they had nothing going for them but their family, were at the top of WWE together; the first time and possibly the only time in the history of WWE that such a thing could happen.
Hell, the Hardy brothers, period. Two brothers who are also very best of friends, that so openly and unconditionally love each other (and not in some Ho Yay way) despite wildly different personalities and lifestyles, admittedly violent past disagreements, and personal problems...it makes a person reevaluate their own familial relationships.
Lita: She lived most of her early years in poverty, working indy shows while moonlighting at hole in the wall strip clubs. After discovering wrestling, she finds the Hardy Boys, gets a job at ECW, and a year later, she's in WWE. Within that first year, she beats the much reviled Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley for the WWE Women's Championship. In 2002, while working on the ultimately series finale of Dark Angel, she fractures her spine and sits out for a year and a half, only to come back more popular than ever. After being caught in a horrendous angle involving herself, Kane, and Matt Hardy, she wins her second title in front of her home fans in Charlotte in a Crowning Moment Of Awesome match against Trish Stratus where she nearly fractured her spine again. Sure, the rest of her WWE career was questionable, with infidelity, lack of ring work, and a bad send off, but she did win two more titles in that span.
At Stone Cold's beer bash at the end of the show you saw Lita and Trish walking down the ramp together chatting just like old friends.
Wendi Richter's speech at the 2010 Hall of Fame induction ceremony:
Wendi: Did you know that there's a place where you can touch a woman that will drive her wild? Do you all know where that is? It's her heart, and you've touched mine here tonight, thank you. (Applause) And I'd like to leave you with this message: Girls just wanna have fun!"
El Santo ended up having two of these the first as his career came to an end in 1982 which saw him lead a legends team composed of himself, El Solitario, Gory Guerrero and Huracano who hoisted him on their shoulders as a final farewell. His second moment came after dying in 1984, one week after finally unmasking in public after nearly 50 years wrestling, he was buried as per his wishes with his favorite mask on.
Here's an unlikely example. July 18, 2010, WWE Money in the Bank, Promoted Fanboy The Miz captures the Money in the Bank briefcase. Yes, The Miz's character is symbolic with the trope Jerkass, but on that night, on top of the ladder, you can visibly see him break down and cry before he pulls it together to deliver a great heel promo. Think of how far The Miz has come in WWE. This is a man who was on The Real World, proclaiming he would one day be WWE Champion (WWE viewers of the show laughed). The Miz spent two and a half years in the minor leagues after finishing second on the last edition of Tough Enough, even though the winner was released a few months after the competition ended. His first Royal Rumble appearance lasted seven seconds. The Miz was constantly hazed by WWE bully JBL and barred from the locker room for six months for getting chicken wing crumbs in a referee's gym bag. He gets sent to WWECW, where his work improves greatly. He stays in or near the ECW Championship picture, though he never won it. He teams with John Morrison to create one of the most memorable tag teams in WWE history, winning two tag titles together. When the team splits, he goes to Raw and is involved in a So Bad Its Horrible feud with John Cena. When that debacle mercifully ends, he goes on to win two WWE United States Championships and another Tag Team Championship (with The Big Show) in less than a year. Oh, and in that time, The Miz literally proves to Morrison he is not The Jannetty of the team. In the days leading to the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, reports surfaced that Vince McMahon was not content with The Miz at first, but over time became impressed with his work ethic and his willingness to promote the company. Keep in mind that the aforementioned sentence also applies to Cena. At the PPV, when it looked Randy Orton would win it, The Miz comes in, stops him, and grabs the briefcase. Yes, the last person to touch the briefcase before The Miz was RANDY FREAKING ORTON! Now, The Miz is holding the Money in the Bank briefcase. All seven times the person holding the briefcase cashed it in, they became WWE or World Heavyweight Championship. So keep an eye on The Miz between now and July 18, 2011. He deserved to cry on top of that ladder. He has been affected negatively and positively by the backstage politics of WWE, and now The Miz is all but guarenteed to be a WWE Champion at any time.
And tonight on RAW, November 22nd, 2010, The Miz cashed it in and beat Orton for the WWE Championship and looked like he was about to cry tears of joy, he deserves it.
And tonight, March 24, 2011, Miz has held the belt for 122 days straight and counting. This may not seem like much, but the last time there was a reign longer than that, you'd need to go back to November 23, 2008, which ended the reign of Triple H. This is a belt that's been held in the last three years by men such as John Cena, Randy Orton, Batista, Edge and Jeff Hardy, and The Miz's first reign has exceeded them all.
After a botched powerbomb in a match between D'Lo Brown and Droz, Droz fractured two disks in his neck and was paralyzed from the neck down. Mick Foley described in his book Foley is Good how Brown was so upset that he had seriously considered leaving the entire industry. Droz had told Brown from his stretcher how it was an accident and it wasn't Brown's fault. Since the incident, D'Lo Brown stayed in the ring for ten more years before becoming a TNA road agent and Droz not only still works for WWE writing for their magazines and website, but has also regained the use of his upper body.
Survivor Series 2010: After coming up short on the two previous PPV events, Natalya defeats Layla and Michelle McCool to win the Divas Championship, and can hardly accept the belt through her tears.
Made all the more poignant by the fact that it's Natalya crying. Her face character was a Badass Pollyanna so to see her crying tears of joy was so powerful. Ditto for Beth Phoenix winning the title a year later.
Winter: There's nothing wrong with you Angelina. In fact, you're perfect. But you don't have to worry. Now that we're together, we will never have to lose again. I guarantee that. WE. WILL. NEVER. LOSE.
When John Cena was fired from WWE as a result of a match at Survivor Series in 2010, he appeared one final time on RAW to thank the fans for "Letting idiots like me come out here and live this dream." After he walked off, the other wrestlers gathered around to see him off, until finally long-time rival and antagonist Randy Orton came out and offered him a handshake, which turned into a hug.
Which later became a Crowning Moment Of Awesome when Wade Barrett, who fired Cena in the first place, had his group assault Randy prior to a title match, and was using Randy's injury to win a fight, was just about to win. Cena emerged from out of nowhere, pulled the ref out of the ring, and proceeded to deliver a finishing move to Wade Barrett before running back out again.
Kaval winning season 2 of NXT. With the winner of season 1 being a heel and the winner of season 3 being undeserving this was the only truly perfect finale moment for the show. Just seeing Michelle McCool and Layla crying tears of joy and running to the ring for Kaval to lift them up on his shoulders before getting smothered in kisses felt so right. Even though shots of Michael McGillicutty making an unconvincing annoyed face couldn't dampen the moment.
This past Monday on RAW, Shawn Michaels was announced as the lead inductee into the Hall of Fame 2011. For all the problems this guy overcame in his life and career to become one of the best, this was definitely a Heartwarming Moment.
And then at the end of his induction, out come Kevin Nash and X-Pac, members of The Kliq for a group hug with HBK and HHH. The only reason Scott Hall wasn't there was because he was afraid being that close to a party would bring out his old demons.
The massive ovation Jerry Lawler got at Elimination Chamber 2011. Especially when you take into consideration the fact that his mother died the weekend before.
Also, take into consideration that his opponent is The Miz. The Monday before that PPV match, the Miz actually takes the moment to give Lawler his sincere condolences of his mother's passing. Unlike Michael Cole, The Miz doesn't even decide to insult Lawler, and instead treats the man as if he was his Worthy Opponent.
Stone Cold Steve Austin's four-wheeler ride and final beer bash (and subsequent beer with J.R.) through the WrestleMania 25 arena the night after he was inducted into the Hall of Fame and J.R., saying, "You'll never forget the night when Austin era begun, and we'll never forget the night that it ended."
The lockup between Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat at Steamboat's Hall of Hame induction got me choked as these two had some of the best matches in wrestling that began with this move.
In Ring of Honor in 2005 and 2006, one of the biggest, bloodiest feuds at the time was Colt Cabana VS. Homicide. It was such a violent feud (with Cabana feeling the brunt of all punishment) that the one-time fun-loving Cabana went all Serious Business, growing a five-o-clock shadow, not telling a joke for months, making him lose all semblance of peace and happiness. The arduous eight-month feud culminated at Better Than Our Best in a Chicago Street Fight. In yet another bloody encounter, Cabana prevailed—but that's not the Heartwarming Moment. See, after the match, Homicide cohorts (Julius Smokes and Ricky Reyes) attempted to ambush Cabana again. Homicide stopped them, seemingly trying to get the final shot in himself. But as he swung the chair over his head...he abruptly dropped it to the ground, fell to his knees, held out his hand and began apologizing. Cabana shook his hand, Homicide and company left, and Cabana smiled and celebrated for the first time in months.
Edge's retirement speeches on Raw on Smackdown in 2011 and the accompanying tribute video. The highlight came when Edge turned the attention of the crowd to his mom, who was clearly nervous and emotionally distraught at her son's condition. Then the entire crowd broke into a chant of "Thank you mom!" which caused her to crack a smile.
Sean Waltman in CHIKARA's 2011 King of Trios tournament... yes, he of the X-Pac Heat. There was nostalgia involved as he came in using his 1-2-3 Kid gimmick and put in all the effort he had, looking fantastic all weekend, putting on a potential Match of the Year candidate with El Generico and getting nothing but positive reactions from the fans. When the whole thing was over, in a final act of class that might be surprising, he gave both a speech to the crowd and left a letter in the locker room putting over Chikara and its roster as the future of professional wrestling and saying that it was the greatest weekend of his life.
Extreme Rules 2011: Christian finally wins the World Heavyweight Championship and can barely hold it up through his tears. Watching him hold the belt up and embrace with Edge made sure there wasn't a dry eye in the house.
WWE Raw, December 19th, 2011: Fresh off a night of exciting shockers at Tables, Ladders, & Chairsnote CM Punk retained his WWE Title, while Zack Ryder captured the US Title, along with Daniel Bryan cashing in Money in the Bank to win the World Heavyweight Title, while the company's leading man John Cena was completely absent despite not being injured., Raw opens with CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Zack Ryder celebrating their victories the previous night, as it became a passing the torch moment for the PG Era WWE.
Another moment was at Wrestlemania 28. Undertaker, having just beaten Triple H in a Hell in a Cell with Shawn Michaels as the referee, proceeded to help HHH up to his feet, before the three of them helped each other out of the ring and up the entrance ramp, sharing a manly hug together before looking to the crowd for what might be the last time...
Extreme Rules 2012, Layla returns to the ring exactly one year after battling an ACL injury and wins the Divas' title from Nikki Bella. Considering how little reaction the Divas get from the fans, the fact that the crowd chanted "welcome back!" and "let's go Layla!" is heartwarming in and of itself.
The 2003 "Christmas in Baghdad" special of "Smackdown" as it opened with Vince thanking the troops for all they've done on behalf of America. It showed the soldiers then how much WWE coming on Christmas Day was greatly appreciated. Could also double as an Moment Of Awesome as it was the first time WWE began what would be a long-running tradition.
Raw, June 18, 2012: Layla escorts Cyndi Lauper and Wendi Richter to the ring, the first time the two have been in a WWE ring in 27 years. After Roddy Piper saves them from Heath Slater, he thanks Cyndi and Wendi for everything they've done for this business, and gives Cyndi a Gold Record to replace the one he smashed over Captain Lou Albano's head in the '80s, adding that he wishes Captain Lou were still alive to share this moment.
Various legends making one-night returns on Raw in the run-up to #1000 have produced these. Most notably Vader coming back, hitting a perfect Vader Bomb on Heath Slater and generally making up for the last time he appeared in WWE (out of shape and falling off the ring apron) while happily mouthing "You remember." as the crowd went nuts. Or Rikishi returning, performing a Samoan Spike and Banzai Drop in tribute to his deceased family members (Umaga and Yokozuna) and then doing some Too Cool-esque dancing with his sons The Usos.
At the 2008 draft, Melina had been badly beaten by her former partner Victoria and Victoria's new best friend Natalya. Victoria had potentially broken her foot and showed no signs of letting up but Mickie James, who had been enemies with Melina for three years, practically their entire WWE careers, wasn't going to let Victoria continue. Mickie couldn't fight off both Victoria and Natalya, but she decided she could shield Melina and take their assault herself. It is rare to see someone in professional wrestling do something so selfless for someone they don't like, who doesn't deserve it, as Melina's lack of cooperation got Mickie double teamed the time they tagged just before this event. Of course they became good friends after 2008's draft.
The reaction Jerry Lawler received on the Nov 12 2012 episode of RAW when he finally returned after his near-fatal heart attack. An enormous pop when he appears and makes his way down to the ring. The second biggest? Not when Jim Ross gives him a hug to welcome him back, but when Michael Cole does. The two nearly start crying.
Mae Young's birthday on the Old School edition of RAW 3/4/13. Seeing face and heel superstars brake character to sing happy birthday to her was rather sweet... until CM Punk showed up.
Payback 2013. After losing her Divas' title to AJ Lee, the full force of the past week hits Kaitlyn and she becomes a sobbing wreck as she walks back up the ramp. She had previously alienated all the other Divas over her secret admirer fiasco. However Layla walks out from behind the stage and comforts Kaitlyn, crying with her and helping her backstage.
Battleground 2013. The Authority fired Cody Rhodes, then gave Goldust (his half-brother in real life) a chance to win it back but failed. Then, The Authority gave Dusty Rhodes the chance to re-hire just ONE of his sons (which he declined). So, The Authority gave the Rhodes family one more chance: If they could beat The Shield at Battleground, they would give their jobs back to the Rhodes brothers, but if they lost, they could NEVER put a foot in a WWE ring again. Then, after a grueling match from the Rhodes brothers against The Shield, Cody got the win with the Cross Rhodes, at the exact moment he won, Goldust got in the ring and hugged Cody, and then, Dusty got in the ring as well and they all shared a huge hug. And then, a bunch of Superstars came from backstage to celebrate and applaud the Rhodes family.