Negated Moment of Awesome

Four small letters, 2.2 million big ones and the biggest win in game show history down the drain.

The hero is about to do something awesome, something that they will always be remembered for. The music is swelling, the tension is rising, and it appears to the viewer that awesomeness is about to grace their eyes.

So he stands alone against the Big Bad's army/prepares to jump through the skylight so as to crash The Omniscient Council of Vagueness' meeting/gets ready to open a can of whoop-ass after getting his ass handed to him/prepares show The Dragon why he's got a reputation for badassery.

He falls victim to a Zerg Rush/can't quite manage to break through the skylight/takes a bullet to the brain before he can do anything/gets steamrolled by his more powerful opponent.

It's The Day The Music Lied.

A Negated Moment Of Awesome is when a character is about to get their Moment Of Awesome, only for it to never come. The MOA in question ends up accomplishing nothing, making things worse, or, if the MOA was a hero apparently emerging victorious in battle, their enemy gets back up and just completely turns the tables back on them. Compare Hope Spot, Reality Ensues, Kaizo Trap, and What Could Have Been. Contrast with Moment Of Awesome and Offscreen Moment of Awesome. Is surprisingly common in Darker and Edgier works or even modern comedies poking fun at tropes and various cliches. Pretty much every Shoot the Shaggy Dog story ends like this.

A Negated Moment Of Awesome may in and of itself be a Moment Of Awesome for the person doing the negating.

Warning: High chance of spoilers.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In the Lucky Star OVA, Tsukasa got one of these in the volleyball game against Kagami.
  • Tower of God - First Emperor tries to use his secret attack, the Martyr, against Quant, who just breaks all the tension by throwing Ship Leesoo against him.
  • At the very end of the very last episode of Zan Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, the overall series's eponymous song and undoubtedly most awesome track begins to play... and then is abruptly cut off in favour of yet another obnoxious drawing game.
  • Does Ichigo trying to attack Aizen and nearly getting cut in half for it count? Aizen even stopped his theme music!
    • The fact that it negates Ichigo's awesome makes Aizen look all the more awesome.
      • Happened again in the final battle with Aizen. Ichigo supercharged himself, threw everything he had into one attack, and nailed Aizen with an attack that could demolish a mountain. Unfortunately, Aizen's One-Winged Angel form had a Healing Factor, and Ichigo used up all of his Shinigami powers in the blast.
      • And then... it's also basically a Negated Moment of Awesome for Aizen himself. Yeah, he survived thanks to regeneration... but he also lost his scary final super-form and the vast majority of his power in the process, powering down to the point where Urahara's kido seal (which couldn't affect him before this point because he was just too powerful) can finally activate and lock him away.
    • Chad's battle with Kyoraku. His final attack, after numerous failed attempts, is accompanied by a Theme Music Power-up (to Number One's instrumental version, which is like shorthand for 'big heroic deal!'), relevant emotional flashbacks, and a promise to Ichigo. Typical setup for a shounen victory, negated by Kyoraku striking him just once after Chad's attack has brought down a nearby building. The captain doesn't have a scratch on him.
    • Ichigo launches a Getsuga Tensho against Yammy, which appears to be quite effective at the end of the chapter, but at the start of the next chapter, Yammy gets up, revealing that it had almost no effect on him, and gains the advantage over Ichigo before Kenpachi and Byakuya arrive to fight him.
    • Captain Unohana Retsu gets one of these in the current filler arc. She's cornered by the Inaba and the Reigais of both herself and her vice captain. She holds her own briefly using some high level kidos without incantation and then promptly leaves presumably because the battle was unwinnable depriving fans of the chance to see some of her fighting badassery.
  • Asuka's battle with the mass-produced Evas in End of Evangelion. To be specific: The would-be ace pilot who has become a helpless mess from her continual losses and having her worst fears and memories thrown into her face, Asuka, is confronted by nine enemies individually stronger than her own Giant Mecha, armed only with a single knife and less than two minutes battery power. She then proceeds to destroy them one by one, wreaking carnage in her wake in the way she had promised for so long she could. As the last of her battery power drains she is tearing the final one apart, her victory complete, only to whip around her AT Field to meet a thrown blade. It turns into a weapon that can pierce the field, impaling her through the eyes just before the power cuts. Then the ones whom she defeated smile and get back up. What follows is best not described.
  • In Naruto, Konan's fight with Obito ultimately turns out to be this. Konan detonates enough paper bombs for the explosions to carry on for ten minutes... only for him to No Sell it by using his Reality Warper powers. Doing so cost him an eye, but he simply replaces it with a Rinnegan, rendering Konan's efforts completely useless and making him stronger than before.
    • Hinata's unveiling of the Eight Trigrams Sixty-Four Defensive Palms in the Hunt for the Bikochu Filler Arc. Yes, it kicks butt, but then the leader of the enemy ninjas comes back just in time to foul up the happy ending. Naruto steals the show with his Rasengan. Then farts on the Bikochu, ruining its ability. Thanks, Naruto.
    • Naruto's first attempt at using his Rasenshuriken in a real battle ends up this way, because he simply loses the technique as he is about to hit the enemy.
    • Pretty much everything that Deidara tries in his fight against Sasuke is awesome, but gets negated because Sasuke being The Rival has Plot Armor.
    • During the fourth ninja world war, the five Kages take on Bigger Bad Uchiha Madara, which is acknowledged as awesome in-Universe, but because the enemy is Uchiha Madara, who now also has the additional advantages offered by Edo Tensei, they get curbstomped off-panel, and the enemy doesn't even bother finishing them off because he got bored of the fight.
    • Anytime it looks like Rock Lee will accomplish anything. Most notably, when he performs the Lotus Blossom on Gara, only for Gara to swap out before it goes off.
  • Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force example. Woah, looks like Hayate's about to cast a pretty awesome spell! Why, it's a powerful enough spell than it has the all-powerful Huckebein worried... And of course, Villain Sue Cullen pops out of freaking nowhere and stabs Hayate in the back before defeating Vita and Erio without even paying attention. Despite the fact that Vita and Erio were armed with weapons that would bypass the Huckebeins' Anti-Magic abilities.
  • Ranma ½: The Moko Takabisha. Ranma has finally stopped abusing himself to try to beat Ryoga's Shi Shi Hokodan. He's actually eerily confident... then he casts his counter-attack - a variant of the Shi Shi Hokodan based on confidence. Ryoga replies with an even stronger Shi Shi Hokodan. Time for a massive Beam-O-War, right? Wrong. Pop. Perfected Shi Shi Hokodan Curb-Stomp Battle ensues. And the way Ranma does win is arguably rather anticlimatic, too.
    Ranma: Look! I can see Akane's underwear!
  • Genesis of Aquarion LOVES these. The heroes will often come to a deeper understanding, use their heart and soul, strike with a powerful attack...and they got the WRONG Aesop, so it fails.
  • In Fist of the North Star we have the battle between Rei and Raoh. After Raoh handed his ass to him without bothering to dismount his horse or even use his own hands (Raoh punched him repeatly using his Battle Aura), Rei realizes the best he could hope for was to launch an all-out attack that would kill Raoh at the price of exposing himself and get killed, and we see his Dying Moment of Awesome... Except it was Raoh imagining playing it in his mind to determinate the best way to counter him, before throwing his Badass Cape in his face as a distraction and hitting him with his index finger, dooming him to three days of agony before the release of death. Also counts as Crowning Moment Of Awesome for Raoh for doing all this with barely an effort.
  • Alibaba in the 182nd chapter of Magi – Labyrinth of Magic. He finally after a year of training has managed to equip fully his Djinn Equip. When he was about to use his "extreme magic" for the first time against 30 powerful Black Djinns, an attack come from the other side; it's Kouen and his Household. Because of that he absolutely missed his chance since he agoted his magoi in the charging. Lampshaded.
  • This happens a few times in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Though mind you, Interrupted Moments of Awesome for the heroes usually A) lead to even GREATER Crowning Moments of Awesome shortly thereafter, and B) are Crowning Moments of Awesome in their own right for the villains.
    • During the battle of Gurren Lagann versus Lordgenome's Lazengann, Simon uses his famous signature Finishing Move, Giga Drill Break, which no mecha so far had ever withstood. At first it seems to work, with the sunglasses pinning down Lazengann, but then Lordgenome decides he ain't having none of that shit. Lazengann proceeds to catch Gurren Lagann's drill in its chest mouth, and grinds it to pieces with its teeth.
    • Movie-exclusive example: our heroes have just broken out of the Anti-Spiral's multidimensional labyrinth and formed Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, complete with epic Rousing Speech and introductory sequence. The newly formed super robot clashes with the villain's mecha Granzeboma in an awesome battle and on equal footing! ...and then the Anti-Spiral reveals the horrible truth about Nia. The heroes' shock allows the Granzeboma to gain the upper hand and utterly curbstomp the Tengen Toppa, throwing it through multiple galaxies and then savagely tearing it to pieces all the while rambling about the flaws of humanity. Yup, the titular mecha did not even last five minutes on screen.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Episode 3. Mami blasts her way through hordes of familiars, has an internal monologue about The Power of Friendship, a Theme Music Powerup and even manages to render the Witch helpless within seconds of the battle's start. Then Tiro Finale fails to make the kill, the Witch unleashes its One-Winged Angel... And things take a sharp turn for the worse.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Happens with Joey/Jou in his duel against Yami Malik. After the former is somehow still standing after taking a huge blow from Ra's field destruction move, he manages to draw and summon Gearfried, and is ready to direct attack his now defenseless opponent... only to collapse from all of the strain he suffered from his opponent's Dark Game.

  • One early story in The Avengers ended with the Avengers lunging towards the Masters of Evil, about to defeat them once and for all, but the Enchantress decided to turn back time to before the story began.
  • In the first volume of Preacher, Cassidy learns that The Saint of Killers is after his new friend Jesse and despite the fact that they recently parted ways on bad terms, (Jesse didn't react well to finding out that Cassidy was a vampire, and Cassidy didn't react well to Jesse forcibly stopping Cassidy from feeding) Cassidy tries to be a Big Damn Hero and save Jesse by ramming a truck into the Saint at high speed. The Saint doesn't even budge as the truck crumples around him and Cassidy goes flying right through the windshield for his trouble.
  • In a Paperinik New Adventures story the Evronian battlecruiser Centurian, an old ship with a glorious career, gets an excuse to attack Earth's most technologically advanced country. The Centurian is annihilating the military, the anti-Evronian rebels they had chased there are hopelessly outgunned, Paperinik's Cool Car can barely scratch their paintjob, they are winning... Cue their old antimatter alternator breaking down and cripple the ship, with their engineer unable to get it back to work even with the Standard Procedure.
  • Tintin: In "The Crab with the Golden Pincers", Captain Haddock is fighting back against the desert raiders when a stray shot shatters his bottle of whiskey. He runs towards the raiders swinging his rifle and firing his choicest vocabulary at them, as they start running away. Then it turns they weren't running from the drunken madman but the camel-mounted cavalry riding up behind them.

    Fan Fiction 

  • Pops up in Spy Kids 3D: Game Over when The Guy comes onto the scene with 99 lives in tow. Says a few words while exuding an aura of awesome. And gets killed immediately afterward, losing all of them in one shot.
  • In Deep Blue Sea, the protagonists are trapped in an underwater facility surrounded by giant hyperintelligent sharks. The place is flooding, everything looks bleak and the protagonists keep bickering. Then Samuel L. Jackson begins this rousing speech, it's the turning point of the movie...aaand then a shark jumps out of the water and eats him.
  • A double subversion occurs in the Land of the Lost film with Will Ferrell after he makes a jump that was foreshadowed with an earlier image of a demotivational poster that he possesses. Unfortunately, said poster proves accurate, and he jumps directly into the Tyrannosaurus' mouth. The catch is that he later saves the day when it is revealed that while he was in the dinosaur's stomach, he was able to unblock its sphincter.
  • Monsters vs. Aliens: upon seeing the giant alien robot, Missing Link vows to "turn that overgrown tin can into a dented-up overgrown tin can." But when he rushes it, he is knocked out by its deflector shield, and is out cold for the rest of the battle.
  • Combined with a subversion of Soft Glass in A Life Less Ordinary: Ewan McGregor's character (a janitor at an office building) finds out he is being replaced with a cleaning robot. Outraged, he picks up the vaguely R2D2-esque droid, storms into his boss's office, yells "This is what I think of your robot!" and hurls the thing at the window pane... only to have it bounce off the glass, get up, and proceed with cleaning the room.
  • Matthew McConaughey's leap from the clock tower to deliver a badass killing blow to the Big Bad dragon in Reign of Fire. He ends up becoming chow for the beast. See Also: Never Trust a Trailer as every trailer and TV commercial for the movie would end with everything leading up to (but not including) the act that negates how badass it all would've been.
  • Elizabeth Swan, after fleeing from pursuing pirates in her home, runs into a drawing room with a coat of arms over the fireplace set with two swords. She runs up, grabs a sword, the music swells, and all she does is pull the whole thing off of the wall.
  • Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland had Alice become a giant and start a speech about the reasons the Queen of Hearts sucks, but she shrinks while she says it. No one takes it seriously as a result.
  • At the end of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Arthur and the knights are about to take on the Frenchmen that have mocked them throughout the film in what looks to be an epic battle. Then the police come in and arrest him for killing a historian that was describing the Arthurian legend earlier in the film.
  • In Quigley Down Under, there is a scene when Matthew Quigley tries to jump from the roof of a burning building onto the roof of a shed. The music is about to kick in with the heroic theme as Quigley crashes through the roof.
  • Subverted in Looney Tunes: Back in Action when Daffy goes into his Duck Dodgers persona, the jetpacks blow up when he says Duck Dodgers but he does take off in one by saying you know who instead of his name.
    • And soon after its inverted where Daffy manages to save the world, blow up the spaceship and save Bugs but it turns out it was all just a movie in universe.
  • Apollo 13: In both Real Life and the movie, the mission was going to be flight commander Jim Lovell's Crowning Moment Of Awesome. He was planning on retiring from NASA after this mission, and what better way to do it than by walking on the moon, after previously flying to it on Apollo 8. Unfortunately, an explosion in mid-flight meant having to abort the moon landing, thereby making Lovell the only astronaut to travel to the moon twice without actually landing.
    • The mission still was a Crowning Moment of Awesome for both the crew and Mission Control. Anybody can look like a hero when everything goes as planned; pulling it out of the fire when everything goes wrong is what makes you awesome. It still would have stung. Lovell actually got closer to the moon on his first trip (60 miles as opposed to about 140).

  • The Vord in Codex Alera are good at this. Very, very often, a High Lord or group of legionaires will strike what ought to be a devastating blow, only to find out the Queen anticipated it or has enough reserves to render their heroism moot. Though not outright said, it is hinted that this is partially because Tavi bled on the Queen's mound in the Wax Forest, and it inherited his intelligence.
  • The works of Steven Hunt consist of roughly 60% setup, and 38% this, with the Big Bad who has curbstomped their way through dozens of Senseless Sacrifices and Badass Armies turned abruptly Red Shirt losing abruptly within the last five to ten pages as the surviving heroes finally get it right.
  • Bleys, in The Chronicles of Amber, has a truly epic example of this at the end of the first book: he near-singlehandedly fights his way up the side of a mountain covered in troops (probably the single most impressive feat of swordsmanship we ever see, for all that he's supposedly only the fourth or fifth best swordsman)... and then gets knocked off the mountain only a few meters from the top. His army is soundly defeated thereafter, and we barely hear from him for the rest of the series. Bummer.
  • In the second-to-last book of The Wheel of Time, Rand (already an apocalyptically powerful magic user) fresh from Epiphany Therapy and the resulting Enlightenment Superpowers, wiped out an entire army of Shadowspawn single-handedly (though he's half-dead from exhaustion at the end of it). In the last book, he tries this tactic again, except this time the Shadow anticipated it and had a bunch of Dreadlords lead by Mazrim Taim waiting to jump him. Rand barely got out of that one, and realized that if he was to win this, he had to take the fight to the Dark One itself, rather than its minions.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, the showdown between the Witch-King and Gandalf at the gates of Minas Tirith is cut very short by the arrival of Rohan.
    Gandalf: You cannot enter here. Go back to the abyss prepared for you! Go back! Fall into the nothingness that awaits you and your Master. Go!
    The Lord of the Nazgūl: Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know Death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!" (And with that he lifted high his sword and flames ran down the blade)

    Live Action TV 
  • In Auction Kings, one of Jon's first picks was a beautiful Venetian mirror. Its appraised for several thousand dollars. It goes up to auction and sells for only a couple hundred.
  • In the Season 3 finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Wesley is there for the final battle with the Mayor's vampire forces, looking all stone serious. He goes to join the fray... and is instantly knocked down and out. His last appearance on the show was being loaded into an ambulance, complaining as the stretcher is moved.
    • This was by Alexis Denisof's choice. Joss Whedon offered him the opportunity to man up and hold his own in the battle, but Alexis thought just getting knocked out would be funnier.
    • Wesley made up for it on Angel by taking A-Levels in badass.
    • In the Season 5 finale Doc bests Spike in combat, then faces up to Buffy knife in hand, saying "This should be interesting." Buffy throws him off the tower without even breaking stride.
  • A similar joke is done in Jekyll. The first several minutes of an episode are spent building up a badass marine-type who was recruited solely to head up anti-Hyde security. Squad training, combat montage, weapon drills. Then when he actually meets Hyde he charges at him and is flung carelessly off the rooftop.
  • The same thing happens in Heroes, where a marine administered the Super Serum gains the ability of Super Strength, only to be unceremoniously killed minutes into the next episode when Knox walks up behind him and snaps his neck.
  • Cheese in the series finale of The Wire. He spends several seasons working his way up through Prop Joe's organization and when he betrays Joe and Marlo is arrested, Cheese looks to be the next drug king of Baltimore. He steps up and starts of give a rant to bring all the other leaders under his wing, only for Slim Charles to get sick of his bullshit and murder him mid-sentence.
    Slim: That was for Joe.
  • From Robin Hood. After spending the entire season as a whiny ball of uselessness, Kate manages to sneak herself out of the besieged Nottingham Castle in order to warn King Richard, promising the outlaws that she'll "be back with an army." She gets captured. Off-screen. Again. And it turns out that King Richard and his army isn't even back in the country yet anyway. It's up to the men to bail her out of trouble, fight off the soldiers at the battlements, and blow up the castle with the Byzantium Powder, whilst Kate simply stands about telling them to "hurry up" in the most helpful way possible.
  • Rhys from Torchwood has finally had enough of the interruptions on his wedding day and is about to get rid of the shape-shifting alien with a chainsaw when it conks out for no apparent reason.
  • In the pilot episode of Angel Doyle is about to crash through the gates of a rich vampire's mansion in order to rescue his friends...except the gates hold fast and he just ends up with a dented car.
    • Marcus Hamilton slugs his way through Wolfram & Hart, kicking down doors and killing anyone in his way to get at Eve. Angel and Spike ready themselves to fight him as he reaches under his coat...only to take out a pen so Eve can sign the papers establishing him as the new Conduit to the Senior Partners.
    • A Badass katana-wielding ninja with psychic powers leaps into the midst of Team Angel with a huge yell, only to killed in seconds by a mob of vampires.
  • Played for laughs in Supernatural. During the episode "Like A Virgin," Dean is told that in order to pull the Sword of Brunswick out of its stone, it needs to be pulled by a brave knight willing to slay the dragon. He steps up to the stone, the music swells dramatically... and he slips and falls on his ass. Twice. So he blows up the stone. Badly.
  • During the seige of Atlantis Dr. Rodney McKay finally gets a chance to become a bona fide Bad Ass. He fails spectacularly.
  • The Merlin writers love doing this with Guinevere. In the episode Lamia she almost gets to kill a monster...until she's knocked off her feet and Arthur stabs it in the back. In The Hunter's Heart she runs all night and all day to warn Camelot of an impending attack from an army of mercenaries...but no one listens to her. And in The Sword and the Stone she goes toe-to-toe with Morgana...and is promptly disarmed and has to be saved by Merlin.
    • Not to mention all the times the show subverts the Badass Boast. Every time someone makes one, you know that they're doomed. Merlin is the only one who managed to play it straight thus far, and even he subverted it in Lamia.
    • And then there's that infamous example from Sins of the Father when Arthur calls Uther out on all of his own wrongdoings, only for him to go too far and force Merlin to press the Reset Button to keep him from patricide.
  • A few shows/movies have had a football team make a touchdown or goal in the last few seconds- in/on the wrong side.
  • Similarly, a few shows have the main characters winning a contest or game show, only to be denied at the last minute because of a hitherto unrevealed technicality or a mix-up. (Oftentimes, one of the contestants or their relatives will work for the a subsidiary of a company that puts on the contest, which disqualifies them).
  • M*A*S*H had Henry telling about how he taped the ankle of the hero of the high school football team with seconds left so that the hero could make a touchdown. Henry taped the wrong ankle. "Tank still comes over once a year and shoots out my porch light. And he's a judge now."
    • A later-in-the-series episode had Donald Penobscot mess up a race that he was very close to winning.
  • In Game of Thrones, Theon gives an epic Rousing Speech before a Last Stand, but as soon as he finishes, one of his men knocks him out, because all of the others except Theon were offered the freedom to return home if they surrendered. They decide to accept the offer. Heck, the guy who knocks out Theon even says that he only let Theon talk so long because it was a good speech and he felt Theon deserved a chance to finish it before getting a massive thump to the head.
    • In the first season, Tyrion is forced to lead an army of barbarians into a near suicidal charge. He takes the order, makes a Rousing Speech and runs with them in the first line... only to be accidentally knocked out by one of his own men's war hammer.
    Bronn: You are a shitty warrior.
  • From Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In the two-part episodes "Improbable Cause" and "The Die is Cast", Enabran Tain, the leader of the Obsidian Order, the Cardassian Secret Police, has planned a preemptive strike against the Founders homeworld, hoping to take out the Dominion once and for all. In cooperation with the Tal Shiar, the Romulan secret police, a fleet of Cardassian and Romulan warships launches an attack against the Founder homeworld... except that the place is actually deserted, and a Dominion probe is delivering false sensor readings. Just when they realize this, a Jem'Hadar fleet enters the sector and immediately begins taking down the combined fleet. Just to twist the knife deeper, the Tal Shiar's Colonel Lovok, who helped organize the attack, was, in fact, another Founder. The Obsidian Order is completely destroyed, the Tal Shiar however manages to recover.
    • Another Star Trek example from Star Trek: The Next Generation. In "The Best of Both Worlds" a nigh-invulnerable Borg cube has just shredded most of Starfleet's ships without even blinking. Our heroes, however, have built an improvised weapon that will one-shot the Borg ship. They finally get close enough to fire and... it has no effect. Other than nearly melting their own engines due to the power requirements. Turns out the Borg anticipated it, and built a countermeasure.
  • In Doctor Who, during "The Day of the Doctor", the Tenth Doctor delivers a Badass Boast to what he thinks is a Zygon disguising itself as a rabbit... only to realise he is talking to an actual rabbit.
    • Later when the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors both try to Reverse the Polarity of a time vortex at the same time, only for nothing to happen because their sonic screwdrivers cancelled each other out.
    Tenth Doctor: I'm reversing it, you're reversing it back again. We're confusing the polarity!
  • In the third season finale of Xena: Warrior Princess, the evil god Dahak is preparing to break through into the moral plane. Ares prepares for battle and gives one of his men a Rousing Speech: "Summon every warlord, every soldier, all who ever professed allegiance to me. I am Ares God of War!" Then Dahak appears and Ares immediately surrenders. Whatever army Ares might have mustered is never seen.
  • The Spanish Game Show El gran juego de la oca (The Great Game of the Goose) featured a space on its board that was home to a deranged Barber named Flequi. Any contestant that landed here had to answer three questions correctly to avoid getting a Traumatic Haircut. The first two were generally very easy, while the third was practically impossible. One contestant's third question was to guess exactly how many millimeters a woman in the 18th century let her hair grow over the course of 52 years without cutting it. The contestant responded "3 1/2 meters" (3,500 mm), while the actual answer was 3,650 mm. They actually started to go to the judge until Flequi took matters into his own hands.
  • Greed had Daniel Avila, the only contestant in the show's history to go for the $2 million question (actually $2.2 million since the original episodes used a Progressive Jackpot format). Being required to choose the top four most recognizable of nine smells, he hits three of them, resulting in his walking away with nothing instead of a prize that would likely still be a winnings record on any game show to this day.
  • The trope was actually played very seriously in one episode of Power Rangers Super Samurai. Lauren, Jayden's big sister, had mastered the sealing symbol, something that has been constantly said as the one thing that can banish Big Bad Master Xandred to the Netherworld forever. During a vicious battle with Xandred, Lauren uses the symbol on him, and just when it looks like it worked, Master Xandred effortlessly destroys it. Earlier, he had absorbed a dying Dayu's body, and her human essence gave him immunity to the symbol. What makes this really depressing is that Lauren herself said that everything she had ever done had been for that moment.
  • In Power Rangers Super Megaforce the Great Legendary War from Gokaiger, sadly becomes this, hardly even being two minutes.

  • In Texas high-school football in 1994: Plano East rallies from a 41-17 deficit with 3:03 to play to take a 44-41 lead over John Tyler, thanks in part to three straight successful onside kicks in the final 2:36. The amazing comeback falls short, however, as John Tyler returns a kickoff 97 yards for the game-winning touchdown with 11 seconds remaining. Final: John Tyler 48, Plano East 44.
  • The New Orleans Saints were trailing the Jacksonville Jaguars by 7 going into the last play of the game in a game they needed to win in order to remain in contention for the playoffs. They proceed to execute a hook-and-lateral (forward pass combined with runs and lateral passes to keep the ball alive) and scored a touchdown. The kicker then missed the extra point, so the Saints lost by 1.
    • Making the outcome only slightly less agonizing for the Saints was that even if they had won, they would still have been eliminated from the playoffs. The Saints also needed the Dallas Cowboys to lose that day, but that team won.
  • Eagles running back Brian Westbrook was responsible for one as well. With some time left on the clock, Westbrook took a handoff and broke through the Dallas Cowboys' defense, running to the end zone... and stopping at the one-yard line. The play made perfect sense from a football standpoint (in staying out of the end zone, Westbrook's team kept possession and could run out the clock, if he had scored, Dallas would get the ball back and have a chance, however slim, of winning the game). However Westbrook was a popular player in Fantasy Football that year, and a lot of people, seeing him head to the end zone, thought he would score and earn them points.
  • In Quebec, a type of bowling called Rubberband Duckpin is typically played; it's played like 10-pin, but with duckpins, small balls, the pins have rings on them like 5-pin, and pinsetters have the pins attached to strings (for those unfamiliar, the machine basically "reels" the pins back up and drop the relevant ones back down between balls). This man was just one strike away from a perfect game.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • Halo: Reach: the Covenant just love doing this. Call in a Big Damn Gunship to finish your mission? A Covenant supercarrier blasts your ship out of the sky. Use a Heroic Sacrifice to destroy the supercarrier? Three hundred more Covenant ships jump into orbit around Reach. It's like the aliens are just waiting for you to get your hopes up.
  • If your character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl can't pull off a Final Smash unless the opponent comes in close contact, attempts to use this attack on distant opponents can result in unfinished attacks. Captain Falcon in particular seems to express frustration when the Blue Falcon fails to hit his adversary.
  • Blazblue: When Bang Shishigami goes into his super mode, his theme music starts to play interrupting your usual stage music, and you expect the Bang player to kick some butt, but then gets DENIED. Made worse by the fact Bang's theme continues to play throughout the animation, even though both players know what's going to happen.
  • Parodied (like everything else) in Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. A group of Super Sentai parodies called the Prism Rangers show up to ruin the characters' day. They begin to transform into their awesome super form to curb stomp the heroes...and then Etna interrupts by shooting two of them in the kneecaps. A Curb-Stomp Battle does occur, but now it's the other way around, as the Rangers are laughably weak. This leads to a series wide Running Gag, with the Prism Rangers showing up every game and being treated like total losers.
  • Tetris. How many times has anyone set up a nice tall one-column shaft for a Tetris, only to plug up the shaft with another piece or worse, the I-piece itself? Granted, it's possible to recover out of this, but if you're nearly topped out and barely able to place pieces, you pretty much just turned an Awesome Moment into Yet Another Stupid Death.
  • An In The Groove tournament brings us the 800$ BOOM: One player is leading by a small margin with a so-far-perfect score at what seems to be the end of the final round's chart, but forgets to let go of the panels at the end of a pair of hold arrows, triggering the mines and bringing his score down below his opponent's. The resulting uproar and his reaction are very much warranted.
  • An implied one in Starcraft II: When Mengsk's flagship comes nearby, Raynor and Findlay start a boarding action, with lots of explosions and More Dakka. However, it's not Mengsk but his son waiting for them, implying they only got that far because he wanted them to.
  • Kaizo Traps lead to this for the player.
  • In beatmania, Popn Music, and Sound Voltex, your Life Meter needs to be at a particular threshold or higher to clear the song (80% in beatmania and pop'n, 70% in Sound Voltex). This trope comes into play if you maintain a solid performance throughout the song, getting a very high score and/or maintaining a miss count of zero, only to choke at the very end and end with just under the requirement to clear—this is why "78%"note  and "69%" are Rage Quit fuel for IIDX and SDVX players, respectively.
  • World-class Battle Garegga player T3-Kamui achieves about 20 million points and then loses her last life right as she destroys Glow Squid, resulting in a Game Over rather than a game clear.

    Web Animation 
  • In Red vs. Blue: Reconstruction, Sarge, Grif and Simmons (who until then, had not appeared in the series at all) suddenly come riding out of nowhere in their jeep, once again with the country music to attack the blues. Then they crash into a wall, then are crashed into by an object moving only two miles an hour. Perhaps a rare example where even after their Negated Moment Of Awesome, the characters still prove to be a significant threat to their intended targets - the jeep's chain gun still works after all this.
  • In Final Fantasy III Triology, Setzer arrives to the "Chosen Ones'" battle with Kefka on his airship, having survived his fall in Part 1 by having landed on Relm's corpse (who died breaking Sabin's fall). He jumps out to join the fight, with "I need a Hero" playing in the background, but hits the edge of the cliff and gets broken in half, the music cutting off as he lands.
  • Dragonball Abridged The entirety of Krillin's very existence in the series, specifically when Goku passes him the Spirit Bomb. And Vegeta jumps over it because he's either Dangerously Genre Savvy or Krillin just can't get a break.
    • Then there was the abridgement of the Lord Slug movie. Chi-Chi, Goku's wife, knocks out a mook with a flying kick. She starts to lecture about how just because she's a woman that doesn't mean she can't fight... and get knocked out mid sentence by another random mook.
    Bulma: (watching from the sidelines) That actually lasted longer than I expected.
    • Yamcha versus the Saiyan. He has a triumphal arrival getting back hope, he starts a Rousing Speech-And is promptly interrupted and killed by a self-destructing Saibaiman.
  • During the Emperor and Hanged Man mini-arc in Vaguely Recalling JoJo, Polnareff uses Silver Chariot to vastly increase his speed for a final attack at Hol Horse, but he botches the attack.

    Web Comic 
  • In Tales of the Questor, Quentyn has just recovered his stolen sword, and is about to open an epic sized can of Whoopass on the Tumbledowns gangs, when reality intervenes...
  • In Homestuck, John has discovered Jack Noir over his dead Dad, and Rose's dead Mom, he gets a very serious look on his face, the music swells and... Jack teleports behind him and stabs him through the chest.
    • Also, we have Tavros about to discover his true inner power by saving Vriska... then Vriska pretty much saves herself and gains her own inner power, literally stealing his Crowning Moment.

    Western Animation 
  • Ęon Flux... well... let's just say that she managed to make this an art form in her TV series.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
  • Numbuh 3 brings out her training mecha to fight a mutant turnip, and as she's locking and loading... it turns out the turnip was much, much bigger than the mech.
    • Virtually every time she gets in her mecha, it's hyped up as a big awesome sequence, only for it to be destroyed immediately every single time.
      • The only exception being the season 3 premiere Operation: F.U.T.U.R.E.
    • Operation: Z.E.R.O. has Father all hyped up and angry, finally ready to get back at Grandfather, only to lose motivation and go back to his house to eat ice cream. In this case, it isn't so much bad luck as it is the lack of desire. It's greatly implied that Father is actually stronger than Grandfather (who is easily the most dangerous villain to ever appear on the show), but due to his, frankly, horrible childhood, he lacks the self-esteem to go against him.
  • In one episode of Celebrity Deathmatch, James Van Der Beek fought Saddam Hussein. Near the end of the match, Van Der Beek wrapped Hussein in the American flag, and beat him to a bloody pulp with a flag pole. It seems as if Van Der Beek had won the match. However, referee Mills Lane slapped handcuffs on him, and had him arrested for desecrating an American flag, rendering the match a no contest.
  • This turns out to be the entire punchline of the Dexter's Laboratory TV film Ego Trip.
  • An Alternate Universe version of Ferb gets one in the Arthurian-themed episode "Excaliferb":
    "Behold, evil wizard Malifishmirtz, I hold the sword Excaliferb. This mystical vorpal blade was given to me by The Lady of the Puddle. Get a good look at it, for it is the instrument of your demise! . . . Well, uh, okay. So big deal, the end comes off." "Looks like we're going with Plan B!"
  • An often unnoticed one in the Justice League Unlimited finale, when Superman is about to take down Darkseid and Darkseid unleashes the Agony Matrix on him to incapacitate him. Of course, this is eclipsed by Superman's definitive Crowning Moment Of Awesome immediately before this, and no matter how big the adult fanbase is, you can't have Superman kill someone on a kid's show.
  • South Park: In "Pee", one drop of urine manages to flood the water park that the boys spend time at. Since Kyle can hold his breath the longest, the others suggest for him to swim down to the submerged maintenance room to release the emergency valve, but Kyle is very disgusted by all the urine, and objects to the park owner's suggestion of drinking 24 oz. of pee to make the mission easier (don't question it too much). Kyle attempts to do it anyway, but unfortunately, Randy gets to save the day instead, and Kyle gets to play Audience Surrogate.
    Kyle: "Are you fucking kidding me?!"
  • Wakfu: During the first Gobbowl arc, there's a dramatic moment, complete with epic camera shots and music, as Sadlygrove drives down the field to score. It's then revealed that he ran the wrong direction and scored on his own team.
  • The season 3 premiere of Superjail had this for Jailbot. After a tease at the end of the finale for the previous season that suggested he'd make his way back to the jail to save everyone, Jailbot finally arrives back at Superjail in the middle of the premiere's plot - just that he's several months too late, and he instantly backs down when his Distaff Counterpart Nova threatens to have his ass kicked.

    Real Life 
  • In 1918 the Germans mustered all their remaining reserves, including the cream of their armies, for one more tilt at winning the First World War (or at least forcing a favourable peace) before the US Army deployed in full strength. Having battered the British Fifth Army to pieces and gained more ground in less time than anyone had managed in the past four years, the Germans were well on their way to winning. All of a sudden, the gains they made became the end instead of the means. Paris beckoned as a shiny distraction, the British and the French rallied, US forces began to trickle into the battle... and the downhill slide began. For the Germans, this overlaps with Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
    • It was more that, while the Germans were gaining ground, they were also taking just horrific casualties in the process, while marching away from their railheads, which meant that they were outrunning their supplies. They hit their culminating point, the Allied counteroffensive began, and what was left of the German army just collapsed, while the unprotected border with Austria was endangered by the annihilation of the Austrian army at Vittorio Veneto.
  • Michael Jackson had more than one of these in his last 15 years and they are one reason his personal scandals came to overwhelm his reputation as a performer, especially in the U.S. (he never toured North America, save for Hawaii, after 1989).
    • December 1995. Jackson was preparing One Night Only at New York City's Beacon Theater; intended as his first concert in over two years, it was to air on HBO. Three days before the show was to go on he collapsed onstage during a rehearsal and was rushed to the hospital. He never rescheduled the show (no reason why was ever given), and the incident and the subsequent New York Post headline "Jacko On His Backo" became fodder for a Saturday Night Live sketch that ran the night the concert was to have taken place.
    • October 2001. Jackson was the final, headlining act at the "United We Stand: What More Can I Give" post-September 11th benefit in Washington, D.C., which he organized. His set solely consisted of a lip-synced rendition of "Man in the Mirror"; though he did go on to lead the finale with the remaining performers, it capped a day rife with technical problems and shortened sets, leading to declare it "The Worst Benefit Concert Ever!" Even worse, ABC was contractually required to pretend Jackson wasn't there because of an exclusivity agreement he had signed with CBS regarding his 30th Anniversary special (which was drawn from two shows that immediately preceded the disaster), so their televised edit of the show only included the finale as a result.
    • November 2006. Jackson's appearance at the World Music Awards in London was his first performance in England and his first performance anywhere since the 2003 child molestation charges. The show built up to it with a Chris Brown rendition of "Thriller" serving as a tribute to Jackson's most famous album. After an introduction by Beyonce, two different awards/honors being presented to him, and a celebratory montage, Jackson's actual performance turned out to be...two choruses of "We Are the World", with a backup chorus lip-syncing to the original recording. The resultant publicity was terrible...and this was his last public performance, because...
    • Jackson's purported final run of shows, the This Is It concerts, were due to launch in July 2009 at London's O2 Arena. He died of a prescription drug overdose a few weeks before that. At least his death won back the crowd. If he had lived, the shows would likely have been another example of this trope; few in the press thought he would have completed the run of 50 shows even though he'd face financial ruin if he didn't. Fans claim that AEG Live's schedule and pressuring were unduly hard on him and that they weren't willing to delay the shows and get him the medical help he needed, while detractors point out that he'd blown so many comeback attempts before and let his body fall into decay from substance abuse rather than trying to actually overcome his problems.
  • In 1917 Italian general Pietro Badoglio realized that the Austro-Hungarian army was about to launch an offensive that could have broke the Italian lines, so he carefully set up an artillery trap to annihilate the enemy forces at a chokepoint. The Austro-Hungarian offensive came and broke the lines at Caporetto, the enemy forces arrived at his chokepoint... And the Italian artillery didn't open fire because he had ordered them to wait for his orders and had remained isolated.
    • How the battle ended was one for the Austro-Hungarians. After over two years on the defensive they finally launched their offensive and broke through the Italian lines, penetrating in Veneto with a two pronged offensive aimed at Venice on the South and the Val Trompia (the valley where almost all of Italy's weapon factories were and still are sited). Then the Italian army, that for two years had showed little will to fight an offensive war, realized the national territory had been invaded and decided to hold the line on the Piave river, while the northern prong, that could have defeated Italy anyway by simply capturing the weapon factories, found that the Monte Grappa, the last mountain before Val Trompia, had been fortified with insane amounts of artillery precisely in case of such an evenience. The Austro-Hungarian offensive was stopped, with the Italian high command itself being surprised by the result of the southern battle (they had intended the defence of the Piave river as an holding action while a better defence was prepared, and only fortified the Piave line after being told of what had just happened), and the Austro-Hungarians would not advance further while the Italians prepared the counter-offensive that would cause the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
      • The initial defence of the Piave line was one for the Italian high command. Why? It was the only important battle in the war that the Italian high command did not lead, leaving tactics in the hands of the 4th Army command and his subordinates, who, for once, had freedom to do whatever was needed. Needless to say, the Italian high command looked like a group of idiots when they realized they had missed the chance to prove themselves...
  • The sad story of Zambia's national football team. Entering the last round of qualifying for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, the entire team was killed in a plane crash. The one player not on the flight hastily assembled a new team, which resumed play, went undefeated, and needed only a tie in their last game to qualify. Zambia lost 1-0 to Morocco, and a controversial referee's decision denied them a penalty kick that would have sent them to the World Cup.
    • Zambia got its redemption nearly two decades later, winning the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations as a decided underdog. The final was held in Libreville, Gabon, only a few hundred meters inland from the crash site.