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Honor Before Reason / Pro Wrestling

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  • Earlier in professional wrestling, one of the markings of a face was that, win or lose, they'd wrestle fair while the heels would do whatever they had to in order to win. Career babyfaces such as Ricky Steamboat and Tito Santana were famous for this. Eventually, as wrestling got Darker and Edgier, wrestlers like "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Ric Flair, and Eddie Guerrero would be massive faces for the fans despite cheating often.
  • This trope was teased with at ECW: One Night Stand 2006 as Rob Van Dam fought John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the Hammerstein Ballroom. Towards the end of the match, Cena was attacked by Edge (very much to the approval of the rapidly pro-ECW/anti-Cena crowd who shouted "Thank You, Edge!" as he departed) while Rob was out. When Rob came to, he recognized what happened and looked as if, for a moment, that he wasn't going to take advantage of the situation. The announce team (Tazz and the legendary Joey Styles) yelled for him to capitalize on the opportunity and to not let his pride get the better of him. RVD then decided to shirk his pride and frog splashed Cena to win the title.
    • This ended up being RVD's downfall later on in the storyline: during RVD's run as WWE ECW Heavyweight Champion, General Manager Paul Heyman was handling him with kid gloves and protecting him from challengers. Recent ECW draftee The Big Show decided he wanted a shot at the title; Heyman was against it, but RVD demanded the match. Heyman ended up betraying RVD and cost him the match, the championship, and his job (in reality he was suspended for a DWI incident).
  • A face will continue to fight despite overwhelming odds or injuries causing the announcer to say "he has more guts than brains."
    • Even "better"? If it's a non-match beatdown with no rules, expect said face to never just Eye Scream and/or Groin Attack his tormentor(s) in self-defense. Not to mention if a fellow face interferes to help... despite often being outnumbered and/or unarmed, likely just making himself a target as well.
  • One type of match is the Steel Cage match, where the objective is usually to climb over the top of the cage and escape before your opponents do. Chances are high that, at least once during the match, one wrestler will climb to the top only to sacrifice what could be a sure win for the sake of executing a high-flying move on the combatants still below. Bonus points if doing this move has put the wrestler in such a state that he's no longer in any condition to try climbing the cage again.
    • The same in Ladder Matches.
  • The main event of WWE Money in the Bank 2011 had John Cena apply his "STF" hold on a tired CM Punk when Vince McMahon and his cohort appeared, with Vince instructing his cohort to have the timekeeper ring the bell (recreating the Montreal Screwjob with Vince's minion in Vince's place from the original incident) — however, Cena actually broke the hold, exited the ring, and promptly slugged the henchman, knocking him down and out and staring at Vince to make it clear, "no, not that way"... only for Cena to catch a "GTS" (Punk's own signature move) and be pinned for his troubles.
    • Speaking of Money in the Bank, the actual Money in the Bank gimmick has become almost a character study in this trope. The winner of a Money in the Bank match has an open contract for a title shot that they can invoke at any time before the next year. Honorable grapplers will announce ahead of time when they are going to cash it in. Rob Van Dam announced he would use it to face John Cena at One Night Stand, and Cena himself did it to CM Punk a week in advance before RAW 1000. Daniel Bryan announced that he'd be using it to challenge for the title at WrestleMania (though he would later subvert this trope later by cashing it in on The Big Show). Dishonorable ones will run in right after the champion has taken a vicious beating, allowing them an almost assured victory.
      • Of the honorable wrestlers who cash in with fair warning, Cena's cash-in plays this trope the straightest. CM Punk had just taken a beating from Big Show, and Show was telling Cena to cash in on Punk right there and win the title. Instead, Cena chose to cash in next week at RAW 1000, giving Punk time to recover. Cena would go on to win the match... via disqualification. Thereby, he became the first person to cash in Money in the Bank and not win a title.
      • Punk himself has cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase - twice in fact, and is the second person to do so. It's how he won his first two world titles. Both were "dishonorable," however the first time it was Edge, who was a heel and had just screwed Batista out of the title the night before, so nobody really cared. The second time it was Jeff Hardy, and that's when it was seen as dishonorable, because Jeff was an uber-popular face at the time who just won his second world title. Unsurpsingly, Punk turned heel shortly afterwards.
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  • Big Bossman's 1990 face turn happened with a bout of this: he refused to return stolen property (the Million-Dollar Championship belt) to its rightful owner (Ted DiBiase) because money changed hands between DiBiase and Slick to have Slick direct Bossman to recover the belt from the thief, Jake Roberts. He declared that he couldn't be bought and gave the belt back to Roberts.

Alternative Title(s): Professional Wrestling


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