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Negated Moment of Awesome

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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 they stand 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 their ass handed to them/prepares to show The Dragon why they have a reputation for badassery.

But then they fall victim to a Zerg Rush/can't quite manage to break through the skylight/take a bullet to the brain before they can do anything/get steamrolled by the 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, Surprisingly Realistic Outcome, Kaizo Trap, Failed Attempt at Drama, and What Could Have Been. Contrast with Moment of Awesome and Offscreen Moment of Awesome. It's 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. If the moment is negated by hindsight or turns out to be a bad thing in the long run, that's It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time and Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.

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.


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  • A Bundaberg Rum commercial depicts a group of manly men building a replica Viking longship while singing a rousing sea shanty. As the song swells to a crescendo, they launch the finished ship...which immediately sinks. Cut to the interior of a pub, where the men resume their song with "Well at least we tried."

    Anime & 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 Shibisu against him.
  • At the very end of the very last episode of Zan Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, the overall series's eponymous song begins to play... and then is abruptly cut off in favour of yet another obnoxious drawing game.
  • The Big O: Beck and his crew show off their new combat robot with a long, drawn-out combination sequence, complete with a catchy, heroic-sounding theme tune, only for Big O to destroy it in one shot before it even gets off an attack.
  • Bleach: Ichigo trying to attack Aizen and nearly getting cut in half for it counts. 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) could 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 Invading Army 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.
  • Episode 12 of Digimon Ghost Game ends like this; Gammamon Digivolves to his most powerful Champion form WezenGammamon for the first time, transforming himself into living artillery to stop The Horde of Zassoumon from causing The End of the World as We Know It. After unleashing a barrage of explosions, he prepares to finish off the now kaiju-sized ones by charging up a massive blast as the Theme Music Power-Up swells... only for the Zassoumon leader to show up and take them out of the city, Letting the Air out of the Band and ending the episode with a massive Anti-Climax.
  • During the Tenrou Island arc of Fairy Tail, Cana powers up Fairy Glitter to save her friends from Bluenote Stinger in a Big Damn Heroes Moment... only for the spell to fizzle out mid-cast because she couldn't properly control it. If Gildarts hadn't shown up they would've been screwed.
  • Happens twice during Asuka's battle with the Mass Production Evangelions in End of Evangelion.
  • 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 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 Primary Lotus on Gaara, only for Gaara to swap out before it goes off.
    • Throughout the first half of the manga, Sasuke's main drive had been to hunt down and kill his traitorous brother Itachi. Upon finally finding him, the two have a gruelling battle, in which Sasuke emerges victorious. Afterwards, however, when he's recovering, Tobi reveals a truth to Sasuke: that Itachi was actually Good All Along and everything he had done had been to protect him, instantly turning the triumphant moment Sasuke had always desired into one of deep regret.
  • 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... Then 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.
    • The Huckbein have this done to themselves, hilariously. They break into a heavily fortified prison to capture Hades who.... promptly smacks them down like they were disobedient children. Curren going into her Super Mode just serves to accent the difference in power, as he stomps her just as easily as the others.
  • 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 anticlimactic, 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 repeatedly 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, Raoh was visualising the attack in his mind to determine the best way to counter him. Before Rei can even react, Raoh throws off his cape so it lands on Rei's face as a distraction and then hits him with his index finger, dooming him to three days of agony before the release of death.
  • Alibaba in the 182nd chapter of Magi: Labyrinth of Magic. After a year of training, he has finally managed to fully equip his Djinn Equip. As he is about to use his "extreme magic" for the first time against 30 powerful Black Djinns, an attack comes from the other side; it's Kouen and his Household. Because of this, he totally misses his chance since he used up his magoi in the charge. Lampshaded.
  • In the Sailor Moon episode "Umino's Resolve! I'll Protect Naru", Umino/Melvin valiantly confronts the monster Akan and gets tossed aside.
    • In the episode "Terror in Motion: The Dark Queen's Evil Hand", the Sailor Guardians learn of the Amazoness Quartet's identities and their childish callousness over unleashing numerous children's Dream Mirrors and suggesting just tossing them in the garbage heap, transforming in front of them in response. "Sailor Team no Theme" blasts in the background, the entire team pulls off the In the Name of the Moon speech... and they don't seem to care. Even worse, when Jupiter and Venus try to attack them, they effortlessly No-Sell it and humiliate the girls. Of course, this is the Lighter and Softer season with Chibi-Usa as the focus character, not last season.
  • This happens a few times in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
    • 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. Which, fortunately, is followed by all the pieces turning into smaller Tengen Toppa-class mecha, then reforming into the Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • 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.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL during the penultimate duel of the anime, just it when looks like Yuma is about to finish off his opponent, he suddenly cancels the attack because he realizes that winning the duel wouldn't be worth the cost of losing his friendship with Shark. But then, it turns out to be a subversion because by doing that he unknowingly avoided what would have been a worse Negated Moment Of Awesome because it turns out his opponent had a trap prepared that would have caused him to lose if he hadn't decided to cancel the attack.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS In Playmaker and Bohman's final battle, the Knights of Hanoi finished a program that will destroy the Neuron Link, Ghost Girl, and Akira sacrificed themselves to activate the shutdown inside and get everyone out, and everything looks good as the Link was shut down. Bohman restored the Neuron Link quickly through sheer will causing Ai to sacrifice himself to stop it one more time. Then Bohman restored it again shortly after and almost defeats Playmaker with 100 lifepoints to spare.
  • Jewelpet
    • In the final arc of Jewelpet Sunshine, Kurara fights Mecha Sango. Kurara prepares to launch an attack while making an In the Name of the Moon speech, and then Mecha Sango anti-climactically swats her with her paw.
    • In the last episode of Jewelpet Kira☆Deco!, Rald turns a larger-than-gigantic size and looks like he's going to pummel the One-Winged Angel-ed Dark General to the ground, only for Rald to shrink back to Fun Size and start eating bamboo. It earns a Face Fault from everyone around.
    • In episode 19 of Jewelpet Happiness, Garnet tries to use her magic so she can win a game of table tennis. She calls an attack with an absurdly long name and the ball goes past her since she wasn't finished calling it yet.
  • The dodgeball match in My Monster Secret. The entire class has united against Akari, Sakurada is about to deal the finishing blow, imbued with his feelings for her... she dodges it and hits him in the face. Everyone yells at her to read the atmosphere.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul:re, Kaneki returns from the group tasked with ensuring food for the ghouls to the Goat headquarters, following a hunch he had that Furuta would attack it. He is right. He feels relieved that he returned in time and confident all he passed was to prepare him for this moment, where he would be able to protect his loved ones. Then, he is defeated and dismembered off-panel by Hanbee and Suzuya.
  • One Piece:
    • Wapol, in the Drum Island Arc, tries to prepare to fire his deadliest weapon of all- a multi-barrelled cannon... only to find it has been commandeered by birds and plugged shut from their nests. The face he makes is one of the greatest wild takes ever seen in the series. The eighth movie of the series sees a what-if scenario where Wapol manages to use it in some manner, however, by eating it, then using his Devil Fruit power to merge with it and fire one of his brother's poison bombs.
    • Nami's fight against Miss Doublefinger in quickly turns into multiple occurrences of this when she discovers Usopp completely botched her request for a combat weapon and turned her Clima-Tact into mostly nothing but a cheap party tricks gag device... subverted when she learns a few of its functions actually are quite lethal. However, she still gives Usopp a good whack on the head for endangering her with his own stupidity at work (she got her foot gored through with a needle thanks to him!) and makes him build a new one that she receives several arcs later... while Usopp is estranged from the crew, thus making it his functional last work with them.
    • The legendary scene where Luffy completely No Sells Enel's lighting and he responds with the ultimate Wild Take, the one One Piece is most famous for, even more so than Wapol's.
    • The hilarious scene that shows Big Mom tanking three deadly poison rockets and causes Capone Bege and company to freak out in a Mass "Oh, Crap!" and keep freaking out as things go From Bad to Worse!
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable: When Highway Star has Rohan hostage and is pressuring him into luring Josuke into his life-sapping trap, Rohan gives an iconic (and memetic) "I refuse" - a powerful sign that he'll remain Defiant to the End. Unfortunately, Josuke's animosity towards Rohan ends up leading him to do the opposite of what Rohan says, leading him to rush into Highway Star's trap and make Rohan's defiance all for naught. Fortunately, Rohan was still able to save the situation by using Heaven's Door to send Josuke flying backward faster than Highway Star can run.
  • In Toriko, Jiro's "fight" against Acacia turns out to be this. At first, it seems like he has effortlessly defeated Acacia by performing a Million Knocking that leaves Acacia entirely paralyzed except for his mouth. Except that's enough for Acacia to undo the Million Knocking with his prehensile tongues. So Jiro performs the Grand Knocking, his most powerful technique, the one that can paralyze the entire planet and everything on it...then Neo eats it. Acacia then releases all of the damage that Jiro has halted over his lifetime in his body using Damage Knocking at once, enough damage to destroy the Earth several times over, sealing Jiro's fate.
  • In Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire episode "Whiscash and Ash", One-Shot Character Sullivan attempts to catch a Whiscash using a Master Ball, in its first and only main anime appearance. Sullivan throws the ball at Whiscash...and the Whiscash promptly swallows it. That's right, the ultimate ball in the games, which is guaranteed to catch its target, utterly failed.
  • The Hinokami Kagura sequence from Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. Tanjiro, staring down death at the hands of Rui and with his life flashing before his eyes, remembers a ceremonial dance to the God of Fire his father taught him, and incorporates its movements into one final attack. With this, he's able to slice straight through Rui's strengthened webbing, close the distance between them, and with Nezuko's burning blood propelling his blade even further, he lands a decapitating blow, all depicted with the most lavish animation and heart-wrenching music in the anime so far. Yet when the next episode comes around, we learn it didn't work. At the very last moment, Rui used his own Razor Floss to non-lethally cut off his own head before the blade could make contact, and with Tanjiro exhausted and unable to continue fighting, it falls to Giyu to finish the battle in his place.
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime.
  • In Heavy Object, Klarheit Rubyhunter's pilots a bomber during the retaliatory attack on an enemy base which wiped out most of his unit. Seeing that the enemy leaders are evacuating in a tiltrotor, Klarheit crash lands his plane in order to take out the leaders and claim revenge... except the tiltrotor takes off and avoids him. Then an entirely unrelated laser blasts the tiltrotor out of the sky, meaning his sacrifice was pointless. And since he actually survived the crash, Klarheit has to sheepishly ask his squadron for help since his plane's busted and there are enemy soldiers all around him.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • Iceman and Angel had a moment where Angel lunged at Goom fists first, declaring "This ends now!" only to have the realization in the next panel that "Wait, all I have are wings". He is quickly swatted away.
  • 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 paint job, 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 from the camel-mounted cavalry riding up behind them.

    Fan Works 
  • Ascendant: During the forest camp attack, Izuku not only defeats Muscular and saves Kouta like in canon —he also singlehandedly fights every member of the League while allowing Tokoyami to escape! Unfortunately, the arrival of All For One signaled the fight's end, damning Izuku to a brief but emotionally upsetting captivity with the cost of almost all of his Quirks being stolen by the supervillain.
  • Equestrylvania: Spike attempts to pull a You Shall Not Pass! on a group of monsters to protect Rarity and Sweetie Belle, only for Fluttershy to show up with the Golden Cross and scare them off.
  • This happens several times in The Immortal Game. Perhaps the most notable is the Mane Six' first confrontation against King Titan (the real one, as opposed to his Puppet Avatars). They activate the Elements of Harmony, and the familiar blast of rainbows careens towards the King. Completely unfazed, he says "No." and neutralizes the Mane Six' most powerful weapon without batting an eye.
  • It Gets Worse: The Butcher has battled her way across America, plagued by Butterfly's bad luck power all the way, losing teammates and friends to endless bizarre accidents and seeming coincidences, from wheels falling off to random honey badger attacks to mysterious portals dropping teammates into the Everglades to be eaten by alligators. But now she finally stands before Butterfly, ready to settle the score. Butterfly will either fall, or inherit the Butcher mantle. Animos, the last surviving Teeth member, has removed Butterfly's power, and the Butcher's signature minigun is spinning up. And then Leviathan blasts the Butcher into the air on a flying manhole cover, and the Simurgh snatches her up, never to be seen again, after which the manhole falls on Animos and flattens him.
    Taylor: Well, I didn't expect that, but I'll take it.
  • Of Sheep and Battle Chicken: In a story built on Rule of Cool and over-the-top action, this trope is especially jarring when the hype for a battle between Shepard and a Salarian assassin named Shift is built up for several chapters. Shift is killed instantly by an eezo-fueled bomb left behind when Shepard and company chose discretion as the better part of valor.

    Films — Animation 
  • 9: 9, 8, and 1 are cornered by the Winged Beast when 7 flips into view behind it, charging up a slope and taking a running leap at it. She reaches the peak of her jump, silhouetted by the sun, weapon poised to strike with Audible Sharpness, the music swelling... and the Winged Beast looks back at her and deflects her with a wing, sending her sliding along the ground until she hits the wall behind the others with a thump. She gets up and tries charging it head-on, only for it to fire its harpoon this time, hitting her leg and throwing her back against the wall again.
  • Alice in Wonderland has Alice become a giant and start a speech scolding the Queen of Hearts, but she shrinks back to her normal size as she says it, and at the end she realizes she's no longer a giant and is in serious trouble.
  • 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.
  • At the climax of Mortadelo Y Filemon Mission Implausible, upon catching the bomb and gaining the respect of the citizens, Filemon immediately ruins it by dropping the bomb while celebrating, resulting in the bomb falling and sending the T.I.A headquarters off the orbit, immediately failing his mission to protect the T.I.A from the attack.
  • Played for Laughs in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse as Miles prepares to take his "leap of faith" off a tall building to test out his Spider-Man abilities. The music swells, he closes his eyes... and the next shot is him walking back down the stairs.
  • In Turning Red, Mei running home as a giant red panda looks like it will end with her jumping from a rooftop, straight into the courtyard of her family's temple but she falls slightly short and slams into the outer wall of the temple instead.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, an Ax-Crazy tribesman rearranges Ace's hair-do to mock his reputation as the "white devil." Ace's personal Berserk Button is his hair, so he stands back up, saying "Nobody messes with the do!" Ace then proceeds to get his butt kicked even harder by the tribesman.
  • Blood Widow: Laurie grabs an axe to fight the killer with. She swings it... and the killer chops the axe head off.
  • In Spy, Rick Ford busts through the door to save the day, and gets his coat caught on the door handle, causing him to fall to the floor.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, 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.
  • 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 who 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 it's 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: Flight commander Jim Lovell 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.
  • Subverted in Big Game. The kid protecting the president fires an arrow towards one of the main villains, in slow motion no less, only to see how it bounces off of his chest, thanks to the bulletproof vest he is wearing. The villain starts laughing about it but suddenly starts convulsing from pain since the force of the arrow pushed bullet shrapnel within his chest into his heart. This provides a rather showy death as he then falls to his doom.
  • In Mad Max: Fury Road, Nux, who idolizes Immortan Joe, tells Joe that he knows a secret way into the war rig's cabin which he can use to get Furiosa. Joe gives him a gun, sprays his face with berserker chrome, and promises that Nux will not only enter Valhalla for what he's about to do, but Joe will carry him through the gates personally. Nux jumps onto the rig and starts to run for the cabin — only for his chain to snag on the catwalk, throwing him off the top and losing the gun.
    Joe: Agh! Mediocre!
  • In Dude Bro Party Massacre 3, Nedry comes back after being missing for a long time having Took a Level in Badass, wearing camouflage and fur and become The Beastmaster. As he's commanding his eagle to attack Motherface, she throws an axe into his head and puts a stop to that.
  • In Hot Fuzz, Sgt. Angel vaults four garden fences to catch up to a thief. The impressed PC Butterman attempts to do the same as a rock tune starts up...only for him to fall straight through the first one.
  • Subverted in Thor: Ragnarok. When Fenris was attacking the Asgardians, Bruce Banner decided to put aside his fear of never coming back and let the Hulk out. He jumped out of his craft, only to land in front of Fenris with a thud, still Bruce Banner and badly hurt. He transformed into Hulk a second later just in time to stop Fenris from hurting the Asgardians.
  • In Wonder Woman, while liberating the Belgian town of Veld, Steve's team is pinned down by a sniper in a church steeple. Steve tells Charlie, the team sniper, it's his time to shine. Charlie takes aim... and being a Shell-Shocked Veteran has a Heroic BSoD instead of a Saving Private Ryan-esque Scope Snipe.
  • In Batman & Robin both members of the Dynamic Duo get one in quick succession of each other.
    • After Robin and Poison Ivy share a kiss together, and Ivy taunts Robin believing he will die soon, Robin reveals he has already outsmarted Ivy by pretending to be in love with her so she would reveal her plans to him, and protected himself from her poison by covering his lips in rubber, thus being the only character to survive a kiss with her, and essentially steal it from her. After a brief moment of silence between the two, Ivy glares at Robin before suddenly leaping towards him and simply shoving him away from her and into her pond where her plants try to drown him before he can even attempt to do anything else and she walks off while mockingly waving him goodbye, getting the last laugh against him in their "relationship".
    • While Ivy attempts to make her escape from her lair after incapacitating Robin, she ends up walking right into Batman, whose presence startled her into gasping with fright. Batman reveals he followed Robin to her lair and the two set this trap for her, which she walked right into. However, Ivy immediately overcomes her shock and simply has her plants restrain and begin crushing Batman, with his ambush on her completely failing.
  • In The Cabin in the Woods a group of college students are taking a vacation to a cabin in the woods, where they wind up being picked off by the members of a zombie redneck torture family. The survivors decide to flee, but find the road has been cut by a large chasm. Curt (played by Chris Hemsworth) declares he will jump the gap on his motorcycle, vowing to bring back help ("cops and choppers and large fucking guns"). Cue soaring music, rousing one-liners—"Don't hold back"; "Never do"—and Curt's unceremonious death as his horrified friends discover they're trapped inside some kind of Force Field, and their situation is even worse (and ultimately way more consequential) than they realized.
  • In Kingsman: The Secret Service, Harry displays his fighting prowess early on by telling a bunch of thugs that just insulted him "Manners maketh man", beaning their leader in the head with a beer glass thrown with his umbrella, and then beating the crap out of them. In Kingsman: The Golden Circle, he attempts to pull the same stunt on some American thugs, but he's only just recovered from being shot in the head and it goes disastrously. The beer glass misses the leader by a country mile, his ensuing speech is interrupted by a fist to the face, and the thugs beat the crap out of him; Whiskey is forced to intervene on his behalf and finish the fight himself.
  • In The Inbetweeners 2 Will is challenged to race down a water slide by a romantic rival. Will gathers enough speed to beat the guy in full view of the girl they're trying to impress, only for a massive turd to hit Will in the face.
  • In The Paper Tigers, when Danny and Hing run into one of the Punks where their Sifu was murdered, he makes a run for it. When they try to chase him, they immediately run out of steam. The scene is punctuated with Letting the Air out of the Band.

    Game Shows 
  • 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.
  • In at least one game of "Plinko" on The Price Is Right, the contestant won all 5 Plinko chips... and dropped all 5 into the $0 space.
  • Jeopardy!:
  • Let's Make a Deal had several:
    • A contestant in the 70's version was given a large box of candy at the beginning of the show and refused every offer to trade it to other contestants for unknowns. At the last possible moment (before the playing of the Big Deal) she relinquished it for a curtain (at which point the entire audience knew what was coming). Inside the candy? $5,000, one of the largest hidden cash payouts the show ever offered. (She got Zonked, obviously.)
      • Another contestant likewise turned down a $5,000 savings bond in the 1980's version, with similar results.
    • Another woman was given a box of candy and this time held onto it throughout the entire deal. This time it was worth only $800, but after she kept it and turned down a car behind one curtain, the amount was revealed to her. Behind the other two curtains? Both cars, meaning that she was the first contestant to turn down three cars in the same deal in the history of the show.
    • One contestant playing The Great Escape game managed to get the correct key to open the protective box containing the car key at the last possible moment, which would have gotten her a car. However, the producers ruled that because the contestant didn't get the key into the padlock fully when the timer ran out, the victory didn't count, which robbed the contestant of a new car. Brady stated how much the situation sucked and gave the contestant $100 for her efforts, but it won't ever fix what went wrong. This has since led to an Obvious Rule Patch where Wayne Brady now says before the game begins, that the padlock must be unlocked before time runs out in order for the car to be won.
  • 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.
  • In one episode of the 25th season of Dancing with the Stars, pro dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy and his partner Heather Morris got the first perfect score of the season...only to end up the couple to get eliminated due to Heather's lack of online fan votes.

  • The Vord in Codex Alera are good at this. Very, very often, a High Lord or group of legionnaires 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 Nazgûl: 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)
    • Though in the film the Witch-King succeeds in breaking Gandalf's staff.
  • In Good Omens, Crowley and Aziraphale come very close to figuring out the true purpose of the Universe. So close, in fact, that an entity which is either The Grim Reaper or God feels the need to magically make them forget what they were talking about.
  • After two and a half books of Character Development in The Stormlight Archive, King Elhokar is on his last legs but is defending his son with every ounce of strength he has left. As Parshendi start to swarm in to the room, he starts to say the First Ideal of the Knights Radiant, which will grant him Surgebinding power and a second wind as he will be able to use stormlight to heal himself. Before he can utter the final words, however, Moash appears and kills him, causing Kaladin a lot of distress.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Auction Kings, one of Jon's first picks was a beautiful Venetian mirror. It's appraised for several thousand dollars. It goes up to auction and sells for only a couple hundred.
  • The Book of Boba Fett. Boba and Fennec Shand sneak into Jabba's palace via the kitchen, but are confronted by a chef droid swinging six cleavers simultaneously. Boba is preparing to fight it with his gaffi stick... only for Fennec to pop up behind it and cut its head off. The unarmed rat catcher droid who walks in next actually gives them more trouble, as Boba struggles to catch the small droid as it scrambles through every tight space in the kitchen.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In the Season 3 finale 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 out. His last appearance on the show is 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 4 premiere, Buffy and Xander have located a nest of vampires who stole Buffy's belongings. As they watch the vampires through the skylight, Buffy sends Xander to get weapons and backup. Buffy keeps watching, talking about how badly she's going to kick their asses, and then the skylight breaks and Buffy falls into the vampire lair, injuring her arm.
    • When Buffy and Riley are trapped in a haunted house, Spike steps up and says he's going to rescue them. Spike says he's going to do this in spite of the many reasons no to. As he's listing said reasons, he realizes there really is no reason for him to do it and just says Screw This, I'm Out of Here!.
    • 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.
  • Stranger Things: A recurring theme. The boys are very courageous, clever, and good at keeping a cool head, but their heroics are often cut short either by just how dangerous the Demogorgon is or by Eleven overshadowing them. Examples range from the first episode's Cold Open — Will makes his way through a classic horror movie monster encounter without making a single one of the stereotypical blunders always made in such situations, but is defeated anyway by just how outside-context his opponent is — to the final battle of the first-season finale, when Lucas is about to make use of Attack Its Weak Point (namely, firing a rock from his "Wrist Rocket" into its sensitive mouth), but Eleven comes to and takes on the Demogorgon personally before we see how that would have gone.
  • Cheese in the series finale of The Wire. He spends several seasons working his way up through his uncle Prop Joe's organization, and then he betrays Joe to the bloodthirsty rising power Marlo, who kills Joe. When Marlo is arrested, Cheese looks to be the next drug king of Baltimore. He steps up and starts to give a rant to bring all the other kingpins under his wing, only for Prop Joe's former Dragon 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.
  • Angel:
    • In the pilot episode, Angel leaps into a convertible to chase after who is threatening Tina. After a moment he realizes that it's not his convertible he leaped into.
    • 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.
    • Lilah Morgan makes a phone call to a shirtless Professional Killer whom we see meditating in a Lotus Position. He grabs his katana using Psychic Powers and later does a Super Window Jump into a nest of vampire cultists while screaming "DIE!", only to get swarmed and killed in seconds.
  • 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, only to end up with a broken sword.
  • During the siege of Atlantis Dr. Rodney McKay finally gets a chance to become a bona fide badass. He fails spectacularly.
  • Merlin:
    • Gwen is regularly on the receiving end of this. 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.
    • The show often subverts the Badass Boast. Every time someone makes one, you know that they're doomed. Merlin is the only one who manages to play it straight most of the time, and even he subverted it in "Lamia."
    • In "Sins of the Father", 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 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 college football team with seconds left so that the hero could make a touchdown. Henry taped the wrong foot. "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 competing in a race against a soldier who's clearly no match for him... except that he decides to flaunt his advantage by showboating like crazy and ends up falling into a cargo net.
  • 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.
    • Happens to Tyrion again in Season 7, when he launches a full-scale invasion against an enemy fortress with the battle montage taking place while he delivers another Rousing Speech at the same time... Turns out that the fortress has been evacuated and his army was led into a trap by the enemy who surrounded them there.
  • House of the Dragon: The Awesome Moment of Crowning of Aegon before a big crowd is cut short by Rhaenys Targaryen on the back of her dragon Meleys bursting out of the ground of the Dragonpit where it was happening.
  • 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 had learned of this weapon when they assimilated Picard and built a countermeasure.
  • 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 realize he is talking to an actual rabbit.
    • Later in "The Day of the Doctor", 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 cancel each other out.
      Tenth Doctor: I'm reversing it, you're reversing it back again. We're confusing the polarity!
    • Later still, when the Eleventh Doctor, the Tenth Doctor, and the "War" Doctor are imprisoned in the Tower of London, the War Doctor suggests getting out by triggering an "isolated sonic shift among the molecules" of the door, which would make it disintegrate, only for the Tenth Doctor to point out it would take the sonic screwdriver centuries to calculate the correct harmonic resonance. A few minutes later, the War Doctor realizes that, seeing as the other Doctors and their sonics are just older versions of him and his sonic, if his sonic starts doing the calculation, the Eleventh Doctor's will have already completed the calculation. However, before they can disintegrate the door, Eleven's companion Clara bursts in, revealing that the door was unlocked. It turns out Queen Elizabeth deliberately left it unlocked in order to see if someone as clever as the Doctor would figure out the simple solution or try to come up with a complicated one.
  • In the third season finale of Xena: Warrior Princess, the evil god Dahak is preparing to break through into the mortal 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 trope was actually played very seriously in the penultimate 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 the last episode of Power Rangers Super Megaforce the Great Legendary War from Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, sadly becomes this, hardly even being two minutes. What really wastes the potential was the fact that many famous veteran rangers came back to help the Megaforce.
  • A unique situation happened in the first season finale of Power Rangers Beast Morphers. When going to the Cyber Dimension to stop Evox, the Beast Morphers realized they'd need their most powerful Zord combination yet, and thus combined all their Zords to form the Beast-X-Ultrazord. The formation is as powerful as to be expected when it manages to defeat an entire army of Gigadrones. Then, Evox. upon getting his robot body, appears and fires a single Hand Blast at the Ultrazord, completely destroying itnote . It's not every day that a Megazord formation is utterly defeated in its debut episode.
  • A lesser example in season 2 of The Flash (2014), if only because it quickly turns into a Moment of Awesome for the villain: Barry has learned a new trick with the Speed Force, and prepares to unleash it against the Big Bad. Harry asks what he's doing, and when Cisco tells him, Harry adopts an appropriate "This Is Going to Suck" face.
    Harry: What's he doing?
    Cisco: Jay taught him to throw lightning.
    [cut to outside]
    [Barry winds up and tosses a bolt at Zoom; the audience expects him to dodge at best]
    [Zoom performs an Arrow Catch on lightning]
    • A few examples in season 8:
      • When fighting Despero, Barry uses Thawne's trick of appearing in multiple places at once to try to rush the enemy with multiple afterimages. But he doesn't anticipate that Despero is psychic and is able to sense which of them is the real Flash, whom he promptly punches.
      • When chasing Deathstorm flying through the air, Barry can't get high enough. Then he remembers that his new boots are able to redirect energy, so he asks Chester what would happen if they ran into his own lightning bolt. Chester realizes what he's doing. The scene itself is pretty awesome, with Barry "riding the lightning" (actually, leaping from one "lightning platform" in midair to another, then another, etc.) with Metallica's "Ride the Lightning" playing in the background. But then he fails to catch the bad guy anyway.
      • When Frost absorbs Deathstorm's energy through the MAC, she walks out, heroic music builds, and she tries to do the "flame on" gesture with her hands, only for that to do nothing. The music cuts out. She does succeed a little later, though.
  • Late into Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, Kuroto Dan, searching for a for a way to counter his father Masamune's ability to pause time, creates the Hyper Muteki Gashat, which grants the user complete invincibility for ten seconds. He tests it out in their next battle, and it lets him move in the frozen time. Unfortunately, he spends so long gloating about it that the invincibility runs out and Masamune simply pauses time again to steal it from him.
  • One episode of The Boys has The Deep, who's otherwise the villains' resident Butt-Monkey and almost a Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain note , sending a swarm of sharks at the heroes when they're on a boat at sea, and eventually showing up himself riding a freaking whale! For a moment there, he actually looks like a powerful and terrifying enemy... until he gets the bright idea to beach the whale in the heroes' path. They plow straight into it, killing it and knocking him out before making their escape.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street: At the end of "Dead End", Pembleton and Bayliss lead a QRT unit to raid the hideout of a suspected Cop Killer while a badass rock song plays. He flees and they chase him across railroad tracks, only to discover he's managed to slip out underneath a hole in a chainlink fence and escape.
  • Taskmaster: In the second task of the first episode of series two, contestants had to throw a potato into a golf hole without touching the "red green". Joe Wilkinson managed to do so on his very first throw, earning raptuous applause from the studio audience. However, the negated part comes when Alex shows the replay, which revealed on closer look that Joe's foot slipped on the red green. After the debate among the other contestants and the Taskmaster, Joe's attempt was rule invalid and he was disqualified.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: In Numenor, Galadriel demands to speak to the King of Numenor and gives Qeen Miriel an epic Badass Boast about how she will not be stopped by a mere regent queen like Miriel. She is sent to prison for sedition, without having any of her demands met.

  • Comes with the territory of the Cool Kids Table game All I Want for Christmas since the system, "All Out of Bubblegum", requires players to roll high if they're trying to be awesome and low if they're trying to be mundane. The standout moment would be when Chrissy tries to deck a motorcyclist and steal his bike while shouting "It's Turbo Time!", Jake biffs the roll, and she ends up just bruising her elbow on his helmet.

  • 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.note 
  • In the third quarter of Super Bowl XXXI, the New England Patriots, trailing by thirteen points, scored a touchdown to cut the Green Bay Packers' lead to six and followed it up with a perfect kickoff that came down right on the one-yard linenote . Unfortunately for them, it was caught on said one-yard line by Desmond Howard, one of the great kick returners of all time, who, with the help of his teammates holding back the Patriots defenders, proceeded to run it back 99 yards for a touchdown, cancelling out the progress that had been made with the New England touchdown a few minutes earlier (actually more than, as the Packers decided to run a 2-point conversion play and succeeded).
  • Four years earlier, in Super Bowl XXVII, the Dallas Cowboys forced a fumble late in the game, and defensive tackle Leon Lett picked up the ball, set a new record for the longest fumble return in Super Bowl history (a record which still stands)...and had the ball knocked out of his hands at the one-yard line by Buffalo Bills wide receiver Don Beebe after he slowed down in the final ten-yard stretch and began to showboat his way into the end zone, sticking the ball carelessly out to his side. It didn't affect the outcome of the game, as the Cowboys were already crushing the Bills, but it meant that, in spite of the record set in the process, the play would only ever be remembered as an epic blunder and for costing Dallas the record for the most points scored in a Super Bowlnote . An almost identical incident (minus the record-setting, but with more immediate consequences) was narrowly averted in the 2011 NFC Championship Game, when Packers lineman BJ Raji caught an interception and similarly ran with the ball out to his side; Chicago Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie knocked the ball loose within a second of Raji crossing the goal line.
  • In the 2015-16 NFC Divisional Championship game, the Green Bay Packers, trailing the Arizona Cardinals by 7 on a 4th down and 20 with 53 seconds left on the clock, put together an unbelievable drive to score a touchdown and tie the score just as the clock ticked down to zero, forcing the game into ovetime...only to give up a touchdown just over a minute into the overtime period and lose the game anyway.
  • 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 the final minutes of Super Bowl XLIX, Seattle Seahawks receiver Jermaine Kearse made a near-impossible catch to bring the Seahawks, trailing by 4, into the red zone. It could have gone down as one of the great Super Bowl catches of all time, up there with David Tyree's helmet catch... except that instead of a game-winning touchdown, the drive ended with Malcolm Butler's famous goal-line interception.
  • Really, any last-minute drive in a football game where a team pulls off some superb plays to move the ball down the field but can't get that critical score to win (or tie the game and force overtime, if that's the objective) is this, especially if the stakes for that game are particularly high. It doesn't matter how good the rest of the drive is, if the offense can't close the deal, it might as well not have happened at all. (In addition to the aforementioned goal line interception, the famous "Wide Right" and "One Yard Short" Super Bowl finishes are among the most memorable examples.)
    • Or if they tie the game and then lose in overtime.
  • This play by the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. To summarize, on a fourth down, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was quickly chased down and tackled by defenders due to a lackluster offensive line, but Mahomes managed to fire off a perfect pass to a receiver in the end zone in midair while parallel to the ground... only for the receiver to drop it. It's really kind of a microcosm of how the game as a whole went for the Chiefs.
  • 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.
  • The World Cup had a few examples in the qualifiers.
    • George Best couldn't bring Northern Ireland to the World Cup. The closest call was in 1966, when just after trouncing Albania in Belfast, the Northern Irish went into the Balkanian nation, scored the first goal, and then suffered an equalizer that wound up giving the qualifying spot to an amateur Swiss team. To make matters worse, Northern Ireland did qualify in 1982, but the coach did not feel like giving a spot to a Best past his prime.
    • The sad story of Zambia's national football team. Entering the last round of qualifying for the 1994 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.
    • In the same qualifiers, Japan was denied from a World Cup spot once Iraq scored from a corner kick in the last minute, leading said game to earn the nickname "Agony of Doha".
    • For the 2002 qualifier, George Weah, who had even been chosen European Player of the Year in 1995, nearly brought his Liberia to the Cup basically by himself. He scored the goal in a victory over Sierra Leone, but this meant Liberia came one point short as Nigeria had also won their game.
  • In Game 3 of the 1992 World Series, the Atlanta Braves had Terry Pendleton on first and Deion Sanders on second with no outs. David Justice hit a deep fly ball that Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Devon White caught as he crashed into the wall. Sanders slowed down near third as Pendleton crossed him on the basepaths, recording the second out of the inning. White threw the ball to second baseman Roberto Alomar who threw to first baseman John Olerud who then threw to third baseman Kelly Gruber. Gruber chased Sanders back to second and tagged his heel before sliding into the bag. Triple play? Not according to umpire Bob Davidson who ruled Sanders safe despite having a good view of the tag. Had Davidson called Sanders out, this would have been only the second triple play in World Series history.
  • The Chicago Cubs got into the 2015 NL Championship, being their first shot at a World Series in seventy years, and were the clear favorites to clinch the pennant against the seemingly feeble New York Mets: In short, the Mets swept the Cubs in four games, with Chicago only scoring two runs overall, in the first game no less. To make it worse, the sweep was finished on October 21, 2015, the very day that Back to the Future Part II showed the Cubs winning a World Series.
  • On June 2, 2010, Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga was one out away from what would've been the 21st perfect game (no runs, no walks, no errors) in Major League Baseball history, against the Cleveland Indians. What should have been the 27th and final out was ruled a hit, when the first base umpire ruled Jason Donald beat the throw to first base. Replays clearly showed Donald had been thrown out. Galarraga finished with a one-hit shutout win.
  • Earlier on September 2, 1972, Milt Pappas was one out away from a perfect game and had a 2-2 count on pinch hitter Larry Stahl. Pappas' next two pitches were called balls by home plate umpire Bruce Froemming with the second ruled a checked swing. Pappas got the next batter to pop out, finishing with a no-hitter. For the rest of his life, Pappas maintained his belief that both pitches were stikes.
  • On June 20, 2015, Max Scherzer was one strike away from retiring his 27th batter in a row. He hit José Tabata with a 2-2 pitch, although replays show that Tabata leaned in to get hit. Scherzer also finished with a no-hitter, but he later admitted to feeling no ill will towards Tabata.
  • What all college football fans know as The Play was actually a case of this. Facing a 4th down at their own 13-yard line late in the game, Stanford quarterback John Elway completed a 29-yard pass. After some more Elway completions, Stanford kicker Mark Harmon (not him) made a 34-yard field goal with four seconds left in the game, giving Stanford a 20-19 lead, all but assuring Stanford a win over their archrival and allowing Elway to finish his college career with a winning season and a bowl game (the Hall of Fame Bowl had announced they'd give the Cardinal an invitation if they won the game). They just had to complete the minor formality of kicking the ball off to Cal, who certainly had no chance whatsoever to score. Even Cal's radio play-by-play announcer said "Only a miracle can save the Bears now." Well...
  • In a July 13, 2017 CFL football game between the Toronto Argonauts and Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the opening kickoff was returned for an Argonauts touchdown. Not to be outdone, Martese Jackson almost scored a second kickoff TD return for Toronto ... had a controversial penalty not been assessed on the play for an illegal block. But why is this important? The Sobeys supermarket chain sponsors a contest plugged during CFL games, where a person is chosen to potentially win $1,000,000 if two kickoffs are returned for a touchdown in the same game. Cue all the news websites running articles about how the allegedly bad officiating cost a woman from Winnipeg a million dollars (though, the winners of the contest also receive a $25,000 entertainment package, and to take advantage of the publicity, the contest's sponsors, as well as the Blue Bombers themselves, chipped in some additional consolation prizes, including free season tickets and a trip to the Grey Cup championship game).
  • With seven seconds left in the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball National Championship against Villanova, North Carolina guard Marcus Paige makes an off-balance, long 3-point shot to tie the game. Unfortunately, he left enough time on the clock for Villanova's Kris Jenkins to do this.
    • History repeated itself in the 2021 national semifinal. UCLA, a historic 14-point underdog to top ranked and undefeated Gonzaga, took them to overtime and clawed back to within 2 late in the period. UCLA's Johnny Juzang missed a game-tying layup but got his own rebound and made the follow-up, tying the game at 90 with 3.3 seconds left. With Gonzaga having only enough time for some kind of desperation shot, it seemed like the game was headed to a second overtime. Gonzaga's Jalen Suggs heaved the ball toward the basket from 40 feet out at the buzzer—and it somehow banked off the backboard into the hoop, giving Gonzaga a 93-90 win.

    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.
  • Halo 2: In the final mission "Great Journey", the Arbiter is just about to be in range to take control of the uncommandeered Scarab, only for the invincible asshat Avery Johnson to steal/pilot it instead, REAL dick move to an otherwise unforgettable moment of badass stolen by someone else.
  • If your character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl can't pull off a Final Smash unless the opponent either comes in close contact or is in the covered line of sight (depending on how the Final Smash in question works), attempts to use this attack on the targeted opponents can result in unfinished attacks (and for certain characters, the failure has a chance of being lethal for them, as is the case of Marth). Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate feature far more Final Smashes where a single large hit leads into a cinematic finishing move, but if the first hit doesn't connect, the cinematic won't play and the Final Smash is wasted (in Brawl, only Captain Falcon had a cinematic for his Final Smash).
  • 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.
  • In Blazblue Cross Tag Battle, Yang Xiao Long has a similar music gag which replaces the current BGM with her "I Am Great!" Song "I Burn!"... except it requires her health to be dropped down into critical. So a single Distortion Drive will probably finish her off, and also like Bang, her badass fighting theme will keep playing as she's lying on the floor unconscious. Talk about insult to injury.
  • 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. 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 got Yet Another Stupid Death.
    • Similarly, in versus modes, setting up a 4-cell-wide shaft for combo line clears (consecutive line clears will always send garbage, even if they're singles), only to drop a piece in the wrong spot or orientation, ending the combo and leaving the player with a difficult-to-fix mess.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In the Guild Wars 2 event "Clockwork Chaos" Queen Jennah is dangling from a broken balcony and Lord Faren rushes forward to pull her back up. She's then revealed to have been an illusion and Faren falls off the balcony instead.
  • Overwatch: Every character has a counter that builds up their Ultimate, their most powerful ability. Because a well-timed Ultimate can change the course of a whole match, a big portion of the game is trying to negate the enemy team's Ultimates. Usually, you can do this by killing or stunning the opponent just as his Ultimate is activating. can also "eat" certain Ultimates by putting her Defense Matrix over an opponent just as their Ultimate is activating, which prevents it from activating.
  • The official launch trailer for Mortal Kombat 11 has Raiden about to attack Geras with his "Flying Thunder God" move. In the game proper, Geras stops this attack by grabbing Raiden by the throat.
  • Tomb Raider: Legend: At a point, Lara attempts to cross a gap by leaping off a bike and grapple-swinging to cover the distance. However, that sequence is subject to Press X to Not Die. If the player doesn't react to the button prompts quickly enough, she splats into a light fixture and falls down comically.
  • The Wii version of Punch-Out!! includes a potential example in the Title Defense match against Mr. Sandman. If Mr. Sandman has been knocked down two times during a single round, he'll start throwing a barrage of super-fast punches which can easily floor Little Mac, growing angrier all the while. If the player successfully dodges every punch he throws during this attack, then Mr. Sandman will get dizzy, letting the player unleash their own barrage of punches on him and finish him off with a three-star punch, with a special cinematic. However, if Little Mac gets hit, then Mr. Sandman will return to normal and the chance for a dramatic end to the fight is lost.
  • Defied in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle. Attacks that were not successful in the manga were adapted as either a one-bar Heart Heat Attacks or a three-bar Great Heat Attacks. Examples of these include Kakyoin's 20-meter-radius Emerald Splash and Gyro's Ball Breaker attack.
  • In Resident Evil 4, Leon's first encounter with the village chief Bitores Méndez sees him try to take him down with a roundhouse kick. Méndez completely No Sells the attack, grabs Leon by the foot, and throws him into a cabinet.

    Web Animation 
  • In Red vs. Blue: Reconstruction, Sarge, Grif, and Simmons (who until then, had not appeared in the season at all) suddenly come riding out of nowhere in their jeep with the country music blaring to attack the Blues. They then crash into a wall then are crashed into by an object moving about 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.
    • The next season, Recreation, has Tucker attempting to do a Big Damn Heroes Car Fu moment on some troops about to attack the other Reds and Blues ("Hey asshole! YAAAAAAAAARGH!")... only he overshoots and hits the building behind them ("Fuck...").
  • In Final Fantasy III Triology, Setzer arrives at 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.
  • Dragon Ball Z 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 savvy or Krillin just can't get a break.
    • Then there was the abridgment 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.
    • When Vegeta is facing Perfect Cell, at Cell's goading to "hit me as hard as you can," Vegeta unleashes his Final Flash, an Awesome, but Impractical move requiring him to channel immense amounts of power capable of blowing up the planet, which actually frightens Cell and hits him so hard that it blows off the right side of the Nigh-Invulnerable Cell's torso. Cell reacts with predictable pain and agony... at first, and then mocks Vegeta before promptly regrowing his torso and arm and then crushing Vegeta with zero effort.
  • 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.
  • Happens a few times in RWBY:
    • "Fall" ends with Yang spectacularly defeating Mercury in the one-on-one finals, against all expectations. This is negated just scant minutes later by Yang being framed for breaking his leg on live television and subsequently being arrested.
    • Five episodes later, in "Heroes and Monster", when Blake sees Adam for the first time since the Black trailer, they come to blows briefly before Adam quickly overpowers her and tears her down physically and emotionally. He then threatens to destroy everything Blake loves in response to her abandonment of him, starting with Yang when she comes looking for Blake. He then stabs Blake in the abdomen to draw Yang out, and, when she predictably comes charging at him ripe with fury, he slices her arm off at the elbow the same way he dispatched the Spider Tank in the Black trailer, rendering Yang unconscious and forcing Blake to run off with Yang and leave Beacon.
    • "The More The Merrier" has Ruby witnessing Jaune and Cinder charging at each other, and having a flashback of Pyrrha's death in Volume 3, which results in her tapping into her Silver Eye powers once again. Unfortunately, while she manages to briefly stun Cinder, Emerald knocks Ruby out before she can do any major damage.
  • There is this one example during the final battle of ‘’Wolf Song: The Movie’’ where Arrow is battling the Death Alpha and has unlocked his true form and seems to have the Alpha on the backfoot, when all of a sudden he is caught off guard by the DA, breaking his back, before being brutally torn open in a way that’s graphic even for this film. Technically half the final battle seems to be this trope in full effect.


    Web Videos 
  • Don't Hug Me I'm Scared:
    • In the fifth episode, Duck Guy realizes that something is about to go wrong before it's too late (a first for any character in the series) and fights back for once, knocking over the camera and shouting that he doesn't want to do this anymore. The Healthy Band immediately have their Cans kill him and feed Yellow Guy his organs.
    • In "Electricity", after his batteries are replaced, Yellow Guy uses his upgraded intelligence to uncover the higher levels of the puppets' house, and gets Lesley to give him the book with the answers to his questions. However, when he goes back down to the main level to show his friends, Duck Guy takes out his new batteries and inserts his old ones back, reverting him to his usual idiotic state. He then forgets why the book was important and puts it in the shredder without opening it.

    Western Animation 
  • In the season two finale of Amphibia "True Colors", Anne and her friends stop Sasha and Grime's Toad Rebellion on Newtopia while Anne finally gives Sasha the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown she's deserved for a while. Unfortunately, Sasha and Grime had just discovered that King Andrias was not what he seemed and actually had evil plans for the Calamity Box. In other words, by stopping Sasha and Grime's coup (along with Anne ignoring Sasha's attempts to tell her about Andrias while trying to kill her), Anne and the others end up clearing the path for someone even worse than them, leading to the events of the third season.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
  • Codename: Kids Next Door:
    • Numbuh 3 brings out her mecha H.I.P.P.I.E.-H.O.P. 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.
    • 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.
  • In one episode of Dave the Barbarian, when the others are captured by the Dark Lord Chuckles the Silly Piggy, Candy races to his fortress to save them...only to get herself captured as well.
  • This turns out to be the entire punchline of the Dexter's Laboratory TV film Ego Trip.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • In one episode, to catch a pair of criminals, Timmy has Cosmo and Wanda become a super-fast speedboat. After an intense build-up scene, complete with awesome music, Timmy pushes into high-gear...only for Cosmo (the engine) to go at a leisurely pace because he refuses to go over the water speed limit.
    • In the TV movie Abra-Catastrophe!, Cosmo gets a sudden Heroic Build he got from a workout tape within only five seconds to help Timmy fight against the all-powerful Crocker to save the inprisoned Wanda. After giving Crocker a beatdown, it looked like Cosmo had saved Wanda and stopped him... only for Wanda to compliment his pecs and let his guard down long enough for Crocker to recover and imprison him in his scepter like Wanda.
    • In the TV movie Wishology, Cosmo transforms into a giant Godzilla-esque creature and conjures up a million wands to use against the Destructinator, only to then make the wands disappear (along with Wanda and Poof's) and immediately gets defeated, Cosmo even lampshades this:
      Cosmo: Wow, that might be my biggest blunder ever.
  • During the extermination in Episode 8 of Hazbin Hotel, Sir Pentious realizes that Adam's suppressing fire is too much for the Hotel to overcome directly, and prepares his airship to take the Original Man out - last kiss with Cherri Bomb, deployment and armament of the airship, camera zooms on the order to fire, the whole nine yards... ...and Adam just flashes the airship and its crew into atoms by blind fucking luck. Ultimately zig-zagged, though, as Pentious' valorous sacrifice lands him in Heaven, right in front of Sera and Emily, flushing thousands of years of dogma down the tubes.
  • 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.
  • Kaeloo: In one episode, Mr. Cat and Stumpy are playing soccer and will win the game if they can just score one goal. They put all their strength into one kick and kick the ball at the same time. The ball goes so fast it catches fire... and goes just to the side of the goalpost.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Throughout "Applebuck Season", Applejack was determined to harvest her family's entire apple crop herself, stubborning refusing Twilight's insistance that she needed help, even though her tired state caused trouble for Ponyville. At the end of the episode, after harvesting one last tree, she proudly declared to Twilight she had done it...only for Big Mac to point out a few seconds later that she had only gotten half the grove. Applejack passes out before finally admitting that Twilight was right about her needing help.
    • In "The Return of Harmony", Fluttershy is the only one of the Mane Six who proves unable to be corrupted by Discord's mind games. So Discord just corrupts her by reality-warping instead.
    • In "Slice of Life", Doctor Hooves enters a bowling tournament faced with a 7-10 split with his team's victory riding on his getting the spare. The Doctor fumbles the throw but manages to strike one pin with it. That pin slowly wobbles toward the other... and comes within an inch of knocking it down.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Bart The Daredevil", Homer ends up accidentally skateboarding across Springfield Gorge, but misses the other side and falls down. He ends up in traction at the hospital.
    • In "Boy Scoutz 'N The Hood", when Moe threatens Hans Moleman with a knife, Moleman scoffs at Moe's knife and draws his Cane Sword. Then the weight of his sword causes him to lose his balance and fall face-first into the ground.
    • In all three segments of "Treehouse Of Horror V", all of Groundskeeper Willie's Big Damn Heroes moments result in him getting an axe to the back.
      Willie: (during the third segment) Ach, I'm bad at this...
  • 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?!"
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man: After several episodes of fighting supervillains working for the mysterious "Big Man", Spider-Man has learned the Big Man's identity and went to go stop him once and for all. Only to have Tombstone mop the floor with him.
  • 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.
  • In Transformers: Animated, Blurr races across space—bouncing off moons, meteors, and other space debris—so that he can reach Cybertron and warn the Autobot High Council of the existence of a double agent in their midst. Unfortunately, the first person he talks to is said double agent, who asks if Blurr had talked to anyone else about this...
  • 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.

    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 favorable 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 on the Western Front 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, they moved faster than their already-overstretched supply lines could keep up with... and the downhill slide began, with the Entente managing to not only retake all the territory they had lost but even breach the much-vaunted Hindenburg Line by the end of their Hundred Days' Offensive. For the Germans, this overlaps with Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
  • Another military example is Operation Ten-Go, the last voyage of the superbattleship Yamato in April, 1945. As the Americans invaded the island of Okinawa, the Imperial Japanese Navy felt compelled to do something to aid in the defense of the Japanese homelands, even though the IJN's fuel reserves were almost gone, and American subs and planes were sinking any ship that sailed outside Japanese home waters. Regardless, and not wanting to see their mighty flagship suffer the humiliation of being sunk in dock, left to rust, or taken as an Allied war prize, IJN high command conceived of a glourious kamikaze-style last stand for their remaining surface ships. The plan was for Yamato to sail full-steam to Okinawa with a small escort task force, sink as many American ships as it could, and then beach itself on the island, acting as a shore battery until it was inevitably destroyed. However, what ultimately happened was the following:note  American submarines and patrol planes spotted the Yamato's task force as soon as it left port, and provided minute by minute positional data to the fleet commanders near Okinawa. The US Navy launched over 400 planes with a squadron of fast battleships and cruisers as backup to intercept the Yamato. The planes got there first, and because the Japanese ships had no air cover and obsolete AA guns, they were able to line up their torpedo and bombing runs with near impunity. In the end, 6 out of 10 Japanese ships sunk, with the Yamato herself going down in a massive explosion.
  • 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-synched 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 1975, five years after the rather contentious breakup of The Beatles, Paul McCartney met up with John Lennon at Lennon's apartment in New York City while he and his wife were on their way to a recording session in New Orleans. McCartney invited Lennon to attend the recording, though with no pressure to participate, yet the offer was open to Lennon to join in on the creative process with McCartney's band, Wings. With the two of them reunited, fans have since surmised that Ringo Starr and George Harrison might have, eventually, joined them too, though at the very least it would have given McCartney and Lennon a chance to reconnect. Though open to the idea and reportedly excited at the prospect of the trip, at the 11th hour, Lennon decided not to go, and McCartney went on to record with Wings on his own. Five years later, Lennon was assassinated, nixing any and all hopes of a Beatles reunion.
  • Rumors have likewise flown that Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr had finally mended fences by 1980 and were going to gear up for a 20th-anniversary reunion tour sometime in 1981 or 1982, plans that were likewise stopped due to Lennon's murder. A much sadder reunion would instead come in '81, when Paul, George, and Ringo collaborated on a tribute single to their fallen bandmate, "All Those Years Ago". But that one wasn't strictly a Beatles recording, instead being a George Harrison solo song with Paul and Ringo as guest musicians.
  • An absolutely hilarious example in Darts here. Ted Hankey delivers a sick one liner, declares he's going to hit a double eight...then misses every shot.
Who's in charge, me or the Devil?


Willie Dies Thrice

Treehouse of Horror V sees Groundskeeper Willie attempting to save the protagonists of each story, only to be killed by an axe to the back in all three shorts.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / NegatedMomentOfAwesome

Media sources: