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Trash the Set

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"You have the Bridge... what's left of it."
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Want a big spectacular finale? Want to build a new set? Why not solve both your problems at the same time and trash the set?

Even animators are tempted to do this if the background is elaborate enough. May lead to a Rebuilt Set.

Not to be confused with Die, Chair! Die! or Tantrum Throwing. Related to Proscenium Reveal and On a Soundstage All Along (please make sure your examples relating to breaking the fourth wall in this way are on those tropepages). Sometimes it's an indication that Nothing Is the Same Anymore.

As this is an Ending Trope, beware of spoilers.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ah! My Goddess's "Lord of Terror" arc was put right at the end of the anime's first season, probably just so it could use this trope.
  • Blood-C ended with the entire town destroyed and all of the inhabitants with the exception of Fumito, Yuka and Saya slaughtered.
  • Cowboy Bebop ended with the Bebop sustaining heavy damage.
  • Digimon Adventure pulls this off in the finale of season 01. With the entire Digital World taking the role of the "set".
  • Dragon Ball saw the World Tournament arena's ring (and a decent amount of the ground underneath) neatly (as in nothing else was touched) destroyed by Tien's kikouhen during the second Tournament arc (this was intentional; he was trying to force a conclusion by leaving no safe haven). The World Tournament arena (and most of Papaya Island) was destroyed by the end of the Piccolo Jr. arc. The Buu arc saw Kami's lookout get demolished during Gotenks and Super Buu's fight, but that was quickly restored along with the rest of the Earth not long after.
    • At the end of the Cell Saga King Kai's planet is blown up after being a regular fixture in the series since the Saiyan Saga. Although it's somehow back in the Battle of Gods film.
  • GaoGaiGar's second half kicked off with the Bay Tower Base being utterly totaled, allowing them to move up to the Orbit Base. The finale of FINAL cheerfully deals outrageous property damage damage to copies of various Earth landmarks, as well as sacrificing the three Cool Ships to the Goldion Crusher.
  • In the final story arc of Gintama known as the Silver Soul Arc, it begins with the Terminal blown up by the Altana Liberaton Army and then the destruction of the Yorozuya's home.
  • Of all of the major Gundam battleships, only White Base, Mother Vanguard, Reinforce Jr. and the Ptolemious are actively destroyed.
  • After Yoshimori spends most of Kekkaishi protecting his high school/the Karasumori site his mother arrives to move Lord Karasumori to another location, resulting in the school collapsing.
  • Kill la Kill: Honnouji Academy is routinely smashed whenever major characters do battle there, but never more so than Episode 12.
    • The same happens to Osaka in Episode 14, carried even further in Episode 15, when Satsuki and Ryuko fight it out.
      • Taken to its extreme in the last two episodes, what with The Nudist Sun being beached, and Honnouji Academy taking a hell of a beating in the final battle with Ragyo. And then finally, the WHOLE island (Honnouji Academy and the Nudist Sun included) is completely cut in half and sinks beneath the sea not too long after.
  • In the Grand Finale of The Littl' Bits, the Bits' village is destroyed by an earthquake.
  • Lucky Star: Minoru's endless abuse from his partner led to him trashing the Show Within a Show's set.
  • In Naruto's Pain Arc, just before the hero arrives to fight Pain, Pain uses his gravity powers to flatten the Hidden Leaf Village and turn it into a crater.
  • One Piece The Going Merry, which had been the Straw Hats ship for a good chuck of the series is rendered unfit to sail when they reach Water 7. After sitting out most of the arc, it comes back into play one more time to save it's beloved crew before the damaged keel splits it in half. Forcing Luffy and the crew to give it a Viking Funeral in one of the series saddest moments.
  • Ranma ½ ended with the characters trying to prevent the destruction (via draining) of Jusenkyo. They failed. Then they destroyed it worse by flooding it (i.e., mixing up all the curses.)
  • Shiki ended with the whole village burned down while the survivors escape after defeating the Shiki.
  • Tenchi's old house in Tenchi Muyo! is destroyed at the end of the seventh OVA episode. The OVA series gets a brand new setting while it's spinoffs, Tenchi Universe and Tenchi in Tokyo, end up reusing it.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman had a storyline called "The Battle For Metropolis" which concluded with Action Comics #700, kicking off "The Fall of Metropolis" by leveling the entire city by missiles. It stayed destroyed for a few months until after Zero Hour!
  • Batman kicked off the massive Batman: No Man's Land storyline by leveling Gotham City by an earthquake. Nothing was spared, not even Wayne Manor and the Batcave.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog had a storyline that had Eggman defeat Sonic, capture most of his pals and, to rub it in, turned Knothole and the Great Forest into a crater.
  • Justice League of America has the Watchtower get destroyed regularly every time the team disbands.
  • Hal Jordan's home town, Coast City, was destroyed during the Death And Return Of Superman story arc. This in turn resulted in Hal getting possessed by Parallax and destroying the Green Lantern Corps. Both were eventually restored down the line.
  • King Smurf's castle in The Smurfs comic book story "King Smurf" gets destroyed near the end of the story by a bomb. In the Animated Adaptation, because of the addition of the Big Dam Plot, it was destroyed by a deluge of water from the dam.
    • The Smurf Village getaway resort is completely trashed by beavers at the end of "Bathing Smurfs".
    • The Smurf Forest nearly gets destroyed by a fire in "The Wild Smurf", which exposes the way to the Smurf Village to Gargamel, requiring the Smurfs to keep themselves hidden until the forest fully regrows.
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    Fan Works 
  • In "Defense" from The Reluctant Father Universe, Roxas utterly annihilates the outdoor courtroom in Wonderland in defense of Xion.
  • In "How Things Smurf" from Raven Child's The Smurfette Village series, Hefty and Toughette wreck everything in Gargamel's house as payback for unleashing the deadly "Blue Plague" on their fellow Smurfs and Smurfettes. The surviving Smurfs also set fire to the entire Smurf Village to prevent the disease from spreading.
  • The Immortal Game, being a War Fic, sees a lot of this. Ponyville is smashed up during two separate battles over the course of the story (first against Nihilus near the beginning, and then Terra close to the end), Cloudsdale is heavily damaged by Nihilus's duel with Luna, Nihilus's Ominous Floating Castle ends up disintegrating after her defeat, and during the Final Battle, much of the Everfree is burned down, while Canterlot is utterly and completely demolished by Twilight's duel with Titan.
  • Book 5: Legends, features the destruction of Air Temple Island in the finale, a casualty of a very intense Avatar duel.
  • In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf novel, Empath wrecks his entire house in anger toward his fellow Smurfs, then sets it on fire to distract the Smurfs from finding out until later on that he is running away and taking Baby Smurf with him.

    Films — Animation 
  • Subverted in The Simpsons Movie. The Simpsons' house, as well as most of the town are destroyed, but they start to rebuild them at the end and everything's back to normal in the season premiere. Except for the next season's premiere all the town scenes of Springfield in the opening show the townspeople rebuilding and the couch gag shows the family sitting in a not-yet-finished house.
  • In The Little Mermaid, Triton destroys Ariel's grotto of human treasures after finding out about her rescue of Eric.
  • In My Little Pony: The Movie (2017)'s climactic battle, Canterlot Castle gets wrecked by the Storm King's out-of-control weather magic. Luckily, the damage is repaired afterwards.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • "You Give A little Love" at the end of Bugsy Malone is 100% the kids splurging the set. It was done in one take and at the very end of production.
  • Star Trek:
    • In Star Trek: Generations, the Enterprise-D was destroyed for the benefit of a newer, more cinematic version, better fitted for Hollywood action and wide screen format. While the destroyed model was custom-built, the original bridge set did get blown up for real.
    • A more subtle example from the last episode of the series. The final scene is the crew playing poker, joined by Picard for the first time ever, which features an overhead shot accomplished by cutting the ceiling out of the set.
    • Most of Star Trek: The Motion Picture's bridge set was trashed in the second movie and then blown up in the third. A part of it that was relatively undamaged was repaired and repainted for a single scene in the fourth movie, before an all-new set was built for the fifth. Then that set got largely blown up in the sixth movie. However, expecting much else from the first series that comes to mind when people think of Explosive Instrumentation would be somewhat naive.
      • The TMP bridge got trashed a lot over the years. First, it was trashed heavily as both the Enterprise and Reliant bridges in The Wrath of Khan, then it served as the already-trashed bridges of the Stargazer, Hathaway, and Enterprise-C in various TNG episodes. In between, it served as the more pristine bridges of the Grissom (third film), Saratoga and Yorktown (fourth film), and the Bozeman (TNG: "Cause and Effect"), as well as the Enterprise-D's battle bridge, a courtroom, a surgical suite, Data's cybernetics lab, and various other locales (which were sometimes trashed). The set got trashed once more for Generations as the Amargosa Observatory's control room.
      • The then-new Enterprise-A set suffered from an accidental trashing, when after filming the bridge scenes for The Final Frontier was completed, the set was stored outside (as the sound stage was needed for other sets for the film), and was damaged by the elements. As a result, the bridge had to be extensively rebuilt for The Undiscovered Country (and then be modified to serve as the Excelsior bridge for that film).
    • The corridor sets underwent several changes in their lifetime. Originally built for TMP, the curved corridors were rebuilt for TNG to remove the angled bulkheads, though the straight corridors remained intact; they were significantly rebuilt for Voyager immediately after Generations; and they were finally obliterated after Voyager wrapped to build the new NX-01 sets from scratch for Enterprise.
  • During the temple scene in Jesus Christ Superstar, Ted Neeley was so thorough in breaking the props on set that they could only shoot one take.
  • Played for Laughs as part of one of cinema's greatest fourth wall breaks in Blazing Saddles, where the entire town of Rock Ridge trashes a set replica of itself in a massive brawl, (literally) breaks into another set, trashes the Commissarry in a pie fight, then spills out of the Warner Bros. film lot into the streets of Hollywood, still trashing the set.
    HEDLEY Lamarr: Get me out of this picture!
  • In Conan the Barbarian (1982), Conan torches the temple that had housed Thulsa Doom's cult after killing Thulsa Doom. This was very much for real; they actually did burn down the set, though the flaming brazier that Arnold used didn't land in the throne room, but instead bounced off the balcony and into the rest of the set.
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly had the wooden bridge during the epic Civil War battle scene. It was built with the intent of it being blown up in the climax, so director Sergio Leone knew they had to do it in one take. Thanks to meticulous planning, the filming went beautifully, providing one of the most climactic scenes in the film.
  • During the filming of Titanic (1997), they built a ship in a large tank of water... and then sank it. There's a reason it was among the most expensive movies ever made.
  • In Batman Forever, the Riddler sneaks into the Wayne Manor, bombs the Batcave, and destroys most of Bruce's arsenal, then trashes the Batmobile. The following sequel introduces a remodeled Batcave and newer Batmobile.
  • Wayne Manor burns down in Batman Begins. Though the mansion used for outside shots was not burnt, as it was an actual home of royalty.
  • In John Carpenter's The Thing (1982), the Norwegian camp scenes were actually the charred remains of the American site from the end of the film. Rather than go to the expense of building and burning down another camp, Carpenter re-used the destroyed American camp.
  • Gone with the Wind will likely never be topped for this trope. Nowadays, a burning Atlanta would be CGI, but Golden Age Hollywood torched sets for real. They were scheduled for demolition anyway. One of the burning walls (the one that almost collapses on Rhett and Scarlett's wagon driving by) was the paper-mache wall from the original 1933 King Kong film.
  • The EPIC set trashing in the gas station scene in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
  • Hard Boiled: The entire movie is a series of Trash The Sets. First the tea house, then the warehouse, then a goddamn hospital explodes. The teahouse in the opening was slated for demolition around the time the movie was made, and John Woo got permission to use the teahouse for the shootout in question.
  • The same thing with the farmhouse in Night of the Living Dead (1968). The cast and crew were given permission to do whatever they wanted to the house since it was marked for demolition. After the film wrapped, the house was indeed torn down.
  • The White house in Carrie (1976) was also marked for demolition, and the shots of the house falling apart at the end are real. However, the exterior scene of the house being stoned was cut because the stones looked like raindrops on film.
  • Dead Snow does this to the cabin. The scene where it burns down was supposed to be in the film, but had to be cut due to being too bright and unclear. The charred remains of the building remain used however.
  • Happens in Alice Cooper's Good to See You Again Alice Cooper, when he gets sick of pretending to be Frank Sinatra. Must be seen to be believed.
  • Gangs of New York did this for the Draft Riot scene, which was a pity if you think about it, they don't often make such detailed and elaborate sets for movies these days.
  • The forest in which George Lucas filmed the Endor sequences for Return of the Jedi was doomed anyway, because the government wanted to build a new highway or a mall or something like that in its place. So the film crew used real explosives for the pyro-effects in the final battle which burned and shredded real wood.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The Ministry of Magic gets trashed in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - led to a Rebuilt Set after the seventh book came out and more scenes at the Ministry were needed.
    • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Hogwarts itself takes major battle damage from Voldemort and the Death Eaters and parts of the castle (the set of which had been standing for a decade) are nothing more than a ruin at the end. The difficult part was that destroying the sets outright would only reveal that the "stone" walls are really plywood with a plaster skin. Therefore, the damage to Hogwarts had to be pre-designed by the art department, which they did using ruined masonry from World War II as reference.
  • The climax of Lethal Weapon 3 takes place at an actual failed real estate development, which the producers had permission to basically demolish.
  • The climax of Buster Keaton's The General features an actual train attempting to cross an actual burning bridge and subsequently falling into an actual river. The resulting wreckage became a minor tourist attraction until World War II, when the train was salvaged for scrap metal.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie makes good use of the command center set, destroying it "early" and running the same footage backwards to "fix" it for the final scenes.
  • Good Burger makes good use of Mondo Burger in the climax as Ed uses some sort of explosive chemical in the burgers, making them big & explosive destroying the joint.
  • Early in the John Frankenheimer film The Train, a French rail yard is attacked in an Allied air raid. The yard was a real SNCF (French State Railways) facility which was to be closed down, so the production was able to fill it with scrappable rolling stock and engines, bury dynamite all over the site, and blast buildings and all in one long unrepeatable sequence.
  • Rock 'n' Roll High School was filmed at the defunct Mount Carmel High School, which had closed a few years before. This gave them the latitude to trash the school building and blow it up at the end.
  • The reason the 1960 movie The Last Voyage has such realistic effects of the cruise ship sinking is simple: the producers really did sink a ship.
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai: the directors spent months and hundreds of man-hours engineering and building the eponymous bridge. Needless to say, the final scene required perfect acting and camera work...
  • At the end of RoboCop 3, the OCP building in Detroit is blown up via a massive explosion, as a way to symbolize the end of the film trilogy (and the corporation's rule).
  • In Apocalypse Now, footage of the destruction of Kurtz's jungle outpost via pyrotechnics is shown at the end of the director's cut of the movie. Some have interpreted this as the aerial bombing Willard ordered in earlier.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe
    • In Iron Man, Tony's Malibu house suffered some damage from his suit testing. In Iron Man 2, it's destructively remodeled during his fight with Rhodes, and subsequently repurposed into housing a prismatic accelerator. It's really not much of a house any more. Probably why he's living in New York in The Avengers. Iron Man 3 opens with Tony's "trophy room" of old suits exploding, and his entire Big Fancy House getting blasted into the sea. Turns out he has more suits stored in a safe room which he uses in the finale... and he blows up all of them too.
    • During a featurette about Avengers: Age of Ultron, one of the effects people states the scene where Ultron awakens at Stark Tower and attacks the Avengers was done because "if you build a set this big and don't destroy it, you're doing something wrong"!
  • The climax of Home Alone 2 involves Kevin and burglars Harry and Marv completely wrecking Kevin's uncle's house.
  • The Cyberdyne Systems building in Terminator 2: Judgment Day was an office building that was scheduled for demolition, allowing the crew to use plenty of real explosives in it.
  • In the Laurel and Hardy film Big Business, the Christmas tree-selling duo trash a grumpy customer's house while he destroys their truck in return.
  • In Little Shop of Horrors, Audrey II destroys every single prop in the flower shop one at a time until the whole place is completely wrecked, before collapsing the ceiling and destroying it all.
  • Fyodor in The Saddest Music in the World trashes his studio towards the end out of frustration of being a Cuckold.
  • This isn't always an ending trope. Any number of Lifetime Movies of the Weeknote  can (but not always) have the main female character wreck everything in her house out of frustration, anger, or sadness (or even all of the above) over whatever situation is at the center of the movie, whether it's the entire plot, or just one part of it.
  • Team America: World Police ended practically every scene this way, blowing up nearly every location in the film. Paris, most of what remains of Ancient Egypt, the Panama Canal, Mount Rushmore, and North Korea all get destroyed over the course of the film, all with practical effects.
  • In Anne Of Green Gables The Continuing Story, the eponymous house is damaged by a fire, which occurred at the real Green Gables in 1997.
  • The elaborate library set built for The Name of the Rose was burnt for the final scenes. Four cameras had been set to shoot the fire, but only one started, much to the director's discontent, resulting in less spectacular shots than planned.
  • One of the first things that happens in A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong is Jacob Marley's coffin shattering. The set only gets more wrecked from there.
  • Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS was filmed on the former set of Hogan's Heroes, which got destroyed in the final act. Apparently, the film crew was allowed to do this as the set was supposed to be destroyed anyway; it was discovered to be cheaper just to do it this way rather than hiring actual demolitionists.

    Literature 
  • The Belgariad: Castle of Wizardry: When Polgara finds out that Garion, Belgarath, and Silk had up and left in the night, leaving her behind to handle things in Riva, she is so enraged that she takes out her sorcery-enhanced frustration on the luxurious suite set aside for her thousands of years ago. Her fury was loud but very meticulous: blowing up teacups one at time, then the saucers they sat on, then the table they sat on. When Ce'Nedra came to try to calm her down, Polgara gave her the letter Garion (recently betrothed to Ce'Nedra) wrote explaining what he was doing.Why?  She read the note and, believing everyone will take this as a thinly-veiled jilting, strode to her room and decided to trash it, too, "screaming all the while like a Camaar fishwife."
  • Doctor Who – Expanded Universe: The final Eighth Doctor novel, Lance Parkin's The Gallifrey Chronicles, had the "steampunk" TARDIS console room destroyed by a nuclear bomb that the Doctor materialised the TARDIS around to save other people, so that the spin-off readers had an explanation of why the set would look different in the revived TV show.
  • The Dresden Files: As part of the "Holy Shit!" Quotient of Wham Episode Changes, this happens twice — first, the Red Court blows up Harry's office, and then later they burn down his apartment building.
  • In Desecration in the Left Behind series, the Anti Christ Nicolae Carpathia fulfills the Scriptural prophecy of setting up "the abomination of desolation" when he sacrifices a pig in the Jewish temple during the midway point of the Tribulation. In Kingdom Come, God destroys the desecrated temple with a lightning bolt at the beginning of the Millennium and builds a new one resembling its description in the book of Ezekiel in its place.
    • And on a more global scale, the entire earth at the end of Kingdom Come is destroyed and then replaced by a whole new earth on which the New Jerusalem that comes down from heaven is placed.
  • The climax of Sophie's World, as the Major grows tired/annoyed at the novel he's writing — which happens to be the world the main characters live in — and starts making stuff up and breaking the world down while Sophie and Alberto attempt to escape from it. They both find his edits to be in extremely poor taste.

    Music 
  • Many Music Videos end with the band trashing their instruments and/or the set. So do many concerts.
    • The end of the literal video version of The Beatles' "Penny Lane" lampshades this with the line "Trash the set and end the video."
    • Reportedly, the set-trashing of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" happened due to the (volunteer) cast getting a bit sick of filming, as opposed to being scripted.
  • The video for Billy Joel's "She's Right On Time" ends with Billy and his date watching as the festively-decorated apartment turns into carnage around them. (There may or may not be some Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex after the video ends.)
  • Nearly the entire video of Family Force 5's BZRK. Nothing in the room stands a chance.
  • Overlaps with Film and Theater in the case of Pink Floyd's The Wall, in which Pink trashes the hotel room on the album. This is reproduced in the 1982 movie, when Bob Geldof trashes a hotel-room set, and in the 1990 Berlin Wall event, where Roger Waters breaks windows in a specially-built hotel room set in the upper-left-hand corner of the wall.
    • Not to mention the end of the show, where the gigantic Wall set itself is torn down!

    Mythology and Religion 
  • In The Bible, the Babylonians sack Jerusalem and destroy the Temple after the reign of King Zedekiah of Judah, and it is left in ruins until the time of the Medo-Persian Empire, when King Cyrus allows the Jewish people to return home and rebuild the Temple. Later on, Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple that existed during His first coming, which in extra-biblical accounts took place around 70 AD.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • In the 1980s and 1990s, this happened several times with talk show segments:
    • Piper's Pit, hosted by "Rowdy" Roddy Piper:
      • During one of the most famous segments of the show's run, one featuring Piper mocking Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka before smashing him in the head with a coconut, the set partition fell over as Piper began whipping Snuka.
      • In 1986, when Piper returned as a face and began dueling with former buddy "Adorable" Adrian Adonis, an overweight wrestler with an effeminate gimmick who had gotten his own talk segment, "The Flower Shop." On an installment of WWF Superstars of Wrestling, Piper and Adonis began debating on their respective sets before Adonis began initiating a gang-style attack on Piper, destroying everything. A week later, in retaliation, Piper hobbled onto the set of The Flower Shop, with a baseball bat in his hands and began smashing the set apart before screaming bloody revenge.
    • The Brother Love Show, hosted by Bruce Prichard as the title character (a smarmy, red-faced "preacher" inspired by the televangelists of the 1980s). On Brother Love's last segment, the Ultimate Warrior tore apart the set (knocking apart the podium in which Love sat "The Book of Love," ripping apart the curtain surrounding the set and tearing the pages of "The Book of Love") before chasing Love to the ring to give him a brutal beating.
    • The Barber Shop, hosted by Brutus "the Barber" Beefcake, a popular wrestler who (with a barber gimmick) was still recuperating from a near-fatal parasailing accident a couple of years earlier. His last segment saw bully wrestler Sid Justice damage everything on the set — throwing the barber chair, smashing the plate-glass window (and this was just weeks after Shawn Michaels threw Marty Jannetty through it) and pushing over the set partitions.
  • This happens in WWE, when the TitanTron (OvalTron on Smackdown) gets destroyed to make way for a new model:
    • In early 1999, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin tore up the TitanTron (after The Big Show brought it down). The motive was that if anyone put the image of his Custom WWE Championship belt on it, he'd tear it apart.
    • In 2001, Rhyno gored Chris Jericho through the OvalTron, resulting in the "big fist" set.
    • In January 2008, Triple H destroyed the TitanTron with his sledgehammer after Vince McMahon tried to calm him down, which made way for the current TitanTron HD stage, which is used on all shows from then on. It also marked the WWE's transition to HDTV the following week.
  • At the beginning of the last episode of WCW Worldwide (a Recap Series) they showed a sped up video of stagehands building the set. At the end of the episode, when they admitted it was the last show and there was no more WCW they showed it again but forward, revealing that (1) the version shown at the start of the show was broadcast in reverse and (2) they were actually tearing down the set.
  • At one point during the Ring of Honor vs Combat Zone Wrestling feud, CZW wrestlers destroyed ROH's ring mat.
  • In 2008, Vince McMahon started to do a skit called "Million Dollar Mania", where he would give away his money to random fans. It was ended when the stage suddenly collapsed on him, and he was taken off television to "recover from his injuries".
  • Jessicka Havok went on a rampage that cost WSU $4500 in property damages to protest a bad call that lead to her losing one of her title belts to Mercedes Martinez. She'd have done more but was eventually restrained.
  • In 2010, the WWE stable The Nexus made its debut when its seven members came to ringside to beat John Cena, before turning their attention on everyone (the commentators, ring announcer, referee and cameramen) and destroying both the ring and the announcer's table.
  • Defied by Paul London in the finals of PWA Quest For The Cup 7. After a garbage can got knocked over during a brawl between himself, Brian Kendrick and the Flatliners, London stopped to stand it back up and return the can's contents.
  • The ring has collapsed no less than three times, all of which were caused by superplexing Big Show. First in 2003 by Brock Lesnar, then in 2011 by Mark Henry, and finally in 2017 by Braun Strowman. The latter did the most damage to the ring, causing three of the posts to become dislodged, the ropes to collapse, and, amusingly, the referee to fall out of the ring.

    Theater 
  • Bertolt Brecht's very early play Die Kleinbürgerhochzeit (The Petite Bourgeoisie Wedding) is all about this: the man getting married is a carpenter and has built all of his furniture single-handedly. It breaks down over the course of the play, and ends with the (very drunken) characters falling through the floor and bashing each other over the head with chair legs.
  • God's Favorite by Neil Simon uses this. During the first act, more and more pieces of furniture and finery are removed from the mansion onstage. When the curtain rises on the second act, the mansion has been burnt to the ground.
  • Has been known to happen in a lot of plays - often unintentional and with sometimes humorous responses.
    • Actors have been known to be a little more careless on the final performance, which sometimes leads to this - and some hilarious improv.

    Video Games 
  • In Tomb Raider: Underworld, Croft Manor gets totally burnt and destroyed.
  • ICO: The castle crumbles and sinks beneath the waves after the final battle.
  • Mass Effect 2: The SSV Normandy SR-1 is destroyed within the first ten minutes and you later visit the crash site. But not to worry, you get a new, similar far more awesome replacement, the Normandy SR-2.
    • In Mass Effect 3, this is combined with Apocalypse How class 0 (at least) on Earth. Among the mayhem is a hapless Alliance cruiser in the background hovering over the besieged city, getting hammered by and futilely shooting at a landing Reaper, which then promptly blows up in a thermonuclear fireball and knocks Shepard over in the blast.
    • Don't forget the final boss fight with Kai Leng, which takes place in the Illusive Man's "office". It gets completely trashed, with Leng's shockwave attacks tearing off the floor panels that created the field-of-stars illusion.
    • The ending in general. Regardless of which option the player chooses, the galaxy is changed forever.
    • For that matter, the ending of the original game saw the game's Hub Level of the Citadel get completely demolished by Saren and Sovereign during the climax. It gradually was going through repairs in 2, which was why Shepard and crew were restricted mainly to the Wards section in that game, and the newly revamped version of it was back in time for 3, but then the ending happens and it's destroyed again.
  • Azeroth got this treatment in the aptly-named World of Warcraft expansion Cataclysm. Interesting because, as an MMO, the set will be lost for good. Examined here.
  • Similar to the WoW example, albeit on a smaller scale, Guild Wars 2 destroyed its central hub town of Lion's Arch at the climax of the first season of the Living World when Scarlet Briar attacked it with her army. It remained in an utterly trashed state, strewn with rubble and littered with refugees, for the better part of a year before finally being rebuilt better and shinier than before.
  • In Banjo-Tooie, Spiral Mountain, Banjo's home in the first game, is smashed up. Eight years later, in Nuts & Bolts, it is still in this state.
  • This is the objective of Stage Battles in Brütal Legend.
    • Or rather, trash your opponent's set.
  • The Might and Magic series does this whenever it's looking for a plot reboot.
  • Halo:
    • Halo: Combat Evolved starts the game in a still-functional and inhabited Pillar of Autumn. The last level takes place in the same ship, albeit crashed, burned out, and otherwise not going anywhere. The object of said level is to detonate the ship's reactor and destroy the entire ring.
    • Halo 2 does this in Cairo Station's main control center. In the first level, it is populated and is well-lit. In the game's last few moments, Lord Hood is seen alone in the darkened, sparking room. On Earth, the Prophet of Regret's in-atmosphere hyperspace jump takes out a large chunk of New Mombasa, along with setting the stage for the collapse of the Space Elevator, whose pieces are strewn about Tsavo Highway in the third game, and whose actual collapse is seen in the spinoff game Halo 3: ODST.
    • Halo 3 does this with High Charity, which has been completely overtaken by the Gravemind since the previous game.
    • Halo: Reach: The first time you visit Sword Base, it's still in pretty good shape. The last time you do so, it's been wrecked by the Covenant. In between, the capitol city of New Alexandria, where a mission of the same name takes place, is completely destroyed by orbital bombardment.
  • The gameplay and setpieces of Final Fantasy XIV was considered busted by 2010 standards to the point that the development team working on it was fired or reassigned to other projects, and a new development leader was hired. His response to being told to fix the mess? smash it all with a giant meteor and literally reboot the world.
  • MOTHER 3 ends with the entire Nowhere Islands being destroyed as a dragon as large as the islands themselves rises. Footage of this destruction can be seen at the end of the game, though the dragon is never seen for some reason.
  • Final Fantasy VI does this when the entire world is destroyed halfway through the game, rearranging the map and drastically changing all the game's locations.
  • Final Fantasy VII ends with a collision between Meteor and a Lifestream-assisted Holy. As revealed in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, the collision flattened the city of Midgar.
  • Star Trek Online has the Federation's Hub World, the Earth Spacedock, ravaged by the Undine/Species 8472 to explain the setting change between Season 8 and 9
  • One of The 11th Hour's endings has Stauf Mansion destroyed by fire.
  • At the end of Riven, the eponymous age disintegrates upon the re-opening of the Star Fissure.
  • Obsidian does this with both of its endings.
    • If you choose to side with Max and crash Ceres for good, the AI and its entire world blows up bit by bit, along with the Conductor and the Obsidian structure itself, thus saving Earth and returning both you and Max to reality.
    • Or you let Ceres finish its job and watch Earth become rebooted by Ceres' nanobots, so that no humans sans Max and Lilah are allowed to ever exist, and thus never pollute Earth.
  • The Labyrinth of Time: At the end, destroying the eponymous' Labyrinth's keystone causes the entire complex to disintegrate, stranding you in the void outside of space and time, without any assistance from Daedalus. There was a sequel advertised to explain what was to come next, but it never came out.
  • The Arkham series does this fantastically. The farther you go into each game, the more the city gets ripped to pieces: blown-up buildings and crashed elevators, gaping holes where enormous tentacles burst through the ground, dead bodies and riot-induced destruction littering the ground, your suit progressively getting torn to shreds, the spectacular wreckage of Gotham Pioneer Crossing bridge after you tussle with Firefly in Origins. By the end of each game, you will really and truly feel like you're the only thing stopping the city from crumbling.
  • Fallout 3:
  • At the end of Fallout 4, if you've made enemies with the Brotherhood of Steel, you get to blow up their Airborne Aircraft Carrier, the Prydwen, with Liberty Prime if you sided with the Institute. If siding against them, the Institute's Elaborate Underground Base meets this fate.
  • Monteriggioni serves as the player's base in Assassins Creed II. However it is attacked and severely damaged in the sequel, forcing Ezio to abandon it. However, Desmond and his friends are able to visit it three hundred years later, where it then serves as their base instead.
  • City of Heroes destroyed the Galaxy City zone as part of a new issue release. The destruction was actually shown in the tutorial level, and the hero would choose to become a hero or villain based on how he reacted to a downed hero. It was largely done to allow for the hero classes to be made as villains and vice-versa and streamline the tutorial level better.
  • Most Resident Evil games end with the enemy base and/or laboratory self-destructing, but Resident Evil 3 takes it Up to Eleven with Raccoon City being wiped off the map by a nuclear missile strike.
  • Metroid Prime begins on the Space Pirate Frigate Orpheon, which has suffered a laboratory specimen breakout but is mostly intact. The defeat of the Load-Bearing Boss causes a reactor meltdown and the ship crashes into a lake on Tallon IV, where you later revisit its wreckage.
  • In Max Payne 3, midway through Chapter 6, the Fabricas Branco HQ is firebombed by the Cracha Preto, and you have to fight through the burning wreckage.
  • A literal one happens in Cuphead. In the final phase of the battle with Sally Stageplay, the stage is pretty much a mess as she sends her umbrella after you.
  • At the end of New Dangan Ronpa V3, K1-B0 shoots down the Ultimate Academy for Gifted Juveniles before self-destructing himself, destroying the entire place. Thankfully, this only kills K1-B0 himself and Tsumugi, sparing Shuichi, Maki and Himiko.
  • In Time Crisis, Wild Dog blows up the Clock Tower prior to the Final Boss fight, then sets the rooftop shrubbery ablaze for the battle's final phase.
  • Early on in X-Men Legends II: Rise of the Apocalypse, the X-Mansion is destroyed in an attack after it served as the Hub Level during the first game. The team later briefly uses the damaged mansion as their home base when they temporarily return to New York for the fourth section.

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue Revelation. For the Recollections Trilogy, Valhalla has been the main setting (basically the Halo 3 version of Blood Gulch). But with Halo Reach coming out the same year and their fancy new CGI scenes, Valhalla has been on the receiving end of what could be some permanent damage.
  • RWBY: Volume 3 ends with Beacon Academy being overrun by the creatures of Grimm, with serious damage to the building. The main characters are scattered throughout the world, with Ruby going with what's left of team JNPR on a trip to Haven.

    Web Comics 
  • The cast of Sluggy Freelance has lost two homes over the years. The first was their original apartment complex, which was taken over by an evil corporation and eventually blown up. The second was the Kesandru house, which lasted several years before being destroyed when Aylee assumed her 50-foot tall form inside it.
  • "Happy 3rd anniversary, Dr. McNinja! You don't have an office anymore."
  • When the creator of Dandy and Company wanted to yank Mistake's owners from the cast, he just had the Villain of the Week burn their house down, forcing them to move away.
  • After the destruction of Gobwin Knob in Erfworld, the new Gobwin Knob was created in a different architectural style suited to its new role as potentially world-conquering imperial capital.

    Web Original 
  • Dino Attack RPG: So, after seven and a half years, we're finally at the Final Battle? Let's trash Dino Attack Headquarters!
  • The Spoony Experiment: The reason Spoony ended his Final Fantasy VIII on such an explosive note was because he was moving and wanted to justify a change of scenery.
  • Survival of the Fittest has had a number of moments in each version where a particular location was destroyed through explosions of fire: v1 had the bamboo coppice burn to the ground from Jacob Starr's Molotovs, v2's school building suffered a destructive boiler explosion, v3 lost the field hospital to a grenade, and v4's lumber mill was destroyed by dynamite. These are only SOME of the examples of map-changing incinerations.
  • Usually after Uber Haxor Nova and Seamus finish a Minecraft adventure map together, they will celebrate the completion by spawning stacks of TNT and blowing the map up.
  • The Yogscast have done this a few times over the years:
    • This happens a few times in Shadow of Israphel series: So far an unknown force destroyed the Yogcave, while Jock Fireblast burned down Mistral City and (most of) BBQ Bay.
    • This is how the first Tekkit server was destroyed, as Sjin and Duncan Jones ended up waging war on one another. In their efforts to kill each other, they burned down the homes of Strippin (plus business partner Benji), Rythian and Zoey Proasheck, among others, then Sjin blew up Duncan's nuclear reactor, totalling the area.
    • The Jaffa Factory that Lewis Brindley, Simon Lane and Duncan worked on was blown up during episode 105 of JaffaQuest. Their space station "Dwarf Star" was also destroyed in the sequel series "Hole Diggers".
    • The end of the Yogscast Complete server was marked by a war between Hat Films and the Flux Buddies, in which they effectively nuked each other's bases off the map.
  • Parodied on Atop the Fourth Wall in its 100th episode. Linkara had just moved into a new apartment, and since his old house was a bit of a Weirdness Magnet, he set up a little trap at his old place. Cue Phelous walking into his old house and triggering the trap, resulting in an explosion and Phelous dying. Again.
  • Rooster Teeth has, for their "Let's Play Minecraft", "Plan G", a bunch of dynamite buried underneath the courtyard of Achievement City. It's been used at least three times: once out of curiosity, once to stop one of their own from winning their match and once completely by accident when a Creeper detonated on the courtyard.
    • Their nearly-year-long "Sky Factory" saga ended with their sun-powered nuclear reactor going critical and leveling the entire place.
  • The Half in the Bag review of Man of Steel ends with most of the furniture on the "Mr. Plinkett's house" set getting wrecked (although most of it was already in shoddy condition).
  • The Smosh video, "Magic Wipes", was written largely as an excuse to destroy the carpet of the Smosh house as their landlord was supposed to replace it with tiling. However, the landlord never switched the carpet, but their props manager had spare carpet for the duo to use.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Grand Finale for Adventures of the Gummi Bears, Gummi Glen is destroyed courtesy of Duke Igthorn.
  • Parodied in Animaniacs for its first episode that aired on Kids' WB after the show's Channel Hop. It features a fake recap of the previous season which concludes with the Warner siblings' water tower being destroyed. Yakko states that they'll build a new one that's better, stronger, and otherwise exactly like the original one.
  • The inevitable destruction of the Galaxy One in the Season 1 finale of Final Space was marked with laser fire tearing apart all of the familiar set pieces we've seen all along and directly hitting the most iconic parts, such as the cookie dispenser and Beth.
  • In the Fireball XL5 episode "A Day in the Life of a Space General", much of the Space City set is destroyed when the title ship crashes into it. It was all a dream, but the crash sequence was filmed at the end of production on the series.
    • "The Fire Fighters" from the same series did the same to the beach set and Venus's beach house.
  • Happened more than once to the Planet Express building during the run of Futurama. In at least one episode, the rest of New New York gets trashed as well.
  • During the three-part second season finale "Hunter's Moon", Gargoyles had the clock tower home of the heroes destroyed by a missle. This forced them to relocate back to the skyscraper-top castle they had previously abandoned due to the villain owning it.
  • The pre-retool Justice League ended by dropping the Watchtower on the Thanagarian Doomsday Device, allowing for a shiny new satellite in JLU.
    • In the Grand Finale of Unlimited (and, by extension, the entire DCAU), Darkseid lifts up the huge globe on top of the Daily Planet and smashes Superman with it, causing it to crash through the rest of building.
  • In Justice League Action, the series starts with the Hall of Justice being reduced to rubble by an invading djinn wrecking havoc in an attempt to destroy the League. They build the Watchtower to replace it.
  • In the (second) finale of Kim Possible, Kim's house gets completely obliterated, along with most of her school and her boyfriend's favorite fast food joint.
  • In The Legend of Korra's Grand Finale, most of downtown Republic City is blown to pieces during the cilimatic battle: the Colossus blasts streets and skyscrapers into rubble with its Wave Motion Gun, even more buildings are crushed or leveled in an effort to bring it down, and finally, the vines of the spirit wilds go supercritical, blasting a massive crater into the middle of the city. Thankfully, the place had been evacuated beforehand.
  • The Bakshi Mighty Mouse episode "Mighty's Wedlock Whimsy" was a cautionary tale of Mighty Mouse's pending wedding to Pearl Pureheart. Towards the end, it cuts to live action of the animator crapping out, then to the cartoon's final scene—everyone laughing as the chapel in which they're holding the service is up in flames.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Applejack's barn goes through this with astounding regularity.
    Raze this barn, raze this barn, one, two, three, four!
  • ReBoot completely destroyed the ruined Mainframe at the end of season 3. This paved the way for a backup copy of the city to be loaded by the User to replace it.
  • The Smurf Village in The Smurfs goes through a trashing every now and then, but one really devastating example is in "Revenge Of The Smurfs," where the Smurfs contemplate revenge on the humans that inadvertently trashed the village without knowing it.
    • In "Skyscraper Smurfs", the smurfominium that Handy and Architect built is destroyed by a fire, and ends up becoming a tree house for birds at the end.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: The Season 1 finale ended with Ludo's castle getting blown up.
  • Steven Universe: In "Reunited", Lapis drops the barn where she and Peridot used to live on top of Blue Diamond. The location where it used to be is trashed when the Cluster smashes a hole through that area in order to form a giant arm to fight Yellow Diamond's spaceship with. Then Steven's house is severely damaged when Blue's spaceship crashes into it during the fighting.
  • In the season 4 episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) "Scion of the Shredder", this happens to the Turtles' underground lair when it's destroyed by a vengeful Karai, along with most of the Turtles vehicles. They move into an abandoned pump station under the Central Park lake for the remainder of the series.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987): The 8th season premiere "Get Shredder!", saw the Shredder blow up the Channel 6 news building.
  • Total Drama: In the Grand Finale of All-Stars, the island of Wawanakwa is sunk, destroying the set that's been used for most of the series and setting the stage for the next season, which is supposed to take place on a new island.
  • At the end of the first season of Ultimate Spider-Man the Hellicarrier gets smashed inside out by Green Goblin and Venom, so the team moves in with Peter till the new Tricarrier is built.
  • Partway through the first season of X-Men, the X-Men return from a mission on Genoshia to find the mansion completely and utterly wrecked. The next episode has them aiding Colossus against the Juggernaut (the one who caused the damage) and the episode after that has the team rebuild the mansion.
  • At the end of the second season of X-Men: Evolution, the mansion is destroyed by a Self-Destruct Mechanism.

    Real Life 
  • After a sports venue's lifespan is over, it more often than not is destroyed in spectacular fashion. Some fans, however, don't wait until the official demolition process to begin to start destroying it after the last event.
    • Fans tore up Cleveland Municipal Stadium after the final Browns game played there in 1995; the remains of the stadium were eventually dumped in Lake Erie.
    • Also happened after the last Minnesota Vikings game played at Metropolitan Stadium in 1981.
    • Pittsburgh's Forbes Field, former home of the Pittsburgh Pirates and occasional home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, had its last game in late June 1970note , after which a short ceremony was held in which certain items were raffled off. Afterwards, several fans stormed the field to take just about everything that wasn't auctioned off, including seats, pieces of the manual scoreboard, and bits of ivy from the outfield walls.
    • Similarly, fans of the second Washington Senators baseball franchise (the original had moved to Minnesota) tore apart pieces of Robert F. Kennedy Stadium on the eve of that team's relocation to Texas. Anything not nailed down (and some things that were) was ripped up and carted off by unruly fans. Unfortunately they didn't bother to wait until after the final home game against the New York Yankees to trash the place, forcing the umpires to declare the Yankees the winner by forfeit. And then the stadium had to be repaired in time for the Redskins' home opener (they didn't move out of RFK until after the 1996 season).
  • Rampant Fans burnt down Cumberland Oval after the Parramatta Eels triumphantly won the 1981 NSWRL Premiership in Australia.
  • As an unfortunately discredited rumor would have it, this was Subverted (yes) by the Monsanto House of the Future, the old Disneyland attraction. The House was scheduled to be demolished and replaced, but its sturdy plastic construction caused the wrecking ball to bounce off, leaving the building completely unharmed. It eventually had to be taken apart manually, via a whole bunch of workers with a whole bunch of hacksaws. Truth time: According to the House's own introductory video, it was built modularly, meant to be easily assembled and disassembled. Neither hacksaws nor wrecking balls would have been necessary or practical. The rumor probably arose from the fact that the attraction's concrete base proved to be indestructible; wrecking crews gave up on trying to remove all the pilings and they can still be seen today.
  • One thing that Las Vegas is famous for besides casinos and showgirls is its numerous building implosions and the celebrations associated with them. Since the early 1990s the ever growing city has been building bigger and more lavish (or gaudy) resorts and because of the lack of space: these new resorts have been replacing older ones. Many classic casino resorts that were established in the 1950s were closed down by their owners and were torn down. Some of the bigger hotel towers were imploded with dynamite. Some doomed resorts received a lot of attention and usually had fireworks displays prior to the building's implosion as a final tribute to the resort. Probably the greatest example is the implosion of the Dunes Hotel and Casino in 1993: The 24 story hotel tower was set ablaze by thousands of gallons of aviation fuel after a spectacular fireworks display, the tower collapsed moments after. The demolition of the Dunes is considered a turning point in the history of Vegas: the end of an era in which the city was closely associated with The Mafia and the beginning of a newer, glitzier Vegas this time run by mainstream media; the luxurious Bellagio rose from the rubble of the Dunes.
  • A part of all theater productions is the 'striking of the set' in which sets used in the show are dismantled. Some parts will be saved for future use (or in the case of travelling productions the whole thing will be saved), while other parts will be destroyed.
  • This often becomes a celebration (of sorts) for the cast and crew of long-running Live-Action TV shows following the completion of the final episode.
  • Vanilla Ice was offered the chance to destroy the master tape of the video for "Ice Ice Baby" by MTV on the 25 Lame special and did so but began trashing the set with a baseball bat.
  • Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard shoot up the House sets with paintballs during the "Swan Song" special that aired just before the series finale.
  • In 2000, the Kingdome, Seattle's closed-roof multipurpose sports stadium, was due to be demolished to make way for a football stadium. So they planted explosives strategically throughout the building and the entire city gathered (with cameras rolling) to watch it blow. It was the first ever live event covered by ESPN Classic. Several clips are also viewable on YouTube.


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