Lowlife Louie Ramos, Brian Damage, B. Dangerous and Amerigo Diehl
This week we look at top five shocking moments in pro wrestling. Whether it was a surprising debut, heel/face turn, winning a title that you thought would never happen or retirement outta nowhere. We pick our personal top five moments that truly shocked us.
Lex Luger walks out during the 1st nitro
Earthquake attacks the Ultimate Warrior after being picked out of a crowd
Mankind being thrown from Hell in a Cell
Edge 2010 royal rumble return and win
Andre the Giant turns on Hulk Hogan
The Giant fall off the side of the roof of the Cobo hall at Halloween havoc
5) Evil twin magic
Main event. Feb 5th 1988, the huge Wrestlemania 3 rematch between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. This time in front of a live national television audience on a Friday night in prime time. Andre had the million dollar man Ted DiBiase in his corner, and unbeknownst to everyone else an evil heel twin referee to help screw the Hulkster out of the title. A underhook suplex by Andre, a quick count despite the shoulder being up and we had a new world champion. Seconds later Andre would hand over the title to DiBiase..only for President Jack Tunney to intercede the next day…at the time. Shocking and great television.
4) Ian Rotten vs Axl Rotten 2/14/95
As a wrestling magazine buying teenager, i had seen all the the pictures of deathmatches..in Japan and Puerto Rico..but had never seen something to that high degree of violence in the United states, let alone 100 miles from where i grew up. Finding out this barbaric, brutal match was happening close to home was shocking and amazing. The match itself at the time a sight to behold. 2 tough as nails men brutalized each other with a bat wrapped in barbed wire..images that shocked me, and would remain with me forever and inspired me to follow my dream.
3) Snakebit Fall of 1991
Superstars of wrestling, Jake the snake Roberts, responsible for destroying the wedding reception of Macho Man Randy Savage and Elizabeth, now was constantly baiting Savage, who was retired, to a fight. Then the unthinkable happens. Roberts attacks Savage and ties him to the ropes. He proceeds to take out a king Cobra from his burlap sack..and proceeded to let the cobra bite the Macho man in the arm. At the moment 15 yr old me really could not understand what i was seeing. But it was one of those shocking and unforgettable wrestling moments.
2) Manny’s Kneedrop
We all know Bruiser Brody was sadly murdered in July of 1988 in Bayamon Puerto Rico. We also know Manny Fernandez aka the raging bull was a fellow Texan and good friend of Brody. Following the murder, Manny was booked to wrestle invader 3..on a televised WWC card, Manny would beat invader bloody, and then proceed to hit the King Kong Kneedrop..off the top rope…on to the chest of invader 3..invader would immediately begin to cough up and vomit a tremendous amount of blood only to have Manny kneedrop him a few more times..Fernandez never returned to Puerto Rico, which gives credence to this not being planned.. and to be 12 yrs old watching this on the old Spanish 41 channel on a Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn NY was shocking and unreal. A must find on YouTube if you haven’t seen it
1) Hulk goes Heel
By 1996 a lot of what we saw didnt surprise us, as the visible cracks in kayfabe had began years earlier ..even yours truly at the time had been smartened up as they say, as i had already began speaking to people within the business for guidance and training..Still..as a lifelong and die hard Hulkamaniac, nothing would prepare me for what i saw at bash at the beach.When Hogan hit the legdrop on Randy Savage i knew i had just witnessed history. The most shocking moment i saw until that time. ( meaning before i got into the business). My hero and the quintessential good guy had just turned heel. The live attendance peppered him with trash, a fan actually jumped into the ring only to get viciously stomped out by Scott Hall.Hulk had shocked us all..
Eddie Guerrero defeats Brock Lesnar for WWE title
Make no mistake about it, I as a fan was rooting hard for Eddie Guerrero to beat the unbeatable Brock Lesnar for the WWE undisputed title at No Way Out in 2004. While I expected a very competitive match, I just didn’t think WWE would actually pull the trigger and have Guerrero pin Lesnar. After all, Brock was the future of the company. I was so shocked and completely delirious when Eddie pinned Lesnar and became a world champion.
Jim Cornette Appears at the ECW Arena
By the late 1990’s, I had become what I thought was a know it all fan who knew things that were going to happen before they did. That was all due to the internet and dirt sheets that I was reading back in the day. Give credit where credit is due, when Jerry Lawler had his feud against ECW and manager Jim Cornette appeared after the lights went out and came back on I was completely shocked and marked out. A moment in time that I never expected to happen and did. An amazing moment.
Dusty Rhodes Attacks Four Horsemen with Baseball Bat
I grew up a WWF fan, but when my family finally got cable, I was able to spread my wings and watch other wrestling promotions around the country. Once incident that really stood out to me and shocked me was when an injured Magnum TA was assaulted by Tully Blanchard and JJ Dillon of the Four Horsemen. Dusty Rhodes came to his best friend’s aid swinging a baseball bat hitting Blanchard and even Jim Crockett Jr for his troubles. It was completely wild and chaotic and I was glued to my television set.
The Honkytonk Man wins the Intercontinental title
Back in the day, title changes didn’t happen like people changing their underwear. Title reigns usually lasted for a longer period of time and they rarely happened on a random TV taping. Most titles exchanged hands on pay per view, closed circuit television or at house shows. So when a newly turned Honkytonk Man pinned a relatively newly crowned Intercontinental champion in Ricky Steamboat on TV….I was completely shocked and speechless.
Paul Orndorff turns on Hulk Hogan
I was just really becoming a big wrestling fan when this heel turn occurred. Even though the WWF planted the seeds to Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff turning heel for weeks, when it actually happened, I was stunned. How could Orndorff turn on his best friend like that? Why Paul why? Also, why am I siding with Paul Orndorff and becoming a huge Mr. Wonderful mark? It was a well done storyline that did big business for the World Wrestling Federation back in the day. I loved every second of it.
There have been many moments throughout wrestling history that could potentially make this list, but for my sake I’m staying within the world of Kayfabe or in-ring occurrences rather than including wrestler deaths and so-on.
5- The Chair Incident in ECW
It’s the ultimate thing when fans get fully invested in a match or an angle and that’s something that ECW had frequently. However, the Chair Incident was almost certainly the ultimate example of that with Terry Funk wanting to promote audience participation by asking someone to toss him a chair… only to find himself buried be dozens of chairs within a matter of moments.
4- Russo Buries Hogan in WCW
Whether a work, a shoot, a work-shoot, we’ll probably never know the full truth. But one thing we know for absolutely certain is that there was tension between Vince Russo and Hulk Hogan for Hogan’s alleged abuse of “creative control” and unwillingness to put-over younger talent.
In this scenario, Russo would march to the ring, verbally eviscerate Hogan for pulling his “creative control card”, declare the WCW World Championship held by Hogan the “Hulk Hogan Memorial Championship”, and guarantee the viewers and those in attendance that we would never see Hulk Hogan in a WCW ring again.
This is also the incident that saw Jeff Jarrett (who was allegedly supposed to retain the belt over Hogan) lay down in the middle of the ring while a visibly frustrated Hogan pinned him to reclaim the championship.
Punk’s Pipe Bomb/Return w/WWE Championship
CM Punk’s “pipe bomb” is the thing of legends. From his condemnation of the McMahons (including Triple H) to his insider peek behind the proverbial curtain to his naming of non-WWE entities… it was masterful and compelling. In that moment Punk became even more of a stick-it-to-the-man antihero than Steve Austin had ever been because we knew that, at least to a significant degree, this was real.
To make the story even more compelling, Punk would go on to win the WWE Championship on the day his contract expired, leave through the crowd after blowing McMahon a kiss, and walk out of the company entirely.
Since Punk was in possession of the physical WWE Championship, a new champion had to be crowned with a new physical belt. The end of that match came with static of the audio and Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality” blaring out over WWE TV for the first time, with Punk making his grand return and showing the powers-that-be something they didn’t like when the crowd in attendance made very clear that Cena was not their chosen champion, Punk was.
Rick Rude in Two Places at Once
In the late 90s any true wrestling fan did a lot of channel flipping between Nitro and RAW because every Monday had the potential to make history and you didn’t want to be the poor fool that missed it!
One such occasion was the night Rick Rude appeared with Degeneration-X (w/ a full beard) on RAW only to appear literal minutes later with the NWO, several states away (w/ just a mustache).
Sting Rappels in WCW
Sting came from the rafters numerous times in WCW, but it never got old.
The first time Sting rappelled from the ceiling was January of 1997 and my friends and I, who watched wrestling together every single week, had our minds blown. However, it seemed like almost every time Sting would descend it became better and better!
Week after week we would “pop” huge for that moment we’d see Sting drop down and exact his vigilante justice on the vile NWO, insomuch as it basically became the hallmark of 90’s wrestling to me.
5 Most Shocking Moments
You can read all previous Top Five pieces here.