Whether you like to admit it or not, we all have cried at some point. It’s actually rather healthy for you, and relieves a great deal of stress. The experience can be cathartic or releasing, or it can be a summation of extreme sadness or empathy. Whatever the case, each person will experience it at some point in their lives. Yes, the same even holds true for those macho men that populate the WWE.
Say what you want about the WWE and its authenticity, every once in a while there pops up a story that genuinely tugs at your heartstrings. These stories can be scripted, pre-ordained events established by the writers upstairs. They can also be random acts of spontaneity that simply hit close to home. Unfortunately, they can also be terrible accidents that leave you shocked and grasping for words.
Throughout the WWE’s history, there have been plenty of instances that leave the fans with teary faces. It’s part of why they are fans in the first place: they connect to what they are watching on an intrinsic and emotional level. These events are largely what stick in our minds years down the road, and will go down in history as some of the most emotionally charged moments in the WWE. Curious as to what some of them are? Well, simply read on. Here are ten of the most emotional WWE moments that actually made fans cry.
10. Randy Savage Reunites with Miss Elizabeth
This was a moment that seemed like it was gleaned straight from a daytime soap opera. Savage had undergone a major heel turn, and the love story between he and Elizabeth was thrown away by Savage himself. He cast her aside and went after another woman, Sherri Martel. For the following few matches, Elizabeth watched Savage wrestle from amongst the crowds.
In a later retirement match between The Ultimate Warrior, Savage wound up losing and was forced to retire. Sherri Martel immediately turned on him, kicking him quite literally while he was down. As Savage lay defeated, Elizabeth rushed the ring to raucous applause. Savage recovered and took her back. The two tearfully embraced and Savage hoisted her up on his shoulders. Their tears were reflected in many of the fans’ eyes as well, and a perfect love story was complete.
9. Owen Hart’s Death
Back in 1999, the WWE universe was shocked when a terrible accident occurred during a live event. Owen Hart, the younger brother of Bret Hart, was being lowered into the rig via cables and a harness. Suddenly, it appeared the cable either snapped or became disconnected, and Hart plummeted at least 50 feet down, hitting his head. The accident played out before more than 16,000 people.
Still, there was an air of uncertainty about what had just transpired. The accident wasn’t caught on television, and fans in attendance weren’t sure if what they had witnessed was entirely real. That is, until the announcer at the time spoke out and said that Hart had died. He went on to say it was not a scripted event or a WWE storyline, but a genuine accident, leaving many with faces full of tears.
8. Edge Surprisingly Retires
When Edge trotted out during a Raw event for an impromptu promo, nobody knew what shocking news was about to be announced. In fact, nobody really felt it was strange to be doing a promo at all. At the time, he was an extremely popular figure in the wrestling scene, and it was common for the league to put the mic in his hands.
This time, though, it became clear something was different as soon as he began talking. Edge discussed his surgeries years prior, his injury history, and thanked the likes of Christian and his other close WWE friends. He then went on to say he had to retire due to his diagnosed cervical spinal stenosis. Fans watching from the stands were shocked, and they were immediately left to consider a WWE universe where Edge never again took to the ring. It was a tough moment for many, and one that led to more than a few tears shed.
7. Eddie Guerrero’s Tribute Show
Guerrero’s passing was a tragedy in the WWE landscape. His story was one of redemption. After struggling with various substances for most of his life, he’d finally gotten his life back on the right track. His wrestling career was trending upwards as well, and it was even rumored he was on his way to a World Title shot. Then the forces of life stepped in and took Guerrero away before his time.
It was an unfortunate event, one that nobody wants to see, yet you tune in anyways. What viewers saw during Guerrero’s tribute show were wrestlers bowing their heads in silence, weeping. Chris Benoit was openly weeping the entire time, as were many of the fans. It’s a testament to what kind of individual Guerrero really was, and the tears on the television screen helped the magnitude of the occasion sink in. Here was a man taken before his time, one fans likely never knew on a personal level, yet was able to move so many people emotionally. His passing, and his tribute show, will go down as one of the most emotional WWE happenings ever.
6. Ric Flair’s Retirement Match
It’s the famous phrase that Shawn Michaels uttered just before “ending” Ric Flair’s illustrious career. At the time, it was clear the angle the WWE was taking. Flair was getting up there in age, and the league informed him that the next time he lost would also be the last time he wrestled. When he was paired up against Shawn Michaels, it just seemed like the perfect opportunity for a farewell.
The match itself was gripping. Both men gave it their all, and Flair showed he could still put on a show of the greatest quality. Towards the end, though, it was clear he was going to lose. Michaels stood in the corner in preparation for his finisher Sweet Chin Music, and the camera zoomed in on his face. He then said “I’m sorry, I love you.” After pinning Flair, Michaels left the arena, leaving Flair with a chance to give the audience an emotional farewell.
5. Ric Flair’s Retirement Ceremony
Of course, knowing Ric Flair, that wouldn’t be the end of things. He was granted a farewell ceremony on a live Raw event that caused even more emotion. It was one of the very rare moments that wrestlers break kayfabe (essentially the fourth wall of acting) and act real.
One wrestler in attendance was The Undertaker himself. He went to the middle of the ring and saluted the famous superstar, even breaking kayfabe and giving him a hug. Flair went on to give a tearful farewell speech, detailing stories from him and his friends throughout the many years he wrestled. There wasn’t a pair of dry eyes in the audience. Of course, Flair’s retirement was more like a semi-retirement, and he’s continued to make appearances throughout the league, even wrestling a few more matches to boot.
4. Ultimate Warrior’s Tribute
It’s one of the eerier events ever to transpire in the WWE. At a Monday Night Raw event, The Ultimate Warrior returned to the WWE to give an absolutely fantastic speech. In it he discussed his lasting legacy, the idea of death, and gave a heartfelt tribute to all his fans. The very next day, he passed away.
Afterwards, on April 14, 2014, the WWE held a tribute event in his honor. It was a sobering occasion, one in which his highlights were played, and the ringside bell was tolled in his memory. An entire arena was filled with silence, and emotions ran high. Wrestlers all banded together in silence, and many of them broke out in tears. The same can be said for the fans attending the event, as Warrior’s legacy was given one final tip of the cap.
3. Jerry Lawler Suffers a Heart Attack
This moment is perhaps one of the most sobering to make an appearance on this list. For a brief moment on live television, a WWE event was more genuine than it had ever been before. Jerry Lawler, the long tenured WWE announcer, suffered a heart attack during a live episode of Raw. Viewers and fans in attendance were then completely reliant on Michael Cole for any news updates.
This instance is so moving because it forced the audience to come to grips with the presence of life and death. There were no crazy WWE storylines vying for their attention, only sobering thoughts of Lawler’s well-being. Cole’s announcements and updates were heartfelt and genuine, and it was a wonder how he was able to hold it all together throughout the event. Lawler would go on to recover from his heart attack, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t some extremely concerned WWE fans at the time.
2. Post 9/11 SmackDown Event
The WWE was actually one of the first major sports organizations to hold an event after the tragedy that was 9/11. It was a packed arena, and everyone was feeling extremely emotional and patriotic. After all, can you think of a more moving time in recent United States history than after the terrorist attacks?
The arena’s emotions seemed to climax during the national anthem. Lilian Garcia took the stage and belted out an absolutely perfect rendition. She sang with such emotion, especially during the line “and our flag was still there!” The result was absolutely incredible. In an act of bonding, everyone in the stadium burst out in raucous applause and cheering. It will go down as one of the most emotionally charged moments in all of sports, let alone the WWE, and more than one or two tears were shed along the way.
1. Connor the Crusher
Alright, time to break out the tissue boxes. Connor Michalek was a young boy who was a huge wrestling fan. He was also in the middle of a battle with cancer. In an act that absolutely yanks at your heartstrings, the WWE pulled off an incredible event just for “the Crusher.”
The league allowed him backstage, letting him meet his hero, Daniel Bryan. It’s a kind gesture in and of itself, but when the league was informed Connor didn’t have much longer to live, they went even further. Before WrestleMania 30, they organized an entire get together with all the participating wrestlers. There, Connor entered the arena and went to the middle of the ring. He met wrestlers like Big Show and Triple H, and even knocked out Triple H on center stage! Afterwards he watched his idol Daniel Bryan win the World Heavyweight Championship, and then hop off the stage to give Connor a hug.
After he passed away, the league inducted him into the Hall of Fame, granting him the Warrior Award. You would have been hard pressed to find a dry face in the building.
Watch the entire Connor the Crusher video sequence here, but be prepared to shed a tear or two: