Wrestling fans are an extremely loyal bunch that can be depended upon to watch on a weekly basis, buy merchandise, show up at events, and support the business in almost any other fashion. Despite the fact that the die-hards typically watch every event they can get their hands on, the industry can still catch them by surprise on a semi-regular basis. After all, some of the most memorable moments fans still discuss years later revolve around shocking moments where a wrestler debuts out of nowhere or turns his back on his closest allies. Those aren’t the types of moments we will be discussing when it comes to this list. Instead, we are going to focus on crazy moments caught on camera that is connected to the wrestling business that fans will never be able to forget (even if they want to).
In order for a photo to be considered for inclusion, it needed to have been taken at a wrestling event or involve notable wrestlers. Beyond that, the criteria are pretty wide open but you won’t be finding any run of the mill photos in the entries that follow. Whether it is a photo in which a popular wrestling figure is breaking character in some sort of egregious way or a shot of a grisly injury, the result needs to be the same. We were also open to screengrabs from notable events as in a lot of cases there are still images of these events that have lived on. We have opted to exclude any photos of wrestlers who’ve died in the ring. With that in mind, let’s get to the list.
15 Streak Ending Reaction Face
When any wrestler worth his salt first gets into the business, one of the things they covet most is to win championships. Don’t get us wrong, obviously, there are some people who’ve won belts but ultimately had their career go nowhere, however generally speaking being chosen to hold a title is a big indicator that you’re good enough to depend on. Even still, not all titles are created evenly. If you listen to the talk coming out of the mouths of WWE announcers, there is nothing higher a wrestler can achieve than winning a singles world title in the WWE, but we think otherwise.
14 Lonely Virgil
There are a few wrestlers who’ve managed to become the focus of memes in the last several years, one of which you’ll see later in this list, and typically they are the industry’s biggest stars. Then there is Virgil, someone who is best remembered for being the manservant to Ted Dibiase before thankfully turning against him. Never able to capitalize on the momentum that moment gave him, he did little as a solo star before making his way to WCW, where he became and also ran in the nWo, which also once included his former boss, Ted Dibiase.
13 Triple H Face
12 Too Much Cena
11 Generation Gap
Dean Ambrose is one of the biggest wrestling stars of his generation. With a career that is highlighted by some ground-breaking storylines already under his belt, most of his fans hope to see him continue to push the envelope and challenge the status quo. Instead, since The Shield broke up, he has been involved in some pretty cringe-worthy moments that seem beneath him. Case in point, moments like when he sprayed his foes with ketchup and mustard or when he booby trapped the Money in the Bank briefcase so Seth Rollins got splattered were both so infantile.
10 Rock and Roman’s Rumble Reaction
Speaking of former Shield members that are struggling since that trio broke up, let’s look at the 2015 Royal Rumble win, the moment that has most defined the solo career of Roman Reigns, so far. Going into the event, two things seemed to be abundantly clear, Vince McMahon and the powers that saw Roman as 'the man' and a lot of fans disagreed. Someone who clearly has a lot of attributes that any company would want in a potential champion, including looks, machismo and a mystique, he only seemed to lack one imperative element, a connection to the fans.
9 The Oldertaker
8 Vince Russo WCW Champion
Quite possibly, the most hated figure the wrestling world has seen since the height of the Attitude Era, Vince Russo’s career is shrouded in controversy. The head writer during the most ground-breaking era in WWE’s history, writing his impact at the time off is a disservice to his legacy and an act of rewriting history. That said, his time in both TNA and WCW resulted in some of the most reviled storylines in wrestling history.
7 Judy Bagwell WCW Champion
6 Claire Lynch
5 Bischoff and McMahon
Vince McMahon is a man unlike any most of us will ever meet. Someone who is famous for an unending work ethic, he is known to work all hours of the night in order to ensure he does everything he can to make his company succeed. Another example of what he is willing to sacrifice in order to do what he thinks is best for the WWE, Vinnie has hired people who’ve crossed him again and again if it’s right for business. Perhaps, nobody exemplifies that hiring practice better than Eric Bischoff, the man who led WCW during the only era they bested the WWE in, and is said to have tried to put WWE out of business.
4 Jay Leno & Hulk Hogan
3 Father and Son
2 Sid Vicious Leg Break
1 Owen Hart Announcement
If you’re a long-term wrestling fan who was around during the Attitude Era, we’d be totally shocked if you didn’t recognize this moment the second you saw that image. More so, if you didn’t let out a gasp of recognition or groan of some kind then we’d also be surprised. An image of Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler at the 1999 Over the Edge event, you’re looking at a photo of the exact moment the announcers were tasked to inform the audience that Owen Hart had died. Falling to his death from the top of the arena because a safety harness gave way, it was so shocking that it was, and remains difficult to accept and remember to this day.
Sources: Complex, TMZ
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