As we rapidly approach the end of 2014, what better time than to compile the list of the top 15 most memorable moments of the year in professional wrestling (or “sports entertainment” as the WWE prefers to call it these days). There's no point in waiting for the start of the new year because the WWE recently aired their December pay per view (TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs … and Stairs) and TNA Impact Wrestling is in the process of moving programming to Destination America (beginning in January 2015). By all accounts, the WWE won't really advance any storylines until the start of the new year. However if anything does occur that would compel you to question or dispute this list, you're always welcome to leave any comments you may have below.
Overall 2014 was a great year. One wouldn’t necessarily call it the best but it was certainly leaps and bounds better than 2013. Simply reflecting on some of the more “memorable” moments of 2013 can cause even the most diehard fans to start cringing. Fortunately 2014 was full of countless memorable moments that will be fondly remembered and reflected upon for years to come. Some of these moments are actually so significant that they will continue to live on forever in the annals of professional wrestling history. In putting this list together, it proves to focus on what was most memorable regardless of promotion (meaning this list is not limited to World Wrestling Entertainment) however it will in fact occupy the majority of the year’s most memorable moments. With no further adieu, we proudly present to you the top 15 most memorable moments of 2014.
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15 15. Cesaro wins the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
WWE’s first Hall of Famer – Andre The Giant –was larger than life in both size and personality. WrestleMania XXX host Hulk Hogan felt the best way to honor The Giant was with a battle royal. Every WWE Superstar competing in the inaugural contest wanted the bragging rights of being the first to win the Andre The Giant trophy. Cesaro not only outlasted 29 other wrestlers to win the first ever over-the-top-rope Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, he also hoisted the 450-pound Big Show, held him in place and bodyslammed him over the top rope to secure his victory.
14 Roman Reigns Breaks The Royal Rumble Elimination Record
On January 26th, 2014, the WWE presented the always-exciting Royal Rumble. The event allows WWE Superstars to compete in an over-the-top-rope elimination style battle royal in which the victor secures themselves a spot in the main event of WrestleMania. Although Roman Reigns did survive, making it to the end of the Rumble as one of the final two participants, he was unable to win the actual event. Before eventually being eliminated by Dave Batista, he was able to set a new record by eliminating 12 participants. The previous record was 11 eliminations, which was set by Kane back in 2001.
13 Eric Young wins the TNA World Heavyweight Championship
On the April 10th edition of TNA Impact Wrestling, Eric Young won a 10-man gauntlet match to become the no.1 contender and earn a shot at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship at Sacrifice. Following the match, Eric Young called out MVP and demanded he face Magnus that same night even though he had sustained an injury. That night Eric Young defeated Magnus with a piledriver to capture the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. The victory was Eric Young’s first reign as TNA World Heavyweight Champion in the company after being an active member of their roster for over a decade.
12 12. Brie Quits
On June 1st, 2014, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan entered Payback with an impossible decision to make. Stephanie McMahon had made it very clear; Daniel Bryan could either choose to surrender his title or his wife, Brie Bella, would be fired. However before he could make his decision, Brie stepped in choosing to quit. She then proceeded to viciously slap Stephanie across the face prior to leading the entire audience in a giant “YES!” chant with Daniel Bryan.
11 Bully Ray Powerbombs Dixie Carter through a table
On the August 7th edition of TNA Impact it finally happened. After four months of focusing all of his attention and energy on making Dixie Carter pay for her questionable actions, Bully Ray finally got his revenge by power bombing her through a table. These actions came after numerous attempts to extract his revenge on Dixie that saw Bully Ray going as far as invading both TNA headquarters and the Carter estate. Following the brutal table spot it was actually reported by TNA Impact Wrestling’s official site that Dixie Carter had suffered a broken back from taking the bump.
10 The Three Biggest Names In WWE History All In One Ring
Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and The Rock all standing in the same ring, at the same time…WHAT? Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and The Rock are all standing in the same ring at the same time! It all began when the WrestleMania host (Hogan) came out to the ring to kickoff the show. As he stood in the ring hyping up the crowd at the Silverdome, err, Superdome, he was interrupted by the unforgettable sound of Stone Cold’s entrance music. Austin made his way to the ring and confronted The Hulkster. Moments later The Rock made his entrance, joining the two icons in the centre of the ring. The exchange between the three was extremely memorable but what really made the moment so great is that it was the living embodiment of WWE's Mount Rushmore.
9 9. Sami Zayn Wins The Big One
After having countless opportunities to win the NXT Championship slip through his fingers, Sami Zayn set out on what he called his “Road To Redemption” to win the championship. His journey came to a screeching halt when he failed to win the title from Neville on the November 13th edition of NXT after Neville used a knee injury sustained during the match to get a small package on Zayn for the win. Following this setback, Sami Zayn claimed if he fell short at his next encounter with Neville for the title that he would be done. Fortunately on December 11th, 2014, at NXT Takeover R: Evolution, Sami Zayn finally won “the big one” by defeating Neville to become the NXT Champion.
8 Paige’s Big Debut
On the April 7th edition of Monday Night RAW (the night after WrestleMania XXX) Paige made her main roster debut. As AJ Lee celebrated her victory from the night before and touted her accomplishment as the current longest reigning Divas champion, Paige made her presence known. Although the current NXT Women’s Champion had initially come out just to congratulate AJ Lee on her title defense, she quickly found herself on the receiving end of a slap to the face and a challenge for the Divas Championship. The NXT Superstar shocked everyone by ending Lee’s 295-day title reign, winning the Divas Championship, and at 21 becoming the youngest Divas Champion of all time.
7 7. AJ Styles Wins The IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
When TNA Impact Wrestling refused to give their cornerstone AJ Styles the money he felt he deserved after over 10 years with the company, the high-flyer left for bigger and better opportunities. Not shortly thereafter he ended up making international headlines by debuting in Japan as the new leader of The Bullet Club following the departure of their former leader Prince Devitt (currently competing in NXT as Finn Bálor). On May 3rd, 2014, AJ Styles defeated Kazuchika Okada at New Japan Pro Wrestling’s “Wrestling Dontaku” PPV event becoming the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.
6 The Ultimate Warrior's Return and Farewell
On April 5th, 2014, The Ultimate Warrior was finally inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame. It was just one of those moments that wrestling fans had just begun to assume might never happen because of the bad blood between both parties but when it comes to professional wrestling, you never say never. After the induction ceremony, Warrior appeared at WrestleMania XXX with his fellow 2014 inductees and on Monday Night RAW the following night to address his legions of fans. It turned out to be a farewell, particularly with the cryptic language Warrior used in his promo. In an unfortunate turn of events, Warrior collapsed on April 8th while walking to his car with his wife in Scottsdale, Arizona. After being rushed to a nearby hospital he was pronounced dead at the relatively young age of 54. The authorities in Phoenix, Arizona, later reported that The Ultimate Warrior had died of cardiovascular disease.
5 Why Seth, Why?
On the June 2nd edition of Monday Night RAW, Seth Rollins broke the hearts of millions of Shield fans by turning his back on Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns. This came as a huge shock to the WWE Universe considering The Shield had just defeated Evolution in a No Disqualification match the night before at WWE Payback. At the start of RAW that night Batista made the choice to quit, leaving Triple H and Randy Orton as Evolution's remaining two members. Later in the night, as the remaining members of Evolution approached the ring to confront The Shield, Triple H claimed he always had a Plan B. At that moment Seth Rollins made his true intentions known by hitting Roman Reigns in the back with a steel chair and then taking out Dean Ambrose.
4 Brock Lesnar manhandles John Cena
Although John Cena has granted more wishes than any celebrity in the history of The Make-A-Wish Foundation, it wasn’t until the night of August 17th, 2014 that the Internet Wrestling Community got theirs. At SummerSlam 2014 John Cena was completely decimated by the former UFC Champion Brock Lesnar in one of the most one-sided matches of Cena’s WWE career. The Beast Incarnate’s domination of John Cena was a magnificent thing of beauty that left the entire WWE Universe speechless. The 20-minute bout saw Lesnar land two F-5’s, connect with countless punches, and rock John Cena with 16 devastating German Suplexes to become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. The moment made many of us happier than a kid running down the stairs on snow covered Christmas morning. It also broke the hearts of numerous members of the Cenation. Regardless it is by far one of the most memorable moments of the year.
3 3. Sting arrives in the WWE
One of the most iconic figures in the history of professional wrestling, Sting was always the one individual who had never crossed over into the realm of WWE. That was until November 23rd, 2014, when during the main event of Survivor Series, Sting made his first appearance in a WWE ring by attacking Triple H and costing Team Authority the win against Team Cena. The Vigilante’s interference directly resulted in Seth Rollins being pinned by Dolph Ziggler subsequently leading to the end of The Authority and their loss of power. It may have taken nearly 30 years to come to fruition, but one of the biggest stars in the industry has finally made his way to the WWE and the fans are still raving about his historic debut.
2 2. Daniel Bryan’s WrestleMania Moment
It seemed nearly impossible but on April 6th, 2014, on the grandest stage of them all, Daniel Bryan overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to capture the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. After months of being held down by The Authority Daniel Bryan earned opportunity to compete in the main event against Randy Orton and Dave Batista for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship provided he defeated Triple H first. In one of the greatest underdog stories in WrestleMania history, Daniel Bryan defeated Triple H in a classic bout and then went on to make Batista submit in the main event to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Daniel Bryan’s moment was by far the most feel good moment of the year and one of the best in WrestleMania history. It was the ultimate payoff for fans who had been waiting months, and one could argue years, for Daniel Bryan to finally get his big moment.
1 Brock Lesnar conquers The Streak
Although WrestleMania XXX had wonderful moments like Daniel Bryan winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and Cesaro winning the first ever over-the-top-rope Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, there was one moment that was violently thrust into all the history books. In a night full of WrestleMania moments, Brock Lesnar shocked the entire world by defeating The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX thereby conquering the streak and leaving The Undertaker with an overall WrestleMania record of 21-1.
There is absolutely no other moment that could even be considered the most memorable moment of 2014 other than this. Furthermore, this specific moment is so significant that it will continue to live on for all eternity in the annals of WWE history.
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