How could a form of entertainment that involves grown men and women choreographing a fight and pretending to hate each other make us grownups cry? Well, the same reason you may have cried watching a movie or your favorite sports team losing a big game. Entertainment forums are meant to evoke emotions out of viewers and wrestling is no different. It can make us angry, sad, happy, jealous, guilty or downright disappointed.
Daniel Bryan's retirement speech recently on RAW had many fans around the world watery eyed because the most popular star WWE had in the least few years is now never going to compete again. His retirement speech is only one of several farewells that brought fans to tears. Shawn Michaels, Edge and Ric Flair retiring also had us fans emotional, even though we knew Flair's time had come. It's incredibly hard to say goodbye to legends.
There have also been more downright morose feelings, as many fans know we have had to deal with many tragedies in the business. Far too many wrestlers died before they reached 40, which has long been the biggest black mark on the business we love.
Finally, there are emotional moments that bring us joy and that may be what brings us to tears. There have been title wins, returns or reunions that have brought fans to tears, due to the level of care we have for a certain wrestler.
There are moments that may not make us cry now, but we sure shed the water works when we were kids watching them. Being a six-year-old in attendance for the Montreal Screwjob, I was an emotional wreck for seeing my hero Bret Hart screwed out of the title.
Get your tissues ready: it's time to look back at wrestling moments that made us cry.
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21 Sami Zayn wins NXT Title
NXT has provided us many amazing matches, but one of the things that has truly elevated the brand is its ability to get fans emotionally invested in the show. They certainly did that in Sami Zayn, who was being painted as the underdog who would always fall short of the gold. At NXT TakeOver: R Evolution, Zayn finally won the big one, defeating Neville for the title. After the match, Zayn embraced Kevin Owens, a fellow Montrealer who had gone down a long path in the business like him. Owens then turned on Zayn on screen, but the hardcore fans knew how these two friends had persevered through a lot.
20 Bobby Heenan says goodbye to Gorilla Monsoon
The way Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan constantly bickered on screen, you would have never guessed the two were very close friends. Then again, when you think of the chemistry they shared, it does make sense. After Gorilla's passing in 1999, Heenan paid tribute to his friend, "you know the pearly gates of heaven? It's now going to be called the Gorilla position."
Heenan again called to his friend in his 2004 HOF speech. It was simple, but Heenan's tears again pulled our heartstrings, saying "I wish Monsoon was here."
18 Randy Savage Passes Away
We had always been holding out hope that the friction would eventually be resolved between the Macho Man and WWE, so that we could see Savage one last time on screen before saying farewell. When news broke in May of 2011 that Macho Man had passed away, it was a devastating piece of news for fans. This was the time we knew we wouldn't hear an epic speech by Savage at a Hall of Fame ceremony. He was arguably the biggest face of the business behind Hulk Hogan in the golden generation, yet we never got the sendoff he deserved.
17 Mick Foley Wins WWE Title
Mick Foley was and always will be, a man of the people. Nobody put their body through more punishment and gave his heart every night to the fans the way Foley did. Even though he did that, it was thought that he'd never get a chance to be champion. That all changed on January 4, 1999 when the WWE gave one of the best endings in wrestling history by having Mankind win the title from The Rock after a Stone Cold run-in. Michael Cole delivered his best call of his career and helped us fans feel as if we were winning something too.
16 Jake Roberts HOF Speech
The 2014 Hall of Fame ceremony may have been headlined by The Ultimate Warrior and we may remember it most for Mr. T's insanely long speech, but no speech was as emotional as Jake 'The Snake' Roberts'. Roberts spoke with more heartfelt emotion than perhaps any wrestler ever that night. "I don't regret loving wrestling because there's nothing like it"
You could tell with Roberts' family sitting there how deeply he regretted his past addictions. This was a redemption story at its finest.
15 The Streak Ends
When The Undertaker's streak ended at WrestleMania XXX, a flurry of emotions ran through us all. There was shock, anger and sadness. We all have grown up watching The Undertaker and had accepted the notion that no wrestler deserved 'The Streak' more than him. When the WWE took that away from us, it was an incredibly heartbreaking loss. We also knew right there that Undertaker didn't have much wrestling left in him and got us to further appreciate what he has given us in 25 years.
14 Edge Retires
When the reigning world heavyweight champion has to retire, due to the risks of him getting paralyzed if he were to ever wrestle again, that is tough for a fan to take. Edge is a prime example of a wrestler paying his dues in the lower card, then the midcard for so long before getting his break. Edge carried the SmackDown brand for years and in his time as the top heel, was perhaps the most entertaining part of WWE. It was very saddening to learn of the physical price Edge had paid when he revealed his condition of spinal stenosis
13 Jerry Lawler Suffers Heart Attack
Fans around the world thought we were going to get another on-air tragedy when during an episode of RAW in 2012, Jerry Lawler suffered a heart attack. Luckily trainers and doctors acted fast in getting Lawler to an ambulance and getting him to the hospital. Michael Cole did a tremendous job in carrying the news to the fans of Lawler's condition. Lawler received CPR and was soon able to breathe independently. There was a time though, when we were worried we would be losing another legend.
12 Daniel Bryan Becomes The Man
If we were crying tears of sadness when The Undertaker's streak ended, it was replaced with tear of joy about an hour later, when Daniel Bryan's WWE World Heavyweight Championship victory was one for all fans. It was a moment that showed if the fans are vocal enough, those in charge will listen. Bryan was the people's champion of this generation and this moment is one we'll now cherish forever as the peak of his career.
His retirement speech on RAW was said, but we had been preparing and fearing it for so long. He also was too funny.
11 Ultimate Warrior's Tribute
I put this high because of the wide range of emotions fans were going through after seeing The Ultimate Warrior come back. The whole set of circumstances was incredibly eerie and really hit fans hard. After finally burying the hatchet with WWE, Warrior was inducted into the 2014 Hall of Fame class. Warrior then gave one final promo on RAW the night after WrestleMania. The very next day, the world got word that Warrior had suffered a heart attack and passed away. The WWE quickly paid tribute to the Warrior. The emotional roller coaster of those few days took its toll on fans.
10 Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit stand on top
Once again, an announcer's call was able to enhance the moment. After Eddie Guerrero had retained his WWE Title over Kurt Angle earlier that night, Chris Benoit reached the top of the business by winning the World Heavyweight Championship. Seeing the two longtime veterans standing on top of the wrestling world was an emotional sight, knowing they had been told they were too small to make it to the top. This moment is tainted now, but fans will never forget the way they felt on that night.
9 Ric Flair Retires
Perhaps Ric Flair's retirement from wrestling was long overdue by this point anyway, and he did go on to wrestle in TNA after, but this retirement ceremony was one of the best pieces of television the WWE has ever done. NO wrestler ever has gotten the sendoff quite like this one. Big names, past and present, came down to the ring to show their respect for The Nature Boy. Heck, even The Undertaker came down to the ring and got on one knee to salute Flair. It was great to see arguably the best wrestler of all time get the proper sendoff.
8 Shawn Michaels Retires
It's not often that a wrestler chooses to retire from the business when he's still the best performer there is. However Shawn Michaels decided to do an amazing retirement angle by putting his career on the line in a match against The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVI. After giving us one final showstopper, Shawn Michaels delivered an emotional retirement speech on RAW, thanking those who supported him and apologizing for his past transgressions in the 90s. He capped it off by saying to his kids: "Daddy's coming home."
7 Macho Man and Elizabeth Reunite
Macho Man and Miss Elizabeth were easily the best couple in wrestling on screen. When the Macho Man lost a retirement match to the Ultimate Warrior, he was attacked by his manager Queen Sherri. Miss Elizabeth, watching from the crowd, came to her man's rescue. Savage then embraced his woman and you could see the tears throughout the arena. There was perhaps no time ever in the history of wresting that fans so openly shared tears of joy.
6 "I'm sorry. I love you"
There weren't many better storytellers in the ring than Shawn Michaels. While the retirement ceremony the next night was emotional, Shawn Michaels knew exactly how to convey the emotion he was going through in wrestling his idol in his last match. Having Flair beaten, the Nature Boy ordered HBK to finish him off. Staring sadly, Michaels said, "I'm sorry. I love you." Michaels then delivered a superkick to Flair to end his career. There is perhaps no better ending to a match ever and certainly not as emotional.
5 Chris Benoit Fallout
When news broke that Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy and son Daniel, were found dead in their Atlanta home, fans were saddened, but hadn't even heard the worst part of the story yet. Not yet knowing the details, WWE ran a tribute show for Benoit on RAW the next night. The most devastating moment for fans came the next day when it was discovered Benoit had killed his wife and son before taking his own life. The fact that a man fans had grown to respect so much could commit these acts was tough to accept. It remains the darkest day in wrestling history.
4 Lillian Garcia Sings National Anthem post 9/11
The WWE chose to run their show as scheduled, even after the news had broken of the 9/11 tragedy. Holding their SmackDown taping in Houston, Texas, the WWE showed they were going to move on with their lives. Lilian Garcia opened the show by giving one of the most emotional renditions of the Star Spangled Banner ever sung. There was no time when wrestling fans felt more patriotic than that time. Even non-Americans can view this as one of wrestling's most beautiful moments.
3 Connor The Crusher's Emotional Video
The WWE does a lot of work with kids, but no child ever got to the hearts of fans everywhere like Connor Michalek did. Connor was suffering at the age of three from a brain tumor. Connor courageously fought the cancer for several years and eventually got to meet his hero, Daniel Bryan. At WrestleMania XXX, Connor was in the front row to see his hero win the company's richest prize. Connor would pass away just a few weeks later. The WWE then released a video of Connor meeting all the WWE Superstars and detailing the struggle he went through and the courage he showed.
2 Eddie Guerrero tribute
Eddie Guerrero had grown to be one of the most beloved wrestlers of his time. His genuine touch and obvious passion he showed for the business was easy for the fans to gravitate towards. On the morning of November 13, 2005, it was revealed that Eddie Guerrero had died in his hotel room in Minneapolis. That night, the WWE did a Raw/SmackDown tribute for their fallen star. Seeing so many wrestlers openly mourn the loss of their coworker, along with fans losing one of the most entertaining stars of the era at such a young age was tough for everyone.
1 Owen Hart dies
This remains the biggest tragedy in all of wrestling. Many wrestlers have died, but none did so on such a big stage in front of a PPV audience for such a regrettable stunt. At Over the Edge 1999, Owen Hart fell to his death after a harness came loose while being lowered to the ring. Fans watching did not know how serious the fall was, but Jim Ross soon announced to the viewing audience that Owen's fall was not part of the show. Some time later, Ross broke the news that Hart had died from the accident.
Seeing all the wrestlers pay tribute to Owen the next night on RAW and speaking so emotionally about it showed how much everyone loved Owen. After hearing all the stories we've heard on what an amazing man Owen was, it remains the saddest moment in wrestling to this day.
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