15 Greatest Crowd Reactions in Pro Wrestling History
There are moments in wrestling that simply make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. It could be a shock return or perhaps a huge win for a true underdog.
Whatever it is, everyone has their favorites when it comes to the best crowd reactions. There have literally been hundreds of moments where the crowd has marked out, but these that are listed are without doubt some of the best.
The moments that leave you speechless as a wrestling fan will hopefully keep coming, considering how the WWE is entering its renown WrestleMania season.
Will they top these, though? Here are the 15 greatest crowd reactions in the history of pro wrestling.
15. Sting Returns to WCW to Attack the NWO
We don't start with the WWE, believe it or not. For our first entry on this list, we head over to the WCW. In the 1990s, the whole promotion was effectively run by the nWo.
In 1997, the company had just hosted its Uncensored pay-per-view. The New World Order had just beaten Team Piper and Team WCW in a pretty entertaining triple tag match.
Everything seemed pretty standard—but then Sting dropped from the rafters to shock everyone. He'd just had a six-month layoff due to injury, and it was a massive moment in the history of the promotion.
The look on Hollywood Hogan's face after Sting clears the ring is priceless.
14. Hulk Hogan Slams Andre the Giant
This one doesn't need much explaining, but it is a pretty notable moment in the history of WrestleMania.
The setting is WrestleMania III, when Hulk Hogan took on Andre the Giant. How the match ended brought the crowd to its feet, as Hogan amazingly found the strength to lift the giant off his feet and slam him.
The obligatory leg drop followed, and the crowd marked out like crazy after what it had just seen. It was a pretty amazing moment between two of the company's iconic stars.
13. Chris Jericho Wins the WWF Championship from Triple H
At the time of this moment, Triple H was without doubt the biggest heel in the entire WWF. He had a ridiculous amount of heat on him, and it seemed bizarre that he opened Raw with a defence of his WWF Championship.
However, it produced an incredibly iconic moment. Toward the end of the match, the champion decided to push referee Earl Hebner over, clearly unimpressed with a decision of his.
That led Jericho to steal a match on his rival, as he hit the Lionsault before covering Triple H. Amazingly, Earl Hebner provided a supremely quick count to declare a new champion.
The crowd went insane as Jericho finally got his hands on the biggest prize in the company.
12. Daniel Bryan Turns on Bray Wyatt
The WWE hasn't provided many moments to shout about of late, but this one was an absolute beauty.
The Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt storyline is one that is currently capturing the imagination of WWE fans, and on the Jan. 13 edition of Raw in 2014, Bryan shocked the world by turning on his new stablemate.
It provided an opportunity for Bryan to revert back to being an incredibly popular face character, and the crowd went berserk as Bryan sat on the top of the cage performing his trademark "YES!" chant.
It was a stunning way to close a show.
11. Goldberg Beats Hollywood Hogan in WCW
At the time of this match, Hollywood Hogan and Goldberg were both on remarkable runs with the WCW—and were destroying opponents at will.
The opportunity for the two to square off finally arrived, with something having to give on Nitro in 1998.
Toward the end of the match, Goldberg, remarkably, kicked out of Hogan's patented leg drop. A brawl at ringside caused the distraction for Hogan, and Goldberg struck with a thunderous spear.
He worked the crowd pretty well before finishing Hogan off and getting the three-count to win the WCW World Championship belt.
10. Stone Cold and His Beer Truck
For the record, Stone Cold Steve Austin appears a few more times on this list. And rightly so—he is an icon of the WWE and has produced some brilliant moments for wrestling fans.
Some of Austin's best moments came when he squared off against Vince McMahon, and this is one of those moments.
Just a week away from Austin's title match with The Rock at WrestleMania, the latter and McMahon were poking fun at Austin. Not a good idea, as he got back at them in style.
The music hit, and Austin emerged with a beer truck. He cut a promo on The Rock before dousing him and McMahon in beer to send the fans wild. Kurt Angle did the same with milk a few years later, but this was the original and the best.
9. Dolph Ziggler Cashes in on Alberto Del Rio
Another recent WWE moment, and it came on the night after WrestleMania 29.
The crowd that attends the Raw on the night after WrestleMania is always a crazy one, and the WWE sent the fans home happy by providing a truly remarkable moment.
After World Heavyweight champion Alberto Del Rio picked up a win on the show, he was visibly troubled by an injury that kept him down in the corner. Cue Dolph Ziggler's music, which sent the crowd into a crazy frenzy.
People had been wanting Ziggler to cash in for months on end, and the WWE timed it perfectly with this crowd.
8. Stone Cold Helps Mankind Beat the Rock
Back to the Attitude Era in the WWF. This time it was a match between Mankind and The Rock.
The Corporation was on its way to the ring and had every intention of screwing Foley once again. Not on this occasion, though, as Stone Cold came to the aid of Mankind to help him win the title.
When his music hit, the crowd went absolutely crazy. He cleaned The Rock out with a steel chair shot before placing Foley over The Rock.
It was arguably one of Austin's finest moments. The crowd marked out big time.
7. The Debut of Chris Jericho in WWF
Chris Jericho was always pretty well-received in the WCW, but his reaction when he debuted with the WWF was absolutely phenomenal.
The Rock was in the ring calling out the Big Show when from nowhere, Jericho's music hit.
Cue the crowd going wild. Jericho would proceed to cut a promo that set the tone for his career with the company. An absolutely iconic moment.
6. John Cena Returns at the Royal Rumble 2008
It would be remiss to not include a Royal Rumble moment in this list, and this one comes from 2008.
Nobody expected John Cena to be the final entrant in the Rumble that year. He had escaped the attention of everyone after his injury layoff and was in nobody's mind.
So when his music hit, it sent the crowd came unhinged. It is arguably the biggest pop Cena has ever received from a crowd.
As we all know, he went on to win the Rumble, capping off a remarkable night at Madison Square Garden.
5. Triple H Returns from Injury
It's easy to forget that Triple H was a massive heel before a torn quad ruled him out of action for so long in the early 2000s.
The Game also missed the entirety of the Invasion storyline due to the injury, so when he returned, it gave the company a fresh shot in the arm.
There was a pretty big pop for HHH that evening, it has to be said. The crowd went nuts for his music, and he looked pretty pumped to be back, too.
4. RVD Beats John Cena on ECW
If you were a fan of ECW, you were arguably a huge fan of Rob Van Dam. He was the biggest guy in the promotion due to his in-ring attitude.
John Cena appeared on the ECW show as the WWE champion, and he put the title on the line against RVD.
Nobody could have foreseen Edge coming out and spearing Cena through a table, leading to RVD nailing the win.
It was achieved by Paul Heyman scoring the three-count, and the ECW crowd went insane for its guy, who was now the champion.
3. British Bulldog Beats Bret Hart in the UK
As a Brit, I felt like this one had to be included. It was one of the greatest matches the WWF has ever staged, and it was arguably the finest ever competed on British shores.
Back when the Intercontinental Championship was relevant and interesting, The British Bulldog and Bret Hart had a title match for the ages at Wembley Stadium in 1992.
The reaction when the Bulldog scores the win is a remarkable one. It should have been expected, though; it's not very often that British wrestling fans get to see one of their own win a belt in their own country.
2. Stone Cold Returns to Help Team WWF
This is arguably Stone Cold's finest moment when it comes to crowd reactions. It was in the midst of the Invasion storyline, and the WWF needed Austin.
However, initially, he wouldn't help Vince McMahon out, despite the fact that the CEO begged furiously. When the takeover occurred, all hell broke loose in the ring. The crowd knew what it wanted; fans began cheering Austin's name.
So when his music hit, it sent the crowd into a state of delirium. The entirety of the Alliance was dismantled by Austin, as he cleaned house with real vigour.
It was a great wrestling moment.
1. CM Punk Wins the WWE Championship in Chicago
The top spot on the list goes to a moment that, personally, is one of my favorites.
The whole CM Punk storyline in the summer of 2011 captured the imagination of wrestling fans, and Punk finally came of age as a top star with the company. Questions were asked as to whether Punk was legitimately going to leave with the WWE Championship and never return should he win.
As we know, that wasn't the case. However, that night in Chicago, the crowd went insane for their hometown hero. Cena's reaction when he walked out was ridiculously loud—he was almost booed out of the arena.
When Punk scored the victory and made off through the crowd with the belt, the look on Vince McMahon's face was priceless.
It was a victory for Chicago that night.
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