What is it exactly about crying that feels more legitimate than other emotions when expressed on screen?
Is it due to our own rudimentary understanding of an actor's process, and the knowledge that they've had to dig deep into an unpleasant reality to conjure up a show of fiction? Are there still archaic connotations of weakness attached to teardrops that linger longer in the psyche? Or, conversely, could it be because the emotion itself is so uncomfortable relatable?
It's a phenomenon that extends way beyond wrestling's tendrils, but warrants particular praise considering the generally quite low standards of acting in the industry. There's a dumb joke in an episode of Friends where Joey explains to the group about pinching leg hairs with tweezers in his pocket if he needs to cry. All well and good for the Hollywood elite, but not so useful if you're out there in front of 10,000 people and there's no pockets on your skin-tight tight trunks. Not hairs on your legs, for that matter.
There's an art to performing it, an art to justifying the reason for it in the first place, and an art to making it not feel totally stupid. Most of these achieve at least two out of three, and according to a singer that would cry all night, that ain't bad...
10. Kurt Angle
These tears were earned.
Not at No Mercy 2000 when, thanks to lashings of interference by Rikishi and Triple H, Kurt Angle was able to upset The Rock for the WWE Championship merely 11 months into his main roster career. But at the Olympic Games four years earlier when - and you may have heard this one before - he won a gold medal with a broken freakin' neck.
On that Atlanta evening in 1996, Angle fell to his knees in tears in celebration not just of the victory but of the perseverance and personal punishment it took to reach the pinnacle.
The WWE equivalent subverted that beautifully. Able to gently mock that the company and its top prize wasn't quite as prestigious as the medal, and fold in that Angle's latest accomplishment was another ill-gotten one in a year full of them, this found the sweet spot between sickening and stupidly sentimental.