10 Wrestling Career Turning Points That Took Place ON AIR
All change for Karrion Kross, Scarlett, CM Punk and Stone Cold Steve Austin. And all on camera!
"Moments" became a dirty word in some circles after years of WWE (and especially NXT) working so hard to make them that they - unsurprisingly - ended up feeling manufactured and fake.
The race to generate conversation over credible content overtook reason and rationale, resulting in best laid plans being abandoned and worst ones becoming the norm. More's the pity too - as much as luck and timing are as important as good storylines and great wrestlers in the industry, there’s a lot to be said for making a solid plan and seeing it through.
As a predetermined art form, the context with which pro wrestling’s shocks, surprises and moments of joy or despair should register is that of a major motion picture, television serial or prestige drama. A calibrated reaction crafted by the bringing together of elements bubbling over at exactly the right moment, mimicking the frisson and real drama of sports only in a controlled environment. It's why wrestling's better than the thing you like when it's good.
And when it's great? Forget about it.
Moments like the ones outlined below are a credit to the performers involved in them, the promoters that create the stages, and the fans themselves for experiencing them with the intended intent. Or, they're so impossibly disastrous that a performer never truly recovers...
10. The 1-2-3 Kid
Pro wrestling is magnificent.
The oft-relived footage of The 1-2-3 Kid absorbing the sh*t-kicking of a lifetime from Razor Ramon before peeling off a moonsault of all things for the win would be aesthetically pleasing even if the action wasn't also awesome. The intimate Grand Ballroom within the Manhattan Center was always small-but-perfectly formed as far as establishing Monday Night Raw as a new wrestling hotbed, not least with Kid and Razor's striking attires pinging off the classic colour palette of the New York landmark.
Having lost squashes in the weeks leading up to his battle with 'The Bad Guy', The Kid was at this point seen as such a loser that there’s not a single point he’s got a chance until he’s sprinting out of the building with his panicked arms raised.
That he did it with such a dazzling move served as the icing on the cake - the win was a fluke but the nature of it was a combination of career-defining guts and skill.