Ranking the Most Christmas-Worthy Miracles in WWE History
Photo courtesy of WWE.com
The holiday season is representative of many things, one of which is the idea of a Christmas miracle. Even if you don't believe in everyday miracles, there is no question that such occurrences have been commonplace in the WWE over the years.
While fans often like to bash the WWE for being too predictable, there have been many instances where that hasn't been the case whatsoever. One of the greatest things about the WWE is that almost anything can happen, and that has been proven true time and time again.
A miracle doesn't necessarily have to happen during the Christmas season in order for it to be considered Christmas-worthy, and under that criteria, there are tons of instances that fall into that category over the course of WWE history.
Whether it be an overmatched competitor beating a top star or someone accomplishing a feat that was previously thought to be impossible, miracles truly do happen in the WWE.
With all of that said, here are the 10 biggest Christmas-worthy miracles to ever be witnessed in a WWE ring.
10. Santino Marella Executes the Milan Miracle
A wrestler winning a title in their debut match isn't unheard of, but the manner in which Santino Marella accomplished that feat lands him a spot on this list. Santino made his WWE debut in 2007 on an episode of Raw in Milan, Italy. He posed as a fan and was handpicked by Vince McMahon to challenge Umaga for the Intercontinental Championship.
The dominant Samoan Bulldozer was obviously a huge favorite as most wrestling fans had no clue who Santino was. In actuality, Santino wrestled as Boris Alexiev in WWE developmental and was quite a skilled grappler.
From a storyline perspective, however, he was just a sacrificial lamb who McMahon hoped Umaga would squash. To stack the odds even further in Umaga's favor, McMahon made it a no-holds-barred match.
Unfortunately for Vince, however, he made his fair share of enemies and Bobby Lashley was one of them. Just as McMahon was about to hit Santino with a chair, Lashley interfered by taking out both McMahon and Umaga. Santino capitalized by pinning Umaga in the most shocking Intercontinental Championship change ever.
It was such a huge moment that Santino's victory will forever be known as "The Milan Miracle." Santino has since established himself as a legitimate WWE superstar, but on that night in Italy, he was just a civilian beating an unstoppable monster.
9. The Hurricane Beats The Rock on Raw
One of the WWE's most popular characters during the early 2000's was The Hurricane. The superhero, who was played by Gregory Helms, was used for comedic purposes more than anything, but the fans loved his act and he was more over than any other mid-card guy at the time. Because of that, the writers decided to put him in a mini-feud with The Rock in 2003.
At the time, The Rock had adopted a heel, Hollywood persona and he would often make fun of The Hurricane backstage. He even called The Hurricane "Hamburglar" due to his chintzy mask. All of this led to a match between them on an episode of Raw. The Rock was obviously heavily favored and he was in complete control of the match.
The Rock became distracted, however, when "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's music hit in the latter stages of the bout. With The Rock worried about The Texas Rattlesnake, The Hurricane took advantage by rolling The Rock up and picking up the biggest win of his career. This added even more fuel to the fire that was the Austin vs. Rock rivalry as well.
Although The Hurricane technically needed help to beat The Rock, pinning one of the biggest stars in professional wrestling history is a huge deal. For a quirky character like The Hurricane to accomplish that was miraculous to say the least.
8. Sheamus Beats John Cena for WWE Championship at TLC 2009
If I were to tell you today that Sheamus defeated John Cena in a match, it wouldn't seem like a big deal. Cena is the face of the company and is still the most dominant force in the WWE, but Sheamus has gained a ton of momentum over the past year as well and is currently among the WWE's most popular stars in his own right. That wasn't the case back in 2009, however.
At that point, The Celtic Warrior was just a few months in to his WWE tenure and he had done most of his wrestling on the ECW brand. Sheamus won a battle royal to become the No. 1 contender for Cena's WWE Championship at TLC, though. Sheamus and Cena did battle in a tables match and most figured it was merely a transitional feud for the incumbent champion.
What transpired shocked the wrestling world, though, as Sheamus ultimately won his first WWE Championship. Cena set up Sheamus for a superplex through a table, but he couldn't get a handle as he fell off the ropes and through the table. It was made to look fluky, but Sheamus won regardless of the circumstances.
The ending was so surprising that many fans maintain that it was a mistake to this day. They point to the fact that a table was set up outside the ring, but it was never utilized. Sheamus' win was a major shock for sure, but I believe it was supposed to happen accordingly. Either way, it was a miracle.
7. Zach Gowen and Stephanie McMahon Shock Big Show
There is no question that Zach Gowen is one of the most unique individuals to ever step foot in a WWE ring, and he is the consummate underdog as well. Gowen had one of his legs amputated when he was just eight years of age, but he didn't let that stop him from accomplishing his dream, as he made his WWE debut in 2003.
Despite the fact that his story was a heartwarming one, the evil Vince McMahon was unsympathetic. He feigned support by offering Gowen an opportunity to earn a WWE contract, but it was under the seemingly impossible condition that Gowen and Stephanie McMahon defeat Big Show in a handicap match.
Big Show had routinely beaten multiple competitors in the past, so a match against a one-legged wrestler and a petite woman seemed like a lock.
Big Show was in control for most of the match, and while Gowen had a couple flurries of offense, it didn't seem like there was any way Big Show could possibly lose. Big Show had a lot of rivalries going on at the same time, however, and they surfaced during the match. Both Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar interfered as they hit Big Show with an Angle Slam and an F-5 in succession.
Gowen then nailed Big Show with a dazzling moonsault and pinned The World's Largest Athlete. Gowen earned his WWE contract, and while his run with the company was short-lived due to injuries, he will always have a place in the annals of WWE history because of his upset win over Big Show.
6. The Kid Upsets Razor Ramon on 1993 Episode of Raw
Sean Waltman first burst onto the WWE scene in 1993 and was known simply as "The Kid." He served primarily as a jobber and it didn't seem like there were any plans for him in terms of becoming a main roster member. All of that changed on the May 17 episode of Raw, however, when he was put in a match with real-life friend Razor Ramon.
Both Waltman and Scott Hall would go on to be members of the backstage group known as The Kliq, which was also made up of Shawn Michaels, Triple H and Kevin Nash. Waltman's first true notoriety was gained when he defeated Razor, though. Ramon was a rising star in 1993 and seemed destined for great things as a top heel, but The Kid hit him with a top-rope moonsault press and stole a shocking victory.
The win launched Waltman's career as he was then dubbed The 1-2-3 Kid because of the upset. Ramon eventually turned face and forged an alliance with The 1-2-3 Kid, who became one of the company's most popular underdogs. Waltman's WWE beginnings were humble, but he went on to accomplish a lot during the Attitude Era as X-Pac.
Waltman's initial win over Ramon was something special, though. It isn't often that a true jobber is transformed into a star without warning, but that is precisely what happened with The Kid. If not for that win, there is no telling whether his career would have taken off the way it did.
5. Maven Eliminates Undertaker in 2002 Royal Rumble
In early 2002, Maven was fresh off winning the first season of Tough Enough, so the mere fact that he was entered in the Royal Rumble match had to be a major thrill for him. Rather than participating in the Rumble in an anonymous manner and being eliminated without much fanfare, however, Maven managed to take part in one of the most shocking moments in WWE history.
When Maven entered the match, he had to contend with The Undertaker, who essentially wiped him out with no issue. Taker then focused his attention on the Hardy Boyz and eliminated them. The Undertaker barked at the Hardys after he tossed them out and had his back turned to Maven. The Tough Enough champion took advantage of the situation as he dropkicked The Deadman from behind and knocked him over the top rope.
Everyone in the arena seemed shocked by what had transpired, including Maven himself. The Undertaker was not amused as he went back into the ring, eliminated Maven and beat him to a pulp afterward. Even though Maven ultimately came out on the short end of the stick, his elimination of Taker is one of the most memorable moments in Royal Rumble history.
While Maven was a lower-card competitor for most of his WWE career, he did have some success with the company. Even if Maven had gone on to become world champion, though, his elimination of The Undertaker was destined to be his signature moment. Not only was it memorable, but it was a miracle.
4. Chris Jericho Beats The Rock and Steve Austin; Becomes Undisputed Champion
Chris Jericho is unquestionably one of the greatest superstars in WWE history, so for one of his accomplishments to be considered a miracle may seem a bit far-fetched. Back in 2001, however, Jericho was still fairly early in his WWE tenure and hadn't yet officially developed into a sure-fire top star. All of that changed at the Vengeance pay-per-view, though, as Jericho grabbed the brass ring.
On that night, Jericho first challenged The Rock for the WCW Championship. Thanks, in part, to interference from Vince McMahon, Jericho defeated The Rock and went on to face "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in a title unification match. Austin seemed poised to win, but Booker T came from out of nowhere and hit Austin with the belt, allowing Jericho to win that match as well.
Jericho became the first man in WWE history to hold both the WWE and WCW Championships simultaneously and he was dubbed the Undisputed Champion. The Rock and Austin are obviously two of the biggest names in WWE history, so beating either of them is huge. Beating both in the same night was unprecedented, but Y2J managed to make it happen.
After Vengeance, Jericho built on that momentum and established himself as a main-event superstar for good. It's safe to say that a miracle such as that is likely to never happen again in the WWE.
3. Rey Mysterio Wins 2006 Royal Rumble as No. 2 Entrant
Rey Mysterio has earned the moniker of "The Ultimate Underdog" during his time in the WWE, but he has accomplished more than any other underdog that I can think of. Mysterio wrestled almost exclusively as a cruiserweight in WCW and was never given the opportunity to reach the main-event scene. Vince McMahon wasn't quite so restrictive, though, as he believed that Mysterio could make the transition.
It all started at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view in 2006. Mysterio entered the match second, and while several wrestlers have won from No. 1 or No. 2 over the years, it obviously wasn't an advantageous position to be in. Mysterio managed to remain alive in the match for an extended period of time, however, despite his diminutive size. Eventually it got to the point where only Mysterio and Randy Orton remained.
Orton had a major size advantage and matters were made even worse when Orton's former Evolution stablemate, Triple H, assaulted Mysterio outside the ring following Mysterio's elimination of him. Mysterio was able to do the impossible, though, as he hit Orton with a huracanrana and sent him over the top rope and to the floor.
Not only did Mysterio win the Rumble, but he lasted longer than anyone before or since with a time exceeding 62 minutes. Mysterio's miraculous ways weren't over, though, as he went on to WrestleMania and challenged Kurt Angle and Orton in a triple-threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship. Mysterio won that match as well and legitimized his shocking Rumble win in the process.
2. Ivan Koloff Ends Bruno Sammartino's 2,803-Day Title Run
Most younger fans may not even be aware of the No. 2 miraculous moment on this list, but it was a defining match in WWE history. On Jan. 18, 1971, Bruno Sammartino defended the WWE Championship at Madison Square Garden against "The Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff. Sammartino had held the title for an unprecedented 2,803 days, but his record reign would come to an end in shocking fashion.
During the 1960's and 1970's, it wasn't uncommon for a wrestler to hold the WWE's top prize for years in a row. Sammartino was a prime example of that as his first title run lasted nearly eight years. Such a string of dominance would never be tolerated today as most fans get tired of a title reign that is just one year in length. Due to the dearth of television programming back then, however, fans didn't get bored as easily.
Sammartino was a huge fan favorite at the time and most expected him to dispose of Koloff as he had done to so many heel challengers previously. This night was different, however, as Koloff pinned Sammartino and became the new champion. Perhaps the most miraculous aspect of the win was the fact that Koloff won cleanly by hitting Sammartino with a knee drop off the ropes.
Koloff's time with the title was brief as he dropped it to Pedro Morales three weeks later, but his place in WWE history was already cemented. Sammartino bounced back from the MSG miracle as well, though, thanks to the fact that he regained it 1973 and held it for an additional 1,237 days.
1. Brooklyn Brawler Pins Triple H on SmackDown
The No. 1 Christmas-worthy miracle in WWE history isn't mentioned much when talking about the most-shocking moments in the company's history, but I believe it is head and shoulders above the rest. On an episode of SmackDown in 2000, Triple H was put in a three-on-one handicap match by then-commissioner Mick Foley.
While that may sound like a huge disadvantage for Triple H, his opponents were the motley crew of Taka Michinoku, Funaki and The Brooklyn Brawler. The stipulation was that Triple H had to eliminate all three men in order to win the match. The three-man unit had its way with Triple H initially, but he was able to regroup and take out Funaki and Taka consecutively. That meant he simply had to beat The Brooklyn Brawler one-on-one.
The Brooklyn Brawler is the most famous jobber in WWE history and his wins under that persona can likely be counted on one hand. Triple H seemed to have thing well under control, but Chris Jericho suddenly interfered and hit Triple H with a Lionsault. The Brawler then performed a lateral press on Triple H and scored the most miraculous pinfall victory in WWE history.
After the match, Kaientai lifted The Brooklyn Brawler onto their shoulders in celebration. The party was short-lived, though, as Triple H attacked the trio and delivered a Pedigree on The Brooklyn Brawler. Despite the fact that Triple H ultimately won the war, The Brooklyn Brawler accomplished the biggest thrill of his career on that night as he pinned one of the top superstars in WWE history.