Being a WWE fan brings out a number of different feelings throughout the course of viewing it – sadness, anger, confusion and sometimes even joy. All of these emotions were felt during the six moments that we’re going to list here, which is something that proves just how impactful the business of professional wrestling can be.
There are going to be a few death tributes on this list, which just goes to show how heartbreaking this industry can be sometimes. The amount of early passings from Superstars both past and present really does make you think about the long-lasting effects of pro wrestling, and how hard it is to walk away from it.
Now back onto the list, which is sure to be controversial for many. There are many things that can lead a wrestling fan to the brink of an emotional breakdown, but there’s an argument to be made that nothing was able to evoke the kind of reaction that these six entries did. After all, there’s a reason why we’re still wrestling fans after all these years.
So with that being said, here are the six most emotional moments in WWE history.
#1 KofiMania becomes a reality
Perhaps the most popular instance of WWE changing plans for WrestleMania was Daniel Bryan's inclusion in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania 30. The entire story was dubbed 'YestleMania'. Over half a decade later, Bryan found himself the antagonist of a similar storyline.
Kofi Kingston had exceptional performances in the Gauntlet match and the Elimination Chamber match in the WrestleMania season. As a result, fans were firmly behind Kofi Kingston to finally win the WWE Championship and become a much-deserved main-eventer.
WWE Chairman Vince McMahon put many obstacles in his route to the Showcase of Immortals. But with the help of his New Day brothers, Kingston overcame all of them to punch his ticket to WrestleMania.
Even though Kofi winning the title that night was public knowledge, everyone burst into tears when the referee counted three. The win made Kofi the first African-born world champion in WWE history, further justifying the outpouring of emotions from all ends.
#2 Savage & Elizabeth reunion
This one is more for the old school fans out there, with Macho Man Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth’s reunion at WrestleMania 7 causing tears to flow from the rafters all the way down to the front row.
The whole scenario kicked off with Ultimate Warrior retiring Savage during their match, which was followed up by Sensational Sherri beating Macho Man.
Then, in one of the greatest moments in the history of the business, Elizabeth attacked Sherri before embracing Savage in front of thousands of cheering fans. They say that real men aren’t afraid to shed tears and show their emotions, and if that’s the case, then there were millions of real men around the world on that night.
#3 WWE's tribute to Eddie Guerrero
When word got out that Eddie Guerrero had passed away, the wrestling world didn’t really know how to react. Eddie was, as Vince McMahon stated, in the prime of his life and the prime of his career when he died – and to this day one of the saddest things about the entire situation was the tribute show in his honor.
The entire broadcast of Monday Night RAW featured a string of dream matches in addition to Superstars paying their respects, with the whole evening summing up just how much Eddie meant to the business and the people within it. It’s fair to say that this was one of the most impactful deaths in WWE history, and we’ll never forget the phrase Viva La Raza.
#4 Undertaker’s retirement
The Undertaker’s retirement was a heated subject in the wrestling community a few years back, with his multiple returns even turning it into a joke. While he last wrestled AJ Styles in the main-event of WrestleMania 36 Night 1, fans thought his final match came a few years back at WrestleMania 33.
His loss against Roman Reigns, the main event of WrestleMania, Taker breaking his character post-match and leaving his costume in the ring: everything signaled towards The Undertaker riding into the sunset. The moment made the entire WWE Universe emotional, with loud 'Thank You Taker' chants reverberating throughout the arena.
Fast forward to next year's WrestleMania, and Taker was back in the ring. Though his return at WrestleMania 34 reduced the significance of the moment he had after his Mania 33 match, the moment was still emotional enough to make it to the list.
#5 Owen Hart tribute
In one of the more avoidable moments on this list, Owen Hart tragically passed away following a stunt that went wrong during WWE’s Over the Edge pay-per-view. Due to the tragedy, the following night’s episode of Monday Night Raw was dedicated to the memory of Owen, with fans and superstars alike expressing their shock and devastation over the issue.
Nobody could’ve seen this coming, and it’s that kind of sudden impact that brings out an extremely natural reaction in people. A lot of fans didn’t know whether to cry, get angry, or just sit in silence, but at the end of the day, we all felt the same emotion – grief.
#6 Daniel Bryan’s retirement
Every so often a superstar comes along in WWE and completely changes the direction that the industry is going in. Around 2010, Daniel Bryan became the latest name on that list when he debuted in the first incarnation of NXT. Of course, it would take a few years for him to ascend to the top of the card, but once he did it felt like it was where he had belonged all along.
So naturally, his retirement in early 2016 was one of the most devastating things fans could’ve possibly imagined. Bryan spoke about the impact wrestling had on his life, his dad, his wife Brie Bella, and through it all, he consistently spun back round to one word and one word only – grateful.
The flying GOAT would make his triumphant return to in-ring competition, becoming the WWE Champion and main-eventing WrestleMania again. Since then, Daniel Bryan has left WWE for AEW, forming the Blackpool Combat Club stable.
Find out the real reason why Sting came to WWE only to lose his debut match right here.