If there’s one thing that’s going to guarantee a good pop with the live audience, it’s when a hometown wrestler comes to the ring, unexpected or not.
It’s guaranteed to make the crowd even more happy when that wrestler goes to win their match, and certainly a cherry on top when the match is a great one. I’ve listed just five of some of the best and unforgettable hometown wins that some of the WWE roster have claimed in their careers.
1. Kaitlyn defeats Eve for the Divas Championship in Houston
Say whatever you want about the women’s division pre-women’s revolution, but this match was certainly a highlight for both women’s careers – although it did end up being the last match for the loser of the match.
Kaitlyn in this point in her career was pursuing the Diva’s Championship and it was finally granted to her on Raw’s 20th Anniversary show in January 2013 in her hometown of Houston, Texas.
She was greeted by a wild Houston crowd, and competing against an arrogant Eve, it was certain what the result needed to be. The match itself was very up and down, with a lot of the match suggesting that Eve would retain; however Kaitlyn won the match with a spear and a 1-2-3 for her first Diva’s Championship reign.
2. Buddy Murphy wins WWE Cruiserweight Championship in Melbourne, Australia
It isn’t very common for us to hear about Buddy Murphy these days, and sadly for the majority of his career, he hasn’t been shown to the potential that many of his fans feel he should be. With this in mind, when WWE Super Showdown at Melbourne came around and Buddy Murphy was billed to be on the card nothing much was said. Even when the match was then to be a championship match against then champion Cedric Alexander for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship, many assumed that Alexander would retain his championship.
Murphy’s entrance was greeted with a huge pop from his hometown. What was even better was Murphy ultimately winning the match to emotional glances at his new championship and a roaring crowd. With this being a huge highlight reel for Murphy, and certainly a defining moment in the Cruiserweights’ history, this had to be included in the list.
3. CM Punk beats John Cena for the WWE Championship in Chicago
Back in the height of the Nexus days, CM Punk was showing his potential as a top dog on the WWE roster, and was working his way up to legendary status. One of his highlights during this time in 2011 was the opportunity to challenge John Cena after several months of feuding.
At this point, it was CM Punk’s final day of his contract with WWE and this showdown against Cena in his hometown was the opportunity for Punk to pin Cena for the victory. CM Punk always got a solid entrance at the time, but with Chicago being well known for being a passionate crowd anyway, the fact that this was Money in the Bank, and their hometown hero was in the main event was even more reason for the crowd to go wild.
The backstory was that Vince was threatening to fire Punk should he win. The match itself ran longer than the typical WWE match, around 30 minutes. During this time there were many highs and lows. From Punk performing his Go To Sleep finisher, to McMahon and John Laurinaitis emerged from backstage to distract Punk, to Cena placing Punk in the STF submission, to McMahon forcing the referee to ring the bell for Cena to win (reminiscent of the Montreal Screwjob), to Cena ultimately breaking this hold – it was certainly an emotional rollercoaster for everyone to comprehend. In the end, CM Punk became WWE Champion, the WWE Universe was awakened to a new wrestling hero, and forged Punk’s path to becoming a key player in WWE’s history.
4. John Cena beats Chris Jericho for the World Heavyweight Championship in Boston
John Cena has one of the most divided views on him in the WWE Universe. Some love him, some hate him – but all the same, if there’s one place he is guaranteed to garner the heart of the audience, it’s at his hometown of Boston, Massachusetts.
Just before this match, Cena had been out for a few months due to a neck injury, so when it was revealed that his return match would be between him and then WWE Heavyweight Champion, a very heel Chris Jericho at Survivor Series 2008, many assumed that Cena would lose the bout.
Going into the PPV’s main event match with the two not even at their prime yet, the crowd was very much on Cena’s side, with every comeback from Jericho receiving nothing but boos and jeers. The win came when Cena, despite recently coming out of surgery, managed to deliver his signature Attitiude Adjustment to Jericho with a stunned crowd cheering and the sounds of Lawler and Cole gasping in awe. The result was a very elated crowd, with an emotional Cena with his hands on his head, lying in the ring with absolute delight.
5. Trish Stratus Retires as Women’s Champion in Toronto
The rivalry between Trish Stratus and Lita is arguably one of the best rivalries in WWE history. With many years of feuding on and off, and delivering top matches, it was certainly a bittersweet moment when the two collided for one last time in Trish’s hometown in Toronto.
The Canadian crowd are well known for showing their support to the Canadians on the WWE roster. From Bret Hart, to Edge and more recently to Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn; it’s clear that Canada have made their own legacy in WWE history. In one of the biggest pops in women’s wrestling history, Trish defeated Lita at Unforgiven 2006 with fellow Canadian Bret Hart’s finishing move The Sharpshooter. The reaction was emotional and raw, with Trish looking up to the crowd, the crowd cheering with 100% support for her, and signs everywhere wishing her farewell. A truly fitting ending for a WWE legend.
You can find me on Twitter @n0cturnalowl. Thanks for reading.