15 Biggest hometown victories
Inspired by newly crowned Divas Champion and Houston native Kaitlyn’s incredible win over Eve in her hometown at Raw’s 20th anniversary, WWE.com reflects on other massive hometown triumphs throughout WWE lore. ( VIDEOS | PHOTOS) From Edge’s WrestleMania win in Toronto, to John Cena’s World Title triumph in Boston, here are 15 epic victories that prove there really is no place like home.
Kaitlyn defeats Divas Champion Eve in Houston — Raw, Jan. 14, 2013
Everything is bigger in Texas, including Divas Title matches.
After months of dogged pursuit from No. 1 contender Kaitlyn, Divas Champion Eve was finally cornered on Jan. 14. Facing the uber-talented NXT season 3 winner not only on Raw’s hugely anticipated 20th anniversary, but also in The Hybrid Diva’s own hometown of Houston, Eve also had a tricky stipulation to contend with in the title match: SmackDown General Manager Booker T declared the title would change hands if Eve was counted out or disqualified, as she was in recent showdowns with the dangerous Kaitlyn.
With nowhere to hide from her powerful, athletic and motivated challenger, the champion found herself in a physical, personal grudge match. Whenever Eve got any offense going, Kaitlyn impressively matched her shot for shot, displaying just how far she has come since her time on NXT.
After tossing Kaitlyn over the barrier ringside, Eve called for the count-out from the referee, not noticing her opportunistic opponent sneak back into the ring. One devastating spear and three-count later, Eve’s 100-plus day title reign was shockingly ended and Houston’s own Diva was celebrating the incredible, emotional win.
After the huge hometown victory, the lovely Lone Star State native’s big night was made even better when during a post-match WWE Active interview, Eve had a meltdown and quit WWE. ( WATCH) It’s like they say: Don’t mess with Texas.
William Regal defeats Intercontinental Champion Santino Marella in Manchester — Raw, Nov. 10, 2008
On the Nov. 3 episode of Raw, William Regal won a Battle Royal to become the No. 1 contender to Santino Marella’s Intercontinental Championship. As luck would have it, his opportunity at the title came the next week when Raw emanated from Manchester, England, just a short distance from Regal’s hometown of Blackpool.
Enjoying considerable support from the energetic Manchester crowd, Regal demolished Santino in 40 seconds, finishing off the champion with a brutal knee and seizing the Intercontinental Title for his second reign. Afterward, the British WWE Universe showered the veteran with chants of “Regal!” as he earnestly spoke about the pride he felt being an Englishman, champion and WWE Superstar.
Cementing his legacy as possibly the greatest British Superstar in WWE history, William Regal picked up one of the most impressive and defining wins of his career in front of an adoring hometown crowd.
Goldberg defeats WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hogan in Atlanta — WCW Nitro, July 7, 1998
As WCW United States Champion, Goldberg was running through much of the WCW roster. It seemed like no one could stop this runaway train, and the ex-football star would soon be challenging for more prestigious titles.
As he worked his way closer and closer to a match with WCW World Heavyweight Champion and nWo leader Hollywood Hogan, he was promised a title match on Nitro. However, Hogan elected instead to make Goldberg earn his opportunity in a match with his nWo stablemate Scott Hall.
With the hometown crowd supporting him, Goldberg battled two legendary Superstars that night. After dispatching of the always dangerous Hall, Goldberg was able to defeat Hogan later in the evening to become a World Champion for the first time.
Edge defeats Booker T in Toronto — WrestleMania X8
More than 10 years before his WrestleMania X8 showdown with Booker T, Edge was just a young WWE fan in a Hulk Hogan shirt, watching his heroes perform at the SkyDome in his hometown, Toronto.
More than a decade later, The Rated-R Superstar would not just be competing at the same venue as his idols, but he would also be doing it against a legend on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
Their WrestleMania X8 clash maybe have been instigated by a Japanese shampoo endorsement, but Edge and Booker T battled each other tooth and nail, as if titles, pride and their very lives were hanging in the balance.
Trading top rope attacks, high-flying kicks and power moves, the two Superstars appeared to be evenly matched competitors. Edge somehow managed to kick out of Booker’s Scissors Kick and, after performing his own version of Booker's famous Spinaroonie, won the match with a crushing Edgecution.
Coming full circle, Edge had lived a dream, picked up a huge win and very possibly inspired the next great Superstar, who just might have been watching, cheering and dreaming.
Santino Marella wins the Intercontinental Championship in his debut in Italy — Raw, April 12, 2007
Do you believe in miracles?
Santino Marella does. During Raw’s first-ever broadcast in Italy on April 12, 2007, Marella was handpicked from the sold-out Datch Forum crowd by Mr. McMahon to face savage Intercontinental Champion Umaga in a No Holds Barred Match.
Shocking both The Chairman and his 350-pound opponent with his speed, agility and toughness, Santino battled valiantly in what can only be described as an underdog story reminiscent of the "Italian Stallion" Rocky Balboa. However, it was assistance from Bobby Lashley that proved to be the crucial element Marella needed to walk out of the ring with Intercontinental gold strapped around his waist. In front of the uproarious Milan audience, Santino became the first-ever walk-on competitor to unseat a WWE titleholder.
Santino Marella not only lived “The Milan Miracle,” achieved a personal dream and walked away with one of the signature surprise hometown wins in WWE history. He rewrote WWE history in the process.
Cactus Jack debuts in WWE beats Triple H — Raw, Sept. 22, 1997
Mick Foley is a true New Yorker. The Long Island, N.Y., native has a long history performing at Madison Square Garden with many big wins. However, none are more notable or more important than his Falls Count Anywhere triumph against Triple H on Raw.
Before the match, on the TitanTron, two of Foley’s alter-egos, Dude Love and Mankind, discussed who should face Triple H in the scheduled match. Eventually, the two of them came to the decision that it should be a third alter-ego of Foley’s, one that hadn’t appeared in WWE prior: Cactus Jack!
Immediately, smashing Triple H in the skull with a trashcan, Cactus further energized the already thunderous New York crowd. He went on to survive all of Triple H’s substantial offense and finished his rival with a vicious piledriver through a table.
Not only was it a great moment in the history of sports-entertainment at Madison Square Garden, but it was also one of the signature and most historic victories for Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy.
The Rock defeats John Cena in Miami — WrestleMania XXVIII
The WWE Universe in Miami left no confusion as to who they were rooting for in the “Once in a Lifetime” WrestleMania XXVIII clash between Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and John Cena.
A Miami native and former University of Miami football player, Rock entered Sun Life Stadium to an outpouring of support. After a year of bitterly personal attacks, Cena, however, had no intentions of letting The Great One enjoy an easy hometown win.
In quite possibly the biggest match in WWE history, Cena and Rock threw their entire arsenals at each other. Slams, submissions and finishing moves were landed, but neither iconic Superstar could find a way to put the other away.
In the end, a critical error by Cena — attempting The Rock’s signature People’s Elbow finisher — left the door open to the hometown favorite to land a crushing Rock Bottom. Hulk Hogan, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and John Cena: The Rock conquered them all on The Grandest Stage of Them All, cementing his legacy as one of the greatest Superstars of all time.
Yet, this win in his hometown of Miami may be the greatest and most special of all his victories.
World Heavyweight Champion Batista defeats John "Bradshaw" Layfield in a No Holds Barred Match in Washington — SummerSlam 2005
At The Great American Bash, World Heavyweight Champion Batista lost to JBL due to a controversial disqualification when The Animal used a steel chair. A little more than a month later, at SummerSlam 2005, in his hometown of Washington, Batista again defended his title against JBL, who selected a No Holds Barred Match as the stipulation.
Taking advantage of the lack of rules, JBL swarmed The Animal during his entrance. Battling on the entrance ramp and around the ring with fists and weapons, the two huge Superstars held nothing back. JBL battered the hometown favorite, whipping Batista with a belt. Batista fought back and got in his own licks with the belt, but a Clothesline from Hell put him down. Batista recovered and hit a spinebuster and two Batista Bombs — the second onto the steel steps — to win the match and retain the World Heavyweight Championship and thrill the D.C. crowd.
In his 282-day reign with that title, which included wins against Triple H and Eddie Guerrero, this hometown victory against a hated rival might be the greatest of his many defenses.
Ric Flair defeats WCW World Heavyweight Champion Vader to save his career in Charlotte — Starrcade 1993
For Ric Flair, his Starrcade 1993 matchup with Vader didn’t just have the WCW World Heavyweight Championship hanging in the balance, but “The Nature Boy’s” entire career.
With the stipulation that he would retire if he was defeated, Flair needed all the weapons in his arsenal and the supportive Charlotte, N.C., crowd to defeat the bruising powerhouse known as Vader, who had the added advantage of being accompanied by Harley Race.
Utilizing his mammoth size, the World Champion battered Flair around the ring. Flair fought back valiantly, but it appeared that the size different would be too much to overcome. However, when Race was thrown out of the ring and Vader missed a series of high-risk moves, it opened the door for the opportunistic challenger. Flair managed to trip Vader and pin him with a quick roll-up to save his career and win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship from the big man.
What could have been a premature end to a legendary career instead was another triumph and hometown victory for one of sports-entertainment’s most singular forces.
Trish Stratus defeats rival and WWE Women’s Champion Lita in her retirement match in Toronto — Unforgiven 2006
From Bret Hart to Chris Jericho to Edge & Christian, WWE history is filled with successful Superstars from The True North Strong and Free, Canada. One fact that this cascade of Canucks has made abundantly clear is that Canadians sure know how to support their own, as every WWE event in Canada sees fervent support for Canadian Superstars.
At Unforgiven 2006 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, then–WWE Champion and Toronto native Edge came up short in his Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match title defense against John Cena. But at that same event, another Toronto native capped off an incredible WWE career with one of the most satisfying and unforgettable retirement matches in WWE history.
Facing bitter rival and WWE Women’s Champion Lita, Trish Stratus showed all the skill, heart and toughness that made her one of the greatest Divas of all time, defeating Lita for her seventh WWE Women’s Title and a picture perfect retirement match.
In a fitting end to the match, Stratus trapped Lita in what is perhaps the most distinctively Canadian submission maneuver: the Sharpshooter. When The Extreme Diva tapped out, the crowd showered Stratus with cheers befitting not only a legendary competitor, but also a proud hometown champion.
Shawn Michaels defeats WWE Champion Sycho Sid in San Antonio — Royal Rumble 1997
Two months after losing the WWE Championship to his former bodyguard Sycho Sid at Survivor Series 1996 at Madison Square Garden, Shawn Michaels got a rematch for WWE’s greatest prize in his hometown, San Antonio.
More than 60,000 WWE fans at the Alamodome, already jazzed from seeing The Texas Rattlesnake, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin win the 30-man Royal Rumble Match, welcomed hometown hero HBK with a thunderous ovation. Once the match started, Sycho Sid, however, was less than hospitable, using his size and power advantage to impose his will on his former friend and ally.
After being tossed around and out of the ring and surviving a chokeslam, Michaels hit Sycho Sid with Sweet Chin Music and got the cover and a slow 1-2-3 from a dazed Earl Hebner to send the San Antonio crowd into pandemonium.
It’s fitting that this historic win took place in San Antonio, as it truly was “something to remember.”
The Hart Foundation wins 10-man Tag Team Match in Calgary — In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede
The roles of heroes and villains were turned on their heads as The Hart Foundation took on “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s team of Americans in a 10-man Tag Team Match at In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede at the Scotiabank Saddledome, formerly the Canadian Airlines Saddledome, in Calgary, Alberta.
Throughout late 1996 and 1997, Bret Hart had exchanged words and blows with Austin, culminating when The Excellence of Execution recruited a team, including his brother, Owen, his brothers-in-law, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart and The British Bulldog, and Brian Pillman. Hart challenged Austin to bring the five best Americans he could muster to battle The Hart Foundation on the Hart family’s home turf: Calgary.
Austin gathered an impressive team, including Ken Shamrock, Goldust and Hawk & Animal of Legion of Doom. However, after a brutal 25-minute match that saw incredible action, countless tags and momentum changes, it was the hometown heroes who had their hands raised after Owen Hart got the roll-up on Austin.
After the match there was a huge brawl that resulted in The Hart Foundation clearing the ring and soaking up the cheers as many members of the legendary Hart family took to the ring to celebrate the huge, emotional and historic win.
John Cena wins his first World Heavyweight Championship in Boston — Survivor Series 2008
Although John Cena might have fallen short against WWE Champion CM Punk at Night of Champions in his hometown of Boston, he has certainly had his share of success in Beantown. In fact, one of the biggest and most important wins of Cena’s career occurred in Boston at Survivor Series 2008.
After months spent recovering from a neck injury, Cena's return to the squared circle proved to be a triumphant homecoming. The leader of the Cenation defeated Chris Jericho to win his first-ever World Heavyweight Championship.
Displaying the same passion and intensity that made him a fan-favorite and household name around the world, Cena took the fight right to the devious Jericho, showing that the neck injury cost him none of his explosive power and athleticism. After defeating Jericho, Cena would hold the title for nearly three months before returning to the WWE Championship title picture, further solidifying himself as one of the greatest and most decorated Superstars in WWE history.
“The Champ is here!”
British Bulldog wins the Intercontinental Championship from Bret Hart in England — SummerSlam 1992
Competing at Wembley Stadium in his native England, The British Bulldog stepped into the squared circle to challenge his brother-in-law, Bret “Hit Man” Hart, for the Intercontinental Championship in the first SummerSlam outside of North America.
The raucous crowd of 80,355 spectators — voicing strong support for Bulldog — created an electric atmosphere for the clash as Davey Boy Smith pitted his powerful arsenal against Hart’s tactical superiority.
After escaping the signature Sharpshooter of the “Hit Man,” Bulldog finally won the day and the title by reversing Hart’s sunset flip attempt. Gracious in defeat, Hart offered a congratulatory handshake that grew into a warm embrace of the new champion as well as Smith’s wife and Hart’s sister, Diana. The gesture of good sportsmanship put an exclamation point on one of the most iconic moments and most emotional hometown victories in all of WWE lore.
CM Punk defeats WWE Champion John Cena in Chicago — Money in the Bank 2011
Given that WWE Champion CM Punk is as particular to Chicago as the Cubs, the John Hancock Center and Abe Froman, it’s no surprise that every time The Second City Savior makes a homecoming, it’s a major event with a raucous, passionate crowd. Money in the Bank 2011, however, took things to another level, cranking up the stakes, intensity and decibel level.
In what was then his final night under contract with WWE, with what sounded like the entire Allstate Arena in his corner, CM Punk defeated WWE Champion John Cena in an epic, back-and-forth match that was immediately and universally regarded as an instant classic.
After the grueling half-hour long battle, the new WWE Champion disappeared through the electric hometown crowd, returning a week later and going on to solidify himself as one of the greatest and most popular Superstars in WWE history.
Not only was this match a springboard to greater success for Punk and one of the most memorable and inspiring hometown victories in WWE history, it was a brutal and personal showdown that escalated a long-term rivalry between Punk and Cena that does not appear — even now — to have been fully resolved.