Santino Marella's battle royal victory highlights "miracle wins" in WWE history
Victory is Santino's, however surprisingly, he outlasted a cadre of Superstars in a SmackDown Battle Royal to become the “Wild Card” in the World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber Match this Sunday. The Italian Stallion, who also serves as assistant to SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long, outlasted competitors from Raw, SmackDown and WWE NXT, finally tossing David Otunga over the top rope in a last-ditch effort to earn his spot in the Chamber and vie for Daniel Bryan’s title.
Santino’s victory is miraculous, to be sure, but it’s far from the only such triumph in WWE annals. So, in celebration of The Milan Miracle living up to his name, WWE.com presents some of the most memorable miracle wins in WWE history.
Maven eliminates The Undertaker in the 2002 Royal Rumble Match
Although Maven won the inaugural season of Tough Enough, nobody expected the young Superstar to make a memorable showing in the 2002 Royal Rumble Match. How wrong the WWE Universe was proven, when the brazen rookie eliminated Undertaker from the contest with a dropkick to the back of The Deadman’s head. Maven, though, was only given moments to celebrate his upset and ended up paying dearly for it. The Phenom took a moment to compose himself before re-entering the ring, tossing Maven over the ropes and administering a beatdown all across the arena culminating in Maven getting “Orville Redenbacher’ed” through a popcorn machine in the concession area. All things considered, this is a small price to pay for eliminating one of the greatest Superstars ever in the Royal Rumble Match.
The Kid gets his “1-2-3” over Razor Ramon, May 17, 1993
In the early days of Monday Night Raw, Razor Ramon loomed large amongst his peers, a preening colossus in gold chains who took on all comers. So at first, his May 17, 1993 match with The Kid looked to be little more than a “gimme” win. But the young gun surprised the veteran when he took advantage of Ramon’s cockiness and pinned him, sprinting back to the locker room as fast as his feet could carry him while Vince McMahon screamed on commentary, “RAZOR RAMON GOT BEAT!” Indeed he did, and the unlikely victor even got a new nickname out of it; from then-on he was known as the “1-2-3 Kid.”
The Hurricane topples The Rock
Who could forget the odd, and oddly competitive, 2003 rivalry between The Most Electrifying Man in All of Entertainment and his unlikely foil, the self-professed superhero Hurricane? The man in green made strange sport of tormenting The Great One in the locker room area, and surprisingly held his own against The Brahma Bull when the two took their rivalry to the squared circle itself. After a grueling match, Rock looked to have the contest sealed, but interference from “Stone Cold” Steve Austin allowed Hurricane to roll up his cocky opponent for a surprise win.
WWE competition was a rough road for Barry Horowitz, whose matches ended in loss after loss (although the journeyman Superstar always seemed to be in good spirits about it, patting himself on the back after each defeat). But we don’t think we’ve ever seen Good Ol’ J.R. so surprised as when Horowitz pinned Body Donna Skip on an episode of WWE Action Zone in 1995, rolling The Body Donna up during one of his famous push-up routines for the 1-2-3. “What will they say in the record books?” J.R. cried into the mic as Horowitz celebrated his hard-won win. Well, we’re not exactly a record book, but perhaps this will suffice as an answer.
The Chairman eliminates Austin, Royal Rumble 1999
The “Stone Cold” Steve Austin/Vince McMahon rivalry was the stuff of legend during the Attitude Era, but for all the times The Rattlesnake beat up on his beleaguered boss, The Chairman got one big win over his longtime nemesis. Mr. McMahon had entered the 1999 Royal Rumble at No. 2 and spent the majority of the contest outside, in the commentary booth and generally evading the reach of Austin, the No. 1 entrant. But when The Rattlesnake found himself alone in the ring after last eliminating The Big Boss Man, The Chairman had no choice but to leave his perch and throw hands. The night seemed to be going poorly for Mr. McMahon, until his “Corporate Champion,” The Rock, clambered onto the apron and distracted The Texas Rattlesnake long enough for McMahon to eliminate him, costing Austin a coveted chance at the WWE Championship in the main event of WrestleMania.
Spike Beats Bam Bam
Little Spike Dudley was always the black sheep of ECW, the hapless-looking younger brother of the rough-and-tumble Dudley Boyz. Bam Bam Bigelow in particular had a funny way of tormenting young Spike, taking to hoisting the young Dudley above his shoulders and tossing him into the crowd. The beatings were poised to continue, until one day, Spike got his revenge and beat Bam Bam in an upset that reinforced that anything could happen in ECW.
Mikey Whip-wrecks Austin
Little-known fact: before he took WWE by storm, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin had a brief stint in ECW during which The Rattlesnake honed his deadly skills. For weeks, Austin told the world that he would be unstoppable and tear through the locker room en route to becoming ECW Champion. Austin’s first match was indeed a title match against ECW Champion, Mikey Whipwreck. Whipreck was an undersized underdog who scratched and clawed his way to being the unlikely champion of wrestling’s most violent promotion. Austin completely dominated the match but his cockiness cost him, as Whipwreck needed only three seconds on offense to score the biggest victory of his career.