With the United States celebrating their birthday this 4th of July I thought it would be a good time to look back at some of my favorite patriotic moments in WWE history. For many of us there have and always will be wrestling moments that are most remembered because they were linked in time with the red, white and blue. For me, these are the Top 5 WWE Patriotic Moments in their history:
5. John Cena announces Osama Bin Laden has been killed
I believe that for many Americans we can all remember where we were the night President Obama announced to the Nation that our Military had captured and killed top terrorist Osama Bin Laden. I don’t think I have ever met an American who was not affected by September 11th and putting an end to the life of Bin Laden was one way to gain a measure of revenge onto those who attacked our country on that fateful day. That moment in time won’t be forgotten and while it is weird to celebrate someone’s death, the marking in time is very historic.
For us wrestling fans we most remember this time by something that didn’t even air live on WWE television. Instead it was shown the next night on Monday Night RAW and WWE.com after the wrestling world gained wind of such an amazing moment. John Cena, moments after winning the WWE Championship at Extreme Rules 2011, stood atop the WWE announcing table to let the live crowd know the news that was sweeping the nation that night. The reactions from John Cena and the crowd that night is memorable as in a way, many were able to close the chapter on the pain from September 11th but never forget those who had made the ultimate sacrifice.
4. WWE does first “Tribute to the Troops” show in 2003
I have always told people that one of the things that have made me most proud of being a wrestling fan is I can say one of my favorite forms of entertainment has stepped into “enemy territory” to entertain the men & women who protect our freedoms. No other form of entertainment packs up their entire show and goes over to a military base located in a war zone to bring a form of “Americana” back to our troops like the WWE has done. To see the faces of the military during that time period relax, smile and feel like they are back home was the most rewarded thing to watch during those shows.
I really have always been in awe of what the WWE has done for the military on consistent basis and these shows was nothing less then extraordinary to pay tribute to them. The WWE took their time to walk into the warzone, essentially pay tribute to our troops and make them know that all of us back home were appreciative of them. I don’t think there is any other form of entertainment who has stepped up for the military in recent years like the WWE has.
3. Lex Luger bodyslams Yokozuna on the Intrepid
At this time the WWE was looking for a new hero to replace the departing Hulk Hogan. Hogan was leaving the WWE for WCW and there was a huge hole in the WWE roster to fill the void of someone children could look up to. Yokozuna was on WWE television denouncing the United States and announcing that he had finally ended Hulkamania, something that was very much part of Americana since 1985. A new hero needed to be found and on July 4th, 1993 on the U.S. Intrepid that hero was found.
Many world famous wrestlers tried to body slam Yokozuna on our Nation’s birthday and all had failed. Then a helicopter landed atop the Intrepid, up walked Lex Luger to save the day and he bodyslammed Yokozuna in a very memorable patriotic moment in WWE history. All things considered Lex Luger not only carried the flag as the leader of the United States but in the eyes of many little children, including yours truly at that time, he carried the flag of the United States.
2. Hulk Hogan defeats Sgt. Slaughter at WrestleMania 7
At one time Sgt. Slaughter was an American hero, a former Marine who proudly carried the American flag with him to the ring. But now he had become a traitor and denounced his American roots in favor of Iran. At that time the United States was in the midst of the Gulf War and Sgt. Slaughter had quite possibly gained more heat then any other superstar in professional wrestling. Fans were outraged that this American and military hero would turn his back on the country that he so proudly saluted for so many years.
It led Sgt. Slaughter to the WWF Championship and an eventual WrestleMania 7 Main Event with American icon Hulk Hogan. At that WrestleMania fans had felt that Hogan was representing the United States while Slaughter was representing Iran during a very intense Gulf War. The stage was so important to the fan base at that time that there has never been another WrestleMania decked out in red, white & blue like WrestleMania 7 was that day. Hogan regaining the Championship and waving “old glory” at the end of the event proved to the heart’s of many wrestling fans, that the United States could not be beat.
1. The September 11th tribute show
Two days after the tragedy of September 11th the WWE aired a live edition of Smackdown from Houston, Texas. The wound was still fresh in the hearts & minds of the entire country and for two hours that Thursday night the WWE used their stage to take Americans’ minds off the tragedy while sharing their own candid, personal thoughts about the September 11th tragedy. It was a night I don’t think many wrestling fans will ever forget as the wrestling world stood tall that day to prove that America would not be defeated.
The speech from Vince McMahon that night may be one of the most remembered and important moments the leader of the wrestling world had ever shared with us fans that day. I can remember to this day moments of that speech and the importance of it all. At that time many of us were looking for motivating to stand back on our feet again and Vince McMahon did the best he could to take the hand of a nation & help pick them back up. You can say what you want about Vince McMahon but on that day Vince’s words helped us all.
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