WWE's 26 Loudest Crowd Pops of All Time

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The roar of the crowd makes a hell of a difference when it comes to the sport that takes place within that lauded squared circle.

A match that may just be okay with a lukewarm audience can automatically be lifted to great with the element of a loud crowd watching it unfold. A decent promo can be pushed into the stratosphere once the crowd gets grabbed by it and reacts to its best verbal put-downs with high energy.

And you can quickly determine if someone is over or not based on the crowd’s audible reaction to the opening notes of their theme song. I say all that to say this - the live crowd is responsible for providing me and everyone else that loves wrestling with some of the greatest moments in the sport’s lengthy history. And when it comes to WWE, there’s a wealth of loud crowd pops that have resulted in the sort of YouTube clips you can’t help but get goosebumps from every time you watch them.

Now let’s take a trip down memory lane and count down the 25 loudest crowd pops of all time from WWE.

1. Hulk Hogan Bodyslams Andre the Giant at WrestleMania III

It was the bodyslam seen and heard around the world. At WrestleMania III, the unstoppable force met the immovable object when two of WWF’s mega titans locked horns over the company’s top prize. Champion Hulk Hogan clashed with Andre the Giant in the main event that broke box office records at the time.

 Hogan looked to be on the ropes for most of this encounter and it looked as if Andre would beat him with little to no effort. But Hulk found it in him to come from beneath and do the unthinkable - he bodyslammed his rival titan and sent the crowd into a frenzy. Even though this moment took place seven years prior, the pageantry of WrestleMania and the massive crowd in attendance put this massive bodyslam over the top.

2. The Ultimate Warrior Squashes the Honky Tonk Man at the First SummerSlam

The Honky Tonk Man’s Intercontinental Championship reign was one for the ages. After defeating Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat for WWF’s midcard title, the Elvis Presley impersonator batted away all comers over the course of one year, two months, and 27 days. At the very first SummerSlam in 1988, the Honky Tonk Man was set to defend his prize against a random superstar. 

For a few seconds, it looked as if no one would answer his challenge. All of a sudden, the familiar guitar strings from the Ultimate Warrior’s theme came over the loudspeakers. The crowd erupted as he ran down the ramp at full speed, entered the ring, and practically demolished the Honky Tonk Man. As the Ultimate Warrior celebrated with his newly won prize, the fans in attendance continued to lose their minds.

3. “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith Defeats Bret “Hitman” Hart at SummerSlam ‘92

Babyface vs. babyface matches back in the day was a rarity as kayfabe truly reigned supreme. But when they did happen, they were much better than expected. When the UK’s favorite son “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith came to the ring with boxer Lennox Lewis for this match, the crowd came unglued. 

Following that grand entrance, Bulldog and Bret “Hitman” Hart put on an absolute clinic over the Intercontinental Championship. From start to finish, the crowd was enraptured by the poetry in motion happening in front of them via Bulldog and Hart. When Bulldog got the win via a shocking rollover pin, the UK faithful cheered at the top of their lungs and rejoiced in their hometown hero capturing the IC Championship.

4. The Hart Foundation Blows the Roof Off at the 1997 Canadian Stampede

It’s always funny to hear Jerry “The King” Lawler use the phrase “Bizarro World” whenever the WWF heads to a territory that cheers and boos for the sort of superstars the company wouldn’t expect to get such reactions. Back in 1997, the Hart Foundation ran roughshod over the roster as diabolical heels. While they were booed relentlessly in the US, they were heroes whenever the WWF took a trip over the border to Canada. 

At one of the very best WWF PPVs of all time, a 10-man tag team match was put in place for the main event. The team you’d expect to get cheered got torn to shreds by the crowd. And then...the Hart Foundation came out one by one. Owen Hart, Jim Neidhart, British Bulldog, Brian Pillman, and Bret Hart were flooded with massive cheers before, during, and after the banger of a match they had to cap off Canadian Stampede. The post-match celebration that saw the Hart Family fill up the ring kept the positive (and loud!) vibes intact.

5. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin Saves the Day and Helps Mankind Win His First WWF Championship

At the height of the Attitude Era, the top half of the superstar card was ruled by some of the most iconic wrestlers of all time. Two of those major WWF personalities feuded for much of 1999. One of the moments that fans still regard as one of the greatest triumphs in Raw history happened between The Rock and Mankind. 

As The Corporation and D-Generation X began brawling inside and outside the ring, madness ensued as Rocky and Mick Foley came to blows. Then...the glass shattered and the crowd came unglued. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin came out as the conquering hero and clocked The Rock with a steel chair, which helped Mankind realize his boyhood dream by capturing the WWF Championship. Everyone in attendance rejoiced as Mrs. Foley’s baby boy celebrated with his championship prize.

6. Chris Jericho Debuts on WWF Raw and Interrupts The Rock

For weeks on end, a Countdown to the Millennium clock winded down. The anticipation grew as everyone looked forward to who would emerge once that clock reached 0. On August 9, 1999, The Rock hit the ring to deliver one of his usual catchphrase-filled promos to delight the crowd. All of a sudden, that infamous countdown clock hit the Titantron one final time to mark down its final few seconds. 

As the lights went low, the crowd already began chanting for the “Millenium Man” they knew was about to make his debut. One pyro blast later and everyone was greeted by the words “JERICHO” flashing across the screen. The crowd’s cheers were deafening as Chris Jericho emerged for the very first time within the WWF. Jericho’s ensuing promo battle with The Rock and the chant of “GO JERICHO GO!” did enough to keep everyone’s attention & excite them about “Y2J’s” future away from WCW.

7. Tazz Answers Kurt Angle’s Open Challenge at the 2000 Royal Rumble

Kurt Angle’s undefeated streak pointed to future WWF superstar in the making. The Olympic Gold Hero amassed plenty of wins and a whole bunch of heat amongst the fans due to his holier-than-thou attitude. By the time the 2000 Royal Rumble came around, everyone was ready to see Angle get his comeuppance. Angle emerged to antagonize the Madison Square Garden crowd and issue an open challenge to anyone who was daring enough to test him. 

Then...the lights went low and a booming heartbeat came over the loudspeaker. The crowd already knew who was on his way as an amazing theme song clued everyone into the debut of the former ECW World & FTW Champion, Tazz. The NYC faithful screamed their heads off for the Red Hook, Brooklyn native as he suplexed the hell out of Angle and put him to sleep with his signature Tazzmission. Tazz’s WWF debut couldn’t have gone any better (it just sucks how the rest of his WWF in-ring career went, though).

8. “Stone Cold” Pops Back Up at Backlash 2000 to Save The Rock

The McMahon-Helmsley Era truly came to fruition at WrestleMania 2000 once Vince McMahon helped Triple H retain the WWF Championship. At Backlash 2000, HHH defended his title against The Rock and it looked as if the champion everybody loved to hate would beat their hero once again. The odds were certainly stacked against the “Great One” as Shane McMahon was put in place as this match’s special guest referee. 

As the match winded down and it looked as if HHH would leave Backlash 2000 with his belt intact, that signature glass shattered, and out came “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. What made this moment so special was the fact that Austin hadn’t been seen since being run over all the way back at Survivor Series the year prior. Austin’s steel chair swinging frenzy had the crowd in a frenzy - they went even crazier once The Rock captured the WWF Championship soon after.

9. “Stone Cold” Comes Back to Aid Team WWF Against The Alliance

Austin’s shocking turn at WrestleMania X-7 put a sour taste in everyone’s mouths. For years, fans had become accustomed to Austin’s motto of “DTA - Don’t Trust Anybody.” But he ended up going against his own motto by aligning himself with the very man he used to torment, Mr. McMahon. Things looked dire for the WWF once WCW and ECW joined together to destroy them under the moniker of The Alliance. 

On one particular evening, it looked as if the WWF would finally fall to the combined forces of The Alliance. But at the very last minute, Austin reverted back to his old self and came back to assault anyone and everyone that opposed his WWF squadmates. The crowd seemingly broke the sound scale once Austin’s music hit and loved every minute of his return to form as he fought the good fight. Stone Cold Stunners were handed out in short order as Austin and his WWF compatriots left The Alliance reeling.

10. Triple H Makes His Grand Return From Injury at Madison Square Garden

HHH’s infamous quad tear put him on the shelf - this scary injury occurred during an amazing Raw tag team match back on May 21, 2001. After months of rehabbing his injury post-surgery, “The Game” was ready to go once again. On January 7, 2002, the “Cerebral Assassin” made his grand return in the world’s most famous arena. It was the perfect place to bring back the WWF’s sledgehammer-swinging madman.

Motorhead’s opening guitar riff made everyone go wild as HHH walked onto the ramp as the baddest and toughest in the game (no pun intended). HHH’s classic entrance felt so good to see once again after not seeing it for so long at that point. Hunter’s comeback promo and his beatdown of Kurt Angle capped off an exciting evening for the fully healed master of The Pedigree.

11. The Rock and “Hollywood” Hogan Square Off at WrestleMania X-8

The fans in attendance at WrestleMania X-8 didn’t give a damn about “Hollywood” Hogan’s heel persona and his association with the villainous nWo. All they remembered were the glory days of “Hulkamania” and his legendary match against the Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VI. That match took place in the very same arena The Rock and Hogan was set to take place in, which led to Canadian fans watching it unfold cheering unanimously for the “Hulkster.” 

That moment where Rocky and Hogan stood face to face and looked out into the crowd still elicits goosebumps to this day. And as the match progressed, the fans used all their energy to push Hogan to a triumphant victory. Even though he fell in defeat, the rabid fans cheering him on didn’t falter in their adoration for their hero. Hogan’s return to the red and yellow began taking shape this evening.

12. Hogan is Greeted Warmly by the Montreal Fans the Night After WrestleMania X-8

The night after WrestleMania X-8 further proved that Canada would forever be remembered as “Hogan Country.” As soon as Lilian Garcia announced Hogan’s appearance at the start of this episode of Raw, the crowd came unglued. Hogan strolled down the ring while being showered with plenty of love and adulation. 

And when he tried speaking to his extra supportive “Hulksters,” the deafening sound of cheers caused Hogan to take it all in and bask in the fans’ audible appreciation for his efforts from the night before. If you want to watch one of the loudest and longest ovations ever seen in the world of professional wrestling, look no further than this clip. “Damn, I love you guys.” The feeling was certainly mutual.

13. Rob Van Dam Wins the WWE Championship at ECW One Night Stand 2006

Could you imagine if John Cena really retained his WWE Championship at this show in front of such a hostile crowd? Would they really have rioted and torn the Hammerstein Ballroom asunder? Probably! But thankfully, ECW’s homegrown hero Rob Van Dam did the impossible at the 2006 One Night Stand PPV. 

With the undying support of the fans behind him, RVD fought tooth and nail against WWE’s despised poster boy (when it came to hardcore fans, to say the least). Cena was public enemy #1 at this show, while RVD was the biggest babyface in the world. Once RVD planted Cena with a Five Star Frog Splash and got the final 1-2-3 from Paul Heyman, the ECW audience blew the roof off the Hammerstein Ballroom as they rejoiced over RVD’s championship victory. 

14. John Cena Makes His Shocking Return at the 2008 Royal Rumble

On the October 1, 2007, episode of Raw, John Cena suffered a complete tear of his right pectoral muscle. This injury was severe enough to make everyone think that he’d be away for a year or even longer. Cut to the 2008 Royal Rumble - as Triple H and a host of other superstars stood in the ring, the time counted down to the final 30th entrant. 

To the shock of everyone, Cena’s music hit, and out came the man that was fully healed way before schedule. A mix of Cena devotees and haters all joined in as they produced the loudest reaction possible to his shocking return. Once Cena hit the ring, Cena’s haters got right back to what they know best - booing the hell out of WWE’s latest superhero. Even still, no one could doubt just how amazing it was to see Cena come back much earlier than expected. Cena’s win here was the extra cherry on top for this insane moment.

15. The Rock Returns and is Announced as the Host of WrestleMania XXVII

Before this moment took place, The Rock had been MIA since his last televised appearance all the way back in 2004. When it was announced that WrestleMania XXVIII was set to have a special guest host, fan theories ran wild regarding who it could be. The night of the reveal had everyone biting their nails in anticipation as the arena lights went low and lightning strikes began appearing all over the main stage screen. 

Once the opening catchphrase attached to the “Brahma Bull’s” theme began, the crowd erupted! The sight of The Rock in a WWE ring sent the fans into a frenzy that took a while to slightly calm down. As The Rock spoke to his loyal fans, the excitement level was off the charts from start to finish. It was so awesome watching him stay around for a while to feud with Cena from that point forward.

16. CM Punk Gets a Hometown Crowd Ovation at the 2011 Money in the Bank

The pipebomb heard ‘round the world renewed a ton of interest in the WWE product thanks to the “Voice of the Voiceless” CM Punk. Punk’s fiery promo took aim at his home company and had the IWC on fire as they really thought he was on his way out soon after he delivered it. Punk ended up getting booked against John Cena for the WWE Championship at the 2011 Money in the Bank and the excitement was at an all-time high. 

Punk’s entrance at that legendary PPV took place in front of his fellow Chicagoans and, as expected, they went crazy for their hometown hero. The ensuing match with Cena and Punk’s eventual victory sent the crowd into even more of a frenzy. Punk blowing a kiss at Mr. McMahon while he escaped with the WWE Championship truly put everything mentioned here over the top.

17. Brock Lesnar Returns the Night After WrestleMania XXVIII

Rumors were running rampant on the day that Raw took place after WrestleMania XXVIII. Former WWE Champion turned UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar was reported to have been in a meeting with Mr. McMahon, which had everyone thinking that the master of the F5 would be showing up in WWE once again. At the end of this episode of Raw, John Cena stood in the ring as he spoke on his loss to The Rock the night before. 

All of a sudden, the badass guitar strings of Brock’s theme song could be heard. Everyone who knew he was on his way got the confirmation they had been waiting for all night. Brock looked like he was ready for war as he made his slow march down to the ring. Once Brock planted Cena with an F5 and proceeded to kick his hat into the crowd, everyone couldn’t help but scream their heads off even more. Side note - we’ll never forget the “Brock Lesnar Guy” in the front row going nuts during this segment.

18. Dolph Ziggler Cashes in his Money in the Back Contract the Night After WrestleMania 29

At one point, the Night after WrestleMania ended up being the most exciting episode of Raw all year. Back in 2013, the crowd was rocking all night for everything being put in front of them. But they especially went nuts when one of the greatest Money in the Bank cash-ins of all time took place. Alberto Del Rio suffered an injury during his match with Jack Swagger, which left the door wide open for Dolph Ziggler to make history. And that’s exactly what he did! 

Ziggler’s music hit and caused the post-’Mania crowd to be even louder than they usually are. The short bout between Rio and Ziggler featured some shocking near falls - an armbar that Rio put on Ziggler even had everyone scared that they were about to witness a failed cash-in. Once Ziggler landed a definitive Zig Zag for the win, everyone couldn’t help but rejoice over Ziggler’s World Heavyweight Championship conquest.

19. Daniel Bryan Wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX

The fans had been backing Daniel Bryan’s war against The Authority and their chosen champion Randy Orton ever since the leader of the “YES!” movement got screwed over at SummerSlam 2013. The odds were stacked against Bryan at WrestleMania XXX as he had to defeat HHH first before he could become a part of the main event between Orton and Batista for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Bryan ended up overcoming “The Game,” but a post-match assault lessened the chances of Bryan being able to win the belts later in the evening. 

During the match, the fans had even more reason to be scared after Bryan took a nasty Batista Bomb-RKO combo through the announcer’s table. But Bryan ended up fighting through the pain and re-entering the match to do the unthinkable! Bryan locked Batista into a YES! Lock and made the big man tap out, which elicited a deafening reaction from everyone in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. As confetti fell from the ceiling and Bryan celebrated with his newly won title belts, the sound scale continued to be broken.

20. Sting Shocks the World at the 2014 Survivor Series

The 2014 Survivor Series looked like it was about to end on a sad note as Team Authority was on the verge of beating Team Cena. HHH KO’d Ziggler with a Pedigree and proceeded to pull Seth Rollins’ prone body over him. When the ref entered and began to count the final pinfall, it looked as if all hope was lost. But then the sound of a crow forced the ref to stop his count and look back in fear. 

HHH also looked to the ramp in pure shock as the face-painted legend officially stepped into the world of WWE. Jaws dropped, tears rolled down people’s faces, and excited screams were all done in unison as Sting hit the ring to plant HHH with a Scorpion Death Drop. Sting’s treatment after this amazing debut may have been a bit lacking, but it still doesn’t take away from the shock and awe that this moment produced.

21. Seth Rollins Makes the Greatest Money in the Bank Cash-In of All Time at WrestleMania 31

The main event between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns didn’t have a ton of hype going into it on behalf of the fans. But as the match unfolded, everyone came to enjoy it due to the overwhelming brutality put on display between both men. After Brock planted Roman with an F5, the shocker of a lifetime happened when Seth Rollins’ music hit. As soon as that moment took place, everyone screamed their heads off as they knew exactly what was set to happen next. Rollins ran faster than The Flash as he came down the ramp to cash in his golden Money in the Bank briefcase. 

A quick encounter between all three men took place - we were treated to a Curb Stomp to Brock, a Spear to Brock while he had Rollins in position for an F5, and a final Curb Stomp to Roman that brought the match to an end. The fans lost their minds even more as Rollins claimed the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and held it high above his head at the top of the ‘Mania 31 ramp. Rollins’ championship prophecy had finally been fulfilled!

22. Sami Zayn Answers John Cena’s US Championship Open Challenge

After Cena defeated Rusev for the United States Championship at WrestleMania 31, the fans began to warm up to the leader of the “Cenation” due to his open challenge performances. Once Cena called out a new opponent during an edition of Raw that took place in Montreal, Québec, Canada, the fans popped like crazy as the sound of Bret “Hitman” Hart’s theme seemed to answer Cena’s call. 

But it turns out Bret came out to introduce Cena’s true challenger, who was none other than the hometown crowd’s favorite Sami Zayn. Following his hyperactive entrance (which actually caused him a severe shoulder injury), Zayn put on the performance of a lifetime against the very best of the WWE. While he fell in defeat, Cena and the lucky fans that got to see it live showed him all the love in the world anyway. This was certainly a night to remember for the Montreal fans.

23. AJ Styles Appears at the 2016 Royal Rumble

Rumors were running rampant about a certain "Phenomenal One" finally making his way back to WWE (if you remember, he wrestled a few matches on Sunday Night Heat before he became the superstar he was in TNA). AJ Styles' NJPW run had concluded and it was clear that he was moving on to the next part of his journey in professional wrestling.

During the 2016 Royal Rumble, Roman Reigns was forced to start at #1 and defend his WWE World Heavyweight Championship. After the "Big Dog" disposed of Rusev, the countdown to the third match entrant began. Once the timer came to an end, the words "I...AM...PHENOMENAL" came across the big screen and instantly clued everyone into who was coming out next. AJ walked out to thunderous applause and a chorus of cheers from casual and hardcore wrestling fans alike. AJ and his new theme song (which had everyone thinking it was DMX spittin' some fresh bars on the track) had everyone going crazy over his newfound WWE run.

24. The Hardy Boyz Make Their WWE Return at WrestleMania 33

During WrestleMania 33 weekend, Matt & Jeff Hardy (collectively known as the Hardy Boyz) competed in a banger of a ladder match against Matt & Nick Jackson aka "The Young Bucks at ROH Supercard of Honor XI. The very next evening, another ladder match was taking place at 'Mania 33 between Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, Cesaro & Sheamus, and Enzo Amore & Big Cass.

Before all the multi-man madness could get underway, the hosts of 'Mania 33 (The New Day) came out to tease a last-minute duo entrant into the match. As they inched closer to the entrance ramp and made it seem like they were the extra tag team, The Hardy Boyz music hit out of nowhere! Matt and Jeff resurfaced in WWE and had everyone going wild at the sight of them once again. The pop was off the charts for "Team Xtreme," to say the least. After The Hardy Boyz captured the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship, the cheers came back in droves.

25. Edge Returns at the 2020 Royal Rumble

It broke our hearts to witness Edge's retirement speech due to severe neck issues back in 2011. That development came just a few weeks after successfully defending his World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXVII against Alberto Del Rio. Edge's post-retirement career afforded him sporadic appearances on TV and a rightful induction into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Fast forward to the 2020 Royal Rumble. No one ever expected the "Rated R Superstar" to make any sort of appearance at this show or even get into some sort of physical altercation. The moment that Edge's theme hit, the fans lost their shit! Edge's face said it all - he was beyond emotional about this shocking return and couldn't wait to reward his fans with a newly healed version of himself. Edge's showing in the 2020 Royal Rumble was impressive and convinced us all that he was ready to hand out Spears to the rest of the WWE Universe once again.

26. SmackDown Welcomes Back Live Crowds in 2021

The 2020 pandemic forced wrestling companies from all over to present their shows without live crowds. And while the action was good, the virtual fans and piped-in cheers from WWE’s ThunderDome presentation just couldn't beat the real thing. On July 16, 2021, the return of live crowds officially began with a dramatic return to form for the SmackDown brand. 

The Texas crowd at the Toyota Center filled the arena with a raucous response as Mr. McMahon welcomed them back with open arms. For the rest of this airing of SmackDown, the fans reacted to everything that was put in front of them. Thankfully, this episode gave them plenty to be pleased with - that Fatal 4-Way match between Seth Rollins, Big E, Kevin Owens, and Shinsuke Nakamura was the perfect ending to this high-energy show.

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