Vince McMahon was known for changing his mind on a dime during his decades running the WWE. This has even led to a few rare instances where he has called an audible on who would win in the middle of a match. There was even an occasion where McMahon was allegedly on the verge of calling a sudden audible that would see comedic WWE star Santino Marella win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, only to back off.
Said match came in 2012 at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view when Daniel Bryan (now Bryan Danielson) defended the gold against Marella, Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes, The Big Show and The Great Khali. The iconic final few moments of the match saw Marella hit his Cobra finisher on Bryan and come less than an inch away from keeping him down for a three count. Bryan would survive and force Marella to submit, only to lose the title in mere seconds to Sheamus at WrestleMania XXVII roughly two months later.
"Yeah it's funny, one of the things I'm most known for is coming a fraction of second away from being the world champion... I was talking with Pete Dunne, and now they actually call it the 'Santino spot'...Everybody around the world who was watching that pay-per-view thought "oh sh*t, this guy is gonna win it", and we got everybody. We got everybody!" Marella said recently on the A2theK Wrestling Show (h/t Sportskeeda).
"Man even at the end when he had his finishing move on me, and I was fighting out of it, I swear I still thought there was a chance, you know? ...Mike Chioda was in gorilla and he was watching Vince [McMahon] and he was like 'man, I swear he was this close to calling it on the fly and changing it'...it would have been crazy."
WWE Survivor Series WarGames Card
- Men's WarGames Match: Roman Reigns, The Usos, Solo Sikoa & Sami Zayn vs. Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens and The Brawling Brutes
- Women's WarGames Match: Bianca Belair, Asuka, Alexa Bliss, Mia Yim & TBD vs. Bayley, Dakota Kai, Iyo Sky, Nikki Cross & Rhea Ripley
- SmackDown Women's Championship: Ronda Rousey vs. Shotzi
- AJ Styles vs. Finn Balor