With its predetermined nature, “calling an audible” is something that happens infrequently in professional wrestling. Other than on extremely rare occasions, audibles are never called, and competitors go into a wrestling match knowing exactly what the outcome will be.
Famous examples of audibles include Brock Lesnar vs Kurt Angle at Wrestlemania 19. This match was due to end with Brock Lesnar’s now-infamous Shooting Star Press, but an audible had to be called when the move went wrong. Another would be Eddie Guerrero & Perry Saturn’s WWF debut against the New Age Outlaws, where the finish was changed on-the-fly due to Guerrero suffering a dislocated elbow.
When audibles are called, it is usually because of a mistake or injury in a match. In 2012, however, Vince McMahon nearly made an audible call in a World Championship match due to a booming crowd reaction.
Vince McMahon Almost Calls An Audible
In an interview with The A2theK Wrestling Show, Santino Marella revealed that he almost became World Champion from an audible call by Vince McMahon.
“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!”
“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.”
The match in question took place at Elimination Chamber 2012. In the fourth bout on the card, Santino Marella was part of the Elimination Chamber match, finding himself as one of the final two men in the ring. The other was World Champion Daniel Bryan. If Marella was to beat Daniel Bryan, he would become World Champion.
In what was received incredibly well by the crowd, Santino Marella hit Daniel Bryan with his patented finishing move “The Cobra,” leading to one of the most popular near-falls in WWE history.
Marella would ultimately not win the match, succumbing to Daniel Bryan’s LeBell Lock submission minutes later, but the moment remains one of WWE’s most memorable of the last decade.