Offscreen Moment of Awesome
Sano: And my new special attack Magnetic Screw Choqa Zanbil didn't work at all.
Too bad you didn't see Agent 300's revenge, cause it was awesome!
Something big is about to go down. Everyone knows it. The Big Bad is about to get schooled by the Old Master. A horde of mooks are about to be mowed down in an awesome fashion. Whatever it is, this will no doubt be one of the most awesome moments you will ever see.
Except you won't.
All you'll get (if you're lucky) is the characters talking about how awesome the scene was to behold.
Just like the expectation of something scary is more frightening than the actual scare, so is the expectation of an awesome scene. Except you never see the awesome scene, and are forced to imagine how it went down.
This trope used to be called "Missed Moment of Awesome". If you want to find a trope for a time when a character's Awesome Moment fails to reach its expected level of epicness, try Negated Moment of Awesome. Stories or events that don't turn out as cool as you expected might belong in either They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot (a YMMV trope) or What Could Have Been (a Trivia trope).
- Anime and Manga
- Comic Books
- Fan Works
- Live Action TV
- Professional Wrestling
- Video Games
- Western Animation
- The year is 1968. The New York Jets are beating the Oakland Raiders 32 to 29 with 65 seconds left in a critical late-season game. Fans across the country are on the edge of their seats. And NBC cuts the game off to start showing Heidi, a children's movie. And then Oakland scores two touchdowns in the time left, beating the Jets 43 to 32. Executives tried to preempt this, but they couldn't reach operations. No one on the East coast got to see Oakland's comeback. People were rather put out. This has been ranked as the fifth worst television blunder of all time and it will never happen again.
- In 2007, Bitter rivals Buffalo and Ottawa were meeting in the NHL playoffs. The game went into overtime as both goalies were red hot that day. But oops! the game was on NBC, which still hadn't learned its lesson. Overtime was shunted to Versus, an upstart cable channel which few providers carried, in favor of an hour of pre-race coverage for The Preakness Stakes.
- 2010, July, a hot summer afternoon. England's first match in the World Cup. Expectations are high. All around the country fans gather in pubs, homes and at parties. Three minutes of tense action goes by. The crowd are on the edge of their seats, England has the ball and are soaring upfield as if unopposed. Sky TV cuts out. Two minutes later it cuts back in to the action. The score? 1-0.
- The Real Ghostbusters and Beetlejuice are characters who star in live shows at Universal Studios, and because the latter is a ghost, logic indicates they'd cross paths there a few times. In the 90s, there were indeed a few performances (often on Halloween) where the Ghost With the Most crashed the Ghostbuster's show, resulting in them chasing him offstage, sounds of a loud fight, and then the Ghostbusters returning with a used ghost-trap, indicating they managed to bust him in an offstage battle.
- 8-Bit Theater features this as a fundamental part of the humor of the comic. Most of the promised epic battle scenes (a) don't happen at all; (b) are resolved with a completely mundane anticlimax; (c) get resolved off-panel, frequently by a different character or characters. This includes the defeat of the Final Boss.
- Happens in Niels when the titular character succeeds in pushing Agent 300's Berserk Button.
- Played for laughs by Sluggy Freelance.
"Okay, we were going to dedicate a full Sunday comic to the epic battle, but it's Bun-Bun against a turkey! Come on people!
- Meat Shield provided the page image as a lampshade to the trope.
- Played with again, The ninth issue of Insonicnia is, basically, a standoff between Sonic and Shadow before they start fighting. The tenth issue is missing/broken. The eleventh issue is pretty much nothing but the characters talking about how awesome the fight was... oh, and shadow being convinced to move into the house.
- Parodied in xkcd here.
- A Running Gag in Basic Instructions is the viewer never gets to see any of superhero Rocket Hat's epic, well, superheroism, just awed after-the-fact descriptions. And then there's this comic, which is one of the most literal examples of this trope ever.
- The battle between Mell and Dr. Narbon in Narbonic during the story "Battle for the Lost Diamond Mines of Brazil".
- The sheer scope of Homestuck requires that many awesome scenes be left out or glossed over for the sake of moving the story along, but the Trolls' fight against the 12x prototyped Black King is arguably the off-screen climax of Act 5-1. Its absence inspired the 6-minute long song Rex Duodecim Angelus and a nearly-completed Flash fan collaboration.
- In Girl Genius, Violetta can steal anything. Even if it's being held by someone else, who is watching her, and she's across the room. However, these amazing feats of misdirection and sleight of hand only happen just off-panel.
- Generally it happens between the panels where holographic decoy and invisibility device are switched on and off — since we know that's how Smoke Knights do all sorts of sneaky stuff when people watch. So visually it's all the same, except the exact moment when objects in question disappear in thin air.
- Whateley Universe: in the combat finals for the end of fall 2006 term at Whateley Academy, the authors have showed us over a dozen combat finals ranging from awesome to hysterical to embarrassing. But every character keeps talking about Chaka's unbelievably awesome combat final against three superpowered opponents, in a disaster scenario with a tornado and earthquakes. It wasn't shown, and Word of God says it never will be.
- The Cinema Snob's main complaint about Super Hornio Brothers.
- The Homestar Runner cartoon "Welcome Back" had Strong Bad talking about checking an e-mail mid-air. Unfortunately, he pulled the "mash stop when you think you're mashing record and mash record when you think you're mashing stop" routine, so all we get is footage of Strong Bad in an airplane talking about how excited he is, and then footage of Strong Bad talking about how incredible the whole thing was, mentioning that they met various celebrities and apparently encountered a narwal.
- Of course, this being Strong Bad, he might have exaggerated it.
- The final episode of Red vs. Blue Season 9 has Caboose recounting their daring rescue operation. None of it is shown due to the perspective of the narrator.
- In Das Bo Schitt's Computer Quest  (A side-action Gmod animation explaining why the Gmod Idiot Box Episode 10 hadn't been released yet.), Metrocop #1 and Chuck Norris fight for the final piece of Bo Schitt's brand-new computer: the motherboard. Too bad the scene went missing just as they were going to come to terms, coupled with Peter Griffin's laugh. Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Funny.
- Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog:
"Captain Hammer threw a car at my head."]]