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Top 10 Memes You Forgot Were Awesome

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Lou Gatti
Like a shooting star, these memes burned brightly in their prime. Now, let us pay our respects for a few that you might have forgotten, even if they’re from only a few years ago. For this list, we’re focusing on now-forgotten memes that went viral, racking up millions of views all over social media and popular forums. WatchMojo counts down the Top 10 Memes You Forgot Were Awesome.

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Script written by Lou Gatti

Top 10 Memes You Forgot Were Awesome

Like a shooting star, these memes burned brightly in their prime. Now, let us pay our respects for a few that you might have forgotten, even if they’re from only a few years ago. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Memes You All Forgot Were Awesome.

For this list, we’re focusing on now-forgotten memes that went viral, racking up millions of views all over social media and popular forums.

#10: “O RLY?” (2003)

This surprised owl, often a facetious or dismissive reaction, became the preferred reaction meme for those who originally favored calling someone “Captain Obvious”. Unlike some memes, the image takes very little context to understand, with great ease of use. With early meme era simplicity, this image was brandished by anyone looking to inflict a sick burn . . . which, on the Internet, is most of the time. Truly, O RLY was the meme gods’ gift to sarcastic people.

#9: “Nyan Cat” (2011)

Only on the internet would a video of an 8-bit pop-tart cat flying through space be viewed by over 150 million people. This meme craze not only birthed tons of YouTube remixes and adaptations, but it seamlessly crossed mediums, too. Fans prolifically created Nyan Cat gifs, live cat recreations, fan art, orchestral covers, and numerous video games, to name a few. The greatness of Nyan Cat is its ability to cleverly fit into so many adaptations while remaining completely surreal and arbitrary. Like, how many memes have been featured on deadmau5’s Ferrari?

#8: “It’s Over 9000!” (2006)

Originally appearing in 1997 as a quote from an episode of “Dragon Ball Z”, this meme quickly became the Internet's favorite way to quantify anything of considerable size. Starting out as an inside joke amongst friends, the meme gained popularity on 4chan, inspiring “Dragon Ball” fans to create video remixes that have since gathered millions of views. It even went mainstream when one troll got Oprah to say the famed line on live television. Both the meme’s hyperbole and expectedly poor translation from the original Japanese version make “It’s Over 9000!” an unforgettable favorite in any Internet troll’s toolbox.

#7: “Doge” (2010)

We may never know what man’s best friend is thinking, but this bewildered Shiba Inu allowed the world to play pretend in the most satisfying way imaginable. Memesters overlaid text intending to relay the dog’s inner thoughts, often utilizing stylized poor grammar to accurately personify the stunned-looking puppy. Photoshopping the image was also celebrated. Whether as a response image or a standalone meme, Doge was an original and hilarious way to troll and share a common experience. Unconvinced of its awesomeness? Name another meme that inspired its own cryptocurrency. Much value, very money. Wow.

#6: “Unexpected John Cena” (2014)

Taking flight from a viral prank phone call, this WWE wrestler’s introduction made its way into the meme vernacular one startling scare at a time. In the original prank, building off previous Cena memery, a morning radio show host would prank unexpected callers with his John Cena soundboard. The meme evolved when the popularity of editing this clip at the end of videos and vines achieved both tremendous shock and comedic value. Meme-lovers would unexpectedly cut from footage to a thunderous announcement of John Cena and his intro music. Gets the heart rate going!

#5: “Rickroll” (2007)

While likely disappointing millions of viewers who thought they were about to see something too good to be true, Rick Astley’s hit “Never Going To Give You Up” was an undeniably awesome meme. In over 10 years of existence, the classic Internet bait-and-switch has gathered hundreds of millions of views on YouTube. In 2008, the meme reached its peak popularity, being performed in protest outside of the Church of Scientology, tweeted by the White House’s official twitter page, and anchoring Youtube’s infamous April Fools prank, where every video on their homepage was a link to the hit song.

#4: “The Most Interesting Man In The World” (2007)

Dos Equis’ 2006 television ad campaign birthed one of the Internet's most treasured memes. Using a photo of the actor Jonathan Goldsmith, the meme would templatize the catchphrase “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I drink Dos Equis”. Users would replace the word “beer” and the brand name to convey a multitude of inside jokes. While the original commercial oozed exaggerated masculine cool, the memes were comedically relatable. It maintained relative popularity thanks to Dos Equis’ continual use of the character, until 2016 when the brand officially retired the persona by “sending him to Mars”.

#3: SpongeGar (2004)

Spongebob is no stranger to the meme world and his prehistoric ancestor is no exception. In episode SB-129, Squidward goes back in time to the prehistoric era and discovers his annoying neighbor’s ancestor. This image of the prehistoric sponge, appearing again in modified form as SpongeGar, later gained popularity on the usual meme hotspots and Twitter. Toting nothing but his elongated canines, a square cloth, and his startled expression, this caveman sponge was a perfect reaction image for the internet’s perturbing situations. In addition to expressing a startled reaction, the meme was frequently used to depict beastial human nature rearing its comedic head in everyday situations.

#2: Dat Boi (2016)

It’s worth pointing out that a CGI frog riding a unicycle is not an approachable meme for the inexperienced. Perhaps its incredible popularity, despite its evident absurdity, is proof of this meme’s coolness. The graphic is originally from the graphics compendium Animation Factory Essential Collection 3, and epitomizes the mystery and magic of memes, proving that even the most obscure images with little-to-no context can captivate an online audience. While the meme itself has since fallen out of popular circulation, the colloquial language made famous by the meme, like “here come dat boi” and “o sh*t waddup” continue to pop up in new memes.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are some honorable mentions:
Damn, Daniel (2016)
Gabe The Dog (2014)

Bad Luck Brian (2012)

#1: Harambe (2016)

In May 2016, Harambe, a silverback gorilla, was shot and killed by the Cincinnati Zoo after a minor tumbled into his enclosure. A video of the incident immediately went viral on YouTube, receiving over 12 million views in less than 2 days. The furor around the animal’s death was then parodied by online meme communities. The topic had a resurgence later in the year when the Cincinnati Zoo shut down their Twitter page due to the onslaught of jokes. The dead primate’s massive popularity may finally be petering out, but he is forever in our hearts. Memes out for Harambe!


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