Wednesday, February 28

5 Wrestlers Who Were Right To Refuse Dropping A Title (& 5 Who Were Wrong)

Every pro wrestling fan knows about the scripted nature of the business and how every major decision is made behind the screens by top officials of the respective promotions. Wrestlers who had just made their way in the business wouldn’t have much say in their bookings and have to follow the instructions given to them, but that’s not the case with the well-established wrestlers with tons of backstage influence.



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They have a considerable amount of creative freedom in their booking and can make changes to them whenever necessary. However, some wrestlers had used their backstage influence to even refuse to lose their championships. With that said, let’s take a look at five instances when a wrestler was right to refuse to lose a title and five when they were wrong.

UPDATE: 2023/11/18 07:30 EST BY STEFANO MOCELLA

Backstage politics have always played a role in wrestling, as the business is a dog-eating world by nature. Wrestlers’ shelf lives, particularly as main eventers, are usually limited, so when they do get on top, they tend to do what they can to preserve their spot. While wrestlers will also do the honors when called upon, there have been cases of champions vetoing a title change, either because they felt it would hurt their standing, or simply because they felt it wasn’t good for business. Today, we’re going to examine some cases where wrestlers wouldn’t drop a title, and whether it was the right thing to do.


10 Wrong: Rey Mysterio Refusing To Lose The Intercontinental Title To Dolph Ziggler

Dropped It To John Morrison Merely 2 Weeks Later

Rey Myserio’s Intercontinental Title Reign

68 Days

Defeated Chris Jericho

The Bash 2009

Lost To John Morrison

SmackDown, (Sept 4, 2009)

WWE Creative pitched the idea of Rey Mysterio losing his Intercontinental Championship to Dolph Ziggler after the former was fresh out from one of the best feuds of his career with Chris Jericho in 2009. Mysterio claimed that he and Jericho had raised the value of the title with their feud and that it would make no sense for him to lose the title to Ziggler, who was already making strides as a heel. Mysterio went on to defeat Ziggler at the 2009 Night of Champions and SummerSlam PPVs.

Mysterio could’ve been the bigger man and went on with the original plan, because like he said, he and Jericho raised the value of the title, and dropping it to Ziggler would’ve made him an even bigger star than he is today. Besides, Mysterio ended up dropping it to John Morrison just a couple of weeks later, so what more prestige did it really add?

9 Right: Jeff Jarrett Refusing To Lose To Chyna

Jarrett Would Then Leave For WCW

Jeff Jarrett’s Intercontinental Title Reign

56 Days

Defeated D’Lo Brown

SummerSlam 1999

Lost To Chyna

No Mercy 1999

WWE is known for making some controversial booking decisions throughout their time in the business, and when they chose to give Jeff Jarrett a misogynist character during his Intercontinental Championship reign in 1999, he had some problems with the decision.

He was on his way out of the promotion, and McMahon wanted Jarrett to lose the title to Chyna before he jumped ship to WCW. However, Jarrett’s contract expired a day before his scheduled match with Chyna at No Mercy, and while he was already disgruntled with the character he portrayed, losing to Chyna while he was on his way to WCW could’ve hurt his momentum. So he used the opportunity to demand more money from McMahon to lose the title to Chyna. McMahon reluctantly paid Jarrett what he wanted, and he lost the title to Chyna as promised.

8 Wrong – The Alundra Blayze Incident

Blayze Threw WWE Women’s Title in Trashcan on WCW Television

Alundra Blayze WWE Women’s Title Reign

51 Days

Defeated Bertha Faye

RAW (Oct 23, 1995)

Title Deactivated

December 13, 1995

Despite having a difference of opinion about the booking decisions, there is a limit for a wrestler to express their disdain, and Alundra Blayze crossed the line when she jumped from WWE to WCW in 1995. The two promotions were in hot competition with each other, and Eric Bischoff saw the opportunity when Alundra Blayze decided to sign WCW while still being the WWE Women’s Champion.

Vince McMahon wanted her to surrender the title before she left, but Eric Bischoff had other ideas. Rather than let his newest signee forfeit her title, he suggested she take it to WCW and threw it in a trashcan on live television. As a result, Blayze/Medusa got herself blacklisted by WWE for the next 20 years.

7 Right – Shawn Michaels Not Dropping The Intercontinental Title To Dean Douglas

Douglas Would Quickly Lose IC Title To Razor Ramon

Shawn Michaels Intercontinental Championship Reign

91 Days

Defeated Razor Ramon

SummerSlam 1995

Forfeited To Dean Douglas

In Your House 4: Great White North

Shawn Michaels refusing to lose the Intercontinental Championship to Dean Douglas in 1995 might look like a typical move by HBK, but somehow he made the right decision, either knowingly or unknowingly.

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Due to a real-life injury he sustained in a nightclub beat down, Michaels pulled out from the match and instead decided to forfeit the title to Douglas. However, Douglas lost the title the same night to Razor Ramon, and no one knows if WWE already had the outcome in mind, but HBK saved himself from looking weak by dropping the title to Douglas, who would lose it the same night.

6 Wrong – Shawn Michaels Ends Vader’s Push

Wouldn’t Work With Vader After SummerSlam 1996

Shawn Michaels WWE Championship Run

231 Days

Defeated Bret Hart

WrestleMania 12

Lost to Sycho Sid

Survivor Series 1996

A WWE superstar had to prove himself to the fans and the backstage officials to gain their trust that he could fare well in the main event picture. Vader got that opportunity in 1996, and WWE planned on having Shawn Michaels drop the WWE Championship to him at some point. Bruce Prichard had stated there were plans for Michaels to work with Vader at Survivor Series and the Royal Rumble.

However, HBK had other ideas and was adamant about not losing the title to Vader at eventually got his way. He went on to verbally berate Vader throughout the match and finally retained the title. Vader never received a similar opportunity and dropped down the card. Michaels would instead face Sycho Sid at Survivor Series and the Royal Rumble.

5 Right – Stone Cold Steve Austin Doesn’t Drop IC Title To The Rock

Opted To Forfeit Title On RAW Instead

Stone Cold Steve Austin Intercontinental Title Reign

29 Days

Defeated Owen Hart

Survivor Series 1997

Forfeited To Rocky Maivia

RAW Is WAR (Dec. 8, 1997)

Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock have had some of the most memorable matches in WWE history and were the two faces of the promotion during their prime. But Austin was the first of the two to reach main event status in WWE, and there was a time when he refused to drop the Intercontinental title to The Rock in 1997.

Austin was on his way to main-eventing WrestleMania 14 against Shawn Michaels for the WWE Championship with Mike Tyson as the special enforcer. He thought that it was the wrong time for him to lose the title as he was walking into a high-profile match, and instead chose to just hand the title to The Rock. While it was certainly an unconventional way to do it, the move seemed to work out pretty well.

4 Wrong – Hulk Hogan To Bret Hart

Reportedly Was Set To Drop WWE Championship at SummerSlam 1993

Hulk Hogan WWE Championship Reign

70 Days

Defeated Yokozuna

WrestleMania 9

Lost to Yokozuna

King of the Ring 1993

When Hulk Hogan returned to WWE in 1993, WWE booked him to team up with Brutus Beefcake to take on Money Inc in a tag team match at WrestleMania 9. Hogan pitched the idea to leave as WWE Champion to have one last reign before his contract expired. WWE decided to give in and had Hogan win the title from Yokozuna, who had just defeated Bret Hart for the title.

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According to Bret Hart, WWE had plans for Hogan to drop the title to Bret Hart at that year’s SummerSlam. But Hogan considered Bret Hart as a smaller opponent and out of his league and refused to drop the title to him. He would instead drop it back to Yokozuna at King of the Ring.

3 Right – Ric Flair Taking The Big Gold Belt Hostage

Showed Up In WWE With WCW’s Biggest Prize

Ric Flair NWA Title Reign (Recognized)

112 Days

Defeated Tatsumi Fujinami

SuperBrawl I

Vacated

September 8, 1991

The NWA required the wrestlers who held the Big Gold world championship to make a safety deposit of $25,000, that of which would be refunded after the end of their reign. Ric Flair made such a deposit when he became the first WCW Champion in 1991 and was still the champion when he decided to jump ship to WWE.

However, Flair did not receive the refund when he signed with WWE and had to take the title hostage with him. WCW stripped him of the championship, but Flair didn’t return the physical title until he reached a settlement.

2 Wrong – Triple H To Booker T After Heavy Racial Undertones In Storyline

Questionable Booking Decision Saw Booker T’s Main Event Push End

Triple H World Heavyweight Championship Reign

280 Days

Defeated Shawn Michaels

Armageddon 2002

Lost To Goldberg

Unforgiven 2003

Triple H and Booker T had a heated rivalry over the World Heavyweight Championship, leading to a match between the two superstars at WrestleMania 19.

Triple H cut a controversial promo on Booker T, downplaying his achievements in WCW. He also alluded to Booker T being a convicted criminal and that ‘people like him’ don’t get to win a world championship in WWE. While it was a highly controversial and uncalled-for promo, it could’ve been salvaged with Booker getting the win. The fans were completely behind Booker T and expected him to come out victorious at the event. However, Triple H didn’t do the job and retained the title clean over Booker T, much to the fans’ dismay.

Longtime WWE employee Bruce Prichard would defend this storyline years later on his podcast Something To Wrestle With, saying the what Triple H was referring to was actually Booker T’s status as a former WCW star. Not many fans believe this explanation thanks to many questionable quotes by Triple H in the run up to this match.

1 Right – Bret Hart To Shawn Michaels At Survivor Series 1997

Refused To Lose To HBK Following A Backstage Argument

Bret Hart WWE Championship Reign

98 Days

Defeated The Undertaker

SummerSlam 1997

*Lost To Shawn Michaels

Survivor Series 1997

There might be many opinions justifying Vince McMahon’s decision to carry out the infamous Montreal Screwjob, but Bret Hart was right in refusing to drop the WWE title to Shawn Michaels at the 1997 Survivor Series.

For some backstory on why Hart wouldn’t drop the title to Michaels on that particular night, Hart wrote in his book and stated in many interviews since, that he attempted to make peace with Shawn backstage, telling him despite their differences, he’d be willing to drop the title to him. Michaels would respond by saying that he wouldn’t do the same for Bret. That would lead to weeks of back and forth arguing over how to approach the 1997 Survivor Series. Bret was adamant at that point that he not lose to Michaels in Canada, offering instead to drop his title to Austin, Undertaker, Foley or pretty much anyone other than Michaels.

We all know what transpired after that, and it’s safe to say that Hart was right in the fact that he couldn’t trust Vince to let him leave in a positive way, after McMahon couldn’t honor Hart’s 20-year contract.

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