5 WWE Superstars who refused a title reign
Every WWE Superstar dreams of winning multiple Championships throughout their career to cement their name as a top player for the company. There are many WWE Superstars on the current roster who are yet to taste championship gold of any sort. They are just waiting for the top brass to give them the opportunity and have a title around their waists.
But can you believe that there have been several instances in the past where WWE Superstars have turned down a title reign which was pitched to them by the officials? Why would someone do that? Who doesn't want to become a champion, right? Well, we have a compilation of five WWE Superstars who denied this glory.
So without further ado, let's take a look at these WWE Superstars who refused a title reign and the reason why!
#5 Stone Cold Steve Austin refused the ECW Championship
Stone Cold Steve Austin is one of the most decorated Superstars in WWE's history, having multiple world title reigns to his name. But before joining WWF/WWE, Austin spent some time in ECW in 1995. It was Paul Heyman, who offered him a run with the ECW Championship, but the Texas Rattlesnake surprisingly denied the honor, stating that he didn't want the title to be handed over to him.
"It was also because I figured if I rolled in there and Paul [Heyman] wanted to put the strap on me; but, Mike [Whipwreck] had it. I said, ‘No man.’ Here I just came waltzing in and because I came from WCW. I was a very good mechanic in the ring; but, I wasn’t a superstar yet although we’d call myself “Superstar” Steve Austin there in ECW – I said, ‘Man, everybody’s expecting me to take the Title. Let me chase it. Let me earn it.’ I want to get over with that ECW crowd or wherever it is from a television standpoint. Those people in that sh*t hole arena, the ECW Arena – it was a dump and when I say that I mean it as a compliment. It was just this raw crazy atmosphere with a lot of guys working their asses off to build that place up and doing a hell of a job with all those great promos. I just didn’t want to waltz in there and get handed a belt. I wanted to earn it through the boys in the company and earn the fans respect. I just didn’t want it handed to me….I wanted to earn it and I wanted to work for it."
He later joined WWF/WWE the next year, and the rest is history. Though he never won the ECW Championship, considering the career that he had, he surely does not regret jumping ships to WWE.
#4 Bret Hart refused to win the Intercontinental Championship
The two-time WWE Hall of Famer, Bret Hart has had a very on-off relationship with the company and some of its Superstars. It was in 1997, a little before the infamous Montreal Screwjob incident, when Bret Hart was offered to defeat Rocky Malvia (aka The Rock) for the Intercontinental Championship, an offer that he turned down.
Revealing the incident in his autobiography, Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling, Bret Hart mentioned that Shawn Michaels and Triple H wanted him to defeat The Rock for the IC title on RAW. But he refused to do so, as he felt that a loss here would destroy The Rock's momentum and might affect his future as a top Superstar of the company. It is also rumored that this was a way to keep him and Michaels apart and let Michaels go after the WWE Championship.
Well, if this is the sacrifice that led to The Rock becoming what he is today, then it was a great decision from the Hitman and WWE should rather be thankful to him for that.
#3 The Rock turns down a WWE Championship run
Well, The Rock has been on the opposite side of this situation as well. Known by the WWE Universe as the People's Champion, The Rock has had multiple World title reigns with the company, cementing himself as one of the central pillars of the Attitude Era of WWE.
Interestingly, WWE had plans to put the WWE title around The Rock's waist at WrestleMania 21 by letting him defeat the then champion, JBL. According to 411Mania, The Rock initially pitched several other ideas for his return, but WWE wanted him to face JBL. But it never came to fruition.
WWE had different ideas and wanted him to wrestle JBL, back when the plan was to keep the belt on him indefinitely through the spring. At some point there was even talk of Rock winning the title and dropping it back two days later to swerve everyone who would assume he couldn't win. Anyway, it all became moot when the company let his contract expire in an "oversight" and he ended up not working the show in any capacity. Our loss. Things would certainly be a lot different right now if Rock/Layfield had happened; for one, John Cena's coronation would've been held off.
Instead, JBL defended his title against a young John Cena at WrestleMania that year, which led to John Cena's first World title reign in WWE - a historic moment!
#2 The Undertaker refuses to win the WWE Championship
The Undertaker is arguably one of the greatest WWE Superstars to have ever graced this business. Announcing his retirement recently, The Undertaker is a multi-time World Champion in WWE, having had a nearly three-decade-long legendary career.
What many fans might not know is that The Undertaker once refused to win the WWE Championship. It was in 2004 when Eddie Guerrero was the WWE Champion, and many top-level Superstars either left the company or were on the sidelines. WWE decided to put the title on their trusted guy, The Undertaker.
But the Phenom refused to win the title as he was transitioning back into his Deadman gimmick from the brief American Badass one. He didn't want a title reign to come in between the transition, something that shows how devoted he was to his gimmick. WWE ultimately picked JBL to challenge Eddie Guerrero.
The Undertaker, on the other hand, brought back the dead man gimmick and made his already Hall-of-Fame worthy career even more legendary. In true sense, The Undertaker is one of the few WWE Superstars who are above the Championship golds and all that glory!
#1 Shawn Michaels refuses to win the World Heavyweight Championship
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When people ask me what my favorite match is, I always say the ladder match vs @officialshawnmichaels from No Mercy on Oct 5, 2008!. The match, the story, the build up, the finish...it was the culmination of one of the best told stories & angles in @wwe history! Thanks Shawn!
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WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels has had several legendary feuds and matches throughout his WWE career, making a name for himself as one of the greatest in-ring workers in WWE's history.
While he has been known to have his share of issues with fellow wrestlers, it was in 2008 during his feud with Chris Jericho where the Heartbreak Kid showed everyone that he cares for others as well.
The two clashed at WWE No Mercy 2008 in a Ladder Match for Jericho's World Heavyweight Championship. While Michaels has originally supposed to win the match and the title, he refused it, knowing that he didn't need the title at that stage of his career. HBK had already defeated Jericho at WrestleMania 19, and he wanted to give back the win to him.
It goes without saying, both of these Superstars are a legend in the business in their own ways. While Shawn Michaels continues to help WWE's newer generation, Chris Jericho's wrestling career is aging like a fine wine, with him currently signed to All Elite Wrestling, helping the new promotion give a tough competition to the wrestling giant.