Shawn Michaels, HBK, The Show Stopper, Mr. WrestleMania, and a family favorite! He is known by many nicknames, is labeled as being one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, and is just as well known for being one of the most controversial of all time as well. As a matter of fact even his start with WWE seems to have been fuelled with controversy as he came in with Marty Jannetty in a tag team called The Rockers. Their first stint in 1987 only lasted two weeks due to a bar incident in which Michaels claims only a glass was broken, but rumors sparked igniting the incident into an all out bar trashing. They returned the following year and did well until their controversial split.
Shawn Michaels went on to become The Heartbreak Kid and one of the greatest of all time. He has had 1,929 great matches in his career, of which 1,334 were wins and only 524 were lost. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011. Michaels is charismatic, had a super huge ego, and loved to run his mouth. This caused him trouble at various times throughout his career, including the time he was beaten up by marines. He faced lots of controversy, especially in the early part of his career, after refusing to lose titles or to work with certain wrestlers and here we will visit the top 13 jobs Shawn Michaels refused to do!
14 Forfeits Intercontinental Championship Title to Dean Douglas
On more than one occasion, Shawn Michaels has forfeited his title before a title match rather than lose the title to a certain wrestler. In this instance, it would seem as though he had a reasonable excuse, seeing as how he had recently been attacked by some marines at a bar, but then again his reputation seemed to make this seem like a way out of losing. If he could show up, give a speech, and relinquish the title, then he most likely could have attempted at making it through the match. According to Dean Douglas, this was the case at the In Your House PPV event where the scheduled program was for Michaels to drop the Intercontinental Championship Title to Dean Douglas. Later in an interview, Douglas admitted that Michaels had an issue with working with him because he felt Dean just wasn’t good enough to work with him and was not someone he wanted to drop the title to.
Instead, Michaels forfeited the title, they gave it Dean Douglas, who then lost it to Razor Ramon.
13 The Second Championship Title That Vader Never Had
Everybody knows that Shawn Michaels refused to job the title to Vader in their 1996 SummerSlam match (which we'll get to later), but it has been mentioned by Vader in interviews that he was actually promised the belt twice. The SummerSlam incident was only the first time and according to him, after winning the title, he was supposed to defend it and possibly drop it to a new contender and return it later to Shawn after gaining it back again. A big part of the original storyline being changed was said to have been because HBK was unwilling to work with Vader again after their incident at SummerSlam and that Michaels felt like Vader was too “stiff” to work with. Since Michaels never did the first job, the title never switched hands and the storyline was switched to HBK VS Sid for the following title match. This not only shows that Michaels had some issues doing jobs, but also was capable of shoving other wrestlers back down to square one.
12 Tag Team Championship With Diesel
In the early 90s, Shawn Michaels and Diesel formed a tag team that they called Two Dudes with Attitude. They worked well together and won the Tag Team Championship twice, while at times simultaneously holding individual titles too. On one of these occasions, they had the won the Tag Team Title in a match against The Headshrinkers and soon after began to show signs of a probable split. As the storyline progressed, Michaels cost Diesel his Intercontinental Championship with an accidental superkick during his title match against Razor Ramon. Eventually, the tag team split at Survivor Series and claimed they were no longer able to work together. Supposedly the issues between them were so bad that they vacated the title in a hurry rather than losing it in a match to another team. We know they were good friends in real life, but did HBK want to avoid another title loss? We'll never know.
11 D-Generation X’s Involvement in CM Punk’s Slow Rise to the Top
The rumor is that CM Punk was supposed to have climbed to the top of WWE much faster than he actually did. Apparently, Triple H and Shawn Michaels did not want to work with Punk and for whatever reason they felt they had to keep him under, but it worked. Michaels and Triple H reportedly watched his first match on camera and laughed at him. They also talked behind his back and felt he would never be a fan favorite. HKK and HHH also seemed to resent the fact that the crowd chanted for CM Punk and not DX when they did work with him as Tag Team captains in Philadelphia. While it may not have been a direct refused job by Michaels, it certainly caused a very slow rise to Punk's career.
10 Backstage Brawl To Tag Team Title Being Vacated
From May through July of '94, Stone Cold and HBK were the reigning Tag Team Champions. In the meantime, there were some harsh words being shared between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, including a “Sunny Days” comment made by Shawn that alleged that Bret might have been seeing Sunny on the side. This eventually led to a fight between Hart and Michaels which concluded with Michaels being complaining about an unsafe work environment. He again claimed he needed time off and it was rumored that he might not return, but as with every other time he left on these terms, he'd come back again. He would return again a short time after, but not before getting out of facing opponents for the title. It was not a direct refusal to do a job, but it still led to Michaels and Stone Cold vacating the titles, so yet again he got out of having to lose a title to someone else.
9 The Rock’s Indifference
In this case, it was not so much Shawn Michaels refusing to job to an opponent as it was his reputation and character catching up to him, as The Rock refused to enter a program with The Heartbreak Kid. Maybe it was his ties to Bret and The Montreal Screwjob that made The Rock hesitant to even try it out. Maybe it was because The Rock felt Shawn Michaels disrespected his grandmother before The Rock had even entered the WWE.
Most likely, it was his previous job refusals that caused The Rock to avoid a program with HBK. The Rock just never wanted to work with Michaels and despite the fact that it could have been one of the greatest matches in WWE history, The Rock's indifference along with Michaels background of consistently refusing jobs and finding ways to vacate titles made it one storyline that will never happen.
8 HBK and Owen Hart Feud
It seemed as though a new rivalry was set to take place in December of 97’ when Owen Hart made his return to the WWE and attacked Shawn Michaels during one of his matches. The attack came off as being pretty violent and it seemed the story behind the feud was for Owen to seek revenge for his brother Bret Hart, after Michaels involvement in the famous Montreal Screwjob incident. For whatever reason, the feud just went cold and the storyline switched to a Owen Hart vs Triple H story instead. The rivalry that had just begun, ended without notice. Some of the rumors circulating about the dropped story were that Shawn Michaels either did not want to work with Owen because he didn’t like his stiff style or that he was actually scared of Owen and worried he might really be out to get him after what he did to Bret.
7 Vader: Another Career Stomped Out By The Show Stopper
Vader was being pushed to be a new fan favorite and was set to win a match against Shawn Michaels to advance his career. To that point, he had crushed everyone in his path with an undefeated streak. Vader has stated in interviews that the original plan was for him to win the WWE Title in a match against HBK vs Vader at SummerSlam 1996. Once again, HBK came out on top. Not only did Shawn Michaels end up winning the match and retaining the title, but he also threw a tantrum during the match when Vader missed one of the moves. He was yelling and screaming at Vader and this is what lead to Michaels calling Vader stiff and refusing to work with him in the future. After Shawn blacklisted Vader, his career just seemed to fizzle out.
6 WUI: Working Under the Influence
Whether or not Shawn Michaels was actually supposed to be at WrestleMania X-Seven is not certain, but the rumor is that he showed up and was either supposed to be in a match or wanted to be. He was still retired around that time and the only question was if and how he would be worked into the PPV. The only problem was that when he showed up backstage, he was so messed up. on either pain pills or some other unknown substance. that he was turned away by both Vince and even told to leave by one of his best friends, Triple H. Later it was confirmed that this was the cause of the rift between Michaels and Triple H and they did not speak for a while after the incident. The one thing that is clear about this mess is that since he did show up, he probably would have been a part of the show had he been able to go into the ring.
5 HBK vs Stone Cold: Needed To Be Pushed To Do The Right Thing
The WrestleMania XIV match between HBK and Stone Cold Steve Austin was later described by Stone Cold in an interview as not being a great match. This time, Michaels back was definitely hurt and it was felt that his attitude was bad in that timeframe. There were also rumors circulating that he had become addicted to pain pills and would often show up impaired and barely able to function. There were also fears that he wouldn't drop the belt during the match. What made this such an unsure match was the recent lost smile and knee injury had not yet had time to blow over and yet he fought though this event with an evident, true injury. The controversy behind this match is that The Undertaker was apparently waiting near the curtain to ensure that Michaels did as he was supposed to and turned over the belt. Other wrestler have been reported mentioning that The Undertaker was tapping his fists in anticipation of Shawn backing out, but everything turned out as planned, yet still fans will always wonder what would have happened had he not gotten that extra push.
3 European Title Takeover
This one would have ranked higher on the list had it not been for Shawn losing his smile. In 1997, Davey Boy Smith, also known as The British Bulldog, was the European Champion and was set to face Shawn Michaels in his hometown of Birmingham, England at WWE One Night Only. All along, the plan was for Davey to retain the title, but Shawn Michaels had other plans for the match. Once again he didn’t want to lose and Vince played into the drama it would cause. At the last minute, there was a script change and Michaels ended up winning the belt. The fans were so upset by the match that they threw trash into the ring. Davey was so sure of retaining the title that he had dedicated the match to his sister who was ill, who was there at the time.
2 HBK vs Hulk: Legends Match or Joke?
Alright, this one isn't HBK's fault. In 2005, a feud was set to take place between Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels. Originally there was supposed to be a total of three matches, but they only ended up having one at SummerSlam. Each has their own story, but even though Shawn Michaels made the job look theatrical, it was not all his fault. The two had conflicting ideas on how the series should go, with Michaels wanting more of a legends type match and Hogan wanting a heel vs babyface match with himself as the hero. Hogan’s idea won out and Shawn proceeded with a string of gutsy promos that he claims he got approved by Hogan. Hogan admitted to backing out of the other matches, but mentioned that the promos had gone too far. Michaels being younger and more physically able felt he should have been set to win, or at least get a victory in a string of matches. Since this was not the plan, HBK made a mockery of the whole match flying about and exaggerating every move Hogan delivered.
1 Shawn’s Lost Smile: Injury or Job Refusal?
This was a strange incident and one that is still made fun of to this date. Michaels showed up on Raw with no notice to deliver a promo, before he vacated the WWE Title due to a serious knee injury and his lost smile. In reality, most fans and wrestlers seem to feel that he was trying to avoid returning the favor and dropping the belt to Bret Hart at the upcoming WrestleMania 13 event. He had a match the previous week, was fine, and had not suffered any injury. Michaels also returned shortly after, even though during his speech it was pushed to believe his injury’s were forcing him to possibly retire.
Not cool Shawn, not cool.