When you enter the world of professional wrestling, the last thing talents should worry about are wins and losses. After all, those decisions are predetermined — it has nothing to do with what goes on inside of the squared circle. Somebody who always seemed to embrace this line of thinking was The Undertaker, who never had an issue putting a star over, because he always had the business's best interests in mind.
But sometimes, wrestlers take their on-screen characters personal. And in turn, they refused to lose matches for whatever reasons they deem necessary.
Throughout the history of the industry, there have been times where both men and women have flat out refused to let their opponents beat them for their championships. Reasons range from hatred between the two talents, to issues with the booking committee, to better contract offers elsewhere, to not making sense in storyline, and everything in between.
From top stars to undercard acts, wrestlers have used their pull to keep their championships or drop them to others that they feel are more deserving. Let’s take a look at 15 of these situations and see which wrestlers, for one reason or another, refused to lose their championships.
15 Alundra Blayze Refuses To Lose To Anyone
Before the WWE had to change their Divas division to the Women’s Revolution, there was a long lineage of strong female talent that competed in the company. In the early-to-mid 1990s, many believed that Alundra Blayze was the cream of the crop. A gifted in-ring talent with great looks to boot, it was obvious why Vince McMahon put her as the top star of the women’s division.
After winning the WWE Women’s Championship for the third time in three years, financial issues led to her release from the company. While McMahon stripped her of her championship title, he never physically received the belt back. Instead of having her lose to another wrestler, Blaze went back to her Madusa moniker, signed with WCW, and put the championship in the trash on live television. While she burned almost every WWE bridge she had, Blaze returned to the company in 2015 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
14 Rey Mysterio Refuses To Lose To Dolph Ziggler
From its inception up until the early 2000s, the WWE Intercontinental Championship was viewed as a workhorse title, one that was given to the best pure wrestlers in the company and wrestlers who were on the cusp of the main event picture. Ever since that time, the company has tried to revitalize their prestigious title from time and time again, but to no avail. Veterans Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio did their best to boost up the Intercontinental Championship back in 2009, resulting in an entertaining and action packed months-long feud on Smackdown.
But once the program ended, Vince McMahon wanted Mysterio to lose his belt to Dolph Ziggler in a match with little build. Because of this, Mysterio refused to lose the title and instead defeated Ziggler in back-to-back pay per views. It wasn’t necessarily Mysterio being selfish or not wanting to lose to Ziggler — he just believed that he did a strong job in trying to elevate the championship and didn’t want it to change hands without a proper build.
13 Chyna Refuses To Lose To Lita
Back in 2001, Chyna was on the downswing of an impressive career — one that saw her receive many opportunities that no other female had before her, including wrestling in the Royal Rumble match, competing in the King of the Ring Tournament, and winning the Intercontinental Championship, amongst others. Before she departed from the company completely, Vince McMahon asked her to complete one more task: lose her Women’s Championship to Lita in a passing of the torch type of moment.
Unfortunately for Lita, Chyna outright refused to do the job. For one reason or another, The Ninth Wonder of the World was having a tough time with her co-workers (including Trish Stratus, Molly Holly, and Ivory) and Lita was the next in the line of women Chyna wasn’t fond of losing to. Although the finish was going to involve an interference from Eddie Guerrero, she ended up holding onto the Women’s Championship at Judgment Day 2001 and vacated her title soon thereafter.
12 Shawn Michaels Refuses To Lose To Dean Douglas
After revitalizing his career as a main event talent in ECW, Shane Douglas re-signed with the WWE and was brought in as Dean Douglas, a character that portrayed a teacher that would give out grades and talk down to opponents. After debuting with a good amount of fanfare, Douglas came out on top in a feud against Razor Ramon, which elevated him into a program with Shawn Michaels for the Intercontinental Championship.
Douglas, however, would be disappointed, as Michaels decided that he didn’t want to lose to Douglas. While the two were supposed to face off for the title at In Your House 4, Michaels instead said he couldn’t compete due to being legitimately beat up by marines in Syracuse, New York. Douglas was awarded the title on the show but was immediately matched up against Razor Ramon. To make matters worse, Douglas lost the belt to Ramon, ending his reign in 11 minutes. It wasn’t before long that Douglas made his way back to ECW.
11 Jeff Jarrett Refuses To Lose To Chyna
Earlier in the countdown, we highlighted how Chyna didn't want to lose her Women’s Championship to Lita. But it was only two years prior that she was on the other end of the controversy, as Jeff Jarrett wanted no part in losing the Intercontinental Championship to a female.
In the fall of 1999, Jarrett would enter a program with Chyna — but at the same time, head writer and friend Vince Russo jumped ship to WCW to become the head of their creative department. Because the two were close friends at that time, Jarrett planned to join the company as well. While Vince McMahon told Jarrett he’d have to lose on his way out, he refused because he was no longer under WWE contract. The two sides worked on an agreement, with Jarrett receiving $300,000 to work the match against Chyna. While he did lose the Intercontinental Championship match at No Mercy, it’s hard to imagine that the act of extortion will ever allow him to return to WWE again.
10 Shawn Michaels Refuses To Lose To Vader
Back in the mid-1990s, Vader joined the WWE and was given an immediate push to the top of the card. That decision wasn’t a surprise, as he was a wrestling star all over the globe, including with WCW and in Japan as well. Getting Vader was a huge coup for Vince McMahon and it was only a matter of time before he captured the WWE Championship.
That was the plan — unfortunately, however, Shawn Michaels and his politicking tendencies got in the way of things. The duo started a program during the summer of 1996, which resulted in a WWE Championship match at SummerSlam of the same year. Vader was originally chosen to take the title from Michaels, but The Heartbreak Kid didn’t appreciate how stiff Vader worked in their earlier matches and was able to change McMahon’s mind. The loss impacted Vader’s stance in the company and he was never able to regain his stock in the WWE.
9 Hulk Hogan Refuses To Lose To Bret Hart
While Shawn Michaels and his Kliq members are recognized as the biggest backstage politicians in wrestling, Hulk Hogan wasn’t shy about throwing his star power behind the scenes either. That was never more obvious than in 1993, as Hogan — who was clearly on the downswing of his career — defeated Yokozuna for the WWE Championship in an impromptu match after the behemoth beat Bret Hart for the belt in the main event.
From there, the plan was for Hogan to lose to Hart in a passing of the torch moment in August at the SummerSlam event. Instead, Hogan thought that Hart didn’t have the size, nor did he believe he was over enough with the audience. Fortunately for Hart, he was eventually put into position as the face of the company without Hogan’s help. Either way, it would’ve been an even bigger moment if he was able to climb the top of the WWE mountain by toppling Hogan.
8 Stone Cold Steve Austin Refuses To Lose To Triple H
We’ll preface this part of the list by saying that there are still some rumors surrounding this story. Back in the summer of 1999, Stone Cold Steve Austin was starting to feel the side effects of his '97 neck injury and was going to need time off in the very near future. At the same time, Triple H was being built as the top heel in the WWE, with many believing a championship win was on the horizon. Although it was originally booked to be a one-on-one match between the two at SummerSlam, Mankind was eventually added to the contest.
On one hand, many have stated that Austin didn’t believe Triple H was “over enough,” thus losing the title to him wouldn’t mean that much. On the other hand, it was rumored that Jesse “The Body” Ventura — who was tabbed as the Special Guest Referee — thought it was a bad optic to be the Governor of Minnesota and raise the hand of a heel. Either way, Mankind walked away as champion and lost the title to Triple H the next night on Raw is War.
7 Shawn Michaels Refuses To Lose To Bret Hart
No, this isn’t wrong: Shawn Michaels is on the list for the third time, which means there were three different occasions that he didn't want to lose his title to someone else. This one, however, was the biggest, as he was supposed to return the favor against his longtime rival, Bret Hart. After the two Hall of Famers put on an all-time classic at WrestleMania XII, the plan all along was for a rematch at the following WrestleMania.
But as it says on the back of the ticket, the card is subject to change. In February of 1997, Shawn Michaels cut his infamous “I lost my smile” promo, which also included a tidbit that he had to give up his WWE Championship due to a knee injury that threatened his career. Michaels, of course, was told by one doctor that his injury was serious but another said he just needed time off. Instead of the rematch, Michaels stayed off the WrestleMania card altogether while Hart helped mold Stone Cold Steve Austin into a superstar.
6 Bret Hart Refuses To Lose To Shawn Michaels
It was only a matter of time before Bret Hart got back at Shawn Michaels. After wrapping up his feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Hitman went into a feud with The Undertaker for his WWE Championship, one that Hart captured at SummerSlam in 1997. Despite being the champion, Vince McMahon encouraged Hart to speak to WCW with the hopes that he could receive a contract offer that was greater than the WWE could afford.
In what is now an infamous moment in professional wrestling history, Hart not only signed a three-year deal with WCW but also refused to lose the championship to Michaels at Survivor Series, which was also his final night. While he has claimed he didn't want to lose in Canada due to it being his home country, many saw it as retribution for what took place months prior. Of course, McMahon ended up legitimately ringing the bell despite Hart not tapping out, which became known as The Montreal Screwjob.
5 Triple H Refuses To Lose To Rob Van Dam
After Triple H didn’t get what was supposed to be his in 1999, he ended up on the other side of the situation in 2002. When Vince McMahon bought out both WCW and ECW in 2001, there were many stars from both companies that failed to grab the attention of the WWE Universe. With that being said, Rob Van Dam wasn’t one of them; from the day he stepped foot in the company, he was one of the most popular stars on the roster.
In 2002, RVD’s popularity was at an all-time high with many believing he’d be the WWE World Heavyweight Champion in due time. Unfortunately, however, his rise came at the same time as Triple H’s Reign of Terror at the top of the RAW card. While the duo faced off on a couple of occasions, Triple H had persuaded Vince McMahon that Van Dam wasn’t ready to be the face of the company, thus changing directions and keeping the belt for himself.
4 Ric Flair Refuses To Lose To Lex Luger
By all accounts, Ric Flair was as professional as they came throughout his wrestling career. Despite being considered one of the all-time greats, he was oftentimes seen getting pinned, nearly as much as he was pinning opponents. There was one time, however, that he didn’t want to do a job — and it was because of backstage politics more than anything else.
In 1991, WCW President Jim Herd told Ric Flair he not only needed to change his name and character but also had to take a pay cut. As the Heavyweight Champion, Flair refused to change up his style, which resulted in Herd telling the Nature Boy he had to lose his championship to Lex Luger despite telling Sting he was going to receive a run with the title. Flair not only refused to lose to Luger, but because he owned the Big Gold belt, he brought it with him when he jumped ship to the WWE.
3 Triple H Refuses To Lose To Booker T
Remember when it was stated that The Alliance failed to feature any true stars that were making their debuts in the WWE for the first time? Well if Rob Van Dam was the top talent from ECW, Booker T earned the same distinction from WCW. From the time he stepped foot into the company, he carried himself — and later earned a spot — as a main event talent. It looked like his crowning achievement was going to take place in 2003 as he entered a feud with Triple H during WrestleMania season.
But just like what happened to Van Dam happened to Booker T. Despite being the clear-cut favorite to defeat Triple H for his World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XIX, a feud that featured racial undertones ended in utter disappointment. Not only did Triple H pin Booker T clean in the middle of the ring, but to add salt to the wound, he took an unprecedented and embarrassing amount of time to pin Booker T after hitting The Pedigree.
2 Honky Tonk Man Refuses To Lose To Macho Man Randy Savage
Back in the late 1980s, The Honky Tonk Man was a staple in the WWE and had a strong and lengthy run with the Intercontinental Championship. Vince McMahon’s plan was for the Honky Tonk Man to lose his championship against the Macho Man Randy Savage to change the Intercontinental Title scene but the reigning champion refused. At first, it was a disappointment for Savage — but McMahon repaid him in a major way.
While the WWE Championship Tournament at WrestleMania IV was supposed to be the Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase’s crowning moment in the WWE, McMahon decided to put the championship on Savage because he didn’t capture the Intercontinental Championship. While it was an unfortunate change of events for DiBiase, rewarding Savage with the WWE Championship gave the company one of the biggest stars of that generation.
1 Bruno Sammartino Refuses To Lose To Anyone
When you think of Bruno Sammartino, two things always come to mind — he was one of the original stars of the WWE and his 4,040 days spent as WWE Champion over two separate reigns. When looking back at that time, many question how the WWE could be so heavily invested in one wrestler; although he was a superstar before superstars were a thing, he also refused to put anyone over because he believed no one could beat him in a real fight.
Despite going up against all-time greats like Killer Kowalski, Gorilla Monsoon Ernie “The Cat” Ladd, and George “The Animal” Steele, amongst others, he remained champion. While his first reign was ended by Ivan Koloff, his second stint as champion concluded because Sammartino was suffering from a broken neck, on top of other injuries.
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