8 Times Major WWE Champions Were Forced To Vacate Titles
5. Shawn Michaels Vacates WWE Championship Because He "Lost His Smile" - February 1997
Just as the Attitude Era was kicking in, the WWE was a pretty exciting place to be around. Stars like Bret Hart, Steve Austin and The Undertaker were beginning to make their mark with the company, but they weren't the champion at that time - Shawn Michaels was. However, a cruel twist of fate in February of 1997 forced Michaels to give up his championship in an incredibly memorable speech. He claimed a career threatening knee injury had forced him to undergo surgery and therefore vacate the WWE Championship. Speculation was rife over Michaels' actual reasons, but he memorably claimed he had "lost his smile" during that speech. A few days later, a match to determine the next champion was held between Hart, Austin, The Undertaker and Vader - which the Canadian won to become the new WWE Champion.