Professional wrestling is all about earning the respect of your peers. The more respect you have from the boys, the power you ultimately have backstage. And the more power you have backstage, the more control you have on the outcome of your matches.
This facet of sports entertainment is littered with incidences of wrestlers refusing to lose a match for one reason or another. It could be down to personal animosity to their opponent, protecting their image or they just didn't like the plan that the boss had involved. The 80s wrestling boom was full to bursting with larger than life superstars refusing to lay down, with many a match ending with non-finishes so that neither man lost.
However, some cases of backstage politics, or the dreaded "creative control" card had massive detrimental effects on the people involved. A wrestler refusing to do right by the business has ground pushes to a halt, killed passion for the sport, or quite simply annoyed everyone in the back.
Being the biggest wrestling company in the world, incidents in WWE would have a wider effect on the wrestling landscape than something from AEW today or the waning years of WCW. These moments had lasting consequences for wrestlers, fans and WWE as a whole, and all that respect you earned throughout your career could be flushed away because of one selfish decision.
10. Shawn Michaels Refused To Lose To The British Bulldog - One Night Only 1997
At SummerSlam 1992, the British Bulldog defeated Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Championship in one of the greatest feel-good wins in all of wrestling, taking place in Davey Boy's home country of England. 5 years later, returning for the One Night Only PPV, WWF hoped to get a repeat with Bulldog once again winning in front of his biggest fans.
Only Shawn Michaels (and yes, this won't be the last time you're hearing that name) was standing in the way of that plan.
While a hometown win would generate the biggest pop, HBK, being in maximum-backstage-politic-mode, argued that the biggest story coming out of the event long term would be Michaels becoming the first ever WWF Grand Slam Champion; a wrestler who had held the WWF World, Intercontinental, Tag Team and European titles.
The higher ups agreed and Michaels was given the victory. The British Bulldog was the reigning European Champion, fighting in-front of the second hottest crowd he's ever had on his side, not to mention that his sister was in the front row, was battling cancer at the time and who Davey was dedicating the match to all contributed to another notch on Michaels resume which he didn't need.