With its storied history, the holder of the WWE Championship and its derivatives (the World Heavyweight Championship) and subsidiaries (the Universal Championship) is the bearer of wrestling's most prominent prize.
From Bruno Sammartino's legendary eight-year run with the title throughout the 1960s to CM Punk's contemporary classic reign as Champion from 2011-2013, a tenure as WWE champion is perhaps the most sought-after position in wrestling.
However, even the greatest of title reigns have to come to an end.
While losing it fairly - clean in the middle - is the classic conclusion to ensure a new champion begins their reign with credibility, sometimes an angle demands a different manner of relieving a champion of their title.
Whether being unjustly stripped of the championship, selling your strap to a private investor or being forced into retirement due to injury, there have been numerous instances of title reigns ending without the incumbent champion legitimately losing their title throughout pro wrestling's illegitimate history.
Here are ten such instances of WWE champions losing their crown contrary to expectation.