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WWE and World Heavyweight Championship Vacancies


9/7/08: The Punt That Led to A WrestleMania Match in 2011

Photo of CM Punk: Gaye Gerard/Getty Images

At Unforgiven 2008, the World Heavyweight Championship was going to be up for grabs in a Scramble Match. A few minutes before the match, Randy Orton punted World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk in the head which lead to Punk having to miss the match. He was replaced by Chris Jericho who won the vacant title by beating Batista, Rey Mysterio, Kane, and JBL.

6/9/09 - 6/15/09: The Viper Strikes

Photo of Randy Orton: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Batista won the WWE Championship from Randy Orton in a Steel Cage Match at Extreme Rules 2009. The following night, he was attacked by Orton and suffered a torn left biceps injury which forced him to vacate the title the next day. On the following episode of Monday Night RAW, Orton won the title when he beat Triple H, John Cena, and the Big Show in a Fatal 4-Way Match.

4/15/11 - 5/1/11: Edge Is Forced to Retire

Photo of Edge: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

The day after successfully defending the World Heavyweight Championship against Alberto Del Rio at WrestleMania XXVII, Edge took an MRI. A week later, Edge was forced to announce his retirement due to a neck condition he has been dealing with and doctor's refusing to ever medically clear him to wrestle again. A Ladder Match between Christian and Alberto Del Rio was held at Extreme Rules 2011 to crown a new champion.  Christian won the title thanks to the help of Edge.

7/18/11 - 7/25/11: The WWE Championship is Punked

Photo of Rey Mysterio: Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

CM Punk entered Money in the Bank 2011 with a WWE contract that was going to expire at midnight. Despite his best efforts, Vince McMahon could not get CM Punk to sign a new contract. Vince said that Punk was an ingrate while Punk was angry that the company misused him for years and never made a commemorative cup with his likeness on it. CM Punk won the title from John Cena in one of the greatest matches in WWE history and left the arena with the title. The following night, the first two rounds of an 8-man tournament were held to crown a new champion.  The following week, Rey Mysterio beat the Miz in the final round of the tournament to win the title. By the time the show ended, Rey had lost the title to John Cena and CM Punk returned to the company after an eight-day retirement.

9/16/13 - 10/27/13: Face of the WWE

Photo of Daniel Bryan: Angela Weiss/Getty Images

WWE COO Triple H did not want Daniel Bryan to be the face of the company and went out of his way to make sure he wasn't.  At SummerSlam 2013, Triple H cost Daniel Bryan the WWE Championship and for the next month made his life a living hell. Daniel Bryan wound up winning the WWE Championship at Night of Champions 2013 but Triple H stripped him of the title the following night because of a fast three count made by the referee. A match between Orton and Byran to fill the vacancy at Battleground 2013 resulted in a no contest.  Three weeks later another rematch was held at Hell in a Cell 2013.  In their Hell in a Cell Match, Special Guest Referee Shawn Michaels gave his former student the Sweet Chin Music that resulted in Randy Orton winning the title.

6/9/14 - 6/29/14: Being Injured Isn't Best for Business

Valerie Macon/Getty Images
Daniel Bryan was stripped of the title after being unable to defend it due to neck surgery.  After he refused to hand the title over to Stephanie McMahon, she stripped him of the belt and announced that the winner of the Money in the Bank Match will become the next WWE World Heavyweight Champion.


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