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August 18, 1996

Shawn Michaels vs. Vader w/ Jim Cornette for the WWE Championship

Shawn Michaels had achieved his boyhood dream at WrestleMania earlier in the year when he defeated Bret "Hit Man" Hart for the WWE Championship in a grueling 60-minute WWE Iron Man Match that went into overtime. Michaels had risen from a tag team specialist, to an Intercontinental Champion, to a WWE Champion, but he had never faced a man as imposing as Vader.

Vader will go down as one of the most physical and hard-hitting Superstars in sports-entertainment history, so HBK had to use his speed and agility to allude the monster. Michaels was able to stay out of harms way early, but Vader eventually caught him and powerbombed him to the floor. drastically turning the tables. Vader continued to punish Michaels, and almost anyone else would have been ripe for the pickings.

The action spilled to the outside where Vader mercilessly pounded the Showstopper. Vader was able to get back to the ring, while the referee counted out Michaels. Vader's manager, Jim Cornette, was not satisfied as the Championship cannot change hands via count-out, so he opted to have the match restarted. Michaels made a comeback and hit the flying elbow drop. Unable to score a pin at this point, Michaels used Cornette's tennis racket, earning a disqualification. Still unhappy with the outcome of the match, Cornette had the match restarted yet again. After enduring another elbow drop and Sweet Chin Music, Vader was able to come back with a powerbomb, and then went up top for a Moonsault. The big man missed, however and Michaels was able to capitalize and finally put away Vader to retain his WWE Championship.

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