Hey Scott,People used to talk about the '98 HBK back situation as though he might use it as an excuse to drop the title a la IC '95. But recently, I heard Cornette give another spin on this: He faked the title change in order to retire and keep getting paid.NOW HEAR ME OUT ON THIS: Maybe HBK was, in fact, injured by the UT Casket but not to the extreme everyone thought. But HBK sees the landscape of WWE & realizes Austin is head over heels more popular than he is and there's no question that Vince is going with him. HBK knows what happens to Main Event wrestlers after losing their big blow-off feud, and decides instead just "retire" and keep getting main event money or even 1/2 main event money, which is still pretty sweet for not doing anything (maybe he even mentions to HHH how sweet Steph's ass is on the way out).Then, around '02, HBK gets saved, realizes it's kinda scummy to make money this way but doesn't feel like admitting to a huge fraud and, instead, decides to go back into wrestling.
Shawn has faked and lied about many things in his career, but he had a LOT of doctors backing up his decision to retire. Also, spinal fusion surgery is a bitch to fake.