Today on the MWC Blog we're gonna be taking a look at each wrestler who have held the WWE Championship and I'll share you some information and whatnot regarding their reigns and my personal thoughts & opinions about them.
This is going to be a 2 Part series where in the first one we will take a look at the first 25 batch of champions in the WWE from The Original Nature Boy to The Game!
So without further ado, let's get on with the discussion!
Total Combined Day(s): 22
The inaugural champion is The Original Nature Boy: Buddy Rogers. Rogers won the title in a fictional tournament on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil defeating Antonino Rocca in the finals. Why I said fictional because that actually never happened!
In reality he was just simply awarded the title by Vince McMahon Sr. who he wanted to build his new wrestling company around the veteran Rogers, whom in his prime was one of the best grapplers in the world!
Unfortunately around this time Rogers is pass his prime already and injuries were catching up to him. He was just a shell of his former self if you will.
So just 22 days in his reign, he dropped the belt to a much younger and healthier: Bruno Sammartino who would become the proper face of the WWWF!
Total Combined Day(s) 4,040
In my opinion the greatest World Champion in the history of WWE is still none other than the Living Legend: Bruno Sammartino!
Not only is Bruno the longest reigning World Champion in history, 8 years as the WWWF Champion. He is the one who sets the bar for future World Champions to come! He is the standard on what a proper "poster boy" of a wrestling company is.
Bruno was loved by everybody from kids to adults, during his first reign he was synonymous with the WWWF Championship. He helped the company rise and become competition for the NWA during an era where television was just on it's infancy.
During his 2,803 day reign Bruno has managed to defeat many of the biggest legends and names in wrestling from the likes of Dr. Jerry Graham,Gene Kiniski,Bobo Brazil,Freddie Blassie,Gorilla Monsoon,etc.
Also during that first reign Bruno main evented the Madison Square Garden more than any other athlete (whether it's wrestling or other sports.) As he says MSG is like his second home!
In January 1971 he loss the belt to Ivan Koloff (which we will talk about more later about the impact of that title loss when we get to The Russian Bear himself.) After that Bruno took a short break in wrestling to spend some time with his family and rest his body. After all touring the world with the title for 8 years can get you banged up.
When Bruno had his comeback in 1973 he defeated Stan Stasiak for his second and final reign with the WWWF Championship and held it for 1,237 days. Not as long as his first one but still impressive nonetheless! This time he successfully defended the title to guys such as George "The Animal" Steele,Ernie Ladd,Ox Baker,and Nikolai Volkoff.
It was "Superstar" Billy Graham who had the honor this time of dethroning Bruno. A lot of younger audiences may not be familiar who Bruno is, so let me just put it this way: before Hulk Hogan or John Cena, there was first Bruno Sammartino.
Plus all this steroid talk these days, Bruno prides himself to never taking any form of steroids or drugs in his career even to this day at the age of 80 he maintains a healthy lifestyle and could still whoop anybody's ass! A true champion in every sense of the word!
Total Combined Day(s): 21
So earlier when we talked about Bruno Sammartino's first reign being ended by Ivan Koloff, the equivalent of that today is The Undertaker's WrestleMania streak being broken by Brock Lesnar.
But I think Ivan Koloff defeating Bruno for the WWWF Championship is even more impactful. For 8 years the fans are used to seeing Bruno successfully defend the title, then at that one night on January 18,1971 Koloff shocked and left the whole world in silence when he pinned Bruno!
And I'm not over exaggerating when I say he left people in silence because the initial reaction of the MSG crowd weren't to "boo" Koloff, but they were so shocked that the whole arena was in utter silence, Koloff even thought he became "deaf" due to the silence!
Riots would ensue afterwards and at that very moment, The Russian Bear is the biggest most hated villain in all of pro wrestling!
He was only a transitional champion of course as just 21 days later, Koloff would drop the belt to Pedro Morales. Why not just do Bruno vs Pedro you ask? Well Vince Sr. isn't a huge fan of babyface vs babyface match ups, those type of match ups aren't popular yet at the time so transitional heel champs like Koloff were often used.
Ivan Koloff may have only been a transitional champion, but boy what a great transitional champ he was! In his long 4 decade career, defeating Bruno for the WWWF Championship was still Koloff's biggest career highlight for me!
Total Combined Day(s): 1,027
When Bruno decided to take a break from wrestling, it was Pedro Morales who was deemed as the next top babyface of the company. In 1971 he defeated Ivan Koloff and began his reign as the new WWWF World Heavyweight Champion.
Just how over he was? Well I would say the same level as Daniel Bryan during his rise to the top. Pedro similar to Bruno was beloved by all the fans, plus he is a great wrestler too.
He also paved the way for Latino wrestlers in the WWE. If it wasn't for Pedro's success we wouldn't get to see guys like Eddie and Rey make it big time for the company. So far as of the writing of this blog, he is the first and only Puerto Rican WWE Champion in history!
Following Bruno's huge babyface run could be a hard task but Pedro managed to pull it off just fine, despite being already around his 40's during this run he still put on some good matches with other frequent heel contenders like George Steele and Freddie Blassie.
Pedro held the WWWF Championship for 1,027 days, still one of the longest reigns for the belt! In 1973 Pedro dropped the belt to Stan Stasiak who would later on drop the belt to a returning Bruno Sammartino.
He also made history by being the first "Triple Crown Champion" in the WWE by becoming WWE,Intercontinental,and Tag-Team Champion in his run with the company!
It's a shame nowadays that Pedro Morales barely gets mentioned by the WWE and even the fans. I'd say he deserves the same treatment as Bruno and should get a statue of his own!
Total Combined Day(s): 9
Stan "The Man" Stasiak is possibly the most forgotten WWE Champion of all time and I don't blame you, his only other claim to fame is being the father of Shawn Stasiak.
Stasiak was a similar heel to Ox Baker, his finisher is also the infamous "Heart Punch." He was the one who defeated Pedro Morales for the WWWF Championship in 1973 but just 9 days later would lose the belt to Bruno Sammartino who just made his comeback to the company!
Similar to Ivan Koloff, Stan Stasiak was also just used as a transitional champion, only this time he made a lesser impact. He's a decent heel I'd give him that and had a long career that spanned for nearly 5 decades.
But other than that Stan Stasiak's WWWF Championship reign is easily forgettable. When was the last time you heard his name on a WWE programming anyway?
"Superstar" Billy Graham
Total Combined Day(s): 296
"Superstar" Billy Graham I think is one of the most underrated WWE Champions of all time. I think if Buddy Rogers would have stayed healthy and wasn't pass his prime, this is what his reign would've looked like.
Billy Graham is the one who ended Bruno's 2nd reign as WWWF Champion. His World Title run was pretty fun, he played the role of a flamboyant heel perfectly and with The Grand Wizard as his manager, they were a phenomenal duo!
He has defeated a lot of the top babyfaces who tried to end his reign such as Dusty Rhodes,Ivan Putski,and Bobo Brazil. Graham & Dusty had a wonderful rivalry against each other!
Although he had a great run Graham was only champion for 296 days, that itself was a lengthy run but some fans think he could've went more longer. He dropped the belt to Bob Backlund whom Vince Sr. deemed as the one to fully replace Bruno Sammartino as the top babyface of the WWWF!
Graham would try to recapture the belt down the line but was never successful again.
Besides that, "Superstar" Billy Graham is one of the most influential wrestlers of all time! Due to his charisma and great mic skills, he has inspired the likes of many such as Hulk Hogan and Jesse Ventura! In fact the use of the word "brother" in promos originated from Graham.
I think if Graham had a longer reign, he could have been easily remembered as one of the greatest World Champions in WWE history on par with Bruno,Austin,and Hogan!
Total Combined Day(s): 2,138
Around the late 70's a new top babyface was being billed for the WWF and that is Bob Backlund!
As a successful amateur wrestler before turning pro, Backlund is one of the top technicians during his era! He managed to impressed Vince Sr. and made him the proper replacement for Bruno Sammartino as the new face of the WWF!
During his first reign Backlund managed to become the second longest reigning WWE Champion only behind Bruno with 2,135 days!
He faced off with old timers such as George Steele and The Wild Samoans as well as new up and coming wrestlers at the time like Hulk Hogan,Don Muraco,Bob Orton,and Adrian Adonis.
Backlund was able to carry the whole WWF behind his back, some say that the fans were split on him ala John Cena but from what I've seen throughout his matches during his first reign, they were mostly cheers rather than boo's.
He wasn't a flashy wrestler like Billy Graham but Backlund can definitely go at it in the ring with anybody! He is also an innovator, being the one who created the Crossface Chickenwing submission maneuver which he made a lot of opponents tap with over the years!
In the end when fans were really starting to phase out of Backlund, a certain man who likes to say his prayers and eat his vitamins was destined to be the next top star. But before that he would first drop the belt to The Iron Sheik in 1983 ending his historic first reign!
Years later in 1994 he would held the title for the second and last time defeating Bret Hart but 3 days later would drop the belt to Diesel. It's better forgotten really.
The Iron Sheik
Total Combined Day(s): 28
Similar to Ivan Koloff and Stan Stasiak, The Iron Sheik was also used as a transitional champion by ending Bob Backlund's long run as WWF Champion making him the first and only Iranian wrestler to hold the belt!
But just 28 days later Iron Sheik would lose the belt to the rising star that is Hulk Hogan thus giving birth to Hulkamania and the Rock N' Wrestling Era we are all fond of!
The Iron Sheik is one of the greatest heels ever and in my opinion the best wrestler to portray a foreign heel character. Him putting over Hogan was huge as the WWF is slowly being taken over by Vince McMahon Jr. and a whole new era of wrestling is upon us!
Total Combined Day(s): 2,185
When talking about the greatest WWE Champions in history there is no question that Hulk Hogan is easily in the Top 5 or dare I say even in the Top 3!
Love him or hate him, Hogan is the reason why WWE became a huge global phenomenon that it is today! He helped WrestleMania become a dream come true for Vince and just overall be the perfect poster boy of wrestling in his era!
Although his 6 reigns with the title has it's good and bad moments. Let's talk about them in order shall we?
Hogan's first reign is his longest and is officially the third longest reign in history with 1,474 days! As the World Champion Hogan defended the title all over the world whether it's in the US and even on NJPW!
A lot of his early contenders at the time were the likes of Roddy Piper,Paul Orndorff,Don Muraco,and Kamala. He successfully defended the title at WrestleMania 2 and 3 headlining both of those events against King Kong Bundy and Andre the Giant respectively.
Hogan vs Andre at WrestleMania 3 may not have been a technical masterpiece but it is one of the most important matches in WWE history and set the bar high for what a WrestleMania main event should truly feel like!
While he was able to defend the title against Andre in Mania 3, he wasn't able to do so at WWF The Main Event show in Indianappolis where with the help of Ted DiBiase, Hogan's long reign ended into the hands of his nemesis The Giant!
His second run would come a year later in 1989 defeating another one of his rivals "Macho Man" Randy Savage at the main event of WrestleMania 5 which is still one of the best matches of Hogan's career. After 364 days this time he loss to The Ultimate Warrior in a Champion vs Champion match at WrestleMania 6.
The Hulkster would get his third and fourth reigns with the belt in 1991 beating Sgt. Slaughter at WrestleMania 7 and The Undertaker on an episode of This Tuesday in Texas. His 3rd reign lasted for 248 days while his 4th only lasted 1 and was stripped off the belt due to some "controversy."
Speaking of controversy his 5th reign is one of the most discussed things about Hogan's career. When Yokozuna won the World Title from Bret Hart at WrestleMania 9, Hogan would challenge Yoko for the title mere seconds after the match and win the freaking belt right there and there! Said reign lasted for 70 days.
This would be Hogan's last run with the WWE Championship before leaving to WCW. His 6th and final reign occurred 11 years later as Hollywood Hulk Hogan beats Triple H for the Undisputed WWE Championship at Backlash 2002! He successfully defended the belt to Chris Jericho & Ric Flair but 28 days in he loss it to The Undertaker.
Andre The Giant
Total Combined Day(s): 1 minute, 48 seconds
Andre barely had a reign with the WWF Championship, in fact he still holds the record for shortest WWE Championship reign in history by only holding it for a whooping 1 minute and 48 seconds!!!
He won the belt at an episode of WWF The Main Event by defeating Hulk Hogan. Literally minutes after winning the belt he would "sell" the championship to Ted DiBiase.
President Jack Tunney didn't approved of these actions so he vacated the belt and held a tournament at WrestleMania 4.
"Macho Man" Randy Savage
Total Combined Day(s): 520
Randy Savage's first reign happened in WrestleMania 4 where he won the vacant WWF Championship in a tournament beating Ted DiBiase in the finals! He held it for a long 371 days and ever since Mania 4 the seeds were planted for the biggest rivalry of that era: Hogan vs Savage! The Mega Powers Explode!
He was one of the few workers that could really get the best out of Hogan, the two had an amazing title match at WrestleMania 5 which saw the end of Macho Man's first reign.
His second run while not as memorable as the first one did gave us another great WrestleMania match against Ric Flair on Mania 8. During that run Savage also had successful title bouts against Shawn Michaels!
149 Days later into Savage's second reign he would drop the belt to Flair and started his commentary career before leaving the WWF for WCW and never properly returned since.
While Macho Man did indeed have a great run with the belt especially his first reign, I think his run as Intercontinental Champion was more memorable in my opinion. Although if you ask me on who would be Top 10 Greatest WWE Champions he would certainly make that list!
As they say Hogan sold the shows but Savage stole them! One of the few shining gems in terms of in-ring skills during the peak of the Hulkamania Era.
The Ultimate Warrior
Total Combined Day(s): 293
WrestleMania 6 we had one of the most memorable Mania main events between WWF Champion Hulk Hogan and IC Champion Ultimate Warrior! Who would've thought that those two would deliver such a timeless classic?
The Ultimate Warrior was seen by Vince as the successor for Hulk Hogan. He defeated The Hulkster at WrestleMania 6 to become the new WWF Champion! It was seen by many as a "passing of the torch" moment as it was.
Although sadly despite The Warrior lasting as long as 293 days as WWF Champion, he didn't quite capture the level of fame Hogan achieved. Don't get me wrong a lot of the kids also loved Warrior but Hogan was still loved more, so he like many failed to be the "next Hogan" during that time.
Plus with Hogan really not going anywhere, it definitely affected Warrior's push. He loss the belt to Sgt. Slaughter whom at the time was the most hated man in all of wrestling! We'll get into that later.
Warrior did make history though as being the first double champion in WWE history when he won the World Title at Mania 6 while also still being Intercontinental Champion!
Total Combined Day(s): 64
As I've mentioned while talking about Warrior's title run he loss the belt to the most hated person at the time: Sgt. Slaughter!
When Sarge made his return from the AWA to the WWF he had a whole new persona. He was no longer the Patriotic American soldier we all knew and loved, he has betrayed his own country and now serves for Iraq and has allied himself with General Adnan and Colonel Mustafa to form The Triangle of Terror!
Jinder Mahal is receiving cuddles by the fans now in comparison to what Slaughter had to endure due to his controversial gimmick. Of course the tension between the USA and Middle East could not have been more higher in those days so Vince capitalized on that by turning Sgt. Slaughter heel and boy did it work!
He was receiving death threats left and right, whenever he goes to restaurants,malls,or any public places really, he has to have security for protection. That's how great of a heel and hated Sgt. Slaughter was!
Sarge was the one who took the belt off the failed experiment that was Ultimate Warrior. So who shall dethrone this dastardly anti-USA man? While who else than the most patriotic being in the world: Hulk Hogan of course!
So in a way Sarge was only a transitional champion to Hogan who was put back in the top because Warrior failed as the next top babyface.
He was a great transitional champion though, not only did his reign lasted longer than your usual transitional champs, he played his role perfectly and when Hogan finally defeated him at WrestleMania 7 it felt great for everybody... in the USA!
In fact they had to moved the venue of WrestleMania 7 to indoors due to aerial threats, that's how much nuclear heat Sgt. Slaughter was getting as if I haven't told enough! We maggots, salute your dedication Sarge!
Total Combined Day(s): 238
The Undertaker is one of those few individuals or characters in wrestling who never really needed a belt to be successful but the four times he won the WWE Championship, he still made it work!
He had his first out of four WWE Championship reigns in Survivor Series 1991 beating Hulk Hogan. But not even a week later he loss right it right back to The Hulkster! So not much to talk about there.
Taker would have another run with the WWF Title 6 years later beating Sycho Sid in the main event of WrestleMania 13. This time he held it for 133 days and successfully defended against the likes of Mankind and Vader.
He loss the title 5 months later to Bret Hart in SummerSlam. In 1999 he gained the title once again beating Steve Austin. The third reign lasted for 36 days and he would drop it back to The Texas Rattlesnake.
Undertaker's fourth and final run with the WWE Championship was in 2002 when he defeated Hollywood Hulk Hogan in Judgment Day and with a reign that lasted for 63 days before losing the belt to The Rock.
So I think we can all agree that none of Taker's WWE Title runs were particularly memorable. Like I said his character never really needed a championship to begin with, after all he already had the WrestleMania Undefeated Streak which is the biggest part of his career. Those World Title runs just added to his already great legacy.
Total Combined Day(s): 118
Ric Flair is noted by many (including yours truly) as the greatest wrestler of all time. He is also one of the best World Champions especially in terms of reigns. Whether it's 16 or 25 World Titles, that is still pretty damn impressive!
Although I think The Nature Boy is more synonymous with the NWA World Heavyweight Championship rather than the WWF World Title in my opinion.
He won his first WWF Title in an impressive way, gaining the vacant belt at the time by winning the Royal Rumble 1992 entering at No. 3! Which I still think is the greatest Rumble in history! His famous promo afterwards "With A Tear In My Eye" is one of the best Flair promos ever, and there's been many!
Flair's first run lasted for 77 days. He loss the belt to an impressive match against Randy Savage in WrestleMania 8! He would gain the title from Macho Man few months later in an episode of Prime Time Wrestling. His second reign was much shorter and only lasted for 44 days when he then dropped the title to Bret in a House Show.
So yeah despite being the G.O.A.T. Ric Flair didn't really have an impressive run with the WWF Title which is fine. I think just by having Ric Flair held the belt even more prestigious!
Total Combined Day(s): 654
Ric Flair may have had a dud run with the WWF Championship but here's a man who didn't. I consider Bret "Hitman" Hart as one of the greatest WWE Champions in history!
After a successful tag-team run with his brother-in-law Jim Neidhart as "Hart Foundation" Bret went on to become a massive singles superstar. His first reign was a shocker to everybody when he defeated Ric Flair in a House Show!
His first reign lasted for 174 days but ended in a crap show and I think we all know why. He got defeated by Yokozuna in WrestleMania 9 and not so long afterwards, Hulk Hogan beat Yoko for the belt! Very nice. (not really)
Bret would take back the belt in WrestleMania 10 after having fantastic classic matches with both Owen Hart and Yokozuna at the same night! The ending of this Mania where all the wrestlers celebrated with Bret in the ring as the new WWF Champion was always delightful to see! And would mark a new era for the WWF, concluding the days of Hulkamania.
Around this time wrestling is getting all kinds of controversy with the steroid scandal and the rise of WCW is beginning. He was able to carry the company behind his back and become the top star despite not being your typical "big man" like Hogan. It was his technical in-ring abilities that really impressed the fans.
Bret's second reign lasted for 248 days when he then dropped the belt shockingly to Bob Backlund in Survivor Series 1994! Who would literally drop the belt 2 days later to Diesel! A year later Bret would have his third reign with the belt beating Diesel in Survivor Series 1995.
This would then begin one of the greatest rivalries of all time time between Bret and Shawn where the two always had flawless matches against one another! One of the most notable ones was an Iron Man Match in the WrestleMania 12 main event where HBK won the title from Bret, which is still one of the greatest Mania main events of all time!
In 1997 Bret had his final two reigns with the WWF Championship and this time he has turned heel and became an "Anti-USA" Canadian and formed his group The Hart Foundation with Owen,Bulldog,Neidhart,and Pillman. His 4th reign only lasted for one day.
His 5th and final reign he won the title from Undertaker in SummerSlam 1997 and would end 98 days later into the infamous Montreal Screwjob at Survivor Series!
Total Combined Day(s): 280
Yokozuna was one of the greatest big men in wrestling history! Despite nearing to 500 pounds, he was very agile for such a heavyweight!
His first title "run" if you can even call it that was an embarrassment. After winning the title from Bret Hart in WrestleMania 9, seconds later he would get challenged by Hulk Hogan for some reason and loss the belt.
Yoko would get a second shot at the belt in King of the Ring 1993 beating Hulk Hogan. His reign lasted for 280 days which is pretty incredible for a heel champion! He had memorable matches and moments with the likes of Bret Hart and Lex Luger during said title reign.
At WrestleMania 10 Yoko would finally lose the belt at the main event to Bret Hart. Yoko played his role of a heel champion very well. Him and Mr. Fuji make a great duo together!
Fun Fact: He is the first Royal Rumble winner to get a title shot of his choosing at WrestleMania! Since then this has always been a tradition for all Royal Rumbles to come.
Total Combined Day(s): 358
Even though he held the belt for an impressive 358 days, Diesel is still the lowest drawing champion the company's history.
He first started out as a "cool heel" that everybody seemed to like but then turned babyface when he defeated Bob Backlund for the WWF Championship in a House Show.
Diesel was kinda treated what Roman Reigns is today only less hated. They tried to push him as a "traditional big man babyface" similar to Hogan but it just never worked, since the gimmick did not just fit him.
Plus we all know Kevin Nash is not exactly on the same level of Bret and HBK in terms of in-ring skills so he got more exposed as a subpar in-ring worker when he became WWF Champion.
Also being stuck on feuds with the likes of Mabel and Sid can only get you so far. He finally dropped the belt to Bret in Survivor Series 1995 and turned heel which he should have always been!
So yeah Diesel as WWF Champion isn't exactly as great as one might think it is. He did achieve another cool feat though and that is become the WWF,Intercontinental,and Tag-Team Champion in the span of one year!
Total Combined Day(s): 396
Similar to his old rival Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels started out as a tag-team wrestler in the WWF as well before transitioning into possibly the greatest singles performer in WWE history!
After a successful Intercontinental Championship run, HBK got his first WWF Championship at WrestleMania 12 after a hard grueling Iron Man match with Bret Hart! It is still one of the most iconic moments in wrestling history especially with Vince uttering the words "The boyhood dream has come true!"
HBK had good title matches with the likes of Vader and Mankind during his first run that lasted for 231 days. It ended at the hands of Sycho Sid who beat him for the title in Survivor Series 1996.
Few months later HBK would gain the belt back in his home town of San Antonio at the Royal Rumble but only held it for 25 days and was forced to vacate due to knee injury.
His third and final reign came along when he won the belt from Bret Hart in the infamous Montreal Screwjob incident. For me this incident is where the rise of the Attitude Era began and the likes of DX and Stone Cold became prominent figures in the WWF which would lead to the Monday Night Wars!
At WrestleMania 14 we had one of the greatest main events of all time as HBK got defeated by "Stone Cold" Steve Austin with Mike Tyson as one of the "guest enforcers." Despite suffering from a back injury, HBK delivered a great match and lived up to his nickname as "Mr. WrestleMania!"
After a while HBK took a hiatus from wrestling. He would ultimately have his comeback to the WWE in 2002 and wrestle there until his retirement in 2010 but he never won the WWE Championship again despite having some title shots here and there.
Total Combined Day(s): 97
With all due respect, in my opinion Sycho Sid is one of the most forgettable WWE Champions ever. He had two reigns with the belt that I did not just care about.
His first victory title win was in Survivor Series 1996 beating Shawn Michaels. It lasted for 63 days successfully defending against guys like The Sultan and Hunter Hearst Helmsley. He would drop the belt back to HBK in Rumble '97.
Sid's second and last reign with the belt is when he beat Bret Hart at an episode of RAW in February 1997. He main evented WrestleMania 13 with the belt but loss to The Undertaker.
Similar to Warrior and Diesel, Sid was seen as sort of the predecessor to Hulk Hogan due to him being a "good looking big guy" but it never worked. His in-ring skills are average,his promos are bad,and had an attitude problem.
A cool thing to note though that he only competed at WrestleMania twice and has been on the main event for both of them. His WWE Title runs though, nothing memorable about them at all.
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin
Total Combined Day(s): 529
I've said that Bruno Sammartino is the greatest WWE Champion of all time, possibly just behind him or not so far is "Stone Cold" Steve Austin!
WCW had Hollywood Hulk Hogan and the nWo and WWF's answer? "Stone Cold" Steve Austin! Ever since he did the Austin 3:16 promo, which in my opinion is still the most iconic promo in all of wrestling, Austin rose to superstardom and led the WWF throughout the Attitude Era!
Austin's first run with the WWF Title was beating Shawn Michaels in an amazing match at WrestleMania 14! With Mike Tyson raising his hand in victory after the match solidified Austin's position as the top main eventer.
His first run lasted for 91 days before dropping the belt to Kane in King of the Ring '98 but the next day later at RAW got it right back! The second run was 90 days and ended in vacancy after both Kane & Taker simultaneously pinned Austin in In Your House at a Triple Threat Match.
We had the first Mania match between Austin & The Rock at WrestleMania 15 which Stone Cold for the WWF Championship! Austin's third reign lasted for only 56 days but he did have impressive matches with Triple H,The Rock,and Undertaker this time. Speaking of Taker he was the one who ended his third reign.
Stone Cold got the belt back from Taker in an episode of RAW, this time he would held the belt for 55 days before losing it on SummerSlam in a Triple Threat Match between Triple H and Mankind which the latter won.
Two years later in 2001 Austin would get hold of the belt for the 5th time, with the help of arch-nemesis Mr. McMahon he beat The Rock at the greatest Mania of all time: WrestleMania X-Seven! This would be Austin's longest reign with the belt which lasted for 176 days!
He loss the belt at Unforgiven to Kurt Angle but just a few days later would win it back for his 6th and final reign. Stone Cold's final run with the belt lasted for 62 days before dropping it to Chris Jericho in Vengeance.
Austin's final match of his career would be at WrestleMania 19 in 2003 against his greatest in-ring rival ever: The Rock.
When the days of Hulkamania were over and the "New Generation" of Bret and HBK were dwindling down, it was Austin who took over as the top guy in WWF. Vince said it himself, Austin is the biggest draw in the history of his company!
Total Combined Day(s): 1
Remember when Kane was WWF Champion for ONE DAY? Yeah, he beat Stone Cold at King of the Ring '98 for the title and loss it right back to Austin the next day on RAW!
I wish that Kane could have had a longer run with the belt, he clearly could have been a dominant heel monster champion like Yokozuna! What a waste.
Oh well it's still longer than Andre's run at least.
Total Combined Day(s): 378
Before he became the big icon that he is today, Dwayne Johnson was first hated by the fans as a vanilla babyface 3rd generation wrestler "Rocky Maivia" it wouldn't be until when he returned from an injury as a heel and known as "The Rock" is when he got his proper start to superstardom!
The Rock has held the WWE Championship 8 times, the third most reigns with the belt! His received his first one at Survivor Series 1998 in a tournament. Him and Mankind would play "hot potato" with the belt but better than Charlotte and Sasha. Rock would held the belt 2 more times during his feud with Mankind.
In 2000 he defeated Triple H for the title at Backlash but only held the title for a few weeks before dropping it right back to The Game. His 5th reign was his longest at 119 days when he won it at King of the Ring 2000.
After 4 months The Rock loss the title to Kurt Angle in No Mercy 2000, he would gain it right back after a few months in No Way Out 2001. Just 35 days in with the reign he loss it to Stone Cold at their classic main event match at WrestleMania X-Seven!
Vengeance 2002 he won the belt in a Triple Threat Match against Undertaker & Kurt Angle. His 7th reign was only 35 days as well when he dropped the title to Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam on the same year!
After that The Rock would go on to become the biggest movie star ever before a decade later making his big return to the WWE! His 8th and final reign in Royal Rumble 2013 ending CM Punk's historic 434 day reign with the WWE Championship! Some people liked it, some people hated it!
The Rock's 8th and final reign was his second longest at 70 days when he dropped the belt to John Cena at WrestleMania 29 in their second match of a so-called "Once in a Life Time" affair.
When Stone Cold was sidelined due to injury in 2000, The Rock proved that he can be just as great of a champion and can be the top guy of the company! Some of his title reigns may be duds but he is still one of the (if not the most) biggest name in wrestling history so his legacy with the WWE Championship is always respected by many!
Total Combined Day(s): 47
Mick Foley's WWE Title reigns weren't extra ordinary long reigns like Bruno or Hogan had but they had moments that will never be forgotten by a lot of wrestling fans!
For the longest time Foley was never really seen as the "main eventer" that Austin and Rock were during the peak of the Monday Night Wars.
Everything changed though in an episode of RAW on December 29,1998 the underdog Mankind with a little help from "Stone Cold" Steve Austin defeated The Rock and became the new WWF Champion! Michael Cole in one of his greatest calls then said the famous lines: "Mankind has achieved his dream, and the dream of everyone whose been told, you can't do it!"
The kicker was this moment led to the victory of the WWF against WCW in the Monday Night Wars because Tony Schiavone spoiled the results on WCW programming about Mankind winning the championship since RAW was taped. What they thought was a master plan bit them in the ass as 600,000 people switched from WCW to WWF to watch Mankind win the title! WCW has never bounced back from the ratings war since.
Mankind's first reign itself wasn't that long, it only lasted for 26 days before he dropped it right back to The Rock in the Royal Rumble. He would win the belt right back 2 days later in an Empty Arena match a reign that lasted for 20 days.
His third and final reign was achieved in SummerSlam 1999 winning the title in a Triple Threat match against Stone Cold & Triple H. The next day on RAW he loss it to The Game.
Total Combined Day(s): 610
Triple H is tied up with Randy Orton with second most reigns with the WWE Championship. Throughout 1999 and 2000 he already had four reigns with the belt, the longest run lasting for 118 days!
Whether you like him or not, I think we can all agree that Triple H is a great all-around worker! Even before he married Stephanie, he was already destined for bigger things in the WWF!
His 5th reign was becoming the Undisputed Champion beating Chris Jericho in the main event of WrestleMania 18, although unfortunately they were overshadowed by the Hogan vs Rock match.
Hunter continued winning the WWE Championship in the 2000's. His 6th reign was an odd situation, at No Mercy 2007 Vince McMahon awarded the vacant WWE Championship to Randy Orton who would lose it to a match against Triple H. HHH would then successfully defend the title against Umaga but lose it to Orton who envoked his rematch clause all in the same night!
The 7th reign was his longest lasting for 210 days beating Orton in Backlash 2008. He loss the belt to Edge at Survivor Series in a Triple Threat match also involving Vladimir Kozlov. In 2009 he won the Elimination Chamber match to achieve the WWE Championship once again, this time held it for 70 days.
Hunter's final and most recent reign was winning the WWE Championship in the 2016 Royal Rumble! He would lose the title at the main event of WrestleMania 32 against Roman Reigns whom the crowd showered with boos!
Triple H is one of the most decorated champions in WWE history. Babyface or heel he can make it work, sometimes he does have his awful moments and title reigns but for the most part he is one of the greatest wrestlers and champions in WWE history!
Feel free to leave your own thoughts & opinions in the comments section down below.
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