The WWE Championship is the most prestigious prize within WWE. The title holder becomes the company’s face and top draw.
This is the highest honor that any WWE star can receive. Many wrestlers have had the honor of holding and winning the championship over the years. Some titles lasted only a few days or weeks, but some lasted well over 6 years. Let’s take a look at the top 10 WWE Champions of all time:
10. Bret Hart, “The Hitman”
Bret Hart was left with huge shoes after Hulk Hogan’s departure from the company. He did not disappoint. He became the face of the New Generation, and won 5 WWE Championship titles. His reign as the WWE Champion lasted well over 200 days.
Bret Hart was well-known for his outstanding matches. Most of them were 5-star classics. The most notable example of this being his Iron Man match against Shawn Michaels. Many believed that The Hitman could not have a bad match. They would probably be correct.
9. Bob Backlund
Bob Backlund is a superstar that deserves to be on this list. He was the longest-reigning WWE World Champion. His title run lasted for 2135 days.
Bob defeated Ric Flair and won his title defense. He retained the WWE Championship for approximately 6 years. Many of his matches ended in time-limit draws.
8. Shawn Michaels
The legendary title run of The HeartBreak Kid began at WrestleMania 12. He defeated Bret Hart in a 60 minute Iron Man match. He has defended the WWE World Championship for 241 consecutive days, beating Vader, Diesel and The British Bulldog.
Although HBK wasn’t the most popular wrestler in the world, he proved that even a faster and lighter guy could be just as appealing as the stars like Diesel and The Undertaker. He was able to overcome a lot of competition during his title run, which earned him a spot on this list.
7. Triple H
The Game had one the most dominating championship runs. He defended his title against high-caliber wrestlers like Edge, John Cena and Randy Orton. Triple Hwo won the WWE Championship 9 times.
He also won notable victories against Jeff Hardy and The Great Khali, which established him as one the greatest WWE Champions ever.
6. The Rock
The Rock was hated when he started his career as a babyface. He became so beloved that everyone in the WWE Universe loved him after he turned heel.
The Rock was known for his ability to use the microphone, where he roast about anyone in the business. His longest reign as a WWE Champion lasted just 119. Although it wasn’t a long run, The People’s Champ was able to take down some of the most prominent WWE stars such as John Cena, Triple H, and The Undertaker in just 6 years.
5. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
Although he is considered one of the most beloved WWE Superstars, the Texas Rattlesnake’s reign as champion was much shorter than other members. His short title reign earned him a high ranking spot on the list due to the talent he defeated.
Although a heel, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was almost an antihero. He was a big hit wherever he went, even though he did things that weren’t right for babyfaces. His long-standing rivalry with Vince McMahon is what made him most famous.
4. CM Punk
CM Punk’s reign as WWE Champion was one of the most memorable in history. It set the bar for the current title reigns. He defeated John Cena twice to win the championship, and he has held onto the title for 434 days, a record.
He defended his title against a multitude of WWE superstars during his reign. Brock Lesnar eventually broke his record. But, Lesnar’s title defenses are far more impressive than the number of title defenses Punk received during his reign.
3. John Cena
John Cena is most well-known for his reign as WWE Champion from 2006 to 2007. In a TLC match, Edge defeated him to win the title for the first time. He has successfully defended the title against Bobby Lashley and Shawn Michaels.
Technically, Cena has never lost the title. Cena was injured and had to give up the title. His reign would have been much longer if he hadn’t suffered an injury.
2. Bruno Sammartino
Bruno Sammartino is the man who held the longest reign of the WWE Championship. He was the first to hold the WWE Championship.
Bruno was the face and spokesperson for the company for 9 years. He also held the title for 7 years. In today’s WWE, this record is almost impossible to beat. He had many successful defenses during his reign against Killer Kowalski and Freddy Blassie. All fell to Bruno Sammartino, the “unbeatable”.
1. Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan was possibly the most famous wrestler of all time. He was also the company’s biggest draw during his tenure. His 1474-day reign as the longest title holder lasted. During that time, he was able to defend it against many of the top talent in the company.
Hulk Hogan was also never defeated in a fair fight. During his title run, he defeated legends such as Greg Valentine, Andre The Giant and Rick Rude.