We have reached the end of this little journey and with it comes the biggest prize in the WWE, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. This is a prestigious title that has gone back decades of history, being held by some of the greatest wrestlers in the business. Some of them, had memorable, and historic reigns… Then there are others, like today’s list that did not accomplish such a feat. It has been a long time coming, but before we finish this off with the best champions, let’s count down the Top Ten Worst WWE Champions of All Time!
10. Jeff Hardy
Oh Jeff Hardy. This guy could have been so much more in this industry if it wasn’t for his constant drug problems. The guy is already a legend, a World Champion in TNA and WWE, he is a Tag Team legend, and yet he will always be remembered as a guy who could have been so much more if he wasn’t constantly battling drug problems. Hardy could have been a World Champion on par with Edge, but alas it was never meant to be.
Jeff Hardy’s only WWE Championship reign came during a feud with Edge. He won the belt from The Rated R Superstar and held the belt for a month before dropping it back to him. It was forgettable and just stands as a testament to what occurred and what could have been.
9. Sycho Sid
Sycho Sid makes it on this list for no other reason than the fact that he is so damn forgettable. Sid’s reigns came at a time when WWE was in a massive downward spiral and losing the Monday Night Wars badly to the WCW. Not to mention, it also came at a time when more colorful main eventers like Kevin “Diesel” Nash, Shawn Michaels, and Bret Hart were in the spotlight.
Sycho Sid’s claim to fame is horrendous mic skills and two title reigns. One to break up Shawn Michael’s first two title reigns and the other where he would lose the belt in a horrendous match with The Undertaker at Wrestlemania XIII. Because of this, Sycho Sid’s spot on this list is more than justified.
8. Sgt. Slaughter
Sgt. Slaughter will be forever remembered by the WWE Universe as the patriotic flag waver that stirred the American Spirit in even the most cynical of people. However, his single WWE Championship reign is typically glossed over when anyone talks about it. The reason for that, is because during the feud with Hulk Hogan, Slaughter was playing an Iraqi sympathizer to get some nuclear heat from the WWE fans.
While the gimmick was over, Slaughter’s reign only lasted 64 days before he dropped the belt to Hogan at Wrestlemania VII. The gimmick is now looked on with rather distasteful eyes by the history books and the reign has primarily been forgotten. Thankfully, for the benefit of Slaughter himself.
7. Stan Stasiak
Let’s talk about a classical wrestler here. Stan “The Man” Stasiak is a funny little case. If you look at the first few WWE Champions, you will see some familiar names like Pedro Morales and Bruno Sammartino. But in between the two was an eight-day title reign that just seems a wee bit out-of-place.
Stan Stasiak may be one of the first instances in the WWE of a transitional champion, meant only to get the title off of one wrestler and pass it on to the next so that nobody has to swap their face/heel persona. In between Morales and Sammartino’s 1000+ reigns, we have the little Stasiak who was able to pass the belt between the two effortlessly. He took his marching orders well and as such will always have a place in history as one of the first WWE Champions… He wasn’t a good one, but he is still there.
For those of you who read my list on the Best and Worst WWECW Champions, then you will already know that the majority of this story is a tragic case of circumstance. Rob Van Dam is one of those wrestlers who should have been a lot more in the WWE than what he ended up being. He is, by far, one of the greatest ECW attractions of all time, but his time in WWE is a mixed bag of poor random happenstance and Triple H burying his competition so that he could rule the roost as the number one guy in the WWE.
Rob Van Dam won the WWE Championship belt from a red-hot John Cena at WWE’s ECW One Night Stand. He cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and had a match at the Hammerstein Ballroom. What this was meant to do was to create a new ECW Champion, thus reinvigorate the brand, and have RVD rule the world for sometime. However, as fate would have it, RVD was caught with Sabu in possession of marijuana, and with that he dropped the WWE and ECW Championship faster than you could say the name of the titles. RVD held the championship for 22 days before dropping it to Edge, he would then go on a very lengthy suspension period of which his career was never able to recover. He never sniffed the Championship again.
One of the greatest in the industry, Kane has been one of those wrestlers who has been rather selfless. He has often pushed other people to the top and has seldom taken the spotlight for himself. Because of this, Kane tragically only has one WWE Championship reign under his belt, (not counting the World Heavyweight reigns of course) and it was a one day reign that occurred primarily due to a bad spot.
Fresh off of his big win at Wrestlemania XIV, Stone Cold Steve Austin was so over that buildings would register on the Richter Scale from the pure ovations that he received. He was the most popular figure for several years while he was on top of the business and enjoying his first WWE Championship reign to boot. Then came the First Blood Match at King of the Ring. By all accounts, this was not meant to be a championship turn… However, as the rules of a first blood match dictate, the wrestler who begins to bleed first is the loser of the match. Due to a bad spot, Austin got busted open and the WWE had no choice but to have the title change hands to Kane, who immediately dropped it to Austin the following night on Raw. It was a championship reign with a bit of a story behind it, but it does land the Big Red Machine at number 5 on this list.
4. Andre the Giant
Oh, people are going to hate me for this. Andre the Giant’s single less than one day title reign is often overlooked by fans. Seeing as how it is Andre the fucking Giant and is beloved wrestling lineage, people tend to not put this on the Worst Reigns list among the internet. But I am sorry, if we are judging purely on title reign and not the wrestler’s legacy, this reign needs to be on the list AND HIGH.
Andre the Giant’s single title reign came during The Main Event I in 1988 when he defeated Hulk Hogan and ended the Hulkster’s 1474 day title reign. After losing the title, he immediately sold it to Ted DiBiase in a classic heel move. President Jack Tunney immediately nullified the reign and the belt became vacant, later to be won by Randy Savage.
The reign was meant to be a ‘thank you for your service’ to Andre, who had done so much for the company and whose larger than life persona was enough that he did not need a world title to do him justice. But to have the belt and immediately sell it to Ted DiBiase just tarnished the belt’s reputation and did not look good for any of the parties involved. All around poor decisions.
For those of you who are irritated that nobody is getting pushed to be main event attractions in the WWE today, allow me to point a couple of years back when the WWE were so desperate to churn out a new champion that they were quick to put the belt on a number of people such as Sheamus, CM Punk, Alberto del Rio, and Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler in the World Heavyweight title bracket. Now, I am one to quickly claim that Del Rio and Sheamus’s reigns were amazing, CM Punk’s was groundbreaking, and the other two sucked out loud. But out of all these wrestlers, none was pushed harder or loathed more for their reign now than Mike “The Miz” Mizanin.
The former Real World/Tough Enough alumnus, The Miz’s WWE Championship reign is so baffling that you just scratch your head at its existence. In a way, it was rather solid in that his reign did generate some pretty hardcore heat against the guy. But whether or not the heat was legitimate or it was “X Pac Heat” is the reason that Miz lands at number 3.
You see, out of all of those newcomers to hold the WWE Strap, Miz was the guy who just didn’t make a lot of sense. He always felt like the solid midcard act. He was that guy who would go on to be remembered fondly for his IC Championship reigns and solid midcard performances instead of the main event. A guy like Ken Shamrock, The Big Boss Man, Kofi Kingston, and so forth. But nope, he got the championship and even went over in the main event of Wrestlemania. Overall the crowd did not boo him because he was being a good heel and they wanted to see him lose, they booed him because they were sick of seeing him, and primarily it was Michael Cole who was able to get The Miz over more than the Miz himself. It is one of those controversial reigns and the history book may see it different in the future. But for now, The Miz will remain at Number 3.
2. Rey Mysterio
Once again, Rey Mysterio finds himself on the worst list. Mysterio is one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, easily one of the greatest luchadors of all time, and an all around legend. It was in the WWE that Mysterio was able to find the marketing for his character that he truly deserved… But it was also here that Mysterio would find the hardest uphill climb.
While McMahon knew how to market Mysterio and his trademark mask, he still was not one of McMahon’s chosen ones. He was a small guy, quick to be sure, but not the picturesque chiseled physique. So naturally when it came to his World Championship runs, they were all stinkers. Mysterio’s single WWE reign came at the hands of an eight man tournament during the Summer of Punk storyline. Mysterio lost the belt in the same night to John Cena and never sniffed the title again. It was a useless single day reign and only served to bury Mysterio’s name in the WWE.
Let’s talk a little about what is best for business. It is a term that gets tossed around fast and loose by the Internet Wrestling Community as a way of trying to put some legitimacy on an opinion. That making Kevin Owens World Champion is ‘best for business’ or a Roman Reigns heel turn is ‘best for business’. After McMahon coined the term, it is something that gets tossed around rather fast and loose. Typically, I don’t like using it. I, personally, don’t know what is best for their business as I am just some guy on the internet with an opinion. I don’t know how to run a company or who truly deserves to be at the top of tower.
But I do have an opinion and I can share one opinion that I think is rather ubiquitous. Typically speaking, it is best for a professional wrestling business to promote your athletes as champions. Lengthy, memorable title reigns combined with legit champions give your business credibility. What doesn’t give your business credibility is putting the biggest belt in the business on a non wrestler. I love how the WCW gets shit for putting the belt on David Arquette or Vince Russo, yet nobody is quick to jump on the fact that Vince McMahon is a former WWE and ECW Champion. The man is in good shape, yes, but he isn’t a wrestler and shouldn’t be the one in the ring. He is a business man who needs to run a company.
To have him in matches is fine, but to put the biggest belt in the business on his waist screams of a man who knows he can get away with anything. McMahon would win the championship from his future son-in-law Triple H on an episode of Smackdown, he would then drop the championship for Triple H to pick back up at Unforgiven. Overall it was a terrible idea, served no purpose to the belt, and just served as another way for Vince to throw his power around and it most certainly wasn’t ‘best for business’. With that said, Mr. McMahon is easily the Worst WWE Champion of All Time.
Thank you for reading and as always, if you enjoyed this review, please like and subscribe for more.