Well, they did it. After a rollercoaster title reign that saw them switch between heels, faces and some other third body part (they were champions for a long, long time), The New Day broke the record for the longest single tag team championship reign in WWE history, eclipsing Demotion’s 478-day reign, a record that stood for over 25 years. That’ll show them for suing the company – who do they think they are?
With such hype around The New Day’s record-breaking championship run, let’s take some time to look back at some of the other record breakers WWE has produced over the years. You may already know that Bruno Sammartino holds the record for most days as WWE Champion and that The Honky Tonk Man was Intercontinental Champion for the longest time ever, but those guys are old, man. It’s time to get with the times! In this list, we’re taking a look at 15 performers currently on the WWE roster who also broke records involving championships in the WWE, just to highlight the current crop of WWE superstars and how big a part of WWE history they actually play. Shoutout to guys and gals who were the first or last ever champions – Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Slater and Rhyno, Primo (look it up) – but you won’t be featured on this list, as you never “broke” a record as such, but you will definitely go down in history (well, except maybe Primo, sorry).
Without further ado, let’s get into it. Here are 15 championship record breakers on WWE’s current roster.
18 Seth Rollins
Before you ask, no, this record is not for “Most Annoying Laugh”. Although it definitely should be.
Seth Freakin’ Rollins has already accomplished a hell of a lot in WWE during his relatively short career. He became the first ever NXT Champion in July 2012 and would debut on the main roster later that year as one third of The Shield, the worst riot police ever (seriously, all they did was beat up good guys. That’s enough to get you kicked off the force). As everyone knows, Rollins betrayed The Shield in June 2014, selling his soul to The Authority and being rewarded with a WrestleMania main event victory and the WWE Championship. I guess crime does pay. Now the supposed top face on Monday Nights (we all know that spot is reserved for The List of Jericho), Rollins finds himself at an interesting juncture in his career as his character has fallen a bit flat. However, that’s not what we’re here to talk about. For that, we need to head back to WrestleMania 31 and the best cash-in ever.
When Seth cashed in his Money In The Bank contract in the main event of WrestleMania (something that had never been done before), he began a title reign that would last a whopping 220 days. This is the longest world title reign by anyone who cashed in Money In The Bank, beating out The Miz who reigned for 160 days after his cash-in in 2010/11. Rollins title reign was cut short when he was sadly injured at a live event in November 2015, so who knows just how much longer this reign would have continued for and maybe Seth could have become the first man ever to reign with the title for a whole year after winning Money In The Bank. Although this title reign may not have been the best, it’s still a record-setter for Seth and something he should be very proud of. Besides, there are far worse people who could have reigned for 220 days after their cash in. Not to name any names, but Sheamus. Definitely Sheamus.
Oh, Paige, what happened to you, sweet girl?
Paige was kind of a sensation when she first arrived in WWE. After a successful career in World Association of Wrestling (my local fed, #shamelesspromotion), Paige arrived stateside with WWE in 2011 and became the first ever NXT Women’s Champion in June 2013, a truly impressive feat considering the calibre of women that would follow her as champion. Paige holds a number of interesting records regarding the NXT Women’s Championship. She is still the youngest ever champion to this day and she is the only champion in NXT history to have never been pinned or submitted to lose her title, as she was forced to vacate the title by NXT General Manager, JBL, after she won the Divas Championship in 2014. I’d like to say this is the meanest thing JBL has ever done, but it really isn’t. Just ask The Miz.
Paige also holds a few records on the main roster too, most of which are to do with her age. She’s the youngest ever Divas Champion (and always will be) and, in a fact that will really make you feel old, she is the only person born after 1990 to have held a title in WWE so far. Yeah. Bet you all feel like grandpas and grandmas now! Also, she’s the only individual to have held both an NXT and main roster championship at the same time. All of this makes it even sadder that she has now completely fallen off the radar following two rather dubious wellness policy violations and her turbulent relationship with Alberto Del Rio. You know who I blame for this? JBL. Why? Because, it’s JBL. Do I need any more reason?
15 Samoa Joe
Here’s a man with two championship records... in two different companies. And you say I‘m not good to you people.
Samoa Joseph (I assume that’s his full name) is one of wrestling’s biggest stars and has been for the last ten plus years. Joe made his name in various companies, most notably in TNA, where he is a former World, Television, Tag Team and X-Division Champion, as well as winning the King of the Mountain in 2008, the Feast or Fired contract the year after and he was named the most popular wrestler of the year by Pro Wrestling Illustrated in 2006. One of the other promotions Joe threw his considerable frame around was Ring of Honour, where he broke his first championship record. Joe held the ROH Championship for a whopping 645 days, which is still the longest single ROH Championship reign of all time. Wow. 645 days! That’s like, half of this year’s SummerSlam. I wish that was a joke.
After years of moving around from promotion to promotion, Joe surprised everyone when he turned up in NXT in 2015, cementing himself as a top-level star in the yellow brand, winning the NXT Championship at a live event in April 2016. I know. Can you imagine being at the only live event in the last ten years that mattered? Joe shocked everyone again when he defeated Shinsuke Nakamura at NXT TakeOver: Toronto, regaining his NXT Championship and becoming the first ever two-time NXT Champion. Joe’s status as the only two-time champion lasted only two weeks when Nakamura defeated Joe to win the belt back, really opening up opportunities for NXT to expand as a dominant brand with a title history as rich as that of the main roster. Let’s just forget Bo Dallas once held the NXT Championship. Things didn’t work out so well for him.
14 Shinsuke Nakamura
Speaking of two-time NXT Champs.
Shinsuke Nakamura is one of the biggest names in wrestling right now, and not just because it’s got 16 letters. The current NXT Champion has put on some incredible matches this year against the likes of Finn Balor, Austin Aries, Sami Zayn and many, many more. In winning the NXT Championship from Samoa Joe at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, Nakamura became the first Japanese wrestler to win a top level WWE Championship, which is worrying when you consider Japan is probably the second biggest wrestling nation on the planet and the first “W” in “WWE” supposedly stands for “world”, but that’s not why he’s on the list. The record he broke actually occurred in his native land.
Nakamura was a massive star in Japan through his work in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). The man with the knees of steel won NJPW’s top prize, the IWGP (which stands for International Wrestling Grand Prix, don’t you know) Heavyweight Championship 3 times and held it for a combined total of 390 days, which is about as long as one of his entrances takes at an NXT TakeOver show (not a complaint, just an observation). When he defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan at Battle Royal 2003 to win his first IWGP Heavyweight title, Nakamura became the youngest man ever to win the coveted prize. With a title lineage that includes former champions like AJ Styles, Vader, Tetsuya Naito and Brock Lesnar, the IWGP title is one of wrestling’s most prestigious belts and to win it at such a young age makes Nakamura one special talent. Also, his jackets are really cool. Just thought I’d say that.
13 Chris Jericho
It’s Y2J, baybay! I love this guy.
Chris Jericho is, to put it simply, a legend, and he holds numerous impressive feats that will forever guarantee him a place in wrestling history. Final ever WCW Champion. First ever WWE Undisputed Champion. Inventor of Money In The Bank. Creator of The List! Truly one of the greatest of all time. Jericho has been around for ages and shows no signs of slowing down, so there’s every chance he might actually gather some more records before his eventual retirement. However, there’s one that stands so impressively above the rest, that Jericho could retire tomorrow and probably still hold for another century.
Y2J is a record-setting nine-time Intercontinental Champion. Nine times! His nearest competitors are Rob Van Dam, Jeff Jarrett and The Miz on six reigns each; a massive step behind Chris, even with The Miz still being active. Yes, his total time with the belt comes to just 318 days (that’s an average of just 35.3 days per reign, which is a bit rubbish), but to have held the title that many times is truly astounding and is a record that will likely never, EEEEEEEEEEEEEEVVVVVVERRRR be broken. Sorry, I just had to. It’s Chris Jericho.
12 Bobby Roode
Now, I know what you’re thinking; you’re thinking I’m going to make some reference to his theme song, but no, I’m better than that. Shame on you all.
What to say about Bobby Roode? One of the biggest stars in the history of TNA, Roode transitioned from tag team star in Beer Money Inc. to main event player in the promotion to bona fide legend. There’s a reason everyone went mental when he showed up at TakeOver: Dallas. Since turning up in NXT, Roode has gone undefeated on TV, defeated some of NXT’s biggest stars and given us some of the greatest entrances in wrestling history. He had a freakin' choir in Toronto! That was so cool!
Roode's record-breaking moment happened in TNA and it involves their top prize. No, not air time with the Hardys, the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Roode defeated former tag partner, James Storm, on an episode of Impact in October 2011 to begin a 256-day reign as World Heavyweight Champion, the longest in the company’s history. Despite TNA’s reputation being slightly, umm, ruined, shall we say, in recent years, this is still an impressive feat for Roode. In fact, you might say it was... nope, nope, I’m not going to do it. I told you, I’m better than that.
11 Finn Balor
Another man who made his name outside of WWE, but this time, the record was broken inside WWE.
Finn made his name in NJPW as Prince Devitt, the first ever leader of Bullet Club, which is, ya know, kind of a big deal now. So, you can imagine that, when he did show up in NXT in 2014, WWE had big plans for him. And boy, did they. Balor won the NXT Championship at WWE “The Beast In The East” from Kevin Owens in front of the crowd that made him famous and he would go onto hold the belt for 292 days, the longest of anyone ever. With the title now such a prominent fixture of WWE, being the longest reigning NXT Champion ever is a pretty impressive record to hold. However, that’s not the record I’m talking about. Oh yeah, two for the price of one, baby.
Balor made his main roster debut following the brand split earlier this year, signing on for the Raw brand. He made headlines after earning a match against Seth Rollins at SummerSlam for the inaugural Universal Championship, which, as you well know, he won. This not only made Balor the first ever Universal Champion (make of that what you will), but it also broke the record for quickest world championship win on Pay-Per-View. Balor became the first man to win a world title in his debut WWE Pay-Per-View match, edging out Ric Flair who managed it in two over 20 years ago. Balor would then go on to have a long, successful title reign, filled with numerous five star classics, incredible moments and of course I’m kidding, he vacated it the next night because of an injury. Dammit, 2016, what did we do to deserve you?
10 Big Show
From Finn Balor to Big Show. What a disappointment this list is turning out to be.
Now, now, that was uncalled for; I actually really like Big Show and have (no pun intended) huge respect for the man and what he has accomplished. From winning the WCW title in his first ever match to his 15+ year career in the WWE, Show has been one of the most iconic and enduring wrestlers in wrestling history and you know he’s picked up more than a few records in his time. And no, “World’s Largest Athlete” does not count.
The one record we’re going to focus on revolves around not one championship, but three. Show’s WCW Championship wins (one of which came when Show was just 23, making him the youngest WCW Champion ever), combined with his reigns as WWE Champion and his one reign as ECW Champion (when it was owned by WWE) make Big Show the first and only wrestler in history to have held those three titles across his career. To have won the three championships of the three biggest wrestling companies in North American history shows just much of a legend Show really is and his Hall of Fame induction, when it does come, will be thoroughly deserved. Just don’t mention that stairs match with Erick Rowan. That’s almost enough to exclude him from the Hall altogether.
8 Nikki Bella
Oh God, not this title reign!
Nikki Bella is an odd being in the world of WWE. For years she was the stuck-up, cheating primadonna who everyone hated (both in storyline and out) and thought was basically the worst thing to happen to wrestling since Dixie Carter. Then after a neck injury, she comes back on Smackdown, and everyone apparently loves her! What is going on? Anyhow, for whatever reason, Nikki is a big player in the Women’s Division on Tuesday nights and, to give her credit, she isn’t awful in the ring and does put in a lot of work for the company, be it through charity work or promoting the business through her various reality shows. And people say wrestling is hammed up. They should watch Total Bellas, that’ll show ‘em hammed up.
Anyway, we’re not here to talk about Total Bellas (thank god) instead, we’re here to talk about the 301 days Nikki Bella spent as Divas Champion between 2014 and 2015, the longest single Divas title reign in history. WWE’s former top prize for female athletes was held by numerous legendary wrestlers including AJ Lee, Mickie James, Michelle McCool and, of course, Jillian Hall (bleugh), so to hold this record is kind of a big deal in the world of women’s wrestling. Although, Nikki did kinda not defend the belt at Royal Rumble... or SummerSlam... or WrestleMania... and she lost at all of those Pay-Per-Views... and she only won the belt because her sister distracted AJ Lee by kissing her- ok! This title reign was an absolute dumpster fire! But it was a record-setting dumpster fire and I needed another spot on the list! Sue me.
6 Dean Ambrose
Hey, another former Shield member! And don’t worry, there are absolutely no Roman Reignses on this list. I promise.
Dean Ambrose is seen by many as the ugly stepchild of The Shield after it broke up. Whilst Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins were thrust into high profile positions, Ambrose was left floundering in the midcard, right up until he won the WWE Championship after cashing in his Money In The Bank contract earlier this year. Now, he finds himself one of Smackdown’s top guys and being on the blue show has improved his stock tremendously. He still had that weird feud with Wade Barrett in 2015. He handcuffed him to get a title match. Never forget.
Ambrose’s record is that he holds the longest single United States Championship reign in the belt’s WWE history at 351 days. The title’s lineage stretches back to the old NWA and WCW and, in those promotions, both Rick Rude (419 days) and Lex Luger (523 days) held it for longer than Dean, but, since the belt moved to WWE in 2003, no one has been champ for as long as Ambrose. This was mainly because he defended it about as often as Brock Lesnar shows up on Raw, but I digress. Maybe he’s been giving tips on how to be a long-reigning champion to Roman Reigns. He seems to be employing the same tactic.
5 John Cena
I know, I know, this is a cop op. But, come on, he couldn’t not be on this list.
John Cena has literally done everything there is to do in wrestling, including another member of this list (hey-oh!). Cena has been the company’s poster boy for the last ten years and it is only now that he’s made the decision to move into acting and TV work that the company are finally starting to ease off on pushing him as the top guy. Although, if you still ask the average internet fan, John Cena is still the single cause of every single problem in wrestling and the wider world. Stay away from internet fans, people, please.
Cena has held two titles in WWE more times than anyone else. He’s held the US title five times in the WWE and is a 12-time WWE Champion, edging out nearest rival, Triple H, by a whopping four title reigns. That’s pretty impressive. Funnily enough, he is also one belt behind Ric Flair in two champiuonship records; The Nature Boy has held the US title six times and, as you all know, Cena is chasing his sixteenth world title to tie Ric as the all-time record holder. You may not like him, folks, but you know what, for all the hard work he’s put in over the years and for all the good he’s done for wrestling and for entertainment as a whole, John more than deserves to break these records. And he will. Trust me.
4 The Undertaker
BONG. BONG. BONG. That’s not Taker’s entrance music, that’s just Rob Van Dam’s shopping list.
What is there to say about The Undertaker? His 26+ year career – Astounding. His 21 match WrestleMania undefeated streak – legendary. The fact he married Michelle McCool – kinda weird, but still pretty awesome. Taker has done, seen and probably tasted it all in the WWE. The ironic tragedy of the stories The Undertaker has to tell, but, because of his devotion to kayfabe, he will never tell is just the worst thing ever. The day he goes on the Stone Cold podcast, I will actually cry. However, finding a championship record that Taker has broken was actually kinda tricky. Luckily, there is one fact about The Undertaker that I can always rely on to pull me through a tough spot – he’s really, really old.
The Undertaker was born in 1965, which, to put into perspective, is the year before my mother was born. Now, the idea of my mum having a Hell In A Cell match with Brock Lesnar is perhaps the worst thought I’ve ever had, so for Undertaker to pull that off and make it one of the best matches of the year is truly special. His amazing ability to perform at his age meant that, when he defeated CM Punk at Hell in a Cell 2009 to become World Heavyweight Champion, he did so as the oldest man ever to win that belt. At 44 years of age, The Undertaker took that record by quite some way and it’s a record that was maintained right up until the belt was retired in 2013. Let’s put it this way; John Cena is only 39 years old, Randy Orton is just 36, Edge is 43 and he’s retired! Taker is a true legend and my all-time favourite wrestler, so the fact that he does and forever will hold this record makes me very, very happy. Now, if you’ll excuse, I’m going to try and get the image of my mother being F5-ed out of my head. This isn’t going to be easy.
3 Vince McMahon
Yes, ok, maybe he’s not exactly on the current roster, but he’s still around and still makes appearances, so sit down and shut up!
Vincent Kennedy McMahon is, quite frankly, a God. He almost single-handedly took the WWE from a regional promotion to global powerhouse in a matter of a few decades. Not content with being a big player behind the scenes, Vince McMahon is no stranger to stepping between the ropes. McMahon got into the ring multiple times during his feud with Steve Austin and plenty more times in feuds with the likes of The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels and his own son, Shane. Yeah. Wrestling is super weird. Not content with simply being in the ring with these legends, McMahon has booked himself to win some pretty high profile things; the 1999 Royal Rumble, the ECW Championship in 2007 (dear lord, what a headache) and, perhaps the most valuable thing of all, he’s undefeated against John Cena. Seriously, look it up.
The most impressive feature of Vince’s resume is most definitely his time as WWE Champion in 1999. Vince won the title on an episode of Smackdown in September that year after defeating Triple H, albeit with perhaps the most interferences in a match pre-James Ellsworth. Vinnie Mac vacated the belt on Raw the next week, but the six days he spent as champ landed him one hell of a record; the oldest man to ever hold the most prestigious title in wrestling history. At 54 years and 27 days, Vince is miles ahead of his competition when it comes to Champions and, with the wacky days of the Attitude Era behind us, this is not likely to change any time soon. Wrestling is completely mad and so is Vince. And that’s why I love it.
2 Randy Orton
From the oldest to the youngest now; hard to think of Randy Orton being young, isn’t it? He used to smile too, would you believe.
Randy Orton is currently enjoying a lovely vacation at the Wyatt compound and helped his hairy housemates to a Tag Team title win at this year’s TLC. However, before he was helping out the world’s deadliest trailer trash, Randy Orton was turning heads in the WWE as one of the new faces of the company in the early 2000s. He debuted in 2002 and quickly joined Evolution; Triple H’s weird, mafia style heel stable, except with Ric Flair as Don Corleone. Now that’s a movie I’d pay to see. Orton’s rocket rise to the top was no doubt thanks to his talent, but I’m sure his position as a third generation wrestler didn’t help and being the son of one of the men involved in WrestleMania’s very first main event was definitely a helping hand in getting Randy a job in Connecticut. Just sayin’.
Randy made history when he defeated Chris Benoit in the main event of SummerSlam 2004, winning the World Heavyweight Championship in the process. At just 24 years and 137 days old, Orton became the youngest ever World Heavyweight Champion in history, a record he maintained until the belt was retired nearly a decade later... by Randy Orton, who unified the belt with the WWE Championship in 2013. Orton’s rise to the top was cut short when he lost the title to Triple H mere weeks later and many people have said that he was pushed too soon, however, when you consider how far Randy has come over the years, I can’t think of many wrestlers more worthy of this record. Fun fact, Randy is also the youngest ever world champion in WWE history. Some say this was done to take that record from someone who had just walked out of the company that year. Now, who could that be, I wonder...
1 Brock Lesnar
Oh yeah, that’s the guy.
Borck Lazer, whoops, I mean Brock Lesnar, is a natural phenomenon. A college football and wrestling star, WWE legend, UFC Heavyweight Champion, husband of Sable, the guy has done it all (quite literally) and shows no signs of slowing down. Lesnar holds a unique position in the WWE right now; he’s been around long enough to be considered a legend, but, because he was so young when he started out, he’s still young enough now to put on high level matches with current WWE talent. And by that, I obviously mean Goldberg.
Orton may hold the record for youngest World Heavyweight Champion, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. The WWE Championship has been held by a great many legends in its time, but only man can claim to be its youngest holder and that man is, of course, The Beast Incarnate. Also won in the main event of SummerSlam, only this time we’re actually allowed to talk about the match, Lesnar was just 25 years and 44 days old when he beat The Rock in 2002 to win the first of 4 WWE Championships across his illustrious career. Had he not quit to join the NFL in 2004, who knows just how big of a star Lesnar could have been in the WWE. You think he’s big now, just imagine what might have been had he not taken an eight year gap in between runs. Boggles the mind. Lesnar is a one of a kind specimen and, in an era where younger talent are finding it even harder than ever to get over, his record is looking increasingly safe as the years go by. Also, who the hell is gonna tell Brock Lesnar that his record is going to get broken? They’re a braver person than I am, that’s for sure.
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