Over the years, there have been many great WWE Superstars. Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, Randy Savage, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and The Undertaker are just a few. These great stars are all synonymous with greatness and winning championship gold in WWE. Even if they weren’t totally sure, most pro wrestling fans would look at their names and just assume they won gold in WWE .Their assumption would be considered a safe bet. However, there are some great WWE Superstars that made their mark in WWE without the benefit of winning a single title. The lack of championship gold in WWE can be easily explained for some while others are a bit more complicated or could be considered pro wrestling head scratchers. Some were recognized for their greatness by being inducted in to the WWE Hall of Fame despite the lack of a title reign in WWE. These Hall of Famers would also be considered a safe bet to assume some type of title run in WWE appears on their resume. But we all know what is said about assuming and is there really such a thing as a safe bet? Let’s take a look at 15 great WWE Superstars that never won any championships in WWE.
15 King Kong Bundy
King Kong Bundy squashed SD Jones in nine seconds at the first WrestleMania ( a record that stood for 23 years before being broken), was in the main event of WrestleMania II, and wrestled The Undertaker at WrestleMania XI. Bundy also had classic feuds with both Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant that helped build WWE into a national powerhouse in the early 1980s. There’s not a whole lot that he hasn’t accomplished in the pro wrestling business. Bundy was also extremely successful in other promotions such as World Class Championship Wrestling, Georgia Championship Wrestling, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and many other regional promotions. However, it boggles the mind to think that King Kong Bundy actually never won any titles in WWE and has also yet to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
14 Bob Orton
Cowboy Bob Orton was another key piece in the house that Vince McMahon built. Orton was Roddy Piper’s “Ace” and the two were perfect villains for top baby faces of the early 1980s like Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Snuka. Despite being known as Piper’s bodyguard, Orton was a talented wrestler that received a number title opportunities. Orton challenged Hogan for the WWE Championship on a number of occasions as well as challenging for Tito Santana’s Intercontinental Championship several times. He also challenged for the WWE Tag Team Championship with Piper as his partner and later Don Muraco. However, Ace Orton was never able to cash in and take home the gold. His contributions to WWE’s early national success did not go unrecognized. Orton was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.
13 Jim Duggan
Hacksaw Jim Duggan was one of the most popular WWE Superstars of the late 1980s. Fans related to Duggan’s two by four carrying, patriotic defender of all things good character. He often battled foreign fanatics like The Iron Sheik, bullies like Bad News Brown, or he would simply look for the biggest guy to fight like Andre the Giant. Duggan didn’t get too many title shots because he was always preoccupied with defending the weak or righting a wrong. However, when Duggan did get a rare title shot, he always came up a bit short. He failed to win the WWE Championship from Sgt. Slaughter in a series of matches in 1991, came up empty in the WrestleMania IV WWE Championship tournament, and failed to win the 1992 Royal Rumble match for the WWE Championship. He also had some failed attempts at both the Intercontinental and tag team championships. Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Lex Luger are actually the only WWE Superstars to win the Royal Rumble match (Duggan in 1988; Luger/Bret Hart in 1994) but never win a title in WWE. Duggan was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011.
12 Peter Maivia
High Chief Peter Maivia was the grandfather of The Rock. Maivia had a very successful run with WWE in the late 1970s when the company was still under the control of Vince McMahon Sr. Maivia was in steady contention for both the WWE Championship and WWE Tag Team Championship. He challenged both Superstar Billy Graham and Bob Backlund for the WWE Championship in two great series of matches. With Chief Jay Strongbow as his partner, Maivia also had a number of opportunities to win the tag team championship against champions, The Yukon Lumberjacks. The Samoan superstar always came up a bit short in his quest to win WWE gold. Maivia passed away from cancer in 1982 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008.
11 Jesse Ventura
Jesse the Body Ventura was one of the most flamboyant and hated heels of the early 1980s. Ventura arrived in WWE, with his tag team partner Adrian Adonis, in 1982. After failing to win the WWE Tag Team Championship, Ventura and Adonis launched a two-man assault on the WWE Championship held by Bob Backlund. Ventura was unable to take the strap from Backlund. A few years later, Ventura was unsuccessful in taking the WWE Championship from Hulk Hogan and also unsuccessfully challenged for Tito Santana’s Intercontinental Championship. Ventura’s final attempt at WWE gold looked to be a sure bet. When the Body formed a tag team with Macho Man Randy Savage, it appeared it would be a matter of time before they captured the tag belts. However, shortly after forming the team, Ventura retired from in ring competition and without winning a single title in WWE. He became a full time member of the commentary team and became one of the legendary voices of WWE. Ventura was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004.
10 Jerry Lawler
Most WWE fans remember Jerry the King Lawler for his commentary work on Monday night Raw. Along with Jim Ross, the duo formed the broadcast team that would forever be known as the voice of WWE’s Attitude Era. Upon entering WWE in 1992, The King worked commentary but was also a part time wrestler. He feuded with top stars such as Bret Hart, Ultimate Warrior, and Roddy Piper. However, Lawler wasn’t a newcomer to wrestling in main events and was also no stranger to winning major championships. Throughout the 1980s, he was involved in major rivalries with top stars such as Randy Savage, Curt Henning, Kerry Von Erich, and Austin Idol. The King’s 1980s trophy case included the AWA Championship and tag team championship, CWA Championship and tag team championship, USWA Championship and tag team championship, and many regional titles. Lawler also engaged in a controversial feud with comedian Andy Kaufman, which featured their classic confrontation on Late Night with David Letterman. Despite his impressive wrestling resume, his majesty never added any WWE gold to his list of royal accomplishments. However, the King was still honored with an induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007.
9 Jimmy Snuka
Jimmy Superfly Snuka had several stints with WWE through out the 1980s and early 1990s. Snuka had his greatest success during the early 1980s when he received numerous shots at the WWE Championship and Intercontinental Championship. He battled WWE Champion Bob Backlund and Intercontinental Champion Don Muraco in great series of matches that produced two legendary steel cage matches that inspired a generation of wrestling fans and some future pro wrestling superstars. Snuka also received some tag team title shots with Rocky Johnson as his partner but they did not capture the titles.This would prove to be the closest that Snuka would come to wearing WWE gold. His run with WWE in the later 1980s and early 1990s saw him relegated to the mid card before becoming a glorified jobber to the stars. Snuka was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996.
8 Jake Roberts
Jake the Snake Roberts joined WWE in 1986 after successful stops in Mid-South Wrestling, World Class Championship Wrestling, and Georgia Championship Wrestling. However, Roberts would rise to super stardom while with WWE. His superior mic skills, DDT finisher, and edgy persona made him one of the most popular WWE Superstars of all time. Not to mention that fans couldn’t wait for Roberts to let loose his pet python Damian on another helpless DDT victim. He had extremely successful runs as both a baby face and a heel. Roberts battled top stars such as Randy Savage, Ted Dibiase, Rick Rude, and The Undertaker. Feuds that he had, rarely if ever centered around championships. His persona wasn’t concerned with titles. Jake the Snake Roberts had other agendas that he concerned himself with such as revenge, betrayal, or teaching an unsuspecting WWE Superstar a sinister lesson. As a result, he retired without ever winning any championships in WWE. Roberts slithered into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014.
7 Paul Orndorff
Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff was one of the top WWE Superstars of the early 1980s. Orndorff headlined the first WrestleMania with Roddy Piper in a tag team match against Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. He was also one of Hogan’s greatest rivals and they had a great feud over the WWE Championship. If there was anyone other than Hogan who could have been successful as WWE Champion then it would have been Mr. Wonderful. He was physically gifted in addition to being a solid in ring technician. However, Hulkamania was running wild and Vince McMahon wasn’t about to pull the plug on it just yet. Orndorff also unsuccessfully challenged Tito Santana for the Intercontinental Championship. Despite being a building block in the early history of the WWE machine, Orndorff was never able to capture any of the gold available in WWE. However, Mr. Wonderful earned a well-deserved spot in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.
6 Lex Luger
The Total Package Lex Luger was one of WCW’s top stars in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It came as a bit of a shock when the former WCW Champion and United States Champion jumped ship to WWE in 1992. However, Luger came to WWE during an interesting transition that saw Hulk Hogan fall out of favor with Vince McMahon. Luger soon found himself as the chosen one to be the next Hulk Hogan when the Hulkster made his exit from WWE in the middle of 1993. During the summer of 1993, a lot of time and effort was put into transforming Luger from the heel Narcissist into the baby face Made in the USA character. WWE launched the “Lex Express” campaign, which included the sappy “I’ll Be Your Hero” video. Despite the hype, Luger surprisingly did not win the WWE Championship from Yokozuna at SummerSlam 1993. Some fans, that weren’t looking for another Hulk Hogan, were relieved when he didn’t win the title. The Made in the USA character never caught on with fans and Luger ended up leaving WWE in 1995 without any type of title run. He has also yet to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
5 Mil Mascaras
Mil Mascaras is a living legend and one of the greatest luchadores of all time. Mascaras is known all over the world and is an icon in his home country of Mexico. On December 18, 1972, he was the first wrestler allowed to wear a mask in the ring at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden. Surely this had to be a sign that the Mexican legend was destined for a run with a title in WWE. However, being an international attraction has its pros and cons. One of the cons being that it is extremely difficult to focus on becoming a champion. Mascaras did receive a few unsuccessful shots at Superstar Billy Graham’s WWE Championship and Don Muraco’s Intercontinental Championship. He also briefly formed a tag team with Dusty Rhodes that looked to have championship potential if they would have stayed together for a long stretch. Mascaras never got his hands on any championship straps in WWE. Believe it or not, the 74-year old legend still wrestles occasionally but don’t expect him to show up in WWE for a title run at this point. Mascaras was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012.
Big Van Vader won championships around the world in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Vader captured Germany’s Catch Wrestling Association (CWA) Championship, Mexico’s Universal Wrestling Association (UWA) Championship, New Japan Pro Wrestling’s IWGP Championship, and the WCW Championship. He also won some of Japan’s top tag team championships with several partners. Most fans thought that it wouldn’t be if but when Vader would win a major WWE title when he arrived in the promotion in 1996. Vader was the odds on favorite to take the WWE Championship from Shawn Michaels at SummerSlam 96. In a controversial match, Michaels retained and Vader wasn’t quite the same after that match. Despite still being in the main event scene for some time after that match, Vader never went on a dominant streak, which made him a force in WCW. He also came up short against other WWE Champions such as Sid Vicious, Bret Hart, and The Undertaker in addition to failed attempts at winning the Intercontinental Championship, European Championship, and the tag team championship. The man who had won titles around the world could not win one title in WWE and has yet to be inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame.
3 Harley Race
Harley Race won many regional NWA titles and of course the prestigious NWA Championship on numerous occasions. Race also captured the AWA Tag Team Championship with Larry the Axe Hennig. He did this over a twenty-year span. The only thing left for Race to do in wrestling was to compete in WWE. Well, there’s a little more to Race’s road to WWE but that’s a story best saved for another time. The pro wrestling legend debuted in WWE in 1986 with Bobby the Brain Heenan as his manager. Race had a great deal of success in his WWE run but it did not include winning titles. He soon won the King of the Ring tournament and starting wearing the crown and cape. King Harley Race defeated a parade of peasants before engaging in a series of matches with WWE Champion Hulk Hogan. As expected, Hogan dominated the feud. Race never managed to win a championship in WWE but was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004.
2 Dusty Rhodes
The American Dream Dusty Rhodes landed in WWE in 1989 after a long and successful run with the National Wrestling Alliance. Rhodes won every major championship the NWA had to offer including the NWA Championship on three occasions in addition to being one of the NWA’s top draws along with Nature Boy Ric Flair. Rhodes had previously wrestled for WWE when it was owned by Vince McMahon Sr. He unsuccessfully challenged WWE Champion Superstar Billy Graham. However, this was Vince McMahon Jr.’s WWE that he danced into in 1989. Rhodes was re-introduced to fans in vignettes that featured him as a gas attendant and a plumber among other “common man” themed characters. His in ring “debut” was also the debut of his new polka dotted ring attire. The cherry on top of this cartoon sundae was his brand new manger that he referred to as his Sweet Sapphire. Rhodes did have some high profile feuds with the likes of The Big Boss Man, Randy Savage, and Ted Dibiase but never wore any WWE gold. In fact, the pro wrestling legend never even received a WWE Championship match before making his exit from WWE in 1991. The lack of WWE gold didn’t stop him from being rightfully inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007.
Sting might be the greatest pro wrestler to come up empty in WWE’s gold department. However, in The Icon’s defense, he only wrestled in a handful of matches after debuting in WWE at the ripe old age of 55 in 2014. Sting is a true pro wrestling legend with an impressive list of accomplishments that includes many championships but more importantly he was a loyal cornerstone of WCW and helped put TNA Wrestling on the map. Despite coming to WWE at an advanced age, Sting was in great shape and still had the ability to have main event quality matches. Some fans not only wanted but they expected some kind of title reign for Sting in WWE. After a controversial loss to Triple H at WrestleMania 31, Sting challenged Seth Rollins for the WWE Championship at Night of Champions 2015. He was defeated and injured during the match. In all likelihood, that injury ended Sting’s in ring career and any chance that he’ll ever capture WWE gold. The Icon was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2016.