Championships in wrestling are an interesting concept. In a predetermined sport like wrestling, does it really make that much difference how many championships a wrestler wins? However, surely if a wrestler wins a lot of championships, it means they impressed management and the fans enough to be considered championship material. Or they just married the boss’ daughter.
Confusing debates aside, one thing that wrestling championships do create is interesting statistics, especially when it comes to a wrestler’s longevity. With WWE being around for fifty plus years and with Vince certainly having his favourites, history is filled with recurring champions--the men and women WWE fans almost expect to see wearing a belt. But, surely it’s impossible for a wrestler to have been champion in three different decades? Surely? Well, poor, misguided readers, that is where you’d be wrong. You see, due to their talent, popularity and insane middle-aged muscles, these competitors have all found themselves as champions in WWE in three separate decades. Some have been successful tag team performers who found fame in singles competition, others have been so iconic that their characters have stood the test of time and some were just champion for ages.
For whatever reason, these men and women are all etched into WWE’s history with their incredible championship reigns and will now be immortalized forever as I write a fifteen-point list about them. Forget the Hall of Fame, this is the greatest honour. So, without further ado, let’s crack on. Here are fifteen wrestlers who were champions in WWE in three different decades. Enjoy.
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29 Billy Gunn
We begin the list with with one half of one of the most popular tag teams of all time; “Road Dogg” Jesse James, “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn, THE NEW. AGE. OUTLAWS!!!! Just, imagine I said that like Road Dogg does when he does his bit.
The New Age Outlaws formed in late 1997, but Billy Gunn had actually had some success before this, winning the World Tag Team Championships with his kayfabe brother, Bart (you know, the Brawl For All guy), three times in the 90s. The Outlaws won the Tag Team Championships for the first time on the 24th of November 1997, defeating The Legion of Doom to do so. The duo would be tag team champs four more times over the course of the 90s before splitting up in 2000. Billy Gunn would win the Intercontinental Championship from Eddie Guerrero in November that year, as well the tag team championships twice with Chuck Palumbo. The less said about Chuck and Billy the better, I think.
Gunn would leave the company in 2004 for TNA (presumably because he had gotten tired of life), but would make his way back in 2012, returning with Road Dogg to reform the New Age Outlaws. Despite looking more like the Old Age Outlaws at this point, Gunn and Road Dogg stunned the world when, on the kick-off show for the 2014 Royal Rumble, they upset Cody Rhodes and Goldust to win their first and only WWE Tag Team Championships, with Gunn breaking the record for oldest WWE Tag Team Champion ever at over 50 years old.
Gunn’s first championship reign in WWE for over 11 years secured his place on this list and highlighted what an impressive career he had in WWE. A member of D-Generation X, a King of the Ring winner and an influential force backstage, Billy Gunn had one hell of a run in WWE and his championship victories only help prove that. Shame he got fired for doping, really.
Sometimes a creepy, but unique character is all you need to get over in WWE. Just don’t tell Bastion Booger this. However, if you’re Dustin Rhodes, then this is absolutely true. The son of a son of a plumber debuted as Goldust in 1995 and made a big splash with his bizarre, sexually suggestive and all-round crazy character. Goldust became a champion for the first time in WWE in January of 1996, when he defeated Razor Ramon for the Intercontinental Championship at the Royal Rumble. Goldust would become Intercontinental Champion three times in the 90s before leaving the company in 1999. Goldust returned to WWE in 2001 and became a predominant figure in the Hardcore division, winning the belt nine times in the 2000s, as well as one reign as World Tag Team Champions with Booker T.
Goldie would leave the company yet again in 2003, but would return a number of times, including at the 2013 Royal Rumble, starting a feud between him and his brother, Cody Rhodes. The feud lead to the two brothers teaming up and taking on and defeating The Shield for their WWE Tag Team Championships on Raw in a highly emotional match. Goldust won the titles again in 2014, again with his brother Cody, and has yet to win another championship since then.
Dustin Rhodes’ portrayal of the Goldust character made him an icon of the WWE during the Attitude Era and, for playing his part in this pivotal era, WWE have rewarded him with a healthy helping of championships and his ability to entertain fans of all ages means that these championships have come over a long and fruitful career. If you’re waiting for The Golden Truth to win championships, however, I wouldn’t hold your breath.
25 Big Show
WEEEEEEEELLLLLL... it’s Paul Wight. Doesn’t quite work the same. Big Show made his name in WCW as The Giant, winning the WCW Championship in his first ever match (albeit under controversial circumstances). Show’s career in WWE got off to a similar start; he won his first singles championship, the WWE Championship, less than a year after his debut, defeating Triple H at Survivor Series 1999 to win the big one. Good thing he did too; he was only a month and a bit away from being missed of this list. And I was struggling as it was.
Anyway, Show won one more WWE Championship in the 2000s, as well as two World Tag Team Championships (he’d won two of those in the 90s too), a United States Championship and three Hardcore Championships. Big Show qualified for this list almost as soon as the 2010s began, winning the WWE Tag Team Championships in February of 2010 with The Miz (as a part of the amazingly named team, Show-Miz) and would win two World Heavyweight Championships in 2011 and 2012 respectively, as well as the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania XXVIII, which would crown the World’s Largest Athlete a Grand Slam Champion over a decade after his debut.
Despite calls for his retirement in recent years, there’s no doubt that the Big Show is a very successful wrestler and is immensely talented. It’s just that that talent is being very tall. Sorry, had to be said.
23 Chris Jericho
The Best in the World at what he does, the Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla, the walking scarf stall, Jericho’s done it all in WWE, but he only made it onto this list by 19 days. Chris Jericho made his debut in August of 1999, interrupting The Rock of all people as the Countdown to the Millennium clock that had been appearing on WWE TV for weeks finally hit zero. After such a stellar debut, Jericho was pushed into a high profile feud with Chyna, fresh off her Intercontinental Championship win at No Mercy. Jericho and Chyna would do battle for the belt over the next few weeks, with Jericho defeating the Eighth Wonder of the World at Armageddon (the final WWE Pay-Per-View of the 90s) to win his first championship in WWE.
Jericho would have an incredible decade in the 2000s, raking in a huge number of championships that included five World Tag Team Championships (two of these were Unified Tag Team Championships), a European Championship, a Hardcore Championship, two WCW Championships, two World Heavyweight Championships, eight Intercontinental Championships and the Undisputed WWE Championship. I would tell you that Jericho was the first ever Undisputed Champion and that he beat Stone Cold and The Rock on the same night and that he holds the record for the most Intercontinental Championship reigns of all time, but if you’ve seen WWE programming at any point in the last five years, you already know that. Jericho won his only title of the 2010s in February of 2010; a third World Heavyweight Championship inside the Elimination Chamber. He would hold the belt until Jack Swagger cashed in Money In The Bank on him, because, you know, building young stars and all.
Jericho’s championship reigns only encompassed ten years and two months, so he is extremely lucky to be featured on this list. However, with his continuing popularity and constant presence on WWE TV in recent months, don’t rule out Y2J adding yet another title to his resume before he hangs up his sparkly jacket for good.
Kane’s debut is one of the greatest in WWE history. Alternatively, his most recent run with the company has been less than stellar, so I guess it all balances out. However, Kane has been with the WWE for as long as I’ve been alive (how does that make you feel, huh Grandpa?) and his extended career has encompassed plenty of title wins. His first came at King of the Ring 1998, at which he defeated ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin for the WWE Championship in a First Blood match. Granted, he did lose the title back to Austin the next night on Raw, but that doesn’t matter. Stop ruining his moment! Kane also won the World Tag Team Championships four times in the 90s; twice with Mankind and twice with X-Pac, which is impressive because that means Kane had to spend an extended period of time with X-Pac. Kane continued to be popular and successful into the 2000s (despite a ton of truly terrible storylines) and would win two Intercontinental Championships, five more World Tag Team Championships, an ECW Championship and a Hardcore Championship over the course of ten years.
Despite being older than the Atlantic Ocean at this point, Kane continued to win championships during the 2010s. His run with Daniel Bryan as Team Hell No yielded a 245 WWE Tag Team Championship reign that included a defence at WrestleMania 29 and it really was some of Kane’s best work. He also won the same titles with Big Show in 2011, but that wasn’t as good. Kane also became a World Champion for the first time in over a decade (not including the ECW title, because, you now, it was the ECW Championship) when he cashed in his Money In The Bank contract on Rey Mysterio to capture the World Heavyweight Championship in 2010.
Kane’s endearing presence on WWE TV is testament to his devotion and loyalty to the company, a loyalty WWE has rewarded with plenty of gold. Kane has always put 100% into everything he’s done in wrestling and his numerous championship reigns are no exception. Shame he couldn’t save the ECW Championship. He would have needed real magic for that.
19 Bob Backlund
Whilst he might be known to WWE fans nowadays as the bumbling, aging life coach of Darren Young, back in the day, Backlund was one of the biggest wrestling stars in the world. Joining the company all the way back in 1977, Backlund earned favour with the fans with his boy-next-door good looks, feats of strength and clean-cut persona. He won the WWE Championship from ‘Superstar’ Billy Graham in 1978 and would hold the belt for over 2,000 days (the second longest single reign in WWE history). However, there is some dispute to this as, technically, WWE Hall of Famer, Antonio Ionoki, defeated Backlund for the title at a house show in Japan in November of 1979, only to vacate the belt after a rematch with Backlund ended in a draw. Backlund won win his title back on the 17th December 1979 and WWE considers this to be just a continuation of his first reign. Don’t ask me why, I don’t really understand anything in WWE before 1985.
Anyways, Backlund would keep the belt until 1983 when he would (legit this time) drop the belt to everyone’s favourite nutcase, The Iron Sheik. He then disappeared from WWE for some time, however, his title winning days were far from over, although they really, really should have been. In one of the most bizarre turn-ups in WWE history, Backlund would return to full time action in 1992 and, just two years later, would challenge Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart for the WWE Championship at Survivor Series. The stipulation of the bout stated the match could only end when a wrestler’s manager threw in his towel, with no pinfalls or submissions. In a shocking move, Hart’s mother, Helen (at the request of Owen Hart, with whom Bret was feuding at the time), threw his towel into the ring after Bret had spent over nine minutes locked in Backlund’s Crossface Chickenwing submission hold, costing her son the belt and awarding Backlund, who was 45 at the time, the championship, making him a world champion in a third successive decade.
The story doesn’t end there, though. Just three days later, Backlund would drop the belt to Diesel at a house show in a match that lasted just eight seconds! What the hell?! So, whether WWE realised what a horrible mistake they’d made with Backlund or Bret had refused to drop the title to Diesel or Vince McMahon owed Bob Backlund money, the end result was the same; Backlund had been champion and, in doing so, earns a place on this list. Wrestling’s stupid sometimes, isn’t it?
I love Christian, ok. Yes, he may have been second banana to a certain Rated-R superstar and yes he might have been a part of some pretty dumb stables over the years, but dammit, I love his work. The man’s a legend and I’m ecstatic to be writing about him. Captain Charisma made an impact straight away in the WWE, winning the Light Heavyweight Championship in his debut match in October of 1998. Great start. Then he’d join The Brood and pretended to be a vampire. Oh dear. That was it for Christian’s title reigns in the 90s, but he didn’t have to wait long into the 2000s to hold a championship again, winning the World Tag Team Championships with Edge for the first time on the 12th August 2000. The duo would win the tag team titles 7 times over the course of the 2000s, with Christian picking up the titles twice more alongside Lance Storm and Chris Jericho.
My boy Christian isn’t just a tag team superstar though; he also picked up three Intercontinental Championships between 2001 and 2003, as well as a Hardcore Championship, a European Championship, as well as two ECW Championships in 2009 (ok, maybe my boy Christian kinda killed that belt, but he’s still great). Christian’s second (and, ultimately, fatal) ECW title reign carried him into 2010, completing the triple decade, but he continued to win belts into the new decade, picking up another Intercontinental Championship in 2012.
However, his greatest accomplishment arguably came in 2011, when, after years of being mistreated, years of being viewed as not worthy, Christian finally became a world champion (a real one, ECW didn’t count for Kane so it doesn’t count here), picking up the World Heavyweight Championship at Extreme Rules, defeating Alberto Del Rio in a ladder match. Ok, maybe he lost the belt five days later to Randy Orton and maybe he only won it because Edge retired, but I still love him, dammit! From his very first match to his final days as World Champion, Christian proved he could wear a belt well and put on great matches as champion. However, the most important thing he won over his long career was my heart. Alright, I’ll stop fanboying over Christian now. Spoilsports.
15 Shawn Michaels
A chance for everyone else to fanboy now as it’s time for one of the greatest ever. Michaels debuted in the WWE in 1987. Then he got fired for fighting in a bar. Luckily, WWE signed him and partner, Marty Jannetty, back in 1988 and HBK’s rise to the top began. Despite no championship success in the 80s, Michaels proved to be one of the biggest stars of the period as he and Jannetty rowed audiences as The Rockers. The team would split in a now-infamous Barbershop segment in late 1991 and Michaels would go onto the huge success as a singles wrestler, winning himself his first Intercontinental Championship against The British Bulldog in 1992. Michaels would hold the title three times in the 90s for a combined total of 406 days, the joint eighth longest of all time. He was never going to be content with just the Intercontinental Championship, however, and set his sights on the biggest prize in all of wrestling. No, not Sensational Sherri.
Michaels' boyhood dream would be achieved at WrestleMania XII, when he would defeat Bret Hart in the first ever Iron Man match to win his first WWE Championship. Michaels would win that title a total of three times in the 90s, as well as winning three World Tag Team Championships and a European Championship, a title that made Michaels WWE’s first ever Grand Slam champion. It looked like the 90s would be Michaels’ only championship winning decade when he announced his retirement in 1998, after years of drink and drug abuse took their toll on him. However, in one of the most inspirational stories in wrestling history, Michaels would return to WWE in 2002 after completely turning his life around after becoming a born-again Christian (no, not my boy, the religious type).
Michaels would win his first and only World Heavyweight Championship at Survivor Series 2002 in the first ever Elimination Chamber match, reigniting his career and turning a whole new set of fans onto the Showstopper. Alongside this, Michaels would win the World Tag Team Championships with John Cena in 2007 and, at TLC 2009 (in Michaels’ hometown no less), he would win the WWE Tag Team Championships with Triple H by defeating Big Show and Chris Jericho in the most middle-aged title match in WWE history. Michaels’ tag team title reign carried over into 2010, just about scraping him into the new decade and onto this list. Michaels’ career was extraordinary and the legacy he left behind immeasurable. He may have only just made the cut for this list, but in every other aspect of wrestling, Michaels was top of his class.
13 Hulk Hogan
Everybody! I AM A REAL AMERICAN! Oops, can’t sing that one anymore. Hulk Hogan was the pro wrestler throughout the 80s and 90s, leading both WWE and WCW through some of its biggest boom periods. With his bright red and yellow gear, endless energy and superhuman strength made him the biggest star wrestling had ever seen and Vince McMahon knew he had one hell of a champion up his sleeve.
Hogan’s first WWE title reign came in 1984, lasting over four years until he lost the title to Andre The Giant under dubious circumstances (because Hulk Hogan can’t lose clean, don’t be ridiculous!). Hogan was world champion in the eighties one more time, after he defeated Randy Savage for the belt at WrestleMania V, but the majority of his title runs came in the 90s. Hogan would win the title three more times in the 90s (twice at WrestleMania), before leaving for WCW (because these Ho-gans ain’t loyal. Get it? No? Sorry). It would be seven years before Hulkamania returned to the WWE as a part of the nWo revival, but the fans response to the legendary Hulkster was so powerful, that WWE let him have another run as a singles competitor.
Against all odds (and better judgement, if we’re being honest), WWE decided to put the belt on Hogan once again, defeating Triple H at Backlash 2002 to win his sixth world championship, nearly twenty years after his first. Add that to Hogan’s World Tag Team championship win with Edge in July of 2002, and the Hulkster actually had a pretty great time in the 2000s. Well, 2002 at least, things kinda went downhill from there.
Messy divorces and racist outbursts aside, Hogan made quite an impact on WWE and his grip on the creative side of the company made sure that he was rewarded with plenty of championships. And, since Hogan dropped the leg on Gawker for $115 million dollars, I wouldn’t be too surprised if Vince let him beat Dean Ambrose for the belt next week. You try and tell me you can’t see it, you try.
Here’s a fact for you; Edge has won more championships than anyone in WWE history. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that the Rated-R Superstar won these belts over a thirty-year period. Edge was destined for greatness from the very beginning, making his first PPV appearance at SummerSlam no less. Granted, he did Body Slam a woman in this match, but swings and roundabouts.
Edge won his first championship three years later by defeating Jeff Jarrett for the Intercontinental Championship at a house show in Toronto. Then he lost it the next night. I told you, swings and roundabouts, alright? This was Edge’s only championship victory in the 90s, but oh boy, was the 2000s a great time to be named Adam Copeland. Over this period, Edge would win (brace yourselves) four more Intercontinental Championships, twelve World Tag Team Championships (the most of all time), two WWE Tag Team Championships, a United States Championship, five World Heavyweight Championships and four WWE Championships. Blimey. I need to lie down.
Edge wasn’t done though, not by a long shot. His 2010s included two more World Heavyweight Championship reigns, taking his total up to seven (the most of all time) before his tragic retirement in 2011. Bearing in mind that Edge was still world champion when he retired and had just defended the belt at WrestleMania, who knows how much more he could have achieved had he not been forced to retire? Add in Edge’s Money In The Bank, King of the Ring and Royal Rumble wins, as well as his WrestleMania main event and place in the Hall of Fame, there can be no doubt that any discussion about the best ever has to feature The Ultimate Opportunist. Christian is still my boy though. Even though Edge’s spear at WrestleMania X-7 is one of the coolest things ever. Maybe I need to have a rethink.
9 Bret Hart
The Best There Is, The Best There Was and The Best There Ever Will Be; three nicknames for three championship winning decades. However, The Hitman’s title wins aren’t as straightforward as everyone else’s on this list. Hart found success in WWE in the 1980s as one half of the Hart Foundation alongside his brother-in-law, Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart. The pair won the World Tag Team Championships for the first time in 1987, defeating Bret’s other brother-in-law The British Bulldog and his partner, Dynamite Kid. The Foundation would be tag team champs again in 1990, ticking two of the three decades off for Bret.
However, alongside early tag team success, The Hitman would also make the 90s his own with an incredible run as a singles wrestler. He won two intercontinental Championships between 1991 and 1992, defeating two Hall of Famers (Roddy Piper and Mr. Perfect) to do so and became WWE Champion a whopping five times, winning world titles at three of WWE’s ‘Big Four’ Pay-Per-Views between 1994 and 1997. Hart surely would have continued to have incredible success in the WWE in the 2000s, however, The Hitman never wrestled a match in WWE between 2000 and 2009. Why is that, I hear you ask? Do I really need to explain why? Montreal Screwjob. Look it up.
After being screwed out of the belt, Hart left for WCW and wasn’t seen in a WWE ring for over 12 years. Until 2010 that is. After years away and more controversy than you shake a very controversial stick at, Hart returned to the WWE in January 2010 to a huge ovation from the WWE fans. After an incredible moment in which he and Shawn Michaels openly forgave one another for the Screwjob (god, I hope this was a shoot), Hart would go onto have some pretty high profile moments in the WWE; main eventing SummerSlam as a part of Team WWE, facing Vince McMahon at WrestleMania 26 and, on May 17th 2010, Bret Hart defeated The Miz to win the United States Championship.
Seriously, at the age of 53, Bret Hart beat a man who would be WWE Champion by the end of the year. Wrestling is really, really dumb sometimes. Anyway, thanks to this reign (which only lasted a week, by the way) Bret Hart does hold the distinction of being champion in three different decades, but, he is the only man on this list to have done so in non-consecutive decades, winning titles in the 80s, 90s and 2010s. Pretty impressive, but also pretty messed up. Kinda like the WWE itself.
7 The Rock
IF YA SAMELLLLLLLL!!!! I do that every time The Rock comes on TV. My family love it. Anyhow, The Great One certainly earned his mantra with one of the most incredible careers of any wrestler ever. From hated white meat baby, to trash-talking mega star, to Tooth Fairy, to Hollywood sensation, Dwayne Johnson has lived one hell of a life and has somehow found the time to be a WWE Champion in three different decades. The Rock began life in the WWE as Rocky Maivia, a smiley, happy, pretty damn boring face who wore tassels and got booed every night like he’d just kicked a puppy to death. However, keen to push their first ever third generation wrestler, the WWE put the Intercontinental Championship on Rocky in 1997, partly to punish Triple H for his part in the Curtain Call. And if you don’t know what that or the Montreal Screwjob is, then please, just leave. After the boos just got too much for WWE to handle, Rocky was given a complete character overhaul. Gone were the tassels and the smiles, replaced instead with cool sunglasses and a rotten attitude, complete with scathing wit and more catchphrases than The Simpsons. The Rock was born.
Throughout the 90s, Rock would pick up numerous championships; one more Intercontinental Championship, three World Tag Team Championships partnering with Mankind and three WWE Championships. Having established himself as a megastar by 1999 after his legendary feud with Stone Cold, The Rock went from being one of the biggest heels in the company to one of its most popular stars and would prove to be a huge draw for the WWE as it entered the new Millennium. Despite leaving the company in 2004 to pursue an acting career (which went ok, I suppose), Rock picked up two more tag team titles, four more WWE Championships and even had two reigns with WWE’s version of the WCW Championship. Despite his Hollywood career taking off, The Rock never forgot his roots and, in 2011, returned home to host WrestleMania XXVII. If you don’t remember anything noteworthy that happened at that show, don’t panic, no one does. Rock’s WWE renaissance began that day when he cost John Cena the WWE Championship in the main event, leading to a Once In A Lifetime match between Rock and Cena at WrestleMania XXVIII, which was, of course, repeated the very next year.
Between the two Once In A Lifetime matches, Rock defeated CM Punk to win the WWE Championship at Royal Rumble 2013, ending Punk’s 434 day reign and increasing Dwayne’s overall world title count to eight. The title win may have been another stupid way to get Cena over (Cena defeated Rock at WrestleMania XXIX for the title, ugh) and it might have cost Punk all his momentum, but it does mean that the Rock can say he’s been a WWE Champion in three different decades; an incredible accomplishment for an incredible talent. Now, Dwayne, if you’re listening, please stop making Fast and Furious movies. You’re way, way better than that.
5 The Undertaker
Wrestling is a fickle game. One time megastars can become nobodies in an instance, a promising career can be cut short or even ended by a move gone wrong and if you mess with the McMahons, you can kiss any chance of success goodbye. All this considered, a twenty five year main event career, all in the some company and under the same name, is pretty damn impressive, dare I say Phenom-enal. I’m sorry. Of course I mean The Undertaker and if you weren’t sure that he was destined for greatness from the very start, just remember that he won his first WWE Championship one year after his debut, defeating Hulk Hogan at Survivor Series 1991.
Taker would change a lot in the 90s, going from actual Undertaker to satanic cult leader to straight up resurrected guy, but one thing that never changed was his success. Between 1990 and 1999, Undertaker won a total of three World Tag Team Championships and three WWE Championships. Taker’s continued presence in WWE lead to more title success in the 2000s and, of course, more gimmick changes. Appearing in May 2000 as The American Bad-Ass, a biker gimmick close to Mark Calaway’s real life personality, this version of The Undertaker lasted until 2004, when he was buried alive by Kane, leading to a return to The Deadman persona for his match with Kane at WrestleMania XX, a gimmick he has stuck by ever since. Between 2000 and 2009, Undertaker amassed even more championships, reigning once as Hardcore Champion, three more times with the World Tag Team titles, once as WCW Tag Team Champion, once more with the WWE title and he would hold the World Heavyweight Championship three times, becoming the oldest man to hold that belt in its history. Taker’s final reign as World Heavyweight Champion carried him over into 2010, where he would lose the belt to Chris Jericho following interference from Shawn Michaels at Elimination Chamber.
This was The Undertaker’s most recent championship reign and, at the age of 51, it’s looking highly unlikely that The Deadman will ever hold gold in the WWE again, but when you’ve created a legacy as big and as influential as Mark Calaway has with The Undertaker, you don’t need championships. Without The Undertaker, we’d have no WWE, it’s that simple. My favourite wrestler ever, one of the greatest to ever lace up a pair of boots and the man for which the word legend was created, The Undertaker truly deserved every single one of his title reigns. Never retire, Mark, please. For me?
3 Triple H
What time is it? It’s time to play The Game. Time to bow down to The King. Time to... something about Evolution. Paul Levesque, AKA, Hunter Hearst Helmsely, AKA, Terra Ryzing (never forget) was a highly influential backstage figure in the mid-90s as a part of the Kliq, a political group within the WWE alongside Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Sean Waltman (X-Pac). This, along with his in-ring ability, lead to a healthy number of title reigns in this time, however, it would be later in this decade where The Game would become the main event heel character that would define him for the rest of his life. In the 90s, Triple H picked up two Intercontinental Championships, two European Championships and two WWE Championships. Triple H’s wheels were firmly in motion as 2000 rolled around; Triple H was actually WWE Champion on the first day of 2000.
Over the course of the next decade, Hunter would win the WWE Championship six more times, two World Tag Team Championships, one WWE Tag Team Championship, three more Intercontinental Championships and five World Heavyweight Championships (including being the inaugural champion). After ploughing through most of the roster and killing about a dozen careers, Trips took a backseat when it came to winning titles, but that didn’t stop The Game from dusting off his shovel one last time and winning the Royal Rumble match in 2016, which also happened to be for the WWE Championship. Ok, in all seriousness, Triple H didn’t bury anyone in this match; the whole thing was an attempt to put Roman Reigns over (yeah, good luck with that) and even the guy he last eliminated, Dean Ambrose, is now WWE Champion. Why couldn’t you have done this with Booker T, Hunter? Why?!
Anyway, this title win makes Triple H the most recent title winner on this list, even though his WWE Tag Team Championship reign with Shawn Michaels carried him into the 2010s anyway. Love him or hate him, Triple H has been a constant figure in WWE over the past twenty years and he will continue to be for many, many decades to come. Don’t be too surprised if he books himself to win another title any time soon. Sorry, Trips. Thanks for NXT though, that’s fantastic.
1 The Fabulous Moolah
Whilst everyone else on this list can call themselves a champion in three different decades, only this one can say they did it with the same title reign. Well, actually, it’s a little more complicated than that. Mary Ellison, who wrestled under the name The Fabulous Moolah throughout her storied career, became the inaugural holder of the NWA World Women’s Championship in September of 1956 and, if you listen to WWE, held that title until July of 1984, until the title was renamed the WWF Women’s Championship. This would make Moolah’s reign a whopping 10,170 days long, the longest women’s title reign of all time and a championship reign that encompassed four different decades, never mind three. However, the story is actually a little different.
Moolah actually lost the belt four times during between 1956 and 1984, winning it back in 1978 before dropping it to Wendi Richter, the title change WWE recognises as the end of Moolah’s first run with the belt. Since these championship changes came under the NWA (a larger organisation WWE used to be affiliated with before it became its own brand), they’re are not recognised by the company, ergo, Moolah’s 10,000+ day reign will forever be in the history books. This isn’t to say we should take anything away from Moolah, however; despite not reigning for over thirty years straight, she was still women’s champion in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, which is pretty damn impressive.
What’s more, Moolah would go on to win the belt again in 1999, defeating Ivory at No Mercy to win her eighth women’s championship, at the age of 76. Don’t ask me how, or why, or why again, because I just don’t have the energy. Just accept it. So, despite her title history being more confusing than a Steve Austin heel turn and her final win being more stupid than, well, a Steve Austin heel turn, Moolah smashes everyone else on this list to pieces, being a champion in a whopping five different decades. Her devotion to the business was incredible, her in ring ability phenomenal and the work she did in breaking down gender barriers in wrestling changed the sport forever. Thank you, Moolah, you did some good stuff. Still feel sorry for Ivory, though...
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