Being a world champion means something in wrestling, or at least it used to mean a lot more. Now that it is easier to win a title with smaller rosters on Raw and SmackDown, holding that prestigious title isn’t as difficult as it once was. No matter which version of the WWE World Championship these guys have held, each one of them did so at least once, which is a remarkable feat in and of itself.
The history of the WWE Championship is storied and earning this title puts you in a special group of guys. Many wrestlers on this list deserve to hold the title again, while others certainly do not.
21 SHOULD: Seth Rollins
Before coming to the WWE, Seth Rollins was the Ring of Honor World Champion under the name Tyler Black. He came to the WWE and won the inaugural NXT Championship before joining the main roster as a part of The Shield. Rollins would go onto become a two time WWE World Heavyweight Champion and was helped out along the way being part of The Authority. Even though Rollins had many advantages as part of this group, he still has a lot of talent and could easily win back a world championship at any point in time. He is over with the fans and makes a good representative of the WWE and knows how to carry the title and be a main event guy against anyone they put him against.
20 SHOULDN'T: Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler is a solid wrestle and his ability to steal the show is still evident. With that being said, stealing the show basically means you aren’t in the main event, and Ziggler seems like he will never really be able to get over the hump. He is a former two time World Heavyweight Champion but seems to be stuck fighting for the Intercontinental Championship, which he has held five times. It doesn’t seem like Ziggler will ever be a big enough draw to hold the world championship again, but the fans do appreciate him on the undercard against other athletic competitors like The Miz. He may even get back into the tag team division if he can’t get any further in his singles career.
19 SHOULD: Jeff Hardy
Before the “Broken” Matt Hardy and “Brother Nero” Jeff Hardy gimmicks started, there were lots of rumors that the Hardys might leave TNA and return to the WWE. Now that their careers have been revitalized thanks to the angle, problems still exist because TNA could go out of business at any minute. Hardy is a three time TNA World Heavyweight Champion, a two time WWE World Heavyweight Champion, and a one time WWE Champion. Those numbers are pretty impressive when you consider that he was primarily a tag team wrestler with Matt for several years. Hardy could certainly win another WWE world championship if he came back to the company that helped him become famous. If not, he deserves one more run in TNA and could possibly continue to hold the tag team titles at the same time.
18 SHOULDN'T: Goldberg
Goldberg shocked the wrestling world when he destroyed Brock Lesnar at Summer Slam 2016. After saying that Lesnar was “last”, many felt that Goldberg was just having one more match to promote the WWE 2K17 video game put over The Beast. He won easily against the fiercest competitor in WWE after not wrestling for 12 years. Goldberg is known for his 155-0 winning streak that lasted over a year in WCW. He held the WCW World Heavyweight Championship and the World Heavyweight Champion in the WWE back in his heyday. Now that Goldberg is back, he has a legit shot at winning the 2017 Royal Rumble and having another world championship reign start at WrestleMania. Many wrestling fans would find this unbelievable or disrespectful to the younger generation of wrestlers today.
17 SHOULD: Brock Lesnar
It seems like everybody always wants to see what “The Beast” Brock Lesnar is going to do whenever he sets foot in the ring. Lesnar is a four time WWE Champion/WWE World Heavyweight Champion/WWE Undisputed Champion. His last reign only ended because Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank at WrestleMania 31. Lesnar is a big draw so making him the world champ makes a lot of sense. It also means he wouldn’t have to compete regularly and could continue to be a part time wrestler. The current champions on Raw and SmackDown wrestle fairly regularly, but the WWE could change it up. It seems like Lesnar should have at least one more world championship run in him, and he is almost 40 years old so the time is right.
16 SHOULDN'T: Sheamus
Sheamus made a big splash when he debuted in the WWE back in 2009, beating John Cena at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs to win the WWE Championship less than six months after his first match on the ECW brand. He would go on to hold the WWE Championship/WWE World Heavyweight Championship a total of three times and the World Heavyweight Championship once. His career started to flounder around 2015, and Sheamus joined The League of Nations before the faction quickly dissolved. He had a great best of 7 series with Cesaro and then was teamed up with him to make an unsuccessful run at the tag team titles. Sheamus is a good wrestler but he doesn’t seem to be over as a heel and would really need to reboot his career if he wants to be a legit world champion again.
15 SHOULD: Chris Jericho
Recently Chris Jericho has been involved in a bromance with Universal Champion Kevin Owens, who has even referred to the pairing as the “champions”. Jericho has had plenty of world titles on his own, and he will be happy to tell you that he once defeated both The Rock and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in the same night to become the first ever Undisputed WWF Champion. He is also a three time World Heavyweight Champion and a two time WCW/World Champion (in WWE). Jericho is still one of the most popular wrestlers in the business today and would benefit from one more title reign. Winning the Universal Championship from Kevin Owens after the pairing broke up would make for a very good storyline as well.
14 SHOULDN'T: Big Show
By now the Big Show is well past his prime. He debuted in WCW in 1995, feuding with Hulk Hogan after being billed as the son of Andre the Giant. Show joined the WWE in 1999 and went on to be a two time WWF/WWE Champion and a two time World Heavy Champion. He is also a two time WCW World Heavyweight Champion and an ECW World Champion. Big Show has been stagnant for a number of years and winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania didn’t really do much for him. He would probably still be a believable world champion, but he barely wrestlers anymore at this point and would be better off feuding with a guy like Braun Strowman to put him over.
13 SHOULD: John Cena
John Cena is a three time World Heavyweight Champion and a 12 time WWE Champion/WWE World Heavyweight Champion. That means he has won 15 world championships, putting him just short of the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair at 16 times. The problem is that most of the WWE Universe hates Cena, but the easy solution is to turn him into a heel and give him one more good run with one of their main championships. The fans will want to see Cena get beat up by guys like Seth Rollins or Dean Ambrose and becoming a rule breaker would give him an even greater advantage than he already has. Cena could have one more long run as champ and then turn face once again right before he retires from competition.
12 SHOULDN'T: The Miz
The Miz held the WWE Championship at one point and even headlined WrestleMania. He has been more successful as a six time WWE Intercontinental Champion, and may have another world championship run left in him. He has a lot of heat with the fans as a heel and has even started a feud with SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan. The Miz is also a six time WWE Tag Team Champion along with John Morrison twice, the Big Show twice, John Cena, and Damien Mizdow. Even though he has a proven track record, many don’t respect him and wouldn’t think he would be fit to be the main guy in the WWE. At this point he may be better off with the IC title rather than having another main championship reign.
11 SHOULD: The Undertaker
The Undertaker has held seven world championships with four reigns as the WWE Champion and another three as the World Heavyweight Champion. He has been a part timer for a number of years after more than 20 years in the business. The Undertaker has mostly competed at WrestleMania in the last few years, but recently returned to SmackDown to motivate the brand for the Survivor Series and claimed that he was back. This sets up the chance of him winning the championship and what a great match he could have against A.J. Styles or the “Demon” Finn Balor for his last world championship run. The Deadman could even win a championship at WrestleMania and then retire, serving as a transitional champion and going out on top of the game once and for all.
10 SHOULDN'T: Roman Reigns
For several months Roman Reigns came close to becoming the champion in WWE, and eventually he was able to capture the WWE World Championship from Dean Ambrose at the 2015 Survivor Series before Sheamus cashed in his Money in the Bank right after that occurred. Reigns put his career on the line to win the title back, but then lost it to Triple H at the 2016 Royal Rumble. He won it back at WrestleMania 32 before losing it to Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank 2016. The problem is that the WWE Universe hates Reigns whether he is a face or a heel. He also seemed to be in the doghouse when he was suspended by the WWE, and putting the U.S. title on him seemed to be a way of holding him down from being in the Universal title picture.
9 SHOULD: Randy Orton
Randy Orton has the honor of being the last wrestler to hold the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, which he held four times total. In addition, he has also been the WWE Champion/WWE World Heavyweight Champion another eight times for a total of 12 world championships reigns. Now he has joined the Wyatt Family although that may just be a mind game he is playing with Bray Wyatt. Orton against A.J. Styles would be a very good matchup that many people would love to see, and he would also be a good opponent for Kevin Owens on the Raw brand. With Orton’s track record he should have at least one more championship title run in him and he certainly deserves it. Whether he is a heel or face, he commands respect and knows how to work in and out of the ring.
8 SHOULDN'T: Kane
Kane is another guy that seems to have dropped off dramatically in recent years. He had a bit of a career resurgence as the Director of Operations for The Authority, but hasn’t done much in the ring for a while. Kane is a former WWF World Heavyweight Champion, World Heavyweight Champion, and ECW Champion. Although most people think of him as a singles competitor, Kane actually has a total of 12 tag team championships during his career, including three with his “brother” The Undertaker. At this point he is more of a gimmicky wrestler and hearing his music and seeing his pyrotechnics is usually the best part of his matches. He wouldn’t make a very good world champion anymore, but seeing one more feud with The Undertaker would certainly be interesting.
7 SHOULD: Finn Balor
After dominating in New Japan and NXT, Finn Balor was called up to the WWE’s main roster when he was drafted by Raw as the #5 overall pick in the 2016 brand split draft. He won a fatal four-way match over Kevin Owens, Rusev, and Cesaro and then beat Roman Reigns to earn a match against Seth Rollins for the brand new WWE Universal Championship. Balor went on to win that match and become the inaugural champion at SummerSlam 2016, but suffered a shoulder injury and had to give up the championship. Kevin Owens went onto become the Universal champion with Balor being sidelined for several months. He is expected to make a comeback and no one would be surprised to see him become a world champion again.