Despite the fact Vince McMahon has been partly responsible for creating some of the best characters, storylines and champions we have ever witnessed in WWE history, without question, Vince has also made some pretty terrible choices throughout his multiple decades at the helm - this is truly inevitable. As most of you are likely aware, Vince McMahon has always had a rather "unique" taste when it comes to some of the Superstars he pushes into the various championship pictures, and over the course of 30 plus years, Vince has promoted a number of wrestlers to championship status that no one else in the WWE would've otherwise pushed.
Whether we're talking about the WWE Title, Intercontinental Title, United States Title, Women's Title or the Tag Team Titles, there are long lists of Superstars for every championship that only Vince wanted. Now don't get us wrong, Vince McMahon has definitely made some solid choices throughout his career when it comes to creating great champions (The Rock, Stone Cold, John Cena among many others), but at the same time, there have been many bad and quite honestly downright terrible champions in WWE that McMahon was mainly responsible for.
Regardless of the proven truth that Vince McMahon is slowly but surely giving up his power in WWE to his daughter Stephanie and son-in-law Triple H, we certainly haven't seen the last bad champion on the WWE's main roster Vince is to blame for. With that said, let's take a closer look at 25 bad champions in the WWE only Vince McMahon wanted - we have focused mainly on the WWE, IC and US Titles, but we have also included a couple terrible Women's, Cruiserweight and Tag Team Champs.
25 WWE Champion: Jinder Mahal
It's still quite awe-inspiring to refer to Jinder Mahal as being a "former WWE Champion," because that reality truly hasn't set in for most fans. For nearly the entirety of Mahal's existence in WWE, "The Modern Day Maharaja" was positioned as a low ranking enhancement talent - among the likes of Heath Slater, Bo Dallas, and Curt Hawkins. However, with Vince McMahon's interest to break into the Indian market and Jinder's surprising physical transformation, a surprise push was in order on SmackDown Live.
With that said, as many had anticipated, the WWE's efforts to attain a larger following in India failed to pan out, and Jinder's lengthy WWE Championship title reign did little for the title or SmackDown. Jinder Mahal may not be the "worst WWE Champion of all-time", but he's definitely up there, and Vince McMahon is undoubtedly to blame for this lackluster and ill-planned title run - Triple H certainly wouldn't have pushed Jinder Mahal to such an extent so quickly.
24 United States Champion: Bret Hart
Bret Hart's strained relationship with the WWE has been well documented over much of the past two decades, but thankfully, Vince McMahon made an effort to reach out to Bret in hopes of getting "The Hitman" to return to the company following a 12 plus year absence. Vince's efforts proved to be effective, as one of the all-time greatest blessed a WWE arena for the first time in years (January 2010).
While Bret was mainly utilized to aid The Hart Dynasty from ringside, Vince clearly took things a step too far by offering Bret Hart a shot at The Miz's United States Championship in which Hart won. Bret would quickly vacate the US Championship, and by all means, this did little for the title nor did it do absolutely anything but tarnish Bret's unparalleled legacy. This was clearly Vince's attempt to give Bret a consolation prize for the years of "bad blood" between the two sides, but it, unfortunately, put Bret's name in the "worst US Champions" list.
23 Women's Champion: Stephanie McMahon
When you're the owner of a multi-billion dollar wrestling company and have all the power to whatever you'd like, it's certainly not hard to comprehend why Vince McMahon would offer his daughter Stephanie an ample amount of opportunities both inside and outside the ring over non-family members. Despite the fact that some fans give Steph a hard time due to the notion that she "hogs" the spotlight, without a doubt, Stephanie McMahon is great at her on-screen role as that villainous authority figure we all love to hate.
However, there was definitely a point in time when things were taken too far in regards to Stephanie McMahon in WWE because Steph's run as the Women's Champion in 2000 ranks among the worst of all time. Vince is entirely to blame for Stephanie's excruciatingly long title reign (145 days), and it became very clear within short order that Stephanie was not remotely ready or capable to lead the WWE's women's division.
22 WWE Champion: The Miz
The Miz is an absolutely fantastic heel, and over the course of two years, "The A-Lister" has proven that he is more than ready for another push to the WWE Championship scene. However, the same certainly could not be said for Miz's first WWE Championship reign back in 2010, because, by all means, Miz simply wasn't ready for the spotlight. Despite being positioned as the WWE Champ, for the entirety of Miz's title reign, The Miz was a complete afterthought, and he played second fiddle to the WWE's top storyline - Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson versus John Cena.
If you can remember, one of The Miz's first feuds for the title was Jerry Lawler of all people, so that should sort of give you an idea as to why Miz's WWE Championship run flopped. The Miz may have main-evented WrestleMania XXVII as WWE Champion (something recent WWE Title holders such as AJ Styles didn't get to do), but Miz's match with Cena at 'Mania was one of the worst in history.
21 Tag Team Champion: New Age Outlaws
As we continue to work out way through this list of bad champions in WWE that only Vince McMahon wanted, it's only appropriate we shine some light on the companies Tag Team Championships. When you think of great WWE Tag Team Champs, duos such as The Hart Foundation, Edge & Christian, and The Hardy Boyz will likely come to mind, but when you think of downright terrible Tag Team Champs in recent memory, The New Age Outlaws will probably be at the forefront of your thoughts...
While The New Age Outlaws were a fantastic team back in the WWE's Attitude Era, in 2014, Billy Gunn and Road Dogg were well beyond their peak and worthiness of Tag Team gold. When The New Age Outlaws defeated Goldust and Cody Rhodes for the belts in 2014, many fans were left speechless, considering this truly came out of left field. Billy and Road Dogg proceeded to have an absolutely bad title reign which thankfully only lasted for a little over a month, and by all means, this short and seemingly undeserving Tag Team title run was courtesy of Vince McMahon and Triple H - their real-life buddies who just so happen to be in charge of booking the shows.
20 Intercontinental Champion: Ryback
"The Big Guy" Ryback is unquestionably a case of a WWE wrestler who was pushed to the main event scene before he was remotely ready, and this, in turn, hurt Ryback's momentum tremendously - to the point where Ryback fell down the card big time. Despite having "future WWE Champion" written all over him, Ryback's push to the top within his first year backfired (Vince cornered himself due to Cena's injury), and The Big Guy was fairly quickly demoted down the card following a couple pay-per-view main events which were far from being spectacular in late 2012/early 2013.
For the next year, Ryback floated around the midcard without any real direction, but Vince, being his typical "big guy" loving self, decided to give Ryback another shot at success in the way of an Intercontinental Championship reign. Long story short, Ryback was a very forgettable champion, and he did absolutely nothing of note with the title - the highlight of Ryback's short IC Championship reign was dropping it to Kevin Owens via a roll-up pin.
19 United States Champion: Santino Marella
Santino Marella may be a WWE legend in his own right, but the simple fact remains the words "Santino Marella" and "championship" does not mix well whatsoever... Right from his debut match against the monstrous Umaga, it was clear that Vince's intentions for Marella were more of a comedy mid-carder versus a legitimate contender for championships, yet Santino still managed to rack up a couple surprising accomplishments, one of them being the United States Championship back in 2012.
While Santino's surprise title win over Jack Swagger was well received by fans at the time (mainly due to the fact Swagger was underwhelming as US Champ), as time went on, the prestige of the United States Title undoubtedly lowered a bit - Santino's title reign lasted far, far longer than anyone could've anticipated at well over four months. Vince McMahon was definitely behind Santino's US Title reign, and though it was a cool storyline for a bit, things became stale very quickly, and Marella now ranks among the worst US Champions in WWE history.
18 World Champion: The Great Khali
The Great Khali undoubtedly ranks among the most imposing and physically intimidating WWE Superstars of all time, but on the flip side, Khali also ranks among the worst World Champions in sports entertainment history. When The Great Khali emerged on the WWE scene in 2006 following a surprise confrontation with The Undertaker, most fans were left speechless of the "Punjabi Nightmare's" size and monster-like presence - the future seemed very bright for Khali.
However, fast forward a few matches and it became clear to WWE management and fans alike that The Great Khali couldn't wrestle remotely decent matches, but Vince McMahon decided to go against any reasonable judgment by giving Khali a World Heavyweight Championship run in 2007 following a slew of terrible '06 matches. As most fans had anticipated, The Great Khali's World Title reign was a complete and utter disaster on biblical proportions, and you can be assured WWE executives who weren't in favor of The Great Khali's push gave Vince that "I told you so" look.
17 Intercontinental Champion: Ahmed Johnson
Vince McMahon has always (and likely will always) have a soft spot for big muscle guys, and Ahmed Johnson was certainly no exception to this notion. For those who've since forgotten, Ahmed Johnson was insanely jacked in the '90s, and this was undoubtedly the root cause of Vince's fascination with Johnson. As expected, Vince would attempt to push the hulking monster on a number of occasions, with one of those said occasions taking Ahmed Johnson to the coveted Intercontinental Championship.
While Ahmed isn't the worst IC Champ of all time, Ahmed's title reign was absolutely forgettable and did nothing for the Superstar or the championship itself. Vince was undoubtedly the man responsible for Ahmed Johnson's multiple pushes in WWE, and according to various sources, Ahmed Johnson was apparently in line for a WWE Championship run before injuries swept Johnson to the sidelines - if that had occurred, Ahmed's name would've likely been featured on this list twice...
16 United States Champion: Zack Ryder
While many of the "bad champions" only Vince wanted featured on this list were terrible due to the wrestlers' shortcomings, Zack Ryder definitely isn't one of them. When Ryder was thrust into the United States Championship picture back in 2011, it seemed as though this was only the first step in Ryder's ascent to the top of WWE. However, things certainly didn't go as expected by most fans standards, as Ryder would go onto lose the US Title just a couple of weeks into his reign - a surefire burial if we've seen one.
Zack's likely detractor was undoubtedly Triple H because various sources over the years have alluded to the fact that Hunter was never high on Zack Ryder at any point in his career. Vince McMahon, on the other hand, always had a soft spot for comedic babyfaces in championship spots (Santino Marella, for example), and Zack Ryder certainly fit the bill back then. Zack Ryder is only considered by fans to be a "bad" US Champion because he was never given the opportunity to showcase his skills.
15 World Champion: Jack Swagger
When fans are questioned as to who they believe to be one of the worst WWE World Champions in history, among the typical names such as The Great Khali and Jinder Mahal, Jack Swagger is another worthy choice... Although Swagger was a technically sound wrestler, in every other aspect of a "WWE Superstar," Jack was lacking big-time - the two biggest missing pieces for Swagger were charisma and promo ability.
Regardless of his apparent shortcomings, Vince McMahon would attempt to push the All-American American to the top of the card, and he ended up successfully cashing in his MITB Briefcase (which he had won at 'Mania XXVI) on Chris Jericho thus capturing his first and only World Championship in WWE.
It was clear right from the start of Jack Swagger's World Title reign that "The All-American American" was far from ready as a top-tier star, and as such, Swagger flopped severely in his high profile role. Unlike some of the other wrestlers featured on this list who went on to have multiple terrible title runs, Vince learned his lesson in regards to Swagger, and Jack was never again featured as a top guy.
14 Intercontinental Champion: The Big Show
The Big Show is unquestionably one of the greatest big men to ever step foot inside the squared circle, but that certainly doesn't mean every WWE title reign throughout Show's career has been superb. In fact, many of The Big Show's championships runs have been rather forgettable in WWE (mainly a lack of commitment on Vince's part), and by many fans standards, some of the worst in history. While the Intercontinental Championship has suited many illustrious Superstars in WWE, The Big Show definitely isn't one of them.
For those of you who've since forgotten, Big Show ended up having a short run as the IC Champ back in 2012 following his title win against Cody Rhodes, and without question, this title reign was absolutely pointless and did little to nothing for 'Show or the once-prestigious championship. Vince McMahon has always had a reputation of giving The Big Show random title reigns when we least expect (or desire) it, and The Big Show's IC Championship run in '12 ranks among the worst in history - thankfully, Cody reclaimed the title he attempted to make prestigious again 28 days later.
13 United States Champion: Dean Ambrose
When you put the words "Dean Ambrose" and "United States Championship" together, most fans would imagine great success - however, for a number of reasons, Dean Ambrose's US Title reign during the whole Shield invasion storyline was absolutely lackluster, mainly due to the fact Ambrose rarely defended the belt during his extremely lengthy 351 day reign. Vince McMahon simply placed the United States Championship on Ambrose to look the part, as Roman & Seth were busy with the Tag Team Championships, and McMahon desired every "Shield Brother" to have gold around their waists.
While I personally don't like to use this term often, Dean Ambrose was definitely a "paper champion," as the US Title was a complete afterthought in the grand scheme of things. Dean's championship run could've been so much more had Vince taken the time to lay out some intriguing mini storylines and feuds away from The Shield drama, but regardless, Dean is one of the longest reigning United States Champions in WWE history - was this accolade deserved? Probably not.
12 WWE Champion: Sycho Sid
Throughout the '80s and '90s, Vince McMahon tried his luck pushing a number of lumbering giants, with one of those said giants being the near 7-foot-tall Sycho Sid. While most of the monsters Vince attempted to push flopped and became complete and utter afterthoughts, Sycho Sid undoubtedly rose above the standard midcard monster heel - even though most fans would tell you Sid shouldn't have.
Sycho Sid managed to achieve two WWE Championship runs throughout his career, and by all means, Vince was responsible for both bad title reigns. Sycho Sid truly lacked a connection with the fans despite his apparent main event status (much like recent flops including Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio), and Sid was forgotten about within short order following his move to WCW where he managed to accumulate two more World Title reigns. Sycho Sid definitely ranks well within the five worst WWE Champions of all-time.
11 Intercontinental Champion: Rikishi
Rikishi may have been an extremely entertaining comedic big man wrestler in his own right, but the 400-pound Samoan certainly wasn't the ideal candidate to add prestige to the Intercontinental Championship. For those of you who have since forgotten (probably many of you), the fun-loving Rikishi ended up having a short run with the IC Championship in 2000 following a surprise win over Chris Benoit.
Considering Rikishi's reign only lasted for two weeks before dropping the gold to another lousy former IC Champion Val Venis, the title reign felt completely pointless and meaningless considering Rikishi was no better off once IC Champion and the title ended up losing a bit of prestige between the two terrible championship runs (Rikishi and Val). Rikishi was unquestionably best suited as that comedic monster who could turn on that aggression when he needed to pick up victories, yet wasn't seriously interested in racking up lots of title reigns.
10 United States Champion: Roman Reigns
For whatever reason, Vince McMahon has always had the belief that placing a "lost in the shuffle" mid-card championship on a main event talent immediately adds prestige to the title, and as you might have guessed, this is far from the truth. Of course, some main eventers have added prestige and excitement to the WWE's secondary championships (Triple H, John Cena, Chris Jericho among others), but Roman Reigns definitely isn't one of those Superstars.
Roman Reigns may be the face of the WWE, but that certainly doesn't mean it equates to Reigns having solid runs with the US or IC Titles without doing the necessary work to add prestige to the championship - this mainly falls on the WWE's creative team (or lack thereof) who made Roman's midcard title runs meaningless simply because they were afterthoughts in the grand scheme of things. Roman Reigns' United States Title run in 2016 was absolutely pointless, and it simply felt like Vince's consolation prize for Reigns being "punished" due to his Wellness Policy violation.
9 Universal Champion: Brock Lesnar
Whether we're talking about the WWE Championship or the Universal Championship, it cannot be argued that "The Beast Incarnate" Brock Lesnar did little for either title. While Brock Lesnar was treated like a major attraction by Vince before leaving the WWE to pursue a career in MMA, without question, McMahon took things to the extreme when Lesnar returned in 2012. For much of Brock's six-year run, Vince has pushed "The Beast" above and beyond every current Superstar, and he has truly become Vinnie Mac's right-hand big pay-per-view main eventer.
However, despite the fact Lesnar's a big star in his own right, Brock has done nothing of note during his reigns as the WWE and Universal Champion - especially Brock's most recent Universal Title reign. Brock rarely showed up on Monday Night Raw, and even worse, Lesnar defended the title fewer times throughout his near one year run than many former World Champions who held their gold for less than two months did. Let's just hope that Brock's time at the very top is over and done with.
8 Intercontinental Champion: Zack Ryder
In recent times, WWE has done some rather blatantly obvious PR-driven moves to further their brand, and Zack Ryder's surprise Intercontinental Championship win at WrestleMania 32 was nothing more than a politically driven move on Vince McMahon's part - WWE was simply playing the fans heartstrings with Zack's emotional journey to WrestleMania and all the obstacles he's had to overcome in his career, nothing more.
As many fans had expected, the WWE immediately dropped the ball with Zack Ryder once that feel-good moment passed, and Ryder ended up dropping his newly won IC Championship to The Miz just one day later on Monday Night Raw in the most meaningless fashion possible. Ryder failed to regain his title in his rematch, and Zack quickly fell down the card into irrelevancy again - Vince only put the gold on Ryder to help add some emotion and depth to the WWE's WM documentary.
7 United States Champion: Jack Swagger
If there's one thing certain about "The All-American American" Jack Swagger, it's the fact that Swagger simply wasn't meant to be a champion in WWE - Jack lacked the key traits or components of what makes a good WWE Superstar, and furthermore, a good champion. Swagger's infamously bad United States Championship reign started off on a bad note after defeating the uber-popular Zack Ryder (effectively killing Ryder's momentum), and throughout his title run, Jack Swagger did nothing but devalue the championship's prestige with his lackluster performances and mediocre storylines.
As crazy as it may sound, the highlight of Jack Swagger's US Title reign was losing the gold to Santino Marella, of all people, yet another Superstar who had a terrible US Championship run right afterward. Vince tried and tried with Jack Swagger, but his attempts were clearly fruitless, as Swagger has ended up as a complete afterthought in sports entertainment history.
6 WWE Champion: Alberto Del Rio
Among the relatively disliked Superstars Vince has attempted to attach that rocket push to, Alberto Del Rio is among the most despised. Right from his debut, fans had a sense that Vince was going to go all-out with Del Rio, and despite Alberto's lack of a main event caliber personality or charisma, McMahon proceeded with Del Rio's "push to the moon". Throughout his fairly short career in WWE, Alberto Del Rio captured multiple World Championships, and none of his reigns were memorable or well received by fans.
Vince's multiple attempts to get Del Rio over as a top-tier talent failed miserably, and once released, Alberto was quickly forgotten about despite being a multi-time WWE Champ. Had Triple H been in control of things, you can be assured Alberto wouldn't have been pushed nearly as hard, because it has been reported that Del Rio was never on Hunter's good side - Del Rio's constant shoot interviews regarding Triple H confirms this notion...
5 Tag Team Champions: The Legion Of Doom (2005)
Among Vince McMahon's weaknesses, one of the main ones would undoubtedly have to be McMahon's unwillingness to let go of the past. Throughout WWE history, Vince has attempted to bring back past legends well beyond their prime, reform tag teams and factions despite little fan intrigue, and quite simply living in the past and putting too much of the spotlight and emphasis on has-been's versus the current crop of talent - we have been seeing this a lot lately for much of 2017 and 2018 in WWE.
Regardless, one of Vince's most infamous (and equally terrible) nostalgia acts would be the 2005 version of The Legion Of Doom stable, as WWE simply replaced the recently passed Road Warrior Hawk with the lumbering monster Heidenreich. Road Warrior Animal and the absolutely awful Heidenreich managed to capture the Tag Team Championships following a win over Joey Mercury and Johnny Nitro, and without a doubt, the imitation LOD are the worst Tag Team Champs in WWE history.
4 WWE Champion: Sheamus
Although Sheamus has come into his own as a WWE Superstar alongside the vastly underutilized Cesaro, that certainly doesn't deflect from the fact that Sheamus arguably ranks among the worst WWE Champions of all time - all four of Sheamus' WWE Title reigns were bad and extremely forgettable. Similar to Alberto Del Rio, Sheamus simply didn't have what was required to be a top-level talent in WWE (babyface or heel), but Vince McMahon stuck to his guns despite better judgment and proceeded to push "The Celtic Warrior" on multiple occasions.
The worst of Sheamus' WWE Championship reigns would likely be the Irishman's title run in 2015, and it was evident to fans right off the hop that Sheamus was only a placeholder champion for Vince's golden boy Roman Reigns. Prior to his surprise moment winning the gold, Sheamus was completely and utterly irrelevant. Had the WWE put more time into developing Sheamus as a WWE Superstar before pushing him to the moon, it's probable that The Celtic Warrior would've been better received by fans...
3 Cruiserweight Champion: Hornswoggle
Before the Cruiserweight Championship was reinstated in WWE with the introduction of 205 Live and The Cruiserweight Classic, the final CW Champion was none other than Hornswoggle - a perfect indication on how Vince viewed the Cruiserweight gold back in 2007. Hornswoggle captured the soon-to-be-retired championship at The Great American Bash following a surprise pin on Jamie Noble, but 'Swoggle would later be stripped of the title by the lovely Vickie Guerrero due to the leprechaun being a newfound "target" considering Hornswoggle's kayfabe relation to Vince McMahon.
Over the years, Vince has made some pretty lackluster choices when it comes to the WWE's secondary champions, and Hornswoggle capturing the Cruiserweight Title has to rank among the worst of them all. It was probably a smart move for the WWE to retire the CW belt following 'Swoggle's short title reign, as there really was no coming back from that decision, because nearly all of the Cruiserweight Championship's prestige was shot.
2 WWE Champion: Diesel
Diesel aka Kevin Nash may be the longest reigning WWE Champion of the '90s, but that accolade certainly wasn't a result of Diesel being a great champion. Following a period of time as Shawn Michaels right-hand man, Vince would attempt to push the 6-foot-10 giant to the top of the card, and Diesel would go onto defeat Bob Backlund in convincing fashion for the WWE Championship in an eight-second "squash" match. While Diesel looked the part, ratings and viewership were down considerably during Nash's title reign, and by all accounts, Kevin Nash was a major main event flop.
Regardless, Diesel would continue getting portrayed as a big star once he jumped ship to WCW, and Nash managed to rack up four more World Title reigns in World Championship Wrestling (none of which were very memorable or important either). Diesel may have been a flop as WWE Champion, but he certainly wouldn't be the last lumbering giant Vince promoted to the top...
1 Intercontinental Champion: Ezekiel Jackson
It should come as no surprise that Vince McMahon attempted to push the lumbering big man wrestler Ezekiel Jackson, because despite being extremely limited in the ring, McMahon moved ahead with multiple title reigns for Jackson - one being the final ECW Championship, and the other being an Intercontinental Championship run. Ezekiel undoubtedly looked the part of a main event monster heel, but Jackson lacked in every other aspect thus cementing his IC Title reign as a complete and utter disaster.
Vince must have come to his senses within short order following Ezekiel's title win over Wade Barrett at Capitol Punishment 2011, because within the span of two months, Jackson lost the Intercontinental Title to Cody Rhodes - this would mark Ezekiel's last championship run in WWE. Ezekiel Jackson is certainly one of the least memorable IC Champions in sports entertainment history.