Being a champion puts a WWE Superstar in an exclusive club. Whether they hold the title for one night or 10 years, their name will be etched in the history books. For fans that were in the audience, it will be embedded in their memories forever. Whether it is at a live event or on WWE programming, when the title changes, it can guarantee a reaction.
Fans of the Attitude Era loved the European and the Hardcore Championship. While these titles are no longer in existence, they are still modern that they will be included on the list. However, there were a few tag titles that you may not know existed such as the Intercontinental, United States, and Womens divisions, which each had their own Tag Team Championship at one time. While the roster is huge, bringing back these titles may diminish the prestige of some of the belts. One concern is the titles playing hot potato.
There were also some singles championships that have gone extinct, including the Canadian and North American Championship. It is very hard to imagine these titles in the today’s WWE being very popular. In a business where the entertainment is more important than the wrestling, there is simply not enough television time to add more titles and give them the prestige they deserve. Throughout history, many men and women have held some titles better than others. When fans think of the title, they automatically think of these Superstars and Divas. Some have elevated the title to a new level, while others may have been the guy to put the title on due to dependability. Here is a list of the Greatest Title Holder of Every Modern WWE Championship.
Light Heavyweight Championship: Taka Michinoku
The modern WWE Light Heavyweight Championship was WWE’s ways to counter the WCW Cruiserweight division. There was a title between 1981-1995 and this was during the WWE’s partnership with the Mexican promotion UWA. In 1997, the WWE held a tournament to crown the new champion and the winner was Taka Michinoku. The title was around for six years, but when fans think of the belt, Michinoku immediately comes to mind, as he was the face of the Light Heavyweight division during the Monday Night War. By the time WCW arrived, the title became an after thought.
Honorable Mentions: Dean Malenko, X-Pac
Cruiserweight Championship: Rey Mysterio
With the exception of Booker T and Chris Jericho, no WCW Superstar was able to rise above their WCW success when they arrived in WWE more than Rey Mysterio. He was the undoubted face of the Cruiserweight division. From his high-flying style inside the ring and his ability to connect with the audience outside the ring, Rey Mysterio is the best Cruiserweight Champion ever.
Honorable Mentions: Shane Helms, Chavo Guerrero
European Championship: William Regal
The European Championship is remembered as the intro to the mid-card championship. No one represented the continent of Europe the way William Regal did. When fans think of the title, they cannot help but think of William Regal. He is tied for the most title reigns with D’Lo Brown at four. While Regal wore other gold, his most notable title reigns will always be the European Championship.
Honorable Mentions: British Bulldog, D’Lo Brown
Hardcore Championship: Crash Holly
The Hardcore Championship was introduced as a gift to Mankind in 1998 from Vince McMahon. The title fit him, as when it was defended, anything could happen. However, no one made this title more must see tv than Crash Holly. Holly implemented the 24/7 rule in 2000 and the rules were simple; the belt could be defended anytime and anywhere. This rule allowed Holly to hold the title 22 times! If the Hardcore Championship would make its return, it would only be right to implement the 24/7 rule.
Honorable Mentions: Mankind, Big Boss Man
Women’s Championship: Trish Stratus
The Fabulous Moolah held the title for decades but truth be told, the Women’s division did not have the limelight that it has today. While fans complain about the how the Divas are being used, there is no doubt that at one point the Women’s Championship was one of the hottest titles on the roster. This was during the reign of Trish Stratus, as everyone wanted Stratusfaction. She found a way to evolve herself into a champion that was respected and not just looked at as eye candy. Trish Stratus was the total package.
Honorable Mentions: The Fabulous Moolah, Lita
Divas Championship: AJ Lee
When the company did a brand split in 2002, the Women’s Championship was one of the titles that was not exclusive to one brand. In 2008, it became exclusive to Raw, leading SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero to create the Divas title. Eventually it would become the only women’s title in the company. The greatest Divas Champion is AJ Lee, as he is currently tied for the most title reigns at three and she is second for longest days as champion with 295 days.
During her most recent title reign, she helped ignite the Divas Revolution, which helped the women of today receive more respect. Her work inside and outside the ring makes her the greatest Divas Champion WWE.
Honorable Mentions: Nikki Bella, Beth Phoenix
WWE Tag Team Championship: New Day
The WWE Tag Team Championship titles made their debut in 2002 as result of the brand split. In the past five years, the tag team division has been very lackluster. However, there has been a team to bring credibility and that team is The New Day. Since becoming Tag Team Champions, New Day have become must see television. They have opened and closed the shows. Their chemistry is spot on and, while many may feel it is too soon to say this, they have demonstrated why they are the best WWE Tag Team Champions in modern day history.
Honorable Mentions: The Usos, MNM
World Tag Team Championship: The New Age Outlaws
The World Tag Team Championship has had a rich history in WWE, dating back to 1971. Looking at the modern era, there has never been a tag team like the New Age Outlaws. The Outlaws were very creative and found a way to entertain the fans in every way possible. During the Attitude Era there were many Tag Team Champions who were great, but none had the ability to entertain fans inside and outside the ring the way the New Age Outlaws did.
Honorable Mentions: The Dudley Boyz, Edge & Christian
United States Championship: Booker T
When Vince McMahon purchased WCW, he inherited the contacts of many of their Superstars. One was Booker T, who was WCW World Heavyweight and United States Champion. He would eventually lose the belt to Kurt Angle, but after the brand split he became one of the most reliable champions. He was a proven main eventer already, however, when he was United States Champion, he added prestige to the title. His series with Chris Benoit is still one of most talked about feuds today. When Booker T wore the United States Championship, fans were invested because the matches had a main event feel.
Honorable Mentions: John Cena, MVP
Intercontinental Championship: Chris Jericho
Since entering the company, the WWE Intercontinental Championship has been known as the workhorse title. For many Superstars, winning the IC Championship meant that they were next in line for the main event picture. Guys such as “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Bret Hart, and Shawn Michaels wore the title with pride before main-eventing WrestleMania. While these men were great, no one wore the title with more pride and had more title reigns than Chris Jericho. He has gone on record saying that it was his lifelong dream to be the Intercontinental Champion. While Chris Jericho is a multiple time World Champion, his reigns as the IC Champion (which are the most ever at nine) have also been terrific, therefore making him the greatest ever.
Honorable Mentions: Razor Ramon, “Macho Man” Randy Savage
World Heavyweight Championship: Edge
During the summer of 2002, Eric Bischoff presented Triple H with the Big Gold Belt, meaning the WWE now had two flag bearers (though the WWE Championship will still held a little above). Since its debut, no one has worn this title with more pride than the Rated-R Superstar, Edge. Edge was the face of the SmackDown brand for a long time. His seven title reigns are more than anyone else in the company. He was one of the most dependable guys and if it not were for a neck injury, he may have had many more.
Honorable Mention: Chris Jericho, Triple H
WWE (World Heavyweight) Championship: John Cena
For anyone growing up as a fan wanting to step in the ring, their dream was to wear the most prestigious prize in the sport’s history, the WWE Championship. No Superstar has ever drawn more emotion from the audience than John Cena. When you look at the modern era of the WWE, no one supersedes Cena. His 12 title reigns are unprecedented. The next in line would be Triple H with nine. Even when he is not in the title picture, he’s the main event. John Cena has been on top for over 10 years and has always been in the title picture. That is longer than The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and even Hulk Hogan.
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