The WWE Championship is the most prestigious title in the WWE. When a wrestler is crowned the WWE Champion, they are without a doubt, the representative of the company. Although there have been two World Championships utilized in the WWE, (WWE Championship which was usually on RAW and the World Heavyweight Championship normally on SmackDown), there was little doubt that the WWE Championship was the more coveted and worthy championship, hence why it was on the flagship show, RAW, most of the time.
A couple of years ago, the WWE decided to merge the WWE Championship and the floundering World Heavyweight Championship to create one title, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. This belt is still in existence on the Blue Brand, SmackDown Live. However, since RAW was out of a world title, the WWE decided to create a new top prize, the Universal Championship (cringe). Regardless, in this article, I will only be discussing about the worst to best WWE or WWE World Heavyweight Champions, not the World Heavyweight Champions or the Universal Champions.
The World Heavyweight Championship was a prestigious belt back in its early WWE days, but after having the likes of Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler among others carrying the belt around, there was no doubt that it was the second class World Championship. As far as the Universal Championship, this title is still too new, as only a few wrestlers have had reigns with it so far.
Stay tuned, as this list divulges every WWE World Champion since 2000, ranked from worst to best. Just a side note, my rankings are based off of my own opinions, the champs booking, title reign lengths, how many title reigns, how over the wrestler was et cetera. Your opinions may vary slightly, but I think my rankings are somewhat "mainstream." With that said, let's begin!
28 Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio was only the WWE Champion for under one day, hence why he's been ranked the last. Mysterio won his first and only WWE Championship after defeating The Miz in a tournament final for the vacated championship. However, the man, the myth and the legend, John Cena later challenged Rey for the WWE Championship that night on RAW and he defeated the luchadore. Definitely one of the shortest WWE title reigns of all time, that's for sure.
By 2011, Mysterio was already "past his peak" so to speak, and he was becoming increasingly more irrelevant as time went on. When Mysterio won the belt, he was already in the transitional stage of being considered more of a part-timer. Mysterio's monumental World Championship win came back in 2006, when Rey defeated Randy Orton and Kurt Angle for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 22.
27 Alberto Del Rio
Alberto Del Rio has had two runs as the WWE Champion, and unfortunately, both runs fell flat. Del Rio was brought into the WWE to fill the role as the next Mexican main eventer, replacing Rey Mysterio. However, Del Rio certainly failed to catch fire with the WWE Universe, despite having multiple runs with the most prestigious title in Sports Entertainment history. Del Rio was placed in multiple high profile feuds against the likes of John Cena and CM Punk as champion, but he just seemed totally out of place.
Few fans bought into Del Rio's super-push, hence why he failed to get over to the degree Vince McMahon would expect in his top champion. Combining Del Rio's two title reigns, Alberto was WWE Champion for a total of 84 days, longer than reigns held by legends including Batista and Mick Foley. Alberto Del Rio was a huge flop as a WWE Champion, and he definitely lowered the prestige of the championship, at least while he was holding the gold that is.
Sheamus, very similar to Alberto Del Rio, has had multiple WWE Championship runs throughout his career, but he failed to catch fire with the WWE Universe during any of those said reigns. In total, Sheamus has had three WWE Championship reigns, and he feuded with the likes of Triple H, John Cena, Randy Orton and most recently, Roman Reigns while champion. My guess is Vince McMahon initially believed that giving the Irishman a couple of WWE Championship runs would get him over and make him come across as a main eventer to the fans, but boy was he ever wrong.
When Sheamus dropped the gold, he became completely irrelevant, and the fans couldn't have cared less about him. Vince tried on a few more occasions (most recently as the placeholder champion for Reigns), but it failed miserably and Sheamus was back to being totally irrelevant afterwards. In total, Sheamus was WWE Champion for 184 days, more days held than the likes of Edge, Chris Jericho and even Ric Flair. Just baffling isn't it? Well, I suppose Sheamus can be all smiles now after having such a successful career with multiple undeserved title reigns, but us fans? Not so much.
Rob Van Dam won his first and only WWE Championship after successfully defeating John Cena at ECW's One Night Stand pay-per-view in 2006, after cashing in his MITB briefcase. RVD was the first wrestler to hold both the ECW and WWE Championships at the same time. This was RVD's biggest win of his career, no doubt, and the ECW fans in attendance for this PPV went absolutely nuts and popped hugely when Rob was declared the new WWE Champ. However, RVD had a very short reign with the prestigious title, as his reign only lasted for 22 days before he eventually dropped the gold onto Edge.
Now you may be wondering, why did RVD have such a short and uneventful reign as champ? Well, Rob Van Dam and Sabu were stopped on a highway by a patrol officer and they were arrested for drug possession. As you would expect, the WWE wanted no part in having a guy who could (and would have) generated negative publicity for the company for his actions, especially as the top star, hence why his reign was so short. It's too bad because RVD was super over and had he stayed clean, there's no reason as to why he couldn't have been featured in the WWE Championship scene for years to come.
24 Big Show
Big Show, also occasionally dubbed "The Big Slow", has had one WWE Championship reign since 2000. This title win for 'Show occurred after he successfully defeated Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series 2002. Big Show's WWE Championship run lasted for 28 days, before eventually dropping the gold onto Kurt Angle at Armageddon the next month. Was Big Show's reign as champ very exciting or eventful? Absolutely not. Big Showwas without a doubt, nothing more than a transitional champion.
However, Big Show was a perfect transitional champion, because his massive size was enough to add some credibility to the guy he put over (in this case, Kurt Angle). It's kind of sad how horribly booked Big Show was after a year or so removed from his debut back in 1999. By 2000, Big Show was basically a glorified jobber. Regardless, his WWE Championship reign in '02 wasn't the most entertaining or exciting, hence why he's so close to the top of this list.
23 The Miz
When a wrestling fan thinks of an example of a flopped WWE Champion in recent memory, The Miz definitely has to be one of first wrestlers who comes to mind. The Miz cashed in his MITB Briefcase against then champion, Randy Orton, on an episode of RAW in November of 2010. After successfully defeating Orton to win his first and only WWE Championship up until this point, The Miz was booed like crazy and the segment ended with that infamous young girl from the crowd, making that classic angry expression once Miz was crowned the WWE Champion.
Right from the start of his reign, The Miz seemed totally out of place. Regardless, in my opinion, I found the Miz's title reign to have been pretty solid and entertaining, considering he was decent in the ring and great on the mic. If you can believe, (not sure what Vince was thinking), they had The Miz main event WrestleMania XXVII against John Cena, in which The Miz went over Cena and retained the WWE Championship (of course with a little bit of The Rock's assistance). However, once The Miz eventually dropped the WWE Title to Cena at Extreme Rules 2011, Miz was fairly quickly de-pushed into the midcard.
JBL is the longest reigning WWE Champion in SmackDown's history. JBL's one and only WWE Championship win came back in 2004 at The Great American Bash, where he defeated then champion, Eddie Guerrero in a Texas Bullrope Match (of course winning the match in controversial fashion). Regardless, JBL was now the WWE Champion and he feuded with the likes of The Undertaker, Booker T, Eddie Guerrero, Big Show, Kurt Angle and finally, the man he lost the gold to at WrestleMania 21, John Cena.
John Layfield's one and only WWE Championship run lasted for impressively, 280 days. The thing with JBL is, before winning the prestigious WWE title, Layfield was nothing more than a midcarder and many fans found it hard to take JBL seriously as the top champion. However, despite not looking like the prototypical WWE Champion, I still think Layfield had a pretty solid run with the gold, albeit it wasn't the most exciting, but still solid none the less. This was his only reign as WWE Champ, and JBL returned to the midcard after a failed rematch against Cena at Judgment Day 2005.
21 Hulk Hogan
"The Immortal" Hulk Hogan (at the time "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan) had one WWE Championship run after 2000, which occurred after he successfully defeated Triple H for the gold at the April 21st 2002 Backlash pay-per-view. Hulk Hogan had a fairly short title reign, as it only lasted for 28 days, less than a month. Hogan dropped the WWE Championship to The Undertaker at the 2002 Judgment Day pay-per-view. Was this Hulk Hogan WWE title reign a transitional or placeholder title reign?
Yes, that's exactly what it was. However, it was a smart move on WWE's part, because Hulk Hogan was still wrestlings biggest star, so having him give the "rub" to The Undertaker definitely gave 'Taker a bit more momentum and credibility. As I'm sure you're aware, the WWE has also been known for inserting some of "wrestlings past" into the main event fold for nostalgic purposes (entertainment) and to add intrigue (for instance, 50 year old Goldberg coming back last year and winning the Universal Championship).
20 Bray Wyatt
"The Eater Of Worlds" Bray Wyatt became the WWE World Champion for the very first time this year after pinning AJ Styles in the Elimination Chamber 2017 match, which involved champion John Cena, AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, Dean Ambrose and The Miz. Many fans were sort of expecting Wyatt to come out of this match the victor, but I would say most were still pretty doubtful considering Bray's start-stop pushes and 50/50 at best booking. However, Wyatt indeed became WWE World Champion, and his reign as the Top Champ on the Blue Brand lasted until this year's WrestleMania 33,where he lost the gold to Randy Orton.
Bray Wyatt's first WWE Championship reign lasted for 49 days. Although some believe Wyatt's run as champ was basically for him to fill in the role as a transitional champion, it was still nice to see a guy that many thought would fail to succeed in the end, capture the most prestigious belt in Sport's Entertainment. Although the Bray Wyatt character is one who doesn't need to carry around any gold, I willingly bet that there will be more WWE Championship wins (or Universal Championship wins now that he's Team Red) in the future.
19 Dean Ambrose
"The Lunatic Fringe" Dean Ambrose won his first and only (up until this point) WWE World Championship after defeating Seth Rollins by cashing in his MITB Briefcase and attacking Rollins from behind. This was a pretty cool moment for most fans as Dean Ambrose is far from looking or acting like Vince's prototypical ideal of a WWE Champion. However, when that moment ended, Dean Ambrose's championship reign was fairly boring and uneventful. This is mainly due to WWE's crappy booking, but Dean Ambrose's lazy performances in the ring surely didn't help matters.
Regardless of this title reign being pretty boring, it was still cool to see Ambrose as the "champ that runs the camp" as AJ Styles liked to say. Speaking of AJ Styles, that's the guy Dean Ambrose would go onto lose the WWE title to at Backlash last year, after having an 84 day WWE Championship reign. Since losing the top gold, Dean Ambrose has mainly been featured in the midcard title scene as he's now the IC Champion. As I mentioned in a previous article, Ambrose is basically the Mick Foley of this generation and he floats in between the main event and the midcard scene without anyone really noticing. Ambrose will get another run as WWE Champ sometime in the future, mark my words.
18 Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns is already a three-time WWE Champion, and if we're going to be honest here, it still doesn't seem like Roman has had any real legitimate championship runs. All of his WWE title reigns were pretty short (his first two runs especially), and they usually ended in a way to make the 265 pound Reigns look like an "underdog", which is pretty comical if you ask me. Regardless, as the top champ, Roman has had a combined WWE Championship reign totaling 118 days. None of Roman Reigns title runs were all too interesting or eventful, which is why he's been ranked closer to the top.
However, Roman Reigns is being positioned in the "face of the company" role now, and over the span of his career, Roman Reigns will win many more WWE World Championships (or Universal Championships) and there's bound to be at least a few good runs amidst all of his future runs as the top champ, so I bet he'll be ranked better in the next 5 years or so. Though until then, Roman's championship runs have been boring and very forgettable.
17 Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins is a two-time WWE World Champion, although only one of those said championship reigns lasted for more than one day. Seth Rollins first WWE Championship run came after he successfully cashed in his MITB Briefcase against Roman Reigns in WrestleMania 31's main event, which pitted then champ Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns. The sly Seth Rollins as usual, sneaked in at the perfect time and captured his first WWE World Championship, much to shock of that WrestleMania's audience. However, Seth Rollins' WWE Championship reign wasn't the greatest, because the WWE booked him like a total chicken-sh*t heel.
He lost to guys like Kofi Kingston and Ryback which further lowered his title reigns worth. Thankfully, Seth Rollins is an "architect" when it comes to his in-ring ability, as his championship matches were great and very entertaining. He would have been a much better champ had the WWE booked him like one. As far as his second WWE title reign, it only lasted for about 2 minutes, so there isn't all too much to say about that one. Seth Rollins has been booked much better since returning from his injury last year, so I'm sure had he held onto the gold the second time, Rollins probably would have been booked more like a champ.
16 AJ Styles
"The Phenomenal One" AJ Styles has made such an impact since his debut in WWE at the 2016 Royal Rumble. Styles has been placed in multiple high profile feuds, he succeeded by getting over with the fans and becoming one of the company's biggest stars, he's WWE's most well-rounded performer and to top it all off, he won his first WWE World Championship back in September 2016, at the Backlash pay-per-view after defeating then champion, Dean Ambrose. AJ Styles first run as champ was "phenomenal" (no pun intended), and his matches were some of the best in WWE history.
He's only been apart of the WWE roster (Smackdown Live) for just over a year, and it's crazy to witness how successful he has become in such a short amount of time. AJ Styles' WWE World Championship reign lasted for 140 days, before losing the gold to John Cena at this years Royal Rumble. I think it was pretty clear that most fans wanted Styles to carry the belt into 'Mania this year considering how great his title reign was, but unfortunately, John Cena getting that 16th WWE World title reign was more important. Definitely a great first reign for Styles none the less.
"The Animal" Batista has been for the most part a "World Heavyweight Championship" guy, as that was the title represented on SmackDown back in the day (Batista was basically the face of SmackDown where as Cena was the face of RAW with the WWE Championship). However, Batista has still had two runs with the WWE Championship throughout his career. Batista's first WWE title win came back in June of 2009 at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view in a steel cage match where he defeated then champ, Randy Orton. This reign only lasted for two days, as The Animal tore his left bicep which forced him to vacate the belt.
Batista's second WWE Championship reign came on February 21, 2010 after defeating John Cena at that years Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. This reign lasted for 35 days before he dropped the gold back onto John Cena at WrestleMania XXVI. Neither of Batista's two runs as the WWE Champ were very exciting, hence why he hasn't been ranked too great on this list. However, if we're talking about World Heavyweight Champions, Batista's one of the all time greatest and he holds the record for the longest WHC title reign.
14 The Undertaker
Since 2000, The Undertaker has had one reign as the WWE Champion. This reign came after 'Taker successfully defeated then champion, Hulk Hogan for the title at Judgment Day in May of 2002. This run lasted for 63 days before dropping the prestigious belt onto The Rock a couple of months later. This reign as champion for 'Taker wasn't the most thrilling, but it's The Undertaker we're talking about dammit! This reign came at a time when 'Taker was in his "American Bad-ass" character phase, which made the title run pretty entertaining despite not being too eventful.
In total, The Undertaker has held the WWE Championship for a combined total of 238 days. The Undertaker, similar to Bray Wyatt now a days, never needed the WWE Championship to seem and feel like a legitimate threat. Having a run as the WWE Champ once in a while was more of an "extra" for The Undertaker, seeing he really didn't need them. Regardless, because of 'Taker's legacy as one of, if not the greatest of all time, I've ranked him pretty decently despite only having one WWE title reign since 2000.
13 Jeff Hardy
Jeff hardy is without a doubt, one of the most popular WWE superstars of this generation. Because Jeff Hardy was pretty well the most popular guy in the company in the mid 2000's, the WWE had no choice but to promote the dardevel into the WWE Championship scene. Prior to being involved with the company's #1 championship, Jeff Hardy had multiple runs with the IC Championship. Hardy won his first and only WWE Championship after defeating Edge in a triple threat match at the Armageddon 2008 pay-per-view, which also involved Triple H.
As the "champ that runs the camp", Jeff Hardy mainly feuded with Edge, and he was the wrestler who Hardy would go onto lose the gold to 42 days later, at the 2009 Royal Rumble pay-per-view due to his brother Matt Hardy's interference, which later led to a feud between the Hardy Boyz. Even though Jeff Hardy's run as the WWE Champion was fairly short, it was still a more interesting run than most others on the list before him. Hardy never again returned to the WWE Championship scene, but he did go onto have two runs with the second-class World Heavyweight Championship after his WWE Tile reign ended.
12 Daniel Bryan
The "Bearded Goat" and the supposed "B+ player" Daniel Bryan is undoubtedly one of the most popular WWE World Champions of all time, despite only having 3 very short runs with the top prize. Daniel Bryan's first two WWE Championship reigns only lasted for 1 day each. The first reign ended with Randy Orton cashing in his MITB Briefcase to win the title, and the second reign ended prematurely because of the incompetent (stupid idiot!, as Jericho would say) referee Scott Armstrong fast counting the pin, which resulted in Bryan being stripped of the WWE title.
Daniel Bryan's third reign was his last and his longest reign as WWE Champion. He remained the WWE Champ for 64 days following his win over Randy Orton and Batista for the title at WrestleMania 30. Unfortunately, injuries started to plague Daniel Bryan and as a result, the title was stripped off of him yet again. None of Bryan's reigns were very long, but they were entertaining while they lasted. It's too bad that Daniel Bryan had to retire prematurely, because he would've been featured as a main eventer for years to come.
11 Brock Lesnar
Now you may be wondering why Brock Lesnar is ranked so high on the list considering his WWE Championship (now Universal Championship) reigns have been very boring. This is mainly due to Brock Lesnar working a very limited part-time schedule now a days, hence why many fans make the joke "oh, I forgot who was even the WWE Champion". However, in Lesnar's early years, his WWE title reigns were entertaining because of how much of a "beast" Lesnar truly was back then. Sure Lesnar's still "The Beast Incarnate", but back in his early WWE days, he was a freak of nature and a guy who could truly go in the ring despite being huge.
If you don't remember, Brock Lensar's second WWE Championship win came after he defeated Kurt Angle at WrestleMania XIX, which was the match that had Lesnar terribly botch a Shooting Star Press on Kurt, resulting in a broken neck. However, Lesnar got up like a monster, finished the match, and was crowned the new WWE Champion, much to the amazement of the WWE fans in attendance for that 'Mania pay-per-view. His reigns as the top champ suck now a days, but back then? They were entertaining if you ask me.
10 10. Eddie Guerrero
Eddie Guerrero realized his dream of becoming the WWE Champion back in 2004, after defeating The Beast Brock Lesnar for the prestigious gold at the No Way Out pay-per-view, with his signature Frog Splash solidifying the win. This was not only a huge moment for Eddie, but it was also a huge moment for all the fans that supported Guerrero dating back to his early WCW Cruiserweight Days. As the #1 champ, Eddie feuded with the likes of Kurt Angle and JBL. Eddie's WWE Championship run lasted for a total of 133 days before losing the belt in controversial fashion to JBL.
Although Eddie Guerrero only had one WWE Championship reign throughout his illustrious pro-wrestling career, many fans to this day still remember him for his great WWE Championship match he put on with Kurt Angle at WrestleMania XX. However, once Eddie Guerrero dropped the gold, he seemingly returned to the midcard scene for the rest of his run up until his passing. Had Eddie still been alive, I'm certain he would have had at least one more WWE Championship run because of his connection with the fans and because of his exceptional in-ring talent.
9 Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho is a wrestling legend who seems to never fail at reinventing himself and his character as the years go on. Take his entertaining character portrayal with Kevin Owens and as the "guy with the list mann". Despite not winning a WWE Championship in many years, while Jericho was at the peak of his career back in the early 2000s (when he was main eventing for the WWE title), Chris Jericho was nothing short of amazing. He could talk and talk, he could wrestle, and he was just damn entertaining.
I mean, no one else in the WWE can say that they were the first WWE Undisputed Champion, holding both the WWE and the World Heavyweight Championships at the very same time. Chris Jericho is the only man who can, as he defeated legends The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin to combine the WCW and WWE Championships to become the first Undisputed WWE Champ. This title reign lasted for 98 days before losing the gold to Triple H at WrestleMania X8 and while he was champ, he was entertaining mann. Chris Jericho proved he could hang with "the big boys", and his eventful title reigns were proof of that.
Edge, the "Rated R Superstar" is one of the greatest wrestlers of this generation, and he has had a few WWE title reigns throughout his career, albeit mostly short reigns that is. Throughout Edge's illustrious wrestling career, he has won a total of 4 WWE Championships. Much like Batista, Edge is recognized as a "World Heavyweight Championship guy", as he's had 7 reigns with that belt. Regardless, Edge has still had 4 reigns as the #1 champ, and he's feuded with the likes of John Cena, Jeff Hardy and Triple H throughout those said reigns.
In total, Edge has held the WWE Championship for a total of 139 days. Ironically, 3 of Edge's WWE title reigns lasted for 21 days each. His longest reign was his second reign, as he held the belt for 76 days following his win over then champ, RVD on an episode of RAW in 2006. Although none of Edge's runs as the champion were particularly long, Edge was such a great character so the time he did spend as the champ was very entertaining. If we're going to talk about World Heavyweight Champions, Edge is without a doubt, one of the best WHC's of all time, and he holds the record for the most reigns as the WHC at 7.
7 Kurt Angle
The recent inductee into the WWE Hall Of Fame, Kurt Angle, is in my opinion, one of the greatest of all time. Kurt could talk, he was wildly entertaining, he was charismatic, he was exceptional in the ring and he was an absolute freak of nature when it came to his feats of strength and his ability to keep going without tiring. If you didn't know, Kurt Angle's first WWE Championship win came in 2000 after defeating The Rock in a no disqualification match at that years No Mercy pay-per-view.
At first, few (both fans and WWE Executives) regarded Angle as a main eventer but seeing Kurt's undying determination, he proved the WWE and some if its fans wrong by becoming a great headlining act. Kurt main evented tons of pay-per-views and he went on to have 3 more entertaining WWE Championship reigns. Kurt Angle's total time spent as the top champ is equivalent to 299 days, which is pretty impressive. None of Kurt's WWE Championship reigns were boring, which is why I've ranked him pretty close to the bottom of this list.
6 Randy Orton
"The Viper" Randy Orton, is currently amidst his ninth reign as the WWE World Champion. Although many claim Orton to be one of the most boring WWE Champions of all time, you still have to respect him for his accomplishments. No, Randy isn't the most charismatic champion ever, nor is he the best in-ring technician, but let's not deny the fact that he's had some pretty great championship matches throughout his career. I would say the first half of Randy Orton's career was more entertaining when he was the WWE Champion, especially while he was in the "Legend Killer" phase.
Now a days, Randy Orton is a pretty bland champion and most of his title reigns since oh maybe 2009 or so, have been boring and forgettable. Randy Orton is now just a guy the WWE relies on to fill the WWE Championship scene with a credible name, considering he's one of the biggest stars in the company. His current WWE World Championship reign after defeating Wyatt for the belt at 'Mania this year has been pretty bland thus far, but his runs as the WWE Champ back in the day were great in my opinion, so he still deserves a good spot on this list none the less.
5 CM Punk
"The Cult Of Personality" CM Punk is one of the most popular superstars of this generation, no doubt. As you would expect, Punk has had runs with the top prize, the WWE Championship. In fact, CM Punk is the longest reigning WWE Champion in the past two decades or so, as his second and final reign with the prestigious belt lasted for 435 days before dropping the gold onto The Rock at the 2013 Royal Rumble pay-per-view. In my opinion, CM Punk has to be one of the top 5 best WWE Champions since 2000 because he was entertaining, exceptional on the mic and was great in the ring.
Although the WWE (mainly Vince McMahon and Triple H) never saw Punk as a legitimate WWE Championship contender, the WWE Universe certainly did, and at the end of the day, Vince and Hunter usually do what's best for business (key word here, usually) and in turn, they gave us WWE Champion, CM Punk. It's unfortunate that the WWE pissed off Punk enough to leave the company in 2014, because he was such an entertaining and super over champion.
4 4. The Rock
The Rock is undoubtedly one of the most popular stars in WWE history. Since 2000, "The Brahma Bull" has had 5 reigns as the WWE Champion, with his longest reign coming in 2000 after pinning Vince McMahon to win Triple H's WWE title at the King Of The Ring pay-per-view. When a wrestling fan thinks of a past WWE Champion who had the "it" factor, I'm sure The Rock is one of the first names who would come to mind. The Rock had everything. Rock had a great look, the charisma, the in-ring ability, the connection with the audience and just the presence of someone who should be nowhere but at the top.
The Rock's latest (and perhaps final) WWE Championship win came back in 2013 after defeating then champ, CM Punk at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. His last reign as the "champ that runs the camp" lasted for 70 days, before finally dropping the gold onto John Cena at WrestleMania 29. Even though the Rock's final run as the WWE Champ wasn't the most thrilling considering he was only working on a special appearance basis, having one of the all time greatest, The Rock, as the champion definitely added prestige to the prized belt, considering Rocky's status as a global superstar.
3 Triple H
Triple H has been given tons of flack over the years from fans as being the "King Of Burying" and weaseling his way into power, but that still can't take away from Triple H's great in-ring career. Since 2000, Triple H has had 7 WWE Championship runs. Despite the tons of flack Triple H receives, he's definitely one of the all time greatest and was (and still is) an extremely hard working guy. Triple H definitely had the appearance of a WWE Champion, and he also had the in-ring ability, the mic skills, and the charisma.
Even though some fans believe that one of the main reasons behind Triple H winning so many World titles has to do with the fact that he's married to a McMahon, I'm pretty sure it also has to do with his great work-ethic and his drive to succeed. Throughout his runs as the top champ, Triple H has feuded with tons of legends like The Rock, Big Show, Chris Jericho, Hulk Hogan, Edge, Randy Orton, John Cena and the list goes on and on. Although his most recent reign as WWE Champion last year wasn't very entertaining since Triple H is clearly not a full-timer anymore, his previous reigns were pretty solid I'd say.
2 John Cena
Whether you like it or not, when it comes to the question as to who's one of the greatest WWE Champions of all time, John Cena will be at the forefront of that list. When a wrestling fan after 2000 thinks of the term "WWE Champion", John Cena has to be the first guy who comes to mind, just because of the sheer number of reigns (and some long reigns) that he's had throughout his illustrious career. Since Cena's WWE debut in 2002, John has gone on to win 13 WWE Championships (as well as 4 World Heavyweight Championships) to become the first man to tie Ric Flair's record of having 16 World Championship reigns.
Although many fans consider Cena's reigns as the top champ to have been "reigns of terror", I still believe that there were multiple solid runs spread out between all of his reigns. Whether you like Cena or not, you cannot deny the fact that he's had many great matches fighting over the WWE title, and he's feuded with the likes of JBL, Edge, Randy Orton, Batista, Triple H, CM Punk among others. John Cena has held the WWE Championship for a combined total of 1,257 days, the 4th longest of all time behind Bob Backlund, Hulk Hogan and Bruno Sammartino. John Cena is undoubtedly one of the all time greats, and he's been the standard bearer for a WWE Champion.
1 Stone Cold Steve Austin
By far the most popular WWE Champion of all time, is the legendary Stone Cold Steve Austin. Whether you want to compare title reign lengths, how many reigns et cetera, you won't find a more popular and more entertaining WWE Champ since 2000 than Stone Cold. Since 2000, Steve Austin has had two runs as the WWE Champion. Both of these reigns were very entertaining, as he feuded with the likes of The Rock, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, Undertaker, Kane and Chris Benoit. There really isn't a more iconic WWE Champion than Stone Cold.
Sure, John Cena has had 13 reigns as the WWE Champion since 2000, but Stone Cold Steve Austin never needed many title runs to establish himself as the franchise star. I would say one of Stone Cold's WWE title reigns were as valuable and entertaining as 3 of John Cena's. Some may argue that, but this is just my opinion. In total, Austin has held the WWE Championship for a combined reign of 530 days. At the end of the day, regardless of whoever you believe is the best WWE Champion of all time, there's no doubt that Stone Cold Steve Austin will be at the top of the list (or at the bottom since this list is a count-down).
Well that's it for the list guys. I'm sure your opinions will vary slightly on the placement of certain former WWE Champions, but that's totally fine. As I had mentioned earlier, I would consider these rankings to be pretty mainstream, and of course, every wrestling fan has their own personal fav's so John Cena could be at the top of one fans list, CM Punk another and The Rock another. At the end of the day, most of these former WWE Champions are legends, and most of them had pretty great runs.