In any sport there are numerous stats and facts that fans can follow and know in order to be more involved with their favorite sport as well as make them more knowledgeable about that sport. From most home runs hit in a season or career, most touchdown passes thrown, or even most times hit by a pitch, there are numerous things that are tracked within a major sport. Unfortunately, pro wrestling is not like other athletic events due to its predetermined nature. Yet when there is something in wrestling that can be tracked and recorded by fans, it becomes a big deal since they can follow it and watch it develop. Mostly these records come in the form of winning streaks and long title reigns, though specialty matches like the Royal Rumble and Hell in a Cell have records of their own.
Streaks in particular have shown to be really important in the scope of pro wrestling as they do so much for the business. Firstly, they legitimize the wrestler or wrestlers with the streak as competent and powerful inside the ring and if they have a title that belt becomes a highly sought after prize to other wrestlers trying to prove themselves. Secondly, a streak is important in that when it is broken, it is a huge deal and helps propel the breaker as a legitimate star who was able to beat someone who has been seen as the best for so long.
For this list the top 10 streaks in pro wrestling were chosen on a couple parameters such as how big the streak was (though a longer streak does not mean it will be ranked higher over a shorter streak on this list), its impact on pro wrestling, and how memorable the streak was. Included in the consideration for this list are title reigns as long reigns are a kind of streak where a wrestler or a team was able to remain on the top for any extended period of time.
So please read, enjoy, and let us know what you think down in the comments section. How would you have ranked these differently? Are there other streaks that you felt should have made the list or that one of the entries should be ranked differently?
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10 Demolition: 478 Days as World Tag Team Champions
While the tag team division of the WWE today is a shell of its former glory, there are glimpses of greatness where it seems like a team will hit it big with the crowd and go on a long title run. Yet only Paul London and Brian Kendrick have come close to breaking the record for longest reign as Tag Team Champions, currently held by Demolition. Demolition would win the belts from Strike Force in 1988 and hold the belts a couple months shy of a year and a half before losing the belts to the Brain Busters. Since that time no one has come close to breaking it outside of London and Kendrick, who were still over 100 days shy of the record as WWE Tag Team Champions.
9 Lex Luger: 523 Days as WCW U.S. Champion
Like the World Tag Team Championship, secondary titles like the Intercontinental and United States Championships have apparently fallen by the wayside as reigns are usually pretty short, which can devalue them as it can appear to fans that the promotion has no confidence in the champions by not allowing them extended reigns. That was not always the case as Lex Luger’s third reign as US Champion is the longest in the history of pro wrestling at 523 days. The reign would establish Luger as a legitimate star while also building him up as one of the promotion’s top babyfaces. Since his reign only Rick Rude has come close to breaking Luger’s streak by having a reign of 419 days.
8 Honky Tonk Man: 454 Days as IC Champion
Similar to how the United States Championship has lost some of its luster over the years, the Intercontinental Championship has fallen into the same downtrend with short title reigns and lack of presence in high profile matches. Yet when the Honky Tonk Man beat Ricky “the Dragon” Steamboat on an episode of Superstars in 1987, no one could have expected him to be the champion for over a year.
Defending his belt against the likes of Randy Savage and Brutus Beefcake, Honky Tonk would solidify himself as a top heel by using the champion’s advantage of getting himself disqualified or counted out in order to retain the championship. While he would ultimately lose the title in a squash match against the Ultimate Warrior, Honky Tonk Man’s reign as the Intercontinental Title was a great streak because it allowed for the audience to grow an opinion of a wrestler over an extended period of time and made the moment at which he finally lost the belt that much more meaningful.
7 CM Punk: 434 Days as WWE Champion
Ever since John Cena vacated the WWE Championship in 2006 due to an injury after a 308 day reign, there have been 38 title changes up to the current reign of Brock Lesnar. Thirty-eight times in under nine years, many of which never made it past a couple of months. Yet when CM Punk defeated Alberto Del Rio to win the belt for the second time, he would hope to change that negative stigma.
Claiming that he would break the record for the longest WWE Championship reigns, he would defend the belt against all takers including John Cena, Randy Orton, and Ryback. Unfortunately he would drop the title to The Rock at the 2013 Royal Rumble, effectively ending his reign at 434 days. Since that reign the longest run has been by current champion Brock Lesnar who is currently closing in on 200 days, albeit with only two title defenses. CM Punk's reign coming in the current era makes it all the more impressive.
6 Goldberg: 173-0
While it is one thing to have an established star go on a winning streak, it is almost unheard of to have a rookie go on a massive winning streak. The idea alone shows that the promotion sees something in the wrestler that will make them the next big thing and by having them win so many matches, hopefully make them one of the top stars in the industry. Making his televised debut on WCW Monday Nitro on September 22, 1997, Goldberg would face journeyman Hugh Morris in an undercard match, beating him just shy of two minutes. After the match he would walk up to the camera, hold up his index finger and mouth “that’s one,” before leaving.
He would start to run through anyone placed in front of him and because he never gave interviews, his mystique grew. Soon signs would pop up around arenas listing his undefeated streak, which would see him win both the United States and World Heavyweight Championship. He would eventually lose to Kevin Nash in a controversial manner at Starrcade ’98, but by that point Goldberg was one of if not the biggest star in WCW. Though there has been question as to the legitimacy of the 173 wins as it appears that WCW may have inflated the numbers slightly between televised tapings, it officially stands at 173 wins before his first official televised loss.
The mystique of an undefeated streak has constantly been imitated, but the effectiveness of Goldberg's streak cannot be duplicated.
5 Hulk Hogan: 1,474 Days as WWE Champion
In the history of wrestling there is probably few greater moments of seeing a wrestler become an instant superstar than when Hulk Hogan won his first WWE Championship and started Hulkamania. After beating the Iron Sheik for the title Hogan was everywhere and became a pop culture icon, seemingly overnight. He would main event seven of the first eight Wrestlemanias, star in movies, and have his own cartoon among other things. He would hold onto the title for over four years before finally losing it to Andre the Giant on an episode of The Main Event, making his reign the third longest single run in the title’s history.
4 “Dr. Death” Steve Williams: 10 Year Undefeated Streak
While Hogan’s four year run as World Champion is impressive, it does not hold a candle to the streak held by “Dr. Death” Steve Williams, who went undefeated in singles competition for a decade. The streak would make him one of the biggest stars overseas in All Japan Pro Wrestling, but he would lose clean in a singles match for the first time in a decade against Raven at ECW: Crossing the Line Again. There would be a couple tag team losses and a disqualification loss a couple times in that decade from 1987-1997, but the Raven loss would be the first true pinfall loss he had suffered in all of that time.
3 RAW Beats Nitro 124 Weeks In A Row
In the mid-90s, the WWE and WCW were in a ratings battle as their flagship shows, Raw and Nitro, went head-to-head on Monday nights. WCW would get the better of its rival using various tactics like revealing match results or poaching big name stars and would win the ratings battle an astonishing 84 weeks in a row from June of 1996 to April of 1998. Yet once the WWE found its stride and began to pull away from its competitor, it would ultimately go on a ratings streak of its own, winning an amazing 124 weeks in a row leading up to Vince McMahon ultimately purchasing his chief competitor in the wrestling world. That kind of dominance had never been seen before the ratings war and by the looks of the wrestling landscape, may never be seen again.
2 The Undertaker: 21-0 WrestleMania Streak
Maybe the most beloved streak by wrestling fans, the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania will stand the test of time as one of the greatest facets of the WWE. Making his WrestleMania debut at WrestleMania VII against Jimmy Snuka, the Undertaker would win twenty-one straight matches at Wrestrlemania before losing last year for the first time at the event to Brock Lesnar. As a declaration to how important and impactful that moment was, once the three count was announced and Lesnar had won, you could hear a pin drop in the arena as the 75,000 in attendance were stunned to see the Streak finally broken.
There's a reason this run in particular is simply known as "The Streak".
1 Bruno Sammartino: Seven Year World Title Reign
After beating “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers in a squash matchin 1963 to become the new WWWF Champion, Bruno Sammartino would go on a streak that no one would ever rival.Sammartino would hold the title for an astonishing seven years, eight months, and one day, an amount of time that is longer than some wrestlers’ entire careers. Sammartino had become so synonymous with the championship that when he finally lost the belt to Ivan Koloff in 1971, the crowd was utterly speechless as to what they had just witnessed and Koloff was not even presented the belt in the ring as the announcer felt that it might incite a riot as he could see people upset and crying in the audience.
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