Does gold make the man?
Wrestling has always been about getting guys over and keeping them strong. You don't have Steve Austin lose to Duane Gil and John Cena rarely loses to anyone. And even though the internet tends to explode whenever Cena gets a win or 'buries' one of their favorites, it's those same winning ways that made Kevin Owens' clean pin over him so epic. If Cena had already been jobbing out to everyone the IWC wanted, it would mean very little by the time KO came around.
One of the most proven ways of upping a wrestler's status is by putting a title on them. CM Punk and his fans may complain about how the promotion misused him, but the WWE can always point out that they made him the longest-running champion of their modern era. Which to me is much more impressive than the many times Triple H has won and lost the belt.
In fact, with all of the constant title swapping in the past decade or so the belts have started to lose their luster. In the late 80s and 90s the World and Intercontinental Titles were usually held by the top dogs in the company. The big belt would be held by the top dog and draw while the IC would go to the next in line or fantastic mid-card worker. I hate to bring up Cena one more time but I think having him as the United States Championship is a great move. It keeps him out of the main event picture and simultaneously elevates that belt. Hopefully this is the direction the WWE will continue to head and metaphorically polish up these legendary belts.
With so many titles now it seems like everyone has at least held one. In fact there have been so many different title reigns in history that we tend to forget some of the guys who held gold. There are some guys who never needed the belt, as their characters weren't driven by chasing titles. There are some whose championship reigns, be it for the world title, an Intercontinental title or a tag title and we completely forgot, mainly because well, they weren't really worth remembering. It's time to remember them.
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15 The Undertaker (1991) - WWE Championship
Undertaker's first title reign came one year after his debut, defeating Hogan with Flair's help at Survivor Series 1991. Taker's reign would only last less than a week, as he was defeated by Hogan at a special Tuesday in Texas pay per view. What should have been a monumental moment for a man that grew to be a legend in the business, his first title reign was essentially meaningless. Even more shocking and downright ridiculous, was that he wouldn't hold a title for over five years after that reign, finally winning the title at WrestleMania 13. That would be a meaningful reign, as he held the title up to SummerSlam. If you have thoughts of the Phenom as champion, odds are you're not talking about his 1991 cup of coffee.
Debra can be excused for us forgetting that she was a Women's Champion. After all, she was a valet and not a regular active competitor. She also won the title in most bizarre fashion. Competing against Sable in her final WWE match, the two ladies were placed in an Evening Gown match with the title on the line from Commissioner Shawn Michaels. Normally Evening Gown matches would be won when a competitor successfully removed her opponent from her gown, but when Debra's was ripped off, HBK arbitrarily announced, that "with puppies like that!" Debra deserved to be champion. So with that she was handed the belt, and Sable was out of the WWE. HBK's lucky Brock Lesnar wasn't with Sable at the time to protest that decision. Debra would lose the title a month later to Ivory.
13 Andre The Giant
The only way this could be considered memorable is that it is the shortest WWE Championship reign in history. After a crooked referee counted Hogan's shoulders to the mat at Saturday Night's Main Event in February of 1988, Andre was handed the belt. Andre would quickly reveal in broken English that he was selling the title to his employer, Ted DiBiase. It's crazy to think Andre never had a memorable run with the title and even though he's technically recognized as a champion, you can't say this comes to mind when thinking of good title runs.
12 Mankind - WWE Championship
As Mick Foley pointed out on RAW a few years ago, his combined days as world champion equal 29. His third reign is the most forgettable. At least his first two involved a great feud with The Rock, but when he won the title at SummerSlam 1999, it was by fluke. Word was, Austin was supposed to drop the belt to Triple H in a singles match, but with Austin's neck issues lingering, the match was changed to a three way. Manking would win the title, only to drop it to Triple H the next night on RAW. Theories range as to why Triple H didn't just win the title at SummerSlam. All we know is that Mankind was left with a token reign as champion.
11 Big Show - All Three World Title Reigns
Despite being with the WWE for 16 years and competing in many main events, Big Show hasn't had a memorable world title reign. His first one came eight months after his WWE debut, when he replaced Austin in the triple threat championship match at Survivor Series, winning it from Triple H with help from McMahon. His reign consisted of a feud with the Big Bossman and a title loss to Triple H on RAW to kick off the new millennium.
Big Show's next reign came when he defeated Brock Lesnar for the title at Survivor Series 2002 with help from Paul Heyman. That reign would only last four weeks, as he'd lost the title to Kurt Angle, acting as a transitional champion.
Big Show's final world title reign came at TLC 2011, where just minutes after defeating Mark Henry for the World Heavyweight Championship, Daniel Bryan cashed in on him.
So if Big Show, god forbid, wins another world title, don't blink, because you might miss it.
10 Shane McMahon - European Championship
Titles were seen as props more than ever in the Attitude Era. Any onscreen character was fair game in the title picture and not just for the Hardcore title which was defended 24/7. Shane McMahon held the European Championship for several weeks after defeating X-Pac. He would "retire" from in-ring competition as champion, and thus the European title was deactivated for a couple of months before Shane handed the title to Mideon.
In spite of all this, Shane wasn't the least deserving McMahon of a title.
9 The Mountie - Intercontinental Championship
The Mountie was as clear a transition champion as you can get. He was there just to bridge the gap between Bret Hart and Roddy Piper just so Piper could drop it right back to Bret at WrestleMania VIII. In storyline, Bret was suffering from the flu, so his title win wasn't seen as anything special, winning it at a house show two days before the Royal Rumble. The Mountie would drop the title to Piper at the PPV. When we're going through the list of great Intercontinental champions, we won't be putting Rougeau on the list, even if he is a legend in his own right in wrestling.
8 Dean Douglas - Intercontinental Championship
Hey Dean, here's the title. Yoink! That's basically what Dean Douglas's Intercontinental Title reign was back in 1995. A talented guy with a bad gimmick (hey, it was 1995 after all) was awarded the title via forfeit from Shawn Michaels at In Your House due to HBK having been in a bar fight with Marines the night before. Douglas would receive the belt from a Kliq member only to hand it to another. Razor Ramon would emerge as Dean's mystery opponent and would defeat him, making Douglas's title reign a grand total of 11 minutes. Speaking of being handed titles...
7 Mideon - European Championship
As mentioned earlier, Shane McMahon declared Mideon the European Champion after Mideon found the belt in Shane's duffel bag. Needless to say, any reign that starts simply by finding a belt isn't going to be a memorable one. Mideon would hold the title for just over a month before dropping it to D'Lo Brown, who may have never been a household name, but was a serviceable mid-card champion. As for Mideon, once the Ministry of Darkness disbanded, he would soon find himself running naked around arenas.
6 Orlando Jordan - United States Championship
With John Cena set to win the WWE Championship from JBL at WrestleMania 21, the WWE needed someone to take Cena's United States title. Orlando Jordan seemed like a logical choice, as he was JBL's 'Chief of Staff' and Jordan won it from Cena a few weeks prior to Mania. Jordan actually held the title for a decent amount of time, eventually losing it at SummerSlam in 25 seconds to Chris Benoit. Perhaps Jordan's run would've been more memorable if he retained Cena's much cooler spinner belt.
5 Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch - World Tag Team Championship
The duo were three time world tag champions in a span of just about three years, but there's just nothing spectacular or unique about their reigns where you go, "oh yeah, that was great!" The group would win the tag titles from Hurricane and Rosey a few months after their debut in late 2005. They would hold the titles for six weeks before dropping them to Big Show and Kane. The group would split soon after, only to reunite later on. Either way, it's just a ho hum title reign that didn't really amount to much.
4 Rico & Rikishi - World Tag Team Championship
We won't be forgetting Rikishi's run with Too Cool, but we will forget the brief period he was forced to team with Rico, Billy & Chuck's stylist. At Judgment Day 2002, Rikishi's secret partner for a title match with Billy & Chuck turned out to be Rico. Despite Rico trying to help his clients win, Rikishi got the win. Rico would then cause the team to lose the titles back in a rematch a few days later. What was the point of this you might ask? Who knows.
3 Fabulous Moolah (1998) - Women's Championship
Don't worry, we're not talking about Moolah's run that lasted for decades. That's impossible to forget. Rather, this was her championship reign in 1999 at the age of 76. Eat your heart out, Flair and Hogan. That's one record you're not beating. Competing as a semi-regular competitor so late in her life truly was an amazing feat. Moolah defeated Ivory for the Women's Championship at No Mercy 1999, but her reign would only last for eight days, dropping it right back to Ivory.
2 Kane - WWE Championship
Either this was all to kickstart Steve Austin and The Undertaker's feud for SummerSlam, or it was a ratings ploy to get viewers to tune in to see Austin trying to regain the title. In a First Blood match at King of the Ring 1998, Kane defeated The Texas Rattlesnake with an unintentional assist from his brother. The next night, Austin would demand a rematch, which Kane agreed to. Austin would promptly win his title right back and Kane wouldn't hold a world title for another 12 years (let's not count the ECW title reign in 2007).
1 Vince McMahon
Okay, so it's not as bad as David Arquette, but it's still one we'd all like to forget. Vince McMahon managed to win the title and end his reign without ever defending it. McMahon would win the title from Triple H - who was in his first reign - with help from his old rival Stone Cold. McMahon would vacate the title the following week on Raw, leaving it up to six competitors to compete for the vacant title in a Six-Pack Challenge at Unforgiven. Once again, was there a point in Triple H having to lose his title to the chairman, only to win it right back a couple weeks later?
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