When your dreams haven't been realized by the age of 40, the line you'll always get from loved ones is, it's never too late. Sometimes we hit a point in our lives where we wonder if we've peaked or if we could have done more in our past. Could we have made our lives a greater success if we had changed a few things?
In professional wrestling, careers tend to peak in a wrestler's late 20s or early 30s. Stone Cold Steve Austin didn't get his big break in the business until he into his mid 30s. Diamond Dallas Page didn't even begin wrestling until his late 30s. Not everybody can be a Brock Lesnar or Randy Orton type, who were both champions by the time they were 25 years old.
There are wrestlers like Hogan and Flair who won their first world titles in their prime years, yet would continue to get world title reigns into their 40s. Sting was the TNA World Champion well into his 50s. Sometimes wrestlers get better as they age, having built up so much experience and being in the game so long that they've mastered ring psychology. Others just get better at politicking their way to "one last" title run.
This list will focus on the oldest wrestlers to win a world title. It will be counted from a wrestler's latest title run, rather than when they first won the title. That means you'll see Hogan's last world title run as his entry, ditto with Flair.
For the purposes of this list, the entries will be composed of WWE, ECW, TNA and the NWA/WCW world champions from major promotions. Also, a wrestler can only appear on this list once, so you won't see Savage, Flair or Hogan five times each.
15 The Rock - 40 years, 270 days
The Rock's gap between world titles lasted over 10 years. Prior to his WWE comeback, The Great One's last world title win came at Vengeance 2002 at the prime age of 30. The Rock retired from full-time competition shortly after that and we thought we'd never see him regain it. Following his return in 2011 and his victory over John Cena at WrestleMania XXVIII, it seemed more plausible. The Rock announced on the 1,000th episode of RAW that he'd be challenging the champion at the 2013 Royal Rumble, whoever it may be.
14 Batista - 41 years, 34 days
Had it not been for Daniel Bryan's epic rise to the top in 2014, Batista may have very well been higher on this list, as you have to believe WWE's original plans were for him to win the title from Orton at the age of 45.
13 Kane - 43 years, 83 days
12 Mick Foley - 43 years, 317 days
11 DDP - 44 years, 19 days
10 The Undertaker - 44 years, 194 days
9 Bob Backlund - 45 years, 101 days
8 Kurt Angle - 46 years, 53 days
7 Randy Savage - 46 years, 238 days
6 Lou Thesz - 46 years, 275 days
Lou Thesz won his first world title at the age of 21 and being the mega star that he was, he kept winning titles as he got older, his latest coming at the age of 46. Back in 1963, Thesz was voted by NWA officials to be the man to dethrone Nature Boy Buddy Rogers. Legend has it that Rogers was hesitant to drop the title to Thesz, but Thesz's legitimate shoot fighting skills intimidated Rogers into doing the job.
5 Hulk Hogan - 48 years, 253 days
Triple H thought he was the best backstage politician? Eat your heart out Hunter, because here... comes... Hogan, brother! Two months after his WWE return in 2002, Hogan was given a title shot at Triple H's Undisputed Championship, a title he had just won at WrestleMania X-8 in a sentimental comeback story from a torn quad.
4 Ric Flair - 51 years, 94 days
3 Sting - 52 years, 113 days
2 Terry Funk - 52 years, 287 days
1 Vince McMahon - 54 years, 23 days
Okay sure, he was "ECW" World Champion at the age of 61, but does the WWE's version of the ECW title really count as a world title? Nonetheless, McMahon was 54 years old when he won his own company's world title on a September 1999 episode of Smackdown. McMahon had returned as a face to confront Triple H, in defense of his wife Linda. Triple H would give McMahon a shot at his title and thanks to help from his old nemesis Stone Cold, McMahon became the WWE's oldest champion ever. He would vacate it a few days later and Triple H would regain it at Unforgiven.
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