It is every wrestler’s goal to win a championship. Well, unless you’re Roman Reigns, then your goal is to finally get people to like you. A championship in wrestling is the culmination of years of hard work and determination; proof that you as a performer have been deemed worthy enough to represent your company as one of its top stars. In WWE, there are so many historic and valuable championships (and the Cruiserweight championship), that it is an especially great honour when a performer gets to hold one, especially when they are allowed to hold it for a long period of time. But which wrestlers have been deemed worthy enough to carry a strap for the longest collective amount of time?
Well, dear reader, after hours and hours of searching, analysing, recording and googling who the hell “Dean Ho” is, I have the answer. For this list, I have added up the total cumulative amount of days WWE wrestlers have held 22 different championships, both current and retired. I have recorded the days that a performer actually held a championship (as opposed to how long WWE say they have held it) and have taken into account current championship holders, so that this article is accurate at time of writing on 28th October 2017. So, prepare to be surprised, amazed and hopefully entertained, as we look at who’s managed to hold the gold the longest in the WWE. Please read this all the way to the end – I put so much effort into this.
15 Kane – 1,040 days
Honourable mention to Randy Orton, who lost out on this spot by just 11 days. Unlucky.
Kane has just done about everything in the WWE. He’s broken into Hell in a Cell, battled through flames in Inferno matches and tombstoned a priest. What a career. The same could be said for championships, because Kane has just about every title going in the WWE. He’s been WWE, World Heavyweight, Intercontinental, ECW and Hardcore champion in his time with the company and that’s before we even get into the tag team division.
Kane has spent a whopping 721 days as a tag team champion in the WWE. The title has spent the most time with, the World Tag Team Championship, has been around Kane’s waist for 393 days in total and The Big Red Machine holds the record for the highest number of different championship winning partners, holding the gold alongside seven other men. Kane has been an asset to the WWE for over two decades now and they have rewarded him greatly with these numerous title reigns. Couldn’t have given him a convincing world championship run, though.
14 Chris Jericho – 1,060 days
Chris Jericho... YOU JUST MADE THIS LIST!
When Jericho arrived in the WWE in 1999, few could have predicted that the former WCW midcarder would have gone onto become one of the best performers in WWE’s history. A six-time world champion, Jericho has spent 220 days with a top championship around his waist. Jericho is also an acclaimed tag team wrestler, spending 435 days in championship-winning partnerships across his career. Throw in a few United States, Hardcore and European title reigns and you have the recipe for an accomplished a champion.
The title with which Jericho is almost synonymous is, fittingly, the championship that he has held for the longest. Jericho’s record-setting nine Intercontinental Championship reigns have lasted a combined 318 days, which, whilst being no record, is still impressive. Jericho is a reliable performer who can really maintain a championship’s value when it’s on him. This is perhaps why Jericho has been afforded so many solid championship reigns in his time and why I’m not counting Y2J out of winning another title before he hangs up his sparkly jacket and scarf for good.
13 Big Show – 1,148 days
WEEEEEELLLLLLLLLL... Big Show’s held a lot of titles hasn’t he?
For someone who started his career as a novelty act, wrestling as the fictional son of Andre The Giant with “The Dungeon of Doom” in WCW, Big Show has done very well for himself. Paul Wight has had a career which has far outlasted expectations for a man his size and has earned his spot in the WWE Hall of Fame, which he will likely receive upon his retirement. One of the reasons why this Hall of Fame spot has been earned is the sheer amount of time Show has spent with a championship around his waist in the WWE. Well, I say around his waist, did he ever actually wear any titles? Surely none were big enough.
Show is a multi-time world and tag team champion and has also has reigns with the Intercontinental, United States, Hardcore and ECW titles too. In fact, he’s the longest-reigning ECW Champion on this list, which, when I think about it, isn’t actually saying much. He is, however, the only man in history to hold the WWE, WCW and ECW World Heavyweight Championships, which is nothing to laugh at, even if the ECW Championship in WWE was.
12 Shawn Michaels – 1,226 days
The Heartbreak Kid sure knows how to break title records.
To say that Shawn Michaels is one of the best of all time is somewhat of a moot point in wrestling. Everyone knows how good he is on the mic and in the ring, but one thing that exemplifies this point is the sheer amount of time he spent as champion in the WWE. Michaels held the WWE Championship for a total of 396 days in his storied career, as well as the World Heavyweight Championship for 28 days. He’s also an accomplished tag wrestler, holding tag team titles for a combined 314 days.
Whilst a lot of fans dwell on his incredible main event runs (with good reason), a lot of people forget that HBK was one of the men who helped establish the Intercontinental Championship as a credible belt in the WWE. Across three reigns with the belt, he held the title for 406 days and put on classic bouts with the likes of Marty Jannetty and Razor Ramon for the gold. It’s amazing that Michaels only won two championships during his second run with the company between 2002 and 2010 and is still on this list. Fans paid to see The Showstopper and paid even more to see him with a title and WWE were able to capitalise on that to make a lot of money. In the process, they made Michaels a star, so I guess everybody wins. Except maybe Marty Jannetty. Poor guy.
11 Edge – 1,248 days
Seems like the Rated-R SUUUUUUUUUPERSTARRRRRR didn’t offend WWE that much.
Anyone who knows their WWE stats won’t be surprised to see Edge on this list. With 31 championship reigns across his career, Edge is the most decorated man in WWE history and has numerous title records under his belt. He’s a record seven-time World Heavyweight Champion, a belt he has held for 507 days in total, and a record twelve-time World Tag Team Champion, which he held for a total of 385 days. Not bad for someone who debuted as “Sexton Hardcastle”.
Edge’s rise to the top of the WWE was a very organic one. He started out as a tag team wrestler, then moved into the midcard, then finally the main event. This allowed him to win a lot of different championships through his career – he’s a former WWE, World Heavyweight, Intercontinental, United States, World Tag Team and WWE Tag Team Champion – and this all adds up. It’s even crazier to think that Edge was a champion when he was forced into retirement in 2011; who knows how much longer he’d have held that title (and how many more championships he could have won) had he not been injured. Guess we’ll never know.
10 Kofi Kingston – 1,393 days
It’s not just a New Day, it’s a whole bunch of days.
Kofi Kingston is, when it comes down to it, a pretty underrated performer. He’s always been entertaining to watch, even when WWE have had no idea what to do with him. He’s put on some incredible matches, as part of a tag team or on his own, had some pretty solid feuds and has been responsible for some of the most memorable moments from the Royal Rumble and Money in the Bank ladder match. We’ll overlook the fake Jamaican accent just this once.
What’s incredible about Kofi’s position on the list is that he’s managed to achieve it without a single day as world champion. Kingston has spent 266 days as Intercontinental Champion and 209 days as United States champion, but that’s the limit of Kingston’s singles championship reigns. His real success lies in the tag division; Kingston has spent a combined 918 days as tag team champion, including 817 with the WWE/Raw Tag Team titles, more than anyone else in history. Kingston is also the only man to have held the World, WWE, Raw and Smackdown tag titles, which is a testament to how good Kingston is in a partnership. With plenty of time left on his wrestling clock and as part of a hot team in The New Day, expect Kingston to add plenty more days to his total.
9 Bret Hart – 1,434 days
The ninth best there is, the ninth best there was and the ninth best there ever will be.
Like Edge earlier in the list, Bret Hart’s rise to the top of the WWE card came very organically. Beginning as a tag team with Jim Neidhart, Hart held the World Tag Team Championships for a combined 483 days. He then moved onto the Intercontinental Championship, a belt he managed to hold for 290 days in total and had some brilliant matches for. Then, after years of earning his keep, Hart finally made it to the top of the WWE card as world champion. Then Hulk Hogan came along and sabotaged it, but we won’t get into that now.
When Hart eventually shrugged off the backstage politics, he managed to win the WWE Championship 5 times. Hart held the belt for a total of 654 days, the 7th most of anyone in history, helping contribute to nearly 1,500 days as champion within WWE. Interestingly, Hart also had another title reign. After Hart’s return to the company in 2010, at the age of 53, Hart defeated The Miz to win the United States Championship in a decision that made about as much sense as a teapot made of butter. Hart vacated the belt a week later, leaving his time with the belt at just 7 days. Wrestling is weird.
8 The Miz – 1,536+ days
Thanks, Miz, had to mess up my list by still being a champion. God’s sake.
The Miz is, and I know I’m about to get a lot of flak for this, one of the best performers in wrestling history. Let me explain. Against a backdrop of bland characters, boring promos and uninspired gimmicks, The Miz stands out like a sore thumb in the modern WWE. His cocky, smug A-Lister character is so well-played and so captivating, that fans genuinely want to boo him whenever he is on screen. In this day and age, where heels are worshipped and faces despised, this is a very rare feat indeed. Whilst his actual wrestling ability is pretty average, The Miz is a natural born entertainer and I, for one, am a huge fan. Bring it on, comments section, bring it on.
Besides being one of my personal favourites, The Miz is also one of the most decorated performers still on the roster. A former WWE, United States, WWE and World Tag Team Champion, The Miz has won most titles worth winning in the WWE, but his major success has come with the title he currently holds – the Intercontinental Championship. Between seven reigns with the gold, Miz has held the title for a whopping 497 days (at time of writing), the third most of anyone in the title’s history. With no plans for Miz to defend the title any time soon, expect this number to get even higher and, unfortunately, this list to become even more outdated. Dammit.
7 Triple H – 1,638 days
Turns out we’ve been playing this Game for absolutely ages.
Triple H is a big deal in the WWE, everyone knows this. Through his marriage to Stephanie McMahon, The Game has positioned himself as the heir to Vince’s empire, already showing his creative flair through the success of NXT (something he helped create and run). A juggernaut backstage, Triple H is also highly respected as one of the most decorated champions in WWE history.
A 14-time World Champion, The Game has been one of WWE’s most consistent main eventers, but he also enjoyed a healthy spell in the undercard too. He is a former Intercontinental and European champion, as well as having held the WWE Tag Team titles on one occasion. The belt that Triple H is synonymous with is the one he barely spent time without between 2002 and 2005 – the World Heavyweight Championship. The first ever World Heavyweight Champion in WWE, Triple H also holds the record for the most cumulative days spent with the title – 616. Add this to the 609 days he spent as WWE Champion and its no surprise Trips features so highly on this list. He might have started his main event push as a anti-corporation rebel (after his more snobbish beginnings), but, in the end, putting on that corporate suit was just best for business for The King of Kings.
6 John Cena – 1,812 days
Because of course he’s on this list.
A championship was practically grafted onto John Cena’s waist for the majority of his WWE run. Whether it was as Untied States Champion in 2004-2005 or his brief runs with the tag titles, Cena has held loads of titles in the WWE and he held them for a long time. However, none of this even comes close to his time with a world title. Any Cena haters out there, prepare to be made very upset.
Cena has spent a grand total of 1,657 days with a world title since his first win in 2005. That’s enough to put him in 6th place on this list on its own. Furthermore, his WWE Championship reigns total a whopping 1,254 days, which is enough to put him at 11th place on this list. That is staggering. Love him or hate him, you have to respect the work rate and dedication that Cena has for the business. One of the greatest of all time, don’t count out another title reign for Cena before he rides off into the sunset. He’s going to break that world title record someday, you just know it.
5 Pedro Morales – 1,827 days
It’s basically all old guys from here on out. Apologies to the modern fans.
Pedro Morales was one of the most popular wrestlers in the world back in the 1970s and 80s. The Puerto Rican Morales was a huge appeal to the Latino audience, a group that American wrestling very rarely caught the attention of. Because of this, Morales was given a lengthy run with the WWE Championship between 1971 and 1973; he held the title for 1,027 days, the fifth longest of all time.
Morales also holds a place in the history of the Intercontinental Championship. His combined 619 days as champion is the most in the title’s history... well, unless The Miz has anything to say about it. Throw in a one day reign with the World Tag Team Championships (which makes Morales the first Triple Crown Champion in WWE history) and you get an impressive total. It’s important to remember, during Morales’ time, that titles didn’t change hands nearly as often as they do today, which accounts for his lengthy time as world champion. Let’s not take anything away from Pedro, though; he was still a great performer and a worthy champion. God, can you imagine if champions reigned for that long these days? I think people would hate Jinder Mahal even more.
4 Bob Backlund – 2,139 days
Before he was trying to make Darren Young great again, he was actually a decent wrestler.
WWE operates on a principle of “the man.” The company hitches its wagon to one babyface and then prays to God that people get behind them. Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, John Cena, these are just some of the names of people WWE have positioned as their top guy and, thankfully, this is usually a successful technique. (Well, unless your name is Roman.) One of these top guys was Bob Backlund, who served as the company’s top star through a large portion of the 1970s. If you don’t believe me, then just look at the facts; Backlund had one single reign with the WWE Championship of 2,135 days. Still wanna disagree?
Backlund’s other days as champion came in the form of a one day tag team title reign (alongside Pedro Morales) and a second WWE title run in 1994. Yep, you read that right. 1994. Backlund, at the age of 45, dethroned Bret Hart in a “Throw In The Towel” match at Survivor Series that year. Then, just three days later, he lost it to Diesel at an untelevised House Show. (In just 8 seconds.) Confused? Me too. Despite all this nonsense, Backlund is still a legend and is one of the most important figures in WWE history. It’s a shame we haven’t seen him on TV for a while. Actually, considering the gimmick he was working with when we last saw him, maybe it isn’t.
3 Hulk Hogan – 2, 204 days
Well, let me tell you something, brother!
Hulk Hogan is an iconic performer, no doubt about it. For over a decade, he was the face of the WWE and led it through one of its most successful periods, main eventing seven out of the first 10 WrestleManias. Through most of this time period, Hulk was the WWE Champion. Between the years of 1984 and 1993, Hogan spent a whopping 2,157 days as WWE Champion. Throw in a reign of 28 days from 2002, - WWE tried to capitalise on the success of Hogan vs The Rock at WrestleMania X8 – and that’s a total of 2,185 days as world champion for The Hulkster. Not bad, not bad at all.
Hogan’s other 19 days as champion come from a very strange World Tag Team Championship reign with Edge in 2002. But, even without this weird reign, Hogan is still comfortably in third place on this list. The face of the WWE and of pro wrestling for years, Hogan as champion equalled money for the WWE and, as we all know, Vince McMahon is powerless to refuse a chance to make some cash.
2 Bruno Sammartino – 4,040 days
A legendary champion from a simpler time in wrestling history.
The story of Bruno Sammartino is one of triumph over adversity and success in the face of defeat. An Italian immigrant to the United States, Bruno found himself an easy target for bullies growing up, so he devoted his time to weight training and body-building to stand up to them. Sammartino built an impressive physique, which caught the attention of a local wrestling promoter. In 1963, Bruno formed a partnership with Vince McMahon Sr. and his World Wide Wrestling Federation and the rest, as they say, is history.
Sammartino defeated Buddy Rogers to become the second ever WWE Champion (of WWWF Champion, as it was known back then) in history. His reign with the title lasted a staggering 2,803 days; that’s over seven years and eight months. A second reign came in 1973, but that only lasted 1,237 days. Only. As I mentioned earlier, titles changed hands far less frequently back in the day, so Bruno’s title reigns aren’t really comparable to the modern days ones. However, Sammartino was still a huge reason for the early success of the WWE; fans adored him and wanted to see him succeed, something the bookers took advantage of with Bruno’s lengthy title runs. An absolute legend of the pro wrestling business, there will never be another Bruno Sammartino. He truly is “The Living Legend”.
1 The Fabulous Moolah – 10,778 days
As you can tell, this wasn’t a close race.
When the WWE Women’s Championship was retired in 2010, it brought to an end a title that had existed for over 50 years. Originally created as the NWA World Women’s Championship in 1956, the title was later adopted by the WWE in 1984. Despite this, wrestling historians still consider the title to have had one lineage from 1956 to 2010. This being the case, we have a clear winner in our list today – WWE Hall of Famer, The Fabulous Moolah.
Moolah was the first woman to hold the title and, according to the WWE, she held it for a combined 10,170 days. That’s nearly 28 years! In actually, Moolah “lost” the title four times during this reign, but those title changes aren’t recognised by either the NWA or the WWE, so it’s hard to count them in this list. Even if we did count those title loses, Moolah still would have been champion for 10,132 days, so it’s sort of irrelevant. Throw in two more reigns in the 1980s and a reign that came in 1999, when Moolah was 76-years-old (The Attitude Era was a strange time), and you get Moolah’s staggering total of 10,778 days as Women’s Champion across her career. An iconic figure of women’s wrestling and a true phenomenon of the sport, The Fabulous Moolah will likely hold onto this accolade forever and will certainly remain the woman with the most days as champion forever. Let’s put it this way; the woman with the most number of days as champion on the current roster is Mickie James with 445. Yeah, good luck trying to match Moolah, Mick.