The WWE World Heavyweight Championship is approaching a historic 53 year lifespan, and before this Title would even be established back in 1963, we had the prestigious NWA World Heavyweight Championship. The NWA belt has it’s own amazing history, and can be traced all the way back to the beginning of the 20th century in 1905. If you do the math, that is 111 years of history for professional wrestling gold. As wrestling started to grow in popularity, and there were too many wrestlers to compete for a single title, more Championship belts had to be created such as the Intercontinental Championship, the European Championship, and the World Tag Team Championship to name a few. For a wrestler who was able to capture a Championship, was cemented into the history books, and for the most part, a Title win could catapult a Superstar’s career.
Buddy Rogers. Hulk Hogan. Randy Savage. The Undertaker. Bret Hart. Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Rock. Triple H. John Cena. Daniel Bryan. These are prime examples of Superstars who have won the WWE Championship and have managed to go on to great heights within the industry. Also, even winning a “lesser” title can cement you into history as one of the greats. For example, Roddy Piper, Tito Santana, Mr. Perfect, and Razor Ramon are all Superstars who never held the WWE Championship but have held the Intercontinental Championship instead, and they’re all legends in their own right.
But not every single Superstar who captures a championship turns out to be as successful. For every Roddy Piper, there’s an Ezekiel Jackson. Don’t remember who he is? Continue reading and I’ll divulge that information in a minute. Although a wrestler can capture a title, sometimes an injury, backstage drama, or an inability to connect with the fans can lead to a performers eventual release from the company, proving that gold doesn’t always make the man (or woman).
So this is why we are presenting to you the 20 Forgotten Champions in WWE’s history (in order of date they held the title), because hey, a Championship win is still a Championship win, and these competitors still deserve to be recognized for accomplishing something most people can only dream of.
20. Stan Stasiak – WWWF Champion
The fifth man to have ever held the title, the Canadian-born Stan Stasiak won the WWE Championship (then called the WWWF Heavyweight Championship) by ending Pedro Morales almost three-year-reign all the way back in 1973. Despite the impressive win, Stasiak would only hold the title for nine days, the shortest reign to occur over a two decade span.
Because Bruno Sammartino was next in line to win the Championship, the powers-that-be didn’t want Morales losing to Sammartino, so they chose Stasiak to be the transitional champion. Though he would get one more shot for the belt against Superstar Billy Graham in 1977, this would be the highlight of Stan Stasiak’s career.
19. Moondog King – WWE Tag Team Champion
Though the Moondogs held the WWF Tag Team Championships in 1981 for over four months, Moondog King would only keep the Title around his waist for a little over a month as compared to his tag team partner, Moondog Rex who had it longer.
How is this possible you ask? Well due to being denied re-entry into the United States from the Canadian border, Moondog King would be forced to vacate the Championship. King would have a short stay with the company, and Moondog Spot was hired to replace him as champion. That damn border patrol prematurely ended this poor man’s career.
18. Ahmed Johnson – Intercontinental Champion
Though Ahmed Johnson isn’t completely forgotten, his Intercontinental Championship reign is pretty forgettable. Although the WWE had big plans for him, Johnson had no other choice but to forfeit the title due to the unfortunate circumstance of being diagnosed with kidney problems shortly after his victory for the belt. He would later return to have some memorable feuds with the Nation of Domination and was even supposed to face The Undertaker for the WWE title in in 1997, but more injuries lead WWE to move on to the next jacked up star.
17. The Headbangers – Tag Team Champions
According to The Headbangers, real men wore skirts. So that’s what they did. Though Mosh and Thrasher blended in perfect with the absurdity of the Attitude Era, this was their problem; they kind of just blended in. During their stay with the company, they didn’t have many memorable storylines, and would usually be featured in matches that would require multiple tag teams or multiple men, such as at WrestleMania 2000.
The duo held the Tag Championships for less than a month, but to Thrasher’s credit, he is also a former Hardcore Champion, even if the reign only lasted a total of 43 seconds.
16. Mideon – European Champion
After finding Shane McMahon’s retired European title in Shane-O-Mac’s duffel bag, Mideon was rewarded as the new Champion, even though he didn’t necessarily earn it. The European Championship would once again be active in the WWE, and Mideon would lose the title a month later to D’Lo Brown.
Though Mideon would work with the Undertaker as part of the Ministry of Darkness, this would be his final big accomplishment in the WWE. However, It would be unfair of me not to mention that Mideon found other success as part of the Godwins from 1996-1997, winning the Tag Team Championship two times.
15. Miss Kitty/The Kat (Women’s Champion)
Miss Kitty might be remembered more for being willing to show it all during the Attitude Era, rather than for being a former Women’s Champion. After winning the title in a match that took place in a pool, Miss Kitty would never wrestle a real match during her reign, defending the title in a pool of pudding before losing it in a pool of snow to Harvey Wippleman. Yes, she lost the title to a man.
Seeing how many of the Divas during her era were pretty cookie-cutter (ie. Debra, Terri Runnels), and seeing as how she is the ex-wife of Jerry Lawler, Miss Kitty (or The Kat) has been totally forgotten.
She was fun while she lasted though.
14. Mean Street Posse – Hardcore Champions
Pete Gas, Joey Abs, and Rodney represented the Mean Street Posse, the rich and snotty friends of Shane McMahon, who would often help McMahon win his matches throughout his reign as European Champion. Though they didn’t do much after, they did manage to cement themselves into the history books as former Hardcore Champions, all three of them briefly winning the title at WrestleMania 2000.
The Hardcore Championship might not be the most legitimate WWE Title, but it’s still an officially recognized championship, and as you will see when continuing to read this list, anyone could win the Title during the Attitude Era.
13. Cynthia Lynch – Hardcore Champion
Cynthia who? I know what you’re thinking? Is there a WWE Diva you didn’t know about from the Attitude Era? The answer is kind of, but not really. She made a few appearances as one of Godfather’s Hos and was lucky enough to pin Crash Holly during the Title’s 24/7 rule. The celebration didn’t last long, as she would be pinned 15 seconds later. To her credit, Cynthia Lynch is the very first of four women to have held the Hardcore Title in WWE history.
12. Bull Buchanan (Tag Team Champion)
Originally brought in as the help for Big Boss Man, Bull Buchanan would eventually join one of the most hated groups in WWE, the Right to Censor, teaming with the Goodfather (ha ha, clever) to win the WWE Tag Team Championships in 2000. Unfortunately for Buchanan, this would be the highlight of his career, as he was never able to break out as a singles competitor during his run in the WWE. He had another brief stint as B-2, John Cena’s thug sidekick in late 2002-early 2003, but that’s pretty much it.
11. Johnny “The Bull” Stamboli – Hardcore Champion
I get it. There were a lot of Hardcore Champions who have been forgotten, but I swear this is the last one on the list. Johnny “The Bull” Stamboli didn’t have much of a character. He was Italian, so he was able to join the Full Blooded Italians at one point, but ultimately couldn’t find much success in the WWE. He is however a three-time Hardcore champion. The Attitude Era’s 24/7 rule ensured that all active wrestlers could stay in the title hunt, no matter how forgettable they were.
10. The Basham Brothers – Tag Team Champions
You know how the Bella Twins do Twin Magic to trick their opponents into thinking they’re wrestling the same competitor? Well, the Basham Brothers did it way before them, able to fool competitors due to their similar build and appearance; it was actually pretty cool to see for the first time.
Sprinkle their team with a dominatrix in Shaniqua, and you had a memorable Tag Team in the mid 2000s. The only problem was that after their title run, WWE didn’t really know what to do with them, and they were eventually released from their contracts.
9. Kenzo Suzuki – Tag Team Champion
Like the Hardcore Championship, there were a lot of forgettable Tag Champions throughout WWE’s history books as well. This is another Title that when not provided with a good division, is up for grabs and anyone can win. Take for example, Kenzo Suzuki.
Although Suzuki is known for being one of Japan’s biggest stars, WWE wrote him to look like a goof, and winning the tag gold with Rene Dupree was sadly Suzuki’s biggest accomplishment in the states.
8. Orlando Jordan – United States Champion
Orlando Jordan received the biggest push of his career when he joined JBL to form the Cabinet, defeating future Hall Of Famer John Cena of all people to win the United States Championship. Even though Jordan cheated, it’s still a pretty big accomplishment if you ask me, or Cena for that matter.
As his championship reign came to an end, so would Jordan’s push, as he would lose the title to Chris Benoit and lose every single one of his United States Championship rematches in less than a minute. Ouch, Poor guy.
7. Jon Heidenreich – Tag Team Champion
Another forgotten Tag Team Champion is Jon Heidenreich, who along with Animal, would reform the Legion of Doom to capture the championships from MNM. Fans soon realized that bringing back the Legion of Doom with Heidenreich as the replacement for Hawk wasn’t a good idea.
They would soon lose the belts back to MNM, and the newly formed Legion of Doom would came to an end. Jon Heidenreich might not be remembered for much, but hey, at least he can say he’s in the history books for something.
6. Kid Kash (Cruiserweight Champion)
Before the Cruiserweight Championship would go down in obscurity with Hornswoggle winning the belt (and retiring it), Kid Kash would finally arrive in the WWE in late 2005 and won his first (and only) Cruiserweight Championship. Just a month later at the 2006 Royal Rumble, Kash lost the Title to Gregory Helms, and was never able to regain his momentum, being released from his contract later that year.
5. Chris Benoit
Forgotten for much different reasons compared to every other individual on this list, Chris Benoit was known for being one of the best wrestlers ever, winning multiple championships throughout his career; even winning the World Heavyweight Championship in the main event of Wrestlemania XX. Yes, true die hards will always remember Chris Benoit, but the newer generation of wrestling fans won’t know much about him, unless they dig for information.
(20 Championships in both WCW and WWE)
4. Deuce ‘n Domino – Tag Team Champions
Holding the Tag Titles for an impressive 133 days, Deuce ‘n Domino were those guys with the “greaser” in-ring personas who were managed by that chick, Cherry. Like most debuting tag teams, they busted into the scene and became the new champions pretty quickly, by defeating Paul London & Brian Kendrick. But after losing the titles, they were quickly forgotten and released from their contracts not too long after. Pretty sad considering Deuce was the son of WWE legend Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka.
3. Curt Hawkins – Tag Team Champion
Here is another wrestler you probably don’t know much about because of his lack of storylines on WWE television. Debuting with Zack Ryder as one half of the Major Brothers, they were on top of the division for a while due to being part of Edge’s La Familia stable. Then before you knew it, we barely saw much more of Curt Hawkins throughout the rest of his tenure with WWE. Zack Ryder would go on to greater heights but even still, WWE has pretty much made him a forgotten champion at this point.
2. Ezekiel Jackson – ECW and Intercontinental Champion
Ezekiel Jackson seemed destined for great things when he signed with WWE, having a resume that includes being the last credited ECW Champion. After recovering from a torn quadricep, Jackson would return and eventually win the Intercontinental Championship. Many more injuries plagued him from really breaking out as a major star, and he was eventually released from his contract. Jackson is living proof that WWE can wear and tear at an individual’s health, to the point where they squander their own potential.
1. Drew McIntyre
The last person to make this list will be our most recent forgettable Superstar, Drew McIntyre… which is sort of ironic seeing as upon his arrival, McIntyre was billed as being specifically handpicked by the Chairman of the Board himself, Vince McMahon.
The thing about WWE is at the flip of a dime, you can go from being at the absolute top, to the very bottom. After two successful Intercontinental Title reigns, McIntyre fell into pure irrelevancy when he joined the 3MB (Three Man Band) faction with fellow group members Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal; along with Mahal, McIntyre was released from his contract soon after.
We worry about Slater now, as he is now in the #SocialOutcasts group, which hopefully for him, doesn’t follow the same fate as his former faction.
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