Champions are often admired by the optimistic youth who someday wish to grow up and achieve the same level of success as their heroes. Champions are made in many ways; the purest form of a champions comes through hard work and dedication to the craft (cliché but the truth). Champions can also come cut with foul traces of outsider substance and circumstance.
Tom Brady is a champion but a cheater and everybody outside of the New England area loathes the quarterback and the Super Bowl rings he has attained throughout his career. How much does that bother Tom Brady? Probably very little. Brady counts his millions and sleeps with his supermodel wife while the rest of us scream at #12 from the couch in a drunken rage on Sunday afternoons.
The point to be made here is that not all champions are heroes and not all champions should be showered with praise for ill-gotten glory or real-life lunacy. Some champions should simply be regarded as champions; they won, they received the prize, let's move on and hope for someone more reputable to come along and claim said championship. What else can we do? Bears fans would probably rather watch the Packers win this year's Super Bowl than a Patriots repeat.
Our subject for this article will center around champions in the wrestling world - a place were champions are predetermined - and how they were placed in a negative light.
These are the top 20 worst booked champions in WWE history:
We begin this list with a WCW creation who never really stood a chance in WWE. Goldberg was more machine than man while in WCW and his undefeated streak ranks among the most impressive wrestling streaks of all time.
However, by the time Goldberg arrived in WWE, he was no longer viewed as the dominant male maniac that he had been in years past. While given a brief run as World Heavyweight Champion, nobody (at the time) was going to overshadow Triple H.
19 Randy Orton
Remaining with the "nobody bigger than Triple H" notion, we find our way to Randy Orton. Yes, Orton is now a twelve time champion but not all of his title reigns were flattering.
In 2004, Randy Orton would become the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in WWE history. However, his success was short-lived as he would soon lose the championship to Triple H.
18 Bob Backlund
Bob Backlund is considered to be one of the all time greatest WWE performers while holding the WWE Championship for a lengthy period of time during his glory days with the company.
However, in 1994, Bob Backlund would find himself back at the top of the WWE mountain when he defeated Bret Hart for the WWE Championship - only to lose the title a few days later in a squash math to Diesel.
When Sheamus (as an upstart) first defeated John Cena for the WWE Championship in 2009, there was a drop of fresh blood within the WWE Universe that had fans ( and Cena haters) excited.
The young talent and new champion could have been used in a different manner but WWE missed out on the opportunity of truly making Sheamus a star by having him lost the title right back to Cena less than two months later. The current MITB briefcase holder will hopefully (doubtfully) have better luck in the future.
16 Ivan Koloff
Ivan Koloff holds a special and specific place in WWE history. In 1971, Koloff was given the honor of dethroning Bruno Sammartino - who had held the title for two thousand days - as WWE Champion.
Of course, Ivan Koloff would not find much success as WWE Champion as his three week title reign would serve as a transitional spot between Bruno Sammartino and Pedro Morales (Kolof lost the title to Morales).
15 Booker T
Booker T is not only a former five-time WCW Champion but a former World Heavyweight Champion in WWE - a distinction many fans had waited a long time to finally witness as Booker T was more than deserving.
However, the World Heavyweight Championship was not awarded to Booker T but rather King Booker in a forgettable title reign that did not leave the same kind of impact as it would have otherwise. After a boring four month reign, he lost the title to Batista at Survivor Series.
14 The Iron Sheik
Many people tend to forget (amid his lunacy) that The Iron Sheik is a former WWE Champion. In 1983, The Iron Sheik defeated Bob Backlund (his proper title reign) for the WWE Championship.
The glory days would not last long for The Iron Sheik as less than a month later, Hulk Hogan would capture the title from Sheik in what would turn out to be the kickstarter of the Hulkamania movement. Instead of building a champion in The Sheik, he was quickly moved back to the mid-card, where he'd remain for the rest of his career.
13 Big Show
What is Big Show in WWE? The massive attraction who "jumped ship" from WCW during the Monday Night War has always been more of a background noise than something that required undivided attention.
Big Show has been both WWE Champion and World Heavyweight Champion but can you really recall any memorable moment while Show held the strap? WWE could have booked Show in a more dominant fashion but instead gave us the Powder-Puff Giant.
Once again, we find a WWE legend on our list who would capture championship gold eleven time throughout his career. However, The Rated-R Superstar has had his share of bad booked reigns.
Edge was always an entertaining champion but was not always placed in the most positive of lights. For instance, his first WWE Championship reign was simply a case of cashing-in MITB before dropping the title back to John Cena 21 days later.
11 Jack Swagger
Jack Swagger is now a WWE mid-card talent at best - and that's giving him credit as calling Swagger mid-card is a far stretch these days. Swagger has fallen hard within the system.
And to think, Jack Swagger is a former World Heavyweight Champion - a reign that really didn't matter and didn't leave a lasting impression on the WWE Universe. Swagger could have been a better champion but was booked poorly. He was only given one reign of two months, where he didn't beat anyone of note and didn't build his character enough.
10 Mick Foley
Mick Foley is a former three-time WWE Champion. Three championship reigns that did not last long and did not allow Foley to properly main event during the Attitude Era - a time the business was on fire.
Mick Foley was fun to watch as WWE Champion - no matter how short his time was with the gold. It's a shame that The Hardcore Legend was not afforded more time with the company's top prize.
Even though Christian is a former two-time World Heavyweight Champion, the feeling remains that his championship glory was due to a sentimental circumstance following the early retirement of Edge.
Nevertheless, Christian was given the World Heavyweight Championship on two occasions - both of which would prove to be lackluster reigns. Christian was a hard worker who could have been given a better bounce.
It is often forgotten by WWE fans just how long Kane has been around. The Big Red Machine had spanned generations and stood the test of time which is not an easy accomplishment within WWE.
While Kane has been WWE Champion and World Heavyweight Champion in the past, he has never been placed in that monster champion spotlight that could have and would have worked so well.
7 Dolph Ziggler
Hopefully fans of Dolph Ziggler enjoyed his briefs moments as World Heavyweight Champion because The Show Off will likely never again reign as the top champion of the company.
Unfortunately for Dolph Ziggler, his last World Heavyweight Championship run was plagued with injury thus not providing fans with the full effect of Ziggler as World Champion.
6 The Miz
The Miz did main event WrestleMania XXVII with John Cena but his role was simply filler between The Rock and Cena and the impending feud that would come from the return of The Great One. Though he did beat Cena at WrestleMania thank to The Rock, he'd just lose to him at the next PPV.
The Miz was a good champion who could have been a great champion had WWE placed enough of their machinery behind the Superstar. The Miz was overshadowed as WWE Champion.
5 CM Punk
During his final title reign, CM Punk held the WWE Championship for a grand total of 434 days - which was a great accomplishment despite still being placed behind John Cena for the top spot.
Prior to this historic reign, CM Punk had his time with the World Heavyweight Championship which would not favor The Straight Edge Superstar ... Punk was never positioned properly as champion.
4 Daniel Bryan
WrestleMania XXX: we all cheered for Daniel Bryan that night as he overcame the odds to win two high-profile matches and become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion - good times in New Orleans.
However, the whole "Daniel Bryan is not the face of WWE" storyline was not just an angle. Such is the way Daniel Bryan is viewed in WWE. Bryan has held major gold a few times now but has never been booked as such.
3 Jeff Hardy
It has always been difficult to root against Jeff Hardy. Despite his personal demons, there is a connection between Hardy and the fans that can never be broken. People love this strange wrestler.
In WWE, Jeff Hardy was both WWE and World Heavyweight Champion. Neither of which would help Hardy become a true main event player. Jeff Hardy stood out too much for WWE to fully back the Superstar.
2 Rey Mysterio
When Rey Mysterio won the 2006 Royal Rumble, his WrestleMania moment should have included a one-on-one match with Kurt Angle (then champion) and not a Triple Threat with Randy Orton.
Rey Mysterio would win the title and move on to capture main gold again in his career but the small stature of Mysterio would keep him away from the Big Man Land of main event status. In WWE, Mysterio was a Paper Champion.
1 Rob Van Dam
Rob Van Dam as WWE Champion proved to be a moment of Extreme Excellence (pun intended). The most popular star of ECW had finally reached the top of WWE - a well-deserved victory.
Now then, RVD dropping the title was riddled with controversy over a marijuana related suspension. However, RVD was never given the opportunity to recapture the gold and was never meant to be the face of WWE.
Rob Van Dam was the worst booked WWE Champion despite all the potential.