Wh would have thought Jinder Mahal has, as of this writing, reached the four-month mark of his improbable WWE Championship reign. To be exact, he’s passed the 125-day mark, and it still boggles the mind as to how a guy who once lost to everybody is now seemingly unbeatable as SmackDown Live‘s top champion. He’s now the 28th longest-reigning WWE Champion in history, and that also means he’s surpassed the combined title reigns of many a WWE legend. Just who are these luminaries from WWE’s past who have since been “hindered” by Jinder in the WWE record book?
One important thing to remember when looking at the entries in this list is that we’re only counting WWE Championship reigns, not the “Big Gold Belt,” or the since-retired World Heavyweight Championship. We’re also sticking to retired wrestlers who are already in the WWE Hall of Fame, so as to narrow down the scope of this list. So with that said, let’s look at five of the legends who have worn the WWE Championship to reign for a lesser amount of combined days than Jinder Mahal.
5. Ric Flair (2 Reigns, 118 Days)
He may be a 16-time World Champion or a 20-plus-time champ by his own count, but the Nature Boy, Ric Flair only has two WWE Championships officially credited to his name. And both reigns took place in 1992, starting with his Royal Rumble match victory for the then-vacant championship, followed by a shorter turn as champion when he won the belt back from Randy Savage in September of that year.
We believe Flair would have spent more time as WWE Champion, and had more title reigns as well, had he joined the company in the prime of his career in the ’80s. Instead, he’s right behind Jinder Mahal as the 29th longest-reigning WWE Champion in company history. “Woooo”? “Boo” is more like it.
4. Sgt. Slaughter (1 Reign, 64 Days)
Someone might not be happy that a lowly former air sitar-playing maggot will soon have a WWE Championship reign twice as long as his. Sgt. Slaughter’s Iraqi sympathizer heel turn and subsequent championship win was WWE’s way of transitioning the belt from The Ultimate Warrior back to Hulk Hogan.While the Sarge’s brief title reign was, ironically, one of the low points of his career, he is a WWE Hall of Famer who, to his credit, got a lot of mileage by parlaying his real-life military background into a wrestling gimmick.
3. Mick Foley (3 Reigns, 36 Days)
Mick Foley was a man with three “faces” in the WWE, yet his three WWE Championship reigns were all spent while he was working as the deranged, yet ultimately lovable Mankind. The first reign took place when he beat The Rock for the title toward the end of 1998. Since that title win was aired on January 4, 1999, it also bears mentioning that that was the match WCW’s Tony Schiavone sarcastically quipped would “put a lot of butts in the seats.” Boy, was he wrong, as many Nitro fans switched the channel to Raw to watch Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy become a first-time WWE Champion.
As Mankind, Foley held the WWE Championship two more times in 1999, but his reigns only add up to a mere 36 days, or 47 days if tape delays are taken into account.
2. The Iron Sheik (1 Reign, 29 Days)
Well before Jinder Mahal had great, unexpected success as an evil foreign heel, The Iron Sheik was the master of the shtick as one of WWE’s top bad guys of the early ’80s, but he was yet another example of a deserving WWE Hall of Famer who only reigned as champion on a transitional basis. That transition was WWE passing the torch from the technically-sound, yet plain-vanilla Bob Backlund, to the far more charismatic, if less-skilled Hulk Hogan.
All in all, Sheik’s WWE Championship reign lasted all of 29 days before Hulkamania ran wild over it. Thinking of Mahal’s 125-day reign must be making Sheiky Baby (or the people who run his social media) go “F**k the Tuesday!” in disgust.
1. Andre The Giant (1 Reign, < 1 Day)
WWE may have built him up as being undefeated for the longest time, but as far as WWE Championship gold is concerned, Andre the Giant only held the title for less than one day. And for those who are too young to remember, that happened at WWE’s The Main Event special in February 1988, where Andre beat Hulk Hogan for the title with the help of referee Dave Hebner’s “evil twin brother” Earl. Yup, that same Montreal Screwjob-officiating Earl Hebner.
On the same day of his title win, Andre sold his WWE Championship belt to Ted DiBiase, but the move would be nullified by figurehead WWE President Jack Tunney, leading to the vacation of the title, and the poorly-received 16-man WWE Championship tournament won by “Macho Man” Randy Savage at WrestleMania IV.
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