The 5 Greatest WWE Champions in History
Created in 1963, the WWE Supreme Title represents the ultimate award for a professional wrestler. Since its creation, the belt has known a total of fifty different champions throughout its history. Today on Daily Wrestling, we’re going to compile a list of the ten greatest WWE Champions in history. The latter will not be presented in a top 10 format as we all have very different standards. Just know that the subsequent selections will either be based on the number of rulers, references or historical influences in the game. Feel free to list yours in the comments.
1. Bruno Sammartino
Powerful, charismatic, popular, Bruno Sammartino had everything to make fans happy in the 60s and 70s. After fleeing the war in his native Italy, Sammartino tries to make a place for himself in American society. Abused for his very weak body, he decides to reform by opening the door to the weight room. A wrestling promoter would eventually notice him and give him his first fight.
It didn’t take long for the young man’s talent to catch the attention of Vince McMahon Jr.’s father, Vincent J. McMahon Sr. He soon won and would retain the WWF (ancestor of the WWE) major title. For 2803 days, no record has been equaled since. Sammartino is a true national attraction and thousands come to see him fight in New York’s Madison Square Garden. He will be the only wrestler in history to fill this room more than 100 times.
Sammartino is undoubtedly the man who gave importance to this American room. After being injured, he would lose the title to Ivan Koloff before winning it a second time in 1973. A period is not ridiculous because the belt will be around his hips for more than 1200 days.
2. Bob Backlund
Far from rhinestones and glitter, Bob Backlund was a champion with an unusual body for his time. Following the success of Bruno Sammartino, Backlund will be able to establish himself in an environment where imposing bodies are king. Crowned, he would hold the WWE Championship belt for 2135 days in a single reign. Far less imposing than his predecessors, the wrestler would have used his technique to defeat his opponents one after another with his fearsome chicken wing. The latter was far from being Shawn Michaels, The Rock or other CM Punks, but the ringmaster of the late 70’s/early 80’s he was. In 1994, he won a second title at Survivor Series by defeating Bret Hart.
Much less spectacular than the previous one, he would relinquish his crown just three days later in an eight-second match against Diesel. Two completely different reigns, but part of history.
3. Hulk Hogan
By defeating The Iron Sheik on January 23, 1984, Hulk Hogan unwittingly became the face of the Federation for many years. During the 80s, no fan could miss the wrestler with his yellow and red outfit. Sponsored by his Hulkamaniacs, Hogan would win at least six WWE Championship titles in his career with memorable rivalries against Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior, The Undertaker and even Triple H.
After returning to No Way Out in 2002, The Hulkster quickly found himself in a run for the Undisputed Title held by “The Game”. Less than a month later, Hogan was dethroned by The Undertaker who remains the only wrestler in history to have defeated him twice to win a major title.
4. Bret Hart
In the 90s, if you saw Bret Hart wrestle in the ring, there was virtually no chance you would be bored. A technician of genius, the Canadian would have greatly contributed to the federation’s revival, surpassing wrestlers like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage or the Ultimate Warrior. Trained in the famous Hart dungeon, “The Hitman” won at least five WWE Championship titles in a five-year span. Ric Flair; Yokozuna; The Undertaker; Diesel: Bret Hart was able to beat anyone with his wrestling skills and his famous submission hold, the Sharpshooter. During his career, he produced cult matches against stars such as Shawn Michaels, Roddy Piper, Ric Flair and his late brother, Owen Hart.
5. Shawn Michaels
With “only” three WWE Championship titles on his record, Shawn Michaels despite everything is the author of two victories that are still talked about today. His first title, HBK won at WrestleMania 12 after a cult Ironman match against Bret Hart. For an hour, neither representative of the new generation managed to gain an advantage over the other.
It was only after extra time that he used his deadly weapon, the super kick, to win the precious mole. A few years later, he would be at the center of a legendary feud involving Vince McMahon and, once again, Bret Hart. Trapped in his own sharpshooter, “The Hitman” lost the match when the company chairman ordered the bell to ring.