Dating all the way back to 1963, the WWE championship has a rich history, with many legendary names having held the title.
However, over the last decade, the belt has seen a mixed bag of holders. Some have had classic runs with the title, using their reigns to tell absorbing stories that fans will remember for a long time to come. Others, by contrast, have been almost instantly forgettable.
Now, GiveMeSport has ranked every WWE championship holder from 2009 to 2019. Here are some of the key takeaways from our list.
The longest WWE championship reign during this period belonged to CM Punk. Clocking in at an astounding 434 days, Punk began his second reign as WWE Champion by defeating Alberto Del Rio at Survivor Series 2011.
At the time, the WWE Championship’s reputation required some rehabilitation, having been passed around multiple times already in that year. Thankfully, Punk’s reign restored some much-needed respect to the title – and it was genuinely a landmark moment when The Rock beat Punk for the belt at Royal Rumble 2013.
Learning from the success that they had experienced with Punk, WWE opted to let AJ Styles run with the championship for more than a year from November 7, 2017 until November 13, 2018.
Styles ended the pretty awful championship reign of Jinder Mahal to take the championship and then held it for 371 days – before losing to Daniel Bryan. The reign helped establish Styles as one of the major faces of WWE.
Championship reigns do not necessarily need to extend past a year to be effective, though. Kofi Kingston’s WrestleMania 35 win over Daniel Bryan was a wonderful feel-good moment. It left an impact on the audience and will live on in video packages for years to come. Kingston’s sole WWE championship reign was a great success for the promotion.
Seth Rollins had a similar WrestleMania moment in 2015, when he cashed in the Money In The Bank Briefcase in the main event of WrestleMania 31. Championship reigns, when they are done right, should be memorable – and all of the above were.
With that said, for every Kofi Kingston and Seth Rollins, there is a Jinder Mahal or Dean Ambrose. It would be fair to say that WWE probably regrets putting its main prize on both Mahal and Ambrose.
“The Modern Day Maharaja” was one of the most underwhelming WWE champions of all-time. Ambrose was significantly better, but given that he has since jumped to AEW under his real name of Jon Moxley, we suspect that WWE wishes they had not given him the championship.
Daniel Bryan is also included in the lowest tier because many of his title reigns were cut short by either injury of bad booking. Bryan is a great performer, but has just never had a great run with the WWE championship.
The less said about his most recent one with Erick Rowan by his side the better.
As you can see from the graphic above, we have our opinion on every WWE champion from the period.
It is fair to say, though, that every superstar who wants to hold the WWE championship hopes to mirror the reign of a CM Punk as opposed to a Jinder Mahal!
- Undertaker’s retirement conversation backstage with Vince
- Edge won’t wrestle again in 2020
- The most impressive WWE body transformations