Since its inception in 1963, the WWE Championship has been held on 99 different occasions and changed names six times.
One thing that has remained through the years is how special the title is and how many great matches and unforgettable moments it has created.
Through controversy, heartache, and pain, several wrestlers have stepped up to the table and laid everything on the line to walk away with this prize. It has taken dedication and a decent company man to hold it for any long periods of time.
Buddy Rogers was crowned the first champion after winning a tournament in Brazil on April 29, 1963, when the WWWF parted ways with the NWA.
Only 18 days after Rogers won the belt, Bruno Sammartino captured the gold on May 17 in New York's famous Madison Square Garden. After that, the rest is history...
Minutes after John Cena defeated five other guys in an Elimination Chamber match at New Year's Revolution, the ultimate opportunist Edge cashed in his Money in the Bank contract, won nine months earlier at WrestleMania 21, the first ever of its kind.
As John Cena was trying to recover, Vince McMahon ordered that the chamber be raised up and that Edge was cashing in his Money in the Bank contract.
It took two spears from Edge, but John Cena lost his WWE Championship. This was Edge's first-ever WWE Championship victory.
A late Christmas present to Mrs. Foley, her baby boy brought home the WWE Championship.
Mick Foley actually captured the title on Dec. 29, 1998, but the show didn't air until Jan. 4, 1999.
Foley, from a small town in Indiana, grew up dreaming to be a WWE Champion, and this was his night.
Viva La Raza.
The late Eddie Guerrero won the WWE Championship on this night in Daly City, Calif. With a little help from a Goldberg spear, Guerrero followed with a DDT and a his patented Frog Splash from the top rope to win the belt.
A month later, Guerrero retained his title at WrestleMania XX in Madison Square Garden, where his close friend Chris Benoit, who has also passed away, won the World Title that night.
Two friends, both champions at the same time, a moment that will live on for a lifetime.
In what is simply known as the "Montreal Screw Job" has turned into one of the most shocking moments in WWE history.
Bret Hart was leaving for World Championship Wrestling, and didn't want to lose his title to Shawn Michaels. They had a match scheduled in Montreal during the Survivor Series of 1997.
The match went on as planned.
However, Hart had no idea what the plan was. Near the end of the match, Earl Hebner called for the bell as Michaels put the Sharpshooter on Bret Hart and just like that, it was over.
Vince McMahon came out to ringside, as Hart spit in his face to close the show.
It wasn't until 12 years later that the Hitman stepped into a WWE ring again.
An "American Made" 30-year-old Hulk Hogan made his way to the ring to "Eye of the Tiger" on Jan. 23, 1984, in Madison Square Garden.
His opponent was the Iron Sheik.
On this night, Hogan would win his first-ever WWE Championship. He was also the first man to escape Sheik's famous Camel Clutch submission hold.
Steve Austin defeated Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 14 in Boston for his first ever WWE Championship win with Mike Tyson has the special enforcer.
The significance of this match was that the injured Michaels, who couldn't compete at a high level anymore due to his back injury, was passing the torch on to Austin, who was a fan favorite at the time and thus began the "Attitude Era."
Shawn Michaels returned to wrestling full-time four years later but would never win this belt again.
It is a shame it didn't happen on a bigger stage, however, Bret Hart captured his first WWE Championship on this night and beat one of the greatest, Ric Flair, to capture it.
The historic match that took place in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, would later be released on Coliseum Video.
This was the beginning of Bret Hart's rise in WWE, where he would stay on top until 1997.
On this night, the boyhood dream of Shawn Michaels would come true as he defeated Bret "Hitman" Hart in a 60-minute Iron Man match to win his first-ever WWE Championship.
The match ended up going to sudden death overtime, where Michaels would hit his superkick to cover Bret for the victory.
Michaels looked at his title as he clutched it in his arms, as Bret Hart stood in the ring with disgust as Michaels didn't acknowledge Hart after the victory.
For nearly an entire year after the WCW was purchased by Vince McMahon, and wrestlers from WCW branded together with WWE wrestlers, the WWE Championship and the WCW World Championship merged to become the Undisputed Championship.
At Vengeance on Dec. 9, 2001, Chris Jericho defeated Kurt Angle, The Rock and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin to become the first ever undisputed champion.
Only Triple H, Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, The Rock, and Brock Lesnar won the merged titles, along with Jericho.
On Sept. 2, 2002, the rosters split, as the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship became two separate titles.
These days, title runs come and go.
However, can you imagine John Cena holding the WWE Championship for eight years straight?
That is exactly what Bruno Sammartino did after he defeated the inaugural champion Buddy Rogers on May 17, 1963 in Madison Square Garden.
It wasn't until January 18, 1971, that a new champion was crowned. Which brings me to the single biggest defeat in the history of the WWE Championship in my opinion, when Ivan Koloff knocked off Bruno Sammartino in of all places, Madison Square Garden, the same place that Sammartino won it nearly eight years prior.
"The Russian Bear" Koloff didn't hold the belt for long, as he would lose it to Pedro Morales 21 days later in the same arena. However, his big win, though short lived, still lives on to me, as the biggest yet.