Now keep in mind that there have only been 40 WWE Champions, so this list will cover the lower half of the WWE champions.
A lot of the wrestlers on the list will be or are Hall of Famers, but this is not about who is the best wrestler overall.
I’m not basing it on that criteria; rather, this list will focus solely on each superstar’s WWE Championship reigns, length of reign and title defenses.
The most impressive part of Jericho’s Undisputed title reign was the night he won both titles, defeating Austin and The Rock. The matches themselves, however, were not too memorable, as he needed help to defeat both men.
His two major title defenses came against the same two men. At the Royal Rumble he used dirty tactics to defeat The Rock, while at No Way Out he defeated Steve Austin with the NOW’s help.
In fact, you can even say that for the three-plus months that Jericho has the title, he was only holding it for Triple H.
Jericho accomplished another impressive feat during his reign as he was in the main event of WrestleMania 18. The non-impressive match marked an end to his non-impressive Undisputed title reign.
Sheamus has had two WWE title reigns with both of the reigns lasting about three months a piece.
Sheamus won the title for the first time when John Cena fell through a table at the 2009 TLC PPV. He never had a memorable title defense as he only escaped a title defense against Randy Orton at the Royal Rumble because the match ended in disqualification. Sheamus would lose the title the next month at the Elimination Chamber PPV.
His second title reign was more of the same. Sheamus defeated Cena for the title once again thanks to interference from the original Nexus. He would have one major successful title defense as he defeated Cena in a steel cage at the Money in the Bank PPV.
He would lose the title to Orton soon after.
This is not counting Edge’s world title reigns but instead only his WWE title reigns.
Edge has had four WWE title reigns and while the wins themselves were quite memorable, the reigns were not.
His first reign lasted a mere three weeks while his second lasted for two months. Edge lost the title both of those times to John Cena.
Edge would come back from an injury at the 2008 Survivor Series and immediately win the title from Triple H. Keeping with his tradition, he would lose the title the following month to Jeff Hardy.
At the Royal Rumble the following month, Hardy would lose the title back to Edge. Edge would again, only have the title for one month as he would lose the title inside the elimination chamber.
Edge’s four reigns lasted a combined four months and three weeks—not too impressive at all.
Had Yokozuna’s first WWE title reign been his only one, he might be considered the worst champ ever. He defeated Bret Hart at the grand stage of WrestleMania. Minutes later he challenged Hulk Hogan and quickly found himself to be an ex-champion.
Luckily for him, he would receive another reign.
Yoko would win the title back from Hogan at that year’s King of the Ring PPV. While the reign lasted about nine months, there was nothing really impressive about it.
Yoko’s only major win and successful title defense came against The Undertaker at the 1994 Royal Rumble. Even then, Yoko needed help from about half the roster to pull off the win.
Guerrero’s title win came in one of the most memorable matches of all-time as he defeated then champ Brock Lesnar. The following month at WrestleMania 20, Guerrero would put on another classic match with Kurt Angle.
Guerrero’s reign had so much promise and potential. However, the WrestleMania match was the peak of Eddie’s reign.
He would escape from the Judgment Day PPV as champion after the bloody battle with John Bradshaw Layfield ended in disqualification.
At the next Smackdown PPV, The Great American Bash, J.B.L. would get another chance at the title, this time dethroning Guerrero and starting his own memorable title reign.
Sid held the WWE title twice for a combined three months.
Sid won the title from Shawn Michaels at the 1996 Survivor Series in a memorable match that saw the crowd turn against the boy toy. The following month, with help from HBK, Sid would successfully defend the title against Bret Hart.
Shawn would get the title back at the 1997 Royal Rumble. Michaels would quickly forfeit the title and in a four-way battle royal, Bret Hart would emerge with the title.
Sid would get a shot at the title the following night on Raw and with some Austin interference—Sid would become a two-time WWE Champion.
Sid would prove to be a transitional champion as he would lose the title to The Undertaker a month later.
To my knowledge, Flair never had a high-profile successful title defense.
Flair would become WWE Champion for the first time by winning the 1992 Royal Rumble. Shortly after it, was announced that Flair would defend the title against the Macho Man Randy Savage at WrestleMania.
Flair walked into Mania as champion but would not walk out with the title. Months later, following the SummerSlam PPV, Flair would regain the title from Savage.
About a month after that, Flair would drop the title to Bret Hart as Flair ended up being a transitional champion as well.
We were all excited for Van Dam when he finally won the big one. Three weeks later as the reign came to an end—we were all left shaking our heads.
In fact, the only reason Van Dam is not higher on the list is because he did have a major title defense. Two weeks following his title win, Van Dam cleanly beat Edge at Vengeance 2006 PPV.
Soon after, it all came crashing down. Van Dam was busted with marijuana and would be forced to drop the title immediately after.
It started with so much potential, and quickly crashed and burned.
Big Show won the title for the first time in a triple threat match at the 1999 Survivor Series when he replaced Stone Cold Steve Austin.
He had a successful title defense the following month at Armageddon against the Big Bossman. Days later on Raw, Big Show would drop the title back to Triple H.
A couple years later at the 2002 Survivor Series, Big Show would win the title for the second time, this time defeating Brock Lesnar. Big Show had no major successful title defenses as he would lose the title the following month.
He we would prove to be a transitional champion—simply getting the title from Brock to Kurt Angle.
Mankind is a three-time WWE Champion with all three reigns coming at the height of the Attitude Era. Too bad all three reigns lasted just under two months—combined.
In one of the most memorable title wins ever, Mankind defeated Rock on the January 4th edition of Raw in 1999. Mankind would lose the title in his first title defense as he lost an I Quit Match to the Rock at the Royal Rumble.
Mankind would become WWE Champion for a second time just two days later during halftime of the Super Bowl. The second reign lasted about a month.
His third reign started at that year’s Summerslam as he defeated Steve Austin and Triple H in a triple threat match.
The following night, Mankind would lose the title to Triple H—starting The Game’s first title reign.
Again, this is not counting Batista’s World Title reigns, rather only his two WWE Title reigns.
Batista won the title for the first time from Randy Orton at the 2009 Extreme Rules event. The following night he was forced to forfeit the title.
Batista would become WWE Champion for the second time the following February as he took advantage of a weakened John Cena. Batista would defend the title against Cena at WrestleMania the following month.
Batista would lose the title and would be able to claim that in his two WWE Title reigns, he would never have a successful title defense.
Here we have another man who never had a successful title defense.
Jeff Hardy became WWE Champion in a memorable match at the 2008 Armageddon when he defeated Edge and Triple H. On that night, Hardy proved he belonged with the big boys.
Edge was set to get his title rematch the following month at the Royal Rumble.
Jeff’s big brother Matt would cost him the title and make the younger Hardy one of the worst WWE Champions of all-time.
On this list we have a lot of transitional champions. Slaughter was one as well as his mission was to get the title from The Ultimate Warrior to Hulk Hogan.
Slaughter would put an end to the Ultimate Warrior’s nine-month title reign at the 1991 Royal Rumble.
Slaughter would then hold the title until WrestleMania, not once having a successful title defense.
Slaughter would lose the title to Hogan—leading to the Hulkster’s third title reign.
Here we have a man that transitioned the title from Bob Backlund to Hulk Hogan.
The Iron Sheik ended Bob Backlund’s five-year title reign when Backlund’s manager threw in the towel.
The Sheik’s reign lasted less than a month as he quickly would drop the title to the Hulk Hogan in a match that would result in the birth of Hulkamania.
Koloff will forever be known as the man who put an end to Bruno Sammartino’s legendary seven-plus year title reign.
Koloff would not carve out a memorable reign of his own, however, as he would prove to be a transitional champion as well.
Koloff moved the title from Sammartino to the legendary Puerto Rican champion Pedro Morales.
Koloff’s title reign lasted all of about three weeks.
Buddy Rodgers has the distinct honor of being the first WWE (then WWWF) Champion.
That doesn’t mean that the reign was a good one.
Less than a month after he won it, Rodgers would be involved in a squash match against Bruno Sammartino.
Seconds into the match, it was over as was the original nature boy’s title reign.
Here we have another man who was simply at the right place at the right time.
Stasiak put an end to Pedro Morales’ near three-year title reign.
Nine days later, the reign of Stasiak was over as he quickly passed over the title back to Bruno Sammartino.
Sammartino became the first two-time WWE Champion as Stasiak became just another transitional champion.
Here we have a reign that lasted all of a day. Kane defeated Steve Austin at the 1998 King of the Ring in a first blood match.
The stipulation was that if Kane lost, he would be set on fire. Because of those conditions, WWE was nearly forced to put the title on Kane.
Kane, however, would give Austin his rematch the following night on Raw. The result saw Austin regaining the title and Kane having one of the shortest WWE Title reigns in WWE history.
Yes, for those of you who don’t remember, Mr. McMahon is a former WWE Champion.
McMahon won the title from Triple H on an episode of Smackdown.
The boss of the company won its major title—who thought that was a good idea?
Apparently, not even Vince thought it was a good idea as just six days later, the boss would forfeit the title.
Andre the Giant put an end to Hulk Hogan’s legendary four-year title reign in controversial fashion.
The world was shocked as Andre was handed the title belt. It was even more shocked when just moments later, Andre decided to ‘sell’ the title to the million-dollar man.
Immediately after, then-president Jack Tunney declared that the WWE Title could not be sold.
Andre was immediately stripped of the WWE Championship and the title was declared vacant.