Hello out there in Bleacher land!
It is so hard to define a 'great' champion. Some champions are flashes in the pan, some stay at the top for years.
Indeed, being champion is not necessarily the only definition of a great wrestler, as many of the greatest to grace the squared circle in the house of McMahon never wore the strap, including Roddy Piper, Jake Roberts and Jimmy Snuka.
But when we think of wrestlers and eras, we think of Champions and Championships.
It will be the goal of this article to rank the top 10 wrestlers to ever wear the strap. The list, I assure you, is controversial, but based mostly on data. For me, a mark of a champion is not just how many reigns, but how many years the belt was held and the average length of each reign.
Getting a championship is an accomplishment, keeping it is another. Another is how long were they champion in relation to their total wrestling career.
So when making my rankings, I set two criteria:
1. To be included in this list, the total number of days holding the strap must equal at least 365 days, or one year.
2. Ranking would be a combination of: 1. Number of title reigns (least weighted). 2. The average length of each title reign (medium weighted). 3. The Percent of the wrestler's career spent as champion (higher weighted). and length of total career (medium weighted).
3. This list is strictly for the WWE championship which was started out in April of 1963 (then the WWWF) and has morphed into the bling-encrusted belt we see today. The World Heavyweight Championship was not factored into this listing.
This is not an exact science, but I wanted a list based a bit more on numbers with intangibles, though important, minimized.
This is NOT meant to be a list based on influential characters or great wrestlers necessarily. Certainly, many of the top champions are also very influential and have left their mark, while others who would be considered very influential are far lower on the list or not on at all.
As mentioned in the beginning of the article, some of the greatest wrestlers were never WWE champion.
Enjoy the article, and I invite your feedback!