Record: WCW (16 times)
If you are reading the title of this slide and wondering why I am only concentrating on major promotions is because with independent promotions, a title can change hands many more times per year as a way to build up ticket sales and to give the fans the feeling of seeing a world title match or a title change. Just look at the slide about Jerry Lawler and his 52 reigns as Southern Heavyweight Champion, that belt changed hands almost on a weekly basis.
That kind of treatment may be fun for fans at a local level, but when you get to a major promotion like the WWE, TNA, or WCW, it kills the fans desire to watch if done incorrectly. If done correctly and not to excess, the fans will tune in each week to see what happens. In 1999 the WWF Championship changed hands a total of 11 times. Yet with that high amount of change, the fans tuned in as the feuds behind those title changes involved some of the best storylines of the Attitude era along with top name wrestlers like the Rock, Steve Austin, Mankind, and the Undertaker.
Yet when WCW tried the same thing, the opposite result happened. Now granted some fans were already turned off by what WCW had become, but for those who were still watching, they witnessed the utter murder of the WCW Heavyweight Championship. On April 10, 2000, WCW went through what was called a reboot of the promotion where Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff had every title in WCW vacated and the Millionaire Club vs New Blood angle began, it would be less than a year to when the WWE would buy its biggest competitor.
In that time, the biggest title in the company, and at one time in all of wrestling, would change hands a total of 16 times. To put that into perspective, Ric Flair was a 16 time World Champion, so this is if he had every one of those reigns in less than a year's time.
Here is a rundown of the final year of WCW in the Heavyweight Title picture:
April 10, 2000 - All titles vacated, World Title Tournament announced
April 16, 2000 - Jeff Jarrett beats Diamond Dallas Page in tournament final (1)
April 24, 2000 - DDP beats Jarrett in cage match (2)
April 25, 2000 - David Arquette pins Eric Bischoff in tag match with Jarrett and DDP (3)
May 7, 2000 - Jarrett wins belt in a triple cage match (4)
May 15, 2000 - Ric Flair beats Jarrett to win title (5)
May 22, 2000 - Ric Flair stripped of title by Vince Russo
May 22, 2000 - Jeff Jarrett awarded title by Russo (6)
May 23, 2000 - Kevin Nash beats Jarrett for belt (7)
May 29, 2000 - Flair is given the belt by Nash (8)
May 29, 2000 - Jarrett beats Flair (9)
July 9, 2000 - Booker T beats Jarrett for belt after Hogan is fired by Russo (10)
August 28, 2000 - Nash beats Booker T (11)
September 17, 2000 - Booker beats Nash in caged heat match (12)
September 25, 2000 - Russo beats Booker in a cage match (13)
October 2, 2000 - Russo vacates title
October 2, 2000 - Booker beats Jarrett for vacant belt (14)
November 26, 2000 - Scott Steiner beats Booker (15)March 26, 2001 - Booker beats Steiner on final Nitro (16)
The problem here was the constant title changes along with the time the belt was given and vacated at will or given to another wrestler made the most important title in the company seem worthless. And when the World Title becomes unimportant the fans lose interest as they have no reason to watch because the wrestlers aren't fighting each other for a valuable belt. For that reason alone I feel that this dubious record will never be broken as neither the WWE or TNA will want to alienate the audiences that they have by having constant title changes.