The 10 Greatest Streaks (or Runs) in WWE History
Much has been made of CM Punk's increasingly historic WWE title run. As Punk approaches a full year as champ, he will inevitably be compared to the all-time greats, but WWE history boasts wrestlers with far more extraordinary reigns.
Other champions have held their belts for 2803 days, for 28 years and other reigns at least twice as long as Punk's. Wrestlers have gone undefeated for long stretches to open their career or at the Super Bowl of wrestling.
These displays of dominance will never happen again.
WWE is a different beast now. Had some of these runs happened today, fans would have sneered at how strong the wrestlers were booked, labeling them "supermen" and lamenting all the wrestlers he was "burying."
Fans can only look back at WWE's greatest feats of longevity in awe.
Tatanka’s Undefeated Streak
Before Goldberg jackhammered his way to 173 straight wins to open his WCW career and long before Ryback devoured WWE's bottom feeders, Tatanka began his WWE career with a two-year undefeated streak.
Tatanka followed in the tradition of Chief Jay Strongbow and Wahoo McDaniel by using his Native American heritage as the basis of his gimmick.
He debuted in 1991 against Pat Tanaka, earning the first of many victories by way of the tomahawk chop.
During his lengthy undefeated streak, Tatanka defeated men like The Warlord, Rick Martel and Papa Shango.
It wasn't until Sept. 28, 1993 that Tatanka suffered his first loss. Ludvig Borga distracted the ref and then whacked Tatanka with a chair. A three-count later and Tatanka's loss column no longer read zero.
Despite his initial push, Tatanka never rose higher than midcard status.
For the company to book a wrestler to go unbeaten for so long, they must have had significant faith in his ability. That faith didn't translate into a main-event run, but Tatanka’s streak is a memorable one.
John Cena: 380 Days as WWE Champion
In this age of frequent title changes, of seemingly every top guy getting a chance to carry the belt, John Cena's WWE Championship reign is a testament to his star power.
With men like Shawn Michaels, Batista, The Undertaker, Chris Benoit and Edge on the roster, WWE still chose to have Cena on top without interruption from Sept. 17, 2006 to Oct. 7, 2007.
WWE hadn't had a championship reign last over a year since Randy Savage did it in 1988-89.
It was this long title reign that in part soured many fans on Cena.
Regardless of where you stand on Cena's Superman tendencies, it's impressive that he performed so often as WWE champ over those 380 days.
It took a torn pec to finally pry the title from his waist.
Demolition: Longest Tag Team Championship Reign
During a period when WWE's tag team division was absolutely stacked with talent, Demolition were the champions for an astounding 478 days.
The only other team to go over 300 days was Mr. Fuji and Prof. Tanaka, who held the belts for 337 days in 1972-73.
The glory days of tag team wrestling featured The Hart Foundation, The British Bulldogs, The Killer Bees, The Fabulous Rougeaus, among others battling each other. From March 1988 to July 1989, Demolition sat atop all of them.
WWE portrayed them as a dominant team and they delivered with great performances throughout their reign.
They defeated Strike Force at WrestleMania IV for the tag titles and did not relinquish them until over a year later.
The Brain Busters were the ones to finally dethrone the spike-clad warriors in a fantastic 2 out of 3 Falls Match on Saturday Night's Main Event.
The reign ended when Andre the Giant tossed Tully Blanchard a chair, Blanchard whacked Smash in the back of the head and Arn Anderson swooped in for the pin.
Andre’s Undefeated Streak
Andre the Giant was billed as being undefeated for nearly 15 years. WWE.com posts that lofty claim on Andre's profile.
There is likely little truth to Andre avoiding a loss for that long.
Still, it's not hard to buy that such a monstrous man could be so dominant for so long. And it's more fun to accept that narrative than to seek out the truth.
His winning streak of more than a decade made his WrestleMania III showdown with Hulk Hogan that much more monumental.
That iconic bodyslam was also supposed to be the first time that someone bodyslammed the giant as well, though that was also a WWE fib.
Honky Tonk Man: Longest Reigning Intercontinental Champion of All Time
There have been better Intercontinental champs than the Honky Tonk Man, but there has never been one to hold the title longer.
The Elvis-inspired wrestler served as champion for 454 days.
Honky Tonk defeated Ricky Steamboat in June 1987 in Buffalo, N.Y., and he didn't get let go of the gold until SummerSlam.1988.
It's been said that Honky Tonk was supposed to be a transitional champion, someone to take the belt off Steamboat, who requested time off to spend with his family. What happened with that championship over the next year plus was an entertaining surprise.
Cheap victories and a mix of craftiness and cowardice highlighted his reign. Fans yearned for someone, anyone to beat the sideburn-wearing villain.
He survived challenges from Brutus Beefcake and Randy Savage.
It wasn't until The Ultimate Warrior burst into the ring at SummerSlam, tassels ablazing, that the Honky Tonk would lose the title. Beefcake's injury kept him out of action and the Honky Tonk Man issued an open challenge for anyone to replace him.
The Ultimate Warrior took that challenge, rocketing out of the backstage area and pinning the champ in just 31 seconds.
Hulk Hogan's First WWE Title Reign
Hulk Hogan was WWE's top wrestler for so long it seemed at times that his supremacy may never end.
Hogan was not only WWE's world champ for 1,474 days, but the face of the company and the face of the sport. He went on to win the title a total of six times, but his first reign was the most historic.
The Hulkster kickstarted an era and the Hulkamania phenomenon when he pinned The Iron Sheik on January 23, 1984.
He was not only the victor in every match, but a scorching-hot commodity. Vince McMahon built his brand and WrestleMania around Hogan's title reign, making him the unstoppable American hero.
Hogan strengthened his lore by delivering big boots and leg drops to every heel that came his way.
Andre the Giant would be the man to finally beat him. Some four years after his title reign began, Hogan finally had to hand the title to someone else.
Bob Backlund: 2,135 Days, Sort of
Bob Backlund doesn't often get the credit he deserves for being WWE's top guy for so long.
Fans tend to remember Bruno Sammartino and Hulk Hogan's as the company's kings of yesteryear, but Backlund was the then-WWWF's top draw for years.
Just how long the ring technician's WWE title reigns were is a point of debate.
Backlund defeated "Superstar" Billy Graham on Feb. 20, 1978 to win the gold and lost it to The Iron Sheik in December 1983.
Some consider that reign to be a singular, uninterrupted one that spanned 2,135 days, an unreal run. Controversy and confusion muddles the picture however.
The title was vacated in 1981 after a controversial finish against Greg Valentine. A groggy ref awarded Valentine the victory despite Backlund pinning him. This led to the title being vacant, but only in New York.
Earlier in his reign, Backlund lost to Antonio Inoki in Japan, but when he returned to the U.S. he still had the belt. The situation in Japan was quickly ignored.
Even if you count the Valentine and Inoki losses, Backlund still had three consecutive reigns of over 600 hundred days.
Backlund was the clear No. 1 wrestler in the WWE and as champion faced other promotions' champions including Nick Bockwinkel, Harley Race and Billy Robinson. To be selected to carry the title for that long is quite an honor.
Sandwiched between two legends, Backlund is sometimes forgotten, but his time at the top was impressive.
The Undertaker's WrestleMania streak is an exhibition of longevity and endurance.
Just wrestling in 20 WrestleManias since 1991 is an achievement. And it's not as if he has been dragged around as a novelty during the premier pay-per-view, he has consistently been one of its main attractions.
It's remarkable enough to sustain such a lengthy career, but The Undertaker has also produced an inordinate number of classics during the streak.
Undertaker may very well add to his 20 WrestleMania wins come WrestleMania 29 and beyond, making his accomplishment even more impossible to repeat.
Fabulous Moolah: Decades of Dominance
The Fabulous Moolah set the standard for every woman to come after her.
She was undoubtedly the best female wrestler for several decades, her prime stretching from the '50s to the '70s. .
Her WWE women's title reign officially lasted for an insane 10,170 days from Sept. 8, 1956 to July 23, 1984. This 28-year reign is the story that WWE is sticking to.
However, Moolah suffered a handful of losses during that reign that remain unrecognized by WWE.
Yukiko Tomoe won the title from her in Japan in 1968. Evelyn Stevens and Sue Green broke up Moolah's historic reign as well.
Even if you were to count those losses, Moolah still had reigns of 527, 2862, 947, 2113 and 3651 days.
Regardless of how you look at it, Moolah was the absolute dominant force in women's wrestling for decades.
Bruno Sammartino: 2,803 Days as World Champ
It's hard to fully comprehend Bruno Sammartino’s historic WWE title reign.
After defeating Buddy Rogers in New York in 1963, The Italian Superman was not dethroned until 1971. For CM Punk to reach that 2,803-day reign, he'd have to keep the belt seven more years.
Sammartino was WWE's first megastar.
Fans filled arenas to watch him face Lou Thesz, Killer Kowalski, Gorilla Monsoon and any other heels who dare challenge him. To avoid injury that long and to maintain his popularity year after year is a monumental feat.
Two years after Ivan Koloff beat him for the belt, Sammartino won the title again, this time keeping it for almost four years.
Sammartino's record reign is more untouchable than any achievement in wrestling. A stay on top that long requires the ultimate confidence of the company and a massive star with unparalleled staying power.