Ranking all 18 of the World Heavyweight Champions Worst to Best

Shawn MichaelsContributor IIAugust 6, 2010

Ranking all 18 of the World Heavyweight Champions Worst to Best

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    I read an outstanding article about the top WWE champions of the 21st century and it inspired me to make a similar article, but instead of ranking the top WWE Champions, I'm going to rank the top World Heavyweight Champions of all time.

    So far there have been 18 different World Heavyweight Champions to date so I will be ranking them from number 18 to number 1. I will be ranking each title holder on two things

    1. The match quality they had during their time as champion.
    2. The way they held the during their reign as champion.

    So without further ado, let's get started.

18. The Great Khali

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    Out of all the awful things that the WWE has done during this year (and they've done a lot) this has got to be one of the worst. The Great Khali had no main event qualities at all other than his size. His wrestling ability was pathetic and his mic skills were terrible because he couldn't even speak English. While champion he had a feud with Batista which saw an awful match between the two at the Great American Bash and even a worse match at Summerslam. When Batista finally beat him for the title at Unforgiven I was ecstatic, and I'm not a big Batista fan at all.

    Reign History:

    1st Reign:
    Won it: Won a 20 Man Battle-Royal on Smackdown
    Lost it: Defeated by Batista at Unforgiven in a triple threat match also involving Rey Mysterio

    Reign Lengths:

    1st Reign: 2 Months

17. Jack Swagger

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    When Jack Swagger won the Money in the Bank ladder match, I was elated because I was a big Jack Swagger fan. When he finally won the title on Smackdown I was ever more happy because I thought we're finally going to have another technical wrestler as champion. Boy, was I wrong. Swagger lost more than half his matches as champion and was made to look too weak on TV. His first title defense against Randy Orton brought hope back to his reign, but his awful match with the Big Show at Over the Limit made me lose it all again. A DQ finish on PPV? Really? I'm just hoping that Swagger gets a second shot at being champion and this time has a good reign.

    Reign History:

    1st Reign:
    Won it: Defeated Jericho in an impromptu singles match after cashing in his Money in the Bank Contract
    Lost it: Lost to Rey Mysterio at Fatal Fourway, in a Fatal Fourway match also including The Big Show and CM Punk

    Reign Lengths:

    1st Reign: 3 months

16. Kane

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    Kane actually hasn't been a bad champion yet, the only reason he's so low on the list is because he hasn't done anything yet. That's not his fault at all and I assume that once Kane's reign gets going he'll be a pretty good champion, but until then he'll have to stick with number 17. Hopefully his feud with Rey Mysterio goes well.

    Reign History:

    1st Reign:
    Won it: Defeated Rey Mysterio at the Money in the Bank PPV when he Cashed in his Money in the Bank contract for a title match
    Lost it: N/A

    Reign Lengths:

    1st Reign: 1 Month and still going

15. Shawn Michaels

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    If it's not obvious enough by my name, Shawn Michaels is my favorite wrestler of all time, so when he became World Heavyweight Champion I went crazy. I thought he was going to have a long awesome reign with a lot of classic matches, too bad none of that happened. He only had two defenses, one against Rob Van Dam in a good match, and another good 3 stages of hells match against Triple H where he lost the title. Sadly this was Shawn Michaels last world title reign, if only WWE could have done a better job with him.

    Reign History:

    1st Reign:
    Won it: Pinned Triple H at Survivor Series in an Elimination Chamber match
    Lost it: Defeated by Triple H at Armageddon in a 3 Stages of Hell match

    Reign Lengths:

    1st Reign: 1 Month

14. Bill Goldberg

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    This is a move that WWE did not need to do. They needed someone to replace The Rock and Stone Cold so they just rushed in, got Goldberg, gave him a huge push, and made him World Heavyweight Champion. Goldberg wasn't the best wrestler so all we were given were a bunch of mediocre matches between him and Triple H. Many people may feel differently about Goldberg seeing that he has a ton of fans, but I have always felt that Goldberg was just an overrated star who got an undeserved push and never paid his dues.

    Reign History:

    1st Reign:
    Won it: Defeated Triple H in a Title vs Career match at Unforgiven
    Lost it: Defeated by Triple H in a triple threat match also involving Kane

    Reign Lengths:

    1st Reign: 3 months

13. King Booker

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    When Booker T got his first shot at the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania XIX I was one of his biggest supporters and I wanted him to win really badly. Unfortunately, he lost. When Booker T finally won the world title I was pissed because his new gimmick was just awful. The King Booker gimmick was just stupid and it really ruined Booker T for me. Booker T was always a good wrestler and he had some alright matches against Batista but the gimmick just ruined his title reign.

    Reign History:

    1st Reign:
    Won it: Defeated Rey Mysterio at the Great American Bash
    Lost it: Defeated by Batista at Survivor Series

    Reign Lengths:

    1st Reign: 4 months

12. Rey Mysterio

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    A lot of people have mixed feelings about Rey Mysterio and while I feel that in-ring he is one hell of a wrestler, the underdog gimmick just got completely annoying. He had title matches against opponents such as Sabu and JBL and each match he was marketed as the "underdog" but won. What kind of underdog wins all of his matches? His second reign was much worse because the whole time he was reigning over an ankle injury, but was still able to "overcome the odds" and defeat Jack Swagger. Thank god Kane was there to cash in his Money in the Bank contract and end Rey's awful second reign.

    Reign History:

    1st Reign:
    Won it: Defeated Kurt Angle at Wrestlemania 22 in a match triple threat match also involving Randy Orton
    Lost it: Defeated by King Booker at the Great American Bash 

    2nd Reign:
    Won it: Defeated Jack Swagger at Fatal Fourway in a Fatal Fourway match also involving The Big Show and CM Punk
    Lost it: Defeated by Kane at Money in the Bank

    Reign Lengths:

    1st Reign:4 Months

    2nd Reign: 1 Month

11. Kurt Angle

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    When Kurt Angle finally won another world title after 3 years I was excited, and his reign proved to not be too bad. His first title defense against Mark Henry was an awful match, but who can have a good PPV Main Event with Mark Henry? His second title defense was a fantastic 30 minute match against The Undertaker at No Way Out, and then his final title match against Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton wasn't too bad for a match that was only 10 minutes long. Too bad his title reign was cut short so fast because he could have had one hell of a run if they had kept it going.

    Reign History:

    1st Reign:
    Won it: Won a 20 man Battle-Royal on Smackdown!
    Lost it: Defeated by Rey Mysterio at Wrestlemania 22 in a triple threat match also involving Randy Orton

    Reign Lengths:

    1st Reign: 3 months

10. Randy Orton

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    Although Randy Orton has only had one reign as World Heavyweight Champion, when he won the title both his in-ring and mic work improved tremendously. To win the title Orton defeated Chris Benoit in a great Summerslam main event. It's just sad that his title reign was cut short by Triple H at Unforgiven because he was just getting his feet wet and had so much more to offer as World Heavyweight Champion.

    Reign History:

    1st Reign:
    Won it: Defeated Chris Benoit at Summerslam
    Lost it: Defeated by Triple H at Unforgiven

    Reign Lengths:

    1st Reign: 1 month

9. Jeff Hardy

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    I've always been a huge Jeff Hardy fan and was just waiting for the day he finally won the world title, but when he did I never thought the WWE would handle his reigns so poorly. Jeff had two reigns as World Champion and both of their lengths combined only adds up to one month. He did give us some awesome matches and a great feud with CM Punk, but I just wish the WWE let him hold the title a little longer.

    Reign History:

    1st Reign:
    Won it: Defeated Edge at Extreme Rules in a Ladder match
    Lost it: Defeated by CM Punk at Extreme Rules in an impromptu match when CM Punk cashed in his Money in the Bank contract

    2nd Reign:
    Won it: Defated CM Punk at Night of Champions
    Lost it: Defeated by CM Punk at Summerslam in a TLC match

    Reign Lengths:

    1st Reign: 2 Minutes
    2nd Reign: 1 Month

8. John Cena

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    Although many people have mixed feeling about John Cena always being champion, he has still never actually had a bad reign and a clear example of that are both of his reigns as World Heavyweight Champion. His first reign saw him have two good matches with Chris Jericho at both Survivor Series and Armageddon, while his second had him win the title in a horrible triple threat match at Wrestlemania XXV and lose it in an awesome Last Man Standing match at Backlash. Although he hasn't been World Heavyweight Champion in over a year, both of his reigns have been great.

    Reign History:

    1st Reign:
    Won it: Defeated Chris Jericho at Survivor Series
    Lost it: Defeated by Edge at No Way Out in an Elimination Chamber match

    2nd Reign:
    Won it: Defeated Edge and The Big Show in a triple threat match at Wrestlemania 25
    Lost it: Defeated by Edge in a Last Man Standing match at Backlash

    Reign Lengths:

    1st Reign: 3 Months
    2nd Reign: 1 Month

7. Chris Jericho

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    Chris Jericho is the best in the world at what he does and his three reigns as World Heavyweight Champion have proved it. Although all three of his reigns as World Heavyweight Champion have only lasted a month each, he always gives us outstanding promos and even better matches as World Heavyweight Champion. Especially the tremendous ladder match he had against Shawn Michaels at No Mercy!

    Reign History:

    1st Reign:
    Won it: Won the championship scramble at Unforgiven
    Lost it: Defeated by Batista at Cyber Sunday

    2nd Reign:
    Won it: Defeated Batista in a Steel Cage match on Monday Night Raw
    Lost it: Defeated by John Cena at Survivor Series

    3rd Reign:
    Won it: Pinned the Undertaker at Elimination Chamber in the Elimination Chamber match
    Lost it: Defeated by Jack Swagger on Friday Night Smackdown! after Swagger cashed in his Money in the Bank contract

    Reign Lengths:

    1st Reign: 1 and a half months
    2nd Reign: 1 month
    3rd Reign: 1 month

6. The Undertaker

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    The Undertaker has had some really great feuds and matches while holding the World Heavyweight Championship. His feud with Edge was great and saw them have five matches on PPV, all of which were fantastic, especially their TLC match at Summerslam. His latest reign had some awesome matches against CM Punk, Batista and Rey Mysterio before he dropped the title to Chris Jericho at Elimination Chamber. I can't wait  for the Undertaker to wake up from his "vegetative state" and become World Champion once more.


    Reign History:

    1st Reign:
    Won it: Defeated Batista at Wrestlemania 23
    Lost it: Defeated by Edge on Friday Night Smackdown! in an impromptu match when Edge cashed in his Money in the Bank contract

    2nd Reign:
    Won it: Defeated Edge at Wrestlemania 24
    Lost it: Defeated by Edge at One Night Stand in a TLC match

    3rd Reign:
    Won it: Defeated CM Punk at Hell in a Cell in a Hell in a Cell match
    Lost it: Defeated by Chris Jericho at Elimination Chamber in an Elimination Chamber match

    Reign Lengths:

    1st Reign: 1 Month
    2nd Reign: 1 Month
    3rd Reign: 4 and a half Months

5. CM Punk

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    It seems that one of the few things in wrestling that everyone agrees with, is that CM Punk is awesome. Both his in-ring skills and mic skills are just fantastic and I'm really happy WWE realized his greatness and gave him the world title. He has had some great reigns as champion and has always left us with some really great title matches when he has the belt.

    His first reign was pretty lackluster seeing him face opponents such as JBL and Batitsta in mediocre matches, but once he cashed in his second Money in the Bank contract, then he really started to come into greatness. He had an epic feud with Jeff Hardy that saw three great matches with Hardy both on PPV and on Smackdown! That awesome feud alone lands him a high spot on this list, on top of that his feud with the Undertaker was pretty good as well, but it could never match the greatness of his feud with Hardy. How can Punk not be high on this list.... he is the first man to ever make the Undertaker tap after all.

    Reign History:

    1st Reign:
    Won it: Defeated Edge in an impromptu match when he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract
    Lost it: Was not able to compete in the championship scramble match after being punted in the head, replaced by Chris Jericho

    2nd Reign:
    Won it: Defeated Jeff Hardy in an impromptu match when he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract
    Lost it:

    3rd Reign:
    Won it: Defeated Jeff Hardy at Summerslam in a TLC match
    Lost it: Defeated by the Undertaker at Hell in a Cell in a Hell in a Cell match

    Reign Lengths:

    1st Reign: 2 and a half months
    2nd Reign: 1 and a half months
    3rd Reign: 1 and a half months

4. Chris Benoit

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    Chris Benoit's reign as World Heavyweight Champion is an exact example of what a title reign should be. It was long, he was prestigious and he gave us fantastic matches at every PPV he defended the title. He won the title in a five star match at Wrestlemania XX against Triple H and Shawn Michaels. His rematch against the two at Backlash was just as good. His matches against Kane and Triple H were much better than I expected and his final defense against Randy Orton at Summerslam was great.

    Benoit was one hell of a World Champion and he really should have won the title on more time. On top of all those great matches he gave us, he also gave us one of the greatest matches in Monday Night Raw history when he defended the belt against Shawn Michaels, if you haven't seen that match yet it's a must watch.

    Reign History:

    1st Reign:
    Won it: Defeated Triple H and Shawn Michaels in a triple threat match at Wrestlemania XX
    Lost it: Defeated by Randy Orton at Summerslam

    Reign Lengths:

    1st Reign: 5 months

3. Batista

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    Batista was basically the John Cena of Smackdown. He had long reigns with the World title and many people had mixed feelings. His first title reign was fantastic and saw three great PPV main event matches against Triple H. He also had to good matches on PPV against JBL and Eddie Guerrero before being forced to vacate his title due to injury.

    His second reign as champion was pretty lackluster seeing that Batista did not defend the title that much on PPV. His third reign got him back on track when he defeated the Great Khali for the title (thank God). He had one last reign as champion before he retired but it only lasted eight days, either way Batista was the face on Smackdown for a while before he turned heel and no matter what you think of him, the animal has left a huge impact.

    Reign History:

    1st Reign:
    Won it: Defeated Triple H at Wrestlemania XXI
    Lost it: Forced to vacate the title when he sustained an injury

    2nd Reign:
    Won it: Defeated King Booker in a Last Chance match
    Lost it: Defeated by the Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXIII

    3rd Reign:
    Won it: Defeated the Great Khali and Rey Mysterio in a triple threat match at Unforgiven
    Lost it: Defeated by Edge in a triple threat match also involving the Undertaker

    4th Reign:
    Won it: Defeated Chris Jericho at Cyber Sunday
    Lost it: Defeated by Chris Jericho on Monday Night Raw in a Steel Cage match

    Reign Lengths:

    1st Reign: 9 months
    2nd Reign: 4 Months
    3rd Reign: 3 Months
    4th Reign: 8 Days

2. Edge

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    Although most of Edge's reigns as World Champion have been pretty damn short, they've all been pretty damn good as well. His feud with John Cena back in 2009 was great and they had one hell of a match at Backlash. He also had nice little feuds with Batista, CM Punk and Jeff Hardy but out of all his feuds as champion, the best has got to be with the Undertaker.

    Edge and Vickie Guerrero were so good at pulling the two man power trip that I remember actually hating Edge. La Famila helping him out time and time again, plus Guerrero constantly screwing Edge out of the title made Edge the ultimate heel of 2008. Hopefully Edge is able to get back on track on Monday Night Raw and is able to regain a world title again.

    Reign History:

    1st Reign:
    Won it: Defeated the Undertaker in an impromptu match on Friday Night Smackdown! after cashing in his Money in the Bank contract
    Lost it: Forced to vacate the title due to injury

    2nd Reign:
    Won it: Defeated the Undertaker and Batista in a triple threat match at Armageddon
    Lost it: Defeated by the Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXIV

    3rd Reign:
    Won it: Defeated the Undertaker in a TLC match at One Night Stand
    Lost it: Defeated by CM Punk in an impromptu match on Monday Night Raw after Punk cashed in his Money in the Bank contract

    4th Reign:
    Won it: Pinned Rey Mysterio at No Way Out in an Elimination Chamber match
    Lost it: Defeated by John Cena in a triple threat match also involving the Big Show

    5th Reign:
    Won it: Defeated John Cena at Backlash in a Last Man Standing match
    Lost it: Defeated by Jeff Hardy at Extreme Rules in a TLC match

    Reign Lengths:

    1st Reign: 2 months
    2nd Reign: 3 and a half months
    3rd Reign: 1 and a half Months
    4th Reign: 1 and a half Months
    5th Reign: 1 and a half Months

1. Triple H

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    Triple H was the first ever World Heavyweight Champion and each of his reigns with the title have been awesome. His first reign was great because we saw some good title defenses against Rob Van Dam and Kane before he dropped the title to Shawn Michaels in an amazing Elimination Chamber match. He got the title back at Armaggedon and again had some good feuds with Booker T, Kevin Nash and Goldberg.

    His third reign had a great feud with Shawn Michaels with lead up to an outstanding triple threat match at Wrestlemania XX against HBK and Benoit. His fourth Reign began when he defeated Randy Orton at Unforgiven and saw a really great match between him and Shawn Michaels at Taboo Tueday.

    His final reign began when he won the Elimination Chamber at New Years Revolution and ended when he lost the title to Batista. Triple H is one of the few stars that has given us great feuds every time he has been champion. The way he would do anything to keep the tittle brought prestige to it because he made it seem that the title was more important to him than life itself. I'm just anticipating Triple H's return and hoping that he becomes world champion one more time before he retires.


    Reign History:

    1st Reign:
    Won it: Awarded the title by Eric Bischoff
    Lost it: Defeated by Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series in an Elimination Chamber match

    2nd Reign:
    Won it: Defeated Shawn Michaels in a 3 stages of Hell match
    Lost it: Defeated by Goldberg at Unforgiven in a Career vs Title match

    3rd Reign:
    Won it: Defeated Goldberg and Kane in a triple threat match at Armageddon
    Lost it: Defeated by Chris Benoit at Wrestlemania XX in a triple threat match also involving Shawn Michaels

    4th Reign:
    Won it: Defeated Randy Orton at Unforgiven
    Lost it: Title was vacated after a double pin occurred during a match between Triple H, Randy Orton and Chris Benoit

    5th Reign:
    Won it: Won the Elimination Chamber match at New Years Revolution
    Lost it: Defeated by Batista at Wrestlemania XXI

    Reign Lengths:

    1st Reign: 2 and a half months
    2nd Reign: 9 months
    3rd Reign: 3 months
    4th Reign: 2 and a half months
    5th Reign: 2 and a half months

Thanks For Reading

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    Thanks for Reading my article ranking the World Heavyweight Champions. Feel free to comment if you'd like.

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