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There's a lot of history between Sami and K.O.

5 WWE Superstars who have won titles outside the company

WWE is in a league all its own when it comes to the industry of professional wrestling. Regardless of how you may feel, that's just how it is, the way it always has been and likely always will be. However, this doesn't discount the value of other wrestling promotions such as AEW, ROH, NJPW, etc.

If you look at the current roster, it is stacked with premier talent from top to bottom. Roman Reigns is the current standardbearer, but there is still a plethora of talent that has been successful both with WWE as well as outside the company.


Some of today's superstars have also been champions with other major companies as well. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at some of the stars who have held titles elsewhere. Here is our list of 5 WWE Superstars who have been World Champions outside the company.

Ring Of Honor World Champion Kevin Steen(Kevin Owens)dominates El Generico(Sami Zayn) during their Ladder War IV match at ROH Final Battle 2012.this was Generico's last match in ROH before heading to NXT/WWE


#5 - Former FSW Champion Karrion Kross (Killer Kross)

Karrion Kross with the Wrestling Revolver Championship.

There was once an image that fans thought of when they pictured the typical pro wrestler. For most of us, we envision a larger-than-life character who looks as if he or she could single handily conquer the world. This image fits Karrion Kross perfectly.

Kross first debuted in WWE in 2020 and the overall consensus was that he was destined for greatness. Unfortunately, Kross was released before he was able to reach his full potential, leaving so much to be desired on the table. Thankfully, Triple H and his new regime saw that potential and recently brought him back.

Before signing with WWE, Karrion Kross was highly successful, despite his limited time in the business. Kross was one of the top Future Stars of Wrestling talents in the company's history. In fact, he captured the FSW World Championship in 2015 and held that title for over 400 days.

It's also worth mentioning that Kross was the Wrestling Revolver Champion as well. The Wrestling Revolver is an independent company based out of Iowa, owned by Sami Callihan.


#4 - WWE United States Champion Austin Theory

Austin Theory with the EVOLVE Championship

At only 25 years old, Austin Theory is one of the youngest and hottest stars in all of professional wrestling. Theory made his pro debut at the ripe old age of 16. From there, he went on to become one of the biggest names on the independent scene until WWE picked him up in 2019.

Before signing with WWE, Austin held multiple championships with some of the top independent promotions. His crowning achievements include winning the EVOLVE Championship, Full Impact Pro Championship, and the World Wrestling Championship, which he held twice. It's also worth noting that prior to professional wrestling, Theory was a pro bodybuilder as a teenager.

Since his WWE main roster debut, Austin Theory has quickly surged to the top of the roster. He won the 2022 Money in the Bank ladder match and is currently holding the WWE United States Championship.

#3 - Former ROH World Champion Kevin Owens (Steen)

Ring of Honor World Champion Kevin Steen

Kevin Owens signed with WWE in 2014 and almost instantly became one of the top stars on the NXT roster. At the NXT Takeover: Rival event in February 2015, he won the NXT Championship when he defeated then-champion Sami Zayn.


Owens has also enjoyed massive success on the main roster. Kevin has been the Intercontinental Champion twice and has held the United States title three times. KO has also had a run with the Universal Championship.


KO was known around the world as Kevin Steen. During his time on the independent scene, he was considered by most to be one of the best in the world.

With success in numerous independent promotions, Kevin was no stranger to championship gold. Some of the most notable titles he held prior to his WWE career include the PWG World Championship, which he held three times, and the Ring of Honor World Championship.

#2 - Former IWGP Champion Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar with Antonio Inoki and the IWGP Heavyweight title

He has been known as "The Next Big Thing," "The Beast Incarnate" and even the Mayor of Suplex City. Regardless of how you acknowledge him, he certainly commands your respect. Simply put, Brock Lesnar is undoubtedly the most dominant and successful athlete in the history of combat sports.

After a stint in the NFL, Brock Lesnar signed with WWE in 2000 and was assigned to then-developmental brand Ohio Valley Wrestling. In 2002, Brock made his main roster debut and never looked back. Lesnar was an instant star and has remained at the top of the roster ever since.

Seth Rollins knows exactly how to get inside his opponent's head!

Brock has won the WWE Championship seven times during his WWE career and has had three reigns as Universal Champion.

Many fans may not remember, but Lesnar also won titles outside of WWE. He won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in 2005 when he defeated Kazuyuki Fujita and Masahiro Chono in a three-way battle at the Tokyo Dome.

Brock went on to hold the coveted NJPW top prize for over 700 days. It's also worth mentioning that he captured the UFC Heavyweight Championship at UFC 91 in 2008 when he defeated then-champ Randy Couture via TKO.

#1 - 2-time PWG Champion Sami Zayn (El Generico)

The honorary Uce (El Generico) during his time as PWG Champion

Sami Zayn has quickly become one of the most popular WWE Superstars on any roster. His sudden surge in popularity is primarily due to his alliance with Roman Reigns and The Bloodline. Sami has been the unofficial hypeman for the faction and the fans love every minute of it.

Before signing with the company, Sami was known in the wrestling world as El Generico. Generico was a masked Lucha star who was extremely over with the fans and successful all over the world.

Generico won his first championship while he was with International Wrestling Syndicate. He won the IWS Championship two times, with the first being at the IWS Fifth Anniversary Show in 2004 when he defeated PCO for the title.

El Generico also enjoyed a great deal of success with Pro Wrestling Guerilla. He was the PWG World Champion twice. The first PWG title reign came in 2007 at the "Holy River Down" event. He also defeated his rival Kevin Steen in 2011 for his second PWG Championship run.


Since signing with the company in 2013, Sami has enjoyed his fair share of success on both the NXT roster as well as the main roster. Sami has not only held the NXT Championship, but he has also held the Intercontinental Championship three times.

Edited by
Jacob Terrell
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