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5 longest world title reigns in WWE history

CM Punk reigned as the WWE Champion for 434 days
CM Punk reigned as the WWE Champion for 434 days
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Andrew Rego
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Winning a World Championship in WWE is considered to be one of the biggest achievements in the pro-wrestling business. The World Championship has a historic heritage of close to seven decades, with multiple legends, Hall of Famers, and pioneers of the industry having held multiple titles.

As WWE has progressed over the years, they have added multiple titles to the World Championship category. Until the year 2002, the company had only the WWF/E championship as its main championship.

In 2002, Eric Bischoff announced the World Heavyweight Championship on Monday Night Raw. In 2016, Stephanie McMahon announced the Universal Championship as the latest addition to the World Championship category.

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Several young superstars dream of holding this championship. Young aspiring wrestlers leave their homes at a young age to one day have this championship wrapped around their waist.

While there are many superstars who wrestle their entire life and don't even get to sniff the championship, there are many stars who have held it for a long time. Here are the top five longest world title reigns in WWE history.

This article will contain championship reigns from the golden generation of the WWF to date. Hence, legendary stars like Bruno Sammartino, Bob Backlund, and Pedro Morales miss out on making this list.

#5 AJ Styles held the WWE Championship for 371 days

AJ Styles as WWE Champion on SmackDown
AJ Styles as WWE Champion on SmackDown

AJ Styles is definitely one of the best in-ring performers in the business. He signed with the company in 2016 as a surprise entrant in the 2016 Royal Rumble.

Within one and a half years of his tenure in the company, Styles faced Jinder Mahal on an episode of SmackDown Live for the WWE Championship. Styles defeated Mahal to become the WWE Champion for the second time and thus began a historic reign of over one year.

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2017 was easily the best year for AJ Styles in WWE as he became the longest-reigning champion in SmackDown history. He had successful defenses against the likes of John Cena, Shinsuke Nakamura, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn.

Styles finally lost his WWE Championship against Daniel Bryan on the episode of SmackDown before Survivor Series 2018. The Phenomenal One's reign ended at 371 days following a low blow that got the job done for Bryan.

#5 Randy Savage held the WWF Championship for 371 days

Randy Savage with Miss Elizabeth
Randy Savage with Miss Elizabeth

The Macho Man's journey to the WWF championship started at WrestleMania IV. Savage took part in a 14-man tournament for the vacant WWF Championship. He reached the finals defeating Butch Reed, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, and The One Man Gang. Savage won the WWF Championship by defeating "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase in the tournament's final with a bit of help from Hulk Hogan.

For a little over a year, Savage successfully defended his title against legends like André the Giant, the Big Boss Man, and One Man Gang. In early 1989, The Mega Powers had problems with each other, with Miss Elizabeth being the key reason. Savage turned heel, blaming Hogan for trying to steal Miss Elizabeth from him.

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This led to a WWF Championship match at WrestleMania V between Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, which The Macho Man lost, thus ending his 371-day run as Champion.

#4 John Cena held the WWE Championship for 380 days

John Cena with his WWE Championship spinner title
John Cena with his WWE Championship spinner title

John Cena has won the WWE Championship a record 16 times, with his last win coming in 2017. However, his greatest reign as champion came 15 years back in 2006. At Unforgiven 2006, Cena defeated Edge in Edge's hometown of Toronto in a historic TLC match to win the WWE Championship.

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During this reign, he defended his championship against multiple top-level superstars and Hall of Famers. Cena broke the undefeated streaks of Umaga and The Great Khali to keep his title reign going.

Cena further solidified his status as WWE's top star at WrestleMania 23 after successfully defending his title Shawn Michaels.

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John Cena also defeated the likes of Randy Orton, Edge, and an up-and-coming Bobby Lashley. In the summer of 2007, Randy Orton was named the #1 contender to the WWE Championship.

On Monday Night RAW in October 2007, Cena suffered a torn pectoral muscle against Mr. Kennedy and would require surgery, which would put him out of action for a minimum of six months. Mr. McMahon was hence forced to strip Cena of the title. This ended his 380-day run as the titleholder, which was the longest WWE Championship reign in over 19 years at the time.

#3 CM Punk held the WWE Championship for 434 days

CM Punk as WWE Champion
CM Punk as WWE Champion

The pipebomb promo changed CM Punk's final few years in the WWE. He won the WWE Championship, and his growing popularity among the fans forced Vince McMahon to give him a new contract. Although his first title reign was not very long, his second title reign was historic.

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In November 2011, CM Punk defeated Alberto Del Rio at Survivor Series to regain the WWE Championship. Since then, he defended his title on many pay-per-views and weekly shows against the likes of Mark Henry, The Miz, and Alberto Del Rio.

Leading to WrestleMania 26, Punk got into a very personal rivalry with Chris Jericho. He overcame Jericho at WrestleMania and a couple of occasions The Show of Shows as well.

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After Chris Jericho, he had another interesting feud with Kane and Daniel Bryan, which also involved AJ Lee. Punk overcame them on multiple occasions.

On RAW 1000, he turned heel by attacking The Rock, who had announced that he would challenge CM Punk for the WWE Championship.

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In December that year, Punk officially crossed John Cena's 380-day mark to become the longest-reigning WWE Champion in the past 25 years.

Punk's historic 434-day reign as WWE Champion finally ended in January 2013 at the hands of The Rock.

#2 Brock Lesnar was the WWE Universal Champion for 504 days

Brock Lesnar as Universal Champion
Brock Lesnar as Universal Champion

Brock Lesnar's legendary WWE Universal title reign started at WrestleMania 33 after he conquered Goldberg. He became the first superstar to have won both WWE and Universal Championship. Lesnar's first defense came against Samoa Joe, where The Beast Incarnate emerged victorious at Great Balls of Fire after several weeks of feuding.

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Brock Lesnar overcame one of his major challenges as champion at SummerSlam 2017 when he defeated Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, and Samoa Joe in a Fatal Four Way. His next title defense came at the Royal Rumble, with him defeating Kane and Strowman.

Post that event, Lesnar reignited his rivalry with Roman Reigns.

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Lesnar stacked some impressive performances at WrestleMania 34 and the Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia. At SummerSlam 2018, Lesnar faced Reigns once again with Mr. Money in the Bank Braun Strowman looking for an opportunity to cash in his briefcase.

Reigns capitalized on a distracted Brock Lesnar and ended The Beast Incarnate's 504-day reign as Universal Champion. Lesnar's Championship reign is not only the sixth-longest world championship reign in WWE history but also the longest since 1988.

#1 WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan held the WWF Championship for 1474 days

Hulk Hogan doing his signature entrance
Hulk Hogan doing his signature entrance

In 1982, current WWE Chairman Vince McMahon wanted to make the WWF a nationwide promotion. He this Hulk Hogan to be the face of the company.

On 23rd January 1984, Hogan won his first WWF World Heavyweight Championship against The Iron Sheik at Madison Square Garden. This gave birth to Hulkamania, which made Hogan the face of professional wrestling. The WWF adopted pop culture with The Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection on MTV. This connection was the major attraction for the first WrestleMania in1985.

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On Saturday Night's Main Event I in 1985, The Immortal one defended his title successfully against Bob Orton. Hogan then had a couple of successful world title defenses against the likes of Nikolai Volkoff and Roddy Piper.

As WWF was going into 1986, Hogan had many new contenders to his championship. During that year, Hogan successfully defended his title against challengers like Terry Funk, Don Muraco, King Kong Bundy, Paul Orndorff, and Hercules Hernandez.

Probably the historic moment that changed pro-wrestling forever took place at WrestleMania 3 when Hulk Hogan defeated André the Giant to retain his WWE Championship. The match is still remembered for the historical moment when Hogan bodyslammed the 520-pound André the Giant.

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Hulk Hogan's four-year unstoppable title reign ended when André the Giant defeated Hogan with some help from "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase and Earl Hebner.

Edited by Amar Anand
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