The Complete History of the WWE Championship - Part 10
The Rock is renowned as being one of the greatest and is certainly the most famous professional wrestler in history. However, despite the fact he enjoyed a total of 10 World title reigns, his fifth, won on June 25, 2000 still remains his longest.
His fifth World title run lasted 119 days and he successfully defended the championship at three separate pay per view events.
119 days in 2019 seems like a brief footnote as a reign but in the summer and fall of 2000, it was the longest such reign since Shawn Michaels' final WWE Championship run which ended at WrestleMania XIV in March 1998, such was the brevity of the majority of World title runs in the Attitude Era.
However, the most significant record that The Rock earned as WWE Champion, was that The Great One was the first ever Superstar to win six WWE Championships. That title reign began at No Way Out in February 2001, breaking the long-time record jointly shared by Hulk Hogan and Bret "Hitman" Hart. Stone Cold would also become a six-time champion later in 2001.
The six-time champion distinction was not celebrated on television, which was surprising in hindsight, but was typical of the car crash television during the Attitude Era.
In this installment, we also cover the crowning of the first ever Undisputed Champion, when WWE unified the WCW World Championship with the WWE Championship.
In this installment, we review every title reign from the summer of 2000 until WrestleMania X-8 in March 2002.
In the upcoming part 11, we look at the beginnings of the original Brock Lesnar era of dominance with the WWE Championship.
The Rock (June 25, 2000 - October 22, 2000)
The Rock/Triple H feud had ran out of steam by June 2000, so in order to prolong the feud, WWE added the McMahons and The Undertaker and Kane to the title bout at King of the Ring.
The booking plan worked. King of the Ring 2000 pulled 475,000 buys, the highest ever number for a King of the Ring pay per view.
The Rock pinned Vince McMahon, tag team partner of WWE Champion, Triple H to win his fifth WWE World crown.
Rock's title reign was a box office sensation. His title defences at Fully Loaded, SummerSlam, Unforgiven and No Mercy pulled 420,000, 570,000, 605,000 and 550,00 buys respectively.
His title defence versus Chris Benoit was a superlative effort at Fully Loaded. Rock won after a restart. Rock was a third wheel in the SummerSlam headliner, playing a supporting role in the Triple/Kurt Angle/Stephanie McMahon love triangle that was occupying the other two participants in the match. Rock would pin Triple H to retain the gold.
At Unforgiven, Rock put the belt on the line against the triumvirate of Chris Benoit, The Undertaker and Kane. In an entertaining if slightly disjointed Fatal 4 Way match-up, Rock pinned Benoit to successfully defend the title.
This was by far the longest Rock title reign of the champion's career. However, he would lose it in a shocking result to Angle in a colossal upset at No Mercy. Their encounter was a stunning in-ring effort and Rock selflessly put the Olympian over in a big way.
A glorious and hugely successful title reign was over.