As the World Heavyweight Championship is discontinued, we take a look back at the Top 10 World Heavyweight Champions since the title’s inception in September 2002.
Honorable Mentions: Chris Benoit, Goldberg, Shawn Michaels, Daniel Bryan, Jeff Hardy and Sheamus.
10. Alberto Del Rio
Del Rio won his first World Heavyweight Championship against The Big Show in a Last Man Standing match on January 8, 2013 edition of SmackDown. His second reign started when he defeated Dolph Ziggler on an episode of Raw. During these two reigns, Del Rio successfully retained his title 6 times. As a combination of these two reigns, he held the title for 223 days, which is the fourth best in the title’s history. The “Mexican Aristocrat” had been the champion for most days in 2013; the last year when we saw this title. Many of you might not like Del Rio’s inclusion in this list, but his long reigns ensure him a place here.
9. Rey Mysterio
Mysterio’s maiden Heavyweight Championship win at WrestleMania 22 came as a shock to all, but people loved to see Mysterio as the champion, which he became on two occasions, the other at Fatal 4-Way (2010). He successfully defended the title 6 times on the first occasion, but only once, the second time. The name of the title was definitely in contrast with the Mexican’s size but he emerged as one of the most loved Heavyweight champions.
8. Chris Jericho
The first ever Undisputed Champion won the ‘big gold belt’ on three different occasions. His first title win came in a Championship Scramble match on Unforgiven (2008); he lost the title to Batista from whom he won it again in less than 10 days’ time in a Steel Cage Match. His last Championship reign started at Elimination Chamber (2010) when he took over the title from The Undertaker. Jericho successfully defended the title only three times during his equal-numbered reigns, but winning the Championship from some of the best wrestlers in WWE earns Jericho a spot in this list.
7. CM Punk
The “Best in the World” had three reigns as the World Heavyweight Champion, two of which started when Punk cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and the remaining one in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match against Jeff Hardy. Punk didn’t win the title again since 2009 but his early reigns as the World Heavyweight Champion concreted his place as a future top wrestler in WWE, which apparently he is.
6. The Undertaker
The Undertaker had three reigns as the Heavyweight Champion. His first two wins came at WrestleMania 23 and 24 against Batista and Edge respectively. His final win came against Punk at Hell in a Cell (2009) after which he never again won the title, mostly because he was no longer a regular wrestler. He successfully defended the title 11 times during his three reigns, and this ensures “The Phenom” a place in this list.