The WWE Championship is a professional wrestling world championship in WWE. It is the first world title of WWE. The title is said to be the biggest prize in professional wrestling and millions of people around the world watch matches for it.
|Date established||April 25, 1963|
|Current champion(s)||Roman Reigns|
|Date won||April 3, 2022|
The WWE World Championship was created in 1963, and Buddy Rogers became the first world champion on April 29. It may have been created because of things that happened in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) which is a wrestling company (or promotion) that had many "territories" in North America and some around the world. In the 1950s, Capitol Wrestling Corporation (CWC) was an NWA territory, and in 1963, people in CWC had a lot of control over the rest of the NWA. During this time, Buddy Rogers held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, the world title of the NWA, until Lou Thesz defeated Rogers for the championship on January 24, 1963. After an argument over who should have won, CWC left the NWA and created a new promotion called the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF). The new company then made up a story for its new title, and said that the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship was separated from the NWA World Championship, and there was a tournament in Rio de Janeiro to decide a new champion. They said that Buddy Rogers won this tournament, by beating Antonino Rocca in the finals. (The tournament actually did not happen.) The WWWF came back to the NWA once again, and the WWWF was renamed to World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1979. After WWF left the NWA forever in 1983 the championship was named the WWF World Heavyweight Championship and later the WWF World Championship or WWF Championship in the 1990s.
In 1991, World Championship Wrestling (WCW), another NWA territory, created the WCW World Heavyweight Championship and it was just as important as the NWA world title. WCW then left the NWA and became a rival promotion to the WWF. Both promotions became popular, and fought the "Monday Night Wars". This was a fight to see who could get better ratings on TV. Near the end of the ratings war, WCW started to lose money, and the Monday Night Wars ended in March 2001 with WWF buying WCW. After that, WWF had all of WCW's videos, some of their wrestlers and championships, and other things. The group of wrestlers who were in WCW joining the WWF was called "The Invasion". After this, the WCW World Championship was made one with the WWF World Championship, at Vengeance 2001 in December. At the show, Chris Jericho beat The Rock to win the WCW World Championship, and Stone Cold Steve Austin to win the WWF World Championship. Because of this, Chris Jericho was the last WCW World Champion and the Undisputed WWF World Champion as there was no dispute over what the most important prize in professional wrestling was anymore.
Undisputed World Championship and going back to a normal world championshipEdit
By 2002, the number of wrestlers in WWE was twice as big because they now had wrestlers from WWF before the end of WCW, and wrestlers who came from WCW and ECW. As a result of the increase, the WWF split its wrestlers in halves with each half performing on one of WWE's two weekly TV shows - Raw and SmackDown!. Each show also had different championships and bosses. This was called the Brand Extension. In May 2002, the WWF was renamed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and the championship was called the WWE Undisputed World Championship. After these changes, the WWE Undisputed Championship was not on Raw or SmackDown and wrestlers from both brands could challenge the WWE Undisputed World Champion. When Eric Bischoff became the General Manager of Raw and Stephanie McMahon became the General Manager of SmackDown, McMahon brought the WWE Undisputed World Champion at the time, Brock Lesnar to the SmackDown brand, and left the Raw brand without a world title. On September 2, after arguing about the brand that the Undisputed Championship should be on, Eric Bischoff announced the creation of the World Heavyweight Championship, separate from the Undisputed Championship. Then, the WWE Undisputed World Championship was called the WWE World Championship or just the WWE Championship. In 2011, There were two WWE Champions - John Cena and CM Punk. On the August 1 episode of Raw the Chief Operating Officer of WWE Triple H, announced a match to decide who will be the WWE Champion between Cena and Punk. At SummerSlam, Punk beat Cena to be the only WWE Champion, but that night Alberto Del Rio cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and became the new WWE Champion. The holder of the contract gets a WWE or World Heavyweight Championship match whenever they want. (They could also get an ECW Championship when that title was around)
On December 15, 2013, Randy Orton beat Cena for the World Heavyweight Championship at TLC: Tables, Ladders, & Chairs. He was already WWE Champion when he won the championship and made the World Heavyweight Championship one with the WWE Championship to make the "WWE World Heavyweight Championship". Wrestlers stopped fighting for the World Heavyweight Championship the next day. The title was renamed the WWE World Championship because the WWE Universal Championship is on Raw and the original title is on SmackDown Live. Soon after, it was changed back to the WWE Championship.
After the WWE Brand Extension, WWE started having drafts each year, where some wrestlers change brands. After three years on the SmackDown brand, the WWE Championship switched brands during the 2005 draft, when the WWE Champion John Cena was sent to Raw while the World Heavyweight Champion Batista was sent to SmackDown. On June 11, 2006, Rob Van Dam used his Money in the Bank contract at ECW One Night Stand for a WWE Championship match against Cena. Van Dam beat Cena to win the WWE Championship, moving the title to the ECW brand, a brand WWE created after buying the Extreme Championship Wrestling promotion. On July 3, Edge beat Cena and Van Dam in a Triple Threat Match to win the WWE Championship and with Edge on the Raw brand at the time, Edge brought the title back to Raw. After the 2008 WWE Draft, the WWE Champion Triple H was drafted to SmackDown, moving the WWE Championship to the SmackDown brand. The following year, the title returned to Raw after Triple H was drafted back to Raw during the 2009 WWE Draft, and the championship stayed there. When SmackDown's Batista won the title from Raw's John Cena at Elimination Chamber, it still stayed on Raw because Batista was sent there.
From August 2011 to July 2016, all WWE TV programming became "Supershows" that had wrestlers from both Raw and SmackDown. This meant that the WWE Championship matches could happen at any WWE event. The brand extension came back in 2016 and the WWE Champion at the time Dean Ambrose was drafted to SmackDown Live and the championship has been there ever since.
Custom belt designsEdit
Special belts have been made to match the characters of some champions:
- "Superstar" Billy Graham (red leather strap)
- The Ultimate Warrior (white, blue, and purple leather straps)
- Sgt. Slaughter (purple leather strap, changed to original black strap after beating The Ultimate Warrior)
- "Stone Cold" Steve Austin ("Smoking Skull" belt)
- John Cena (Spinner belt with a spinning WWE logo in the center)
- Edge (Spinner belt with a "Rated-R Superstar" logo in the center)
- The Miz (Spinner belt with WWE logo flipped upside down to look like the letter "M")
- Daniel Bryan (Black leather strap replaced with wood and fabric)
A much bigger version of the belt was created for André the Giant before WrestleMania III, but he never wore it as champion. The belt Brahma Bull logo in the center that was made for the Rock was lost and was never on TV. Edge had created a special belt different from the "Rated R Spinner" one that he used for his second reign, but the plans were scrapped because of little time.
A special belt is being used by Daniel Bryan right now. His belt replaces the black leather strap of the normal belt with wood and fabric. This is to match his vegan character.
- "The 5 shortest WWE Title reigns in history". Retrieved June 26, 2016.
- "WWE Champion Randy Orton def. World Heavyweight Champion John Cena (Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match)". WWE. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
- "Retired championships". WWE. Archived from the original on 2013-12-20. Retrieved 2013-12-19.