The WWE Championship celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. Legendary wrestlers such as Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, and Bret Hart have held the gold. Roman Reigns is the current champion, and it looks like he won't lose it anytime soon. We have compiled a list of the longest WWE Championship reigns in that 60 years. If multiple title reigns exist for one person, the longest one was selected.
1. Bruno Sammartino – 2,803 Days
Bruno Sammartino easily tops this list with a title reign of over seven and a half years. Currently, Roman Reigns has been champion for three years, less than half of Bruno's historic run. Bruno is the second person to ever hold the WWE Championship, but he will remain number one on this list for a long time.
2. Bob Backlund – 2,135 Days
Not quite as long as Bruno's reign, but still incredibly impressive, Bob Backlund held the championship for years. He lost the belt to Antonio Inoki in Japan in 1979 but regained it within a week. WWE never officially recognized that title change, so according to their records, Bob's reign never encountered that speed bump.
3. Hulk Hogan – 1,474 Days
Hulk Hogan is one of the most recognizable wrestlers on the planet. His first run with the WWE Championship is a big part of that. Hulk would win the WWE Championship six times in his career. His first tenure as champion is by far the most memorable.
4. Pedro Morales – 1,027 Days
At just over 1,000 days as champion, Pedro is part of an elite club. Very few men can claim this honor. His championship reign started at a house show in New York when he won it in 1971. In addition to the WWE Championship, Pedro would also go on and win the Intercontinental Championship and the Tag Team Championship. This accomplishment made Pedro the first-ever Triple Crown Champion in the WWE, winning all the championships available at that time.
5. Roman Reigns – 525+ Days
Roman, the current WWE Champion, has been on top of WWE for the past three years. Earlier this year, Roman united the WWE Championship and the Universal Championship. Upon doing that, he became the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion. With him holding both belts simultaneously, you could combine the two reigns, with Roman sitting over 1,107 days as champion. This list is solely for the WWE Championship. Still, we can't have Roman on this list without acknowledging this history-making run.
6. CM Punk – 434 Days
CM Punk's WWE Championship reign was the longest in modern history until Roman recently eclipsed 434 days as champion. CM Punk has always ignited controversy in the wrestling industry. One of the best inside the ring and on the microphone, his legendary promo on Raw in the summer of 2011 and Punk “leaving” the WWE with the championship will be remembered as just two iconic moments that Punk delivered during his tenure.
7. John Cena – 380 Days
Thanks to both his WWE and Hollywood careers, John Cena has become a household name. Like the Rock, WWE fans knew about Cena before anyone else. John has held the WWE Championship on thirteen occasions, with his longest reign clocking in at 380 days. John spends more time in Hollywood these days, but he always creates a stir when he steps back in a WWE ring.
8. Randy “Macho Man” Savage – 371 Days
The Macho Man took the WWE by storm with a WWE Championship reign just over a year long. Randy won the championship at WrestleMania IV by winning a tournament to crown a new champion. Outside of WWE, Randy Savage took part in Slim Jim's massive campaign, encouraging people to “snap into a Slim Jim.”
9. Aj Styles – 371 Days
With a phenomenal title reign that matched Randy Savage's, AJ Styles has dominated in the ring. AJ took the scenic route getting to WWE, but upon his arrival, it didn't take him long to make a name for himself and become a champion. AJ added his name to the list of great WWE champions on an episode of Smackdown from Manchester, England, on November 7, 2017. Throughout his reign, he took on John Cena, Dean Ambrose, and Samoa Joe, among many others.
10. Diesel – 358 Days
Diesel walked through the doors of the WWE in 1993. His impressive stature (as well as his friends) ensured that Diesel made his way to the top. Diesel fought for and won the WWE Championship in 1994. He holds the record for the longest reign in the 1990s at 358 days.
11. “Superstar” Billy Graham – 296 Days
Superstar won the WWE Championship in the spring of 1977. He won it on a house show, kicking off an impressive reign that lasted almost 300 days. Superstar fought worldwide, defending his title against guys like Bruno Sammartino, Don Muracco, Strong Kobayashi, Riki Choshu, and many more. Superstar had a memorable feud with Dusty Rhodes during his run, where they met in a Texas Bullrope match.
12. The Ultimate Warrior – 293 Days
The Ultimate Warrior ran into the WWE in 1987. He captivated the audience with his high-energy ring entrance and almost nonsensical promos. Ultimate Warrior won the WWE Championship at WrestleMania VI, simultaneously making him the Intercontinental Champion and the WWE Champion.
13. Yokozuna – 280 Days
The huge Anoa'i family counts Yokozuna as one of its members. Other members of that family include Roman Reigns, Rikishi, the Rock, the Usos, the Wild Samoans, and many more. Yokozuna arrived in the WWE in 1992. He took the WWE Championship for himself at the 1993 King of the Ring pay-per-view event, defeating Hulk Hogan.
14. John “Bradshaw” Layfield – 280 Days
John went through many characters during his WWE tenure. By far, the most successful is his “JBL” character. He captured the WWE Championship with this character and would hold it for 280 days. In a Texas Bull Rope match, he defeated Eddie Guerrero for the championship at the Great American Bash.
15. Bret Hart – 248 Days
The excellence of execution went on to win the WWE Championship on multiple occasions. His longest reign clocked in at 248 days. It started with the defeat of Yokozuna at WrestleMania X in Madison Square Garden. Bret had to fight twice that night, getting past his brother first in the opening match.
16. Shawn Michaels – 231 Days
Shawn's boyhood dream came true in Anaheim when he took the WWE Championship from Bret Hart at WrestleMania XII. It resulted from a grueling 60-minute Iron Man match with no clear winner at the end. As a result, WWE executives said there must be a winner and added more time. It wasn't long before Shawn hit his iconic Sweet Chin Music, ushering in the era of the Heartbreak Kid.
17. Brock Lesnar – 223 Days
Billed as the “next big thing” upon his arrival, Brock has decimated the competition over the years. Brock has won the WWE Championship several times, with his fourth reign being the longest at 223 days. Brock won the WWE Championship at SummerSlam 2014 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. He would destroy John Cena, hitting him with 16 suplexes, leading Brock to his fourth WWE Championship.
18. Seth Rollins – 221 Days
The current World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins, is also a former WWE Champion. Seth won the Money in the Bank contract in 2014, which means he gets a championship match whenever he wants. Seth chose WrestleMania 31 in Santa Clara, California, during the championship main event between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar. As the match hit a fever pitch, Seth's music hits the loudspeakers, and he races down to the ring to cash in his contract. Moments later, he is the new WWE champion after pinning Roman Reigns for the three count in the “heist of the century.”
19. Triple H – 210 Days
Initially entering the WWE as an American Blueblood, it wasn't long before that character disappeared, and “The Game” Triple H joined the picture. Triple H won multiple championships throughout his career, with his longest reign as WWE Champion coming in at just over 200 days. Nowadays, he is a WWE Executive credited with the success of NXT.
20. Randy Orton – 203 Days
Randy has the third most world championship reigns in history, and thus, will one day enter the Hall of Fame. His longest run as WWE Champion sits at 203 days. This title run started at the “No Mercy” pay-per-view in Rosemont, IL on October 7, 2007. He went through a Last Man Standing match, outlasting his opponent and earning the WWE Championship.
21. Drew McIntyre – 203 Days
Drew has an interesting distinction. He fought Brock Lesnar for the title at WrestleMania 36 and won. This took place as Covid shut down the world, so Drew won this match without any fans in attendance. In fact, the vast majority of his championship run happened during this era, taking place in empty arenas. Drew helped carry the company through some dark times and more than deserves his position on this list.
22. Bobby Lashley – 195 Days
Bobby Lashley has done it all. He served in the US Army, has a successful MMA career, and is a two-time WWE Champion, among many other accomplishments. Bobby debuted in 2005 but didn't end up with the WWE Championship until 2021. He captured the title in a lumberjack match on Monday Night Raw's March 1, 2021 edition, defeating The Miz.
23. Kofi Kingston – 180 Days
Kofimania was running wild in the spring of 2019 and culminated with a historic WWE Championship win at WrestleMania 35. Kofi is the first African-born WWE Champion in history. Kofi also became WWE's 30th Triple Crown winner and the 20th Grand Slam champion in the company. Kofi is also a massive part of one of the most popular stables in the world, the New Day.
24. Stone Cold Steve Austin – 175 Days
Stone Cold set the world on fire in the late 1990s, feuding against the evil Mr. McMahon. Steve won the championship many times, but his longest tenure as champion lasted 175 days. He won it at WrestleMania 17 in 2001 by beating the Rock after he turned heel (became a bad guy) and joined forces with Vince McMahon, something no one thought they would ever see.
25. Jinder Mahal – 170 Days
Perhaps the most surprising entry on this list, Jinder Mahal sent shockwaves through the industry when he won the championship at Backlash in the Spring of 2017. During his run as champion, he would go on to prove why you better not “hinder Jinder,” or you will suffer the consequences.