From 2002-2013 the World Heavyweight Championship was the second world championship alongside the WWE Championship after the brand split in 2002. During its time there were 25 different champions for a total of 55 reigns, with Triple H being the first and Randy Orton being the last. But who were the best champions? Here are the top 10 best WWE World Heavyweight Champions of all time.
10. John Cena
John Cena holds the record for the most WWE world championship wins with 16, with 3 of those being the World Heavyweight Championship. Despite his reigns not being overly long, it is hard to deny his impact as the face of the company and should be recognized for his accomplishments.
Sheamus only held the World Heavyweight Championship once but has the fifth-longest reign of all time with a total of 210 days. The Celtic Warrior made a big splash in WWE when he debuted in 2009, quickly becoming the WWE Champion. Sheamus went on to win the World Heavyweight Championship in 2012 at WrestleMania 28, defeating Daniel Bryan in just 18 seconds.
8. Chris Jericho
Y2J currently holds the record for most Intercontinental Championship wins with 9, but he is also a multi-time world champion, with him holding the World Heavyweight Championship 3 times between 2008 and 2010, defeating CM Punk, Batista, and The Undertaker.
7. CM Punk
CM Punk held the World Heavyweight Championship 3 times, with 2 reigns being from cashing in his Money In The Bank briefcase in 2008 and 2009, defeating Edge and Jeff Hardy, as well as defeating Hardy again for his third win. He only held the championship for 160 days, but that time was used to prove why he deserves to be called the “Best in the world”.
6. The Undertaker
The Undertaker will go down in history as one of the most iconic WWE Superstars of all time, despite not having a decorated career when it came to championships. Instead, he was always a Superstar that the WWE could depend on and helped build a lot of stars. He did hold the World Heavyweight Championship on 3 occasions, defeating Batista, Edge, and CM Punk.
5. King Booker
Booker T, or King Booker as he was known as at the time, may of only had 1 World Heavyweight Championship reign that lasted 4 months, but it is one that is remembered fondly among fans, with his King Booker gimmick being very popular in the mid-2000s as he played a key role in the Smackdown brand during that time. The World Heavyweight Championship is actually the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, just rebranded once WWE purchased the company in 2001. When WCW folded Booker T was their world champion, a 5-time WCW champion at that.
4. Randy Orton
The Viper is one of the most decorated WWE Superstars of all time, with 14 world championship wins. 4 of those were the World Heavyweight Championship, with his first win at Summerslam 2004 making him the youngest world champion in WWE history at the age of 24, a record that still stands today. Randy Orton was also the final World Heavyweight Champion, defeating John Cena at TLC 2013 to unify the World Heavyweight Championship with the WWE Championship.
Batista held the World Heavyweight Championship 4 times for a total of 507 days, making him the second longest-reigning champion and third for the number of wins. First winning the championship in 2005 after defeating his former mentor and Evolution stablemate Triple H, The Animal would go on to defeat King Booker, The Great Khali, and Chris Jericho for his subsequent reigns.
Edge holds the record for the most World Heavyweight Championship reigns with 7, and has become synonymous with the championship. He was a slow burner when it came to being in the world title picture, with WWE knowing that Edge would be a big star but not pulling the trigger on him for a number of years. Edge’s title reigns were between 2007 and 2011 when he was forced to vacate the title after WrestleMania 27, announcing his retirement due to neck injuries. Thankfully he was able to return to the ring in 2020 after 9 years away and is actively competing as of the writing of this list.
1. Triple H
Triple H and the World Heavyweight Championship go hand in hand. He became the first champion after being handed the title by Eric Bischoff when the brand split happened in 2002. Since then he held the championship 5 times for a total of 616 days, the longest to ever hold the title. All of his title reigns were between 2002 and 2005 and every time he dropped the championship to another wrestler, he was then the next Superstar to win it, except when Chris Benoit lost to Randy Orton at Summerslam 2004 before Triple H won it again the following month.