Over the years, the WWE Championship has exchanged hands several times. Sometimes within mere seconds and sometimes after years.
The WWE Championship is the top prize of the company. Every superstar on the roster wants a title shot, and give it their all to win it. Whoever gets the championship becomes the face of the company. With that said, let’s look at the top 10 greatest WWE Championship title changes in WWE history:
10. Edge defeats John Cena at New Year’s Revolution to become WWE Champion
After winning the Money In the Bank contract, Edge was just biding away his time as he was waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. And he found just the right time to cash in his contract.
When a bloodied John Cena picked up a victory over Carlito in a gruesome Elimination Chamber match, Vince McMahon came out and announced that Edge would be cashing in his contract right then and there. By that time, everyone knew how the night would end. Edge entered the ring and hit the already worn-out Cena with a Spear. Cena kicked out of that one, but after a second devastating Spear, it was lights out for The Cenation Leader as Edge celebrated his victory.
9. Daniel Bryan defeats Randy Orton and Batista at WrestleMania 30 to win the WWE Championship
The story of Daniel Bryan vs The Authority is nothing but a fairytale of sorts. Earlier in the night of WrestleMania 30, Bryan was scheduled to face Triple H, and if The Yes Man won, he would be added to Randy Orton and Batista’s match for the WWE Championship.
It already seemed like a humongous task for an already-injured Daniel Bryan to beat Triple H. However, Bryan pulled off a miracle when he pinned The Game for the three counts. Triple H couldn’t believe it, and to make things worse for Bryan, The Game unleashed a brutal attack on The Yes Man after the match. Things now seemed even more bleak for Daniel Bryan, who didn’t look like he was even at his 50%. The match ended in the most unbelievable way, as Daniel Bryan survived the onslaught and pinned Randy Orton to win the WWE Championship. The crowd erupted in one of the biggest pops ever received at WrestleMania.
8. Roman Reigns defeats Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 38 to become WWE Champion
Till WrestleMania 38, Roman Reigns didn’t have a great track record of facing Brock Lesnar in a championship match at a WrestleMania. This all changed at last year’s WrestleMania when The Tribal Chief dethroned Brock Lesnar to win the WWE Championship and unify both his championship titles.
After his heel turn, Reigns has been practically untouchable. He won the Universal Championship all the way back in 2020 and at WrestleMania 38, he was up against The Beast in a title unification match. Using perfect heel tactics, Reigns secured his victory and made the whole WWE Universe acknowledge him as their Tribal Chief.
7. Shawn Michaels defeats Bret Hart at WrestleMania 12 to become WWE Champion
The Heartbreak Kid and The Hitman delivered one of their best matches at WrestleMania 12 when they squared off in a 60-minute Iron Man match. The match went on for over an hour. The match was fast-paced and full of action as Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart took each other to their limits. In the end, Michaels emerged victorious and won the WWE World Championship. It was a classic match, that is still remembered even today.
6. John Cena defeats AJ Styles at Royal Rumble to become WWE Champion
The series of matches between the two superstars have been nothing short of legendary. John Cena and AJ Styles were two of the top stars of the company. While AJ Styles holds more victories against John Cena, The Cenation Leader prevailed in their match at the 2017 Royal Rumble.
The match saw the two give it their all, with Styles looking to retain his title and Cena looking to tie Ric Flair’s record of 16 WWE World Championship reigns. In the end, Cena emerged victorious after hitting Styles with two consecutive Attitude Adjustments. The 2017 Royal Rumble saw John Cena become the 16-time World Champion and tie Ric Flair’s score of most title reigns.
5. Hulk Hogan defeats The Iron Sheik at MSG to become WWE Champion
This moment marked the beginning of Hulkamania. This matchup saw The Hulkster go up against Iron Shiek and defeat him for the WWF(now WWE) Championship title.
After the match, Hulk Hogan became an icon in the world of professional wrestling. Further, his title reign would go on to extend over 1400+ days.
4. Stone Cold defeats Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 14 to become WWE Champion
In what would be the first WrestleMania of The Attitude Era, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin faced off against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 14. The match saw Austin defeat Michaels to win the WWE Championship for the first time in his career.
Austin would then go on to capture the WWE title 5 more times, with his longest reign being of 175 days.
3. Seth Rollins cashes in at WrestleMania 31 to become the new WWE Champion
At WrestleMania 31, Seth Rollins performed the “Heist of the Century” by successfully cashing in his Money In The Bank contract and winning the WWE World Championship.
The main event of WrestleMania 31 was a title match between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. What made the night memorable, however, wasn’t their match. It was Seth Rollins, who rushed out to the ring and wasted no time in cashing in his MITB contract when he saw both The Big Dog and The Beast laid out. He pinned Roman Reigns to win the match and become the first-ever wrestler to successfully cash in at WrestleMania and win the WWE Championship.
2. Kofi Kingston defeats Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 35 to become WWE Champion
Although his championship reign might not be as good, the buildup to Kofi Kingston’s WWE title reign is singlehandedly one of the greatest storylines in recent years.
It was actually quite similar to Daniel Bryan’s WrestleMania 30 victory. Kofi Kingston, the underdog, claws his way to the very top with the fans rallying behind him. And ironically, Kofi faced off against Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 35. When Kofi defeated Bryan to win the title, it was a magical moment. It began to be known as “KofiMania” as fans chanted his name throughout the arena.
1. Mankind defeats The Rock on Raw to become WWE Champion
During the WCW vs WWF(now WWE) rating war, WWE had little to no advantage over WCW. WCW had everything in their favor, they had the nWo and Goldberg, whose popularity was through the roof at the time. WWE was losing miserably to their competitor. And the one who turned things around was none other than Mankind.
At that time, Mankind was the typical underdog who had pretty much the entire WWE fanbase behind him but couldn’t get any major opportunities due to Vince McMahon and his hand-picked champion, The Rock. During their match, The Rock had DX and The Corporation on his side. As things were looking bleak for Mankind, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin came out and gave Mankind the assistance he needed. He smashed The Rock with a chair shot on his head and placed Mankind on The Rock for the three-count. It was certainly a magical moment in WWE history as the fan-favorite Mankind finally achieved his dreams.