Hi folks! Today, we are looking at the 30 longest reigning WWE Champions in history. Ted DiBiase’s 1,010 days as Million Dollar Champion will not be included because it was unsanctioned. However, I have included those who defended sanctioned titles outside the promotion’s feature shows. I made the cutoff point 600 days, which means every champion has held their respective title (not always in one reign) for almost two years.
Only one superstar is currently increasing their tally. Can you guess who? Read on to find out the answer.
NXT Tag Team Champion – Kyle O’Reilly (606 Days)
He never became NXT Champion, but Kyle O’Reilly left WWE with a record for others to beat. As part of Adam Cole’s Undisputed ERA faction, O’Reilly was the only member to hold the tag titles across its three reigns.
The first run saw all four members (Cole, O’Reilly, Fish & Strong) defending the title with the “Freebird Rule”. On the second run, he defended it only with Roderick Strong for 215 days; which is the longest the stable held it. During their third run, the reDRagon team of O’Reilly & Fish defended it exclusively.
Current tag team challengers MSK & Imperium would need to hold the title over 400 days to get close to O’Reilly. The only other current NXT 2.0 superstar who can beat it is Roderick Strong, but he would need 300+ days. It might take years to see anyone get close to Kyle O’Reilly’s tag team dominance.
WWF/E Champion – Triple H (609 Days)
Triple H is here over many legends, including Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, and Randy Savage. None of these guys held the title longer than “The Game”, and I know what you’re thinking. His nine reigns as WWE Champion could possibly be helped by the fact he became part of the McMahon family.
Let’s be fair, though. Triple H was already champion in 1999, which was before he & Stephanie McMahon hooked up. Something else to note is the fact there are 17 years between his first and ninth reign in 2016, making his times as WWE Champion a generational affair. However, despite this accolade, he has gone one better with another championship. Triple H is the only superstar to be included back-to-back on this list.
World Heavyweight Champion – Triple H (616 Days)
No, we’re not done talking about Triple H yet. When Brock Lesnar took the WWE Championship to SmackDown in the first brand draft, he left Monday Night Raw without a title. General Manager Eric Bischoff grabbed the Big Gold Belt which formerly represented WCW, and literally handed it to Triple H. He became the new and first World Heavyweight Champion, on a par with the WWE Champion.
You could say Triple H didn’t deserve to have a title handed to him, but he made it his own between 2002 to 2005. He held the World Championship longer than the WWE title and did so with five reigns. Triple H dominated Raw for almost three years before losing to Batista, who was then drafted to SmackDown with the title. During his time, he fought challengers like Shawn Michaels, Goldberg, Chris Benoit and Randy Orton. If we were to add his WWE & World title reigns together? He’d be dangerously close to John Cena. You can breathe now. We’re moving on from Triple H.
WWF Intercontinental Champion – Pedro Morales (619 Days)
The often forgotten first Triple Crown Champion. Pedro Morales is hardly mentioned when WWE looks at its history, but we have to respect him. Not only is he the first to win the IC title twice, he remains the longest reigning champion in history. He last held it in 1981, so this record still stands over 30 years later! The Miz is dangerously close to reaching it, needing only 23 more days to knock Morales from the top spot.
Many have debated his significance in history. Some say he is the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time, and I agree. He held it with pride and made it special. The Intercontinental title may not have gained the recognition it has without Morales, so anyone who held it after should respect him paving the way.
WWE (Raw) Tag Team Champion – Xavier Woods (627 Days)
You might think, huh? How is Xavier Woods here? The New Day makes this possible.
We previously knew the Raw title as the WWE Tag Team title (remember the Bronze pennies?). Woods was helped considerably by being added via the Freebird Rule, after Big E & Kofi Kingston claimed their first reign in 2015. In their second reign, the stable held it for an astounding 483 days, and during this time, WWE rebranded the championship as the Raw Tag Team title.
In the past two years, Woods & Kingston twice claimed it again, but did not hold on for long. It’s that second reign which got Woods here. The New Day beat the 478 day single reign record set by Demolition (albeit with a different title). There’s only one superstar who beats Woods, and you can probably guess who.
NWA/WWWF United States Tag Team Champion – Dr. Jerry Graham (632 Days)
You’ve got to either be an old fan, or super in to history to know about The Grahams. Jerry played an integral part in WWE’s early years, as he introduced The Graham family stable, including: Eddie Graham, “Superstar” Billy Graham, “Crazy” Luke Graham, Mike Graham, Jerry Jr, Luke Jr, and Mad Dog Steele Graham.
Between 1958 to 1964, with Eddie, a few month stint with Johnny Valentine, and later with Luke, Jerry became the longest reigning six-time champion. To begin with, the company used the NWA titles, but later introduced its own titles in 1963. It continued to recognize the previous NWA reigns.
Jerry also had singles success, feuding with the first WWE Champion Buddy Rogers. Later, he & Bruno Sammartino packed out Madison Square Garden so much they had to turn away over 10,000 fans. He was a draw, but also had his demons. After falsifying his age to enlist in the army for World War II, Jerry spent the rest of his life battling alcoholism and depression. Also, he was Vince K. McMahon’s favorite wrestler as a teen. He would sneak off with “The Good Doctor” to have fun, despite his Father discouraging it.
There’s a solid piece on the history of Jerry Graham at the following link. Be sure to give it a read if you’d like to learn more about one of WWE’s earliest superstars: Dr. Jerry Graham – Vince McMahon’s Favorite Wrestler’s Tragedy