As previously reported, Brock Lesnar is the new WWE Champion, after winning the title at WWE Day 1 with a win over Big E, Bobby Lashley, Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens. According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Lesnar set a new record with his win, as he went twenty years in between his first WWE title win and his most recent. He first became WWE Champion at Summerslam 2002. He could always extend his record, should he either remain champion or become champion again next year.
The previous record was held by Hulk Hogan, who first won the WWE title in 1984 and picked up his final reign in 2002, 18 years. Bob Backlund’s in third with 17 years, after winning his first title in 1977 and then his last in 1994. Bruno Sammartino is in fourth, as he won his first WWE title in 1963, with his last ending in 1977. That’s fourteen years.
And that’s just the WWE title. Historian John Lister said that if you included all world titles, Lou Thesz holds the record with 29 years (1937 to 1966) in the US, or 41 years if his UWA title run in Mexico counts (1976 to 1978). Goldberg would be at 22 years, as he won his first WCW title in 1998 and then his last WWE title (so far) in 2020. Verne Gagne was AWA champion off and on from 1960 to 1981, which is 21 years.
For women, Fabulous Moolah won her first women’s title in 1956 and then her last in 1999. While those belts are considered different, the lineage is said to be the same. It was also noted that like Gagne and the AWA title, she controlled the belt she had for a time, as she actually owned the title from 1956-1984. She then sold it to Vince McMahon.
In other weight classes, Blue Demon held the NWA world welterweight title with his first run starting in 1953 and his last ending in 1976, 23 years. George Kidd won the world lightweight title in the UK and was champion for 27 consecutive years.