Top 10 Worst World Champions in WWE History
To qualify for this list, a wrestler must have been a World Champion in the WWE.
This means that no WCW, ECW, TNA, ROH, or Lucha Underground champions qualify. Eligible are only the WWE Championship, the World Heavyweight Championship, the briefly established Undisputed WWE Championship and the newly reunited WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
The judging criteria is a combination of a performer’s kayfabe run as champion, meaning how their character actually did as champion, as well as the critical response from insiders, media, and wrestling fans (in a non-kayfabe way) to a performer’s run on top.
A few notes before we begin. There will be some complaints that Sid did not make this list, and while he was considered, he ultimately didn’t make the list for a few reasons:
1) Sid was actually quite “over” as champion, and main evented 2 WrestleManias.
2) In kayfabe terms, he did very well as champion, and he actually drew quite well for a period in the WWE.
As a result of the above reasons, Sid just managed to avoid being on this list.
Another notable exclusion from the list is Dolph Ziggler. The night after WrestleMania 29 Ziggler cashed in his MITB briefcase to win the title, and while his title reign was not very memorable (lasting only 2 months) his title victory was such a big moment that it is hard to rank him as one of the worst champions of all time.
Now, with Sid and Ziggler out of the way, let’s see who did make the top 10 Worst Champions in WWE history.
10. Iron Sheik
It feels bad to state that one of the worst champions in WWE history was the Iron Sheik, but that’s the case. Look, the Iron Sheik is and was awesome, in real life and in wrestling, though there might not be much of a difference. As a champion however, he really didn’t do much.
Sheik defeated Bob Backlund for the title in Madison Square Garden on December 26th 1983, but he was just a placeholder champion to transition the belt from Backlund to Hogan. Vince McMahon Jr. had just taken over the company from his dad and wanted to put the belt on Hogan, as Hogan’s popularity was exploding because of his appearance in Rocky III.
Backlund, who has a background in amateur wrestling, didn’t want to put Hogan over because Hogan couldn’t actually wrestle. Also, Backlund was a good guy, and it was better for Hogan’s title reign if he beat a bad guy for the belt.
So Sheik beats Backlund and then the next month a rematch was scheduled, only Backlund was too injured to compete. The popular Hulk Hogan was Backlund’s substitute, beat Sheik cleanly, and went on to revolutionize wrestling in the following years.
As awesome as Iron Sheik is, his one-month long title reign ranks him as one of the worst World Champions of all time.