WWE Championship Title History
Person list created by jordanwiles94
World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF)
April 11, 1963 - May 17, 1963 (36 days)
Won a fictional tournament in Rio de Janeiro after the WWWF left the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), of which Rogers had been the 7th NWA World Heavyweight Champion since defeating Pat O'Connor on June 30, 1961. After Rogers' one fall loss to Lou Thesz for the title on January 24, 1963, Northeast promoters (led by Vince McMahon Sr. and Toots Mondt) did not recognize this title change and withdrew their membership from the NWA to form the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF). The WWWF billed Rogers as their world champion since January 25, 1963, but it did not recognize him as the first-ever WWWF World Heavyweight Champion until April 11, 1963, when he received the title belt. However, WWE lists Rogers' reign and the establishment of the title beginning on April 25, 1963.
May 17, 1963 - January 18, 1971 (2,803 days)
February 8, 1971 - December 1, 1973 (1,087 days)
The title was renamed the WWWF Heavyweight Championship when the WWWF rejoined the NWA in 1971.
National Wrestling Alliance: World Wide Wrestling
Bruno Sammartino (2-times)
December 10, 1973 - April 30, 1977 (1,237 days)
February 20, 1978 - November 30, 1979 (648 days)
The title was renamed the WWF Heavyweight Championship when the WWWF became the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in March 1979 for marketing purposes.
National Wrestling Alliance: World Wrestling Feder
November 30, 1979 - December 6, 1979 (6 days)
December 6, 1979 - December 17, 1979
Inoki immediately vacated the title after a title defense rematch with Bob Backlund ended in a no contest due to the interference of New Japan Pro-Wrestling's Tiger Jeet Singh.
Bob Backlund (2-times)
December 17, 1979 - December 26, 1983 (1,470 days)
Defeated Bobby Duncum in a Texas death match to fill the vacancy. On October 19, 1981, following a controversial match with Greg Valentine in Madison Square Garden, the title was vacated (recognized only in New York City) by the NY State Athletic Commission. Backlund defeated Valentine in a rematch in MSG on November 23, 1981 to end the vacancy. WWE recognizes this whole period as one uninterrupted reign.
December 26, 1983 - January 23, 1984 (28 days)
The Iron Sheik won by submission when Bob Backlund's manager Arnold Skaaland threw in the towel when Backlund was put into Sheik's camel clutch to prevent any major injury. The title was renamed the WWF World Heavyweight Championship when the WWF ended its affiliation with the NWA.
World Wrestling Federation (WWF)
January 23, 1984 - February 5, 1988 (1,474 days)
Defeated Hulk Hogan when referee Earl Hebner, who was bribed by Ted DiBiase, scored the three-count despite Hogan raising his shoulder at the one-count.
Immediately after winning the title from Hulk Hogan, André the Giant handed the championship belt to Ted DiBiase, but WWF President Jack Tunney ruled this as vacating the title and therefore DiBiase's reign is not recognized by WWE, albeit he was announced as such in the following days and even defended the title once against Bam Bam Bigelow in a February 8, 1988 live event.
February 13, 1988 - March 27, 1988
WWF President Jack Tunney refused to recognize Ted DiBiase as champion and vacated the title. WWE recognizes the vacancy as starting on February 5, 1988, the date of the controversy, rather than the date in which the announcement was made in a video aired on tape delay on February 13, 1988.
Defeated Ted DiBiase in a tournament final to win the vacant title.
Hulk Hogan (2-times)
April 2, 1989 - April 1, 1990 (364 days)
The title was renamed the WWF Championship in July 1989.
Hulk Hogan (3-times)
March 24, 1991 - November 27, 1991 (248 days)
November 27, 1991 - December 3, 1991 (6 days)
Hulk Hogan (4-times)
December 3, 1991 - December 4, 1991 (1 day)
December 4, 1991 - January 19, 1992
Hogan was stripped of the title by WWF President Jack Tunney due to the controversy surrounding both of the previous title changes. Aired on tape delay on December 7, 1991.
January 19, 1992 - April 5, 1992 (77 days)
This was the Royal Rumble match in which Flair last eliminated Sid Justice to win the vacant title.
Randy Savage (2-times)
April 5, 1992 - September 1, 1992 (149 days)
Ric Flair (2-times)
September 1, 1992 - October 12, 1992 (41 days)
October 12, 1992 - April 4, 1993 (174 days)
April 4, 1993 - April 4, 1993 (<1 day)
Hulk Hogan (5-times)
April 4, 1993 - June 13, 1993 (70 days)
After Yokozuna pinned Bret Hart to win the title, Yokozuna's manager, Mr. Fuji, issued an immediate challenge to Hogan for the WWE Championship, which was accepted and Hogan won the impromptu match.
June 13, 1993 - March 20, 1994 (280 days)
Bret Hart (2-times)
March 20, 1994 - November 23, 1994 (248 days)
Roddy Piper was the guest referee.
Bob Backlund (3-times)
November 23, 1994 - November 26, 1994 (3 days)
This was a Throw in the Towel submission match.
November 26, 1994 - November 19, 1995 (358 days)
Bret Hart (3-times)
November 19, 1995 - March 31, 1996 (133 days)
This was a no disqualification match.
March 31, 1996 - November 17, 1996 (231 days)
This was a 60-minute Iron Man match in which Michaels won 1–0 in overtime.
November 17, 1996 - January 19, 1997 (63 days)
Shawn Michaels (2-times)
January 19, 1997 - February 13, 1997 (25 days)
February 13, 1997 - February 16, 1997
Shawn Michaels forfeited the title due to a knee injury.
Bret Hart (4-times)
February 16, 1997 - February 17, 1997 (1 day)
This was a four-way elimination match for the vacant title also involving Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, and Vader.
Sycho Sid (2-times)
February 17, 1997 - March 23, 1997 (34 days)
The Undertaker (2-times)
March 23, 1997 - August 3, 1997 (133 days)
This was a No Disqualification Match.
Bret Hart (5-times)
August 3, 1997 - November 9, 1997 (98 days)
Shawn Michaels was the guest referee.
Shawn Michaels (3-times)
November 9, 1997 - March 29, 1998 (140 days)
This was the Montreal Screwjob. Michaels was also the European Champion, making him the only person to have held both titles at once.
Mike Tyson was the special outside enforcer.
June 28, 1998 - June 29, 1998 (1 day)
This was a First Blood match; had Kane lost, he would set himself on fire.
Stone Cold Steve Austin (2-times)
June 29, 1998 - September 27, 1998 (90 days)
September 27, 1998 - November 15, 1998
The title was vacated after Kane and The Undertaker simultaneously pinned Stone Cold Steve Austin in a triple threat match.
November 15, 1998 - December 29, 1998 (44 days)
Defeated Mankind in the finals of the Deadly Game tournament in a recreation of the Montreal Screwjob to win the vacant title. WWE recognizes The Rock's reign as ending on January 4, 1999, when the following episode aired on tape delay.
December 29, 1998 - January 24, 1999
This was a no disqualification match. WWE recognizes Mankind's reign as beginning on January 4, 1999, when the episode aired on tape delay.
The Rock (2-times)
January 24, 1999 - January 26, 1999 (2 days)
This was an "I quit" match which The Rock won by knocking Mankind unconscious while someone backstage, later revealed to be Shane McMahon, played an audio recording of Mankind saying "I quit" when The Rock placed the microphone against his face. WWE recognizes The Rock's reign as ending on January 31, 1999, when the following match aired on tape delay.
January 26, 1999 - February 15, 1999 (20 days)
This was an Empty Arena match that aired on tape delay as a special during halftime of Super Bowl XXXIII on January 31, 1999, the date WWE recognizes as the beginning of Mankind's reign.
The Rock (3-times)
February 15, 1999 - March 28, 1999 (41 days)
This was a Ladder Match.
Stone Cold Steve Austin (3-times)
March 28, 1999 - May 23, 1999 (56 days)
This was a no disqualification match with Mankind as the guest referee.
The Undertaker (3-times)
May 23, 1999 - June 28, 1999 (36 days)
Both Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon were the guest referees.
Stone Cold Steve Austin (5-times)
June 28, 1999 - August 22, 1999 (55 days)
August 22, 1999 - August 23, 1999 (1 day)
This was a triple threat match also involving Triple H. Jesse Ventura was the guest referee.
August 23, 1999 - September 14, 1999 (22 days)
Shane McMahon was the guest referee. WWE recognizes Triple H's reign as ending on September 16, 1999, when the following episode aired on tape delay.
September 14, 1999 - September 20, 1999 (6 days)
Shane McMahon was the guest referee. WWE recognizes Vince McMahon's reign as beginning on September 16, 1999, when the episode aired on tape delay.
September 20, 1999 - September 26, 1999
Mr. McMahon vacated the title due to the Fully Loaded stipulation after losing his feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin, who defeated The Undertaker at the event and forced McMahon to no longer appear on WWF television.
Triple H (2-times)
September 26, 1999 - November 14, 1999 (49 days)
This was a six-pack challenge also involving Big Show, The British Bulldog, Kane, Mankind, and The Rock. Stone Cold Steve Austin was the special outside enforcer.
November 14, 1999 - January 3, 2000 (50 days)
This was a triple threat match also involving The Rock. Stone Cold Steve Austin had originally been scheduled to take part in the match, but he did not participate after being (in storyline) run over by a car in the parking garage earlier in the night.
Triple H (3-times)
January 3, 2000 - April 30, 2000 (118 days)
The Rock (4-times)
April 30, 2000 - May 21, 2000 (21 days)
Shane McMahon was the guest referee.
Triple H (4-times)
May 21, 2000 - June 25, 2000 (35 days)
This was a 60-minute Iron Man match which Triple H won 6–5 with Shawn Michaels as the guest referee.
The Rock (5-times)
June 25, 2000 - October 22, 2000 (119 days)
This was a six-man tag team match with Kane, The Rock, and The Undertaker vs. Triple H, Shane McMahon, and Vince McMahon. The Rock pinned Vince to win Triple H's title.
October 22, 2000 - February 25, 2001 (126 days)
This was a no disqualification match.
The Rock (6-times)
February 25, 2001 - April 1, 2001 (35 days)
After the WWF purchased World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in March 2001, the WCW Championship became a second concurrently active world championship in the WWF. By November 2001, the WCW title was renamed to World Championship.
Stone Cold Steve Austin (5-times)
April 1, 2001 - September 23, 2001 (175 days)
This was a No Disqualification Match.
Kurt Angle (2-times)
September 23, 2001 - October 8, 2001 (15 days)
Stone Cold Steve Austin (6-times)
October 8, 2001 - December 9, 2001 (62 days)
December 9, 2001 - March 17, 2002 (98 days)
Earlier the same night, Jericho defeated World Champion The Rock for that title. By defeating Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWF Championship, Jericho unified both titles to become the first-ever undisputed WWF world champion. The World Championship was retired while the WWF Championship became known as the Undisputed WWF Championship.
Triple H (5-times)
March 17, 2002 - April 21, 2002 (35 days)
In late March 2002, due to the WWF's roster having doubled in size, the brand extension began, splitting the roster between the Raw and SmackDown brands, represented by the TV shows of the same name. Championships were assigned to be exclusive to a specific brand, with the exception of the Undisputed WWF Championship and the WWF Women's Championship, which were non-exclusive at this time.
Hollywood Hulk Hogan (6-times)
April 21, 2002 - May 19, 2002 (28 days)
After the WWF was renamed World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) due to a lawsuit by the World Wide Fund for Nature on May 6, 2002, the title was also renamed Undisputed WWE Championship and then WWE Undisputed Championship.
The Undertaker (4-times)
May 19, 2002 - July 21, 2002 (63 days)
The Rock (7-times)
July 21, 2002 - August 25, 2002 (35 days)
This was a triple threat match also involving Kurt Angle.
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)
August 25, 2002 - November 17, 2002 (84 days)
The following night, Lesnar signed a deal to appear exclusively on the SmackDown brand, making the championship exclusive to the brand. The World Heavyweight Championship was then created for the Raw brand and awarded to Triple H, who was Lesnar's number one contender. On September 2, 2002, the WWE Undisputed Championship became the WWE Championship as it was no longer "undisputed".
Big Show (2-times)
November 17, 2002 - December 15, 2002 (28 days)
Kurt Angle (3-times)
December 15, 2002 - March 30, 2003 (105 days)
Brock Lesnar (2-times)
March 30, 2003 - July 27, 2003 (119 days)
Kurt Angle (4-times)
July 27, 2003 - September 16, 2003 (51 days)
This was a triple threat match also involving Big Show. WWE recognizes Angle's reign as ending on September 18, 2003, when the following episode aired on tape delay.
Brock Lesnar (3-times)
September 16, 2003 - February 15, 2004 (152 days)
This was a 60-minute Iron Man match. WWE recognizes Lesnar's reign as beginning on September 18, 2003, when the episode aired on tape delay.
February 15, 2004 - June 27, 2004 (133 days)
This was a Texas Bullrope Match.
April 3, 2005 - January 8, 2006 (280 days)
The title became exclusive to the Raw brand following the 2005 WWE Draft Lottery.
Cashed in his Money in the Bank contract from WrestleMania 22. This was an Extreme Rules match. The title became property of the new ECW brand due to Van Dam's status as an ECW wrestler. The ECW World Heavyweight Championship was subsequently reactivated for the brand and awarded to Van Dam, who became the only wrestler to ever hold both titles at the same time. The ECW Championship became a third concurrently active world championship in the WWE.
July 3, 2006 - September 17, 2006 (76 days)
This was a triple threat match also involving John Cena.
The title became exclusive to the Raw brand due to Edge's status as a Raw wrestler.
John Cena (3-times)
September 17, 2006 - October 2, 2007 (380 days)
This was a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match.
Had Cena lost, he would have had to leave the Raw brand.
October 2, 2007 - October 7, 2007
The title was vacated when John Cena suffered a torn right pectoral tendon.
October 7, 2007 - October 7, 2007 (<1 day)
Orton was originally scheduled to have a Last Man Standing match against John Cena for the title, but due to Cena vacating the title due to a legit injury, Mr. McMahon awarded it to Orton at the start of the event, and was immediately challenged by Triple H.
Triple H (6-times)
October 7, 2007 - October 7, 2007 (<1 day)
After winning the championship, Mr. McMahon would tell Triple H he was previously booked for a match against Umaga, and he would face him the same night, now for the WWE Championship. After defeating Umaga, Mr. McMahon stated that Randy Orton was invoking his rematch clause and scheduled a rematch for the same night.
Randy Orton (2-times)
October 7, 2007 - April 27, 2008 (203 days)
This was a Last Man Standing Match.
Triple H (7-times)
April 27, 2008 - November 23, 2008 (210 days)
This was a fatal four-way elimination match also involving John Cena and John "Bradshaw" Layfield.
The title became exclusive to the SmackDown brand following the 2008 WWE Draft.
November 23, 2008 - December 14, 2008 (21 days)
This was a triple threat match also involving Vladimir Kozlov. Jeff Hardy had originally been scheduled to take part in the match, but he did not participate after being (in storyline) attacked prior to the event. Triple H and Kozlov started the match before Edge was revealed as Hardy's surprise replacement.
This was a triple threat match also involving Triple H.
January 25, 2009 - February 15, 2009 (21 days)
This was a No Disqualification Match.
Triple H (8-times)
February 15, 2009 - April 26, 2009 (70 days)
This was an Elimination Chamber match also involving Big Show, Jeff Hardy, The Undertaker, and Vladimir Kozlov. The title became exclusive to the Raw brand following the 2009 WWE Draft.
Randy Orton (3-times)
April 26, 2009 - June 7, 2009 (42 days)
This was a six-man tag team match with The Legacy (Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, and Ted DiBiase) against Batista, Triple H, and Shane McMahon. Orton pinned Triple H to win the title.
June 7, 2009 - June 9, 2009 (2 day)
This was a Steel Cage Match.
June 9, 2009 - June 15, 2009
The title was vacated when Batista suffered a torn left biceps.
Randy Orton (4-times)
June 15, 2009 - September 13, 2009 (90 days)
This was a fatal four-way match for the vacant title also involving Big Show, John Cena, and Triple H.
John Cena (4-times)
September 13, 2009 - October 4, 2009 (21 days)
This was an "I quit" match.
Had anyone interfered on Randy Orton's behalf, he would have forfeited the title.
Randy Orton (5-times)
October 4, 2009 - October 25, 2009 (21 days)
This was a Hell in a Cell Match.
John Cena (5-times)
October 25, 2009 - December 13, 2009 (49 days)
This was a 60-minute Anything Goes Iron Man match in which Cena won 6-5.
Had Cena lost, he would have had to leave the Raw brand.
December 13, 2009 - February 21, 2010 (70 days)
This was a Tables Match.
John Cena (6-times)
February 21, 2010 - February 21, 2010 (<1 day)
This was an Elimination Chamber match also involving Kofi Kingston, Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase Jr., and Triple H.
February 21, 2010 - March 28, 2010 (35 days)
Batista transferred to the Raw roster after winning the title.
John Cena (7-times)
March 28, 2010 - June 20, 2010 (84 days)
June 20, 2010 - September 19, 2010 (91 days)
This was a fatal four-way match also involving Edge and Randy Orton.
Randy Orton (6-times)
September 19, 2010 - November 22, 2010 (64 days)
This was a six-pack elimination challenge also involving Chris Jericho, Edge, John Cena, and Wade Barrett, who decided to cash-in his title shot due to winning the first season of NXT.
November 22, 2010 - May 1, 2011 (160 days)
Cashed in his Money in the Bank contract after Randy Orton had successfully defended the title against Wade Barrett.
John Cena (8-times)
May 1, 2011 - July 17, 2011 (77 days)
This was a triple threat steel cage match also involving John Morrison.
July 17, 2011 - July 18, 2011 (28 days)
Punk (kayfabe) left WWE the day after with the championship, but he returned on the July 25, 2011 episode of Raw and his reign was deemed to continue through this period.
July 18, 2011 - July 25, 2011
The title was vacated due to CM Punk leaving WWE.
This vacancy is no longer recognized due to Punk's return on the July 25, 2011 episode of Raw.
Rey Mysterio (1st reign)
July 25, 2011 - July 25, 2011 (<1 day)
Defeated The Miz in a tournament final to crown a new champion.
CM Punk was also recognized as WWE Champion.
John Cena (9-times)
July 25, 2011 - August 14, 2011 (20 days)
As the former champion prior to CM Punk, Cena was granted a title match against Rey Mysterio by Triple H. Punk was also recognized as WWE Champion.
August 17, 2011 - August 17, 2011 (<1 day)
Punk defeated John Cena in a match to determine the undisputed champion. Triple H was the guest referee. This is considered a continuation of Punk's first reign.
August 14, 2011 - September 18, 2011 (35 days)
Cashed in his Money in the Bank contract after CM Punk was attacked by Kevin Nash. On August 29, 2011, the first brand extension ended, allowing the WWE Champion to appear on both Raw and SmackDown.
John Cena (10-times)
September 18, 2011 - October 2, 2011 (14 days)
Alberto Del Rio (2-times)
October 2, 2011 - November 20, 2011 (49 days)
This was a triple threat Hell in a Cell match also involving CM Punk.
CM Punk (2-times)
November 20, 2011 - January 27, 2013 (434 days)
The Rock (8-times)
January 27, 2013 - April 7, 2013 (70 days)
CM Punk had initially won, but the match was eventually restarted by Vince McMahon due to interference by The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins).
John Cena (11-times)
April 7, 2013 - August 18, 2013 (133 days)
Triple H was the guest referee.
Randy Orton (7-times)
August 18, 2013 - September 15, 2013 (28 days)
Cashed in his Money in the Bank contract. Triple H was the guest referee.
Daniel Bryan (2-times)
September 15, 2013 - September 16, 2013 (<1 day)
September 16, 2013 - October 27, 2013
The title was vacated after a controversial finish when Daniel Bryan defeated Randy Orton to win the title.
Randy Orton (8-times)
October 27, 2013 - April 6, 2014 (161 days)
Orton defeated Daniel Bryan in a Hell in a Cell match to win the vacant title with Shawn Michaels as the guest referee.
On December 15, 2013 at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, Orton defeated John Cena in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match to unify the World Heavyweight Championship with the WWE Championship. The World Heavyweight Championship was then retired and the WWE Championship became known as the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Daniel Bryan (3-times)
April 6, 2014 - June 9, 2014 (64 days)
This was a triple threat match also involving Batista.
June 9, 2014 - June 29, 2014
Daniel Bryan was stripped of the title due to a neck injury.
John Cena (12-times)
June 29, 2014 - August 17, 2014 (49 days)
This was an eight-way ladder match for the vacant title also involving Alberto Del Rio, Bray Wyatt, Cesaro, Kane, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, and Sheamus.
Brock Lesnar (4-times)
August 17, 2014 - March 29, 2015 (224 days)
Cashed in his Money in the Bank contract during a singles match between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns, converting it into a triple threat match and subsequently pinned Reigns to win the match.
WWE recognizes Rollins' reign as ending on November 4, 2015, the date he got injured, rather than the date in which the title was officially vacated.
November 4, 2015 - November 22, 2015
The title was vacated after Seth Rollins suffered a torn ACL, MCL and a damaged meniscus at a live event in Dublin, Ireland.
November 22, 2015 - November 22, 2015 (<1 day)
Defeated Dean Ambrose in a tournament final to win the vacant title.
November 22, 2015 - December 14, 2015 (22 days)
Cashed in his Money in the Bank contract.
Roman Reigns (2-times)
December 14, 2015 - January 24, 2016 (41 days)
This was Career vs. Title Match.
Triple H (9-times)
January 24, 2016 - April 3, 2016 (70 days)
This was the Royal Rumble match in which Roman Reigns defended the title and entered at number one. Triple H eliminated Reigns before lastly eliminating Dean Ambrose to win the title.
Roman Reigns (3-times)
April 3, 2016 - June 19, 2016 (77 days)
Seth Rollins (2-times)
June 19, 2016 - June 19, 2016 (<1 day)
June 19, 2016 - September 11, 2016 (84 days)
Cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and the title's name reverted to WWE Championship. The brand extension returned and the title became exclusive to the SmackDown brand following the 2016 WWE Draft. The WWE Universal Championship was created for the Raw brand; the WWE Championship was renamed to WWE World Championship.
In December 2016, the title's name was shortened back to WWE Championship.
John Cena (13-times)
January 29, 2017 - February 12, 2017 (14 days)
WWWF Heavyweight Championship - February 8, 1971 – March 1, 1979
WWF Heavyweight Championship - March 1, 1979 – December 26, 1983
WWF World Heavyweight Championship - December 26, 1983 – May 27, 1989
WWF Championship - July 18, 1989 – December 9, 2001
Undisputed WWF Championship - December 9, 2001 – May 6, 2002
Undisputed WWE Championship - May 6, 2002 – May 19, 2002
WWE Undisputed Championship - May 19, 2002 – September 2, 2002
WWE Championship - September 2, 2002 – December 15, 2013
WWE World Heavyweight Championship - December 15, 2013 – June 27, 2016
WWE Championship - June 27, 2016 – July 25, 2016
WWE World Championship - July 26, 2016 – December 9, 2016
WWE Championship - December 10, 2016 – present
Undisputed WWE Universal Championship - April 3, 2022 - present
The WWE Championship is a professional wrestling world heavyweight championship in WWE, currently on the Raw brand. It was the first world title established in WWE, having been introduced in 1963 as the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) World Heavyweight Championship. The promotion was renamed World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1979 and ended its affiliation with the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) in 1983, with the title also renamed to reflect the changes. In 2001, it was unified with the World Championship (formerly the WCW World Heavyweight Championship) following the WWF's buyout of World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and became the Undisputed WWF Championship. In 2002, the WWF was renamed World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and split its roster into two brands, Raw and SmackDown. The title, now renamed WWE Championship, was then designated to the SmackDown brand while WWE established an alternate world title known as the World Heavyweight Championship for the Raw brand. A third alternate world title, the ECW World Heavyweight Championship, was reactivated for the ECW brand in 2006. It was vacated and decommissioned when the ECW brand disbanded in 2010.
When WWE Champion Randy Orton defeated World Heavyweight Champion John Cena at the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view event on December 15, 2013, the World Heavyweight Championship was unified with the WWE Championship, resulting in the retiring of the former and the renaming of the latter to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. On June 27, 2016, the name was shortened back to the WWE Championship before assuming the WWE World Championship name on July 26, when the brand extension returned. It became designated to the SmackDown brand and WWE again established an alternate world title known as the WWE Universal Championship for the Raw brand. In December 2016, WWE again shortened the title's name back to WWE Championship. Following the events of Crown Jewel 2019, the Universal and WWE Championships switched brands.
The championship is generally contested in professional wrestling matches, in which participants execute scripted finishes rather than contend in direct competition. Some reigns were held by champions using a ring name while others use their real name. Randy Orton is the current champion in his tenth reign. He defeated Drew McIntyre in a Hell in a Cell match on Hell in a Cell on October 25, 2020.
As of November 15, 2020, there have been 138 recognized reigns between 52 recognized champions and 11 recognized vacancies (there are 4 reigns, 2 people, and 2 vacancies that are not recognized by the WWE). The first champion was Buddy Rogers, who won the championship in 1963. The champion with the single longest reign is Bruno Sammartino with a reign of 2,803 days while the record for longest combined reign is also held by Sammartino at 4,040. John Cena has the most reigns at 13. Eight men in history have held the championship for a continuous reign of one year (365 days) or more: Bruno Sammartino (who achieved the feat on two occasions), Pedro Morales, Bob Backlund, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, John Cena, CM Punk, and AJ Styles.