Suddenly it’s over, and in the center of the ring, one man is victorious. The referee raises his hand, and from somewhere (you’re not quite sure where because you’re still cheering), the shining symbol of this momentous win appears. With the crowd still roaring, the winner stands alone in the ring and raises the championship belt high over his head. The lights shine off the WWE Championship title belt, and in that instant, the winner’s life will be changed forever.
For over half a century, Superstars have battled to win the WWE Championship. While the name may have changed, the prestige attached to the championship has exploded. That is due in no small part to the immortals of wrestling who have held this coveted title—Bruno Sammartino taking the title from the first holder, Buddy Rogers...the totally unexpected win of “Superstar” Billy Graham...Hulk Hogan’s win over the Iron Sheik, who had refused a payoff to injure Hogan...Andre the Giant’s surrender of the title to Ted DiBiase...the newcomer win of the Undertaker...the commanding wrestling abilities of Bret Hart...Shawn Michaels’s win in Montreal...the stunning victories of Stone Cold Steve Austin...the triumph of the People’s Champion, The Rock...Triple H playing the game...the never-surrender attitude of John Cena.
This is the chronicle of how the title that is now known as the WWE Championship became sports-entertainment’s most coveted prize.