The world championship belts in WWE are the most important prizes for a wrestler to achieve. Every wrestler aspires to win them in hopes of creating a special legacy. WWE has been home to the WWE Champion, World Championship, WWE World Championship and now the Universal Championship. All of these titles have been held by the biggest names in the industry. The face of WWE typically is the one holding the championship for a long time period and/or multiple times. This has instilled the credibility needed for a star to truly become a legend in the industry.
We will take a look at some of the greatest men to hold the world title. These guys made an impact as the champion and it has become a huge aspect of their storied legacies. Many wrestlers claim your first world title win is the best moment of your career in WWE. The others can become more special but you will only experience it for the first time once. Test your memory now when it comes to these moments for some of the biggest stars of all time. Try to figure out who each of these WWE legends defeated to win their first ever world title.
Who did Steve Austin beat?
The rise of Steve Austin redefined WWE and led to the most successful time period in company history. Many would argue Austin is the greatest WWE superstar and the greatest WWE Champion of all time due to this. No one personified the Attitude Era better than Austin. WWE deciding to make him the world champion created a special moment officially making him the face of the company for the next few years. Who did Austin defeat to win his first world title in WWE?
Who did Hulk Hogan beat?
Hulk Hogan dominated the 80s by becoming the first true superstar in WWE. The success of Hogan as a top guy led to WWE receiving mainstream coverage. Vince McMahon put his vision and dreams on the back of Hogan by making him the WWE Champion. Everything worked out for the best when Hogan took the company to new heights. Hogan would main event the first eight out of nine WrestleMania events with the title being on the line in most of them. Who did Hogan defeat to win his first world title and start this legendary run?
Who did CM Punk beat?
The success of CM Punk in WWE is still talked about today despite him leaving back in 2014. Punk worked his way to the top of WWE from the independent wrestling scene through developmental through a long road in the company. No one expected him to become a main event star early on due to his unconventional look for WWE as a smaller guy. Punk proved them all wrong by winning multiple world titles in WWE and becoming a legend. Who did he defeat for his first world title victory in WWE?
Who did Bruno Sammartino beat?
Bruno Sammartino was the first face of WWE when the company started to make waves. Vince McMahon Sr. viewed Sammartino as the man the wrestling fans would come to see every week. Sammartino sold out Madison Square Garden numerous times during his legendary 2,803 day reign as the WWE Champion. No one has even come close to matching Bruno as the longest reigning champion in WWE history. Who did Sammartino beat to start the nearly eight-year run as the world champ?
Who did The Rock beat?
The talent of The Rock gave WWE a “once in a generation performer” that was destined to do special things. Rock struggled his first year in WWE as a bland babyface character before turning heel. The villainous character allowed Rock to showcase his natural charisma and sense of humor. WWE finally got what they were looking for out of the star. Rock would win his first WWE Championship as a part of the evil Corporation faction. Who did he defeat with the help of the McMahon family?
Who did Eddie Guerrero beat?
Eddie Guerrero had one of the most improbable journeys to a world championship in WWE. WCW never viewed him as anything more than a talented undercard performer on their show in the 90s. WWE signed him in 2000 with similar beliefs until Guerrero’s talent shined in a major way. Eddie was too good to deny and got over with the fans to become a top face. The moment of Guerrero winning the WWE Championship is still emotional to watch back today. Who did he beat?
Who did Randy Savage beat?
Every 80s and 90s wrestling fan has a strong love for Randy Savage. The amazing work from Savage made him a tremendous star of the time. A combination of pristine in-ring skills and a larger than life persona made him the ideal wrestler. Die-hard fans typically preferred the career of Savage over Hulk Hogan during the era. Savage is still adored today after death with fans buying his shirt and celebrating his career. Who did he defeat to win his first WWE Championship in the finals of a tournament?
Who did Kurt Angle beat?
No one in WWE history has easily picked up the tools needed to succeed in the world of professional wrestling better than Kurt Angle. WWE signed him a couple of years after he won a gold medal for the United States in the Olympics amateur wrestling event. Angle was brand new to professional wrestling but instantly became a star. WWE made him the world champ less than a year into his debut on television. Who did Angle beat to capture the WWE Championship for the first time?
Who did Ultimate Warrior beat?
The great look, mysterious persona and loud theatrics of Ultimate Warrior made him a huge star for WWE. Children of the era loved impersonating Warrior’s exhilarating entrance to the ring. It was just one of many reasons for his success. Warrior would become the hottest star during his best year as a rising superstar. WWE decided to give him the ball to run with by making him the WWE Champion. Warrior would only have one reign as a world champion. Who did he beat to win it?
Who did John Cena beat?
John Cena has been the face of WWE for over a decade. The incredible legacy of Cena is still going and he has held a world championship in WWE for a record tying sixteen times as of this writing. Cena has faced just about every top name of his era and many from the prior eras as well. It all started with his first WWE Championship win over twelve years ago. Which wrestler did Cena defeat to win his first world title in WWE?
Who did Bret Hart beat?
Bret Hart carried the WWE Championship with the importance that helped make it an even more important prize. The rise of Hart in WWE was shocking given he was one of the smaller wrestlers on the roster at the time. Bret’s work ethic and the fans love of him allowed him to shine in a way that made WWE move him up the card. Hart would get the honor of being the world champion and the new face of the company. Who did he defeat to win his first world title?
Who did Kane beat?
The success of Kane as the evil brother of The Undertaker gave us a great heel during the Attitude Era. Many expected the character to flop given a lot of silly elements of the act. Kane however, made it work and presented a very intimidating presence that forced fans to take him seriously. WWE was so impressed with the work of Kane that they gave him a surprising world title reign less than a year into his debut. The first title reign only lasted one day but it was still memorable. Who did Kane defeat?
Who did Brock Lesnar beat?
Brock Lesnar is currently one of the top stars in WWE. The company envisioned this since his debut all the way back in 2002. Anyone with the blessing of vision could see Lesnar had everything needed to become a top star in the wrestling business. WWE gave him a rocket push right away by having him win a world championship belt just four months into his main roster stint. Lesnar defeated a legend to become WWE Champion for the first time. Who was it?
Who did Mankind beat?
The shocking success of Mick Foley in the WWE saw him become a top star during the hottest time period in the history of the business. Foley achieved the most of his accolades with the Mankind character, including winning the WWE Championship for the first time. The win for Foley signified that Vince McMahon would put the title on a wrestler if he felt this person was the best choice to be champion. Foley was the first wrestler that didn’t have the traditional “look” of an athlete to win the title. Who did he beat?
Who did The Undertaker beat?
The Undertaker may very well go down in history as the greatest WWE superstar of all time based on just how many things he accomplished and how much time he gave to the WWE. A total of seven world title reigns for Undertaker seems low, but WWE felt he didn’t need the title during his prime due to how over he was. Undertaker however still left a legacy as an all-time great champion with his reigns bringing great results. Who did Undertaker defeat to get his first world title run in WWE?
Who did Randy Orton beat?
Randy Orton will have a chance to break the record for most world title reigns in WWE history before he retires. Orton has a total of thirteen title world title reigns on his resume as of this writing and plans to wrestle for another decade. The success of Orton started at a very young age. Orton won his first world championship in WWE at just 24 years old. Who did Orton beat to start his first of many title reigns in WWE?
Who did Big Show beat?
Big Show signed with WWE all the way back in 1999 and would never compete for any other wrestling promotion. The career of Big Show had many ups and downs, but WWE remained loyal to the big man. It is nearly impossible to find an athlete as large as Big Show that could pull off the athleticism in the ring that he did. Big Show would capture his first world title in WWE towards the end of the Attitude Era. Which legend did he pin to win the title?
Who did Shawn Michaels beat?
The iconic career of Shawn Michaels makes him the most popular answer when fans and wrestlers are discussing the greatest in-ring performer of all time. Michaels inspired many current WWE star with his matches that pushed the industry ahead. WWE put the championship on him after it became apparent fans were connecting with him during his ascension as a top star. The moment of Michaels winning his first world title is very memorable with Vince McMahon shouting “the boyhood dream has come true” on commentary. Who did Michaels defeat to get this special moment?
Who did Batista beat?
Batista’s look and potential made WWE go all the way in pushing him to the top. The work of Batista took a while to get to the level needed to become a top star. Batista would eventually get there by becoming one of the faces of the company during the brand split. All of the things learned in the wrestling industry have helped him go on to become a movie star. Who did Batista defeat to win his first World Championship in WWE?
Who did Chris Jericho beat?
Chris Jericho made history when winning his first world championships in WWE. A long road of paying his dues all over the world and getting disrespected in WCW gave him the motivation to take advantage of his opportunities in WWE. Jericho’s charisma and in-ring brilliance allowed him to rise to the top of the card. WWE gave him the biggest honor of his career by having him become the first man to unify the WWE Championship and WCW Championship. Who did Jericho defeat in the finals a tournament to win the gold?
Who did Andre the Giant beat?
Andre the Giant was the most successful big man in WWE history becoming the top heel in the company during the 80s boom period. The shocking size and stature of Andre made him a huge attraction that fans were in awe to watch compete against their heroes. Andre would have one reign as the WWE Champion by defeating a fan favorite through controversial means. The title change occurred when a referee was bribed to make a fast count in favor of Andre. Who was the wrestler to take the loss in this match?
Who did Daniel Bryan beat?
The journey from underdog to world champion shocked the wrestling world for the better when Daniel Bryan became a beloved main eventer. Fans fell in love with the genuine personality and incredible in-ring skills of Bryan. WWE still employs him as the General Manager of Smackdown following his retirement due to how much the crowd loves him. Bryan achieved the impossible by winning his first World Championship in WWE. What wrestler did Bryan defeat in improbable fashion to win the title?
Who did Kevin Nash beat?
Kevin Nash won his first major title in WWE under the name of Diesel. The big man actually made history with the win when he defeated his opponent in just 8 seconds on a non-televised live event. Both of these made for one of the most surprising title changes ever in WWE. Nash had a long stint with his one reign as WWE Champion despite not having much momentum. It helped lead to him making the WWE Hall of Fame a few years ago. Who did Nash defeat to win the gold?
Who did Edge beat?
Edge worked for years to get into a main event position as a true top star. A few failed pushes led to him adopting a new heel personality with more of an edge, no pun intended. The Canadian always had the in-ring skills but started to bring his personality up to the level needed to become a world champion. Edge won his first WWE Championship by defeating a rival. WWE expected it to be one short reign but fan interest and ratings changed that. Edge would win the world titles a total of eleven times. Who did he first defeat?
Who did Triple H beat?
If you’ve been watching wrestling for the past eighteen years, Triple H is likely the person you most associate with the world championship in WWE. It feels like Triple H held a title for the majority of the year every year during his prime. A total of fourteen world title reigns made him one of the most decorated stars in WWE history. The first title win was clearly a turning point as he finally reached the top of the mountain after fighting for it for years. Who was the first person to lose a world title to Triple H?