The Best World Heavyweight Champion"
July 1, 2006 by Michael Brown

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Ever since the rebirth of the World Heavyweight Championship on Monday Night RAW, WWE has taken over the title and has added a lot of history to the already very important belt. Unlike other titles, this belt went through companies like NWA and WCW and was held by great men like Ric Flair, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, Sting, and Hulk Hogan. The World Title had finally went to WWE and it started on the RAW brand. The reason why it was brought back was because the WWE Champion Brock Lesnar - who had just defeated The Rock at the SummerSlam PPV in August of 2002 - was supposed to go on RAW the next night. Once he arrived though, the RAW General Manager Eric Bischoff wanted a new number one contender and made a match that night. It was Triple H against The Undertaker and The Game ended up getting the win and we thought he would face Lesnar at Unforgiven. But the Smackdown! General Manager Stephanie McMahon paid Brock a lot of money to be exclusive to the Smackdown! Brand and left RAW without a champion.

On September 2, 2002 Eric Bischoff revealed that RAW would have its own champion and awarded the gold to Triple H. Not happy with the decision, Ric Flair made his way down to the ring and challenged Triple H to defend his gold that night. The match was made and Triple H made a successful first title defense on RAW. At Unforgiven, Triple H once again successfully defended the title against Rob Van Dam with a little help from Nature Boy Ric Flair who had now became his ally and manager. On RAW, Triple H was proving his critics wrong when he once again defended the title against Bubba Ray Dudley. Then a new number one contender emerged when Kane defeated Chris Jericho for the Intercontinental Title and faced The Game at No Mercy in a Title for Title Winner Take All Match. Through his normal ways once again, Triple H beat Kane keeping the World Title and retiring the IC Belt.

The year of 2002 also brought the return of Shawn Michaels to the ring and he went right after Triple H who happened to be the World Champion. And since so many others were going after The Game, General Manager Eric Bischoff thought of a new kind of match for the Survivor Series PPV called the Elimination Chamber. This would be a title match with six superstars all going for the title. These guys included Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Kane, Chris Jericho, Rob Van Dam, and Booker T. In what was a very intense match where many got injured, the last two remaining were HBK and The Game. After a Sweet Chin Music, Shawn Michaels pinned Triple H to capture his first World Heavyweight Title in his career. As the new champion, Michaels defended his title on RAW against challenger Rob Van Dam. This was turning out to be a great match until Triple H interfered and it was ruled a no contest. The next month at Armageddon, Triple H got a rematch against the Heartbreak Kid in a 2-Out-Of-3 Falls Match. The first fall was a Street Fight that was won by Triple H, the second fall was a Steel Cage Match which was won by Shawn Michaels, and finally the last fall was a Ladder Match in which Triple H was able to regain the title for the second time.

Now as champion, The Game had to face a new challenger at the Royal Rumble in Scott Steiner, who was making his WWE debut. During the match when Steiner had The Game beat, HHH got DQ'd and was able to keep his belt. But he couldn't stay away from Big Poppa Pump as he faced Steiner once again at No Way Out and this time, with help from his new group Evolution, Triple H defeated Freakzilla. Now came WrestleMania XIX and the new challenger was Booker T (after winning a battle royal). With momentum on his side, Booker looked as though he would win the gold, but once the PPV came - and due to some help from Nature Boy - The Game found a way to retain the belt. Then in 2003, Kevin Nash came back to RAW and was trying to bring the band back together again. But Triple H was having no part of it and he turned on Big Sexy starting a new feud that got pretty intense. At first these two faced off at Judgment Day for the World Title but being the smart champion that he is, HHH got DQ'd again to retain it.

Nash still wasn't done however as a rematch was scheduled to take place at Bad Blood in a Hell In A Cell Match. And to match things worse, the Special Guest Referee was Mick Foley, who HHH had retired years earlier. In what was one hell of a match, Triple H somehow beat Nash and showed the world it would take a lot more to take this title away. Realizing this, General Manager Stone Cold Steve Austin made a Main Event for SummerSlam that was bring back the Elimination Chamber Match. Now the six superstars would include Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, and Bill Goldberg. During the match, Kevin Nash was the first person eliminated but once Goldberg entered the match, all hell broke loose. Goldberg pinned Orton, HBK, and Jericho all in less than 5 minutes which left him alone with The Game. But thanks to Ric Flair and a sledgehammer, Triple H retained the belt.

For Unforgiven, Triple H said that he would give Bill a rematch with one condition: Goldberg's career was on the line. Once Bill agreed, the match was on and at Unforgiven, Goldberg made the best of it as he captured the World Title after a Spear and Jackhammer. The new champion was a fighting champion as he successfully defended the belt against challengers like Chris Jericho, Mark Henry, and Shawn Michaels. At Survivor Series, The Game got his rematch and even with help from Evolution and a sledgehammer, Goldberg was still able to retain the championship. A new challenger showed his anger and attacked Bill telling him he wanted the next title shot. This man was Kane and just when he was about to get this opportunity, Triple H still wasn't done complaining. He was damn near begging for another shot at the title letting everyone know that he would stop at nothing to get it back. So to end it all, Eric Bischoff made a Triple Threat Title Match for the next PPV, Armageddon.

In December, Triple H pinned Goldberg and regained the World Title but as any new champion knows about being the man, it's harder to keep it than it is to win it. The new number one contender Shawn Michaels - who had pinned Triple H in a tag match - faced The Game at the Royal Rumble. But since these two had so much history and to make this one a unique match, Stone Cold made this a Last Man Standing Match. During the match, both men were unable to answer the referee's ten count and the match was ruled a draw. The 2004 Royal Rumble Winner was Chris Benoit and he was originally on the Smackdown! Brand but had decided to switch over to RAW and fight for the World Title. This was a big problem because HBK wasn't done with his race to the title, so during the contract signing for the WrestleMania Match, HBK Super Kicked Benoit and signed his name to it. Steve Austin had to make now a Triple Threat Match to end the controversy over who is the real number one contender.

At WrestleMania XX, Chris Benoit made Triple H tap out to the Crippler Crossface and had finally won the World Heavyweight Championship after 18 years of wrestling. The next month at Backlash, the rematch was on and it was the Triple Threat Match once again with HBK and The Game. This time, Benoit forced Shawn Michaels to tap out to the Sharpshooter proving that he really is for real and was here to stay. On Monday Night RAW, Shawn Michaels got a Title Shot against Benoit and for what was a great match from the start, Triple H cost HBK the match and helped The Crippler retain the gold. Then after a Battle Royal on RAW, Kane became the new number one contender and faced Benoit at Bad Blood for the World Title. In the match, Benoit failed on more than one occasion to make The Big Red Machine tap out so instead he pick up the win by pinning Kane with a roll up. Thinking it was a fluke, Kane was granted a rematch on RAW but this time the rules were that Benoit had to make Kane tap out and he couldn't pin. This wasn't a problem as Benoit force Kane to tap to the Crossface.

In another Battle Royal, Randy Orton was now named the new number one contender and faced the champion in the main event at SummerSlam. After a long and grueling match, Randy Orton hit a perfect RKO on Chris Benoit and had won the World Heavyweight Championship. Orton had now became the youngest World Champion ever at 24 years of age. This accomplishment was last held by Brock Lesnar back in August of 2002. Benoit however wasted no time in wanting a rematch as the next night on RAW, Chris enforced his rematch clause. In another tough match, Orton was able to retain the belt with help from Evolution. As they all celebrated the victory, Triple H made the call for them to turn on Orton and beat the hell out of him. The Game later revealed that he did it because Orton was selfish to win the Title when the belt belongs to Triple H. At Unforgiven the next month, Triple H got a title match and beat Randy Orton for the gold after help from the remaining Evolution members in Batista and Ric Flair.

As the new champion, Triple H went into Survivor Series as the leader of his team but they lost to Orton's Team which granted them control over RAW for a month. During Orton's night, HHH lost the belt in a Triple Threat Match involving Edge and Chris Benoit but there was one problem, we didn't know who won. Edge had pinned Benoit the same time Benoit made Edge tap to the Crossface. To sovle this, Vince McMahon vacated the gold and to crown a new champion, there was an Elimination Chamber Title Match for New Year's Revolution. This involved Triple H, Randy Orton, Batista, Chris Jericho, Edge, and Chris Benoit with Shawn Michaels as the Special Referee. In the match, Triple H once again regained the gold and was now a ten time WWE Champion. Later that same month, Evolution member Batista won the Royal Rumble and was now the number one contender. Even though Triple H tried to get Batista to go to Smackdown!, Batista didn't listen and he turned on The Game and decided to go for the World Heavyweight Title.

At WrestleMania 21, Batista was able to get the biggest win of his career as he beat Triple H to capture his his World Title ever. The next month at Backlash, Batista once again successfully retained the belt against Triple H but this time there was a little controversy. While The Game took time off, Batista beat the likes of Edge, Muhammad Hassan, and Christian to retain his belt showing the fans what kind of champion that he can be. Then HHH returned and wanted a rematch with Batista at Vengeance but this time it would be a Hell In A Cell Match. Batista accepted and for the third straight time beat Triple H with a Batista Bomb to keep this title at his side. The next month after being drafted to Smackdown!, Batista at The Great American Bash lost to John Bradshaw Layfield by DQ but got payback at SummerSlam in a No Holds Barred Match by beating JBL to retain the gold. For the last time, JBL got another title shot on Friday Night Smackdown! and it was a Texas Bull Rope Match, but like he did with Triple H, Batista beat JBL clean and was ready to move on.

After getting a win over Rey Mysterio in a Steel Cage Match, Eddie Guerrero was named the number one contender for the World Title and faced Batista at No Mercy for the belt. While it was a tough match, Batista with a spine buster retained the title and the two shook hands after showing great respect between the two. After the death of Eddie Guerrero, Batista got injured a few times and was struggling to hold on to his title. He became Tag Team Champions with Rey Mysterio and was the leader of Smackdown! as they were fighting RAW for Survivor Series. After Armageddon, Batista was still the champion but after being accused by Melina with sexual assualt, but a new challenger came along. Mark Henry had returned and was Melina's new bodyguard. After Henry cost Batista the Tag Titles, he then injured Batista on Smackdown! and this made Batista have to forfeit the gold after holding it for almost a year. General Manager Theodore Long said that it was time to move on as in the same night, he made a 20 Man Battle Royal to crown a new World Champion.

In the Battle Royal, Kurt Angle had won the title and was now the World Champion. He successfully retained the title against Mark Henry at the Royal Rumble but that same night came a challenger who we haven't seen in a while. His name was The Undertaker and since there was no real problem with the other, they acted as almost allies going into this match going against superstars like Mark Henry and MNM. At No Way Out, Kurt Angle and The Undertaker had one hell of a match and in an upset, Angle was able to retain the gold with a jacknife pin. Now going into WrestleMania, Angle had to look at the 2006 Royal Rumble Winner in Rey Mysterio. But also at No Way Out, Rey had lost his title shot to Randy Orton in a match. So on Friday Night Smackdown! Theodore Long made the Title Match a Triple Threat Match with Kurt Angle (Champion), Rey Mysterio (Royal Rumble Winner), and Randy Orton (New Number One Contender). At WrestleMania 22, Angle pretty much dominated the match and looked to be on the verge of winning but in a real shocker, Rey Mysterio pinned Randy Orton with a West Coast Pop.

With Rey Mysterio as the new World Heavyweight Champion, he successfully made his first title defense on Friday Night Smackdown! against Randy Orton in April. Then Kurt Angle got his rematch in England for the gold but Mysterio kept the belt by DQ when Mark Henry attacked Angle. A new challenger came as the United States Champion JBL wanted the World Title too. After losing many matches before the PPV to Mark Henry, The Great Kahli, and facing Kane, Mysterio was able to beat JBL at Judgment Day with a Frog Splash in honor of his late friend Eddie Guerrero. That same week on Smackdown! JBL got a rematch but he had to put his career on the line to do so. In the match after a little from from friend Chavo Guerrero, Mysterio once again pinned JBL and forced him to retire from the Smackdown ring. At ECW One Night Stand, Mysterio defended the title against Sabu but the match was ruled a draw as both men fell on their heads during the match. The latest title defense came on Smackdown! for Mysterio as he beat Mark Henry for the first time by DQ, with a little help from Chavo Guerrero.

So... who's been the best World Heavyweight Champion since it's return"

by Michael Brown ..

Jon Rosaler wrote:
Wait, did I hear that right" Scott Steiner made his WWE "DEBUT"""" You obviously never heard of the Steiner bros. who were former WWF Tag Team champions in the early 90's. Other than that, good column. The WWE World Heavyweight Championship has only been around for a short time, but we already have had incredible Athletes hold that title from Triple H to Rey Mysterio. Even though it was originally the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, the belt is in the hands of the WWE. Now that the belt is on Smackdown, one question remains. Will that belt be around for a long time" Rey Mysterio dropping the title to Mark Henry sounds really obvious. Why not drop it to Chavo Guerrero" The plan was for Eddie to win it before he died. Maybe Ken Kennedy or bring Edge over from Raw" There can never be a best World Champion, cuz whoever won that belt, is the best. To be the man you gotta beat the man ;).
Noel Australia wrote:
The best world champ since its return has to be Triple H, he is ten times the king he has retained through the hardest of times (Hell in a cell & Elimination chamber) HHH is the best champ ever!
Jonathan Preston wrote:
Well, I guess I would say Triple H to be honest. At least when the belt came back in 2002. But the greatest World Champion of all time is Bruno Sammartino. Anybody who held a world title for nine years and didn't lose it, is definitely the greatest in my book. Good column though. I like all the history of the belt.
Gus wrote:
I agree HHH is the best world champion ever. Many have criticized him becuase he uses his power backstage to get him world title reigns, but who made Batista a star " Who put Batista over THREE times" Who made John Cena look foolish" Who was in the possibly the greatest hardcore match in WWE history (vs. foley at Royal Rumble 2000)" That shows why HHH is the greatest wrestler alive today, he is the king of kings, HE IS THAT DAMN GOOD!!!!!
Ernesto Diaz wrote:
I really don't know who the greates World Heavyweight Champion is but i think it's gotta be Batista. It is certainly not HHH because he has only won and retained the title because of Evolution or because of a DQ. It's not Rey Mysterio. I have respect for that man but he hasn't held the title long enough. It's not Kurt Angle either. I have respect for him too but his only big successful title defense was in a classic match against the Undertaker (Kurt didn't really defend the title that much either). It definetely wasn't Randy Orton and you know why. It wasn't Chris Benoit because he didn't hold the title for very long. It wasn't Shawn Michaels because he immeadiately lost it to HHH. It was not Bill Goldberg because he just sucks. It was definetely Batista because he defended it a lot and has held it i think longer than any WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION (not including WWE champions) and remember that he never lost it. Trust me, when Batista comes back he get back what is rightfully his.
Warneke wrote: the answer, and only because he is my favourite wrestler, is batista
W D wrote:
yea great article i mean it got right to the point but a miscue on the telling of how hhh retired the ic title it was aginstant rvd not kane cause rvd one the number one contenders match-up aginstant tommy dreamer to unite the hardcore and ic titles then hhh beat rvd to retire the title but other then that the whole article was great
Shaggydog307 wrote:
My name is Brian and with out a doubt i think HHH has been the best World champion since its return,Rey mysterio has been the worst they only gave it too him because Eddie Gurrero died[RIP].But HHH has had the title the most,the most title shots,and has held the title longer than anyone since its return.
Jon Rosaler wrote:
I'm the only person who hasn't chose who I think is the best. Batista is strong, but his ability in the ring is no better than Cena's, Rey Mysterio is not a HEAVYWEIGHT, but he is holding a HEAVYWEIGHT title anyway, Shawn Micheals and Randy Orton are both transitional World Champions, Goldberg sucks, and Triple H is the only person who held that belt more than once. Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle seem like the best, but I pick Kurt Angle, he is the only person in the WWE to ever hold the WWE,WCW and World Title. So, yes, My Pick is Kurt Angle.
Sev M. wrote:
I'd have to say the best World Heavyweight Champion would have to be Kurt Angle. He's an awesome wrestler just on his own, and is often looked to as the guy "that makes matches good" Triple H is really not someone who helped the title in my book. It seemed to be specially made for him alone. The fact is he made it seem like nobody was allowed to be champion unless it was him. Honestly he made it look like paper belt most of the time. He was almost NEVER out of the title picture before Vengence last year. There were only 2 PPV's where he was not the champion and not involved in a title defense. I found that the belt's prestiege generally to increased the longer we had good non Triple h champions and fueds. Such as Batista vs Eddie and Kurt Angle vs Undertaker. Then the belt's lineage is confusing enough, is it supposed to be a continuation of the WCW title" If not...then why is it deisnged the same way" Goldberg was nothing special. Triple H buried numerous superstars before jobbing to Batista. Rey is a good champion in my book, but they keep squashing him.
Simeon Hubbard wrote: Well that's a tough one, but I can tell you this:
It's NOT Triple H b/c he has disgraced the World Heavyweight Title by having Evolution interfere in his match, plus that John Stamos wannabe Eric Bischoff decides to give Triple H more title shots, and mainly b/c Triple H is Vinnie Mac's son-in-law.

So the answer should be a tie between Chris Benoit, Batista, and Kurt Angle.

Chris Benoit he worked hard to become the champ and has made Triple H and Kane tap out.

Batista has defeated Triple H Three Times in 3 Different PPV's Wrestlemania 21, Backlash in the Triple H/Batista II Match, and @ Vengeance inside Hell in a Cell a.k.a. Triple H/Batista III.

Kurt Angle he's another TRUE athlete and when he heard about Batista's injury, he went to SD! and won the 20 man over the top rope Battle Royal to become the 6x World Heavyweight Champion and he did it w/the support of his fans, plus RAW has disgraced the WWE Championship w/John Cena trying to please the crowd and Edge who disgraces the WWE Championship by having LIVE sex on LIVE TV. SICK!

HBK won the 1st ever Elimination Chamber and won the World Heavyweight Title @ Survivor Series, but only held it for 4 weeks and lost it to Triple H once again @ Armageddon in a 2 out of 3 Falls Match.

Randy Orton maybe the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in WWE History, but he's too cocky to hold a championship.

Rey Mysterio only won the title b/c of Eddie's Death and Rey is NOT a Heavyweight, I mean no disrespect towards Rey, I mean I respect him for his accomplishments, but Rey is like only 200 lbs.

GOLDBERG, I mean hey I like GOLDBERG b/c back in WCW he was Da Man, but the reason he won the World Heavyweight Championship was b/c of those WWE Bookers were setting up for Triple H to win the title, plus WWE destroyed his character, if he goes to T N A and makes an IMPACT! it sure would be AWESOME!

now I would LOVE for others to hold the World Heavyweight Championship:

Shelton Benjamin: A move to SD! would help him become the World Heavyweight Champion, b/c on RAW he was AWESOME!, but lately RAW's creative team has destroyed his character, I say move Shelton to SD! and give him a World Title shot.

Bobby Lashley: He definatly deserves to be the World Heavyweight Champion, he's the Uinted States Heavyweight Champion and if he keeps his winning streak up, then he is TRULY worthy of the World Heavyweight Championship.

Booker T.: When is he going to FINALLY hold the World Heavyweight Championship" The last time he had the World Title when it was the WCW World Heavyweight Championship was @ Summerslam 2001 when he lost to The Rock and it was b/c they were giving The Rock a push before going to HOLLYWOOD, I think he deserves the World Heavyweight Championship.

So there you are, Benoit, Batista, and Kurt Angle, NOT Triple H.
Nabih wrote:
It's obvious that Triple H is the best world champ ever.Not only because he held it 10 times , but every time you watch him in a match or just talking in the ring you can see that he is the best. He's THE GAME you DAMN right he's the best

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