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Top 10 Longest Reigning Champions

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In the nearly fifty year history of the WWE, these men have been the champions longer than anyone else. Due to the brand split in 2002, for the next 11 years there were two titles of equal value, the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship. I am including both of those titles in this list. The dates used to determine the length of title reigns are based on the title history on WWE.com.

1. Bruno Sammartino - 11+ years (4,040 days)

HOLLYWOOD - SEPTEMBER 22: Professional Wrestler Bruno Sammartino arrives to the Feast of San Gennaro on September 22, 2005 in Hollywood, California.
Matthew Simmons/Getty Images

Bruno Sammartino was the dominant figure in the early days of the WWE. His first title reign began in 1963 and lasted until 1971. He regained the title in 1973 and held it until 1977. Even after losing the belt, he was still the top draw in the company. He headlined the 1980 Shea Stadium show by competing in a Steel Cage Match against Larry Zbyszko. He was a commentator for the WWE in the '80s. Since leaving the business, Bruno has been an outspoken critic against the WWE.

2. Hulk Hogan - almost 6 years (2,185 days)

Hulk Hogan
(c) 2006 Matt Law

Hulk's six title reigns barely place him in second place. Hulk's first title reign was his longest. He beat the Iron Sheik in 1984 and held the title until 1988. During his time in WCW, he was their champion for approximately 3 calendar years.

3. Bob Backlund - almost 6 years (2,138 days)

Bob Backlund beat Billy Graham in 1978 and held the belt until 1983 when he lost it to The Iron Sheik. Over a decade later, he won the title from Bret Hart at Survivor Series '94 and lost it a few days later in a matter of seconds to Diesel.

4. John Cena - 3+ Years (1,346 days) & Counting

© 2006 World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

John Cena won his first WWE Championship at WrestleMania 21 from JBL. He was briefly without the WWE title when Edge cashed in his money in the bank shot but he regained it a few weeks later. He lost the title to Rob Van Dam at ECW One Night Stand 2006 but would win it again from Edge at Unforgiven. His third title reign lasted over a year and ended with him having to forfeit the title due to an injury. He won the World Heavyweight Championship by beating Chris Jericho at Survivor Series 2008 and lost it a few months later in an Elimination Chamber match at No Way Out. Over the course of the next few years, John has had several runs with both the WWE and World Heavyweight Championship. In total, John has won those two titles a combined 15 times.  His most recent title reign, which began on June 29, 2014, is not included in the total.

5. Triple H - 3+ years (1,151 days)

© 2006 World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Triple H is a 13-time champion. While he does not hold the record for the length of his title reigns, he does hold the record for most combined championship title reigns in the WWE. His 8 WWE Championship reigns as well as his 5 World Heavyweight Championship reigns are also records. Triple H first won the WWE Championship in 1999. His 13th title reign began at No Way Out 2009

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6. Pedro Morales - almost 3 years (1,027 days)

Pedro Morales was the champion from 1971 until 1973. His most notable title defense was a time limit draw with Bruno Sammartino at a Shea Stadium show in 1972. He became the first wrestler to become a WWE triple crown champion. In 1980, he won the tag team titles with Bob Backlund and was the Intercontinental Champion during the early '80s. In 1995, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

7. Bret Hart - almost 2 years (654 days)

Gallo Images/Getty Images

Bret's first title win was a shock to wrestling fans anywhere. He beat Ric Flair in an untelevised match and showed up on television as champion even though he wasn't thought to be a contender for the title. By contrast, his final title reign ended in the most talked about match of all time.

8. Randy Orton - 632 days and counting

Gallo Images/Getty Images

In 2004, Randy Orton won his first World Heavyweight Championship and in the process became the youngest man to ever win a world championship for the company.  Since then, he has been a fixture in the main event scene.  He is an 11-time world champion.  He has held the WWE Championship eight times and the World Heavyweight Championship three times. His current title reign, which is not included in the total, began at Hell in a Cell 2013 when he defeated Daniel Bryan in a Hell in a Cell Match to stake claim to the vacant title.  Two months later, he unified the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships when he beat John Cena in a TLC Match at TLC 2013.  His time as WWE World Heavyweight Champion since unifying the belts is not included in the total.

9. CM Punk - 622 days

Photo of CM Punk: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Punk's two first reigns as World Heavyweight Champion began as a result of cashing in the Money in the Bank Championship. He finally won the title without the aid of the briefcase in 2009 by beating Jeff Hardy in a TLC Match at SummerSlam '09. In total, his three reigns as World Heavyweight Champion were for only 160 days. In 2011, he won the WWE Championship for the first time and in the process sent shockwaves throughout the industry over a four week period because his victory over John Cena at Money in the Bank 2011 was on the final night of his contract with the company. That led to a tournament to crown a new champion and eventually resulted in Punk unifying the two belts by beating John Cena again at SummerSlam. The reason Punk made it onto this list is because of his second WWE Championship reign. He won the title from Alberto Del Rio at Survivor Series 2011 and held onto it for 434 days before losing it to The Rock at Royal Rumble 2013.

10. Edge - 551 days

Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Starting in 2006, Edge became a fixture on the main even scene after cashing in his Money in the Bank title shot to win the WWE Championship. Edge would go on to be known as the Ultimate Opportunist because of the way he would go about winning and retaining the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships. He wound up having four WWE Championship reigns and seven World Heavyweight Championship reigns. Sadly, Edge was forced to retire in 2011 while still the World Heavyweight Champion due to medical problems related to a neck injury he suffered several years earlier.

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