World Wrestling Entertainment occupies a strange but immovable place in popular culture. It’s competitive, it’s theatrical, it can be completely ridiculous and it can be unexpectedly thrilling. And it’s still a ratings juggernaut. Although the story lines are planned, there’s no way to fake a back flip off the top turnbuckle or a choke-slam through a table. Let’s all indulge in the pomp, the extravagance, the drama, and the spandex of WWE with these awesome facts. Can I get a “WOOOO”?
42. Champ Among Champs
The competitor with the single longest reign as WWE Champion is Bruno Sammartino, who held the title for a total of 2,803 days. He won the belt on May 17th, 1963 and lost it on January 18th, 1971. And that record isn’t likely to be broken any time soon: just try to imagine any contemporary superstar holding on to the championship for almost eight years in a row without riots breaking out.
41. The Russian Bear
Ivan Koloff, “The Russian Bear,” was the man who brought an end to Bruno Sammartino’s titanic reign in 1971. When he pinned the champ, the Madison Square Garden crowd fell silent, and many grown-ass men were reduced to tears.
40. Mid-Life Crisis Averted
The oldest WWE Champion in the brand’s history is none other than the boss himself, Vince McMahon, who won the title when he was 54.
39. The Beast With One Excessively Jacked Back
The youngest superstar to win the WWE championship is Brock Lesnar, who was 25 years old when he beat The Rock at SummerSlam to claim the title. However, in 2004, Randy Orton won the world Heavyweight title at just 24. They’re both champions in their own right!
The distinction of the shortest ever WWE title reign belongs to Andre the Giant, who held the title for 1 minute and 48 seconds in 1988. He had just beaten Hulk Hogan for the title, but promptly handed the belt over to Ted DiBiase, “The Million Dollar Man,” who seemed to have paid Andre off.
37. Mr. Lesnar & Mr. Angle
The WWE Championship match at WrestleMania XIX between Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle was the first WrestleMania main event to feature two wrestlers who used their real names.
36. “As God is my Witness he is Broken in Half!”
Mick Foley could really take the pain like no other, and his most famous hit is definitely his tumble from the top of the cell at King of the Ring, 1998, at the hands of the Undertaker. Foley suffered a concussion, a dislocated jaw, a dislocated shoulder, and a bruised kidney—but still finished the match. The Undertaker would eventually chokeslam him for the win, but it was Foley’s legend that was cemented that night.
35. The Grand Slam
There are only six Superstars who’ve won the WWE World Heavyweight, Intercontinental, United States, and WWE Tag Team Championships: Eddie Guerrero, Daniel Bryan, Kurt Angle, The Miz, Edge, and The Big Show.
34. “The Pride of Tennessee”
The first African American to hold a World title was Hall of Famer Jacqueline, who won the WWE Women’s title on September 15, 1998.
33. Busy Year
In 1999, the WWE championship changed hands a total of 11 times.
32. Sharing is Caring
The record for most world title reigns ever is shared by John Cena and Ric Flair, both with a staggering 16 in total.
31. Boiler Room Brawl
Sometimes the ring itself isn’t enough to contain all the bitter rivalries and gargantuan egos bouncing around the place. Increasingly unusual venues have been used for certain contests, and one of the most legendary among these more unorthodox match types was the first ever Boiler Room Brawl, SummerSlam 1996. It was the height of Mankind and The Undertaker’s feud, and the two found themselves fighting each other in a dingy boiler room filled with steel pipes, machines and concrete. This match type is essentially non-existent in the WWE today.
30. Gulf of Mexico Match
One of the most bizarre matches ever seen in the WWE (well, ECW) was the Gulf of Mexico Match, February 2008. CM Punk and Chavo Guerrero fought one another out on the street in the middle of the night, and the winner was whoever could toss the other person into the chilly waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Naturally. CM Punk was victorious, and sent Guerrero flying to sleep with the fishes (at least until the following week).
Kane and The Undertaker faced off in the first ever Inferno match back in 1998, one of the most dangerous contests in WWE history. Cooked up by Paul Bearer, the match rules were simple enough: the ring is set on fire and the first opponent to catch fire is the loser. The match is so dangerous that it’s only taken place four times in total, each one featuring everyone’s favourite pyromaniac, Kane.
28. And People Say Wrestling is Trash…
Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie took on the New Age Outlaws for the WWE Tag Team Championship at Wrestlemania XIV, in the world’s first Dumpster Match. The winning team, predictably enough, is the one that manages to throw the other into the dumpster and close the lid.
27. Life After Death
“Death” storylines are not common in the WWE, but they do happen. One notable example was The Undertaker defeating Big Boss Man in the Hell in a Cell at Wrestlemania XV. Taker tied a noose around Boss Man’s neck and hanged him from the roof of the cage so that it appeared as if he had been killed. The storyline didn’t really go down well with the fans, and three weeks later the Boss Man returned, without any explanation, to fight Kane.
26. RATM Fanboy
Stone Cold Steve Austin’s iconic entrance music was inspired by Rage Against the Machine’s “Bulls on Parade.”
25. Iron Mike
Mike Tyson made a guest appearance at WrestleMania XIV in 1998 as the “Special Guest Enforcer” referee for the title match. He returned in 2010 as the guest host of Raw, and was inducted to the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame for the class of 2012.
24. I Pulled on My Spandex for This??
The shortest match in WWE’s history was a tag team contest that had Mideon and Tazz face off against Jerry Lawler and Chris Jericho. As soon as the bell rang, Lawler rolled Tazz up, winning the match in three seconds and handing poor Tazz the unfortunate honour of the quickest loss in WWE history in the the process.
23. Big Red Royal Rumble Machine
Kane holds the record for most Royal Rumble eliminations of all-time, having eliminated 44 competitors over 19 Rumble appearances.
22. For the Win
John Cena has the most impressive win percentage out of all the superstars in the WWE, having won 78 percent of his matches. Shawn Michaels is the runner up with 67 percent.
21. The Most Decorated Tag Team in History
The Dudley Boyz are the only tag team in history to have held the WWE, WCW, NWA, ECW, and IWGP Tag Team Championships, and the team has held tag team gold a total of 24 different times.
20. The Fabulous Moolah
The Fabulous Moolah held the Women’s Championship belt for a record 28 years, from September 1956 up until July 1984. She lost it to Wendi Richter, a young competitor managed by pop legend Cyndi Lauper.
19. Seriously Could She Be Any More Fabulous?
During her reign, The Fabulous Moolah became the first woman to ever wrestle in Madison Square Garden after she and WWE promoter Vincent J. McMahon had successfully gotten rid of the ban against women’s wrestling at the venue.
18. Into the Stratusphere
Trish Stratus has had more WWE Women’s Championship wins than anyone else, having held the title a total of seven times.
17. The Eighth Wonder of the World
Andre The Giant’s undefeated streak is the stuff of legend; the first fifteen years of his twenty year career were undefeated. His first loss was at WrestleMania III against Hulk Hogan.
16. Mr. WrestleMania?
Despite earning the “Mr. WrestleMania” moniker, Shawn Michaels lost 11 of his 17 matches at the event.
15. Packed to the Rafters
More than 100,000 WWE fans attended WrestleMania 32 in Dallas, smashing the previous record of 93,173 attendees for WrestleMania III in Michigan.
14. He Always Did Think Outside the Box
The current incarnation of Goldust might be watered down considerably, but at one point he was one of the most bizarre and controversial characters in sports entertainment. In 1999, Dustin Runnels (Goldust) made a genuine pitch to Vince McMahon to get breast implants for the sum of $1 million, thinking it might save his fledgling career. McMahon even considered the idea before ultimately turning him down.
13. Sexton Hardcastle
Most successful superstars have had to work with a lousy gimmick at one point in their careers, and chief among these was the great Edge’s early stint as Sexton Hardcastle (really), a narcissistic lothario with a penchant for sex puns.
12. Gotta Pay Those Bills
Before joining the WWE, Irish superstar and “human jar of mayonnaise” (John Cena’s words) Sheamus used to work as Bono’s bodyguard. I guess standing next to Bono for hours at a time was a less desirable fate than being repeatedly hit in the face for a living.
11. Gotta Start Somewhere
CM Punk and Diamond Dallas Page were among the developing talent who were used as extras during some of the more extravagant entrances at WrestleMania in the years before achieving stardom. Punk was an extra for Cena’s WrestleMania 22 entrance, while DDP could be seen driving the pink Cadillac carrying the Honkytonk Man, Greg Valentine, and Jimmy Hart at WrestleMania VI.
10. The Streak
In a career that has spanned over 25 years, The Undertaker’s greatest achievement is perhaps his WrestleMania streak of 21 wins and zero losses. The streak ended at WrestleMania 30; he lost to Brock Lesnar.
9. A Lot of Catching up to Do
With The Undertaker’s streak having come to an end, the record for current highest undefeated streak at WrestleMania is held by Rob Van Dam. So far he has had four wins and zero losses.
8. That’s Some Impressive Rumbling
Rey Mysterio holds the record for the longest time spent in the ring during a single Royal Rumble, surviving 1 hour, 2 minutes and 12 seconds.
7. The Game Lives Up To His Monicker
The superstar who has amassed the longest combined time in the Royal Rumble match is Triple H, boasting a total of 3 hours, 59 minutes and 37 seconds over the course of his nine appearances.
6. Blessing in Disguise?
Stone Cold Steve Austin famously almost broke his neck and was almost left paralyzed after a botched piledriver at the hands of Owen Hart at SummerSlam 1997. Despite the hardships he endured, it was adapting to the injury that forced Austin to change his form from a more technical approach to the stone cold brawling style that he became famous for.
5. The Rumble Almost Never Was
The Royal Rumble is easily the most popular gimmick match that the WWE offers, but it almost never existed. When Hall of Famer Pat Patterson pitched the idea to Vince McMahon many years ago, McMahon had no interest in pursuing it. Still, Patterson proposed the idea to NBC executive Dick Ebersol, and Ebersol loved it. The rest is history.
4. Life Imitating Art
Best known as the ghostly-white, urn-bearing manager of The Undertaker (and later Mankind and Kane), Paul Bearer was actually a licensed mortician and funeral director in real life.
3. Hot Water
In 1993 the darker underside of the WWF was in the public eye when owner Vince McMahon was criminally charged with distribution of steroids to wrestlers. The star witness who was called forth to give testimony was none other than Hulk Hogan. Vince and Hogan both accepted that they used steroids in the past and it was revealed that around 75 to 80% of the wrestlers under the employ of the company also used steroids, but Vince was not convicted of distributing the substance.
Released in 2015, the WWE did a crossover movie with The Flintstones called The Flintstones and WWE: Stone Age Smackdown! It was the first Flintstones production in over 14 years and the first since the death of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. It features the vocals of The Bella Twins, Daniel Bryan, John Cena, CM Punk, Rey Mysterio, Vince McMahon, The Undertaker, and Mark Henry.
1. Cena’s a Good Dude
John Cena holds the record at the Make-A-Wish Foundation for the most wishes granted by an individual: as of 2015 he has granted 500 wishes.
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37