The WWE Championship, the richest prize in the game, the mountain top, the big kahuna burger, the juicy plum, Daddy’s little gentleman, Megan Sparkle, The Golden place Around the Waist, the old chungus, Metal Darren, John Cena’s BFF, the gemstone baron of sussex county, the original shiny, golden delicious, Nameplate Q Thunderdump, Spintabulous Glitterpinch, the old-timey glimmer and snaps spit and polish experience, and Douglas.
A prestigious bit of hardware, competed for by the biggest players in the game, Rock, Austin, Cena, Hogan, Maven on Raw in January 2002, Batista, Triple H, Ric Flair and the list goes on, but did you know that some truly silly names have challenged for the most prestigious championship in WWE history, names that don’t quite belong in the aforementioned pantheon.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and have a look at some matches (all of them televised, some of them on pay-per-view) where the WWE Champion put everything on the line against a challenger that makes you say… him?
I’m Adam hailing from partsFUNknown and here are 10 Wrestlers You Forgot Challenged for the WWE Championship.
10. Gillberg – SmackDown (August 31, 1999)
Aw, the silliest man. The figurehead of WWF being a catty little mister during the Monday Night Wars.
Over in WCW they had Goldberg, have you heard of him, he fought for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam, wasn’t that silly.
He was a big dude who killed medium dudes and entered to terrifying pyro. Vince responded by transforming Duane Gill into Gillberg, a tadpole dude who died often, and came out to sparklers and aggressive fire extinguishers.
Oh and he was also WWF Light Heavyweight champion for [checks notes] 15 f**king months, well how do you do.
During that reign, on August 31’s episode of SmackDown, he had a shot at an upgrade, when he wrestled Triple H for the WWF title in the greatest champion vs champion match since Hogan and Warrior.
He actually got a spear in on trips which popped the crowd before proceeding to be murdered in the kind of arrogant champion puts his title on the line against a jobber that WWE have repeated many times since.
See also, Brock destroying Paul London for the Undisputed title in October 2003, and Sheamus killing Zack Ryder with the spinner belt on the line in August 2010.
9. Cody Rhodes – Raw (August 31, 2009)
I think it’s fair to say that AEW really needs to see a surgeon about the chip on its shoulder.
At the start it was all good fun, Cody doing a Gillberg level squash on giant f**king chair before staring down the lens for 10 minutes saying ‘do you get it’.
While Cody has many legitimate reasons to hate the big dub (most of them polka dot related), the one thing he can’t claim is that he never got a chance to compete for the WWE Championship, cos that’s exactly what happened on Raw on August 31, 2009.
See that night, the guest host of Raw turned out to be the American Dream Dusty Rhodes, who cut a promo about how much he loved his son, who was actually a heel at the time.
Randy put his title on the line against Cody who, holy s**t really looked like Lazytown’s Robbie Rotten at the time, with John Cena as special guest ref.
The actual match broke down almost immediately with it being revealed to be a legacy ambush on Big Match John, but hell the match is technically in the books.
But if you’re not convinced and think this is a wasted entry, Val Venis fought the Rock for the WWE Championship on the October 12, 2000, episode of SmackDown while dressed as a milkman. Venis rhymes with penis.
8. Spike Dudley – SmackDown (June 12, 2001) & SmackDown (June 29, 2004)
Spike Dudley is often referred to as the runt of Dudley litter, but out of all of his brothers, including Big Dick Dudley, never forget him, he’s actually had the most WWE Championship matches in his career.
Devon can testify to having none, Bubba Ray fought Kurt Angle for the strap on SmackDown in December 2000, but Spike has fought for the former Winged Eagle not once, but twice!
In the main event of SmackDown on June 14, 2001, Spike fought Steve Austin for the belt and actually lasted four minutes, good for him!
Three years later, on July 1, 2004, the week after dethroning Eddie Guerrero for the WWE Championship, JBL defended the black and gold against Spike again in the main event of SmackDown, and spike lasted almost twice as long, even nailing the Dudley Dog for a near fall.
Turns out Steve Austin is better than JBL. It’s finally official.