Last updated on May 8th, 2022 at 11:12 am
For many years, the WWE World Heavyweight title has been one of the most sought after titles in the world of professional wrestling. While many pro wrestlers dream of lifting the title, only a chosen few get to make this dream a reality.
For a wrestler to become a WWE champion, he not only has to be highly talented, but also must possess what the promotion looks for in a champion. Over the years, we’ve seen many professional wrestlers go head to head for this title.
Whether it has been at PPV events such as WrestleMania or regular house shows, such as Monday Night Raw.
Majority of the wrestlers on this list took little or no time in settling in once they signed with the WWE. Others came straight from WWE’s developmental territories, others came from other promotions, while others came from the indie scenes.
That said, let us look at the 10 youngest WWE Champions of all time.
10. Ivan Koloff-28 Years 4 Months
Widely known as the Russian Bear, Ivan Kollof was arguably one of the greatest 80s wrestlers of all time. A force to reckon with, Ivan Kollof’s massive strength and grappling techniques saw him dominate many wrestlers in the squared circle.
Unlike most wrestlers on this list, Pedro Morales was a heel. Many wrestling fans and analysts consider him one of the biggest heel draws of the golden era alongside Superstar Billy Graham.
While many people acknowledged Koloff’s greatness, some did not see him simply taking the title from Bruno Sammartino.
In 1971, Ivan Koloff could finally do the unthinkable. He shocked the entire world by pinning the seemingly undefeated Bruno Sammartino in a sold-out Madison Square Garden. Because very few people knew about kayfabe at the time, Koloff’s win not only left many silent and numb, but other wrestling fans shed tears.
The win was surreal and shocking. However, three weeks down the line, Ivan Koloff would drop the belt to Pedro Morales.
9. Pedro Morales-28 years 3 Months
The first-ever triple crown champion in WWE’s history, Pedro Morales is best known for his appearances in the WWWF (now WWE) and Worldwide Wrestling Association. While many wrestling fans might not be familiar with Pedro Morales is, he remains an iconic figure in the world of professional wrestling.
After making his professional wrestling debut in 1959 for AWA, Pedro Morales’ career took off from the get go. With AWA, Pedro Morales won the World Tag Team championship and the World Heavyweight Championship. In 1970, Morales left AWA and joined the WWWF.
Morales would win the WWWF United States Championship title in his first few months with the company. In the month that followed, Pedro Morales would defeat Ivan Kollof to win the WWWF World Championship title.
Morales would briefly leave the company in 1975. During this time, Morales featured for various promotions, such as AWA, CWF and Big Time Wrestling.
In 1980, Morales would return to the newly renamed WWF for his second and final stint.
8. John Cena-27 Years 11 Months
One of the greatest wrestlers of all time, John Cena’s never-dying mentality, in-ring skills and ability to cut promos, saw him become a household name and a 16-time world champion. Currently, Cena is tied with Ric Flair for the most world championship reigns.
Like most professional wrestlers, Cena first started out as a bodybuilder before transitioning to professional wrestling.
In 1999, Cena made his pro-wrestling debut for UPW (Ultimate Pro Wrestling). John Cena signed with the WWE two years later and was assigned to its developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling.
The following year, Cena earned a promotion to WWE’s main roaster, alongside Randy Orton, Batista and Brock Lesnar.
With the WWE, Cena made his in-ring debut against Kurt Angle. While Cena lost the match, he still put forward a good showing. Because of his near-win, Cena ultimately became a fan favorite.
In 2004, Cena would win his first-ever WWE title, the United States Championship at WrestleMania after defeating the Big Show. Cena would ultimately begin a long-running feud with JBL, the then WWE Champion. In 2005, John Cena defeated JBL to become the new world champion at 27 years.
7. Big Show-27 Years 9 Months
A 7-time world champion, the Big Show is one of the most decorated professional wrestlers. With WCW, the Big Show would lift the WCW World Heavyweight title on two separate occasions and the WWF World title twice as well.
Prior to becoming a professional wrestler, Paul Wright did several jobs, including bounty hunting, answering phone calls and bouncing. After briefly featuring for WCW, Paul Wright would ultimately sign a 10-year contract with WWE in 1999.
Paul Wright would make his debut using his real names as a member of the McMahon led stable, the Corporation.
Wright would ultimately pick up on a new gimmick, the Big Show, and quickly established himself as one of the biggest stars in professional wrestling. As time went by, Big Show switched to a more comical angle, before ultimately settling for a more serious look after being traded to SmackDown.
At Survivor Series, The Big Show would take on Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight title. Thanks to Paul Heyman, the Big Show ended up winning the match.
This win not only made Big Show one of the youngest WWE champions, but he also ended up putting an end to Brock Lesnar’s undefeated streak.
6. Bruno Sammartino-27 Years 7 Months
Regarded as the greatest WWE champion of all time, Bruno Sammartino currently holds the longest title reign in the history of professional wrestling. A two-time world champion, Sammartino, held the WWWF World Heavyweight Title for approximately 11 years.
After competing as a strongman, Bruno ultimately switched over to professional wrestling. In 1959, Sammartino made his professional wrestling debut in Pittsburgh.
During this debut match, Sammartino ended up pinning Dimitri Grabowski, his opponent, in just under 19 seconds.
In 1963, Bruno Sammartino joined WWWF. During this period, the then world champion Buddy Rogers was struggling with chest pains. Thus, the WWE had to facilitate a title change as quickly as possible.
Two title contenders stood out: Buddy Rogers, and Antonio Rocca. The company ended up settling for Bruno Sammartino, who not only showed much promise but was also young.
WWE quickly set the match up and Bruno Sammartino ended up emerging the victor. He defeated Buddy Rogers in just under 48 minutes to become one of the youngest WWE champions.
5. The Undertaker-26 Years 8 Months
One of the most iconic figures in professional wrestling, The Undertaker, is undeniably one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. His ability to dominate matches, aura and in-ring presence saw him become one of the most memorable wrestlers.
Like most professional wrestlers, The Undertaker tried out several gimmicks before finally settling for The Undertaker. The macabre entity and horror-themed angle gained mainstream popularity. Before calling it quits in 2020, The Undertaker became the longest-tenured wrestler in the WWE after being with the company for 30 years.
After a brief stint with WCW, The Undertaker signed with the WWE making his in-ring debut at Survivor Series. In no time, The Undertaker found his way into the main event scene, taking on some of the biggest stars in the company, such as Ultimate Warrior and Jimmy Snuka.
At Survivor Series 1991, The Undertaker would defeat Hulk Hogan to become the new World Heavyweight champion. By winning the World Heavyweight title, The Undertaker made history by becoming the youngest WWE wrestler to win the title.
4. The Rock-26 years 6 Months
When he made his WWE debut back in 1996, no one would have imagined that Dwayne Johnson would become one of the greatest WWE wrestlers of all time. Despite being pushed heavily by the WWE, Dwayne Johnson lacked enough wrestling experience and thus often struggled to make a name for himself.
Many wrestling fans at the time not only rejected his character but also the constant push from the promotion. A year after making his WWE debut, Johnson would win his first-ever title, The Intercontinental title after defeating Triple H.
The more the WWF continued to push Johnson, the more he got rejected by the WWF Universe. However, behind the scenes, Bret Hart would slowly mentor Johnson and also provide valuable tips.
In 1998, The Rock took part in the Deadly Game tournament for the WWF World title. The finals took place at Survivor Series and The Rock went toe to toe against Mankind.
The Rock would emerge victorious, winning his first-ever WWF World title.
3. Yokozuna-26 years 6 Months
Arguably one of the heaviest wrestlers in the history of the WWE, Yokozuna was always a force to reckon with. The 580-pound giant became an iconic figure in the WWE and one of the most highly celebrated wrestlers.
A few months after making his WWE debut, Yokozuna became one of the top heels in the company. During the 1993 Royal Rumble event, Yokozuna would win the tourney after eliminating Randy Savage.
This impressive win would mark Yokozuna’s entry into the main event scene. Yokozuna ultimately became a mainstay in the main event scenes, wrestling with some of the biggest names in the WWE.
At WrestleMania IX, Yokozuna went toe to toe against Bret Hart in a high stakes match that for the WWF Championship title. As Bret Hart was closing in for a win after placing Yokozuna in a sharpshooter, Mr Fuji would sheepishly blind Bret Hart by throwing salt into his eyes.
Yokozuna would capitalize on this moment, and ended up pinning Bret Hart. This win saw Yokozuna become one of the youngest WWE champions of all time.
2. Brock Lesnar-25 Years
The beast is a wrestler who needs no introduction. One of the biggest and most dominant heels in the WWE, it’s clear to see why Brock Lesnar remains to be the highest-paid professional wrestler in the world.
Throughout his illustrious wrestling career, Brock Lesnar has won several titles.
At SummerSlam 2002, Brock Lesnar defeated the Rock in one of the most entertaining matches of the night. This impressive win meant that Brock Lesnar was now the new WWE undisputed champion.
Lesnar also made history by becoming the second-fastest debutant to win the highly coveted title at 126 days. Because the WWE Undisputed Championship was to be defended on both brands, so they expected Lesnar to feature on both brands.
However, after Vince McMahon’s intervention, Brock Lesnar was to only defend his title under the SmackDown Brand. As a result, the Raw General Manager, Eric Bischoff, had no option to create a new title, the World Heavyweight Championship.
Lesnar would defend his title in several matches, before ultimately dropping the title to The Big Show on November 17 at Survivor Series. This loss would mark Brock Lesnar’s first-ever pin-fall loss in the WWE.
1. Randy Orton-24 Years
By winning the WWE World title at 24 years, Randy Orton made history by becoming youngest WWE champion in the WWE. A third generational superstar, Randy “The Viper” Orton, is arguably one of the best heels we’ve seen in years.
After spending a bigger part of his early WWE career at OVW, the WWE would ultimately promote Orton to the main roaster alongside John Cena and Brock Lesnar.
While his WWE career began rather slowly, Randy Orton would ultimately become a popular figure as a member of Evolution. Under Evolution, Randy Orton developed a new gimmick, “The Legend Killer”, whose key role was to launch a series of attacks on wrestling veterans and WWE Hall of Famers.
In 2004, Randy Orton would win a 20-man Battle Royal, becoming the number 1 contender for the WWE title. At SummerSlam 2004, Randy Orton defeated Chris Benoit to become the new WWE champion.
This win not only meant that Randy Orton was now the face of the company, but also the youngest WWE champion in the promotion’s history.