When a wrestler wins the World Heavyweight Championship, it’s almost like when an actor gets the Oscar for an outstanding performance in a leading role. It surely is the matter of utmost respect, because the WWF/WWE title is undoubtedly the dream of all the participants at the most prestigious championship in the history of pro wrestling, but it is also simply speaking the top prize for being better than all the rest in the trade of your choice. This important belt has been proudly held over the years by some really outstanding names such as unforgettable Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, Edge, The Undertaker and many others, but there are also those very talented and hard-working individuals who have never been blessed by the opportunity to display that big important belt around their waists, no matter what they did. Talent and hard work are indispensable prerequisites, but securing yourself a place in history requires other things as well – the right combination of unique personality and perfect timing when to appear at the wrestling scene, united with tons of good luck. So who are some of the most famous wrestlers who have never won a major championship? Read on to find out more about them!
1. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Jake “The Snake” Roberts, born as Aurelian Smith Jr. and son of former wrestler Aurelian “Grizzly” Smith is best known for two relatively short periods that he spent in the World Wrestling Federation (later named WWE) – he was present at the wrestling scene from 1986 to 1992, and also between 1996 and 1997. He never won a title in WWF, but that didn’t stop him from becoming well-known for cutting exceptional promos. He earned his nickname for his habit of bringing snakes into the ring, in particular his pet python Damien, which he would often throw on the top of the opponents he managed to defeat. He is remembered for some incredible feuds with Ted DiBiase, Rick Rude and Randy Savage, in which he presented his spectacular abilities.
He had that right kind of personality necessary to become successful in business and he was certainly blessed by talent and popularity, but the closest he came to the title was after a brush with Hulk Hogan, when he got cheered by the fans for attacking Hogan. The bookers weren’t really fond of this situation and to protect Hogan, they separated the two of them on TV for an indefinite period of time. The general feeling was that this stopped the career of a person who could have grabbed hold of the Hogan’s top star status, and if things had been different, Jake “The Snake” would have probably become an extraordinary WWF champion. In addition to these drawbacks, Jake’s years of alcohol and drug abuse probably contributed to his failure to find himself at the highest level of pro wrestling scale where he rightfully belonged. He entered the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014.
2. Ted DiBiase
Ted DiBiase, born as Theodore Marvin DiBiase, Sr. is a retired professional wrestler who was very successful in many wrestling promotions, earning thirty titles in his professional career. He is considered to be one of the best heels to enter the wrestling ring, and it is very unfortunate that he never secured himself a legitimate win in WWF/WWE World Heavyweight Championship. He technically held the WWF Championship for just a couple of days when Andre gave him the belt after cheating Hogan out in the middle of a referee scandal, but this short-term domination was never rightfully acknowledged. True wrestling fans still remember his astonishing feuds with Hulk Hogan, Jake Roberts and Dusty Rhodes. He patiently challenged Hogan for the belt on innumerous occasions over many long years, but he never managed to win it. However, he did win the ‘Million dollar Championship’ in ‘89 which is said to be one of the most expensive belts in the wrestling’s history as it took $125,000 to make it, but this isn’t a major championship that remained a DiBiase’s dream that has never come true. All in all, he will be remembered as one of the top-notch wrestlers with amazing skills on the microphone, whose actions didn’t earn him the true love of the fans in spite of his undeniable charisma.
3. Owen Hart
Owen James Hart was Canadian-American both professional and amateur wrestler also known by his ring name, The Blue Blazer. He took part in some exceptional promotions which included New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), Stampede Wrestling, World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). His career was cut short by tragedy in 1999 due to an equipment malfunction in Kansas City at the WWF’s Over the Edge pay-per-view event, but even if this tragic event hadn’t happened, maybe he still wouldn’t have managed to hold the WWF Championship. Like DiBiase, he supposedly won the World Championship one time, but the title couldn’t be considered legitimate. In his early career he had some excellent feuds with his brother Bret – they were both members of their dad’s Hart dungeon and very talented wrestlers, but some think that Owen was better than Bret and that he unjustifiably spent a part of his career in the shadow of his brother. Owen Hart seemed destined to remain somewhere in the mid-level of the wrestling scene, without rising above the International Championship’s grounds, but we’ll never know what could have happened if things had been different. He was a two-time WWF Intercontinental Champion, a four-time WWF World Tag Team Champion, as well as the 1994 WWF King of the Ring, and he left both WWE and the world having won these prizes and many others – all except the biggest and the most desired one.
4. Rick Rude
Richard Erwin “Rick” Rood, well-known in the wrestling world by his ring name “Ravishing” Rick Rude, was an American professional wrestler. He did many promos, among others World Championship Wrestling (WCW), World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) and like DiBiase, he was one of the best performers in WWF/WWE in the late 80s and early 90s. He did a great job on the microphone and he certainly knew well how to stir the audience. It is hard to forget his memorable feuds with Ricky Steamboat, Roddy Piper and Jake Roberts when his awesome talents shined brightly, but he never got hold of the World Title. He did win a WCW International World Heavyweight Champion Title which was a big deal in WCW, because names like Ric Flair and Sting were connected to it, but it is not considered a ‘major’ title. It lasted for only a year when it was retired after a merger with prestigious WCW World Heavyweight Championship, which put the end to Rude’s claims to be accepted as the legitimated champion. He was a great wrestler with an amazing personality and he would have certainly stand out from the crowd as the World Heavyweight Champion. Maybe it could have still happened if he hadn’t retired in 1994 due to a back injury. Rick Rude died in 1999 from a heart failure, supposedly caused by an overdose of mixed medication, but wrestling fans still recall his charismatic performances.
5. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper, was a Canadian professional wrestler and actor, born in 1954 as Roderick George “Roddy” Toombs. He’s one of the legendary names in the world of wrestling and just like Jake Roberts, he cut some absolutely astonishing promos. Along with Hulk Hogan, he was a central figure in pro wrestling of the 80s and 90s and is definitely responsible for making wrestling more widespread, but sadly enough he never became a WWF/WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Roddy Piper was one of the first performers to challenge the iconic movement known as Hulkamania, but Hogan’s power proved to be too strong for him every time he tried to defy him.
Piper was named one of the best talkers in the wrestling sport, as well as one the most important building blocks of the original Wrestlemania, but the timing of his appearance on the wrestling stage wasn’t right – he simply couldn’t have become a World Champion while Hulk Hogan was around, even though he was a genuine legend and one of the leading stars of this sport of his time, which alone could have secured him that important belt around his waist if the rules had been different. He died in 2015 in his sleep at the age of 61 in his home in Hollywood, California.
This short review covered several often mentioned and well-known wrestlers who have never won a major championship – feel free to name others as well and tell us what makes them unique!