World records in wrestling are a funny thing. When you get right down to it, most of them don’t mean anything, because unlike regular sports, the results are pre-determined. For example, Rey Mysterio holds the record for lasting the longest in a Royal Rumble, at over an hour, but that’s because he was booked to do so. But on the other hand, how impressive is it that he wrestled in a Rumble for over an hour? That’s why wrestling fans hold their records in high regard, and even get upset when they’re challenged or even broken by someone who isn’t seen as “deserving”. Fortunately for wrestling fans, there are a few records in pro wrestling that will likely never be matched. Some of them are great, some of them less-so, but all of them seem more or less destined to remain unbroken.
10. Shortest Time In Royal Rumble
This hard-to-actually-measure record currently belongs to Santino Marella, who was officially eliminated from the 2009 Royal Rumble in one second. By Kane, if you wanted to know. Now, for the purposes of this record, your time starts from the second you enter the ring (as opposed to the record for longevity, which counts from when the horn blows to announce a new entrant). With that in mind, it has basically become physically impossible for anyone to beat that record without WWE doing some serious fudging of the numbers. Even if they went back and gave Santino credit for any fractions of a second that he might have still been in the match, it would take perfect precision in a match with a dozen things going on at any one time in order to come in under the record, which means that it seems like an admittedly dubious record that will stand the test of time.
9. Longest Pay Per View Singles Match
Sure, that’s a little specific, but we wanted to make sure that nobody would come up with one of those ninety-minute matches that happened in an independent promotion in front of twenty people, or the old house shows where Flair would go sixty minutes in untelevised matches. Also, we didn’t want to count the Royal Rumble. Sure those matches happened, but to have the longest match on a Pay Per View, where there are known time constraints, makes a record harder to break. And of course, this record is currently held by the Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels Iron Man Match from WrestleMania XII, which at sixty minutes plus an unexpected sudden death overtime has set a fairly unreachable standard. It’s unlikely to be broken simply because it’s incredibly unlikely that anyone would dedicate over an hour to a single match any more, especially on Pay Per View. The fact that it took place at WrestleMania actually spoke more to the lack of roster depth than any desire to give over a third of the show’s time to it. This is also why many modern Iron Man-style matches have been shaved down to thirty minutes.
8. Most Times Entering Same Royal Rumble
While we’re not precluding the possibility that someone could play three different and distinct roles as Mick Foley did in the late ’90s, it seems fairly unlikely. Yes indeed, in the 1998 Royal Rumble, Foley entered the Rumble match as all three of his alter egos, Mankind, Dude Love, and Cactus Jack. Lucky for him, his other personalities were always eliminated before a new one was scheduled. It’s like the Rumble doesn’t actually operate by random draw or something. Despite appearing in his three personas, Foley only managed to eliminate four wrestlers. In fact, Cactus Jack had the unlucky #1 spot, and was the second person eliminated. Also unfortunately for Foley, even though the Dude managed to draw a relatively late number and survived to be one of the final four competitors, this Rumble was Stone Cold Steve Austin’s to win, and he did so in fairly dominating fashion.
7. Highest Rating For A Televised Wrestling Program
Television ratings became a big deal in professional wrestling during the Monday Night Wars, when WCW and WWF used their weekly ratings as their main proof of supremacy in the fight to become the most popular wrestling promotion in the world. Which Monday show had the higher rating was considered to have “won” for that week (although it’s been shown that studying TV ratings on a weekly basis is not a good business model, you need to watch the ratings trends over longer periods instead). But even at the peak of the Attitude Era, when wrestling was the most popular it had been in years, they were never going to top the record for highest-rated wrestling show. That would be the 15.2 rating, which equated to roughly 33 million viewers at the time (by comparison, Raw in 2015 draws roughly between 3 and 4 million viewers). That record actually does belong to WWE, for the first episode of The Main Event, which aired on NBC on February 5th, 1988. That show featured the infamous “evil twin referee” angle, who fast-counted Hulk Hogan, allowing Andre The Giant to win the WWF Championship. Andre would then try to give the title to Ted DiBiase in the culmination of a long-running angle where DiBiase had attempted to buy the championship multiple times. However, WWF refused to allow that, declaring the title vacant, and setting up a WWF Title Tournament that would take place at WrestleMania IV.
6. Most Times Winning Same Championship
Shockingly, this record does not involve either the Hardcore Championship or Ric Flair. No, for the true record we have to go back to the territory days, specifically Memphis. And anyone who knows their wrestling history, knows that the real King of Memphis, Tennessee was none other than WWE Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler. And in his role as the long-running face of the Memphis territory, Lawler won the NWA/AWA Southern Heavyweight Championship (the title had several versions but a shared lineage) an astonishing 52 times. That’s more than Ric Flair, John Cena, Hulk Hogan, and Steve Austin’s World title reigns combined. Of course, the fact that Lawler was booking the promotion for much of his time there probably helped inflate the count a little, but it’s still an impressive and likely insurmountable number.
5. Most Eliminations In A Single Royal Rumble
Mathematically, it seems possible that Roman Reigns’ recently-set record of 12 eliminations could potentially be beaten. After all, there are 29 other competitors in every Rumble. But practically, and from a booking standpoint, even reaching double digits in eliminations in a single match is barely plausible, and has only happened four times in the history of the event. The previous record of 11, held by Kane, lasted for 13 years before Reigns surpassed it, and the one before that, of 10, was set in the second Rumble ever, back in 1989, by Hulk Hogan (and equaled once in 1997 by Steve Austin). At this point, breaking the record would mean eliminating nearly half the field, and allowing one wrestler to do that would almost certainly detract from the match quality. As long as the Rumble remains at 30 entrants (WWE did up the number to 40 in 2011 as a one-time experiment, but returned to 30 the following year), it’s likely this record will never be broken.
4. Shortest WrestleMania World Title Match
Depending on whether or not you’re willing to accept the ECW Championship as a World title (which WWE did, at least at the time), then the record is held by Kane (who seems to show up in this list a lot), who defeated Chavo Guerrero in 8 seconds to win the ECW Title at WrestleMania XXIV. If you’re like many people and don’t consider any title that could be held by Chavo Guerrero to possibly be a World title, then the record goes to Sheamus, who beat Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds at WrestleMania XXVIII to become World Heavyweight Champion. Rumor has it that this was actually an attempt to beat the previous record, but they accidentally took too long. Also, this match is infamous for inspiring a fan revolt the next night on Raw, a groundswell of support for Daniel Bryan over his perceived mistreatment, and eventually, the entire “Yes!” movement that led to Bryan winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX.
3. Most World Title Changes In One Year
The World title is supposed to be the crown jewel of your wrestling organization, the most difficult title to win. Not just anyone can be World Champion, it’s something that is defended in big matches between top competitors. So, when we tell you that WCW had their World Championship change hands an astonishing 19 times in a single year, you can probably figure out that the year was 2000, and it was the very last year of WCW’s existence before WWE bought them out. To make it even more ridiculous, in that time period, the belt was vacated 6 times, which means that the World title was won by someone who did not actually defeat the previous champion. The longest WCW World title reign that year was Sid at 76 days (although Scott Steiner would hold it for 120, only 35 of those days took place in 2000), and there were multiple reigns lasting less than a day. Oh, and David Arquette was one of the champions. Absolutely nothing WCW did that year should ever be replicated by any other wrestling organization, ever.
2. The Streak
It may have been broken by Brock Lesnar, but there is a reason we can just call it “The Streak” and every wrestling fan will know what’s being discussed. At 21 straight wins before finally succumbing to The Beast Incarnate, The Undertaker’s record of consecutive WrestleMania victories will almost certainly never be broken. In fact, The Streak itself nearly ended before it really became a thing, as rumors had Triple H initially set to defeat The Undertaker at WrestleMania X-7, before WWE was even really paying attention to the fact that Taker had never lost on the biggest stage of them all. The legend of The Streak built so naturally (and for the longest time, so quietly) that any future attempt to match it would seem ridiculously forced. Not that there’s much danger of anyone even coming close, at this point, the longest current WrestleMania undefeated streak is actually Rob Van Dam, who at 4-0 is unlikely to ever come close. Beyond that, no other active wrestlers even have a 2-0 record at WrestleMania.
1. Longest World and Women’s Title Reigns
It makes sense to group these two together, because due to the way the wrestling business works now, it’s unlikely either of these reigns will be beaten. First of all, there’s a reason why WWE promoted Nikki Bella’s record-breaking reign only in reference to the relatively new Divas Championship, because she was nowhere close to the true record that goes along with the original WWF/WWE Women’s Championship (which was absorbed into the Divas Title in 2010). That would belong to the Fabulous Moolah, who became the very first champion in 1956 and then held the title for 10,170 days (although title changes happened during that period, none of them are officially recognized), or just about 27 years. All right, so that was the Women’s Championship, which wasn’t exactly a major title that was defended incredibly rarely for many, many years. But how about the WWE World Heavyweight Championship? Remember how CM Punk made a big deal about being the longest-reigning champion of the modern era when his run as WWE Champion lasted 434 days? While that may be impressive, the reason he had to specify the modern era is because Punk’s reign is actually only sixth on the all-time list. For the longest WWE (then WWWF) Championship reign of all time, we turn to Bruno Sammartino, who held the belt for 2,803 days, or roughly 8 years as World Champion! That is definitely a record that will never, ever be broken.