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Who had the longest reign as WWE champion?

9 months ago By Sports Desk

Bruno Sammartino is one of the true legends in WWE history, a foundational figure whose impact cannot be overstated. Before the emergence of Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, John Cena, and Roman Reigns, Sammartino held the WWE Championship for over 11 years, solidifying his status as a wrestling icon. 

Despite his limited appearances in later years and a strained relationship with WWE, Sammartino’s time as champion remains a vital part of professional wrestling history. This article explores the significance of Sammartino’s championship reigns and his remarkable legacy.

The Longest Championship Reign in WWE History

Bruno Sammartino’s record-setting championship reigns are a testament to his unparalleled dominance. His shorter reign lasted from December 10, 1973, to April 30, 1977, making it one of the longest in WWE history. In this period, Sammartino held the title for over three years, establishing himself as one of the most formidable champions of his era. Notably, his first reign as champion, which stretched from May 17, 1963, to January 18, 1971, remains the longest world title reign in wrestling history, an incredible record unlikely to be surpassed.

While Buddy Rogers was the original WWE Champion, Bruno Sammartino transformed the company and became its first true face. When Sammartino defeated Rogers to claim the championship, he played a pivotal role in establishing WWE’s credibility and legitimacy. He exuded a sense of honor and integrity, becoming the embodiment of a respected and revered champion. Sammartino’s presence helped solidify WWE’s reputation and set the stage for future superstars.

Throughout his championship reigns, Bruno Sammartino faced a multitude of challenges. Notable names like Gorilla Monsoon, Killer Kowalski, Boris Malenko, Freddie Blassie, Gene Kiniski, George “The Animal” Steele, and The Sheik all sought to dethrone Sammartino during his illustrious reign. Sammartino’s ability to overcome these formidable adversaries further elevated his status as a fighting champion. It is estimated that Sammartino successfully defended the title approximately 400 times in his first reign, showcasing his resilience and unwavering determination.

Beyond his in-ring achievements, Bruno Sammartino was also widely respected behind the scenes. He carried himself with integrity and professionalism, earning the admiration of his peers and wrestling insiders alike. Sammartino’s contributions to the sport extended beyond his championship reigns, making him a revered figure in the wrestling community.

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