Given his booking over the last year, The Miz was already one of the weakest WWE champions ever at the time he defeated Drew McIntyre for the title at Elimination Chamber 2021. But as we saw with Jinder Mahal in 2017, just because WWE decides to put their top championship around the waist of someone who has a terrible win-loss record doesn’t necessarily mean the new champ is doomed to losing the title right away. Maybe WWE would use this opportunity to transform Miz back into a guy who can be taken seriously against the top stars in the promotion.
I had a really hard time keeping it together while writing that last sentence, because of course that’s not what happened here. The Miz is a joke as champion, and he was booked like one on this week’s (Mar. 1) Raw. His WWE championship reign came to an end after just eight days. His record as the defending champion was 0-2, with both a count out and a submission loss to Bobby Lashley on Raw.
This has to go down as one of the worst WWE championship reigns of all-time. At the very least, it’s hard to find a more inept WWE champion over the last decade. Since the start of 2011, the only reigns shorter than eight days all involved a wrestler winning a match earlier in the night only to lose it later in the show (typically from a Money in the Bank cash-in), or WWE management stripping the title from the champ:
- In July 2011, Rey Mysterio defeated The Miz to win the vacated WWE championship on Raw. Later in the night, John Cena defeated Mysterio for the title.
- At SummerSlam 2013, Daniel Bryan defeated John Cena to win the WWE championship. He immediately lost it to Randy Orton after a Money in the Bank cash-in.
- Bryan also won the title one month later at Night of Champions 2013, but it was stripped from him the next night on Raw.
- Roman Reigns won the championship in a tournament at Survivor Series 2015, losing it in the same night to Sheamus and the Money in the Bank contract.
- Seth Rollins defeated Roman Reigns to win the title at Money in the Bank 2016, only for Dean Ambrose to immediately cash in the Money in the Bank contract and walk out as champ.
Those five reigns all lasted less than 24 hours. In every case, though, it can be argued that the champion was either physically exhausted or compromised when they had to defend the title on extremely short notice, or the champion was simply screwed over by management. In other words, the odds were greatly stacked against them.
The next shortest reign of the last decade belongs to The Miz in 2021, at just eight days. He was not physically compromised or exhausted for his championship defense against Lashley on Raw. He was not screwed over by WWE management either. Miz conspired with Bobby Lashley to get the championship off Drew McIntyre, and this championship match is what Lashley got in return for that assistance. Miz delayed the match for a week, but it was impossible to escape this inevitable ending.
Does this make Miz the worst WWE champion of all-time? There will never be a definitive answer, but I think Miz ranks right near the top of the list.
Some of the other worst reigns that I can think of belong to Kane circa King of the Ring 1998. The primary reason he won it was due to Undertaker interfering and busting open Steve Austin in a First Blood match, and then Kane lost the belt the very next night on Raw. That’s certainly one of the worst champions ever.
There is also Randy Orton in 2007, who was awarded the vacant title by Vince McMahon at the start of No Mercy, only to lose it right away to Triple H.
Andre the Giant simply forfeited the title over to Ted DiBiase (though this decision wasn’t officially recognized by WWF, and so the title became vacated) after Hulk Hogan was screwed over by twin Hebner referees in 1988.
Undertaker’s very first reign on top (1991) ended less than a week later thanks to Hulk Hogan.
Bob Backlund lost the title on a house show just a few days after winning it at Survivor Series 1994. I’m pretty sure it was a very quick squash, too. That’s about as bad as it gets, when you’re such a bad WWE champion that your loss isn’t even televised.
Mankind lost the WWF championship to Triple H one day after winning it at SummerSlam 1999.
Yokozuna getting Hulk Hogan’d at WrestleMania 9 stands out too, though it was mostly Mr. Fuji’s fault for accepting an unnecessary match against the Hulkster after Yokozuna already survived a war against Bret Hart. That Hulk Hogan sure was something.
And of course, you can argue that any reign that lasted less than one day due to Money in the Bank cash-ins are technically worse than Miz in 2021; there are plenty of those cases over the years.
I’d probably go with 1994 Bob Backlund as the worst WWF champion of all-time. But it’s hard to do worse than Miz in 2021. He depended on the sheer luck of Tucker turning on Otis in order to win the Money in the Bank briefcase, he needed Bobby Lashley and an Elimination Chamber match to make Drew McIntyre vulnerable enough for the actual cash-in, and then he simply ran away from his very first title defense and lost via count out. Miz was then squashed later in the night and lost the title. It’s very hard to come by that special combination of an extremely short reign, being squashed in the championship loss, never winning a match as champion, losing multiple matches as champion, and rarely winning matches before becoming champion, but Miz found a way to do it.
That’s the sort of thing that can happen when the WWE championship is put on a guy who has been booked nothing like a champion over the last year. WWE is rumored to begin selling tickets for WrestleMania next week, and it’s a harder sell with a pretender like Miz wearing the the top title in the promotion. So instead of waiting until Fastlane, that issue was quickly handled this week on Raw, and it results with 2021 Miz going down as one of the worst WWE champions ever.
Which WWE championship reign would be your pick for the worst of all-time?