Wrestling Stats: The Rock's Legacy as WWE Champion

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The Rock returned in 2013 to end CM Punk's impressive 434-day reign as WWE Champion. His championship victory at the 2013 Royal Rumble marked the start of his 8th run as WWF or WWE Champion. That run ended 70 days later at WrestleMania 29.

Many commenters here at Cageside Seats voiced their displeasure with The Rock's performance and entertainment value for much of that championship reign. Some of the common criticisms included but were not limited to: blowing up quickly in every wrestling match, not appearing every week on Monday Night Raw, uninspired and outdated promo work, and an inability to make the WrestleMania 29 rematch with John Cena seem exciting or special.

So in that light, it would seem The Rock's 8th run as WWE Champion was particularly lackluster and not nearly as entertaining as many fans hoped it would be. Surely this run would go down as one of his least impressive championship reigns ever, right?

Well what would you say if I told you The Rock's 2013 tenure as WWE Champion was actually the second-longest reign of his career?

"The Great One" is certainly one of the ... um ... greatest stars in the history of the sport, but he hasn't fared so well when it comes to getting extended runs with the number one championship in the industry. Here is the complete listing of his 8 reigns as WWF or WWE Champion, along with some basic summary information about each reign. This includes the date he won the title (Start), the date he lost the title (End), and also his PPV record as the defending champion (PPV Record).

First Championship - 44 days

Start: 11/15/98
He won a tournament at the Survivor Series with individual victories over The Big Boss Man, Ken Shamrock, The Undertaker, and Mankind.

End: 12/29/98
He lost to Mankind on an episode of Monday Night Raw.

PPV Record: 0-1
In Your House: Rock Bottom - Defeated by Mankind but retained the championship

Second Championship - 2 days

Start: 1/24/99
He won an 'I Quit" match against Mankind at the Royal Rumble.

End: 1/26/99
He lost an Empty Arena match to Mankind.

PPV Record: 0-0
No PPV events took place during this reign.

Third Championship - 41 days

Start: 2/15/99
He won a ladder match against Mankind on Monday Night Raw.

End: 3/28/99
He lost to Steve Austin at WrestleMania 15.

PPV Record: 0-1
WrestleMania 15 - Defeated by Steve Austin

Fourth Championship - 21 days

Start: 4/30/00
He beat Triple H at Backlash.

End: 5/21/00
He lost to Triple H in an Iron Man match at Judgment Day.

PPV Record: 0-1
Judgement Day - Defeated by Triple H

Fifth Championship - 119 days

Start: 6/25/00
He pinned Vince McMahon at King of the Ring in a 6-man tag match.

End: 10/22/00
He lost to Kurt Angle at No Mercy.

PPV Record: 3-1
Fully Loaded - Defeated Chris Benoit
Summer Slam - Defeated Triple H and Kurt Angle in a Triple Threat match
Unforgiven - Defeated Benoit, Kane, and The Undertaker in a Fatal 4-way match
No Mercy - Defeated by Kurt Angle

Sixth Championship - 35 days

Started: 2/25/01
He beat Kurt Angle at No Way Out.

End: 4/1/01
He lost to Steve Austin at WrestleMania 17.

PPV Record: 0-1
WrestleMania 17 - Defeated by Steve Austin

Seventh Championship - 35 days

Start: 7/21/02
He won against The Undertaker and Kurt Angle in a Triple Threat match at Vengeance.

End: 8/25/02
He lost to Brock Lesnar at Summer Slam.

PPV Record: 0-1
Summer Slam - Defeated by Brock Lesnar

Eighth Championship - 70 days

Start: 1/27/13
He was victorious against CM Punk at the Royal Rumble.

End: 4/7/13
He lost to John Cena at WrestleMania 29.

PPV Record: 1-1
Elimination Chamber - Defeated CM Punk
WrestleMania 29 - Defeated by John Cena

The Rock has held the WWF or WWE Championship for a total of 367 days. John Cena is the only man with more separate reigns as WWE Champion than The Rock, yet the The Rock finds himself down in 13th place as far as cumulative days with the championship are concerned.

In addition to trailing Cena (more than 1100 days), Rock also ranks underneath current stars CM Punk (462 days) and Randy Orton (420 days) on that list. He also ranks below his contemporaries, Steve Austin (529 days) and Triple H (539 days).

Six of The Rock's 8 championship reigns ended without even one victory on PPV. These six reigns all lasted under 45 days. And even though his 70-day run in 2013 lasted longer than those six reigns, it still only included a total of two matches as defending champion. So in that sense you can argue that some of his shorter reigns as champ included a more impressive body of work than the 2013 run, because he occasionally defended his championship on Raw back in 1998, 1999, and 2000.

As just one example of this, The Rock had championship matches on Raw during his first reign against the likes of Steve Austin, X-Pac, Al Snow, and Triple H. But there were no Raw title defenses for The Rock during his 70-day reign in 2013.

The only enduring run as champ that stands out was his 119 day run in 2000. This occurred when Steve Austin was sidelined for a year, and The Rock took advantage of that opportunity to cement himself as a top babyface on the same level as Stone Cold.

Does the lack of extended runs as WWF or WWE Champion influence your perception of The Rock's legacy in any way? Do you think there was a time earlier in his career when he did deserve a longer run but wasn't given the chance? Or is this simply a product of endless title changes during the Attitude Era? Where do you rank The Rock's run in 2013 among all of his previous WWF or WWE Championship reigns? Are you surprised that The Rock's cumulative PPV record as defending champion is merely 4-7? Are you shocked that a man with 8 separate reigns as WWE Champion only walked into 11 different PPV's as the defending champion?

Considering how great The Rock's career is, what does this say about the value of holding on to the WWE Championship?

Let me know what you think, Cagesiders!

The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Cageside Seats readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cageside Seats editors or staff.

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