Current WWE Wrestlers With The Longest Title Droughts (Part One)

To really stand out in the crazy world of professional wrestling today you need to be a champion.  In the past, great performers like Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, to name just two examples, had great careers without ever needing to win the InterContinental Championship, one of the WWF tag team belts or the WWF title.  But since title reigns are generally shorter now and far more wrestlers are being pushed as champions, that era is long dead.  To truly become one of the greats these days you need a belt around your waist.

But what about those who get a taste of the gold, lose it and then struggle to get it back?  Will they ever get it back?  As of now, here’s a comprehensive list of current WWE talent who’ve been waiting a year or even longer for another championship push:

1. Jack Swagger (1 year without a championship)

Last year, The All-American American took advantage of an injured Zack Ryder to snatch the United States Championship from him during a one-sided squash on Raw in January.  But just two months later, he was rolled up by Santino Marella during another title encounter on that same show.  After going on an extended losing streak, Swagger then disappeared for quite some time.

Since his return this year, he’s been repackaged as an anti-Mexican nativist apparently brainwashed by his new mouthpiece, Zeb Colter.  And after winning the Elimination Chamber in February, he’s got a hot date with Alberto Del Rio, the current World Heavyweight Champion.  If he can avoid getting arrested again for dumb shit like drunk driving and drug possession, he might get his first World title push in three years at WrestleMania 29.

2. Evan Bourne (14 months without a championship)

The other half of the now-defunct Air Boom was once a co-holder of the tag team titles.  But after two Wellness Policy violations and a nasty foot injury caused by a car accident a year ago, Kofi Kingston’s one-time tag team partner still hasn’t returned to the WWE.  His high-flying antics are much missed right now.

3. Zack Ryder (14 months without a championship)

Two years ago, The Long Island Iced Z took to YouTube to transform himself into an underdog babyface after years of being a forgotten heel.  By the end of 2011, he won his first individual championship, the U.S. title, by defeating Dolph Ziggler at TLC.  Just one month later, however, he lost the title to Swagger on Raw.  He had no chance of winning thanks to the pummelling he had been taking from Kane.  Ever since, the broski has floundered, rarely winning matches and completely disappearing from pay-per-views altogether.  Reduced to continually voicing his disapproval of his repeated burying on Twitter it might be time to turn heel again.

4. Mark Henry (15 months without a championship)

After years of languishing in the mid-card as an uninspired babyface, The World’s Strongest Man really came into his own in the Spring of 2011 when he betrayed John Cena and Christian during a six-man tag team match on Raw costing them a victory.  Shortly thereafter, he became the modern-day King Kong Bundy, barrelling his way through opponents and even WWE staffers all while in a horrendously bad mood.

The character change paid off when he beat Randy Orton for the World Heavyweight Championship at Night Of Champions that September, his first individual title push in three years.  But thanks to a badly-timed injury during his reign he dropped the belt much earlier than planned when he faced The Big Show during their chairs match at TLC in December 2011.

Despite getting a few title shots against then-WWE Champion CM Punk on Raw in early 2012, Henry would take a long hiatus after failing to climb back up to the top of the wrestling mountain.  After a successful surgery and a long rest Henry returned earlier this year to resume his very successful monster heel character.  Unfortunately, there appears to be no immediate title plans in his future.  On the bright side, The Hall Of Pain is re-opened for business.

5. John Cena (17 months without a championship)

In 2011, the leader of the Cenation won the WWE title on three separate occasions between May and September bringing his overall number of reigns to an unprecented 10, more than any other superstar in history.  But after dropping that stupid spinner belt to Alberto Del Rio during the triple threat Hell In A Cell match with CM Punk in October that year, remarkably he hasn’t been a champion of any kind since.  Like Randy Orton, he went beltless throughout 2012.

But that title slump is more than likely to come to an end on April 7 this year.  After a clean loss to The Rock at WrestleMania 28, Cena gets a chance at redemption when he challenges the WWE’s only true movie star for the WWE Championship at WM 29.  (The Rock beat CM Punk for the title at the 2013 Royal Rumble while Cena won the actual Rumble match earning himself a number one contendership).  Now that Cena has put longtime rival Punk behind him (he defeated The Straight Edge Superstar in a terrific match on Raw where his WrestleMania title shot was on the line), it’s time for him to win his eleventh WWE title.

6. Randy Orton (18 months without a championship)

The last time this third-generation superstar held a major title was at the Night Of Champions pay-per-view on September 18, 2011.  He walked in the World Heavyweight Champion but was rather easily dethroned by his challenger that night, the monstrous Mark Henry.  Despite a rematch inside Hell In A Cell just a few weeks later, Henry remained champion.

Since then, Orton has had his share of professional setbacks:  numerous ill-timed real-life injuries in late 2011 and early 2012 and a second Wellness Policy violation resulting in a two-month suspension last summer.  After spending the entirety of 2012 without a title push 2013 doesn’t look much different.  Although he’s been booked for WrestleMania 29, he’s in a six-man tag match with no future championship implications.  After a three-year run as a babyface, maybe it’s time to revenomize The Viper.

7. David Otunga & Michael McGillicuty (19 months without a championship)

Two former Nexus members – a Harvard-educated lawyer and Mr. Perfect’s son – last held the tag team titles on the August 22, 2011 edition of Raw when they were knocked off their perch by Air Boom.

8. Ezekiel Jackson (19 months without a championship)

Originally the muscle in The Corre, disagreements with his stablemates led to a babyface turn and a brief run as InterContinental Champion when he defeated the group’s leader, Wade Barrett, at Capitol Punishment in June 2011.  But after losing cleanly to the clear-masked Cody Rhodes on an episode of Smackdown in August, Jackson very quickly disappeared from TV and pay-per-views.  At this point, it’s not certain if The Personification Of Domination will ever get another push, let alone a title reign.

9. Rey Mysterio (20 months without a championship)

This notoriously injury-prone cruiserweight won his first and only WWE Championship in the finals of a two-week tournament at the beginning of the July 25, 2011 edition of Raw.  Unfortunately, at the end of that same episode, John Cena was granted a rematch and received yet another title push.  Despite briefly teaming with Sin Cara recently, Bret Hart’s favourite luchadore hasn’t tasted any kind of championship gold since.

10. Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel (23 months without a championship)

Together, they won three WWE tag team championships but nothing individually.  Their last reign ended during a mid-April 2011 taping of Smackdown when they were beaten by The Big Show and Kane.

11. Natalya (26 months without a championship)

The daughter of Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart won her only title, the Divas Championship, back in November 2010.  After being dethroned by Eve Torres in a Fatal 4-Way at the 2011 Royal Rumble two months later, she joined forces with Beth Phoenix to form a formidable tag team known as The Divas Of Doom.  Sadly, the teaming didn’t last, Natalya went on to develop a bizarre and mercifully brief gastrointestinal problem (she kept farting in the ring and in backstage segments) and is currently relegated to being The Great Khali’s dancing partner.  This talented second-generation grappler deserves so much better.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, March 22, 2013
3:09 p.m.

UPDATE:  I stupidly forgot to add Zack Ryder before posting this.  His entry is now part of the piece.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, March 22, 2013
3:32 p.m.

Published in: on March 22, 2013 at 3:09 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] trivia pieces (The Royal Rumble, Money In The Bank, Hell In A Cell), my two-part series on WWE superstars with the longest championship droughts (a bit out of date now), my five-part series on the 2013 […]

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