mobile app bar

Real Reason Why WWE Retired the World Heavyweight Championship

Rishabh Singh

Triple H WrestleMania trailer

A Championship title belt in pro wrestling and combat sports is the ultimate emblem of excellence. It is what distinguishes the elite performers from the mediocre performers. Over the years, WWE has introduced several Championships to their product and at the same time retired many belts as well. One of the most prestigious Championships in WWE that had its pedigree from NWA and WCW was the World Heavyweight Championship. The WCH was reintroduced in WWE in 2002 after Vince McMahon acquired WCW. It was during the onset of the Ruthless Aggression Era when the golden title was considered to be WWE’s most coveted prized possession. 

The World Heavyweight Championship was initially introduced on WWE’s flagship show, Monday Night Raw. After it exchanged hands, it made its way to SmackDown. The title was held by some of the greatest names in the business such as Triple H, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Batista, John Cena, and so on.

However, as time passed, the title was relegated to an upper mid-card level championship before being completely wiped out of existence. 

When and why was the World Heavyweight Championship retired by WWE?

As noted, the coveted golden title was retired by WWE after many years of its reign as one of the superior titles in the business. The title remained in the company for 11 years before it was retired in 2013. A couple of years before it was retired, WWE’s brand split was in full tilt till 2011.

This led to the WWE Championship moving to Raw and the WCH moving over to SmackDown. Since WWE pushed Raw as the “Super-Show”, the WWE Championship had more significance. The WHC was then held by upper mid-card wrestlers like Alberto Del Rio, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, Christian, and more.

Make no mistake, the WHC was still the main title of SmackDown but it had lost its glory and power. When WWE decided to stop the brand split, both titles were unified as one Championship. At the time, Randy Orton competed with John Cena at TLC PPV in 2013 and won both Championships. 

Technically, Orton was the last one to have a reign as the WWE Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion as it was retired in the Summer of 2014 when Brock Lesnar emerged as the new Champion.

Triple H explained in an interview that when WWE superstars’ appearance was not limited to one brand, the WHC had become redundant.

And so, the company made the call to keep just the WWE Championship as the top prize for both its brands. Although fans miss seeing the great golden Championship, Vince McMahon rightly made the call to glorify the Championship that represented WWE. 

In 2016, following a second brand split, the company introduced the WWE Universal Championship instead of reinstating the World Heavyweight Championship. 

Will WWE ever bring back the World Heavyweight Championship?

According to a recent report from Wrestling Observer Newsletter, WWE is seemingly considering adding another major Championship to the product as they do not want to end Roman Reigns’ reign as the WWE Undisputed Universal Champion.

If Roman’s appearance becomes exclusive to one show, the other show will be devoid of a top Championship title. This has led the fans to speculate about whether the company will introduce a newly designed Championship or restore one of its discarded World Titles.

Although it’s highly unlikely for the company to bring back the World Heavyweight Championship, we still can’t rule the possibility out as there is room for another major title on either Raw or SmackDown depending on where the Tribal Chief chooses to stay. 

Click here for more Wrestling news.

About the author

Rishabh Singh

Rishabh Singh


Rishabh has been a pro wrestling aficionado for two decades. As a gullible seven-year-old kid he believed that his dad could only be defeated by The Undertaker. His love for pro wrestling is visible in his writing. Over the years, he took inspiration from his favorite wrestling icons and adopted fitness lifestyle. He is a big proponent of exercise. Besides that, he is a movement coach, a Steelmaceflow artist, and a Krav Maga instructor.

Read more from Rishabh Singh

Share this article