WWE weathered the storm in the ’90s as the New Generation Era was a mixture of success and dreadful WWE programming. However, the Attitude Era came to the fore in the late ’90s and carried on into the early 2000s before WWE transitioned into the Ruthless Aggression Era and the PG Era. There were some brilliant championship reigns in the 2000s with John Cena holding the WWE Championship for 380 days, and Batista becoming the longest-reigning World Heavyweight Champion at 282 days.
Before the brand split was introduced, WWE had many titles at their disposal and the likes of the Light Heavyweight, Hardcore and European Championships became surplus to requirements. Unsurprisingly, there were a plethora of poor title reigns in the 2000s with some championship reigns being short and forgettable.
10 2000: The Godfather’s Ho – Hardcore Championship
The WWE Hardcore Championship was one of the most chaotic championships in WWE history as it could change hands at any time and any place when the 24/7 rule was in effect. On the May 15, 2000 edition of Raw, one of The Godfather’s Ho upset Crash Holly for the Hardcore Championship.
She made history as she became the first of four women to hold the Hardcore Championship. Her title reign was short-lived as she dropped the title back to Crash within 15 seconds.
9 2001: Raven – Hardcore Championship (10th Reign)
Continuing the theme with the Hardcore Championship, no person in WWE history held the Hardcore Championship more times than Raven. Raven is a record 26-time Hardcore Champion, and he’s had several short runs with the Hardcore Championship.
At No Way Out 2001, Raven defended the title against Big Show but Raven dropped the title to Billy Gunn in an impromptu title defense. Raven momentarily regained the title for the 10th time, but he failed to escape with the Hardcore Championship as Show dethroned him for the Hardcore Championship.
8 2002: Terri Runnels – Hardcore Championship
Terri Runnels has managed the likes of Goldust, Perry Saturn, and Raven during her WWE career but she became a backstage interviewer in the later stages of her run in WWE. On the May 27, 2002 taping of Raw, Terri was interviewing Steven Richards, who was the Hardcore Champion, and Jacqueline.
Richards was attacked by Terri’s former PMS stablemate Jacqueline and Big Boss Man, and Terri seized on the opportunity by defeating Richards for the Hardcore Championship. Terri may have gone in the history books with an unwanted record as she became the shortest-reigning Hardcore Champion in WWE history with her reign lasting eight seconds with Richards recapturing the title.
7 2003: Chris Jericho – Intercontinental Championship (6th Reign)
Chris Jericho had a steady 2003 as he squared off with Shawn Michaels in an excellent match at WrestleMania 19. Nevertheless, Jericho was looking to get his hands on some gold and it had been almost a year since Jericho last held some. That changed on the October 27, 2003, episode of Raw as Jericho defeated RVD to join Jeff Jarrett as a six-time Intercontinental Champion.
Jericho and Eric Bischoff’s celebrations were abrupt as Steve Austin who was the co-Raw GM alongside Bischoff forced Jericho to defend his newly won title against RVD in a steel cage match. RVD ended Jericho’s Intercontinental Championship reign, and it was by far Jericho’s worst run with the Intercontinental Championship as his reign lasted less than 20 minutes.
6 2004: Jacqueline – Cruiserweight Championship
It’s easy to forget that Jacqueline was still under contract in WWE in 2004, and it was surprising when she rocked up to SmackDown and challenged Chavo Guerrero for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. The two-time WWE Women’s Champion answered Chavo’s open challenge, and she defeated him for the championship.
This was a shocking title change that is forgotten about. It was completely random and Jacqueline only held the Cruiserweight Championship for nine days as she dropped the title back to Chavo.
5 2005: Nunzio – Cruiserweight Championship (2nd Reign)
Nunzio had a decent run in WWE as a member of the Full Blooded Italians. However, Nunzio won the WWE Cruiserweight Championship twice, but his second run with the title was underwhelming. Nunzio regained the title from Juventud at a live event in Rome, Italy in November 2005.
It’s rare for championships to change hands on a live event but with Nunzio having Italian descent it would have been a huge moment for him to clinch the gold in Rome. His second Cruiserweight Championship reign lasted just 9 days as Juventud beat him for the title on an episode of SmackDown emanating from Sheffield, England.
4 2006: Trish Stratus – Women’s Championship (7th Reign)
Trish Stratus announced that she would be retiring from professional wrestling in front of her hometown fans in Toronto, Canada at Unforgiven 2006. Trish was looking to go out with a bang as she challenged her biggest rival Lita for the WWE Women’s Championship.
Trish and Lita knocked it out of the park in a fantastic Women’s Championship match, and Trish ended Lita’s Women’s Championship reign with the Sharpshooter for an emotional win. With the victory, Trish became a seven-time WWE Women’s Champion which was a record until Charlotte Flair broke it in March 2019. The WWE Women’s Championship became vacant with Trish retiring from the squared circle.
3 2007: Randy Orton – WWE Championship (1st Reign)
John Cena was on the shelf with a pectoral muscle injury, which forced the WWE Championship to become vacant, and at No Mercy 2007, Mr. McMahon awarded Randy Orton the WWE Championship. This was Orton’s first WWE Championship reign and his first World Championship reign in three years.
Orton’s night got off to the worst possible start as he defended the WWE Championship against Triple H in the curtain-raiser. Once again, the Game was a thorn in Orton’s side as he ended Orton’s WWE Championship reign. Ultimately, the Legend Killer got the last laugh as he regained the gold from Triple H in a Last Man Standing match in the main event.
2 2008: Batista And John Cena – World Tag Team Championship
Batista and John Cena were rivals in 2008 but that didn’t stop the former multiple-time World Champions from combining to beat Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes for the World Tag Team Championship on the August 4, 2008 edition of Raw. This was Batista’s third Tag Team Championship reign and Cena’s second time around as a Tag Team Champion.
They were never going to be Tag Team Champions for long as they had a blockbuster showdown at SummerSlam. Inevitably, they dropped the titles back to Rhodes and DiBiase just seven days later.
1 2009: Jillian Hall – Divas Championship
Jillian Hall had a successful run on SmackDown as she managed former WWE Champion JBL to the United States Championship at WrestleMania 22. Nevertheless, Jillian Hall branched out on her own and on the October 12, 2009 edition of Raw, Jillian stunned Mickie James to capture the WWE Divas Championship.
That was a huge achievement for Jillian as not every wrestler gets to win a championship in WWE. Furthermore, Jillian’s joy was short-lived as she dropped the title to Melina with her reign lasting just five minutes, and thus she became the shortest-reigning Divas Champion.