If you take a look at the long list of champions in WWE’s storied history, you would definitely see a lot of familiar names.
From the Intercontinental Championship to the World Heavyweight Championship, and everything in between, there have been plenty of Hall-of-Famers that have had the honor of holding a title in WWE.
However, there have been a few names who you would be surprised to hear have never held that distinction within the company. So, without further ado, here are the top five WWE superstars to never win a championship in that company.
5. Bam Bam Bigelow
Kicking off the list is the big man from Asbury Park, New Jersey.
Bigelow made his debut for the WWF in May 1987, feuding with Nikolai Volkoff and his manager, Slick. But his big break came that November at the first Survivor Series pay-per-view. He was a part of Hulk Hogan’s team and was the lone survivor, eventually being eliminated by Andre the Giant.
After leaving the company for several years, he would return in 1992 and be a part of various feuds with the likes of Tatanka, Doink the Clown, and Mabel. He eventually went on to main-event WrestleMania XI with New York Giants linebacker, Lawrence Taylor. But while he was able to capture titles in ECW and WCW, he never really had a lot of opportunities to do the same in the WWF.
Fans and employers alike praised Bigelow for his abilities inside the ring, especially having the kind of agility that a man his size shouldn’t possess. For someone that was held in such high regards, it’s a shame that he never had a proper run with a title during his time in the company.
4. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
Then we move on to one of the more popular wrestlers of the 1980s.
Duggan’s patriotic character resonated with fans young and old, especially since he was virtually a defender of all things good. This led him to feud with the likes of The Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, Andre the Giant, Bad News Brown, and Harley Race.
He challenged for the WWE Championship, the Intercontinental Championship, and the WWE Tag Team Championships on several occasions, but came up short each time.
While he was also the winner of the first-ever Royal Rumble in 1988, the timing never seemed right for him to hold a championship. It seemed like he was always busy off dealing with a new bad guy or bully. To this day, he and Lex Luger are the only superstars in WWE history to win the Royal Rumble match but never win a title in the company.
3. Harley Race
Next, we look at a man who is regarded as one of the best technical wrestlers of all time.
Race made a name for himself before he ever signed with the WWF. From 1965 to 1986 he wrestled for the American Wrestling Association, where he was a three-time AWA World Tag Team Champion with Larry Hennig. Then from 1970 to 1984 he competed in the National Wrestling Alliance, where he was an eight-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
He joined the WWF in 1986, but at that time they didn’t acknowledge the accomplishments talent made in outside promotions. They did find a way to recognize Race, however, by having him win the King of the Ring Tournament that year.
But as good of a competitor as he was, his best years were already behind him by the time he got to the company. It also didn’t help that Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan were in the prime of their careers at the time.
Race not winning a title in the WWF was another example of the timing not being right due to a number of factors. For as successful as he was in other promotions, it would have been interesting to see what he could have accomplished had the stars been aligned differently.
2. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Then we move on to yet another popular wrestler of the 1980s.
Roberts joined the WWF in 1986, and had several memorable feuds with the likes of Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, Randy Savage, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, and The Honky Tonk Man. His talent on the mic and in the ring quickly made him a fan-favorite, despite Vince McMahon’s attempts to make him a villain.
He should have at least held the Intercontinental Championship at some point during his tenure. The quality of his feuds at the time prove that he could have easily been a champion in his prime, but for some reason it never came to fruition. The closest he ever came to holding a title was when he stole Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Championship back in 1989-1990.
It still surprises many that a wrestler of Roberts’ caliber never won a title, especially considering how popular he was and still is to this day. This is easily one of the biggest missed opportunities for the company, because he had “star power” written all over him.
1. Dusty Rhodes
Finally, we come to perhaps one of the best wrestlers of all time.
Much like Harley Race, Rhodes made a name for himself while working for the National Wrestling Alliance from 1974 to 1984. The WWF didn’t come calling until 1989, when Rhodes was already in his 40s, and Vince McMahon didn’t see him as championship material.
However, his “common man” persona and charisma helped him connect with the fans and made him into one of the companies’ most popular superstars during his tenure. He was only with the WWF for about two years, but he definitely left his mark.
While he didn’t win any titles, he still remains one of the most well-known wrestlers in WWE’s history. Even when his in-ring days were over, he remained in the industry and helped create the superstars of tomorrow in NXT.
Numerous men and women such as Paige, Seth Rollins, Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Bayley, Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss, Finn Balor, and Kevin Owens have attributed a lot of their success in the company to what they learned from Rhodes.
So even though he didn’t get the honor of being called a champion, the legacy The American Dream left behind is perhaps even more important.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @Shalenehixon21. Thanks for reading!