The Shortest Title Reigns In WWE History

In a matter of mere moments, a WWE Superstar can quickly go all the way from the top of the proverbial mountain, right back to the end of the line. Some of the shortest title reigns in the history of WWE have also proven to be some of the company's most monumental and replayed moments. The cause of these less than impressive title reigns is often attributed to a sudden cash in with the Money in the Bank briefcase, a corrupt general manager, an honorable general manager, an impromptu rematch, a unification, a championship vacancy, or even a sudden betrayal. Many of these moments have even accounted for some pretty fascinating record setting instances in the overall history of professional wrestling.

First, a quick note: hot potato titles such as The 24/7 Championship and The Hardcore Championship tend to inundate the history books with some of these all time low, record setting title reigns, so we're excluding them for the sake of fairness. Vacancies, unifications, and gauntlet matches are also excluded from this list, as the focus here is strictly on bell to bell individual title reigns, and the untimely resulting matches afterwards. With that in mind, here are some of the shortest premiere championship reigns in WWE via straight up pinfall or submission actually taking place inside of the squared circle.

Mickie James Wins and Loses The Divas Championship at a Live Event in Paris - One Hour

During a rare occurrence at WWE Live Event in Paris, The Divas Championship was won and lost by Mickie James within the frame of approximately one hour's time. James competed in a triple threat match for the championship at the house show against Victoria, and then-Divas Champion Melina. With the champion outside of the ring, James covered Victoria after a hurricanrana out of the corner. Victoria did not kick out of the maneuver, and the referee officially awarded Mickie the Divas Championship. Later that night, another championship match was scheduled after Melina demanded her rematch, stating that she was not pinned during the triple threat. Jonathan Coachman, who was apparently in charge of this particular live event, granted the former champion's wish. Melina would indeed go on to recapture the Divas Championship during that impromptu match.

In an interview with Ring the Belle, Mickie revealed that she demanded this title reign was counted in the history books. James went on to joke, "It was ... the shortest championship title reign for a very long time. But now there's the 24/7 Championship, so I can't even have that anymore."

Miz and Cena Lose the WWE Tag Titles on Raw - 9 Minutes

During the February 1st, 2011 edition of "Raw," the unlikely pairing of then WWE Champion, The Miz and John Cena competed for the WWE Tag Team Championships against Corre members Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel. The Miz and Cena quickly won the match to become the new WWE Tag Team Champions, but their celebration was cut short by Wade Barrett.

Barrett stated that The Corre wanted to invoke their rematch clause immediately. The rematch was approved instantly by the Anonymous "Raw" General Manager and the tag titles were once again on the line. Towards the conclusion of the match, Cena had Slater set up for the Attitude Adjustment until a distraction from Barrett allowed The Miz to hit a Skull Crushing Finale on his partner. Slater quickly capitalized on the opportunity with a big pin on Cena to regain the tag team championships for The Corre. The WWE Tag Team Reign of Cena and Miz officially clocked in around 9 minutes in total, but set their story in motion ahead of their clash for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania XXVII.  

Jericho Loses The Intercontinental Championship on Raw - 8 Minutes

Another short championship reign that didn't involve the Money in the Bank briefcase was Chris Jericho's Intercontinental Championship reign on the October 27th, 2003 episode of "Raw." Thanks to massive interference from "Raw" Co-General Manager Eric Bischoff, Y2J was able to win the title in a timely fashion with The Walls of Jericho submission. Rob Van Dam had previously made it to the ropes to break the hold, but Earl Hebner was distracted by Bischoff. Van Dam unfortunately had no choice but to tap out to Jericho.

Fortunately, "Raw" Co-General Manager "Stone Cold" Steve Austin called for an immediate rematch for the Intercontinental Championship inside of a steel cage. After smashing Jericho's head into the top of the cage and hitting him with a side kick, Rob Van Dam was able to kick the cage door into Y2J's face, knocking him back into the cage. RVD would rightfully regain the Intercontinental Title in just around 8 minutes.

Sheamus Cashes in on Roman Reigns for the WWE Championship at Survivor Series - 5 Minutes, 5 Seconds

The 2015 Survivor Series event marked another big title win for The Big Dog, Roman Reigns, but also marked one of his shortest title reigns to date. After defeating former teammate Dean Ambrose for the WWE Championship, The Big Dog was congratulated by Triple H in the middle of the ring. Reigns immediately speared Triple H as confetti continued to rain down on the new champion. Out of nowhere, Sheamus blindsided Reigns with a Brogue Kick with the Money in the Bank briefcase in hand.

Sheamus immediately cashed in and pinned Reigns. Somehow the new champion was able to kick out of the pin and even ducked another Brogue Kick attempt. Reigns attempted a spear while rebounding off the ropes, but Sheamus connected with a second Brogue Kick. This time Roman stayed down for the three count, and Sheamus became the new WWE Champion. Triple H shook Sheamus' hand and raised it up high. The series of events left this particular WWE Championship reign of Roman at only 5 minutes and 15 seconds. Shortly after, WWE released a "Sheamus 5:15" shirt on WWEShop.com.

CM Punk Cashes in on Jeff Hardy at Extreme Rules - 5 Minutes

After a hellacious ladder match between Jeff Hardy and Edge at Extreme Rules in 2009, Hardy defeated The Rated R Superstar to win his very first World Heavyweight Championship. As The Charismatic Enigma celebrated amongst the fans post match, CM Punk put a huge damper on the milestone, as he walked down to the ring with the Money in the Bank briefcase in hand.

As expected, Punk cashed in and immediately hit the new champion with his patented Go To Sleep finisher. Somehow the resilient Hardy was able to kick out, but Punk continued to punish him. A high kick to the head and another GTS was enough to keep Hardy down for the one, two, three. (This marked the second successful Money in the Bank cash-in for Punk as he had previously successfully cashed in on Edge on "Raw," the night after the 2008 Night of Champions PPV.) Unfortunately for Jeff Hardy, Punk's actions would limit the former champion's World Heavyweight Championship reign to just under five minutes.

Bayley Cashes in on Charlotte Flair at Money in the Bank - 4 Minutes, 55 Seconds

On May 19, 2019 at the Money in the Bank PPV, Bayley set the record for the fastest cash in time after winning the women's Money in the Bank briefcase at the event. This particular cash in caused Charlotte's reign as the "SmackDown" Women's Champion to only last a total of 4 minutes and 55 seconds.

Earlier in the night, Bayley had already defeated some of the women division's best competitors in Nikki Cross, Naomi, Natalya, Ember Moon, Mandy Rose, Dana Brooke, and Carmella in a hellacious 15 minute ladder match. Meanwhile, Charlotte defeated Becky Lynch, who was known as "Becky 2 Belts" at the time, for her "SmackDown" Women's Championship the same night. After the match, Charlotte and Lacey Evans teamed up for a post match beat down on the former double champion. Bayley hit the ring to make the save and laid out Charlotte after throwing her into the middle turnbuckle. Bayley looked inquisitive as the crowd rallied behind her to possibly cash in. With little hesitation, Bayley quickly cashed in and became the new "SmackDown" Women's Champion with an elbow off the top rope. Apart from being one of the fastest title changes in the history of the WWE, Bayley's cash in at Money in the Bank also served the quickest women's Money in the Bank cash in of all time at 1 hour and 25 minutes.

Jillian Hall Wins and Loses The Divas Championship on Raw - 4 Minutes, 31 Seconds

Another notable short championship reign involving The Divas Championship occurred when Jillian Hall defeated Mickie James for the title during the October 12th, 2009 edition of "Raw." Hall pulled out the upset victory after using her foot on the ropes to pin the champion. However, Hall's celebration was cut short by guest host Nancy O'Dell of "Entertainment Tonight" fame. O'Dell stated that she had acquired Melina for the "Raw" brand, and the red brand's new acquisition would compete for the championship immediately.

Hall screeched as she nearly refused to hand the title over to ring announcer, Justin Roberts. Melina took advantage of the frazzled Hall using a Rey Mysterio-esque sunset flip, power bomb pinning combination to win the match in timely fashion. Melina became the new Divas Champion and ended the reign of Hall at just 4 minutes and 31 seconds. Hall is in the record books as the shortest reigning Divas Champion of all time.

Daniel Bryan Gets Blindsided by Triple H at Summerslam - 4 Minutes, 7 Seconds

Summerslam 2013 proved to be another record setting day in the career of Daniel Bryan as he would win and lose the WWE Championship in just under 5 minutes time. The leader of the "Yes!" Movement main evented the PPV with then WWE Champion John Cena, in a near half hour match with Triple H as the special guest referee. Bryan would defeat Cena to win his first WWE Championship, but ultimately would not win the day. 

After the match, Cena gave Bryan a show of respect with a handshake. Triple H even shook Cena's hand as well, before the former champion exited the ring. As confetti dropped from the ceiling, the arena erupted in "YES!" chants. However, the celebration was cut short as Randy Orton's music hit and he walked down the ramp with the Money in The Bank briefcase in hand. Orton would seemingly retreat until he slowly turned around with a sinister grin. Suddenly, Triple H attacked Bryan from behind and hit him with the Pedigree. Orton immediately cashed in and pinned the champion to become a seven time WWE Champion. The unexpected attack caused Bryan's title reign to only last a total of 4 minutes and seven seconds.

John Cena Wins and Loses The WWE Championship at Elimination Chamber - 3 Minutes, 33 Seconds

Another short title reign involving John Cena was during the 2010 Elimination Chamber PPV. Cena would compete against five top tier opponents in Randy Orton, Kofi Kingston, Sheamus, Triple H, and Ted DiBiase Jr. inside of the steel structure. The surefire first ballot Hall of Famer outlasted all five competitors to become the new WWE Champion, but his celebration was cut short.

Vince McMahon interrupted to state that Cena would go on to WrestleMania as the champion, but only if he could defeat Batista. The chairman called for the impromptu match in which The Animal had absolutely every advantage. Cena, who had just competed in a near one hour match against five of the top superstars in the world, valiantly got himself to his feet to fight. Although admirable, the effort was futile. Batista laid out the champion with a spear and his signature Batista Bomb to become the new WWE Champion. The Animal stood over the fallen champion and pointed to the WrestleMania sign as he added insult to injury. Cena's reign as the WWE Champion would clock in at an official 3 minutes and 33 seconds.

Yokozuna Wins and Loses the WWF Championship at Wrestlemania IX - 2 Minutes, 6 Seconds

WrestleMania IX marked one of the shortest title reigns in the history of WWE, while also marking the shortest title reign during a WrestleMania. Bret "The Hitman" Hart defended his WWF Championship against the super heavyweight Yokozuna in the main event. The near 600 pound challenger was able to defeat Hart thanks to his manager, Mr. Fuji, throwing salt into the eyes of the champion.

After the title bout, Hulk Hogan entered the ring to check on Bret, only to be challenged by Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji. The new champion even offered to put the WWF Championship on the line right then and there. To the delight of the fans in attendance, Hogan accepted after being encouraged by Hart. As soon as the Hulkster reentered the ring he was held from behind by Yokozuna. Mr. Fuji attempted to throw salt in the new challenger's eyes, but Hogan ducked, allowing the salt to fly into the eyes of the champion. Hogan capitalized on the situation by knocking the big man to canvas and executing his signature leg drop. In a matter of just 2 minutes and 6 seconds, Yokozuna's WWF Championship reign came to an abrupt end.

Dean Ambrose Cashes in on Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank - 2 Minutes

During a historic night at the 2016 Money in the Bank PPV, all three members of The Shield would hold the WWE Championship. After vacating the title due to injury in November of 2015, Seth Rollins finally got a chance to win back what he never lost against the WWE Champion Roman Reigns. Rollins defeated Reigns with a series of Pedigrees to become the new WWE Champion.

However, Dean Ambrose, who had won the Money in The Bank ladder match earlier in the night, wasted no time cashing in on his former teammate immediately after the title bout. The elation on Rollins' face quickly diminished as Ambrose's entrance music hit allowing for a massive distraction. The Lunatic Fringe attacked the new champ from behind using the Money in the Bank briefcase as a weapon. Ambrose then immediately cashed in his Money in the Bank contract for a WWE Championship match and defeated Rollins with his patented Dirty Deeds DDT right then and there. One of Ambrose's greatest moments would equate to one of The Architect's shortest title reigns with an official time of only 2 minutes.

Daniel Bryan Cashes in on the Big Show for the World Heavyweight Championship at TLC - 1 Minute, 52 Seconds

Statistically one of the shortest title reigns of all time outside of any vacancy, was when Daniel Bryan cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase on the World Heavyweight Champion The Big Show at the 2011 TLC PPV. The World's Largest Athlete had just won the title in a brutal chairs match against the World's Strongest Man, Mark Henry with his Knockout Punch finisher.

Post match, an enraged Henry DDT'd the new champion onto a stack of chairs in the middle of the ring. Without wasting any time, Daniel Bryan made his way down to the ring with a referee in tow. Bryan quickly cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and immediately pinned the Big Show. After the official made the three count, Bryan won his first world championship in the WWE. The new World Heavyweight Champion looked into the cameras and stated, "Everyone back home who supported me for the last 12 years, this is for you." As Bryan went into the crowd to celebrate amongst the WWE Universe, the victory officially marked one of the shortest title reigns in the history of World Wrestling Entertainment. The Big Show's World Heavyweight Championship reign officially clocked in at only 1 minute, 52 seconds.

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