WWE Hall Of Famers Who Never Won The Company's World Championship

The WWE Hall of Fame is the promotion's way of recognizing the people who have helped to make the global sports entertainment juggernaut what it is. Since André the Giant became the first inductee in 1993, a who's who throughout the history of the WWE have been included into this prestigious club. While some of the celebrity inductions are questionable and certainly raise a People's Eyebrow or two, there's no denying the wrestling talent have all deserved their spot for their influence on pro wrestling as a whole.

There are some inductees who tasted varying levels of success in the WWE, but they never won the World Championship in the promotion. Of course, this is no measure of their abilities or success, since a wrestling promotion is the sum of its parts and all the elements of the card are what make up a show. Yet, there are a few surprising HOFers who didn't win the big one in their time in the WWF/WWE, when they maybe should have in retrospect. So let's take a walk through the WWE Hall of Fame and look at some of the biggest superstars to have never won the World Championship in the promotion.

Sean Waltman

When Sean Waltman debuted in the WWF, he had the most generic appearance and used varied names such as The Lightning Kid, The Cannonball Kid, and eventually, The 1-2-3 Kid. He had the word "jobber" written all over him — and he was for the start of his WWF career — but he turned it all around overnight when he cleanly pinned Razor Ramon on a 1993 episode of "Monday Night Raw." However, it wasn't his first stint with the company that resulted in his two-time Hall of Fame inductions in 2019 and 2020. That occurred because of his time in D-Generation X and the nWo.

When he returned to the WWF from WCW in 1998, Waltman went by the name of X-Pac and became an important part of the DX faction. Together with his fellow degenerates, he helped to shape the Attitude Era with his antics and picked up championship gold along the way — except for the World Championship. All things considered, Waltman was always a solid and consistent performer in the ring, but he was never viewed as championship material, especially if we're comparing him to other talents from the era such as The Rock, Triple H, and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. If "NXT" had been around in his heyday, though, maybe he could have had a crack at the big prize there.

Ted DiBiase

When it comes to villains, there aren't many better than the "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase. He dealt with all his problems by throwing money at them and buying his way up the card. His Million Dollar Corporation became one of the hottest heel stables around, as he'd employ wrestlers such as Bam Bam Bigelow, Sycho Sid, and Irwin R. Schyster to do his bidding, and he also created the Million Dollar Championship for himself because he simply could.

One of the best angles that DiBiase was involved in was when he tried to buy the WWF World Heavyweight Championship from Hulk Hogan in the late '80s. Naturally, the Hulkster refused and DiBiase wasn't able to defeat him in a one-on-one match for the title. So DiBiase got clever; he hired André the Giant to go after the title on his behalf. "The Eighth Wonder of the World" beat Hogan under dubious circumstances, then handed over the title to DiBiase. This reign was never officially recognized by the WWE and subsequently erased from the history books. Despite this, DiBiase was still inducted in the 2010 class of the Hall of Fame for the rest of his dastardly deeds as the ultimate heel of his era.

Jake 'The Snake' Roberts

Jake "The Snake" Roberts was one of the most despicable heels in the WWF throughout the late '80s and early '90s, and featured in numerous big feuds against other icons, but he never won a single title in his time with the company. Nothing. Nada. Even though he made a triumphant return to the WWF in 1996 where he went to the finals of that year's King of the Ring tournament, this event is best remembered for being the star-making turn for "Stone Cold" Steve Austin rather than for Roberts' valiant efforts. Regardless of the lack of championship gold, Roberts was still inducted in the 2014 Hall of Fame.

During an episode of "Talk Is Jericho," Roberts revealed how he was meant to be involved in a big championship program with Hulk Hogan, but the entire angle was nixed after the crowd chanted "D-D-T" rather than for Hogan ... which didn't go down well backstage. For the master of the DDT, he wanted to work with the champ since the payday for main event programs was much higher than normal. In a separate interview with Chris Van Vliet, Roberts stated that it didn't bother him that he never won the big one, since he felt he was already a star without the title.

Jeff Jarrett

In the ring, "Double J" Jeff Jarrett was a phenomenal talent for the WWF. He won the Intercontinental Championship six times and hardly had a bad match, as he put on wrestling clinics and made his opponents look fantastic night after night. Despite there never being any question about his natural born talent, there was a reluctance to elevate him to World Champion; instead, he was put in a weird but memorable feud with The Roadie, aka the Road Dogg, over who really wrote and sang the song "With My Baby Tonight." It was only after he left WWF to join WCW and TNA that he became renowned as a legitimate main eventer and world champion in those promotions.

On his podcast "My World" (via Fightful), Jarrett opened up about how his first reign as WCW World Champion is the one he holds dearest. "I had zero decision in it and obviously, all the baggage that goes with that," he said. "I didn't hold anybody up with a gun. My contract wasn't about to expire. There was no leverage. It was, 'Jeff, we're gonna make you champion, that the big gold will always hold the most special place.'" Considering the outstanding tussles that Double J and Shawn Michaels had over the Intercontinental Championship, it's a shame their rivalry didn't extend to the main event when HBK became the World Champion. Nonetheless, Jarrett was still rightfully inducted in the 2018 WWE Hall of Fame.

Ron Simmons

Looking back, Ron Simmons had a storied WWE career beyond being renowned for appearing in segments and uttering "damn" as a comedic punchline. Debuting as Faarooq, he quickly shed the silly helmet and gladiator attire, becoming the leader of the Nation of Domination. When that faction ran its natural course, he achieved notoriety again as one half of the hard-hitting tag team known as Acolytes Protection Agency, alongside Bradshaw. While Simmons won the tag title with Bradshaw on several occasions, he never tasted singles success as a World Champion, which is surprising considering his WCW run.

In 1992, Simmons pinned Big Van Vader to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, becoming the first African American to hold the big one in the company. When he jumped ship to WWF a few years later, many expected that the former football player would slot right into the main event slot and challenge for the title. After all, Simmons had size, power, and could cut a mean promo, so he had everything necessary to be a big star. His stint as the leader of Nation of Domination appeared like it would be the right time to put the championship gold on him, but The Rock's meteoric rise to success ensured that it would be The Great One who would get the push from the promotion instead. Simmons was inducted in the 2012 Hall of Fame.

Vader

It's time! It's time! It's Vader time! When the man they call Vader stepped into the WWF's ring at the 1996 Royal Rumble, there was excitement in the air. He flattened all-comers before being eliminated by the eventual winner of the Rumble, Shawn Michaels. However, Vader had the last laugh as he climbed back in the ring and ran roughshod on everyone, including HBK. It should have been the start of something bigger and a feud for the ages, but bad luck struck as Vader required shoulder surgery and had to step away for a few weeks.

Considering the absolute monster he was in WCW and Japan, there was an expectation that the World Championship would have been a formality in Vader's WWF tenure. It appeared likely, too, when he pinned then-champion HBK in the middle of the ring later that year. Eventually, he received a shot at Michaels' title at SummerSlam 1996, but the match is known more for HBK going off script and cursing Vader for a failed spot than the bout, which was messy in retrospect. It all but halted Vader's momentum, effectively destroying any chance of him becoming a future champion. While he was thrown into the four-way battle for the WWF Championship in February 1997, it never appeared like he would come out victorious. Vader departed the company in 1998, but made sporadic appearances thereafter. The Mastodon was inducted posthumously in the 2022 Hall of Fame.

The British Bulldog

When Davey Boy Smith debuted in the WWF, he was known as a tag team specialist along with his partner, The Dynamite Kid. However, his second stint in the company appeared to be developing into something more. He was pushed as a singles star and won the Intercontinental Championship from his brother-in-law, Bret Hart, at SummerSlam 1992. Unfortunately, any chance of building on the momentum of this huge win, and ascending to the main event scene, was squashed when he was embroiled in a growth hormone scandal along with The Ultimate Warrior (via The Sportster). As a result, The British Bulldog was released and headed off to WCW.

In 1994, The British Bulldog returned to the WWF and soon became a part of the Allied Powers with Lex Luger. The two weren't a unit for too long, though, as Smith turned heel and joined Camp Cornette, where he largely served as a tag wrestler or active midcarder. While Smith did receive a shot against Shawn Michaels and nearly won the WWF Championship after both men's shoulders were pinned to the mat at "In Your House: Beware of Dog," he never actually won the title. That said, Smith won other championship gold throughout his various tenures in the company and was inducted posthumously in the 2020 Hall of Fame for his memorable run as The British Bulldog.

Ravishing Rick Rude

The charisma. The athleticism. The undeniable heat with the audience. "Ravishing" Rick Rude had it all. In many ways, Rude paved the way for Shawn Michaels to gyrate his own path to the World Championship. Unlike Michaels, though, the WWF never pulled the trigger on Rude as the face of the company. As a cocky heel — albeit one with an abundance of talent — Rude was always in the middle of memorable feuds and programs with champions. He picked up an Intercontinental Championship along the way and feuded with the likes of Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior for the WWF Championship as well. 

The Ravishing One arrived in a time when the WWF had performers like Warrior, Hogan, "The Macho Man" Randy Savage, and other legendary talents in the stacked roster. At the time, it would have been difficult to displace any of those names as the main man of the company, so he was stuck being second fiddle here. Perhaps in another era, Rude would have cemented himself as a multi-time World Champion. Sadly, Rude passed away in 1999, but he was posthumously inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2017.

The Godfather

During his stint in the WWE, Charles Wright was a chameleon and master of reinvention, which was recognized at his induction in the 2016 Hall of Fame. From Papa Shango to Kama and eventually The Godfather, he took every gimmick given to him and made it work. It also helped that Wright was blessed with phenomenal size, physique, and a look that screamed superstar, no matter which guise he was under. While The Godfather might be his most popular and remembered gimmick, his time as Kama the Supreme Fighting Machine thrust him into an epic feud with The Undertaker. In the storyline, Kama stole Taker's urn and melted it down into some major bling, which naturally created tension between him and the Deadman.

Rather than develop this feud or continue to push Kama as a potential main eventer, the WWF seemingly lost interest and took him off television for a period of time, effectively destroying his cache with the fans. It was a surprising move, especially considering how Kama ticked all the boxes that Vince McMahon looked for in a superstar. While he never reached the top of the card again, he still had a successful and storied career that featured an Intercontinental Championship as well as tag team gold.

Tito Santana

When thinking about wrestlers who helped to shape what WrestleMania would become, many people forget about the influence that Tito Santana had in that regard. He appeared at the first nine 'Manias and put on an all-time classic against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania VIII. At the same time, Santana remained an important part of the roster throughout his stint in the WWF, being a reliable performer who always showed up and helped elevate other talent in the ring.

However, Santana experienced the same issue that Claudio Castagnoli, aka Cesaro, did: they were so good at making others look good that the office largely forgot to push them too. Santana secured some gold in the WWF and even won the King of the Ring tournament. However, he never claimed the biggest prize of them all: the World Championship. It doesn't matter, though, since die-hard wrestling fans know that he was one of the best in the ring and more than deserved his induction in the Hall of Fame in 2004.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan

In the '80s, patriotism was a huge part of any babyface's schtick. Heck, Hulk Hogan built an entire career waving the American flag around and fighting against "anti-American" adversaries, such as The Iron Sheik. "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan had a similar appeal, as he'd get the crowd chanting "U-S-A" throughout most of his matches. However, Duggan never held any gold in the WWF or WWE during his various stints in the company.

It's surprising for one reason: Duggan was the first man to win the Royal Rumble in 1988. Nowadays, the winner of the Rumble is considered a big deal, as they'll go onto WrestleMania and more often than not claim the World Championship. Back then, the plans for the winner of the Rumble weren't so clear cut, so his win led to basically nothing. Even though he never claimed a title, Duggan remained a highly popular wrestler in the promotion and joined the Hall of Fame in 2011.

Scott Hall

The late Scott Hall is a two-time inductee in the WWE Hall of Fame. The first induction was as Razor Ramon in 2014, while the second was as part of the New World Order (nWo) in 2020. Yet, despite Hall's inclusion and goodwill among fans, he never secured himself the World Championship during his stint as Ramon in the WWF between 1992 and 1996. He picked up four Intercontinental Championships along the way, putting on more than a few classic bouts with "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels, but the big one eluded him despite him having all the key ingredients to be the main man.

The strangest thing about this is Hall was over with the fans in a big way. While The Bad Guy might have started out as a heel and flicking toothpicks at kids in the beginning, he soon became a major babyface with his all-action approach in the ring and cool-as-a-Cuban-cigar demeanor in his promos. He featured regularly on television and his sayings still remain iconic to many wrestling fans today. Unfortunately, the WWF's main event scene was fairly stacked during Hall's time with the company, and he was largely seen as an upper-mid-card talent rather than as a headliner.

Comments