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World Heavyweight Title
WWE introduced its World Heavyweight Championship in 2002, by Eric Bischoff with Triple-H becoming the inaugural champion on September 2. By 2002, the WWF roster had doubled in size due to the overabundance of contracted workers. As a result of the increase, the WWF divided the roster through its two main television programs, Raw and SmackDown, assigning championships and appointing figureheads to each brand. This expansion became known as the Brand Extension. In May 2002, the WWF was renamed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Following these changes, the WWE Undisputed Championship remained unaffiliated with either brand as competitors from both brands could challenge the WWE Undisputed Champion. Following the appointment of Eric Bischoff and Stephanie McMahon as General Managers of the Raw and SmackDown brands respectively, Stephanie McMahon contracted then-WWE Undisputed Champion Brock Lesnar to the SmackDown brand, leaving the Raw brand without a world title. On September 2, after disputing the brand designation of the Undisputed title, Eric Bischoff announced the creation of the World Heavyweight Championship. Bischoff awarded the title to Triple H due to previously being Lesnar's scheduled opponent. Immediately afterwards, the WWE Undisputed Championship returned to being the WWE Championship.

Following the events of the WWE Brand Extension, an annual WWE Draft was established, in which select members of the WWE roster are reassigned to a different brand. After three years on the Raw brand, the World Heavyweight Championship switched brands during the 2005 WWE Draft Lottery, in which the WWE Champion John Cena was drafted to Raw while the World Heavyweight Champion Batista was drafted to SmackDown. After the 2008 WWE Draft, the WWE Champion Triple H was drafted to SmackDown, returning the WWE Championship to the SmackDown brand. On June 30, 2008, CM Punk used his Money in the Bank contract for a World Heavyweight Championship match against the World Heavyweight Champion Edge. This was done after Punk was drafted to Raw from the ECW brand. Punk defeated Edge to win the World Heavyweight Championship, moving the title to the Raw brand. The title remained on Raw until February 15, 2009 at No Way Out, when Edge won an Elimination Chamber match for the World Heavyweight Championship. However, with Edge being a member of the SmackDown brand at the time, the title was moved to SmackDown. On April 5 at WrestleMania XXV, the title returned to Raw after John Cena, a member of the Raw brand, defeated Edge and The Big Show in a Triple Threat match to win the World Heavyweight Championship. However, less than a month later at Backlash, Edge defeated Cena, bringing the title back to SmackDown. When Jack Swagger, who was at the time a member of the Raw roster, cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and defeated World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho on the April 2, 2010 episode of SmackDown, the belt remained exclusive to the SmackDown brand, and Swagger was transferred to the SmackDown roster.

On August 29, 2011, when all WWE programming became "Supershows" featuring the entire WWE roster, the World title (along with every other title in WWE) became available for all wrestlers to compete for, and can be defended on any show.

ReignsEdit

  • Triple H was awarded the title by Eric Bischoff on September 2, 2002.
  • Shawn Michaels won the title at Survivor Series on November 17, 2002, in the first ever Elimination Chamber.
  • Triple H won it back on December 15, 2002 at Armageddon.
  • Goldberg won the strap on September 21, 2003 at Unforgiven.
  • Triple H regained the title on December 14, 2003 at Armageddon.
  • Chris Benoit won the title at WrestleMania XX on March 14, 2004.
  • Randy Orton won the title on August 15, 2004 at SummerSlam.
  • Triple H won the title again on September 12, 2004 at Unforgiven. The championship was vacated on December 6, 2004.
  • Triple H rewon the title on January 9, 2005 at New Year's Revolution.
  • Batista won the title at WrestleMania 21 on April 3, 2005. He had to vacate the title on January 13, 2006 due to a triceps injury.
  • Kurt Angle won the title on January 13, 2006.
  • Rey Mysterio won the belt at WrestleMania 22.
  • King Booker took the strap on July 23, 2006 at The Great American Bash.
  • Batista regained the title on November 26, 2006 at Survivor Series.
  • Undertaker won the title on April 1, 2007 at WrestleMania 23.
  • Edge defeated Undertaker on May 8, 2007. It was vacated on July 17, 2007 when Edge suffered a pectoral injury.
  • The Great Khali won a battle royal on July 20, 2007 to win the title.
  • Batista won back the championship at Unforgiven on September 16, 2007.
  • Edge returned and won the strap back on December 16, 2007 at Armageddon.
  • Undertaker won the belt at WrestleMania XXIV on March 30, 2008. He would later vacate the title due to using his Hell's Gate finishing maneuver on Edge on April 29, 2008.
  • Edge defeated Undertaker on June 1, 2008 at ECW: One Night Stand.
  • CM Punk cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to become champion on June 30, 2008.
  • Chris Jericho won the strap on September 7, 2008 at Unforgiven.
  • Batista won the belt at Cyber Sunday on October 26, 2008.
  • Chris Jericho regained the belt on November 3, 2008.
  • John Cena won the belt at Survivor Series on November 23, 2008.
  • Edge won the belt in an Elimination Chamber at No Way Out on February 15, 2009.
  • John Cena regained the title on April 5, 2009 at WrestleMania XXV.
  • Edge regained the title at Backlash on April 26, 2009.
  • Jeff Hardy won the title at Extreme Rules on June 7, 2009.
  • CM Punk cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to become champion on June 7, 2009.
  • Jeff Hardy regained the title at Night of Champions on September 26, 2009.
  • CM Punk regained the belt on August 23, 2009 at SummerSlam.
  • Undertaker won the belt on October 4, 2009 at Hell in a Cell.
  • Chris Jericho won the belt on February 21, 2010 at Elimination Chamber.
  • Jack Swagger cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to become champion on April 2, 2010.
  • Rey Mysterio won the belt at Fatal 4-Way on June 20, 2010.
  • Kane cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to become champion on July 18, 2010 at Money in the Bank.
  • Edge won the belt on December 19, 2010 at TLC.
  • Dolph Ziggler was awarded the belt on the 600th episode of SmackDown on February 18, 2011 by Vickie Guerrero.
  • Edge regained the belt that same night. He had to vacate it on April 12, 2011 due to his retirement.
  • Christian won the belt on May 1, 2011 at Extreme Rules.
  • Randy Orton won it five days later on SmackDown.
  • Christian regained the title on July 17, 2011 at Money in the Bank.
  • Randy Orton regained the belt on August 14, 2011 at SummerSlam.
  • Mark Henry won the strap on September 18, 2011 at Night of Champions.
  • Big Show won the title on December 18, 2011 at TLC in a chairs match.
  • Daniel Bryan cashed in his Money in the Bank that same night to become champion.
  • Sheamus won the title on April 1, 2012 at WrestleMania XXVIII.
  • Big Show regained the title on October 28, 2012 at Hell in a Cell.
  • Alberto Del Rio won the belt on January 11, 2013.
  • Dolph Ziggler cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to become champion on April 8, 2013.
  • Alberto Del Rio regained the title on June 16, 2013 at Payback.
  • John Cena won the belt on October 27, 2013 at Hell in a Cell.
  • Randy Orton won the title on December 15, 2013 at TLC.

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